Business News

  • The Biden administration and major consumer tech players are launching an effort to put a nationwide cybersecurity certification and labeling program in place. The program announced Tuesday is to help consumers choose smart devices that are less vulnerable to hacking. Officials liken the new U.S. Cyber Trust Mark initiative to the Energy Star program, which rates appliances’ energy efficiency. The initiative will be overseen by the Federal Communications Commission. Industry participation is voluntary. Amazon, Best Buy, Google, LG, Logitech and Samsung are among industry participants. The labels are for products including baby monitors, home security cameras, fitness trackers, TVs and smart climate control systems. The labels could be ready by next year.

    July 18, 2023
  • U.S. officials say state-backed Chinese hackers foiled Microsoft’s cloud-based security and hacked the email of officials at multiple U.S. agencies that deal with China ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Beijing last month. The surgical, targeted espionage accessed the mailboxes of a small number of individuals at an unspecified number of U.S. agencies and was discovered by the State Department. Officials said none of the breached systems were classified. The hack was disclosed late Tuesday by Microsoft, which said email accounts were haced at about 25 organizations globally beginning in mid-May. A U.S. official said the number of U.S. organizations impacted was in the single digits.

    July 12, 2023
  • More than $200 billion may have been stolen from two large COVID-19 relief initiatives. That's according to new estimates from a federal watchdog investigating federally funded programs designed to help small businesses survive the worst public health crisis in more than a hundred years. The numbers issued Tuesday by the U.S. Small Business Administration inspector general are much greater than previous projections issued by the office. They underscore how vulnerable the Paycheck Protection and COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs were to fraudsters, particularly during the early stages of the pandemic. The Small Business Administration disputed the new figures, saying the report “contains serious flaws that significantly overestimate fraud.”

    June 27, 2023
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the development of artificial intelligence is a “moment of revolution” that requires swift action from the government. Schumer said Wednesday that he is working on ambitious bipartisan legislation dealing with AI. Worries about artificial intelligence systems outsmarting humans and running wild have intensified in recent months with the rise of a new generation of highly capable AI chatbots such as ChatGPT. President Joe Biden convened a group of technology leaders in San Francisco to debate what he called the “risks and enormous promises” of artificial intelligence.

    June 21, 2023
  • President Joe Biden has convened a group of technology leaders in San Francisco to debate the risks and promises of artificial intelligence. The Biden administration is seeking to figure out how to regulate the emergent field of AI, looking for ways to nurture its potential for economic growth and national security and protect against its potential dangers. Biden says, “We’ll see more technological change in the next 10 years that we saw in the last 50 years,” adding that “AI is already driving that change.” His meeting Tuesday included eight technology experts from academia and advocacy groups.

    June 20, 2023
  • Days after the bipartisan deal on the debt limit became law, House Republicans proposed a slew of tax cuts, leading to charges of hypocrisy by Democrats in a squabble that shows clashing visions for the U.S. economy. GOP lawmakers are pushing deep tax cuts for companies and the affluent as the primary driver for sustaining economic growth. President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats seek more targeted tax cuts to achieve social goals such as reducing child poverty and shifting to renewable energy. The differences will come to the forefront in 2025, when the debt limit drama returns and tax cuts passed in 2017 are due to expire.

    June 19, 2023
  • The next round of COVID-19 vaccines will target one of the latest versions of the coronavirus. The Food and Drug Administration's decision was announced Friday, one day after a panel of outside advisers supported the recipe change. The FDA told vaccine makers to provide protection against the omicron strain, known as XBB.1.5. Today’s shots include the original coronavirus and an earlier version of omicron. The three U.S. companies that make the shots said they had geared up to make many millions of new doses available for the fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will eventually decide who should get the new shots.

    June 16, 2023
  • U.S. officials say the Department of Energy is among a small number of federal agencies compromised in a Russian cyber-extortion gang’s global hack of a file-transfer program popular with corporations and governments. They say the impact is not expected to be great. Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, told reporters that the hacking campaign was short, opportunistic and caught quickly. A senior CISA official said neither the U.S. military nor intelligence community was affected. Known victims to date include Louisiana’s Office of Motor Vehicles and Oregon's Department of Transportation.

    June 16, 2023
  • Fending off a U.S. default, the Senate has given final approval to a debt ceiling and budget cuts package. It's now on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk to become law before a fast-approaching deadline.

    June 02, 2023
  • The House has approved the debt ceiling and budget cuts package, sending it to the Senate. President Joe Biden negotiated the deal with Speaker Kevin McCarthy to avert a U.S. default crisis. They worked to assemble a coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans to push it to approval over blowback from conservatives and some progressives. The U.S. was facing a potentially disastrous default in less than a week if Congress failed to act. Despite deep disappointment from hard-right Republicans that budget cuts don't go far enough, it was approved on a bipartisan House vote with Democrats. The Senate is expected to act quickly by the end of the week.

    May 31, 2023
  • The debt ceiling deal has come with just days to spare before a potential first-ever government default. On Sunday, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a final agreement and they are urging Congress to quickly pass it. Biden pronounced the development “good news” in remarks at the White House announcing the agreement. This followed a tentative compromise announced late Saturday. The deal risks angering some Democratic and Republican lawmakers as they begin to unpack the concessions, which include spending cuts. McCarthy and Biden spoke Sunday evening as negotiators drafted legislative text. They face a June 5 deadline when Treasury says the U.S. would risk a debt default.

    May 28, 2023
  • An upbeat President Joe Biden says a deal to resolve the government’s debt ceiling crisis seems “very close." He spoke late Friday, shortly after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pushed the deadline for a potentially catastrophic default back to June 5. That announcement seemed likely to drag negotiations between the White House and Republicans into another frustrating week. House Republicans led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy spent the day negotiating by phone and computers with the White House. One Republican negotiator, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, called Biden’s comments “a hopeful sign” but also cautioned that there’s still “sticky points” impeding a final agreement.

    May 26, 2023
  • The Biden administration will send 1,500 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border amid an expected migrant surge following the end of coronavirus pandemic-era restrictions. The White House says the troops will be sent to focus on administrative tasks so that U.S. Customs and Border Protection can work in the field. The troops will not do law enforcement work. President Joe Biden’s actions follow similar moves by then-President Donald Trump, who deployed active-duty troops to the border to assist border patrol, on top of National Guard forces that were already there, in processing large migrant caravans.

    May 02, 2023
  • The federal government will “not hesitate to crack down” on harmful business practices involving artificial intelligence, the head of the Federal Trade Commission warned Tuesday in a message partly directed at the developers of widely-used AI tools such as ChatGPT. FTC Chair Lina Khan joined top officials from U.S. civil rights and consumer protection agencies to put businesses on notice that regulators are working to track and stop illegal behavior in the use and development of biased or deceptive AI tools. Amid a fast-moving race between tech giants such as Google and Microsoft in selling advanced AI tools, Khan also raised the possibility of the FTC wielding its antitrust authority to protect competition.

    April 25, 2023