CYBERWAR/RUSSIA: “New scrutiny by Congress of Facebook Inc. over its acceptance of Russian ad buys in the 2016 campaign is just the latest in a string of political challenges facing technology firms, which long enjoyed a hands-off approach from Washington aimed at fostering their growth.
It was already a tough year for Silicon Valley in Washington, where lawmakers have been pushing proposals that could roil the industry, including measures on net neutrality, privacy and liability. The industry’s standing suffered again this week when lawmakers laid plans for public hearings to examine whether Facebook and other social-media platforms were used by foreign governments during the 2016 campaign to manipulate the U.S. election. Lawmakers also signaled they are considering new legislation to address online spending by foreign adversaries—a potential blow to the firms’ cherished freedom from close government oversight…
It wasn’t long ago that President Barack Obama held a festival on the White House grounds to celebrate high-tech firms and their transformative power. Dubbed ‘South by South Lawn,’ the event last October was the coda of a cozy relationship in which Silicon Valley became a powerful influence on Mr. Obama’s presidency and a core of his support.”
-John D. McKinnon, Byron Tau, and Douglas MacMillan, “Tech Firms Find Washington Isn’t So Hands-Off Anymore,” The Wall Street Journal online, Sept. 15, 2017 07:00am