Overnight Technology

Hillicon Valley: Facebook Oversight Board to rule on Trump ban Wednesday | Washington keeps close eye as Apple antitrust fight goes to court | Twitter expands Clubhouse-like feature

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.

Happy Monday! Facebook's Oversight Board said it will announce its decision on former President Trump's suspended accounts on Wednesday. In California, the antitrust trial between Apple and Epic Games kicked off, and it's expected to be closely watched in Washington amid mounting scrutiny over the market power of Silicon Valley giants. And Twitter announced it's opening up its live audio room feature, Spaces, to more users.

INCOMING DECISION: Facebook's Oversight Board will announce its decision on the case weighing whether to permanently ban or reinstate former President Trump's account on Wednesday.

The board tweeted the update on Monday, after seemingly delaying the decision from its expected timeline.

The decision will be announced on the Oversight Board website on Wednesday around 9 a.m., the board tweeted.

The case involves Trump's suspension from the platform in January after posts he made regarding the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol were taken down. 

Read more about the upcoming decision.

HERE WE GO: Apple's antitrust trial with Epic Games kicked off Monday in federal court in California. The case that is expected to be closely watched in Washington as lawmakers and regulators crack down on the market power of Silicon Valley giants.

Epic Games is suing Apple over claims of anti-competitive behavior. The dispute stems from Apple's decision in August to kick Epic's popular Fortnite game out of its app store after the developer set up its own payment system in an attempt to avoid the 30 percent commission fees charged by Apple.

The trial comes amid a backdrop of federal and state-led antitrust lawsuits against tech giants, including Facebook and Google, and as Congress weighs steps to revamp antitrust laws after a House Judiciary panel released a blockbuster report alleging Apple and other companies stifled competition.

Read more about the trial

TWITTER PRESENTS... CLONES: Twitter announced Monday that it will open up its live audio room feature, Spaces, to more users.

Any account with 600 or more followers on either iOS or Android devices will be able to host an audio conversation.

"Based on what we've learned so far, these accounts are likely to have a good experience hosting live conversations because of their existing audience," Twitter said in a blog post.

The platform is working to make the Spaces feature more visible.

Twitter is also planning on rolling out ticketed spaces, where hosts will be able to sell invitations to a limited group.

Read more.

TROUBLE UP NORTH: The Alaska Court System (ACS) was forced to temporarily disconnect its online servers this week due to a cyberattack that installed malware on their systems, disrupting virtual court hearings. 

According to a statement put out by the ACS on Saturday, the court's website had been taken offline and the ability to search court cases had been suspended while it worked to remove malware that had been installed on its servers and in order to "stop any additional incursions."

The ACS noted that it was working with an undisclosed cybersecurity company to investigate the breach but stressed that no confidential documents, employee information or credit card information had been compromised.

"It is unclear when the courts will reconnect to the internet," the ACS wrote in the statement, which also appeared Monday on its temporarily disconnected website home page. "The court system is committed to continuing operations while remedying the cybersecurity incident."

Read more about the hacking incident here. 

ROBINHOOD BLASTS BUFFET: Robinhood Financial blasted Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffet and vice chairman Charlie Munger on Monday after the industry titans criticized the online investment platform.

Speaking on Saturday to Berkshire Hathaway investors, Buffet compared the popular but polarizing Robinhood app to a casino and raised questions about its societal benefits. Munger went even further, calling Robinhood "god awful," "deeply wrong," and implying it "[made] money selling things that are bad for people."

In a Monday blog post, Robinhood panned "the old guard of investing" and argued that Buffet and Munger's criticism was driven by a fear of innovation compromising their grip on the market.

Read more here

DELIVERY DRONES: Supermarket chain Kroger announced Monday that it will begin to test delivering groceries to some customers via drones.

Kroger and Drone Express, a division of TELEGRID Technologies Inc., are partnering to launch a pilot program that will offer grocery delivery via autonomous drones, which the companies said will provide customers with "anything, anytime, anywhere," according to a press release.

Drone Express will begin test flights this week near the Kroger Marketplace in Centerville, Ohio. 

Customer deliveries are set to launch later this spring.

The companies said they plan to kick off a second pilot this summer in California.

Read more here

Lighter click: Live your best life Melinda!

An op-ed to chew on: Amping up algorithmic transparency to govern online platform power 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

Why Epic Is Burning Its Own Cash To Cook Apple (The Verge / Elizabeth Lopatto)

Europol just took down one of the world's largest dark web child porn sites (Vice Motherboard / Gabriel Geiger)

Your Car Is Spying On You, And A CBP Contract Shows The Risks (The Intercept / Sam Biddle)

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