Tech companies could face a wave of probes if the GOP takes over House

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Below: TikTok tries to assuage security concerns and Google takes a stand on abortion data. First:

Tech companies could face a wave of probes if the GOP takes over House

Republican officials have long accused social media companies of stifling conservative views. But if the GOP takes over the House in this year’s midterm elections, those grievances could fuel a flurry of congressional investigations.

Top House Republicans reported in a Friday op-ed that they plan to investigate how tech companies initially restricted the distribution of a 2020 New York Post article detailing emails allegedly sent since the laptop of Biden hunterson of President Bidenif they regain the majority.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California) and Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and james comer (Ky.) claimed that Facebook, Twitter and the media “colluded to hide details of the Post article just as Americans were deciding on the presidential election.”

“A Republican majority will pledge to uncover the facts that Democrats, big tech and legacy media have suppressed,” they wrote.

While GOP allegations of Silicon Valley “censorship” are nothing new, recent remarks from Republican leaders suggest they are becoming a bigger part of the party’s platform.

When Republicans controlled the Senate in 2020, they repeatedly called the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter to testify about the Post incident – after threatening to subpoena the companies if they failed to comply with their demands to testify.

And in 2018, when Republicans last controlled the House, they summoned Google CEO Sundar Pichai to appear to address previous allegations of “bias” by the company.

But those sessions were largely ad hoc hearings by various congressional panels in both the House and Senate — not a dedicated investigation.

That is about to change if Republicans regain control of Congress, especially the House, whose leaders have increasingly dragged tech companies into their core message railing against the “cancel culture” and an alleged “silence” of the conservatives.

In November, Jordan raised the specter to create an investigative committee within the House Judiciary Committee to “tackle big tech,” among other issues. “What big tech in collusion with big government is doing in this ‘cancel culture’ world we live in is so wrong,” he said. Jordan reiterated his desire to “investigate” the matter during an April appearance on Fox News.

The remarks suggest tech companies could face a probe closer to the sprawling antitrust probe that a bipartisan group of Judiciary House lawmakers led last Congress than the more sporadic hearings under former GOP rule.

While House Republicans may turn the screw on tech companies if they take over the chamber, they have signaled they have little interest in advancing the most threatening legislative proposals for giants like Facebook and Google.

McCarthy and Jordan are vocal opponents of a growing antitrust push to ban tech companies from juicing their own products over those of their competitors.

representing Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who is leading the bipartisan antitrust push along with other lawmakers, lamented that if his party takes over the House, his bills are doomed.

“The antitrust bills that we’re currently considering won’t move forward under Republican leadership, and that’s a very clear signal that’s been sent, and I think the tech companies are trying to run out of time,” he said. Buck in March.

He added: “The best we can hope for with antitrust going forward is either a watered down version or maybe trying to address another area that hasn’t come up yet.”

The remarks suggest that a potentially GOP-controlled House could mean more “investigative” hearings, but potentially fewer laws targeting tech companies.

Under fire, TikTok responds to national security concerns

Facing increasing scrutiny from Republican lawmakers, a TikTok executive on Sunday sought to address concerns about a BuzzFeed News report finding that US user data on the app has been accessed repeatedly since then. China, where its parent company ByteDance is based.

In a rare interview on CNN, TikTok’s head of public policy for the Americas, Michael Beckerman, said the company has “never shared any information with the Chinese government, and neither have we.” He added that TikTok has “US-based security teams that manage access” to the app.

On Thursday, the company confirmed in a letter to nine GOP senators that China-based employees who clear security protocols can access U.S. user information on TikTok, as reported by Bloomberg. US officials have expressed concern that the Chinese government is obtaining or seizing information about US users from TikTok, one of the world’s most popular social networks.

TikTok’s attempts to reassure Republican leaders have drawn more feedback. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.):

Google will delete users’ location history for abortion clinic visits

The search engine giant said on Friday it would delete its users’ location history when they visit abortion clinics and other sensitive locations, my colleague Gerrit de Vynck reported Friday. The move marked the company’s first public response to “calls on the data giant to limit the amount of information it collects that could be used by law enforcement for criminal investigations and prosecutions.” abortion,” Gerrit wrote.

“If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these locations, we will delete these Location History entries shortly after their visit,” Jen Fitzpatricka senior Google executive, said in a blog post.

The message “also reiterates Google’s position that it pushes back against what are considered overly broad or illegal requests for government data, but does not specifically say how the company will respond to abortion-related requests,” Gerrit wrote. .

Bezos denounces Biden’s calls for gas stations to lower prices

Founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos criticized a Biden tweet on Saturday urging gas stations to lower prices, according to the Wall Street Journal Rina Torchinsky reports. Bezos said the remarks reflected “either a direct misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.” (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

White House officials pushed back against Bezos’ remarks. “We are obviously very opposed to the idea that this is in some way a misdirection,” John Kirby, the spokesperson for the National Security Council said on Fox News. “The president is working very, very hard on many fronts to try to get that price down.”

Bill to grant crypto firms access to Federal Reserve alarm experts (Tory Newmyer)

People seeking an abortion online must navigate misinformation (Rachel Lerman)

Push to curb social media sweeps states (Politico)

Zuckerberg is preparing Meta employees for tougher times (New York Times)

Amazon will allow Prime users to unsubscribe with two clicks after EU complaints (Reuters)

Texts and web searches about abortion have been used to prosecute women (Cat Zakrzewski, Pranshu Verma and Claire Parker)

Is your new car a threat to national security? (Cable)

The fireworks are out, the drone shows are on this 4th of July (Axios)

Remember RadioShack? It’s now a crypto company with wild tweets. (Yiwen Lu)

ThisThat’s all for today — thank you so much for joining us! Be sure to tell others to subscribe to The Technology 202 here. Get in touch with advice, comments or greetings on Twitter Where E-mail.

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