Hillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage

Hillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage
© Getty Images

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter by clicking HERE. 

Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

President BidenJoe Biden28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Franklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Schools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning MORE rolled out a list of nominees to fill key cybersecurity positions, which drew support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Meanwhile, top senators on the antitrust subcommittee said Apple will send a witness to hearing later this month on app store competition after they pushed back on what they called the tech giant’s refusal to participate. And as more people in the U.S. get their COVID-19 vaccines, Uber said it recorded its highest monthly gross bookings in company history in March.


BIDEN’S NAMES CYBER LEADERS: President Biden on Monday rolled out a slate of key leaders to head his administration’s approach to cybersecurity, including nominating Chris Inglis, the former deputy director of the National Security Agency (NSA), as the national cyber director at the White House.

Trailblazing role: Inglis will be nominated to serve in the newly created cyber czar position on the same day Biden will nominate Jen Easterly, another former NSA official, to serve as the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the nation’s lead agency involved in protecting critical infrastructure from attacks. 

“Today, President Biden took another important step forward in strengthening our nation’s cyber capability,” national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanHouse lawmakers roll out bill to invest 0 million in state and local cybersecurity Blinken speaks with Israeli counterpart amid escalating conflict Biden sent letter to Palestinian president over 'current situations' MORE said Monday in a statement provided to The Hill. “He will announce his intent to nominate Chris Inglis as National Cyber Director and Jen Easterly as the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency.”

Bipartisan support: Key lawmakers expressed support for the president’s picks to lead federal efforts on securing the nation against cyber threats.

Read more about Biden’s picks




WE’LL BE THERE: Apple will send an executive to testify later this month at a Senate antitrust subcommittee hearing after pushback from the top senators on the Judiciary subcommittee, the lawmakers said Monday. 

Subcommittee Chair Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Klobuchar offers tribute to her father, who died Wednesday The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Senate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill MORE (D-Minn.) and ranking member Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Energy: Colonial Pipeline says it has restored full service | Biden urges people not to panic about gasoline shortages | EPA rescinds Trump-era cost-benefit rule Senate panel advances Biden's deputy Interior pick Hillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech MORE (R-Utah) had sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday criticizing the company over its “refusal to provide a witness” to testify at the April 21 hearing on app stores and competition.

The tech giant followed up on Sunday by saying it would send a witness, the senator said. Google will also be sending a witness to the hearing, they said. 

Read more here


FUND SEMICONDUCTOR PRODUCTION: A bipartisan group of more than 70 House and Senate lawmakers on Monday called on President Biden to support funds for semiconductor research and manufacturing, as Biden hosted a meeting with technology leaders to discuss a critical shortage in chips. 

In a letter to Biden spearheaded by Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Police reform talks hit familiar stumbling block CNN asks Carol Baskin to comment on loose Texas tiger MORE (R-Texas), the lawmakers asked that the president work to fund initiatives for semiconductors created by the CHIPS Act, legislation included in the most recent National Defense Authorization Act, noting the need to compete with China. 

Addressing the letter in a separate meeting, Biden pointed to the American Jobs Plan, his $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal, saying he is seeking a “significant” $50 billion investment to fund the semiconductor initiatives in the CHIPS Act as part of the package.

Read more here


UBER GOOD NEWS (FOR UBER): Uber said Monday that it recorded its highest monthly gross bookings in company history in March from Uber and Uber Eats as more Americans got vaccinated.

The company’s ride hailing business had its best month since March 2020 with an annualized run rate of $30 billion, up 9 percent from the month prior.

At the same time, Uber’s food delivery business reached an annual run rate of $52 billion in March.

Combined, it created the most bookings in company history.


“As vaccination rates increase in the United States, we are observing that consumer demand for Mobility is recovering faster than driver availability, and consumer demand for Delivery continues to exceed courier availability,” Uber said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Read more.


TRUST BUSTER: Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyNYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force chief: Attacks are 'not new' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan MORE (R-Mo.) on Monday unveiled his Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act, taking a shot at large tech corporations such as Facebook and Google, which critics claim have an anti-conservative bias.

Hawley’s aggressive anti-trust approach harkens back to former President Theodore Roosevelt, the Republican best known for using the Sherman Antitrust Act on business monopolies.

Hawley wants to reform the Sherman and Clayton antitrust acts to make it clear that evidence of anticompetitive conduct is sufficient to support an antitrust claim, which would make it easier for federal regulators to break up dominant firms.

In his press release, Hawley argues that antitrust claims should be pursued without becoming bogged down in academic debates over the definition of particular markets.


Read more about the proposal


ICYMI: BIDEN WEIGHS IN: President Biden on Sunday praised news of a settlement between two South Korean electric vehicle battery makers engaged in a costly trade dispute, calling it a "win for American workers and the American auto industry."

"We need a strong, diversified and resilient U.S.-based electric vehicle battery supply chain, so we can supply the growing global demand for these vehicles and components – creating good-paying jobs here at home, and laying the groundwork for the jobs of tomorrow," Biden said in a statement following reports that LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation Co had settled an intellectual property dispute.

According to Bloomberg, that dispute could have resulted in a lengthy ban on imports of SK's batteries that would have threatened the U.S. electric vehicle industry as well as thousands of jobs at an SK plant in Georgia. 

Read more here



An op-ed to chew on: Putting our chips on the table 



Revealed: the Facebook loophole that lets world leaders deceive and harass their citizens (The Guardian / Julia Carrie Wong)

Fed chair deems cyber threat top risk to financial sector (CyberScoop / Shannon Vavra) 

Parents were at the end of their chain — then ransomware hit their kids’ schools (NBC News / Kevin Collier) 

How Amazon Crushed The Union Threat In Alabama (HuffPost / Dave Jamieson)