Dean DeChiaro

At ground zero, Homeland chiefs say cyber is top future threat
Former DHS chiefs urge proritizing cybersecurity risks

NEW YORK — Nearly 18 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, three former secretaries of Homeland Security gathered at ground zero on Monday and pressed the government to prioritize cybersecurity risks as one of the top threats to the United States.

Janet Napolitano, who led the Department of Homeland Security under former President Barack Obama, urged officials to apply greater creativity to cybersecurity in an effort to avoid the failure of “imagination” that the 9/11 Commission said might have prevented the 2001 airliner attacks.

Google agrees to record fine for violating children’s privacy
Regulators say Google-owned YouTube violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by gathering data on users under the age of 13

Google agreed to pay a $170 million fine and overhaul privacy policies on YouTube after regulators said the company illegally gathered data on underage users and allowed advertisers to use the information to target children with advertisements, regulators announced Wednesday.

The settlement, reached with New York State Attorney General Letitia James and the Federal Trade Commission, is the largest ever resulting from a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA. New York will receive $34 million of the settlement, and the remainder will go to the federal government.

Election officials want security money, flexible standards
After 2016 Russian intrusion, slow progress seen toward securing rolls and paper ballots

State officials from Louisiana and Connecticut on Thursday asked for more money and clear standards from the federal government to help secure voting systems before the 2020 elections.

But the officials, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, stressed the differences between their election systems and asked for leeway from the federal government in deciding how to spend any future funding.

Elizabeth Warren probes Capital One after massive data breach
The Senator requested information on how the breach was conducted and when the bank plans to notify customers whose data was taken

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is putting pressure on Capital One to answer questions about the recent data breach that affected more than 100 million of the bank’s customers.

In a letter on Wednesday to Richard Fairbank, Capital One’s chief executive, the Massachusetts Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate requested information on how the breach was conducted and when the bank plans to notify customers whose data — including possibly their Social Security numbers — was taken in the breach.

8chan draws top Republican’s ire following El Paso massacre
Manifestos of several mass shooters have been posted on the fringe message board

The House Homeland Security Committee’s top Republican wants to help police and the tech industry combat 8chan and other “online terror fronts” after a gunman, thought to have to posted a bigoted manifesto on the fringe message board, killed 22 people in El Paso on Saturday.

If the suspect is confirmed to have posted the manifesto, it would be the third mass shooting of the year to be announced in advance on 8chan, which played host to hateful declarations by the perpetrators of the mosque attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March and the synagogue attack outside San Diego in April.

Airwaves reserved for educational purposes may go to 5G
As FCC clears the way for fifth-generation wireless network, students’ spectrum will be no more

For students at Burton Middle School in Porterville, California, a small city at the southeast corner of the massive and rural San Joaquin Valley where the poverty level is 30 percent, a Wi-Fi signal outside of the school is hard to come by.

In a nation where an estimated 70 percent of teachers assign homework requiring a broadband connection, internet access is often inaccessible for poor people and minorities, and a quarter of the students in Porterville lacked home internet access as recently as five years ago.

Facebook incurs wrath from both parties at Libra currency hearing
Bipartisan group asks why Americans should trust Facebook with their paychecks given its repeated data privacy scandals

Senators from both parties questioned at a hearing Tuesday why Americans should trust Facebook’s new digital currency system with their paychecks given the social media giant’s repeated data privacy scandals.

Libra, a cryptocurrency under construction by a Facebook subsidiary called Calibra, was announced in May to a blast of bipartisan incredulity by lawmakers and the Trump administration. Critics asked how the company could ensure that Libra, which is designed to be anonymous, could be prevented from being used by money launderers, traffickers or terrorists.

Mnuchin blasts Facebook's Libra currency on eve of hearings
The treasury secretary expressed concern it ‘could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers’

Facebook’s Libra and other cryptocurrencies “could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday, one day before Congress begins a series of hearings probing the social media giant’s first foray into next-generation financial technology.

“The U.S. welcomes responsible innovation including new tech that improve the efficiency of the financial system,” Mnunchin said during a White House press briefing.

Hearings on Facebook’s Libra could dim cryptocurrencies’ sheen
Lawmakers have already made up their minds about fintech, some in the industry fear

The financial technology industry is anticipating a windfall of attention and possible scrutiny following upcoming House and Senate hearings on Libra, the new cryptocurrency announced by Facebook last month.

Advocates for the growth of blockchain technology and digital currencies say Facebook’s entry into fintech is an exciting development for an industry that still exists in relative obscurity because of public misconceptions about the technology and lack of clear regulations governing their use.

Sen. Josh Hawley: ‘Huawei is not the answer’
Missouri Republican has emerged as a thorn in Big Tech’s side

Since arriving in the Senate in January, Missouri Republican Josh Hawley has emerged as a key player on technology policy and a thorn in the side of large companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon.

We sat down with him to discuss the cybersecurity threat posed by China, whether the government should break up Big Tech, and what he fears most from social media.

Big Tech now squarely in the sights of antitrust forces
The effort could create a bipartisan political circus on privacy and disinformation

A bipartisan antitrust investigation of large technology companies announced by the House Judiciary Committee will offer lawmakers their latest opportunity to grill some of the industry’s most recognizable and controversial executives.

But it also could provide lawmakers a chance to hold accountable antitrust agencies and potentially to expand the scope of U.S. antitrust law in significant ways. Still, it remains unclear exactly what the committee can accomplish as it sets out.

Bipartisan thumbs-down to facial recognition technology
Surveillance sparks comparisons to Orwellian dystopia

In 2016, police officers in Baltimore used new technology to scan the faces of protesters who filled the city’s streets following the death in custody of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man. Among those whose most recognizable features may have been documented was Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Three years later, Cummings is still angry such surveillance was conducted without a warrant or reason to believe that he — or any other protester, for that matter — had done anything illegal. Now he’s putting the full weight of his committee’s jurisdiction behind a push to ban facial recognition technology until Congress can pass comprehensive legislation to govern its use.

Trump order clears path to ban Huawei 5G equipment from United States
Trump signed an executive order that would allow the Commerce Department to bar transactions from Huawei

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order allowing the Commerce Department to stop U.S. companies from doing business with companies “subject to the jurisdiction” of a foreign adversary, clearing a path to bar transactions with Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant that officials have labeled a national security threat.

But asked whether the executive order is meant to take direct aim at Huawei, senior administration officials described it as “company and country agnostic.”

Nationalization question hangs over White House’s 5G announcement
FCC chair reiterates his agency’s stance that a free-market approach is the key to beating China in ‘the race to 5G.’

Announcing the latest phase of his plan to implement a fifth-generation broadband network throughout the United States, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Friday reiterated his agency’s stance that a free-market approach to implementation is the key to beating China in “the race to 5G.” 

Nationalizing 5G and selling spectrum access wholesale, as some have proposed — including President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign manager — is “the wrong answer for American consumers at the end of the day,” Pai told reporters on a conference call.

The net neutrality bill is dead in the Senate, but Democrats don’t mind
Democrats are confident they’ll be able to use it to skewer vulnerable GOP candidates next November

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already declared the Democratic net neutrality bill, which passed the House on Wednesday, “dead on arrival” in the upper chamber.

But Senate Democrats don’t seem to mind.

Hunting money launderers? There’s AI for that
Banks explore artificial intelligence to better detect fraud after go-ahead from federal regulators

Encouraged by a recent green light from regulators, the financial services industry is exploring new ways of using artificial intelligence to help them comply with banking regulations and to better detect fraudulent transactions used by criminals and terrorists.

This move toward new approaches to banking compliance comes despite growing concern that more government scrutiny could force the United States to fall behind similar efforts already underway overseas.

The gigantism of big tech forces a fresh look at antitrust
Facebook, Google and Amazon are catching flak from both parties in Congress

Increased public concern over the reach of large technology companies, bipartisan support for thinking anew about how to regulate big business, and ambitious policy proposals ahead of the 2020 presidential election are driving a new conversation over antitrust enforcement in the United States.

In less than two decades, three of America’s most ubiquitous technology platforms — Facebook, Google and Amazon — have grown rapidly in size and clout from small, single-market companies into industry conglomerates, thanks in part to a mostly hands-off approach to antitrust by the U.S. government.

Warren proposes breaking up Facebook, Google, Amazon
Warren declaring war on the country’s most powerful technology firms and a culture of “weak antitrust enforcement”

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate, proposed on Friday a plan to break up Google, Facebook and Amazon, declaring war on the country’s most powerful technology firms and a culture of “weak antitrust enforcement” that allowed them to grow so big.

In a Medium post, the Massachusetts Democrat accused the three firms of using “resources and control over the way we use the Internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people.”

Border wall technology: Better than concrete, or Big Brother of the borderlands?
As defense startups peddle their wares, privacy activists worry

Democratic support for installing hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of surveillance technology on the U.S.-Mexico border, billed by party leaders as a 21st-century alternative to President Donald Trump’s medieval wall, is worrying privacy activists at the same time that it excites nascent defense startups.

Amid staunch opposition by Democrats, the fiscal 2019 omnibus package signed into law by Trump earlier this month contained only $1.4 billion for wall and barrier construction. That’s compared with about $100 million for sensor towers and remote video surveillance systems, plus an additional $564 million for nonintrusive scanning equipment at border entry points, which was also included.

China threat looms over Senate 5G hearing
Senators signaled support for building a fifth-generation wireless network, but raised concerns that China is already on its way to establishing dominance

Senators from both parties on Wednesday signaled support for building a fifth-generation wireless network that could enable innovation in telecom, agriculture, and health care sectors but raised concerns that China is already on its way to establishing dominance over the technology.

At the year’s first hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, new Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss., said nationwide 5G implementation could propel the United States “into the fourth industrial revolution,” by creating millions of new jobs and enhancing transportation and agricultural systems through enhanced connectivity.