Hillicon Valley: Twitter sues Texas AG, alleging retaliation for banning Trump | Biden reportedly taps top antitrust scholar for FTC | Biden appoints Clare Martorana as federal CIO

Hillicon Valley: Twitter sues Texas AG, alleging retaliation for banning Trump | Biden reportedly taps top antitrust scholar for FTC | Biden appoints Clare Martorana as federal CIO
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Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

Twitter on Monday targeted the Texas attorney general with a lawsuit revolving around the platform’s ban on former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE. Meanwhile, President BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE is reportedly set to nominate another official backed by progressives — antitrust scholar Lina Khan — to a key tech regulation position, and meanwhile took action and appointed a federal CIO on Tuesday. The Biden administration is also facing early challenges on the cybersecurity front from two major cyber espionage incidents. 

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TWITTER TARGETS TEXAS: Twitter is suing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), seeking to block his office from allegedly retaliating against the company for its decision to ban former President Trump from the platform.

The suit filed in northern California accuses Paxton of using the powers of his elected office to retaliate against the company over what it called a protected decision under the First Amendment.

“A core part of Twitter’s mission is to protect freedom of expression and defend an Open Internet. We work every day to protect those interests for the people who use our service around the world. The First Amendment protects everyone’s right to free speech, including private businesses," a Twitter spokesperson told The Hill.

"In this case, the Texas Attorney General is misusing the powers of his office to infringe on Twitter’s First Amendment rights and attempt to silence free speech. As we’ve repeatedly stated, and recent research underscores, we enforce the Twitter Rules judiciously and impartially across our service," they added.

Read more here

 

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ANOTHER BIG TECH CRITIC: President Biden is set to nominate influential antitrust scholar Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission, Politico reported Tuesday.

The Columbia University associate professor would be the second person Biden has nominated to a key position who has been heavily pushed by progressive Big Tech critics.

Biden last week appointed Tim Wu as special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy last week. 

Khan's nomination requires the Senate's confirmation, while Wu's does not.

Khan is best known for writing “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” a paper which laid out how the e-commerce giant could be violating antitrust law, while a law student at Yale.

She also served as an aide to the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee during its investigation into the monopoly power of major digital platforms.

Read more.

 

NEW CIO ON THE BLOCK: The White House on Tuesday announced that President Biden had appointed Clare Martorana to serve as both the federal chief information officer and administrator of the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Electronic Government.

Martorana will take over the positions after serving as chief information officer at the Office of Personnel Management, a role she held for the past two years under the Trump administration. 

As federal CIO, Martorana will oversee a variety of federal information technology policies, including spending, planning for IT investments, and monitoring security and privacy across federal agencies. 

Read more about the new federal leader here.

 

 

EARLY CYBER THREATS: The Biden administration is grappling with two major cyber incidents in its first 50 days in office, underscoring the challenge the new White House faces from foreign actors.

Russia and China are suspected in the two incidents, which may have compromised thousands of federal, state and private groups for long periods of time before discovery. The effect has been to move cybersecurity up the list of the administration’s priorities.

“If they had thought they weren’t going to do it, I think that option has been removed, I think they have to prioritize cybersecurity,” Mark Montgomery, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told The Hill on Monday. 

The two compromises have spurred some members of Congress to call on the administration to create “rules of the road” on international cyber engagement, and to press for President Biden to appoint a White House cyber czar, a position that remains unfilled two months into his administration. 

Read more about the major incidents here.

 

APPLE ACCUSED: A French start-up lobbying group on Tuesday filed a complaint against Apple, alleging that the tech giant's newest software does not comply with European Union privacy laws. 

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In the seven-page complaint obtained by Reuters, France Digitale argued that default settings on Apple’s latest operating software, iOS 14, allow the company to carry targeted ad campaigns based on user data without explicitly asking for prior consent.

The lobbying group, which represents a large share of France’s digital entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, did acknowledge though that iPhone users are asked to grant permission to mobile apps to gather information for developing targeted ads. 

Under current EU privacy law, however, all organizations must ask online users if they consent to having some data obtained through the use of online trackers or other tools. 

Read more here

 

T-MOBILE TO SHARE: T-Mobile will start sharing customers’ web and mobile app data with companies for third-party advertising next month unless users opt-out, it said in a recent privacy policy update. 

T-Mobile’s update will go into place April 26 and it will allow information the provider learns about users from their web and device usage to be employed in targeted advertising.

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The company’s privacy policy was updated last month, but The Wall Street Journal first reported on the update Tuesday. 

As T-Mobile makes the update to share more information with third party advertisers, big tech companies are facing pressure from regulators and privacy advocates to do the opposite and further protect user data.  

Read more about the update

 

Lighter click: Getting to the bottom of the muted speaker

An op-ed to chew on: In search of a safer and more trustworthy internet

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

Tech’s Legal Shield Appears Likely to Survive as Congress Focuses on Details (New York Times / David McCabe)

Clearview AI uses your online photos to instantly ID you. That’s a problem, lawsuit says (Los Angeles Times / Johana Bhuiyan)

Is Congress finally ready to pass meaningful ransomware legislation? (CyberScoop / Tim Starks) 

Hackers breach thousands of security cameras, exposing Tesla, jails, hospitals (Bloomberg / William Turton)