Today is Wednesday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing everything you need to know about tech and cyber news, from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.
President BidenJoe BidenTrump tightens grip on top RNC health official to quit White House on money – House panel mulls future of ‘stablecoin’ rulesThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominee faced a deeply divided Senate panel across party lines in a hearing on Wednesday, and tech advocates are growing frustrated with delays in the confirmation process. .
In other news, ID.me will offer a verification system without facial recognition amid backlash from activists and lawmakers to now-cancelled plans for the IRS to use the service.
Let’s get to the news.
Sohn audience, take two
President Biden’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominee Gigi Sohn faced questions from a Senate panel for the second time on Wednesday amid continued delays upon its confirmation.
Addressing the critics: Sohn directly responded to concerns raised by Republicans about his ties to Locast, a discontinued nonprofit streaming service that allows users to view live TV broadcasts, and a recent confidential settlement involving the association. nonprofits and broadcasters.
“I have been subjected to relentless, unfair and downright false criticism and scrutiny,” she said.
Sohn said she had “no financial liability arising from the lawsuit” and did not negotiate the settlement.
She also told the panel that she did not mention the $700,000 settlement agreement when questioned in writing by senators because she had no right to do so under the terms. confidential settlement.
“It’s a fact that whoever leaked the deal to the press conveniently omitted,” she said.
It was Sohn’s second hearing before the committee, after Democrats failed to push it through late last year.
Delay frustrations: Progressive tech advocates are growing increasingly frustrated with the delays, blaming the White House and Senate Democratic leaders for delaying and serving Republicans who they say are raising spurious concerns.
As the Senate continues to fight along party lines over Sohn, the FCC is locked in a 2-2 stalemate that limits Democrats’ ability to advance their agenda, including reinstating net neutrality laws struck down under the Trump administration.
Learn more here.
Private contractor ID.me is removing the facial recognition requirement from its identity verification software which is widely used by state and federal agencies.
The decision comes after a growing backlash from activists and lawmakers against IRS plans to use ID.me over privacy and accuracy concerns.
“We’ve listened to feedback on facial recognition and are making this important change, adding an option for users to verify directly with a human agent to ensure consumers have even more choice and control over their personal data,” said said ID.me CEO Blake Hall. said in a statement Tuesday evening
The IRS announced on Monday that it would drop plans to require Americans to upload a video selfie to access basic tax information.
At least 30 states and 10 federal agencies, including Social Security, Labor and Veterans Affairs, also use ID.me for verification to access unemployment assistance and various grants.
THE NEW MICROSOFT APP STORE RULES
Microsoft announced new rules for its app stores on Wednesday as regulators review the company’s plans to acquire games company Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft’s new Open App Store Principles reflect guidelines Congress is seeking to adopt to regulate Apple’s and Google’s dominant app stores and will be applied across the Microsoft Store on Windows and “markets”. generation that we will build for games,” said Microsoft’s president. Brad Smith said in a blog post.
The new rules are part of the company’s pitch to regulators weighing in on the company’s purchase of Activision Blizzard for about $70 billion.
“We have developed these principles in part to respond to Microsoft’s growing role and responsibility as we begin the process of obtaining regulatory approval in capitals around the world for our acquisition of Activision Blizzard,” said Smith.
“This regulatory process begins as many governments also move forward with new laws to promote competition in app markets and beyond,” he added. “We want regulators and the public to know that as a company, Microsoft is committed to adapting to these new laws, and with these principles, we are preparing to do so.”
Learn more here.
“SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT” TO TALK WITH Melanie TrumpMelania TrumpThe Memo: Stacey Abrams faces growing fury over photo without mask ‘They’d sell ice cream to a Trump-signed Eskimo if they could’: Michael Cohen The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden clarifies his remarks on Russia MORE
Talking announced on Wednesday that he was entering into a “special arrangement” on social media with the former first lady. Melanie Trump where does she go share “exclusive communications” on the social network.
Parler noted that it already powers its blockchain technology and non-fungible token platform, MelaniaTrump.com.
In a statement, Trump praised the social network, which she said “allows its users to foster productive speech.”
“I am excited and inspired by free speech platforms that enable direct communication with people around the world. Speak has pioneered the use of Web3 technology and enables its users to foster productive speech,” the former first lady said.
Parler’s announcement comes almost a year after the social media platform relaunched its service after web services and app stores de-platformed it after the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021.
Learn more here.
Nationals sign an agreement with the crypto community
The Washington Nationals baseball team on Wednesday announced a partnership with a cryptocurrency community that could allow fans to pay for tickets and concessions with digital tokens as early as next year.
The DC-based MLB team has entered into a high-profile sponsorship deal with Terra, a network of individuals who run a blockchain behind several top cryptocurrencies.
The Terra Network controls a pool of over $2.7 billion through a decentralized autonomous organization, a structure popular among cryptocurrency communities that allows members to govern the operations of the entire community. The network runs on technology created by Singapore-based Terraform Labs.
The Terra brand will appear behind home plate at Nationals Park, providing the network with prime real estate space for television coverage, as well as on stadium screens. The Nationals will also rename an elite club of indoor suites behind home plate after Terra, release a five-part video series explaining the Terra network and may accept payments in “UST” from the network – a value-linked cryptocurrency. of the US dollar – as early as 2023.
Learn more here.
A chewable editorial: How space is changing the nature of warfare
Lighter click: I like Picasso
Notable Web Links:
The hacked account and suspicious donations behind protests by Canadian truckers (Grid News/Anya van Wagtendonk, Benjamin Powers and Steve Reilly)
Resell Concert work Is Tiktok’s Newest Side Hustle (The Verge/Mia Sato)
Slack or Bust: How working tools become job-breakers (Protocol / Lizzy Lawrence)
One last thing: Amazon’s new telehealth service
Amazon announced on Tuesday that it deployment of its telehealth service at national scale.
The company said the virtual serviceknown as Amazon Care, would now be available nationwide, with in-person services available in 20 cities later this year.
Amazon Care, which first launched in 2019 and has grown amid the demand for virtual services caused by COVID-19, provides on-demand access to various urgent and primary care services.
“Patients are tired of a health care system that doesn’t put them first. Our patient-centric service is changing that, one visit at a time,” said Kristen Helton, director of Amazon Care, in the company’s announcement.
“We have offered our on-demand primary and emergency care services to patients across the country. As we expand the service, we will continue to work with our customers to meet their needs.”
Learn more here.
That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Discover The Hill’s Technology and cyber security pages for breaking news and coverage. We will see you Thusday.