Hillicon Valley: Cryptocurrency amendment blocked in Senate | Dems press Facebook over suspension of researchers' accounts | Thousands push back against Apple plan to scan US iPhones for child sexual abuse images

Hillicon Valley: Cryptocurrency amendment blocked in Senate | Dems press Facebook over suspension of researchers' accounts | Thousands push back against Apple plan to scan US iPhones for child sexual abuse images
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Happy Monday! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@millsrodrigo) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage. 

MORE CRYPTO COMPLICATIONS: A bipartisan amendment to redefine who would be subject to new cryptocurrency regulation requirements under the Senate infrastructure bill was blocked Monday after Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyBlack Hawk pilot shot down in Somalia jumps into Alabama Senate race Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades Senate Democrats unveil remaining spending bills, teeing up clash with Republicans MORE (R-Ala.) tried to attach his untreated proposal to boost military spending by $50 billion.

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Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.) put forward the amendment, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Intelligence report warns of climate threats in all countries The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Biden holds meetings to resurrect his spending plan Democrats feel high anxiety in Biden spending conflict MORE (D-Va.), Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased New Senate bill would take steps to protect AI-collected data Pro-Vance poll shows tight race in Ohio GOP Senate primary MORE (R-Ohio) and Cynthia LummisCynthia Marie LummisSenate Republicans raise concerns about TSA cyber directives for rail, aviation Congress needs to step up on crypto, or Biden might crush it Senators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products MORE (R-Wyo.) and is supported by the Treasury Department, and tried to get it added to the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

But after Shelby requested to add on his amendment to boost military spending to the bill, it was blocked by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden says expanding Medicare to include hearing, dental and vision a 'reach' Schumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants MORE (I-Vt.). 

Toomey expressed disgust that the amendment was stuck.

“Because there's a difference of opinion on whether or not the senator from Alabama should get a vote on his amendment, because that is not agreed to, the body is refusing to take up an amendment that has broad bipartisan support, that we all know fixes something that badly needs to be fixed,” Toomey said on the Senate floor. 

“This isn't like a whim of the senator from Pennsylvania, there's like nobody who disputes that there's a problem here,” he added. 

Read more here

The compromise: Toomey’s amendment would redefine “broker” in the underlying infrastructure bill in a way that seeks to keep software developers and transaction validators from being subject to the new reporting requirements. 

Notably, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats scramble to reach deal on taxes Pelosi open to scrapping key components in spending package Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending MORE (D-Ore.), who was a leading force in the charge to amend the definition, is not sponsoring the amendment. Wyden signaled he would not oppose the amendment, tweeting that it is “certainly better than the underlying bill.”

Read more about the amendment

QUESTIONS, CONCERNS: Democratic senators are pressing Facebook over its decision to suspend the accounts of New York University (NYU) researchers who created a tool to analyze political ads and the spread of misinformation on the platform. 

Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Biden holds meetings to resurrect his spending plan MORE (Minn.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsManchin threatens 'zero' spending in blowup with Sanders: reports Defense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' MORE (Del.) wrote a letter to Facebook Monday asking for details regarding the platform’s decision to suspend the accounts and effectively cut off the researchers’ work looking into the spread of misinformation on Facebook. 

They underscored their message by noting a letter the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent to Facebook calling the platform’s explanation for suspending the accounts due to its agreement to the agency “inaccurate.” 

“We were surprised to learn that Facebook has terminated access to its platform for researchers connected with the NYU Ad Observatory project. The opaque and unregulated online advertising platforms that social media companies maintain have allowed a hotbed of disinformation and consumer scams to proliferate, and we need to find solutions to those problems,” the senators wrote, according to a copy of the letter shared with The Hill. 

Read more about their concerns here. 

MORE QUESTIONS, CONCERNS: A group of security and privacy tech advocates are pushing back against Apple’s recently announced plan to scan iPhones and iPads for images of child sexual abuse stored in the cloud, citing concerns around privacy and surveillance.

An open letter, made public online late last week, had as of Monday afternoon been signed by a coalition of almost three dozen organizations and over 6,600 individuals made up of cryptographers, researchers and security, privacy and legal experts. 

The groups and individuals raised concerns around Apple’s new policy, unveiled last week, which would allow it to scan photos stored on some Apple devices for child abuse imagery and report them to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, along with disabling user accounts if the content is found.

The open letter and its signatories, however, emphasized that the policy could open a “backdoor” for wider surveillance. 

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“While child exploitation is a serious problem, and while efforts to combat it are almost unquestionably well-intentioned, Apple's proposal introduces a backdoor that threatens to undermine fundamental privacy protections for all users of Apple products,” the letter reads.

Read more about the letter here. 

An op-ed to chew on: Using market incentives to improve cybersecurity 

Lighter click: Happy Monday :)

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

YouTube yanked public meeting videos over covid misinformation. Now it’s backtracking. (Washington Post / Caroline Anders) 

Big Tech call center workers face pressure to accept home surveillance (NBC News / Olivia Solon) 

Apple Keeps Shutting Down Employee-run Surveys On Pay Equity — And Labor Lawyers Say It’s Illegal (The Verge / Zoe Schiffer)