Cyber & Tech Policy Roundup September 2020: The Pressure Builds
Hello and welcome to the Highwire Cyber and Tech Policy news roundup!
September 2020 was a month where the pressure continued to build. Privacy legislation, antitrust movements, and cybersecurity news, including the first death by a ransomware attack, broke weekly if not daily. It was all just a preview for October when the news leading up to the election on November 3rd is going to hit a fever pitch. There’s no separating the Tech Industry from politics now. Hold on to your hats, folks. We’re in for a ride.
THE TECH INDUSTRY: A HARD ANTITRUST RAIN’s A-GONNA FALL
Antitrust action began to look even more inevitable this month. Republicans are still dedicated to investigating Tech Giants for biases, while Democrats continue to build their case for an overhaul of antitrust legislation. Like most things, the future all comes down to what happens on November 3rd. In fact, there is a rumor that the DOJ will try to us antitrust action as an October Surprise — so keep an eye out.
Internationally, no one is really sure what the Trump Administration is doing with TikTok and the U.S. relationship with WeChat could just be the beginning of a larger tech war with China.
Home, Sweet, Home
- Wall Street Journal, Ryan Tracy: House Democrats to Call for Big Tech Breakups
- New York Times, Katie Benner and Cecilia Kang: Justice Dept. Plans to File Antitrust Charges Against Google in Coming Weeks
- Venture Beat, Khari Johnson: How U.S. tech policy could change if Democrats win back the Senate
A Bipolar Tech War
Bipolarity is a term in international affairs to describe a world dominated by two powers (i.e. U.S. vs Russia or U.S. vs China). Multipolar and unipolar are other designations.
- CNN, Selina Wang: TikTok’s US ban is on hold. What comes next?
- Foreign Affairs, Adam Segal: The Coming Tech Cold War With China
PRIVACY: THE SLIPPERY SLOPE
This month, international privacy concerns cropped up for Facebook as the company may be charged with changing its data practices in Europe. Additionally, Amazon expanded privacy controls for the Alexa device… only to introduce a privacy nightmare in the making: the new Ring in-home drone security cam – to patrol your house while you’re away. As Big Tech tries to cut the head off one privacy concern, ten more sprout up.
Facebook Booked for Data Privacy Concerns in Ireland
- TechCrunch, Natasha Lomas: Facebook denies it will pull service in Europe over data transfer ban
- New York Times, Adam Satarino: Facebook May Be Ordered to Change Data Practices in Europe
Alexa’s Tightening Up Its Privacy
- CNET, Ben Fox Rubin: Alexa can now immediately delete your voice recordings
- Forbes, Davey Winder: Alexa Gets New Privacy Controls—All You Need To Know
- The Verge, Dieter Bohn: The Ring drone is just the latest Amazon privacy puzzle box
CYBERSECURITY: WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE
Election Day is quickly approaching and the tigers and lions and bears are looking more like disinformation campaigns, nation-state attacks, and ransomware – Oh, my! Buried underneath the overwhelming election security news was another story that could change cybersecurity forever. Someone has died because of a ransomware attack—the first death by a cyber attack.
Election Day is Looking… Grim. And No One’s Surprised
- CNET, Alfred Ng: US officials ring alarm on post-Election Day disinformation
Ransomware on the Rise
- New York Times, Nicole Perlroth and David Sanger: Ransomware Attacks Take On New Urgency Ahead of Vote
- The Verge, Nicole Wetsman, Woman dies during a ransomware attack on a German hospital
- TechCrunch, Zack Whittaker: Healthcare giant UHS hit by ransomware attack, sources say
Foreign Interference at Its Finest
- Wall Street Journal, Dustin Volz: U.S. Charges Chinese Nationals in Cyberattacks on More Than 100 Companies
This blog originally appeared as a newsletter. The goal of this newsletter is to expand expertise on the state of affairs and policies that affect the bottom line for the Tech Industry. If you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog was written by Claire Teitelman, Ali Wilson, and Jill Niedermeyer.