President Joe Biden withdrew Trump-era orders that sought to ban WeChat and TikTok. Biden ordered a Commerce Department review of security concerns posed by those apps. He has asked for recommendations within 120 days to protect US citizen data acquired by foreign companies. Biden has asked intelligence and Homeland security to give threat assessments on data gathered by foreign companies to the Commerce Department as it conducts its review.
In the new budget US president Joe Biden proposed an 11% increase in funding for the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. Both of them have filed lawsuits against Big tech companies in 2020. In 2022 the FTC staff is to increase to 1,250 from 1,140 as the government plans on spending $389.8 mn compared to $351 mn of FY21. The Antitrust division will have an increase of 8.6% in their budget from $185mn to $201mn.
The Biden administration will look at adding “new targeted restrictions” on sensitive tech exports to China, media reports said. This has come at a time when the new president will have his first call with China’s Xi Jinping. The USA govt will also not move to lift Chinese trade tariffs imposed by the Trump administration before it has conducted “intense consultation and review” with allies, an official was quoted in news reports.
Twitter and Facebook temporarily blocked the accounts of President Donald Trump, amid riots in the capital in which a woman lost life. Facebook has blocked Trump’s page from posting for 24 hrs, while Twitter locked @realDonaldTrump handle for 12 hrs and said that if tweets violating its policy are not removed, the account would remain locked. Pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to force Congress to block the appointment of President-elect Joe Biden.
Microsoft alerted Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firm – SKDKnickerbocker – that it had been targeted by suspected Russian state-backed hackers. The hacking attempts (phishing etc) targeted staff but failed to access the firm’s network due to strong security. Investigations did earlier revealed that Russian govt meddles in US presidential elections as it did in 2016. Hence, Russian hackers are the likely culprit behind SKDK’s cyberattack.