Hillicon Valley: Microsoft pushes for DACA fix ahead of court hearing | Twitter seeks feedback on 'deepfakes' | Trump officials unveil plan to notify public of 2020 interference

Hillicon Valley: Microsoft pushes for DACA fix ahead of court hearing | Twitter seeks feedback on 'deepfakes' | Trump officials unveil plan to notify public of 2020 interference
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MICROSOFT PUSHES FOR DACA: Microsoft is heading to Capitol Hill to press lawmakers on legislation to protect recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, during a crucial week in the fight over the Obama-era immigration program.

Nearly 20 Microsoft employees, all DACA recipients, are flying in with President Brad Smith and top lobbyist Fred Humphries on Tuesday to urge congressional action and meet with lawmakers who have demonstrated leadership on DACA. The fly-in, the second time Microsoft has brought employees to Washington to press Congress, comes the same day the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in cases challenging President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE's actions terminating the program.


"We have a proven track record of being an advocate for policies that include immigrants, that allows them and enables them to integrate their talents, their abilities, their skills. It's helpful to the company but most importantly, to our economy," Humphries told The Hill. 

A ruling from the Supreme Court on Trump's termination of the program is expected in the summer, just months before the election. If the high court does allow Trump to strike down the program, Humphries said Microsoft will "double down" on pressing Congress to pass legislation to protect Dreamers.

"We have never taken our eye off the ball, even when it's gone quiet," Humphries said. "We have done our best to represent the 66 DACA employees, which includes Microsoft and LinkedIn, to make sure that our employees voices are heard and our company's voice is heard."

Microsoft has been a vocal advocate for the program, urging lawmakers to take action as soon as Trump moved to halt it.

Read more on the DACA push here. 


And for more on the Supreme Court's hearing on DACA Tuesday, click here: Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court.


DON'T FAKE IT: Twitter is soliciting feedback to inform its new policy limiting the reach of "deepfakes," or video footage that has been altered in misleading ways. 

Twitter's vice president of trust and safety Del Harvey wrote in a blog post that Twitter might begin labeling tweets that include "synthetic or manipulated media" or warning users when they're sharing such content. 

"We propose defining synthetic and manipulated media as any photo, audio, or video that has been significantly altered or fabricated in a way that intends to mislead people or changes its original meaning," Harvey wrote, a policy that would account for both "deepfakes" -- footage that has been doctored using artificial intelligence -- and "shallowfakes" -- video that has been significantly and selectively edited without advanced tools.

A controversial video of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSekulow indicates White House not interested in motion to dismiss impeachment articles Overnight Health Care: Trump restores funding for Texas program that bars Planned Parenthood | Trump to attend March for Life | PhRMA spent record on 2019 lobbying Key House committee chairman to meet with Mnuchin on infrastructure next week MORE (D-Calif.), which went viral across most of the top social media platforms in May, kicked off a larger conversation about how companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube plan to deal with the deluge of manipulated footage that will likely flood their networks ahead of the 2020 presidential elections.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are all now working to formulate new policies around dealing with deepfakes and other manipulated footage, the companies told Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Democrats' impeachment case lands with a thud with GOP — but real audience is voters MORE (D-Calif.) in letters earlier this year. 

"The solutions we develop will need to protect the rights of people to engage in parody, satire and political commentary," Twitter's director of public policy, Carlos Monje wrote in the July letter. 

In the post on Monday, Twitter's Harvey wrote that the company is considering removing manipulated footage when it could "threaten someone's physical safety or lead to other serious harm." But the bulk of the proposed policy would simply inform Twitter users when footage has been altered rather than removing it entirely.

Twitter is soliciting feedback through a public survey and online comments until Nov. 27, according to the blog post.

Read more here.


THE NIGHTINGALE SINGS: Google has partnered with one of the largest health care systems in the country to collect data on millions of American patients, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. 

The venture, called Project Nightingale, allows Google to obtain access to personal health care data from Americans across 21 states through its partnership with Ascension, people familiar with the matter told the Journal, which also relied on internal documents for its report.

The data Google has access to includes lab results, doctor diagnoses, hospitalization records and health histories with names and date of births. Neither patients nor doctors were informed that Google was collecting the data, according to the Journal, and at least 150 Google employees have access to the information.

Ascension, based in St. Louis, is the second-largest health care system in the country. Google started the project with Ascension last year with the goal of using the data to create new software based on artificial intelligence and machine learning for patients to make their own recommendations for their care.

A press release from Ascension says the project is "underpinned by a robust data security and protection effort" and follows the company's requirements to protect information.

President of Google Cloud Tariq Shaukat said Google is "proud" to work with Ascension.

"By working in partnership with leading healthcare systems like Ascension, we hope to transform the delivery of healthcare through the power of the cloud, data analytics, machine learning, and modern productivity tools--ultimately improving outcomes, reducing costs, and saving lives," he said in the release.

Read more here.


MICROSOFT MAKES PRIVACY PLEDGE: Microsoft on Monday announced that it intends to follow California's landmark online privacy law nationwide when it goes into effect next year, a move that comes as federal efforts to draw up the country's first comprehensive privacy law have stalled.

In a blog post, Microsoft called Congress's "lack of action" on privacy legislation "a serious issue." 

"As digital technology becomes more and more essential in our day-to-day lives, the lack of action by the United States Congress to pass comprehensive privacy legislation continues to be a serious issue for people who are concerned about how their data is collected, used and shared," Microsoft's chief privacy officer, Julie Brill, wrote in the post. 

"We will extend [the California law's] core rights for people to control their data to all our customers in the U.S.," Brill wrote.

It likely will not involve much work for Microsoft to comply with the California law in its operations across the country, as the company already agreed in May to follow Europe's tough privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as it builds products around the world. 

But the announcement could put significant pressure on other top tech giants to follow Microsoft's lead and pledge to follow California's law, which many of the companies lobbied against. And it also heightens the stakes in Congress, where there has been little forward motion to work up a privacy law in months.

Earlier this month, Microsoft wrote that it is in an "excellent position" to meet the California law's requirements after implementing GDPR's data restrictions and limitations across the company's operations.   

Read more on Microsoft's announcement here.


UNLIKABLE: Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced Friday that the photo-sharing platform would start hiding "like" counts on some U.S. users' posts starting next week. 

Under the switch, the affected U.S. users will be able to see the amount of "likes" their own posts get, but they won't be able to see how many likes their followers or other platform users get on their posts. Others' metrics will be private, Mosseri said.

"It's about young people," he said, adding that he hoped the new feature would help "depressurize Instagram [and] make it less of a competition."

While some have applauded the move as a way to take reduce the pressure of social media, others say hiding the engagement metrics will create a slew of other issues, including making it harder to determine which accounts have legitimate followers.

The move is also bound to affect the rise of influencers, whose ability to make money promoting products goes hand-in-hand with the amount of engagement their posts receive.

The experiment comes after the company tested hiding "like" counts in other places, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Italy, Ireland and Brazil. 

Read more on Instagram's move here. 


ONE NEW MESSAGE: The Trump administration on Friday unveiled a new plan to notify the public of cyberattacks or other interference during the 2020 presidential election.

The new protocols are designed to provide consistency in the notification process for victims and the public after hacks from foreign governments. The plan, which President Trump approved, comes after the federal government has faced accusations of keeping the public in the dark by not releasing enough information about foreign attempts to hack campaigns and election systems. It also comes as officials brace for similar threats heading into 2020. 

The framework, detailed in an overview released to reporters, lists considerations for the government when it decides if it should notify the public of an attack. Among the parameters included in the document are that partisan politics will not be considered when releasing a notification and that that the Secret Service will be made aware anytime a major presidential campaign is targeted. 

Decisions about whether to provide notification "will take into account the need to protect sensitive sources and methods necessary to protect national security and to avoid interfering in investigations."

"Notification decisions will consider whether providing notification will help deter foreign influence and protect the public, and will avoid amplifying foreign interference activity or re-victimizing the targets of such activity," the document reads. 

Under the plan, the director of national intelligence would meet with several other officials to decide if they would issue a notification to the public. When a member of the intelligence community seeks to expand a notification beyond what is required by law, representatives from the FBI, CIA and other agencies would be brought in to craft the notice.

Read more here.


A LIGHTER CLICK: We decline to comment on whether this is real


AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: Innovation in veteran services 



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