Hillicon Valley: Biden cyber rules | Australia's war with Facebook | UK ruling on Uber

Hillicon Valley: Biden cyber rules | Australia's war with Facebook | UK ruling on Uber
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President BidenJoe BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE is pushing for “rules of the road” on cybersecurity and tech. In a story that is blowing up down under, the Australian Prime Minister is pushing Facebook to reconsider its newly instated policy restricting users in the country from sharing news content. In a U.K. decision with ripple effects, Uber drivers were deemed “workers” for the company by an unanimous Supreme Court ruling, forcing the company to evaluate payments and benefits to its drivers. In other news, this is really cool. 



ONLINE RULES OF THE ROAD: President Biden on Friday called for the United States and other democratic nations to create “rules” for cybersecurity and tech issues as part of addressing and pushing back against threats from China and Russia. 

“We must shape the rules that will govern the advance of technologies and the norms of behavior in cyberspace, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, so they are used to lift people up, not used to pin them down,” Biden said during remarks at the White House as part of the virtual Munich Security Conference. 

Biden called for both ensuring greater transparency of groups and individuals behind major Chinese companies, along with confronting Russia on its aggressive actions against the U.S. and its allies in cyberspace.

Read more about Biden’s remarks here.


BRING BACK THE NEWS: Days after Facebook said it would restrict users in the country from sharing news content over a proposed law that would make the platform pay publishers for the content, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pushed the tech giant to reconsider. 


“The idea of shutting down the sorts of sites they did yesterday, as some sort of threat — well, I know how Australians react to that and I thought that was not a good move on their part,” Morrison told reporters on Friday, according to The Associated Press. 

He urged the platform to negotiate. 

“They should move quickly past that, come back to the table and we’ll sort it out,” Morrison reportedly said. 

Read more about Morrison’s plea here


GOOD NEWS FOR ‘WORKERS’: The U.K. Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Friday that Uber drivers are “workers” for the company, rather than self-employed, a distinction that now forces the ride-sharing company to evaluate payments and benefits to its U.K. drivers. 

The Associated Press reported that the high court’s seven judges upheld a lower court decision that Uber drivers were employees of the company, and therefore under British law are entitled to minimum wage, paid holidays and other benefits. 

Judge George Leggatt read out a summary of the ruling on a court livestream, stating, “The employment tribunal was right to find that Uber drivers are workers who therefore qualify for the rights conferred on workers by employment legislation.” 

Read more about the decision here.


MORE VACCINE MISINFO WOES: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is pushing Facebook and Twitter to clamp down on coronavirus vaccine misinformation campaigns that are targeting pregnant women.

Blumenthal, in a letter sent to the tech giants on Friday, urged them to follow through on commitments to remove coronavirus vaccine misinformation after reported incidents of anti-vaccine campaigns targeting and harassing pregnant women with false information. 

“Time and again, Facebook and its peers have moved far too slow in responding to the targeted harassment and promotion of destructive conspiracy theories against women and people of color,” he wrote. 

Despite Twitter and Facebook’s pledges to remove misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine, Blumenthal noted that false claims about the vaccine’s impact on pregnant women have been spreading online, citing a The Daily Beast report from earlier this week. 


Read more about Blumenthal’s letter here


ICYMI: ALL ABOUT GAMESTOP: Democrats and Republicans on a House panel sparred Thursday over what, if anything, Congress should do in response to the GameStop trading frenzy and the technology platforms that fueled the rapid rise — and sudden spiral — in more than a dozen stocks.

Members of the House Financial Services Committee were deeply divided along party lines over whether stock trading applications like Robinhood need to be reined in after a Reddit-orchestrated short squeeze on struggling companies roiled the market in January.

Plus: A lawmaker on the panel actually called Robinhood's helpline during the hearing to make a point. 

Democrats argued during Thursday's virtual hearing that the GameStop episode exposed the traps and dangers amateur traders face in the stock market, on popular online forums and in the opaque world of risky investment products.

“Many Americans feel that the system is stacked against them, and no matter what, Wall Street always wins,” said Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersProgressives grumble but won't sink relief bill over fewer stimulus checks Lawmakers, Martin Luther King III discuss federal responses to systematic racism The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help MORE (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Financial Services panel. “Given the losses that many retail investors have sustained as a result of volatility in the system, there are many whose belief that the system is rigged against them has been reinforced.”


Read more about yesterday’s hearing here. 


Lighter click: An oldie but a goodie

An op-ed to chew on: A strong offense can decrease cyberattacks on critical infrastructure



From Washington to Florida, here are Big Tech’s biggest threats from states (Protocol / Emily Birnbaum) 

Organized DoorDash drivers’ #DeclineNow strategy is driving up their pay (Vice Motherboard / Edward Ongweso) 

Army launches autonomous vehicle tests in Maryland (Nextgov / Brandi Vincent)