Hillicon Valley: Tech industry pushes for delay in antitrust legislation | EU regulators investigating Google's digital ad business | YouTube wins EU court case over copyright violations

Hillicon Valley: Tech industry pushes for delay in antitrust legislation | EU regulators investigating Google's digital ad business | YouTube wins EU court case over copyright violations
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Welcome and Happy Tuesday! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage. 

Developments across the pond took the spotlight Tuesday, with the European Commission announcing it had opened an antitrust investigation into Google’s ad business, and Europe’s top court ruled that platforms are not liable for certain copyright violations. 

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Tomorrow, we’ll be watching as the House Judiciary Committee marks up a package of antitrust bills that target tech giants. The meeting will likely be contentious, with splits within parties on how to move forward and the tech companies trying to level arguments that in fact the bills — which aim to rein in their market power — will hurt consumers and small businesses through “unintended” consequences. 

 

LET’S HOLD OFF ON THAT: The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee is coming under pressure to hit the brakes on a legislative package targeting tech giants.

Tech industry groups, the targeted companies and a group of moderate Democrats have called for additional time and hearings to weigh the five proposals before the panel moves ahead with Wednesday’s scheduled markup.

The bills target Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google and build off the investigation the House subcommittee conducted last year that led to a blockbuster report alleging abuse of market power by the companies, who have all pushed back on the report’s findings.

Now, the industry is arguing that the legislation on tap for Wednesday could lead to “unintended” consequences and end up hindering consumers and small businesses that rely on their services.

Read more here

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TROUBLE FOR GOOGLE IN THE EU: The European Commission announced Tuesday that it has opened an antitrust investigation into Google’s ad business. 

The regulator will focus on whether the search giant favors its own ad tech services "to the detriment of competing providers of advertising technology services, advertisers and online publishers."

It will also investigate whether Google is hurting competition by restricting third-party access to user data that it uses itself. 

“Online advertising services are at the heart of how Google and publishers monetise their online services,” Europe's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. 

Read more about the investigation

 

AND A WIN: Europe’s top court ruled Tuesday that platforms are not liable for copyright violations on content uploaded by third parties unless the companies fail to take sufficient action.

The decision came in a combined cases against YouTube by music producer Frank Peterson and against file-hosting company Cynado by publisher Elsevier.

The court concluded that “online platforms do not themselves make a communication to the public of copyright-protected content illegally posted online by users of those platforms unless those operators contribute, beyond merely making those platforms available, to giving access to such content to the public in breach of copyright.”

Read more about the ruling

 

COMPETITION FOR A CAUSE: Cyber professionals from the U.S. and multiple other countries are in the midst of an annual competition led by U.S. Cyber Command meant to enhance the nation’s cybersecurity in wake of months of devastating attacks. 

The annual Cyber Flag competition this year brought together 430 cyber professionals on 17 teams representing U.S. Cyber Command and other Defense Department agencies, the House of Representatives, the National Guard, and the U.S. Postal Service. It also incorporates teams from the United Kingdom and Canada.

Each year, the teams are presented with a scenario involving a major cyber incident, with this year’s scenario involving an attack by two adversaries on a logistics support depot. The competition runs through Friday and is operating across eight time zones, with teams competing to win. 

“Think of these like a compound, like a Bin Laden compound, where they go and they rehearse and they rehearse and they rehearse, and they get to see this network in a place where they can do the live target practice, do the live cyber defense that they need to stay sharp,” U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Gabe Edwards, the Cyber Flag exercise lead, told reporters Wednesday. 

Read more about the competition here.

 

SOMEBODY’S IN TROUBLE: A recent string of cyberattacks targeted at thousands of Polish email users, including government officials, have been linked by the Polish intelligence services to a Russian hacking group. 

“The findings of the Internal Security Agency and the Military Counterintelligence Service show that the UNC1151 group is behind the recent hacker attacks that hit Poland,” Stanisław Żaryn, a spokesperson for the Polish Minister Coordinator of Special Services, said in a translated statement Tuesday. 

“The secret services have reliable information at their disposal which [links] this group with the activities of the Russian secret services,” he said. 

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Żaryn noted that given past actions of the UNC1151 hacking group, Polish officials believed the attacks on Poland were part of a larger effort to destabilize Central European nations. 

Żaryn said that the recent attacks hit 4,000 Polish email users, more than 100 of whom were former and present members of the Polish national government, senators, local government officials and others. 

Read more about the attack here. 

 

On tap this week:

-The House Judiciary Committee will markup bipartisan antitrust legislation during a meeting Wednesday.

-Senior officials from the Department of Defense will testify about the recent string of ransomware attacks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday. 

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-FBI Director Christopher Wray will testify Wednesday to the Senate Appropriations Committee on the FBI’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget, which could involve discussion of cyber and tech priorities. 

 

An op-ed to chew on: The antitrust package is a Trojan horse conservatives must reject

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

Beware ‘Smokescreen Trolling,’ Trump Followers' Favorite Tactic (Wired / Whitney Phillips)

How Facebook's algorithm devalues local reporting (Popular Information / Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria)

Black and Brown Amazon Drivers Face Guns, Racial Slurs, and Dog Bites on the Job (Motherboard / Lauren Kaori Gurley)

City of Liege, Belgium hit by ransomware (The Record / Caitlin Cimpanu)