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Hillicon Valley — Trump’s Twitter ban could be reversed

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AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Elon Musk said on Tuesday that he will reverse former President Trump’s ban from Twitter if his acquisition of the social media platform is completed.  

Meanwhile, the U.S. and its allies announced that they were condemning Russia for launching destructive cyberattacks against Ukraine.  

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 KlarChris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Musk open to reversing ban on Trump

Elon Musk said he’d reverse former President Trump’s ban from Twitter if his acquisition of the platform goes through.

“I think it was a morally bad decision, to be clear, and foolish in the extreme,” said Musk, the CEO of Tesla, while speaking at the Financial Times’s “Future of the Car” event. 

“I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake,” he added. “It alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.” 

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Tuesday tweeted his support for ending Trump’s ban, saying that “generally permanent bans are a failure…and don’t work.”

Twitter permanently banned Trump shortly after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol, saying that the then-president’s posts on the platform could encourage more violence. 

Read more here

US, allies condemn Russian cyberattacks 

The U.S. and its allies are condemning Russia for destructive cyberattacks they say Moscow has launched against Ukraine. 

In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said that Ukraine has experienced numerous disruptive cyber operations, including website defacements, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and cyberattacks that erased data from computers belonging to the Ukrainian government and private companies.  

Blinken said that the disruptive cyber operations began in January — just a month before the invasion — and have since continued.  

The U.S. and the European Union confirmed that Russia was behind a cyberattack that targeted Ukraine’s satellite network in late February. 

Read more here.  

WHITE HOUSE EXPANDS CYBER POLICY OFFICE 

The White House announced on Tuesday that it is expanding its cyber policy office with three new hires, including a former Microsoft executive and a former CIA official. 

Kemba Eneas Walden, a former assistant general counsel at Microsoft, will serve as principal deputy national cyber director. While at Microsoft, she was responsible for launching and leading its Digital Crimes Unit’s Ransomware Program. 

Neal Higgins, a former CIA official, will serve as deputy national cyber director for national cybersecurity. While at the CIA, Higgins oversaw the agency’s cyber operations and open-source collection.  

The Office of the National Cyber Director is also adding Rob Knake, who will serve as deputy national cyber director for strategy and budget. 

Read more here

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WEIGHS IN 

The Chamber of Commerce sent slammed a proposal to restore the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) ability to obtain monetary relief for victims of illegal scams in a letter Tuesday. 

The chamber’s letter was sent to top members of the Senate Commerce Committee the day before the panel is slated to debate the proposal known as the Consumer Protection Remedies Act of 2022.  

“This legislation would grant entirely new and sweeping enforcement powers to the Federal Trade Commission, which would be concerning at any time, but especially troubling at a time when the agency’s leadership has recently demonstrated disdain and indifference for due process to advance policy goals that harm the economy,” the chamber wrote.  

It adds to the growing animus between the Chamber of Commerce and the FTC under Chair Lina Khan.  

The proposal, backed by Democrats including Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), aims to restore the FTC’s authority under Section 13(B) after the power was stripped through a Supreme Court decision last year.  

VIRTUAL EVENT INVITE

The Hill’s Mental Health Summit, Tuesday, May 17 at 1 p.m. ET

The pandemic and its toll on the mental health of Americans is often described as a “dual crisis.” What is being done to address the mental health crisis in our country? During Mental Health Awareness Month, The Hill hosts a discussion on policy recommendations that promote prevention and care for Americans experiencing mental illness. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), National Institute of Mental Health Director Dr. Joshua Gordon, Headspace CEO Russ Glass and more. RSVP today.

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Oversight and control will hamper America’s cybersecurity 

Lighter click: Celebrity encounters 

Notable links from around the web: 

QAnon Joins Vigilantes at the Southern Border (The New York Times / Miriam Jordan) 

US immigration agency operates vast surveillance dragnet, study finds (The Guardian / Ed Pilkington) 

Prospect of Russian cyber war may have been ‘overhyped’, says UK spy chief (Financial Times / Mehul Srivastava) 

One more thing: Grindr goes public 

Grindr, a dating app for the LGBTQ community, announced on Monday that it will become a public company.  

In a statement, Grindr said it has merged with Tiga Acquisition Corp. (TAC), a special purpose acquisition company. The acquisition company will raise $384 million in cash proceeds, which will consist of $284 million of TAC’s cash in trust plus up to $100 million in a forward purchase agreement.  

Grindr also said the new merger will help pay off and satisfy debt and fund future growth. 

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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