Overnight Technology

Hillicon Valley: Facebook Oversight board to rule on Trump ban in 'coming weeks' | Russia blocks Biden Cabinet officials in retaliation for sanctions

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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.


DECISION DELAYED: Facebook's Oversight Board said Friday it will announce its decision on whether to ban or reinstate former President Trump's account in the "coming weeks." 

The platform suspended Trump in January, shortly before he left office, after first removing posts he made regarding the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. 

Facebook referred the case to the Oversight Board on Jan. 21. The board typically makes a decision within 90 days, according to the process laid out on its website, meaning the decision was expected to be announced next week. 

In the Friday update, the Oversight Board noted it had extended the public comments deadline for the case weighing Trump's ban and received more than 9,000 responses. 

"The Board's commitment to carefully reviewing all comments has extended the case timeline, in line with the Board's bylaws. We will share more information soon," the board tweeted. 

Read more here


RUSSIAN RETALIATION: The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday announced that eight top U.S. intelligence officials, including several members of President Biden's Cabinet, were banned from entering Russia in retaliation for recent U.S. sanctions levied on the nation. 

Those banned from entry include Cabinet members Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and Attorney General Merrick Garland

Other Biden administration officials barred beginning Friday were FBI Director Christopher Wray, Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice and Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal. Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, who served during the Clinton administration, and John Bolton, former President Trump's national security adviser, were also barred from entering Russia. 

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted in announcing the action that the officials were barred in response to the Biden administration's sanctions levied last month as a result of the Russian poisoning and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexey Navalny. 

The move to ban the current and former officials also comes the day after Biden signed an executive order levying further sanctions on Russia for its involvement in the SolarWinds hack, which compromised at least nine federal agencies, and for interfering in U.S. elections.

Read more here.



IMPERFECT UNION WIN: Drivers at the food delivery startup Imperfect Foods in San Francisco have voted to unionize, the local United Food and Commercial Workers union announced Friday.

The 80 eligible employees voted 28 to 23 to join the United Food & Commercial Workers international union, according to Bloomberg.

The company, which delivers boxes of "ugly" produce that it claims would otherwise go unused, plans to challenge the results, a spokesperson told The Hill.

The group of Imperfect employees in Northern California started organizing last year seeking better pay, access to healthcare and worker protections.

The drivers voted to join UFCW Local 5 in July.

"We organized with UFCW Local 5 because we know companies that profess to do good, like Imperfect Foods, will pursue bottom line profits over the health and safety of their workers unless they are held accountable," Chris Jasinski, a grocery delivery worker at the company, said in a statement.

Read more here.


HARVARD BACKS ALUMNA AGAINST AMAZON: Faculty, students and alumni at Harvard Business School signed an open letter to Amazon Friday urging better working conditions for Black employees and supporting an Amazon manager and Harvard Business alumna who is suing the e-commerce giant

The Amazon manager, Charlotte Newman, filed a lawsuit in March over allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment from coworkers and superiors at Amazon's corporate offices.

"Those of us who know Charlotte know her as a woman of integrity, intelligence and strong work ethic. We know her as a person who has long demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of others," the Harvard Business letter states.

The letter, signed by more than 220 members of the Harvard Business community as of Friday morning, urges Amazon to make changes toward being a "fairer, safer and more diverse workplace for all of its employees." 

In response to the letter, an Amazon spokesperson said company employees "do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind," and defended its handling of Newman's sexual harassment claim and discrimination allegations.

Read more here

Lighter click: Cutest photo of the week

An op-ed to chew on: We cannot let China set the standards for 21st century technologies



'I want my blood-and-sweat money': How China's food delivery apps exploit drivers (Rest of World / Yi-Ling Liu)

How (and why) cyber specialists hacked a North American utility's smart meter (CyberScoop / Sean Lyngaas) 

Why Amazon workers sided with the company over a union (The New York Times / Karen Weise and Noam Scheiber) 

The world's biggest hacking conferences are back IRL this summer (Vice Motherboard / Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai)