SPONSORED:

Hillicon Valley: Acting FTC chair urges Congress to revive agency authority after Supreme Court ruling | Senate Intel panel working on breach notification bill

Hillicon Valley: Acting FTC chair urges Congress to revive agency authority after Supreme Court ruling | Senate Intel panel working on breach notification bill
© 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.

Acting Federal Trade Commision Chair Rebecca Kelly Slaughter was back on Capitol Hill Tuesday, urging Congressional action to revive the commission’s authority in light of a Supreme Court decision last week. Meanwhile, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerBiden signs executive order to improve federal cybersecurity Overnight Defense: Former Pentagon chief to testify about Capitol riot Wednesday | Senate Intelligence chairman wants Biden to review US Space Command move Wyden: Funding infrastructure with gas tax hike a 'big mistake' MORE (D-Va.) announced upcoming legislation from his committee around mandatory data breach notification, and two key senators hinted at renewed action to create federal standards on self-driving cars. 

ADVERTISEMENT

 

SLAUGHTER SEEKS CONGRESSIONAL ACTION: Acting Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Rebecca Kelly Slaughter on Tuesday called for Congress to pass legislation that would revive the agency’s ability to return money to constituents harmed by companies found to engage in deceptive practices. 

Slaughter testified before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection and commerce roughly a week after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the FTC’s authority under a provision known as Section 13(b) does not grant the agency the ability to obtain equitable monetary relief. 

“These recent decisions have significantly limited the Commission’s primary and most effective tool for providing refunds to harmed consumers, and, if Congress does not act promptly, the FTC will be far less effective in its ability to protect consumers and execute its law enforcement mission,” Slaughter testified. 

Read more about the hearing.

 

INCOMING BREACH NOTIFICATION BILL: The Senate Intelligence Committee is working on a bill to create some form of limited data breach mandatory reporting for the private sector, with the goal of preventing future major foreign cyberattacks on critical organizations. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Tuesday that the legislation had grown out of public and private hearings held by the committee following the SolarWinds breach, which was believed to be carried out by Russian hackers and compromised nine federal agencies. 

The federal government was made aware of the massive breach only when cybersecurity group FireEye, also compromised by the hackers, came forward in December to report the incident voluntarily, a move that wasn't legally required. 

“This is what the committee is working on in a very bipartisan way,” Warner said during a virtual event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Can we create a structure that would allow some limited mandatory reporting for government contractors and critical infrastructure that doesn’t get to the full data breach negotiations?”

Read more about the legislative effort here. 

 

WHEELS BEGIN TO ROLL: Two key bipartisan senators are ramping up efforts to create standards for testing and deploying autonomous vehicles, with the renewed effort coming after years of roadblocks in the Senate to create a nationwide framework around self-driving cars. 

Sens. Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon 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 Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech Top Democrat: FCC actions are a 'potential setback' to autonomous vehicles MORE (D-Mich.) and John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Senate GOP dismayed by vote to boot Cheney Top Democrat: FCC actions are a 'potential setback' to autonomous vehicles MORE (R-S.D.) on Tuesday strongly argued for the need to advance legislation around autonomous vehicles in order to decrease traffic fatalities and increase the mobility of the elderly and those with disabilities.

“One of the most important opportunities we can seize is autonomous vehicle technologies,” Peters, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight, and Ports, said during a hearing on the future of automotive mobility Tuesday afternoon.  

Read more here.

 

POLICE DATA EXPOSED: Washington D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) acknowledged Tuesday that its systems had been breached by hackers, who claimed to have stolen some of the department's data files while demanding a ransom.

In a statement to NBC News, a police spokesperson confirmed the breach and indicated that the FBI was assisting in the investigation.

"We are aware of unauthorized access on our server," said the spokesperson. "While we determine the full impact and continue to review activity, we have engaged the FBI to fully investigate this matter."

Read more here

ADVERTISEMENT

 

GOOGLE IN HOT WATER: Sens. 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 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) are questioning whether Google tried to influence one of its critics to change his testimony before a hearing last week on dominant app stores.

Jared Sine, chief legal officer at Match Group, testified during the hearing that a Google employee had called his company the night before and asked “why our testimony was different than what we’d said about the situation in our earnings call earlier this year.”

In a letter to Google’s senior director of government affairs and public policy, Wilson White, the top two senators on the panel that held the hearing said they “are deeply troubled by the possibility that Google may have attempted to influence another witness’s testimony.”

Read more.

 

MORE WAYS TO MONETIZE: Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBipartisan attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap planned Instagram for kids Hillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' Oversight Board achieving what government cannot MORE announced on Tuesday that Instagram will soon launch new features for creators to generate revenue on the app. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Zuckerberg told Adam Mosseri, head of the Facebook-owned social platform, in an Instagram live that monetization is an important step in the platform's future.

“If this is going to be people’s job, they need to be able to make money doing it,” Zuckerberg said.

Creator shops are one of the way Zuckerberg sees creators making money on the platform.

Read more about the announcement

 

STRONG START: Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reported big earnings for the start of 2021 during a call Monday. 

The Silicon Valley giant reported a total revenue of $55.3 billion, marking a 34 percent increase from the end of the first quarter of 2020. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Alphabet also reported a net income of $17.9 billion, up from the $6.8 billion reported at the end of the first quarter of 2020. 

In part, Alphabet’s big earnings were driven by YouTube and Google advertising. 

Read more here

 

TWO CAN PLAY AT THAT GAME: Spotify announced Tuesday that it will launch a paid subscription service for podcasters, allowing hosts to monetize their shows and letting the company compete with Apple's premium podcast library.

Variety reported that Spotify will allow creators to host their podcasts on the platform with subscription fees for two years without charging them anything to host the shows; beginning in 2023, the platform will take a 5 percent cut of all subscriber revenue.

Premium podcasts will be available through the platform through three payment tiers, according to Variety, at $2.99, $4.99 or $7.99 per month.

The announcement comes a week after Apple announced that it was launching its own "global marketplace" for premium, subscription-only podcasts. 

Read more about the plan.

 

TOYOTA’S ACQUISITION: Toyota's Woven Planet announced Tuesday that it has acquired Lyft's self-driving division, Level 5, in a $550 million deal.

In a news release, the Toyota subsidiary said that the deal would "bring together world-class scientists and software engineers" from Woven Planet, Level 5 and Toyota's own research division.

"The resulting combined 'dream team' of approximately 1,200 will represent one of the most diverse, well-resourced and talented groups in this field," according to a statement by Woven Planet.

Read more here

 

Lighter click: Rules are rules :)

 

An op-ed to chew on: When it comes to ransomware, it’s time to think globally and act now

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

Union leaders in Japan say Amazon is weaponizing “performance improvement plans” to weed them out (Rest of World / Kaoruko Ishibushi and Louise Matsakis)

'Treated like sacrifices': Families breathe toxic fumes from California's warehouse hub (NBC News / Olivia Solon and April Glaser)

Are algorithms to blame for extremism? Yes. But so are we. (Protocol / Issie Lapowsky)Extremists Find a Financial Lifeline on Twitch (New York Times / Kellen Browning)