Hillicon Valley: Peters criticizes deficient healthcare cybersecurity investment | Apple defends delay of data privacy feature | Children groups warn about Parler

Hillicon Valley: Peters criticizes deficient healthcare cybersecurity investment | Apple defends delay of data privacy feature | Children groups warn about Parler
© Greg Nash

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PETERS SLAMS TRUMP OVER CYBER SECURITY: Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersThe Hill's Morning Report - President Biden, Vice President Harris begin work today Two Senate committees vow probe of security failure during Capitol riots US government caught blindsided over sophisticated cyber hack, experts say MORE (D-Mich.) on Friday slammed President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE for not taking action to defend the health sector against increasing cyberattacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Peters, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote a letter to Trump specifically highlighting concerns around cyber targeting of U.S. hospitals and of groups conducting COVID-19 vaccine research, which have spiked since March.

“I am angered by these government sponsored cyber-attacks and your lack of action to deter them over the past months,” Peters wrote on Tuesday.

Peters specifically criticized the decision by Trump this week to fire Christopher Krebs, the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and to push out two other key CISA leaders. The agency has taken a leading role in responding to attacks on the health sector.

“While I have full confidence in the dedicated workforce at CISA to continue to execute their mission despite your actions, the removal of these individuals invites attacks from our adversaries based on a perception of instability, rather than prevent them,” Peters wrote.

This is the second letter that Peters has sent to Trump this year highlighting concerns around cyberattacks linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more here.


APPLE DEFENDS DELAY OF AD-TRACKING FEATURE: Apple is defending the delay of a new feature that would limit user information gathered by advertisers on its devices following criticism from advocacy groups.

The tech giant has pushed back the release of App Tracking Transparency, a feature announced in June that would allow users to opt out of apps tracking them across platforms, and would require apps to ask users for permission before accessing data about them.

Apple announced the feature in June, with initial plans to include it as part of an iOS14 update for users in mid-September, but said shortly beforehand that the anti-tracking component would be delayed until “early next year.” That prompted Ranking Digital Rights and seven other advocacy groups to voice their "disappointment" with Apple in a letter sent to the company last month.

Apple responded on Thursday by saying the delay was to give developers more time to “properly update their systems and data practices,” according to a copy of the letter shared by Ranking Digital Rights.

In its response, Apple also slammed other leading tech companies, namely Facebook, for their ad-tracking practices. Facebook has opposed Apple’s new anti-tracking option.

“Apple engages in privacy preserving first party advertising and doesn't append or gather data from third party sources. We simply do not need or want to gobble up more and more data in order to deliver an experience that users appreciate. By contrast, Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting,” Apple’s senior director of global privacy Jane Horvath wrote in the letter.

Read more here.


PARENTAL WARNINGS OVER PARLER: The advocacy group Parents Together Action issued a public warning Friday about the alternative social media app Parler, arguing it doesn’t moderate content, which is “dangerous for minors."

“Parents should know that due to Parler’s dangerous combination of an extremist user base and almost non-existent moderation of content, hate speech, incitements to violence and disinformation about the election results are pervasive on the platform,” the group wrote

The organization urged parents to check their children's devices to ensure they have not installed Parler, noting its rise in popularity since Election Day. If they have, the group recommends deleting their child’s account and the app. 

Parents Together Action underscored their warning by stating that Parler does not require users to share their age or birth date while signing up. 


The app does, however, require users to be at least 13 years old and have “express permission” from a legal guardian if they’re under 18, based on its user agreements.

Parler brands itself as a “free-speech” platform and has been boosted by conservative figures in the wake of Election Day.

As social media giants Facebook and Twitter took action to label posts with misinformation about the election, including those from President Trump casting doubt on the results and President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFive examples of media's sycophancy for Biden on inauguration week Drastic measures for drastic times — caregiver need mobile health apps Boycott sham impeachment MORE’s victory, Parler allowed such posts to remain unchecked. 

Experts have raised concerns over the potential for disinformation to spread and conspiracy theories to flourish due to Parler’s hands-off approach. 

Read more here

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