Hillicon Valley: Twitter to tag Trump tweets that break its rules | Maker of police bodycams won't use facial recognition tech | Google sued over medical data sharing | FDA issues cyber warning for company's insulin pumps

Hillicon Valley: Twitter to tag Trump tweets that break its rules | Maker of police bodycams won't use facial recognition tech | Google sued over medical data sharing | FDA issues cyber warning for company's insulin pumps
© Greg Nash

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don't already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.

Welcome! Follow the cyber team, Olivia Beavers (@olivia_beavers) and Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and the tech team, Harper Neidig (@hneidig) and Emily Birnbaum (@birnbaum_e).

 

TWITTER SAYS TAG, YOU'RE IT: Twitter on Thursday announced it will soon start tagging, but not removing, tweets from world leaders that violate the platform's rules.

In a blog post, the company said it will place disclaimers on tweets from top government officials or high-profile candidates when they violate any of Twitter's rules, but will not remove the posts when they are in the "public interest."

The change has the potential to affect President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE, who meets the three standards for this treatment -- a government official with more than 100,000 followers who is verified on Twitter -- and has faced widespread criticism over his often inflammatory tweets.

ADVERTISEMENT

"There are certain cases where it may be in the public's interest to have access to certain Tweets, even if they would otherwise be in violation of our rules," Twitter wrote in a blog post. "On the rare occasions when this happens, we'll place a notice – a screen you have to click or tap through before you see the Tweet – to provide additional context and clarity."

The message on the post would read, "The Twitter rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the tweet to remain available."

Twitter will also limit distribution of the flagged tweets, barring the tweet from going out as a "recommended tweet" push notification or appearing in the "top tweets" timeline.

But there are limits on the rules that world leaders can violate.

"Direct threats of violence or calls to commit violence against an individual ... are unlikely to be considered in the public interest," Twitter wrote in the post.

Read more here.

 

BANNING THE FACIAL SCANNING: The country's leading manufacturer of police cameras on Thursday announced it is banning the use of facial recognition technology on its devices.

Axon, which provides body cameras and software to dozens of police departments across the country, said it will not be adding face-matching products to its body cameras for the time being, citing concerns that the technology is not yet "reliable" enough for wide-scale implementation.

The company had solicited input from an external committee of researchers, who made recommendations that Axon agreed to this week.

"After a year of meetings and research, Axon's AI and Policing Technology Ethics Board concluded that face recognition technology is not yet reliable enough to justify its use on body-worn cameras, and expressed particular concern regarding evidence of unequal and unreliable performance across races, ethnicities, genders and other identity groups," the independent ethics board wrote in a statement.

Axon agreed to a host of the board's recommendations, including halting plans to implement face-matching technology in police body cameras.

Read more here.

 

DATA SHARING PRACTICES UNDER SCRUTINY: A potential class-action lawsuit is alleging that Google and the University of Chicago Medical Center violated hospital patients' privacy in a 2017 data-sharing agreement.

The suit, filed in federal court in Illinois on Wednesday night, claims that the agreement to study ways to apply machine learning to health care violated privacy laws governing the sharing of medical information.

"While tech giants have dominated the news over the last few years for repeatedly violating consumers' privacy, Google managed to fly under the radar as it pulled off what is likely the greatest heist of consumer medical records in history," the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of patients whose data was included in the partnership and filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The collaboration was touted as a way to study how artificial intelligence (AI) could be used to improve health care by enabling doctors to make better predictions and decisions about their patients. Google says that its AI can lower health care costs and ultimately save lives.

Ashley Heher, a spokeswoman for the University of Chicago Medical Center, said that the lawsuit is without merit and that the center has complied with all privacy and health laws.

"The University and the Medical Center will vigorously defend this action in court," she said.

Google said its use of the limited dataset was justified and the decision was reviewed by multiple oversight advisers at the hospital.

Read more here.

 

A WINDOW INTO THE 2018 ELECTION: More than 120 million Americans, or around 52 percent of the voting-age population, voted in last year's midterm elections, a report published Thursday by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) found.

That marked an 11 percent increase in the number of Americans who voted last year versus the 2014 midterm elections, according to the EAC's 2018 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS).

While voting in person is still the most popular form of casting a ballot, around a quarter of Americans who took part in the election mailed in their vote, according to the report. 

The report also detailed the security measures taken by election officials to ensure the vote counts were accurate.

The EAC found that 90 percent of election jurisdictions used machines that produced some type of paper backup of the votes cast, and that 78.2 percent of states required a post-election audit to check the results.

Twelve states did not require any type of audit, while half of the states now require audits of voting machines every election.

One challenge the EAC reported from the results of the survey was the difficulty in recruiting sufficient polling workers, with nearly 70 percent of election jurisdictions rating this task as either "very difficult" or "somewhat difficult."

Read more here. 

 

SAVAGE: President Trump's reelection campaign bought out advertising space at the top of YouTube's homepage ahead of the first Democratic presidential primary debate.

Google's ad-buying website puts the cost of his YouTube advertisement at more than $100,000. The ad called for voters to text the campaign with the words "VOTE" or "BORDER" to signal their support for Trump 2020. The advertisement is expected to reach more than 60 million viewers.

Read more here.

 

MNUCHIN WANTS THE SECRET SERVICE UNDER HIS PURVIEW: Treasury Secretary

Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Waters clashes with Trump officials over 'disastrous' housing finance plan | Dems jump into Trump turf war over student loans | House passes bill targeting anonymous shell companies Two new Trump executive orders will shape up Treasury and hold bureaucracy accountable Trump has floated Mnuchin, Conway for White House chief of staff: report MORE has reportedly been pushing President Trump to put the Secret Service back under the control of the Treasury Department.

Discussions on the matter have been taking place between the White House, the Treasury and Secret Service officials over the past year, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing administration officials.

The Times reported Trump supports the idea of placing the service under Treasury control, but some senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials have been contesting the move. The DHS officials have expressed concerns about no longer controlling an agency that includes cybersecurity and investigative elements.

The Secret Service was moved under DHS in 2003 after the department was created.

Mnuchin reportedly brought high-ranking Secret Service agents to his department to talk about the potential shift. He has expressed interest in its cybersecurity and anticounterfeiting operations and has had ongoing discussions with officials on the matter, officials told the newspaper.

Read more here.

 

MEDICAL DEVICE HACKING: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned patients and healthcare providers using certain types of insulin pumps of cyberthreats involving the devices, with the pumps recalled due to vulnerabilities that could lead to fatal consequences for users.

Security researchers found cyber vulnerabilities in certain types of Medtronic MiniMed insulin pumps that enabled unauthorized users to access the pumps if they are connected to WiFi and alter or stop the amount of insulin delivered to a patient.

The pumps recalled are Medtronic's MiniMed 508 insulin pump and MiniMed Paradigm series insulin pumps.

Medtronic wrote in a letter to its customers on Thursday that it recommended switching to a different type of insulin pump, and taking cybersecurity precautions with these existing pumps. Security steps included making sure all devices related to the pump were kept in patients' sight at all times, monitoring blood sugar levels closely, and disconnecting the pump from WiFi when internet connection is not strictly necessary. 

These pumps are computerized devices that allow for the delivery of insulin throughout the day through a catheter implanted under the skin of a patient. They are widely used by people with type one or type two diabetes. 

The FDA wrote that Medtronic is currently not able to "adequately update" the pumps to prevent the cyber vulnerabilities. 

Read more here. 

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: The purpose of a Space Force is a spacefaring economy.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: Our response to the PR pitches of a full-proof cyber device.

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

Zuckerberg suggests Facebook is considering new approach to threat of deepfakes. (The Atlantic)

Western intel's Five Eyes hacked into Russia's internet search engine Yandex to spy on accounts. (Reuters)

NSC officials held meeting focused on combating issue of going dark. (Politico)

Spotify users who "pre-save" an upcoming album release to their accounts may be sharing more personal data than they realize. (Billboard)

Apple moves to include diabetes product as part of broader healthcare expansion. (CNBC)