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Hillicon Valley: Biden gives TikTok and WeChat a reprieve | Colonial Pipeline CEO addresses Congress again | Thomson Reuters shareholders want review of ICE ties

Hillicon Valley: Biden gives TikTok and WeChat a reprieve | Colonial Pipeline CEO addresses Congress again | Thomson Reuters shareholders want review of ICE ties
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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 BidenBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump MORE replaced former President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE’s executive orders targeting TikTok and WeChat with one directing a review of risks posed by apps developed by foreign adversaries in its place. The Colonial Pipeline CEO testified that the company may use the recovered funds paid out to cyber criminals as part of last month’s ransomware attack to increase cybersecurity. Meanwhile, a majority of independent shareholders of Thomson Reuters voted in favor of a proposal that would have the company assess and report on the potential human rights abuses of its work with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

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ABOUT THAT BAN:  President Biden has replaced former President Trump’s executive orders that sought to ban downloads of the Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat in the U.S., the White House said on Wednesday.

In place of his predecessor’s orders, Biden directed an “evidence-based” analysis of risks posed by software and apps designed and developed by a foreign adversary, including China, that may represent an “undue or unacceptable risk to the national security” of the American people, according to a fact sheet.

Trump had sought to block new users from downloading the apps, but the orders were blocked in courts and never took effect.

Biden reversed orders put in place by Trump that targeted TikTok, WeChat and eight other communications and financial software applications.

Read more here

 

COLONIAL FACES THE MUSIC, PART TWO: Colonial Pipeline may use the recovered funds paid out to cyber criminals as part of a ransomware attack last month to increase cybersecurity, company president and CEO Joseph Blount said Wednesday.

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“We are always in the process of hardening our systems and making investments in IT and cybersecurity at Colonial, so your request today, and putting an additional $2.2 million into hardening our systems further, is not a difficult one to address and agree to,” Blount testified in response to a question from House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonDemocratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack Lobbying world Hillicon Valley: Biden gives TikTok and WeChat a reprieve | Colonial Pipeline CEO addresses Congress again | Thomson Reuters shareholders want review of ICE ties MORE (D-Miss.) on whether the ransom funds would be used to shore up security.

“We are making a substantial investment, and part of that reason is we have been compromised, we’ve had criminals in our system, and we need to change a lot of the things we already had because they would be familiar with them from having been in the system over the course of those days,” Blount noted.

His testimony came days after the Justice Department announced that it had recovered around $2.3 million in Bitcoin from the cyber criminals that launched a crippling ransomware attack last month against Colonial. The funds made up the majority of the $4.4 million in Bitcoin that Colonial chose to pay hackers in order to decrypt its networks. 

The attack forced the company, which provides 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supply, to shut down the full pipeline for days, leading to gasoline shortages in several states. 

“I hope the FBI’s success serves as an incentive for future ransomware victims to engage with law enforcement early,” Thompson said at the hearing. “I hope Colonial will use the recouped money to make necessary improvements to its cybersecurity.”

Read more about Blount’s comments here. 

 

THE VOTES ARE IN: A majority of independent shareholders of Thomson Reuters on Wednesday voted in favor of a proposal that would have the company assess and report on the potential human rights abuses of its work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

More than 70 percent of independent shareholders, and 19 percent of shareholders overall, voted for the proposal introduced by the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU), double the amount that supported a similar resolution the year prior. The labor organization had been aiming to crest 50 percent this year. 

The Woodbridge Company, the private holding company of the Thomson family that controls roughly 68 percent of Thomson Reuters’s shares, voted against the proposal, effectively making it impossible for it to pass.

Read more about the vote and the proposal.  

 

ROMNEY PRESSES MICROSOFT: Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs warn against sweeping reform to military justice system | Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal | National Guard may have 'training issues' if not reimbursed Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Flaming shipwreck wreaks havoc on annual sea turtle migration Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal MORE (R-Utah) is pressing Microsoft over why image searches for “Tank Man,” the iconic Tiananmen Square Massacre figure, turned up no results temporarily last week.

On June 4, that particular search did not turn up results on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. The same term did return information and articles with a generic, non-image, search. Other searches related to Tiananmen Square did return images.

Microsoft has said the situation was the result of “accidental human error.” The missing images reappeared outside of China the next day. References to the pro-democracy movement remain blocked inside the country by the government.

Read more here.

 

BLAME IT ON THE BUG: Fastly, the cloud computing services provider behind the global internet outage experienced by a number of major websites on Tuesday, said the incident was caused by a software bug.

Nick Rockwell, Fastly's senior vice president of engineering and infrastructure, said in a blog post that the global outage had been caused by an “undiscovered software bug.”

The issue caused outages for a number of highly trafficked websites, including The New York Times, Bloomberg News, the Financial Times, The Guardian and Reddit.

Read more here

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STEPPING DOWN: Facebook ad chief Carolyn Everson said Wednesday she is leaving the company after more than a decade.

Everson, vice president of Facebook’s Global Business Group, has overseen significant ad growth for the social media giant. Ad revenue went from about $3.7 billion in 2011 to nearly $86 billion last year.

In 2019, more than 90 percent of Facebook's overall revenue came from advertising.

Read more about her announcement

Lighter click: Some good and adorable news

An op-ed to chew on: Five steps to save the internet--and our democracy

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NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

McDonald's french fries, carrots, onions: all of the foods that come from Bill Gates farmland (NBC News / April Glaser)

You may be paying more for Uber, but drivers aren’t getting their cut of the fare hike (The Washington Post / Faiz Siddiqui)

Is there any way out of Clearview’s facial recognition database? (The Verge / Dave Gershgorn)

Hackers force Iowa college to cancel classes for four days (Vice Motherboard / Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai)