Blockchain link

Blockchain technology, along with cryptocurrencies based on that technology, received decidedly mixed views at a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Thursday where witnesses debated the usefulness of blockchain to institutions like banks and government agencies, and shared divergent views on whether the technology has promising potential use cases. […]

Congress Capitol Senate House

The chairmen of the House Intelligence and Oversight and Government Reform committees have asked for classified briefings from top U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies on a recent Bloomberg Businessweek report that Chinese hackers infiltrated numerous U.S. companies and government agencies through a supply-chain hardware hack involving implantation in network equipment of a chip that can route data back to China.






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data privacy, people, personal data, binary

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee heard testimony today detailing the workings of data privacy laws in Europe and California–specifically the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)–amid a growing groundswell for Congress to work on a national data privacy law for the U.S.






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Apple

Apple told congressional leaders in a letter dated today that a story last week by Bloomberg Businessweek–reporting that chips made by a Chinese firm and used in Apple equipment were engineered to enable backdoor data transmissions to China–is “not true.”






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quantum computing AI min

Congress is getting behind the push to develop artificial intelligence technologies and policies with recent calls for research and development that may overlap efforts already underway. It also reflects the kind of “whole of country” approach that some leaders have said is necessary to keep up with the Chinese.






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social-security-administration (1)-min
Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) IT modernization efforts won praise from the agency’s inspector general and the Government Accountability Office at a House hearing on Sept. 27, but drew a more mixed review from members of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Social Security Subcommittee.






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Karen Evans

The Department of Energy’s new office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) has already begun work to provide support to the nation’s energy grid and critical infrastructure cybersecurity, and the head of the new office appeared in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday to discuss the role of CESER within DoE.






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Congress Capitol Senate House

A gaggle of tech and communications sector bellwethers presented a united front today at a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on data privacy and protection issues, saying they support a bill to address those issues but sharing strong preferences for federal legislation that would preempt state law and appoint the Federal Trade Commission as the chief watchdog.






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Funding needed for further U.S. research and development of quantum information sciences (QIS) and the computing and other advances that QIS is expected to yield, along with the pressing need to develop a highly skilled workforce to leverage those expected advances, dominated discussion today at a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee examining the Department of Energy’s (DoE) efforts in the QIS field.






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Congress Capitol Senate House
Mike Pompeo Secretary of State Department of State

A bipartisan group of senators wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday questioning the State Department on what they called its failure to meet Federal cybersecurity standards, including a “near total absence of multifactor authentication (MFA).”






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social media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn

The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee today voiced some interest in considering Federal government regulation of social media companies and their services, but offered no concrete steps on how to do so.






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Capital, House of Representatives, Congress, Senate
Ron Wyden Oregon

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions in an Aug. 21 letter to update the Justice Department’s (DoJ) guidance on use of cell-site simulator technologies–sometimes referred to as Stingray devices–to take into account information from a manufacturer that use of the devices may completely disrupt communications of targeted phones including emergency 911 calls and other features.  






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Capital, House of Representatives, Congress, Senate

With just 75 days to go until the 2018 midterm elections and amid mounting pressure for legislative action to boost election security, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration postponed today’s scheduled business meeting on the Secure Elections Act, which would help state and local governments apply for Federal grants to modernize their election systems and receive relevant cyber threat information.






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Thomas Fanning, chief executive officer of Atlanta-based electric utility holding company Southern Co. and a key player in developing private-sector cybersecurity policy, said today at a Senate subcommittee hearing that he has begun to have interactions with senior Federal government military leaders about capabilities to “hack back” at cyber attackers, but emphasized he believes that those types of retaliatory capabilities need to remain in the hands of the military rather than become a corporate function.






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Ajit Pai, FCC Commisioner

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today defended his year-long public insistence that the FCC was the victim of a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack which impacted its electronic comment filing system during the agency’s net neutrality rulemaking proceeding last year, but admitted to having his own doubts about the cause of the system problem.






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Lisa Murkowski

While members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today appeared to be generally positive toward the nomination of Lane Genatowski to be the director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) at the Department of Energy, they also had some sharp questions for the nominee over his stated support for President Trumps’ plan to get rid of the organization.  






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Ajit Pai

In advance of his appearance before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee scheduled for tomorrow, four House Democrats hammered Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai over statements he made in 2017 that the FCC was a victim of a distributed-denial-of-service (DDOS) attack which impacted its electronic comment filing system during the agency’s net neutrality rulemaking proceeding last year.






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