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Hillicon Valley — Lawmakers urge cyber updates in health

Lawmakers are pushing for cyber defenses to be strengthened in the health care sector after a spike in attacks.  

Meanwhile, Google workers sent a petition to top executives with demands to protect workers and users after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year.

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.

Health sector threats spark push for cyber updates

Lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to strengthen the federal government’s cyber defenses in the health care sector amid a spike in cyberattacks, a push industry leaders see as a way to help protect a critical sector that stores sensitive information. 

In a letter addressed to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) urged the agency to better protect the health care and public health sector from the growing number of cyber threats.  

“With cyber threats growing exponentially, we must prioritize addressing the [health care and public health] sector’s cybersecurity gaps,” wrote King and Gallagher, who both co-chair the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. 

Ransomware attacks on the [health care and public health] sector have skyrocketed in the past two years as opportunistic criminals recognized that hospitals may pay quickly to resolve issues and protect patient safety,” the letter said. 

Read more here.  

Google workers make post-Roe demand

More than 650 Google employees signed a petition asking the tech giant to pause donations to any political action committees or individual politicians because the workers said the lawmakers “were responsible” for appointing the Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year.  

The demand that the company stop making those donations is part of a larger request the workers are making for better protection for Google staff and users after the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which triggered abortion bans and harsh restrictions on the procedure in states across the country.  

  • “Protect our government from corporate influence,” the workers wrote, according to a copy of the petition shared with The Hill. “Alphabet must stop lobbying politicians and any political organizations, through NetPAC or any other means because these politicians were responsible for appointing the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade and continue to infringe on other human rights issues related to voting access and gun control.” 
  • The workers are also asking the company to extend travel benefits for workers seeking abortion access to part-time and contracted employees, add user data privacy controls for health-related activity and address misinformation about abortion access in search results. 

Read more about the petition here.


Meta on Wednesday took down the Facebook page and Instagram account for Children’s Health Defense, an anti-vaccination organization headed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., due to what it referred to as repeated violations of its COVID-19 policy. 

A Meta spokesperson told The Hill that the page was taken down for “repeatedly violating our policies.” 

The spokesperson specifically cited Meta’s COVID-19 and vaccine policies, which prohibit content that may encourage people infected with COVID-19 to attend in-person events, interfere with the administration of coronavirus vaccines and encourage people to not get vaccinated against the virus. 

In a statement provided by Children’s Health Defense, Kennedy said, “Facebook is acting here as a surrogate for the Federal government’s crusade to silence all criticism of draconian government policies. Our constitutional framers recognized this peril of government censorship.” 

Read more here.  


Estonian officials said the country successfully thwarted a cyberattack on Wednesday that targeted both its public and private institutions. 

Estonia’s undersecretary for digital transformation, Luukas Ilves, said on Twitter that the country was able to disrupt one of “the most extensive cyber attacks [they’ve] faced since 2007.” Ilves added that the attacks were mostly ineffective apart from some “brief and minor exceptions.” 

The attack follows the removal of a Soviet war monument from an eastern Estonian city bordering Russia, according to news reports. 

The Russian-backed hacking group Killnet claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters reported. 

Read more here.


An op-ed to chew on: Why America should not adopt Europe’s model for tech regulation 

Notable links from around the web: 

TikTok Moderators’ Handling Of Child Sexual Abuse Material Draws Senate Scrutiny (Forbes / Alexandra S. Levine) 

John Fetterman’s Senate campaign has officially joined TikTok (The Verge / Makena Kelly) 

A monumental case looks to crack open the world of auto-warranty robocalls (CNN / Brian Fung) 

📚 Lighter click: Memes,, and the Oxford comma 

One more thing: Affidavit may be unsealed 

A federal magistrate judge on Thursday said he may be willing to unseal portions of an affidavit used to apply for the search warrant on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, ordering Justice Department officials to suggest redactions to the document. 

Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said he believes the Justice Department has not sufficiently shown that the document should remain entirely secret. 

“I find that on the present record the Government has not met its burden of showing that the entire affidavit should remain sealed,” Reinhart said in a brief order. 

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 tomorrow.



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