Hillicon Valley – Democrats use TikTok after voting to limit the app

Democrats are turning to TikTok to campaign despite concerns raised by their colleagues about security issues with the China-based app.

Meanwhile, Congress is bolstering US defenses against foreign spyware after incidents revealing its use on government officials, journalists and dissidents.

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing everything you need to know about tech and cyber news, from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Tip Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare of The Hill. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Subscribe here.

Democrats divided on TikTok

The campaign season has more Democrats turning to TikTok as they seek to reach new demographics ahead of the crucial midterm elections — despite warnings from colleagues about security issues with the popular app.

Although the app is primarily known for its viral dance videos and spreading a lighter side of the internet, lawmakers see it as an opportunity to reach new and different demographics, especially younger voters.

But this opportunity presents security risks. So much so that intelligence officials have warned some lawmakers against using the app due to fears the China-based tech company could face pressure to share data stored by the platform with people. Beijing.

“I wouldn’t use TikTok,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) told The Hill, fearing it was a “backdoor” to the Chinese government.

  • Lawmakers were sufficiently concerned about the app’s security risks that nearly all Democratic lawmakers backed a provision in the 2021 Defense Policy Bill that barred federal employees from accessing the app on any website. any government-issued device.
  • But a growing number of Democrats are trying to post content there, largely dismissing those warnings, saying they should use the popular app to reach voters in different ways.

Learn more here.

Congress takes action to fight spyware

Congress is seeking to bolster US defenses against the evolving threat of foreign spyware following recent incidents revealing its use on government officials, journalists and dissidents.

  • Last week, the House Intelligence Committee passed the Intelligence Authorization Act, which included a provision authorizing the Director of National Intelligence to ban the US intelligence community from purchasing and using foreign spyware.
  • The bill would also allow the president to impose sanctions on foreign government officials and companies that target US officials with spyware.
  • In a hearing on Wednesday, Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-California) shed light on foreign governments’ use of Pegasus spyware, which was developed and sold by Israeli company NSO Group, to monitor domestic and foreign officials, journalists, human rights activists and political opponents.

“This spyware could be used against every member of this committee, every executive branch employee, every journalist or political activist,” Schiff said.

Learn more here.


NASA Administrator Bill Nelson is calling out China for not sharing information about debris from a rocket booster falling to Earth.

“All space nations should follow established best practices and do their part to share this type of information in advance to enable reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk,” the former senator said Saturday in a statement.

The Chinese Manned Space Agency reported on Saturday that debris from a rocket crashed into waters off the Philippines, according to multiple media reports.

China’s “heavy” Long March 5B rocket is particularly dangerous, Nelson said, and carries “significant risk of loss of life and property” with potential debris impact.

Learn more here.

The challenges of diversity in the cyber workforce

The White House now has a point person to carry out its promise to expand diversity in the cyber workforce.

Camille Stewart Gloster, a Google executive, has been hired to lead the Biden administration’s efforts to grow the nation’s tech talent ecosystem, including creating a more diverse cyber workforce and bolstering cyber education.

This is a difficult but urgent task, as the cyber-sector faces a widespread shortage of manpower.

Suzanne Spaulding, senior homeland security adviser and director of the Defending Democratic Institutions Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the hiring of Stewart Gloster was important.

“It is not just the visibility of a woman of color who is in a cyber leadership position in government, but one who has a high profile in the very communities that we are trying to reach,” a- she declared.

Learn more here.

MUSK allegedly contradicted TWITTER

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confidentially filed a countersuit against Twitter after the company sued him for trying to end a deal to buy the social media platform for $44 billion earlier this month, according to multiple reports.

Friday’s countersuit has not been made public. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on The Hill on the development.

The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Musk should counterclaim that the number of monetizable daily active users was changed by Twitter before the deal was made.

Additionally, the Journal reported that Musk will likely claim that Twitter did not respond when the SpaceX CEO’s team asked about spam number data which the team says was not enough. answered by the social media company.

Learn more here.


A chewable editorial: Can NASA launch two Artemis missions to the Moon per year?

Notable Web Links:

National park reservation app leaves users feeling lost in the woods (The New York Times/Lauren Sloss)

Thousands of lives depend on a transplant network that needs “extensive restructuring” (The Washington Post/Joseph Menn and Lenny Bernstein)

Data brokers ignore pressure to stop collecting information on pregnant women (Politico/Alfred Ng)

🏠Lighter click: DC rent while playing games

One more thing: Fetterman’s very online campaign

John Fetterman doesn’t want to be just another Midwestern white man promoting populism.

He wants to be the reason Pennsylvania has two Senate Democrats, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Accusing the competition of carpetbagging? Good. Enlisting a reality TV star for a laugh? Great.

Fetterman’s quest to beat Republican candidate Mehmet Oz helps shape an electoral narrative in which both parties attempt to deflate their competition by any means necessary. And the state’s very online race for the upper house is becoming one of the most eccentric – and consequential – contests of the cycle.

Learn more here.

That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. Well see you tomorrow.


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