Hillicon Valley — Pelosi weighs in on data privacy bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expressed concerns about how a bipartisan federal privacy proposal could affect state protections, including in her home state of California.  

Meanwhile, House Republicans are requesting information from Meta about communications between the tech giant and the FBI related to Facebook’s reduced distribution of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden. 

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 and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Pelosi shares home state concerns  

A bipartisan data privacy bill faces another roadblock with Speaker Nancy Pelosi

(D-Calif.) expressing concern Thursday that the proposal could limit state protections.  

Pelosi cited concerns raised by leaders in her home state of California, which has been leading the way in the U.S. in setting data privacy standards, about the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA).  

“Proudly, California leads the nation not only in innovation, but also in consumer protection. With so much innovation happening in our state, it is imperative that California continues offering and enforcing the nation’s strongest privacy rights,” Pelosi said in a statement.  

Pelosi did not dismiss the bill, which advanced out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee with bipartisan support in July, entirely. She said she will continue to work with Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) to address “California’s concerns.” 

Read more here.  

GOP requests Meta’s info on Hunter Biden  

House Republicans on Thursday asked Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to hand over communications between Facebook and the FBI related to the platform’s reduced distribution of a New York Post story on Hunter Biden. 

Zuckerberg previously told podcaster Joe Rogan last week that the social media platform limited the New York Post story’s appearance on news feeds ahead of the 2020 presidential election while it was being fact checked. 

The limitation, Zuckerberg said, came in response to warnings from the FBI about disinformation and potentially polarizing content. 

  • “We have seen in recent months how some in government have sought to use Big Tech to censor divergent viewpoints and silence opposing political speech,” the 35 Republican lawmakers wrote to Zuckerberg in a letter. 
  • “Facebook’s suppression of the Post article—and allegations of Biden family corruption highly relevant to the 2020 presidential election—following guidance from the FBI is highly troubling,” the House Republicans wrote. 

Read more here. 

TWITTER TESTS EDIT BUTTON 

Twitter is testing a feature on its platform that would let users edit a tweet after posting it, the social media platform said Thursday. 

“If you see an edited Tweet it’s because we’re testing the edit button,” Twitter shared in a post from its official account. “This is happening and you’ll be okay.”  

The feature — the company’s most requested to date — will allow users to edit a tweet “a few times” up to 30 minutes after it is posted, according to a Twitter blog post.  

The edited tweets will be flagged with an icon, label and timestamp of the edit, and readers will be able to access the version history of the edited post  

if they click in on the label. 

Read more here.  

TROUBLE FOR MICROSOFT ACROSS THE POND  

Microsoft’s deal to buy game company Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion is facing an in-depth probe in the United Kingdom after a competition watchdog on Thursday said that the deal could lead to competition concerns. 

The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it is concerned the deal could harm rivals by combining Microsoft’s leading game console, Xbox, leading cloud platform, Azure, and leading PC operating system, Windows OS, with Activision’s popular games. 

“We are concerned that Microsoft could use its control over popular games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft post-merger to harm rivals, including recent and future rivals in multi-game subscription services and cloud gaming,” Sorcha O’Carroll, CMA’s senior director of mergers, said in a statement.  

The CMA said the concerns found in the first part of the review warrant an in-depth second phase investigation, which will allow an independent panel of experts to probe the risks identified. 

Read more here.  

Biden celebrates Micron’s $15B investment 

President Biden on Thursday hailed plans for Micron, an Idaho-based semiconductor chip manufacturer, to invest $15 billion to build a new facility in Boise after the passage of bipartisan legislation earlier this month. 

“Today’s announcement by Micron is another big win for America,” Biden said, referencing recent U.S. investments announced by Toyota, Honda and Corning.

“In our future, we will make [electric vehicles], chips, fiber optics, and other critical components here in America, and we will have an economy built from the bottom up and middle out,” Biden said. 

Micron on Thursday morning announced a roughly $15 billion investment through 2030 to build a memory manufacturing plant in Boise, where the company is headquartered. 

Read more here. 

GROUPS ASK CONGRESS TO BRING IN JASSY

More than 30 worker and civil society groups are demanding Amazon CEO Andy Jassy testify in a congressional hearing on the company’s worker safety “crisis.”  

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and top lawmakers on two congressional labor committees on Thursday, the coalition urged the lawmakers to hold a congressional hearing on “the dangerous labor practices” the groups said have caused a number of deaths and injuries at Amazon warehouse facilities and to call Jassy and others “responsible” for those conditions to testify. 

  • The letter noted that three Amazon workers at a New Jersey warehouse facility died last month within a three-week span and about 34,000 serious injuries were reported at company facilities last year.  
  • The groups also cited a report from the Strategic Organizing Center that found on-site injuries at the company’s facilities around the country increased by
    20 percent from 2020 to 2021 and another report from nonprofit organization Make the Road NJ that noted injuries at Amazon fulfillment centers in New Jersey increased by 54 percent in that time. 

Read more here.  

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Lawmakers should rein in the runaway FTC 

Notable links from around the web: 

When Kids Yell “Poop” At Alexa, These People Profit (BuzzFeed / Katie Notopoulos) 

Tech Companies Slowly Shift Production Away From China (The New York Times / Daisuke Wakabayashi and Tripp Mickle) 

U.K. warns Activision merger gives Microsoft ‘unparalleled advantage’ (The Washington Post / Jonathan Lee) 

📝 Lighter click: We don’t either 

One more thing: HHS asked to improve oversight

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should improve its cybersecurity oversight of an important organ sharing network service and the nonprofit overseeing it, the inspector general’s office overseeing the federal agency said Monday. 

The report serves as a warning that data involving organ donors and receivers may not be adequately protected in the event of a security breach. 

Because of the critical role of the OPTN and the sensitive data it contains, a security breach could have significant consequences for vulnerable patients,” the report reads, referring to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). 

The inspector general’s office said in the new report that the department’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) should develop additional oversight controls for the OPTN, which administers organ transplants and testing in the U.S. 

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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