Regulatory Swagger Comes to Washington

Washington has returned from its Christmas vacation, but suddenly, the Biden administration is showing marked differences from Obama and Clinton in regulation of Big Tech. There is a lot of regulatory swagger.

Treasury regulatory objections to Facebook’s cryptocurrency project have forced the Silicon Valley giant to  abandon the effort, Maury Shenk tells us, and the White House is initiating what looks like a major interagency effort to regulate cryptocurrency on national security grounds. Tatyana Bolton reveals how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) is taking a serious look at monitoring the security of electric grid system systems. White House and Environmental Protection Agency have launched a “sprint”, to improve cybersecurity in the country’s water system. Gary Gensler, Chairman of the SEC, has many ideas to expand the Security and Exchange Commission security requirements for public and private companies as well as those in the financial service industry. A rulemaking petition is being considered by the Federal Trade Commission, which could impact the financial industry’s ability to take advantage of the massive online advertising dollars generated from the collection and aggregation of consumer data. This is just one week.

Dave Aitel, a thought-provoking expert on why log4j isn’t causing as many problems as it first appeared, has other good news. The story is mildly positive, with an increase in competence and speed for remediation. This also includes the complexity (and stealth!) of serious attacks that are built upon the flaw.

Dave also delved into the tale of the Belarussian hackers (if this is what they are), who now attempt to disrupt Putin’s planned invasion of Ukraine. It’s hard to say whether they’ve actually succeeded in delaying trains carrying Russian tanks to the Belarussian-Ukrainian border, but this is one group that has consistently pulled off serious hacks over several years as they harass the Lukashenko regime.

Maury Shenk, a throwback to 2011 takes us on a trip back in time. Hewlett Packard’s (HP) Autonomy deal was retracted almost immediately after it was signed. The long-delayed victory for HP comes as Autonomy’s founder and CEO are found guilty in fraud. He is ordered extradited from the U.S. and will face criminal charges. These rulings will likely be appealed. We’ll continue to follow court proceedings for events that occurred between 2011 and 2025.

Anachronistic court proceedings aside, Intel’s attempt to sue the EU for abusing its dominance in the chip markets has been outlived by the EU’s efforts and litigation is far from over. Maury tells me that Intel was awarded a significant decision by the European general courts. I think he agrees with me that the European courts are what stand between Silicon Valley’s success and much more European regulation swagger.

Dave updates us on the New York Times article about Israel’s use of NSO hacking capabilities to end years of diplomatic isolation.

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