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Hillicon Valley — Democrat asks Labor to probe surveillance tech

Democratic lawmaker Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is pushing the Department of Labor to investigate surveillance technology used by companies to track their employees’ performance and productivity.  

Meanwhile, we’ll look at Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comments this week spoke to podcaster Joe Rogan about Facebook limiting stories related to the New York Post story about President Biden’s son Hunter Biden and his laptop after warnings from the FBI. 

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. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Senator urges Labor to monitor invasive tech

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), a member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, is urging the Department of Labor to monitor and regulate how companies are using invasive technology to monitor their employees during work hours.  

In a letter addressed to Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Casey called for the agency to push for more oversight, accountability and transparency on how these surveillance technologies are being used in the workplace and how they are impacting workers’ privacy. 

  • “The implementation of novel technologies to track, monitor, manage and discipline workers is growing due to an imbalance of power in the workplace and a lack of legal protections or regulatory restrictions on these behaviors,” Casey said in the letter. 
  • “Without oversight, more and more intrusive technologies will be implemented in the workplace,” he added. 

Casey listed examples of how employees are constantly monitored and sometimes punished or fired for low productivity scores that are based on algorithms and automated systems which have “little or no meaningful human oversight.” 

Read more here. 

Zuckerberg on the Hunter Biden story  

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week told popular podcaster Joe Rogan that Facebook did limit stories on the news feed related to the New York Post story about President Biden’s son Hunter Biden and his laptop after warnings from the FBI, but defended the law enforcement agency as a “legitimate institution.” 

  • Zuckerberg said on an episode of Rogan’s podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” that was uploaded on Thursday that the FBI reached out to his company ahead of the 2020 presidential election to warn them to take note of potentially polarizing content.
  • This warning came after Russia used social media platforms, including Facebook, to post content intended to be polarizing ahead of the 2016 election.  

Zuckerberg said he took the warning seriously. He said the social media platform did not ban people from sharing the Post’s story, but it took action to limit how often the story appeared on feeds. 

“None of this is new. Mark testified before the Senate nearly two years ago that in the lead up to the 2020 election, the FBI warned about the threat of foreign hack and leak operations,” Meta tweeted Thursday amid wide attention to Zuckerberg’s remarks.

Read more here.  


The CEO of password-manager company LastPass said Thursday that it was was recently hacked, but the company sees no evidence the incident exposed any customer data or passwords. 
“We have determined that an unauthorized party gained access to portions of the LastPass development environment through a single compromised developer account and took portions of source code and some proprietary LastPass technical information,” CEO Karim Toubba wrote in a letter to customers. 

The software allows users to store their passwords for various accounts and websites in a “vault” that can be unlocked with a singular master password, also providing customers with auto-generated passwords designed to be hard to guess. 

Read more here.  


An op-ed to chew on: China’s property market is on the brink. Here’s what it means for investors 

Notable links from around the web: 

Democrats are getting comfortable clowning on Republicans online (The Verge / Makena Kelly) 

Apple faces growing likelihood of DOJ antitrust suit (Politico / Josh Sisco) 

Crypto firms say US sanctions limit use of privacy software (The Associated Press / Fatima Hussein) 

Greece, EU Accused of Probing Spy Scandal Only in ‘Superficial’ Way (Bloomberg / Lyubov Pronina and Sotiris Nikas) 

📖 Lighter click: Word of the day

One more thing: T-Mobile, SpaceX team up 

T-Mobile will partner with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and use the company’s Starlink satellites to provide mobile networks for cellphone users in remote areas, both companies announced at an event on Thursday. 

At SpaceX’s Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, Musk and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said the rollout would have a huge impact on enhancing cellphone service in rural, hard-to-reach areas. 

Before they spoke, the company executives previewed a video featuring mobile phone users who voiced concerns about the lack of cellphone reception in rural, remote regions of the U.S. Some explained how their lives could be endangered in the event an accident occurs and they are unable to call for help. 

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 next week.



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