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Happy New Years Eve! A big year for tech and cybersecurity news is (finally) coming to an end. Celebrate the end of the year with us by reviewing some of the most remarkable moments from the past 12 months.

Programming Note: Hillicon Valley is vacationing tomorrow but will return on Monday.

Let’s jump into the news.

Antitrust begins and ends on Capitol Hill

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee tabled six bills in June aimed at revising antitrust law to target the largest tech companies in the US

But while they had bipartisan support, the bills were up Roadblocks on both sides of the aisle. In particular, members of the California delegation – even usually solid progressive votes – pushed back against the bills, the primarily aimed at companies based in the Golden State.

In the Upper Chamber, senators made some similar proposals to target the market power of tech giants, but despite numerous hearings in both chambers, the proposals have largely stalled.

In the meantime: The Biden administration has signaled it would take a tough stance Antitrust law through nominations for important supervisory and advisory positions.

President BidenJoe BidenFDA Approves Second Rapid COVID-19 Test at Home Pentagon Awards 6.7 Million Domestic Production of Material Critical to Rapid COVID-19 Testing nominated Lina KhanLina KhanBusiness lobby targets FTC enforcement actions in T bill Company as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Jonathan appointed Kanter to head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division and appointed Tim Wu to an advisory role in the White House. All three picks were backed by the progressive movement to break up technology giants.

Jog your memory:

Tech antitrust laws create strange bedfellows

California Democrats argue over technology antitrust law

Trump banned on social media

Social media companies for most of the Trump administration were reprimanded by critics for taking too little action against contributions from former people President TrumpDonald TrumpKeith Olbermann has been criticized for a tweet targeting Romney’s family. And other important national security questions for 2022 MORE that seemed to be against the rules of the platforms.

However, After the deadly January 6 riot in the Capitol, social media companies cracked down on Trump’s accounts, to varying degrees. While twitter Trump permanently banned, Facebook has shifted its decision to its quasi-independent supervisory body.

In June the Board said an indefinite ban was not appropriate, prompting Facebook to keep Trump’s account suspended until at least January 7, 2023 – with the option to re-authorize it before the next presidential election.

This decision pleases neither side, fueling criticism from Democrats for not standing up tough enough against content that violates their policies, and Republicans’ allegations that Facebook is censoring conservative content. One final call to Trump’s account is on still unclear.


Facebook is considering decisive decision to ban Trump

Facebook suspends Trump until at least 2023


Facebook whistleblower goes to Washington

Facebook had a rocky end to the year over Washington’s control and the court of public opinion, largely based on documents leaked by corporate whistleblower Frances Haugen.

In October, several news outlets published a series of stories based on thousands of internal Facebook documents that Haugen had leaked.

Haugen, a former member of Facebook’s integrity team, also testified in the House, Senate and overseas about the Silicon Valley giant. In the US, lawmakers largely clung to leaked child safety documents on Facebook and Instagram, which, with bipartisan support, has turned out to be a rare issue.

As for Facebook, which is now under the new parent company Meta, executives argued that the internal documents misrepresent the research and rejected Haugen’s statement by saying that she “had no direct subordinates” and “never attended a decision-making meeting with C-level executives”.


Four big takeaways from a tough hearing for Facebook

Facebook papers are hot on the competitive social media platform

Cyber ​​world shaken by attacks

It was a tumultuous year for cybersecurity, with both the private sector and government increasingly plagued by attacks that forced both the Biden government and Congress to take steps to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity against both nation states and against Cyber ​​criminals to undertake.

Microsoft Violation: The impact of the SolarWinds hack, which was discovered in late 2020 and allowed Russian government-backed hackers to compromise nine US government agencies, wore off as Chinese hackers began to exploit vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Exchange Server. Microsoft admitted the violation in March.

The vulnerabilities exposed thousands of organizations and officially led to the United States and other allied nations accuse China for exploiting the weak points.

This marked the second time the Biden government stepped in to formally blame another nation for a cyberattack in 2021, with President Biden raising a levy Sanctions over Russia in April in retaliation for the SolarWinds hack and election interference.

More hacks, more action: Aside from nation-state interference, ransomware attacks became a focus of concern in 2021 Attack in May the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies 45 percent of the east coast’s fuel, was preceded by a temporary gas shortage. Later ransomware attacks on meat producers JBS USA and IT company Kaseya also served to compromise critical organizations and supply chains.

Biden signed an implementing regulation To bolster federal government cybersecurity in the week following the Colonial Pipeline hack’s discovery, and Congress passed laws requiring companies to report cyber incidents. This bipartisan legislation still is waiting for passage.


A comment on chewing: Best and worst crisis management 2021

Light click: Guilty as charged

Notable links from the internet:

All Off to the Metaverse! Virtual Reality attracts big tech. (New York Times / Cade Metz)

The breakthrough list: 11 people who had a big 2021 (Minutes / Biz Carson)

Facebook’s pushback: Stop The Leaks, Turn The Politics On, Don’t Say It (The Wall Street Journal / Keach Hagey, Georgia Wells, Emily Glazer, Deepa Seetharaman, and Jeff Horwitz)


One last thing: Alexa is getting an update

Amazon updated its artificial intelligence (AI) from Alexa after a user posted that an Amazon device told their child to run the so-called “Penny Challenge,” a company spokesman said Thursday.

“Customer trust is at the heart of everything we do, and Alexa is designed to provide customers with accurate, relevant and helpful information,” the spokesman said in a statement.

“As soon as we became aware of this bug, we fixed it quickly and will continue to develop our systems to avoid similar reactions in the future,” they added.

Read more here.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hills technology and Internet security Pages for the latest news and coverage. See you monday!

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