In The News


Morning Cybersecurity

by Tim Starks

A group of moderate House Democrats today will release a paper making cybersecurity policy recommendations, and MC got a sneak peek. The New Democrat Coalition paper suggests more quickly declassifying threat data and directing the National Guard to establish Cyber Civil Support teams to respond to major state and local cyber incidents. It also recommends creating a national service program to forgive federal student loan debts for science and tech students who work for the federal government on… Continue Reading


This is the best first step to stop Russian meddling in our politics

by Timothy Roemer, Zachary Wamp

During the 2016 election, hostile foreign powers unleashed unprecedented, anonymous attacks on the American people through the largest online platforms, the equivalent of strafing our TV sets with lies and disinformation during the 1960s and 1970s. The Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked "troll farm" spent more than $100,000 on thousands of Facebook advertisements linked to the election and divisive social issues. Due to the highly-targeted nature of the advertisements and private platfo… Continue Reading


Twitter to require disclosures for political ads

by Nicole Thomas

Additionally, at its "Transparency Center" page, Twitter will report detailed information about all political ads on the platforms. Congress is also holding a hearing on November 1 to speak with employees of Twitter, Google, and Facebook about Russian ads during the 2016 election. The company will also create a new "transparency center" where users can see allad campaigns now being run on Twitter, political or not. Enlarge / Twitter used this sample ad design to show how political ads would lo… Continue Reading


Twitter will publicly share identity of political ad buyers

by Violet Tucker

As CNBC reported, the ads will have some sort of visual marker, likely a purple dot next to the user handle, and a purple box with the text "Promoted by" and the name of the sponsor. Twitter's move to suddenly disclose all of its ads comes after it recently handed over to USA investigators almost 2,000 sponsored tweets from the Russian state-backed news network Russia Today, which U.S. government intelligence officials have identified as "the Kremlin's principal worldwide propaganda outlet". … Continue Reading


Twitter forced to release Russian ad info after threats of more regulations

Due to the series of revelations involving the 2016 election tampering by Russia through Twitter and other social network sites, U.S. lawmakers are now considering increased regulations on tech firms. In order to head off this tightening grip on their operations, the microblogging platform is now releasing more details about its ads that include labels on political ads and who sponsored them. The move by Twitter to start being more transparent comes amid investigations by the U.S. Senate into t… Continue Reading


Safeguarding our economy and our future

Recent high-profile cyber incidents including the Russian interference in the 2016 election, the breach at Equifax that compromised the personally identifiable information (PII) of 145.5 million people, email database breaches, and the rise of Ransomware have shown the very real consequences of cyber threats. Technology touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives for the better, but cyber threats have evolved alongside new innovations. It's time to do more to secure our nation, families and b… Continue Reading


Amid Russian investigation, Twitter is making all of its ads public

by Elizabeth Dwoskin

Amid federal investigations into Russian meddling in the U.S. election, Twitter is making all of its ads public, along with who published them and how much was spent, the company said Tuesday. The move, which follows a similar decision by Facebook, is aimed at adding greater transparency to the largely opaque world of online political advertising. It also may offer some cover for Silicon Valley companies that have come under scrutiny over the role they unwittingly played in allowing a massive R… Continue Reading


A $70 barrier to equity at national parks

by Glenn Nelson

My circle of colleagues is jammed with people of color who were inspired to work for equity and inclusion in the outdoors after a transformative experience at one of the keystone national parks in our country. Acadia. Grand Teton. Yosemite. All of those sources of inspiration landed among the 17 "highly visited" parks where peak-period fees have now been proposed to skyrocket from $20 to $25 up to $70 a car. It's a nonsensical, drop-in-the-bucket answer to the National Park Service's deferred m… Continue Reading


Democracy needs digital transparency

As a response to the Russian campaign to sow discord in the 2016 presidential election, the so-called Honest Ads Act is wholly inadequate. It is also entirely necessary. The legislation, introduced last week by Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, requires online platforms with at least 50 million monthly users - think Facebook, Google and Twitter - to make a public record of advertisers who spend at least $500 on political ads regarding campaigns or signific… Continue Reading


Twitter caves: Announces plan to improve “transparency” for political ads

One week before Twitter executives are slated to testify before the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, the company has bowed to pressure from lawmakers and announced it will soon begin providing users with more information about political advertising appearing on its platform, CNBC reported. Bruce Falck, Twitter's GM of revenue, product and engineering, made the announcement in a blog post published this afternoon. The policy - which is meant to provide "greater transparency" for Twitter… Continue Reading


Twitter announces new ‘transparency center’ for ads

by Anthony Ha

Twitter is responding to political scrutiny over the role it may have played in spreading Russian misinformation, and to a bipartisan Congressional bill proposing new regulations for online ads, with some new initiatives of its own. So it's launching an Advertising Transparency Center where users should be able to see all the ads running on Twitter, the content/creative of those ads, how long they've been running and which ones are targeted specifically at you. Anyone can then report an ad as i… Continue Reading


Tech companies and U.S. lawmakers are clashing over the need for new regulations targeting political ads

by Tony Romm

To Republican Rep. Will Hurd, it's an urgent problem that Russian agents purchased "political advertising on major American social media platforms" ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. To his Democratic colleague, Rep. Robin Kelly, federal laws must be updated in response. But as those two lawmakers and their peers began weighing on Tuesday exactly what to do, the likes of Facebook, Google and other tech companies and ad networks came with a message of their own: We can handle much of … Continue Reading


U.S. lawmakers want crackdown on Facebook, Twitter political ads

U.S. lawmakers, alarmed that foreign entities used the internet to influence last year's election, introduced legislation on Thursday to extend rules governing political advertising on television, print and radio to also cover social media like Facebook Inc (FB.O). Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner and Republican John McCain introduced the "Honest Ads Act," one of the strongest efforts in Congress yet to address allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. … Continue Reading


Bipartisan bill looks to train employees, close the skills gap

by Dave Kovaleski

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is sponsoring legislation that would incentivize employers to invest in their employees and close the skill gap that exists between employers' needs and employees in many industries. The bill - the Career Advancement Through New Skills Act - was introduced last week by Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Bradley Byrne (R-AL), and Derek Kilmer (D-WA). "One the greatest challenges facing workers today is connecting the skills and knowledge they have… Continue Reading


Coffman, McCain lead bicameral bill targeting online political advertising by foreign entities

Following revelations that a Russian company bought 3,000 political ads on Facebook in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) and U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation on Thursday to strengthen the monitoring of online ads. The Honest Ads Act would mandate that online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google make reasonable efforts to ensure that foreign entities are not buying political advertisements in order to i… Continue Reading


Thompson hopes to close ‘skills gap’

Congressmen Mike Thompson (CA-05), Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), and Randy Hultgren (IL-14) introduced the Career Advancement Through New Skills Act, legislation that would incentivize employers to invest in their employees, giving them the necessary training to close the skill gap that exists between employers' needs and employees in many industries. "The nation's skills gap is significant. Small businesses across the country report being unable to find qualified applicants and … Continue Reading


Bipartisan bill aimed at foreign election influence on social media unveiled

by Tierney Sneed

Democratic senators on Thursday announced legislation co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that would require major social media platforms to label political ads in much the same way they're disclosed on television and radio. The bill, The Honest Ads Act, comes in response to growing evidence that Russia exploited a number of social media platforms to interfere with the 2016 election and exacerbate divisions in U.S. political discourse. A companion bill, sponsored by Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA… Continue Reading


New bill would make political digital ads ‘honest’

The lure of online advertising by political operatives may become less bright if a bipartisan bill introduced on Thursday becomes law. The proposed Honest Ads Act would require the largest digital advertising players to face the same transparency and disclosure requirements as ads sold on radio, television and cable and satellite TV. "They have an obligation--just like TV and radio has-to disclose this to the public," Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said during a Capitol Hill press conference. The le… Continue Reading


What will the transparency fight mean for digital advertising?

by Sean J. Miller

Congressional lawmakers on Thursday touted their digital ad transparency legislation as a way of applying current rules governing television and radio campaign marketing to the internet. But some practitioners worry that the law is unworkable and could aggravate Google, Facebook and Twitter enough to hinder future campaign advertising. Facebook has already warned that ads targeting specific issues and religious or ethnic groups will faced added scrutiny. If the Honest Ads Act that Democratic … Continue Reading


Bill would regulate political ads on social media

by Michael Kan

Tech companies including Google and Facebook will have to reveal the buyers of online political ads if a proposed Senate bill becomes law. The bill, called the Honest Ads Act, demands that major online services keep a public file on political ad purchases, which anyone-such as voters and journalists-can access. It would also force tech companies to include disclaimers on each online political ad, identifying who sponsored them. The three US Senators behind the bill, two Democrats and Republica… Continue Reading

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