Hillicon Valley: Home committee calls on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify | Trump points govt order to guard energy grid towards assaults | Division of Training investigates ties between College of Texas and China

Hillicon Valley: Home committee calls on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify | Trump points govt order to guard energy grid towards assaults | Division of Training investigates ties between College of Texas and China

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill’s publication detailing all it’s essential know in regards to the tech and cyber information from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you happen to don’t already, ensure to join our publication with this LINK.

Welcome! Observe our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech reporter, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills), for extra protection.

BEZOS CALL OUT: Members of the Home Judiciary Committee are calling on Amazon CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosOn The Cash: Easing lockdowns seen unlikely to cease financial system bleeding | GOP divided over state help | Home panel calls on Bezos to testify Hillicon Valley: Home committee calls on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify | Trump points govt order to guard energy grid towards assaults | Division of Training investigates ties between College of Texas and China Home Judiciary Committee calls on Bezos to testify as a part of antitrust probe MORE to testify earlier than the panel over considerations his deputies might have misled Congress in their very own testimony about the usage of information from third-party sellers. 

In a letter despatched to Bezos on Friday, the bipartisan group of lawmakers cited a Wall Avenue Journal report that mentioned the corporate had used delicate enterprise information from third-party sellers on the web site to create competing merchandise.

“If these allegations are true, then Amazon exploited its role as the largest online marketplace in the U.S. to appropriate the sensitive commercial data of individual marketplace sellers and then used that data to compete directly with those sellers,” they wrote to Bezos, who has by no means testified earlier than Congress.   

“Amazon has responded to this report by describing the Amazon employees’ conduct as a violation of its formal policy against the use of non-public, individual seller data. The report, however, details that Amazon employees described pulling competitors’ data as ‘standard operating procedure’ when making products such as electronics, suitcases, sporting goods or other lines.”

The lawmakers are reserving the correct to difficulty a subpoena if Bezos doesn’t voluntarily testify.

Amazon didn’t reply to requests for touch upon the committee’s request.

Allegations: The Wall Avenue Journal reported final week, citing interviews with 20 former staff of Amazon’s private-label enterprise and a assessment of paperwork, that the web retail large used the knowledge from different sellers to cost objects, decide which options to repeat or whether or not to enter a product phase based mostly on its incomes potential.

The reporting appears to instantly contradict testimony by Amazon related common counsel Nate Sutton, who when requested by Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalHillicon Valley: Home committee calls on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify | Trump points govt order to guard energy grid towards assaults | Division of Training investigates ties between College of Texas and China Home Judiciary Committee calls on Bezos to testify as a part of antitrust probe GOP lawmakers slam proposals for assured revenue amid pandemic MORE (D-Wash.) about practices like these detailed within the Journal’s story mentioned that “we do not use any seller data to compete with them.”

In response to a follow-up query from Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: Home committee calls on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify | Trump points govt order to guard energy grid towards assaults | Division of Training investigates ties between College of Texas and China Home Judiciary Committee calls on Bezos to testify as a part of antitrust probe Warren, Ocasio-Cortez to suggest huge merger freeze amid pandemic MORE (D-R.I.), Sutton testified that “we do not use their individual data when we’re making decisions to launch private brands.”

A spokesperson for Amazon informed The Hill that the corporate “strictly prohibit[s] staff from utilizing private, seller-specific information to find out which personal label merchandise to launch.”

“Whereas we don’t consider these claims made by the Wall Avenue Journal are correct, we take these allegations very critically and have launched an inner investigation.” 

Learn extra right here.

PROTECT THE POWER: President TrumpDonald John TrumpMain resort group to return hundreds of thousands in PPP funding Trump administration’s ‘Operation Warp Pace’ taking a look at 14 potential COVID-19 vaccines to fast-track Tlaib, Lowenthal pen op-ed asking Trump administration to launch help to Palestinians to battle COVID-19 MORE on Friday issued an govt order declaring a nationwide emergency over threats to the U.S. energy system, taking steps to defend the grid towards cyberattacks and overseas interference. 

The govt order bans the usage of tools for the facility grid that was manufactured by an organization beneath the management of a overseas adversary, or the shopping for of any tools that poses a nationwide safety menace. 

“Additional steps are required to protect the security, integrity, and reliability of bulk-power system electric equipment used in the United States,” Trump wrote. “In light of these findings, I hereby declare a national emergency with respect to the threat to the United States bulk-power system.”

The order additionally established a activity drive to guard the facility grid from assaults and share threat administration data to forestall interference. Members of the duty drive will embrace the secretaries of Commerce, Protection and Homeland Safety, in addition to the Director of Nationwide Intelligence.  

Cyber threats to the grid: Trump famous within the order that the facility system is a goal for these “seeking to commit malicious acts” towards the U.S., pointing to considerations round cyberattacks specifically. 

“A successful attack on our bulk-power system would present significant risks to our economy, human health and safety, and would render the United States less capable of acting in defense of itself and its allies,” Trump wrote.

Division of Power concerned: Secretary of Power Dan Brouillette applauded the manager order, saying in a press release that it will “greatly diminish the ability of foreign adversaries to target our critical electric infrastructure.”

“Today, President Trump demonstrated bold leadership to protect America’s bulk-power system and ensure the safety and prosperity of all Americans,” Brouillette mentioned. “It is imperative the bulk-power system be secured against exploitation and attacks by foreign threats.”

Learn extra in regards to the govt order right here.

UT UNDER PRESSURE: The Division of Training has launched an investigation into hyperlinks between the College of Texas and a Chinese language laboratory that has been scrutinized over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Training Division’s Workplace of Common Counsel despatched a letter to Chancellor James Milliken final week asking in regards to the college’s ties to the lab and different Chinese language entities equivalent to telecom large Huawei.

The company requested data on any interactions between the Galveston Nationwide Laboratory, which falls beneath the College of Texas (UT) Medical Department, and the utmost biocontainment lab on the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The Chinese language laboratory has come beneath scrutiny by the U.S. intelligence group in current weeks, together with a probe into whether or not the lethal virus that causes COVID-19 originated in that lab. Intelligence officers mentioned Wednesday that they agreed with the “widespread scientific consensus” that the virus was “not manmade or genetically modified.”

A day later, President Trump appeared to contradict that discovering, saying he had seen proof the lab was concerned within the unfold of the virus. Trump didn’t present any particulars.

In its letter to UT, the Training Division additionally requested in regards to the faculty’s connections with Huawei, the 5G equipment-maker that has been successfully blacklisted by the Division of Commerce and is assessed by the Federal Communications Fee as a nationwide safety menace resulting from espionage considerations.

Learn extra.

NASA CHIPS IN: Engineers at NASA have designed a brand new high-pressure ventilator to be used within the battle towards the coronavirus pandemic.

The area company introduced Thursday that the brand new ventilators, researched and designed on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have been authorised for emergency use by the Meals and Drug Administration. The design part took 37 days to finish.

The ventilators are designed for COVID-19 sufferers with essentially the most extreme signs.

NASA mentioned the gadgets are quicker to assemble, utilizing fewer elements than conventional ventilators, and are simpler to take care of.

Fred Farina, head of innovation and company partnerships at Caltech, which manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA, mentioned the manufacturing course of would start as shortly as potential.

“Now that now we have a design, we’re working to go the baton to the medical group, and in the end sufferers, as shortly as potential,” Farina mentioned in a press release. “To that finish, we’re providing the designs for licensing on a royalty-free foundation in the course of the time of the pandemic.”

Lighter click on: Please sir, my eels are very unhappy

An op-ed to chew on: Bridging the digital divide for rural communities extra vital than ever

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

Can coronavirus—and a brand new lobbyist—assist TikTok restore its status in Washington? (Protocol / Emily Birnbaum) 

Trump touted Google as an answer to coronavirus testing. A month later, Verily has barely made a dent (The Washington Publish / Rachel Lerman) 

Amazon, Instacart, Goal, and FedEx staff clarify why they’re placing (Motherboard / Lauren Kaori Gurley) 

Trump’s disinfectant discuss journeys up websites’ vows towards misinformation (The New York Occasions / Sheera Frenkel and Davey Alba) 

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