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Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Officials want action on cyberattacks

Nominee for Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Jen Easterly is sworn in on June 10
Greg Nash

Today is Thursday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.


Top federal cybersecurity leaders on Thursday threw their weight behind the idea of Congress using financial penalties to incentivize companies to report cyber incidents, taking a harder stance after a year of escalating cyberattacks. 

Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill to let state attorneys general choose the court to hear antitrust cases. The proposal advanced with broad bipartisan support, but several senators raised concerns about the retroactive portions of the text. 

Follow The Hill’s cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@millsrodrigo) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

Let’s jump in.

Report or pay up 

The nation’s top cybersecurity officials on Thursday urged Congress to consider passing legislation that would fine organizations if they failed to report cybersecurity incidents to the federal government, part of an effort to do more to confront a recent spree of attacks. 

Senior leaders weigh in: Jen Easterly, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), testified in favor of taking the more hardline stance to encourage incident reporting during a hearing held by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is considering bipartisan mandatory cyber reporting legislation. 

“I know some of the language talks about subpoena authority,” Easterly said, referring to the committee’s draft legislation. “My personal view is, that is not an agile enough mechanism to allow us to get the information that we need to share as rapidly as possible to prevent other potential victims from threat actors, so I think we should look at fines.”

Both Federal Chief Information Security Officer Christopher DeRusha and National Cyber Director Chris Inglis testified alongside Easterly on Thursday, with both agreeing that further enforcement mechanisms were needed to encourage cyber incident reporting to the federal government.

Bill incoming: Their comments came in response to efforts by Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) around cyber incident reporting legislation he is working on alongside committee ranking member Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

“Ranking member Portman and I are currently working on legislation that we plan to introduce soon to require critical infrastructure companies that experience cyber incidents, and other entities that make ransomware payments, to report this information to CISA,” Peters said at the start of the hearing Thursday.

Read more here.




Senate full speed ahead on antitrust bill

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) 

A bill to let state attorneys general pick which courts hear their antitrust cases advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday with broad bipartisan support, but some senators raised concerns about the retroactive portions in the bill. 

The State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act is a companion bill to a proposal that advanced out of committee in the House earlier this year along with a series of antitrust proposals. 

Bipartisan support: The bill’s sponsors, top antitrust subcommittee Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah.), said it would prevent state antitrust cases from being moved to courts preferred by defendants and consolidated with private suits. 

“This bill would simply strengthen effective enforcement of our antitrust laws,” Klobuchar said. 

The bill advanced by a voice vote. Although the main proposal in the bill had broad support from committee members, a handful of senators highlighted concerns about the bill being able to be applied retroactively. 

Fly in the ointment: Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) offered an amendment to change the retroactive application, but then quickly withdrew it. He said he would work with the bill’s sponsors ahead of the proposal advancing to a full Senate vote. 

Read more about the bill here.


The European Union is proposing a requirement for all electronic devices to use a common charging port, posing the latest hurdle from the commission for Apple, which uses its own signature port on its products. 

The European Commission announced the plans Thursday to create a “harmonised” charging technology, with USB-C becoming the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld video game consoles. 

The commission said the plan will help consumers and reduce electronic waste. 

“We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger. This is an important win for our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions,” Europe’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, said in a statement. 

Read more here


​​Fortnite will not be returning to the Apple App Store until all appeals and legal rulings related to the high-profile case between the tech giant and game developer Epic Games are resolved, according to a company executive.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney published a series of tweets on Wednesday documenting correspondence between Epic and Apple. In one letter from Apple’s attorneys, Apple denied Epic’s request to reinstate the Fortnite developer program account, citing breach of contract and breach of trust.

“Late last night, Apple informed Epic that Fortnite will be blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals, which could be as long as a 5-year process,” Sweeney wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

Read more here.






Twitter announced Thursday that it is rolling out the ability to tip fellow users globally.

The feature will initially be available only on iOS devices but will expand to Android devices.

Twitter first piloted the tipping feature earlier this year as part of its broader strategy to make it easier for creators to monetize their accounts.

As part of Thursday’s rollout, people will be able to tip with Bitcoin in addition to more traditional third party platforms.

Read more here.


The city of Chicago has taken out full-page ads in The Dallas Morning News to encourage Texans unhappy with the state’s new abortion law and other issues to leave the state.

The ads tout Chicago’s tech and business sector as well as the city’s more liberal politics, pointing to voting rights, abortion and an emphasis on science as a means to combat COVID-19.

Texas this year has adopted a new controversial abortion law that makes any abortion six weeks after conception illegal. It has also instituted new voter identification laws that have drawn criticism from liberals who say they disenfranchise minority voters.

Texas has also been a battleground over the pandemic. The state imposed a ban on school mask mandates that prompted a federal civil rights investigation.

Read more here.


An op-ed to chew on: Government by algorithm: Can AI improve human decisionmaking? 

Lighter click: You’ve got to be kidding me!

Notable links from around the web:

This Is All Exactly What It Looks Like (Defector / David Roth)

Meaningful interactions (Indignity / Tom Scocca)

Espionage group targeted hotels, governments, seized on Microsoft Exchange vulnerability (CyberScoop / Tim Starks)

One last thing: A different set of rules 

Lawyers for former President Trump argued in a court filing submitted Wednesday that Twitter’s service agreement does not apply to him as part of an attempt to get the former president back on the platform.

The filing, which was submitted on behalf of Trump and several others against Twitter and its CEO, argues that the terms of service agreement did not apply to Trump “as the 45th President of the United States.”

The lawsuit claims that Trump “repeatedly used his account to report to the Citizens of the United States on virtually every aspect of Presidential activity” and was used as “a key channel for official communication.” The filing demonstrated that Twitter made clear in its terms of service agreement that it did not apply to government entities if they are unable to control law, jurisdiction or venue clauses. 

Read more here

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s technology and cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Friday.


Tags Alex Padilla Amy Klobuchar Donald Trump Gary Peters Mike Lee Rob Portman

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