The Supreme Court has ruled to temporarily block a Texas social media law that would hamper companies’ ability to moderate content, but the case may end up back in court at a later date.
We’ll also explore revisions to a key antitrust bill and how those changes may, or may not, sway Democrats who waver in support.
This is Hillicon Valley, detailing everything you need to know about technology and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send suggestions to Rebecca Klar, Chris Mills Rodrigo, and Ines Kagubare of The Hill. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.
A victory for technology groups
A Texas law that would bar social media companies from cracking down on hate speech and misinformation was temporarily blocked Tuesday in a rare 5-4 Supreme Court ruling.
Justices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer ruled in favor of tech industry groups seeking to block the law, with Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Elena Kagan dissenting.
The decision is a victory for tech groups rejecting laws coming from Republican-controlled state legislatures that seek to put barriers on the ability of social media companies to moderate content.
A case on the law itself may end up before the Supreme Court again as it progresses through the challenges in the lower courts. But Tuesday’s ruling means the law, which critics say could lead to a more dangerous internet, will remain blocked for now in Texas, reversing an appeals court decision earlier this month.
In Alito’s dissenting opinion, he said he has not “formed a definitive opinion on the novel legal issues arising from Texas’ decision to address perceived ‘changing social and economic’ conditions.”
Read more about the decision.
The Way Forward of the Klobuchar Antitrust Bill
Senator amy klobuchar (D-Minn.) is pushing for a summer vote on a key antitrust bill targeting tech giants, but updates to the language released last week may do little to quell concerns from reeling Democrats about the support for.
The American Online Election and Innovation Act by Klobuchar and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) moved forward with bipartisan support from the Judiciary Committee earlier this year, but the chances of it passing hinge on supporters winning a coalition large enough. Even some Democrats who voted to promote the bill in January expressed hesitation in supporting it on a floor vote, and more may back down amid a shrinking deadline ahead of competitive midterm races.
Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate antitrust subcommittee, released revisions to the text Wednesday night, before the Senate went into recess for Memorial Day. She said that she is excited about the prospect of proceeding with the “very bipartisan” bill.
“We have worked with various members and we are making progress,” Klobuchar told The Hill on Thursday.
Read more here.
UKRAINE ATTENDS ITS FIRST NATO CYBER MEETING
ukrainian officials we met for the first time Monday with the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) steering committee in Tallinn, Estonia, following the country’s successful bid to join the cyber hub.
Ukraine first applied to join the organization in August 2021. Its application was unanimously approved by all members of the steering committee in March.
According to a blog post published by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, members of the committee are finalizing a technical agreement on accession that will formalize Ukraine’s participation in the organization.
Read more here.
SEC LOOKS OVER MUSK DEAL
Elon Musk’s $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter has been the subject of countless headlines, as the fickle CEO has made his complexes about the acquisition very public.
That tendency to share his thoughts in the public forum could be putting the billionaire on a collision course with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Musk has berated and antagonized the regulatory agency for years after being sanctioned for recklessly tweeting about the Tesla privatization.
His latest behavior on Twitter as he tries to take over the company could lead to even more legal headaches, but it remains uncertain whether the agency will find enough misconduct to rein in Musk.
Read more here.
POINTS AND PIECES
An opinion piece to chew on: Cybersecurity requires an effort from the whole of society
Lighter click: calling all daily pet parents
Remarkable links from around the web:
He first documented the alt-right. now she comes for crypto. (The Washington Post/Gerrit DeVynck)
After Uvalde, social network monitoring apps fight to justify surveillance (The Verge / Corin Faife)
Anti-abortion activists are collecting the data they will need it for post-Roe prosecutions (MIT Tech Review/Abby Ohlheiser)
It’s time to Return The AIM Away Message (Wired/Lauren Goode)
One More Thing: Musk’s Bucket List
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has listed several changes he would make to Twitter pending approval of a $44 million Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) deal to acquire the social media platform.
The SEC cannot reject Musk’s offer to buy Twitter based on his vision for the company. However, the federal agency can object to the transaction if it believes Musk has failed to come forward with required disclosure forms.
The SEC might take issue with Musk’s belated disclosure of his involvement with Twitter, as well as his ongoing criticism of the platform’s leaders.
But while his official offer awaits approval, here are some of the possible changes Musk could make if it is finalized.
Read more here.
That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.
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