Hillicon Valley: Senate panel advances invoice concentrating on on-line baby sexual abuse | Trump administration awards tech group contract to construct ‘digital’ wall | Advocacy teams urge Congress to ban facial recognition applied sciences

Hillicon Valley: Senate panel advances invoice concentrating on on-line baby sexual abuse | Trump administration awards tech group contract to construct ‘digital’ wall | Advocacy teams urge Congress to ban facial recognition applied sciences

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

EARN IT ACT ADVANCES: The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously superior a invoice tying authorized protections for on-line platforms to efforts to fight baby sexual abuse materials.

The Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Applied sciences (EARN IT) Act would amend Part 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act to permit federal and state claims towards on-line firms that host baby exploitation content material.

Part 230, which has come underneath elevated scrutiny since President TrumpDonald John TrumpHome panel approves 0.5B protection coverage invoice Home panel votes towards curbing Rebellion Act powers after heated debate Home panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for evaluation on ‘incentives’ to assault US troops MORE focused it in an govt order in Could, offers web firms immunity from lawsuits for content material posted on their websites by third events and permits them to make “good religion” efforts to reasonable content material.

The laws superior on Thursday would create a government-backed fee to develop “best practices” for purging baby sexual abuse materials from the web.

An earlier model of the invoice had conditioned Part 230 legal responsibility protections on compliance with these greatest practices, however a supervisor’s modification from Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill’s Marketing campaign Report: The political heavyweights in Tuesday’s major fights Harrison goes on the assault towards Graham in new South Carolina Senate advert In a single day Protection: Lawmakers demand solutions on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Protection invoice amendments goal Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police MORE (R-S.C.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) eliminated that tie after intense criticism. The modification was unanimously accepted on Thursday.

Graham and Blumenthal’s modification additionally eliminated a portion of the invoice that will have opened up firms to lawsuits in the event that they “recklessly” offered a service that was then used within the distribution of kid exploitation.

Regardless of the unanimous approval of the amended measure, it nonetheless faces harsh opposition within the Senate and amongst some advocacy teams.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Democratic proposal to increase Zero unemployment checks Senate Democrats provide plan to increase added jobless advantages throughout pandemic Hillicon Valley: Fb takes down ‘boogaloo’ community after stress | Election safety measure pulled from Senate invoice | FCC formally designating Huawei, ZTE as threats MORE (D-Ore.) slammed the brand new model of the invoice Wednesday, saying it could do little to cease baby intercourse abuse materials on-line and likewise endanger encryption.

“Unfortunately, the new bill will do even less than the previous version to stop the spread of child sexual abuse material, target the monsters who produce and share it or help victims of these evil crimes,” he mentioned. “By allowing any individual state to set laws for internet content, this bill will create massive uncertainty, both for strong encryption and free speech online.”

Threats to encryption, which makes it impossible for companies or governments to access private communications between devices, have been a major sticking point for industry and privacy groups opposed to the legislation. Critics say the bill could force tech companies into creating backdoors for the government, which they say would be accessed by bad actors, in order to maintain Section 230 protections.

Read more about the legislation here. 


BUILD THE (VIRTUAL) WALL: The Trump administration has reportedly awarded a contract to a California-based tech startup to set up hundreds of “autonomous surveillance towers” along the U.S.-Mexico border to aid its immigration enforcement efforts. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on Thursday that the towers, which use artificial intelligence and imagery to identify people and vehicles, were now a “program of record” for the agency and that 200 would be deployed along the southern border by 2022.

CBP did not mention the contract in its announcement, though the Washington Post reported that the effort includes a five-year agreement with Anduril Industries, a tech startup backed by investors such as Peter Thiel. Anduril executives told the Post that the deal is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The company, which specializes in AI and other technologies, is valued at $1.9 billion, according to Bloomberg News

“Anduril is proud to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection as it expands its use of innovative technology solutions to greatly improve situational awareness and agent safety along the U.S. border,” Anduril CEO Brian Schimpf said in a statement to The Hill.

The company did comment on the terms of its contract with CBP. 

The deal comes as the Trump administration continues its push to toughen immigration enforcement in the U.S., though efforts to use enhancements in technology to assist border enforcement has gained support across party lines. 

In 2019, as Trump aggressively pushed for the building of a wall along the border, many Democratic lawmakers called for the building of “virtual” or “smart” walls that utilized new technologies to strengthen security. 

Read more about the technology here. 


FACIAL RECOGNITION BAN: Nearly 40 civil rights, privacy and technology groups sent a letter to congressional leadership Thursday pushing for a federal moratorium on facial recognition technology.

The organizations — including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Algorithmic Justice League and the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology — called on Washington to pass legislation on the issue, suggesting the Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act introduced last week.

The bill would prohibit the use of facial recognition by all federal groups, a ban that could only be lifted by an act of Congress. It would also withhold federal funding from law enforcement if they fail to ban the tech themselves.

Facial recognition has come under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks as nationwide protests against police brutality launched by the death George Floyd continue.

Tech giants like Amazon, IBM and Microsoft have scaled back their sales of the software to law enforcement in response, but those self-imposed moratoria alone will not stop police from using facial recognition technology, opponents argue.

The letter sent to congressional leadership on Thursday points to the wrongful arrest of Robert Williams, a Black man from Detroit, as a clear case of the risks of the technology.

Williams was held for more than a day in January after his driver’s license photo was matched to surveillance video of a shoplifter.

“As the Williams story shows, the harms of face recognition are real for communities across the country,” Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel at the ACLU, told The Hill. “While many details about law enforcement use of this technology wrongly remain secret, the information we do have is cause for alarm. This surveillance technology is disproportionately inaccurate, is targeted at already overpoliced communities, and is a threat to our privacy and civil liberties.”

Read more about the groups’ concerns here. 


TWITTER VS. TRUMP PART INFINITY: Twitter on Wednesday removed an image from a tweet by President Trump after The New York Times filed a copyright claim, marking the second time the tech company has taken such a step regarding content shared by the president. 

The president earlier this week tweeted a meme featuring a black-and-white image of himself pointing at the camera with text that read: “In reality, they’re not after me, they’re after you. I’m just in the way.” The unique picture, taken by Pulitzer-winning Occasions photographer Damon Winter, got here from a 2015 Occasions characteristic on the president’s candidacy.

The picture has since been changed with a discover that reads: “This picture has been eliminated in response to a report from the copyright holder.”

A Twitter spokesperson informed The Hill the platform eliminated the picture following a grievance from a rights holder underneath the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as first reported by Axios. The Lumen Database, a database of authorized requests to take away on-line materials, reveals a grievance was submitted by the Occasions on Wednesday.

A spokesperson from the Occasions confirmed to The Hill that the newspaper filed the takedown discover prompting Twitter’s motion.

Learn extra concerning the incident right here. 


INDEPENDENCE DAY REGISTRATION DRIVE: Fb will launch a voter registration drive aimed toward registering hundreds of thousands of People to vote throughout the Fourth of July vacation weekend. 

Starting Friday morning, all voting age Fb customers in the US will see a notification on the prime of the Information Feed directing them to assets to register to vote of their space, together with a hyperlink to their state’s registration web site. 

The vacation weekend effort is a part of Fb’s marketing campaign to encourage People to register to vote forward of major and basic elections this yr. The Voting Data Heart, rolled out final month, goals to register as much as four million People earlier than the November elections and is supposed to offer People with authoritative data on how and when to vote. 

Fb plans to spearhead extra registration drives on different platforms it owns — together with on Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger — within the months main as much as November. 

Fb CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Fb claims it ‘doesn’t revenue from hate’ in open letter | Evaluation finds most of Fb’s prime advertisers haven’t joined boycott | Analysis finds Uighurs focused by Chinese language adware as a part of surveillance marketing campaign Most of Fb’s prime 100 advertisers haven’t joined the boycott: evaluation Fb claims it ‘doesn’t revenue from hate’ in open letter MORE mentioned the platform’s voter registration efforts in a put up final week, writing that data on the voting middle might be seen on the prime of Fb and Instagram feeds over the following few months. 

A hyperlink to the voting middle’s assets may even be added to any elections-focused posts in an effort to fight potential disinformation tied to voting. 

Learn extra concerning the registration drive right here. 


Lighter click on: Completely satisfied dunkaccino 

An op-ed to chew on: New laws required to safe US semiconductor management


Silicon Valley elite focus on journalists having an excessive amount of energy in non-public app (Vice / Jason Koebler, Anna Merlan, and Joseph Cox)

The hate Fb fosters destroys lives. Right here’s what it did to me (The Guardian / Julia Carrie Wong)

Goodbye to the Wild Wild Internet (New York Occasions / Kevin Roose)

How Police Secretly Took Over a International Cellphone Community for Organized Crime (Motherboard / Joseph Cox)

White YouTube creators battle to deal with previous use of racist characters (The Verge / Julia Alexander)

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