Hillicon Valley — Biden tackles ‘ghost guns’

© The Hill illustration, Madeline Monroe/iStock

President Biden today introduced a new ban on unlicensed guns as part of his ongoing efforts to crack down on the spread of untraceable firearms. 

Meanwhile, small businesses are urging Congress to address the monopoly power of America’s largest tech companies.  

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.

Biden cracks down on untraceable guns 

President Biden on Monday announced a ban on unlicensed kits to manufacture so-called ghost guns at home as part of his efforts to crack down on the proliferation of untraceable firearms. 

The new rule includes a ban on “buy build shoot” kits that people can purchase online or at a store without a background check. The kit can assemble a working firearm in as little as 30 minutes, according to senior administration officials. 

The new rule clarifies that such kits qualify as “firearms” under the Gun Control Act and, as a result, commercial manufacturers of them must be licensed, include a serial numbers and conduct a background check prior to a sale. 

Biden touted these new actions to fight gun crime on Monday, alongside Vice President Harris and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. 

Gun violence survivors and families of victims joined the event in the Rose Garden. 

Read more. 

VIRTUAL EVENT INVITE

The Hill’s Future of Jobs Summit — Tuesday, April 12 at 1:00 PM ET

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a revolution in work. Two years later, workers and employers are still looking for answers to questions surrounding the future of jobs. How can companies stay ahead of the curve and what does that mean for upskilling and transitioning workers into new, in-demand jobs? Join us for The Hill’s Future of Jobs summit as we discuss the evolving workforce of tomorrow. RSVP today.

Breaking the morning show mold. Bursting the Beltway bubble. TUNE-IN TO RISING, now available as a podcast.

Small businesses speak up 

Fifteen organizations representing small business interests on Monday sent a letter to congressional leadership calling for a raft of antitrust bills to be brought to the floor. 

The bills, approved by the House Judiciary Committee last year on a bipartisan basis, are crucial to addressing the monopoly power of America’s largest tech companies, the groups led by the progressive nonprofit the Institute for Local Self-Reliance argue. 

“Concentrated market power is the single biggest threat facing independent businesses, and the status quo in our digital markets is untenable,” the letter reads. 

“The bipartisan package of bills is proof there is momentum on both sides of the aisle and represent an unprecedented opportunity to level the playfield for our small, independent businesses,” continue the groups, which include several regional organizations representing businesses in Cambridge, Mass., Spokane, Wash., and Austin, Texas. 

Read more.

FITBIT CLEARS HURDLES

Google has announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared its product, Fitbit, to use a new feature that will identify atrial fibrillation (AFib).  

In a statement on Monday, Google said Fitbit’s new PPG AFib algorithm feature will assess user’s heart rhythm while they’re sleeping, adding that the new feature will alert users if they suffering from AFib. This will give them time to notify their healthcare provider, Google said.  

AFib is a form of an irregular heart rhythm that can be difficult to detect at first because there are no signs or symptoms. About 33.5 million people suffer from this heart condition and are five times more likely to suffer a stroke. 

Read more.

YOUTUBE TIGHTENS RUSSIAN RESTRICTIONS

YouTube blocked a Russian parliamentary channel “for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service” amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. 

The video platform terminated the channel for Russia’s lower house of parliament.  

“If we find that an account violates our Terms of Service, we take appropriate action. Our teams are closely monitoring the situation for any updates and changes,” Google, YouTube’s parent company, told Reuters in an email, noting that it was committed to trade compliance law adherence and sanction compliance. 

But the move drew outrage from Russian figures and Russian internet regulator Roskomnadzor. 

Read more.

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Bucha, Biden and the Washington news bubble 

Lighter click: Ideal internet usage 

Notable links from around the web

  • Nothing Concerns the Public More About the Metaverse Than the Misuse of Their Personal Data (Morning Consult / Chris Teale)
  • Inside the Bitcoin Bust That Took Down the Web’s Biggest Child Abuse Site (Wired / Andy Greenberg)
  • Google quietly committed to Silenced No More protections for all employees (Protocol / Issie Lapowsky)

One more thing: Scratch that

Elon Musk will not join Twitter’s board of directors as planned, according to the company’s CEO.  

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced on Sunday that Musk decided not to join the board.  

“The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly,” Agrawal said in a memo sent to employees that he posted to Twitter, confirming that Musk was offered a seat contingent on a background check and formal acceptance. 

“Elon’s appointment to the board was set to become effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best,” he added without providing further reasoning for the decision.

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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Author: Rebecca Klar