Hillicon Valley — DOJ throws weight behind antitrust bill
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The Department of Justice came out in support of a key antitrust bill targeting tech giants. Meanwhile, a massive cyberattack hit Ukraine’s state-owned telecommunications company that is used by the country’s military.
Let’s get to it.
Bill aimed at Big Tech backed by Justice Dept.
The Department of Justice sent letters to bipartisan lawmakers on the House and Senate Judiciary committees endorsing antitrust proposals that aim to block tech giants from giving preferential treatment to their own products.
“If enacted, we believe that this legislation has the potential to have a positive effect on dynamism in digital markets going forward. Our future global competitiveness depends on innovators and entrepreneurs having the ability to access markets free from dominant incumbents that impede innovation, competition, resiliency, and widespread prosperity,” acting Assistant Attorney General Peter Hyun wrote in the letters, copies of which were obtained by The Hill.
The letters were sent to top members of the Judiciary committees and the antitrust subcommittees.
It marks the Biden administration’s most direct endorsement of the American Online Innovation and Choice Act.
Cyberattack hits Ukrainian military
Ukraine’s state-owned telecommunications company, Ukrtelecom, which is used by the country’s military, experienced a massive cyberattack on Monday.
“Today, the enemy launched a powerful cyberattack against Ukrtelecom’s IT-infrastructure,” Yurii Shchyhol, chairman of the State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine, said, according to Reuters.
“The attack was repelled. And now Ukrtelecom has an ability to begin restoring its services to the clients,” Shchyhol added.
Company spokesperson Mikhail Shuranov added that the attack was “repulsed” and services had “gradually resumed,” Reuters reported.
Breaking the morning show mold. Bursting the Beltway bubble. TUNE-IN TO RISING, now available as a podcast.
ACTIVISION SETTLES FEDERAL SUIT
Activision Blizzard reportedly settled its federal sexual harassment case for $18 million on Tuesday, but the gaming company is still facing a number of lawsuits, including from a California regulatory agency.
The settlement in the case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was approved by U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer. It will create a fund for employees who experienced sexual harassment and discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and retaliation, according to reports.
Those who choose to be part of the EEOC settlement will waive their rights to be part of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s (CDFEH) lawsuit against the company on issues of harassment, retaliation or pregnancy discrimination, The Washington Post reported.
For other claims, such as pay inequity, which is not covered in the EEOC settlement, employees who opt into that settlement can still continue with the California suit, according to the Post.
ATTORNEYS GENERAL PUSH FOR SAFETY FEATURES
A bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from 43 states and territories wrote a letter to Snapchat and Tiktok Tuesday expressing “concern” that the companies are “not taking appropriate steps to allow parents to protect their kids” on the platforms.
Parental control features are “particularly essential” on the platforms given their “Discover” and “For You” sections which the attorneys general argue “propagate disturbing sexual content and explicit drug use to youth.”
“We urge you to enhance your content moderation to screen out such content on your platform and to empower greater parental control. Parental control apps can give parents additional tools to try to help filter out much of this type of content,” the attorneys general wrote.
Spokespeople from the companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Executives at Snapchat and TikTok have previously defended their safety measures at a Senate hearing in October on children’s safety.
BITS & PIECES
An op-ed to chew on: The next step: Push the Russians back
Lighter click: the double exclamation point, always
Notable links from around the web:
- The crypto reckoning in the Finger Lakes (Protocol / Brian Kahn)
- New EU law could spark gold rush of iMessage alternatives (The Verge / Jon Porter)
VIRTUAL EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT
The Hill’s Future of Defense Summit—Wednesday, March 30 at 1:00 PM ET
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shifted the national security landscape both at home and abroad. What are the Pentagon’s top priorities today and how are they planning to meet future needs? What emerging technologies and innovations are most vital to securing our strategic priorities? Join The Hill and a standout lineup of defense officials, policymakers, and experts on Wednesday, March 30th. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, Robert Gates, James Clapper, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, DARPA Director Stefanie Tompkins, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and more sit down with The Hill’s Steve Clemons. RSVP today to save your spot.
One last thing: Russia accuses US
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday accused the U.S. of attacking the country’s critical infrastructure and network systems in a massive cyberattack, claims the U.S. government has called false and part of Russia’s disinformation campaign.
In a statement posted on its website, the Russian ministry said the U.S. has targeted “state institutions, the media, critical infrastructure facilities, and life support systems” with allegedly thousands of attacks per day.
Emily Horne, a spokesperson for the National Security Agency, told The Hill the claim was false.
“The United States Government has not engaged in the activity described by Russia. Moscow’s statements to the contrary amount to disinformation,” said Horne.