Hillicon Valley — Musk floats super PAC

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Elon Musk said on Wednesday he is contemplating starting a super PAC to support moderate candidates.

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday introduced a legislation aimed to ban the sale of location data by third-party data brokers.

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar, Chris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Subscribe here.

Musk predicts fall ‘red wave,’ teases political funding

Elon Musk on Wednesday said he is considering creating a moderate super PAC to support centrist candidates.

Musk said on Twitter that he might establish a “Super Moderate Super PAC” to back candidates from both parties with moderate views.

The tech billionaire also predicted a “massive red wave in 2022.”

  • He has said previously that he considers himself a moderate and would not classify himself as a Democrat or Republican.

  • But he said on a podcast last month that he would vote for Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections in November after having “overwhelmingly” voted for Democrats throughout his life. He said the Democratic Party is overly controlled by unions and later called it the “party of division & hate.”

Read more here.

Dems push to ban location data sales

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday introduced legislation targeting the sale of location data by third-party data brokers.

  • The Health and Location Data Protection Act would ban companies in the shadowy multibillion-dollar industry from selling or transferring sensitive data.

  • The Federal Trade Commission would be given $1 billion over 10 years to promulgate and enforce rules on data brokers. State attorneys general and individuals would also be allowed to sue for violations of the new law.

The data broker industry has come under renewed scrutiny in light of the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, allowing abortion bans in several states to take effect.

Read more here.

MORE TROUBLE FOR KLOBUCHAR’S BILL

Four Senate Democrats asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to revise a key antitrust bill that they said could “supercharge harmful content online” as written.

  • In a letter Wednesday, Sens. Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) said they support the overall goal of the bill to rein in the power of tech giants.

  • However…the lawmakers said it could lead to unintended consequences that would limit companies’ ability to moderate violative content.

Their letter comes as Klobuchar and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the lead sponsors of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, push for a floor vote this month on the bipartisan bill. It advanced out of the Judiciary Committee earlier this year with bipartisan support.

The bill would ban dominant tech platforms from preferencing their own products and services over rivals’. As written, the legislation would likely apply to Apple, Amazon, Google and Meta.

Read more here.

New Times editor weighs in on Twitter use

Joe Kahn, who this week became the executive editor of The New York Times, said journalists should “step back” from using social media to complain about leadership at their outlets or get into arguments with critics online.

  • “What we’ve done is, a few weeks ago we put out our own sort of restatement of our approach to Twitter, which many of us spent quite a bit of time thinking through. And I’m glad we did it,” Kahn told Vanity Fair this week.

  • “I think it’s time for people to put that particular platform into a bit more perspective, and frankly, to take a step back from an overreliance on Twitter as a place to vet grievances with your own news organization.”

Kahn had been asked about a recent controversy at The Washington Post, one of the Times’s top competitors, involving the suspension and firing of multiple high-profile staffers who engaged in behavior on social media the Post said it would not tolerate.

Read more here.

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Antitrust populism would shift US from free market to managed economy

Notable links from around the web:

Facebook and Anti-Abortion Clinics Are Collecting Highly Sensitive Info on Would-Be Patients (Reveal and The Markup / Grace Oldham and Dhruv Mehrotra)

Inside a Corporate Culture War Stoked by a Crypto C.E.O. (The New York Times / Ryan Mac and David Yaffe-Bellany)

A Ragtag Band of Hackers Is Waging Cyberwar on Putin’s Supply Lines (Bloomberg / Ryan Gallagher)

🔭 Lighter click: “Cosmic Reef”

One more thing: RIP

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it will no longer support Internet Explorer after 27 years of service.

  • The tech company announced its decision a year ago, pushing its users to switch to its latest browser known as Microsoft Edge, which was launched in 2015. 

  • “Not only is Microsoft Edge a faster, more secure and more modern browsing experience than Internet Explorer, but it is also able to address a key concern: compatibility for older, legacy websites and applications,” Sean Lyndersay, general manager of Microsoft Edge Enterprise, wrote in a 2021 blog post.

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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