Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Greene account suspended in error | Justice Dept. indicts hacker connected to massive surveillance breach | Trump reference to 'Chinese virus' linked to increase in anti-Asian hashtags

Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Greene account suspended in error | Justice Dept. indicts hacker connected to massive surveillance breach | Trump reference to 'Chinese virus' linked to increase in anti-Asian hashtags
© Greg Nash

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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 Friday announced that the personal account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP efforts to downplay danger of Capitol riot increase The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida MORE (R-Ga.) had been accidentally suspended, and Greene isn't happy. Meanwhile, the Justice Department brought a slew of charges against a Swiss hacker connected to the recent breach of troves of surveillance data, and a new study found increases in anti-Asian hashtags tied to tweets from former President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE

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SUSPENDED (NOT): Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) personal account on Twitter was briefly suspended on Friday.

A spokesperson for Twitter told The Hill in a statement that the account was suspended in error. 

"We use a combination of technology and human review to enforce the Twitter Rules across the service," the spokesperson said. "In this case, our automated systems took enforcement action on the account referenced in error. This action has been reversed, and access to the account has been reinstated."

Greene wasn't happy: She linked the timing of the suspension to a resolution introduced by Rep. Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezTop Latino group endorses Padilla for full Senate term Ilhan Omar to Biden: 'Deliver on your promise to cancel student debt' Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor MORE (D-Calif.) to formally expel her from Congress over her previous support for violence against Democrats.

She later tweeted, "What a coincidence? Twitter’s little error wasn’t resolved until after 12 hrs."

Read more.

 

TIME TO FACE THE MUSIC: The Justice Department brought charges this week against a Swiss individual allegedly responsible for hacking into dozens of companies over the course of several years, most recently allegedly carrying out a breach that exposed massive amounts of surveillance data. 

Swiss national Tillie Kottmann was indicted Thursday by a grand jury in the Western District of Washington on multiple counts of wire fraud, identity theft, and computer fraud and abuse. 

Kottmann, who is currently in Switzerland, is accused of masterminding and carrying out hacks of a U.S. security device manufacturer, a Washington state agency, an automobile manufacturer and a financial services company.

Follows a major breach: The charges cover a range of hacking activities and are being brought in the wake of the recent breach, masterminded by Kottmann, of tech firm Verkada. The incident involved gaining access to 150,000 surveillance cameras, exposing sensitive footage from homes, hospitals and prisons.

Read more about the charges here.

 

INSTIGATOR-IN-CHIEF?: Former President Trump tweeting the phrase “Chinese virus” in reference to COVID-19 in March 2020 sparked an increase in the use of anti-Asian hashtags on Twitter, according to a University of California, San Francisco study published on Wednesday.

Researchers examined nearly 700,000 tweets containing more than 1.2 million anti-Asian hashtags in the days before and after Trump’s tweet.

Trump's tweet: "The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!" Trump tweeted on March 16, 2020.

Half of the 777,852 hashtags with #chinesevirus after Trump’s tweet contained anti-Asian sentiment. Those who adopted the rhetoric were far more likely to pair it with other overtly racist hashtags, compared to those who tweeted with the hashtag #covid19.

The analysis comes amid a startling rise in anti-Asian attacks within the last year, including Tuesday's shootings in Georgia.

Read more.

 

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CONFIRMED: The Senate on Thursday confirmed William BurnsWilliam BurnsThe CIA's next mission: Strategic competition with China and Russia Defense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' MORE as CIA director by voice vote, marking the first time in decades that a former diplomat will lead the agency.

Burns, an ambassador twice over who finished his diplomatic career as deputy secretary of State, has played a key role in major security matters for multiple administrations.

During his Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing last month, Burns pledged to take a strong stance against China, and to shore up the CIA’s cyber capabilities to prevent future attacks, among other issues. 

Read more about the vote here. 



Lighter click: Squad goals!!

An op-ed to chew on: Is our critical infrastructure safe from cyber hacks?

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NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

Platforms vs. PhDs: How tech giants court and crush the people who study them (Protocol / Issie Lapowsky)

The Young Political Spaces of the Internet (New Yorker / Nathan Taylor Pemberton)

Your Face Is Not Your Own (New York Times / Kashmir Hill)