TikTok’s CEO is scheduled to testify at the House amid rising scrutiny, largely from Republicans, over potential security risks posed by the Chinese-owned video sharing app.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is entering uncharted territory in its request for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague to investigate whether certain Russian cyberattacks could constitute war crimes.
This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare.
TikTok in the hot seat
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will appear in March before the House Energy and Commerce Committee as lawmakers push to examine the video-sharing app’s ties to China and its consumer data privacy and security practices.
Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said calling the TikTok chief to testify is part of the panel’s goal of “asking Big Tech CEOs — from Facebook to Twitter to Google — to answer for their companies’ actions.”
The social media app TikTok, which is owned by China-based parent company ByteDance, “has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data,” Rodgers said.
- “Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms,” she added. “It is now time to continue the committee’s efforts to hold Big Tech accountable by bringing TikTok before the committee to provide complete and honest answers for people.”
- Chew is set to testify before the full committee at a March 23 hearing in his first appearance before Congress. He’ll talk about “TikTok’s consumer privacy and data security practices, the platforms’ impact on kids, and their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party,” according to the committee.
Read more here.
Ukraine wants investigation of Russian cyberattacks
Ukrainian officials are breaking new ground — and possibly reshaping the future of cyberwarfare — as they seek to convince the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague to investigate whether certain Russian cyberattacks could constitute war crimes.
Cyberattacks have increasingly become a part of modern warfare in recent years, and have been repeatedly used by Russian forces amid the country’s war in Ukraine to target critical infrastructure.
Such attacks, though, are not listed as a form of war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Legal experts and researchers have previously made the case for the ICC to prosecute Russian cyberattacks, but the reported push from Ukrainian officials marks the first time a sovereign government has made such a request to the court — and could be a game-changer.
“News that Ukrainian officials are weighing cyberattacks as potential war crimes is reflective of how seriously governments are taking these growing and evolving threats,” said Paul Martini, CEO and chief technology officer at cybersecurity firm iboss.
Read more here.
On the Record Newsmaker event,Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, sits down with The Hill’s Bob Cusack for a live newsmaker event to discuss her priorities for the 118th Congress. RSVP and join us live.
FORMER TWITTER EMPLOYEES TO APPEAR ON CAPITOL HILL
Former Twitter executives are set to testify next month before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee about the social media platform’s decisions surrounding a 2020 news story on President Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
Republicans have argued that Twitter suppressed circulation of a 2020 New York Post article about Hunter Biden in the weeks before the presidential election, in which now-President Biden was a candidate, for political reasons.
“Our first hearings will be next week. We’re going to talk to Twitter employees, because I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about the laptop. And we’re going to talk about that laptop,” Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said in remarks at the National Press Club’s Headliners Newsmaker talk on Monday.
The newly GOP-controlled Oversight panel is planning to probe the Biden family on a number of issues, and Hunter Biden’s business ties have long been a Republican area of focus.
Read more here.
PARENTS GRAPPLE WITH CHATGPT CONCERNS
Parents have a new platform to contend with in the battle to keep up with the ever-growing technological advances in their children’s lives: ChatGPT.
The new AI technology has become so popular that some schools have banned it as it makes its way into the lives of K-12 and college students around the U.S. It has made headlines for its humanlike and unique responses to questions, which sparked concern among some educators around cheating and a loss of critical thinking skills.
It is not uncommon for children and young adults to be ahead of the adults in their lives with certain technological advances.
“I would guess that 95 percent of parents have no idea, anything about ChatGPT, haven’t thought about it, or don’t know anything about it. I’m guessing that high school and college kids are starting to figure this out really quickly,” said Matt Albert, former executive director at the Center for Reflective Communities.
Read more here.
BITS & PIECES
An op-ed to chew on: Quantum computing is coming — and there’s more the Biden administration can do to prepare
Notable links from around the web:
‘Recession Resilient’ Climate Start-Ups Shine in Tech Downturn (The New York Times / Erin Griffith)
Where Silicon Valley Roasts Itself (Motherboard / Eddie Kim)
Cybercrime groups offer six-figure salaries, bonuses, paid time off to attract talent on dark web (CyberScoop / AJ Vicens)
ONE MORE THING
Surgeon General issues social media safety warning
SurgeonGeneral Vivek Murthy on Sunday cautioned that, despite many app guidelines, 13-year-olds are too young to join social media.
“What is the right age for a child to start using social media? I worry that right now, if you look at the guidelines from the platforms, that age 13 is when kids are technically allowed to use social media. But there are two concerns I have about that. One is: I, personally, based on the data I’ve seen, believe that 13 is too early,” Murthy said on CNN’s “Newsroom.”
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other top social media platforms allow users age 13 and older to join, create their own profiles and share and consume content.
“It’s a time, you know, early adolescence, where kids are developing their identity, their sense of self. It’s a time where it’s really important for us to be thoughtful about what’s going into how they think about their own self-worth and their relationships and the skewed and often distorted environment of social media often does a disservice to many of those children,” the surgeon general argued.
Read more here.
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.