Hillicon Valley – Lawmakers urge June vote on antitrust bill

·4 min read

The lead sponsors of a bipartisan antitrust bill ramped up calls for a June floor vote on the legislation in the House and Senate at a joint press conference.

In cyber news, federal authorities warned that hackers backed by China compromised major telecommunication companies.

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Bipartisan lawmakers push for floor vote

Bipartisan sponsors of a key antitrust bill in the House and Senate on Wednesday urged leadership in both chambers to call floor votes in June on the proposal targeting tech giants.

In a joint press conference, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said members of Congress have had months to review the legislation and converse about the proposal.

The bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, would bar companies from referencing their own products and services. Based on the definition of dominant platforms in the legislation, defined by market cap value and user base, the bill would likely apply to Apple, Google, Meta and Amazon.

Rebuffing attacks: The lawmakers pushed back on criticism against the legislation that tech companies and industry groups have made, including that it would weaken national security, cause companies to disband services users enjoy or weaken companies’ ability to moderate violative content.

Cicilline said the arguments are “lies coming from Big Tech.”

“This legislation does not undermine our national security or American economic competitiveness, far from it. It strengthens our national security and our competitiveness. Competitive free markets are a key source of American economic strength, and a core pillar of our national security. This legislation promotes fierce competition, which is the best way to ensure the United States continues to be the most innovative, dynamic economy in the world,” Cicilline said.

Read more here.

Beijing-backed hackers breach telecom

Cyber hackers backed by China are successfully targeting U.S. telecommunication companies in major breaches, the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned on Tuesday.

The FBI, National Security Agency (NSA) and CISA said in an advisory that hackers affiliated with the Chinese government have targeted and compromised major telecommunication companies through easy and known network and system vulnerabilities.

China has waged a successful cyber campaign against telecommunication networks since at least 2020, the federal agencies announced in a Tuesday press release.

“Exploiting these vulnerabilities has allowed them to establish broad infrastructure networks to exploit a wide range of public and private sector targets,” the release reads.

Along with Russia, China is one of the most lethal and dangerous actors in the cyberspace. In a CrowdStrike report released last year, researchers said a threat group likely linked to China known as “LightBasin” has targeted global telecommunication companies since at least 2016.

Read more here.

MICROSOFT CUTS BACK IN RUSSIA

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it would scale back on its business operations in Russia amid Moscow’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

“As a result of the changes to the economic outlook and the impact on our business in Russia, we have made the decision to significantly scale down our operations in Russia,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill.

“We will continue to fulfill our existing contractual obligations with Russian customers while the suspension of new sales remains in effect,” the company added.

Bloomberg first reported the news.

More than 400 employees will be affected by the change, according to Reuters.

Read more here.

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: How resilient are US consumers? We’ll soon find out

Lighter click: switch it up

Notable links from around the web:

How Safe Are Systems Like Tesla’s Autopilot? No One Knows. (The New York Times Cade Metz)

Twitter vowed to change its world leaders policy. Then came Elon. (Protocol / Issie Lapowsky)

In reversal, Twitter plans to comply with Musk’s demands for data (The Washington Post / Elizabeth Dwoskin)

One last thing: GOP mounts media battle

House Republicans are casting Thursday’s prime-time hearing by the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol as a media production aimed at smearing former President Trump.

The effort by Republicans to push back at the hearing has started days before the spectacle is set to be carried live by the major networks and news networks — with the notable exception of Fox News Channel, which will air its regular programming.

Democrats have set expectations for the hearing high, both by putting it in prime time and with statements signaling they believe it will give voters new information about what happened the day a mob of Trump’s supporters overwhelmed Capitol Police and forced the evacuation of a Congress certifying President Biden’s win in the presidential race.

The GOP is arguing the effort is just meant to distract voters from inflation and crime, two issues that Republicans expect to be a big part of their effort to win back the House and Senate this fall.

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 tomorrow.

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