Hillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections

Hillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections
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BYE, BEZOS: President Trump said Thursday he'll ask the Department of Defense to look "very closely" at the Pentagon's cloud computing contract that is expected to be awarded to Amazon.

"I'm getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "They're saying it wasn't competitively bid.

"Some of the greatest companies in the world are complaining about it, having to do with Amazon and the Department of Defense," Trump continued. "And I will be asking them to look at it very closely to see what's going on because I have had very few things where there's been such complaining."

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Bloomberg first reported on Wednesday that Trump has asked for more information on the $10 billion deal, which the Pentagon is expected to award next month. Amazon is considered the favorite to land the contract, though Microsoft is also in the running.

It's unclear whether Trump would go as far as canceling the contract or directly intervene, but he has long been critical of Amazon and its owner, Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape Making space exploration cool again Sanders campaign to launch own 'newsletter with scoops' MORE.

Read more here.

 

NEW KIDS' PRIVACY RULES?: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking to update its rules on internet privacy for children after renewed concerns about how tech companies are catering to, and collecting data on, young internet users.

The five FTC commissioners voted unanimously to seek public input on updating its regulations on the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which went into effect nearly 20 years ago.

"In light of rapid technological changes that impact the online children's marketplace, we must ensure COPPA remains effective," FTC Chairman Joseph Simons said in a statement on Wednesday. "We're committed to strong COPPA enforcement, as well as industry outreach and a COPPA business hotline to foster a high level of COPPA compliance. But we also need to regularly revisit and, if warranted, update the Rule."

The agency usually reviews its regulations every 10 years, and the last time it looked into the children's privacy law was in 2013. In a draft notice to be published in the Federal Register, the FTC said it was launching a review early "because of questions that have arisen about the Rule's application to the educational technology sector, to voice-enabled connected devices, and to general audience platforms that host third-party child-directed content."

Under COPPA, websites must obtain parental consent before collecting data on children under 13.

"COPPA is the constitution for children's privacy online, and as its author I have consistently advocated for thoughtful updates to the existing COPPA regime to keep pace with technological changes and emerging threats to kids," Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyMoulton drops out of presidential race after struggling to gain traction Joseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs MORE (D-Mass.) said in a statement Thursday. "But if the Commission is truly serious about protecting young people online, it will enforce existing protections, hold violators accountable no matter how powerful they are, and act as a forceful check against the ever-increasing appetite for children's data."

Read more on the law here.

 

SENATE PASSES ELECTION SECURITY BILL: The Senate passed legislation on Wednesday night that would make it a federal crime to hack into any voting systems used in a federal election. 

The bill, known as the Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act, passed the chamber on Wednesday night by unanimous consent, which requires the sign off of every senator.  

It would allow the Justice Department to pursue federal charges against anyone who hacks voting systems used in federal elections under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. 

Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies Democrats give cold shoulder to Warren wealth tax MORE (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhite House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts GOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads Cindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death MORE (R-S.C.) introduced the legislation earlier this year and it cleared the Judiciary Committee in May. 

"Our legislation to protect voting machines will better equip the Department of Justice to fight back against hackers that intend to interfere with our election," Blumenthal said when the bill was introduced.

Read more here. 

 

FACEAPP FALLOUT: Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJewish Democratic congresswoman and veteran blasts Trump's 'disloyalty' comments Schumer says Trump encouraging anti-Semites Saagar Enjeti: Biden's latest blunder; Krystal Ball: Did Schumer blow our chance to beat McConnell? MORE (D-N.Y.) is asking the FBI and Federal Trade Commission to investigate FaceApp, a viral photo-aging tool that is sparking privacy concerns. 

Schumer sent a letter on Wednesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and FTC Chairman Joseph Simons saying he was concerned that the app, which is headquartered in Russia, "could pose national security and privacy risks for millions of U.S. citizens." 

"In the age of facial recognition technology as both a surveillance and security use, it is essential that users have the information they need to ensure their personal and biometric data remains secure, including from hostile foreign governments," Schumer wrote. 

Schumer is asking the FTC to determine if there are "adequate safeguards" in place to prevent Americans' privacy from being compromised and, if not, to publicly disclose that. 

He separately wants the FBI to find out if data being uploaded to FaceApp by Americans is "finding its way into the hands" of Russia's government or companies with ties to the government. 

Read more here. 

 

MORE MONEY PLEASE: States are in need of further funding from the federal government to fully secure elections, a report published Thursday found, citing six states as examples.

The report was compiled by the Brennan Center for Justice, the R Street Institute, the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Cyber Law, Policy and Security, and the Alliance for Securing Democracy. It spotlights Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

"Elections are the pillar of American democracy, and, as we saw in 2016 and 2018, foreign governments will continue to target them," the authors wrote in the report. "States cannot counter these adversaries alone, nor should they have to. But at a time when free and fair elections are increasingly under attack, they can, with additional federal funding, safeguard them."

Four of the states reported that future federal funds are needed to replace "legacy" or older voting equipment that have cyber vulnerabilities, while several other states cited the need for funding to train election officials in cybersecurity. 

Pennsylvania specifically reported the need for regular county cybersecurity assessments of election systems, while in Oklahoma, the authors pointed to the need for funding to conduct post-election audits, which ensure that the voting tally is correct. 

The report noted that "it is clear that the other 44 states and the District of Columbia have similar unfunded needs."

Read more here. 

 

NEW CYBER BILL: A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday introduced legislation to increase cybersecurity training for U.S. high school students involved in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) in an effort to increase overall cyber defense training.

The JROTC Cyber Training Act would direct the secretary of Defense to create a program to enhance the preparation of JROTC high school students for military or civilian careers in cybersecurity and computer science, including internship or research opportunities and funding for training.

The bill is sponsored by Sens. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Senators introduce legislation to boost cyber defense training in high school Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (D-Nev.), Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnIs there internet life after thirty? Taylor Swift defends staying out of the 2016 election: 'I just knew I wasn't going to help' The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal MORE (R-Tenn.), John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters Democrats keen to take on Cornyn despite formidable challenges MORE (R-Texas) and Gary PetersGary Charles PetersFBI Agents Association calls on Congress to make 'domestic terrorism' a federal crime Senators renew request for domestic threats documents from FBI, DOJ after shootings Overnight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador MORE (D-Mich.).

According to Rosen's office, the bill has the potential to bring computer science and cybersecurity training to 500,000 students nationwide at 3,400 schools with JROTC programs.

Read more here. 

 

ANOTHER ZUCKERBERG HEARING?: Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersNadler asks other House chairs to provide records that would help panel in making impeachment decision Bank watchdogs approve rule to loosen ban on risky Wall Street trades F-bombs away: Why lawmakers are cursing now more than ever MORE (D-Calif.) is planning to call in Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergFacebook users in lawsuit say company failed to warn them of known risks before 2018 breach Social media never intended to be in the news business — but just wait till AI takes over Facebook exploring deals with media outlets for news section: report MORE to testify about his company's new digital currency project Libra, Waters told The Hill on Wednesday. 

Waters had floated the idea during a House Financial Services Committee hearing earlier in the day and later confirmed it is something the Democrats on the committee plan to pursue.

"We'll have hearings, we're going to continue to have investigations, we're going to get Zuckerberg here," Waters said.

She added that her staff has not made the formal request with Facebook yet, but they plan to do so.

"The absolute public request was made today by Mr. Sherman," she said, referring to Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Maxine Waters says her committee will call in Zuckerberg to testify about Libra MORE (D-Calif.), who was the first lawmaker on the committee to call for Zuckerberg's appearance. "I'm taking that up."

David Marcus, the head of Facebook subsidiary Calibra, testified before the House Financial Services Committee – which Waters chairs – during a marathon hearing on Wednesday. He fielded tough and sometimes aggressive questions from lawmakers over how the new digital currency could be abused by criminals.

"This is an attempt to transfer enormous power from America to Facebook and a number of its allies," Sherman said. "We need Zuckerberg here."

The ranking member of the House Financial Service Committee, Rep. Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Maxine Waters says her committee will call in Zuckerberg to testify about Libra House asks Facebook: 'What is Libra?' MORE (R-N.C.), told The Hill he would not get behind that effort.

"I don't think it's necessary," he said. "Bringing in the CEO of a company about one of their projects is not the best use of our time."

"Let's not make this about one company with one project or one highly polarizing figure of corporate America," he said. "I don't think it's additive to the conversation, nor do I think it's gonna bring deeper understanding about the project."

Facebook had no comment.

Read more here.

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: Law enforcement must recognize pitfalls of facial recognition technology 

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: Why the Area 51 meme is good. 

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

AI has a bias problem and that can be a big challenge in cybersecurity. (CNBC)

G7 finance chiefs pour cold water on Facebook's digital coin plans. (Reuters)

U.S. Cyber Command simulated a seaport cybersecurity attack to test digital readiness (CyberScoop)

Here's what we know about the Russian company behind FaceApp. (The Washington Post)