Overnight Technology

Hillicon Valley: Amazon employees petition company to investigate discrimination allegations | ACLU calls for investigation into Alaska official over tweets | Electric cars to outsell combustion vehicles by 2036

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 and Happy Friday! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@millsrodrigo) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage. 

Amazon employees are pushing for the tech giant to investigate allegations of discrimination, with hundreds of employees taking a stand after multiple lawsuits and company leadership seeming to agree to look into their concerns. 

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alaska is also calling for an investigation, this time into a top state official's now-deleted controversial tweets reportedly against left-wing groups and allegedly calling for violence against certain groups, including Black Lives Matter protestors. 

AMAZON UNDER FIRE: An internal petition circulated by Amazon employees urges the company to appoint an external investigator to review allegations of discrimination following a series of lawsuits against the Seattle-based tech giant, according to a copy of the petition obtained by The Hill. 

The authors of the petition received a pledge from Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Adam Selipsky to launch the outside investigation, Amazon confirmed Friday. 

The Washington Post first reported Friday on the petition and the response from Selipsky. The petition was signed by more than 550 employees, according to the Post.

Selipsky said the company has hired an outside firm to investigate and that he will "personally review their independent findings." 

"I share your passion for ensuring that our workplace is inclusive and free of bias and unfair treatment. I can tell you we are committed to that outcome, as well as to specifically investigating any incident or practice that is inappropriate," he wrote, according to a copy of the email shared with The Hill. 

Read more here

 

ACLU VS. ALASKA: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alaska is calling for an investigation into an Alaskan official over controversial tweets discovered by The Guardian news outlet.

ACLU spokesperson Megan Edge wants a "transparent and timely" investigation into state Assistant Attorney General Matthias Cicotte, Edge said in a statement to The Hill.

The Guardian reported on Wednesday that Cicotte was going by the name J Reuben Clark on Twitter to post controversial tweets.

Although the tweets have been deleted, The Guardian reported that the tweets included calls for violence against left-wing groups, execution for those who perform gender reassignment surgeries and summary imprisonment for Black Lives Matter protesters.

Read more here

 

ELECTRIC CARS ON THE RISE: A newly conducted analysis predicts that sales of electric vehicles will outpace combustion vehicles by 2036 in the United States.

Consulting firm EY, formerly Ernst & Young, released an analysis stating that Europe will sell more zero-emission vehicles than combustion vehicles by 2028 and that China and the U.S. are expected to reach that threshold in 2033 and 2036, respectively.

According to EY's predictions, within the next 10 years electric vehicles are expected to outsell combustion vehicles in the main global markets. In the next 25 years, combustion vehicles or nonelectric cars are expected to only make up 1 percent of the global market.

Read more about the analysis

 

SOCIAL MEDIA MELTDOWN: Fans of the baseball team formerly known as the Cleveland Indians reacted to the team's name change on Friday with several sharing their praise for the change and others noting that it would take a while for them to get used to it.

The Cleveland team announced its name change to the Cleveland Guardians in a video posted to Twitter.

"This is the city we love and the game we believe in. Together we are all Cleveland Guardians," Tom Hanks narrated as the video flashed between scenes of the city and baseball fans.

Read more about the reaction here. 

What we're watching during a (very busy) next week: 

-The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing July 27 on how the government can prevent and respond to ransomware attacks. 

-Top officials from the Department of Transportation and the Transportation Security Administration will testify before the Senate Commerce Committee during a hearing July 27 on cyber threats to pipelines.

-DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will outline resources his agency needs to secure the nation, likely involving discussion of cyber and technology issues, during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing July 27.

-A House Oversight and Reform Committee subcommittee will examine cyber threats to the electric grid during a hearing featuring federal officials on July 27. 

-The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce will consider over a dozen bills involving the Federal Trade Commission and consumer protection during a markup July 28. 

-A House Homeland Security Committee subcommittee will hold a hearing July 29 on educating the workforce to understand cybersecurity threats. 

 

An op-ed to chew on: Social media has given voice to the Cuban awakening

Lighter click: Boone was not consulted

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

Instagram Users Worry A New Sensitivity Filter Is Censoring Their Work (The Verge / Ashley Carman)

What can't Jonathan Kanter do? (Protocol / Ben Brody)

Half of US states are now using facial recognition software from this little-known company to vet unemployment claims (CNN / Rachel Metz)

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