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Social media giant TikTok gained a new CEO on Friday with ties to parent company ByteDance. Meanwhile, a top Justice Department official said the agency would soon undertake a cybersecurity review to improve its response to cyber threats, and the European Commission clapped back at Apple for allegedly abusing its dominant position on its App Store for music streaming apps.
DOJ STEPS UP TO THE CYBER PLATE: The Justice Department will soon begin a 120 day review of cybersecurity challenges in the midst of escalating cyber threats.
Newly confirmed Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced the review during virtual remarks at the Munich Cyber Security Conference, stressing that the U.S. was at a “pivot point” around how it approaches cybersecurity concerns.
“We are launching this week, under my direction, a review of how the department is looking at exactly this set of challenges,” Monaco said. “We want to bring forth actionable recommendations in a 120 day time frame … on what can we be doing better, working with our partners across borders, to address these threats.”
Read more about the review here.
POSTAL SURVEILLANCE: Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzMystery Florida Senate candidate was planning move to Sweden Britney Spears to discuss conservatorship in court Liz Cheney says McConnell, McCarthy are heads of GOP MORE (R-Fla.) and a group of other House Republicans on Friday introduced legislation to end funding for an arm of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that carries out online surveillance.
The legislation was rolled out in response to a March bulletin, reported by Yahoo! News earlier this month, distributed by the USPS’s Inspection Service’s Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP). The bulletin cited iCOP concerns about potential “significant” protests planned for March 20 based on “online inflammatory material” and posts on social media platforms Parler and Telegram.
“iCOP analysts are currently monitoring these social media channels for any potential threats stemming from the scheduled protests, and will disseminate intelligence updates if needed,” the agency wrote in the bulletin.
The new bill backed by almost a dozen House Republicans would prohibit federal funds from being used for iCOP. The legislation’s text accuses the organization of being “politically motivated in its target,” and the USPS of “operating a clandestine domestic surveillance program of Americans’ social media activity.”
Read more about the bill here.
TIKTOK ON THE CLOCK: TikTok announced Friday that Shou Zi Chew, parent company ByteDance’s chief financial officer, will be the short-form video app’s new CEO.
Chew, who joined ByteDance last month, will stay on in his role at the Chinese company.
TikTok also announced that Vanessa Pappas will be the new chief operating officer after having served as the interim head since Kevin Mayer departed last year.
“The leadership team of Shou and Vanessa sets the stage for sustained growth,” ByteDance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming said in a statement.
APPLE’S EU TROUBLES: The European Commission said Friday that Apple has abused its dominant position for music streaming apps through its App Store.
The commission’s statement cites app developers’ mandatory use of Apple’s in-app purchase system that charges developers up to 30 percent commission fees on all subscriptions bought through the app, as well as Apple’s “anti-steering provisions” which limit app developers from informing users of alternative purchasing possibilities outside of apps.
“We can now do our shopping, access news, music or movies via apps instead of visiting websites. Our preliminary finding is that Apple is a gatekeeper to users of iPhones and iPads via the App Store,” Margrethe Vestager, the commission’s executive vice president in charge of antitrust enforcement, said in a statement.
Apple said the commission’s “argument on Spotify’s behalf is the opposite of fair competition.”
Read more here.
PRIVACY BILL BACK: Sens. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesWyden-Paul bill would close loophole allowing feds to collect private data Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl 15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban MORE (R-Mont.) and Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon Valley: Acting FTC chair urges Congress to revive agency authority after Supreme Court ruling | Senate Intel panel working on breach notification bill Senators ramp up efforts to create standards for self-driving cars Senate Democrats’ campaign arm taps Ossoff to chair environmental council MORE (D-Mich.) reintroduced legislation Friday aimed at protecting personal data of Americans entering the United States on cargo vessels.
Currently, when cargo ships enter U.S. ports they are required to provide Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with manifests that can include personally identifiable information like Social Security numbers and passport information.
The Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act would direct CBP to remove that kind of sensitive information before making the manifests open to the public.
The lawmakers are concerned that releasing the information of individuals relocating back to the U.S. could open them up to identity theft, fraud or unwanted solicitations.
“Unfortunately, families and people, including servicemembers, moving from abroad to the United States face an increased risk of identity theft and the government needs to take more steps to protect them from fraud,” Peters said in a statement.
STANDARDS-SETTING BILL: Sens. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoSenators spar over Biden green energy infrastructure push Bipartisan group of senators holds immigration talks amid border surge Hispanic Caucus energized by first Biden meeting MORE (D-Nev.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanThe Hill’s Morning Report – Biden to country: ‘Turning peril into possibility’ Moderate Republicans leery of Biden’s renewed call for unity Biden makes case for sweeping change MORE (R-Ohio) on Friday introduced a bill to improve U.S. competitiveness against China and other nations by strengthening the nation’s ability to set standards around emerging technologies.
The new legislation would create a task force led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to develop a long-term plan to assess standards around emerging technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence.
The task force would include representatives from multiple U.S. federal agencies, who would engage with both academia and the private sector. The ultimate goal would be to create a strategy to engage with international organizations on standards-setting and prevent China from dominating the standards-setting space around emerging technologies.
The new bill was rolled out as both Congress and the Biden administration have increasingly zeroed in on competition with China and threats posed by the nation to the United States.
Read more about the legislation here.
TENNESSEE BROADBAND: Tennessee is moving forward with a plan to map out areas of the state with low access to broadband internet.
The decision comes after an advisory panel said earlier this year that Tennessee should not wait for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to rewrite federal maps based on data from broadband suppliers, according to The Associated Press.
Crystal Ivey, broadband director for the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development, said the plan involves collecting and validating data from providers in the state for one year.
The plan is expected to be completed in 2022, and the initial map is expected to cost $450,000. The move comes as Tennessee prepares to invest in broadband infrastructure.
Lighter click: 🙂
An op-ed to chew on: Massive school data breach shows we need better privacy policies
VIRTUAL EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT–THE FUTURE OF MOBILITY
Wednesday, May 12 at 12:30 PM ET / 9:30 AM PT
The Hill hosts federal and state policymakers, technological innovators, and local transportation leaders to examine the future of mobility and the emerging technologies that will transform our communities in the near future. Reps. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioOn The Trail: Census data kicks off the biggest redistricting fight in American history Push for infrastructure gas-tax hike loses steam The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Tax March – US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause MORE and Sam GravesSamuel (Sam) Bruce GravesPush for infrastructure gas-tax hike loses steam Biden turns focus to next priority with infrastructure talks Biden to meet with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure MORE, Mayor Eric GarcettiEric GarcettiFrench-American Foundation selects new president with fundraising background Judge orders LA to offer housing to homeless people by October LA mayor seeks million for guaranteed income pilot program MORE, Mayor Vi Lyles, United CEO Scott Kirby, Zoox CEO Aicha Evans, ITS America’s Shailen Bhatt and more. RSVP for event reminders.
NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:
COVID-19 Is Devastating India. Its Government Is Trying To Censor Social Media. (BuzzFeed News / Pranav Dixit)
Google’s plan for the future of work: privacy robots and balloon walls (The New York Times / Cayce Clifford)
Video is so 2020. Now Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are going all in on audio (The Washington Post / Rachel Lerman)