Proposed law would empower FTC to end addictive practices in social media


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  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has introduced a bill that would give the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys the power to act against social media companies that don’t remove addictive features in their websites. The Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act would allow the FTC to target the country’s top social networking sites — YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat — if they continue to use tools that hook users by offering them more content than they requested in order to get them to continue using their respective platforms. (Sen. Josh Hawley)
  • More and more drones are in the air every day, and the Federal Aviation Administration is trying to figure out how to integrate them safely into an already crowded airspace. FAA is running 10 pilot programs across the country to ensure drones don’t run into other aircraft, and to find practices for operating safely over populated areas. Jay Merkle with FAA’s office in charge of drone integration said the agency is moving beyond line-of-sight operations — when the drone is out of direct view — and is using technologies such as machine learning to help drones in dodging obstacles. (Federal News Network)
  • David Norquist has been sworn in as deputy secretary of Defense. His nomination was confirmed Tuesday by a unanimous vote in the Senate. Norquist is expected to take over as the point man for the department on big-picture budget and technology issues. Together with Mark Esper’s confirmation last month, the action gives the Pentagon both a Senate confirmed secretary and deputy secretary for the first time in seven months. It also clears the way for Richard Spencer to return to his full time job as secretary of the Navy. Spencer had been serving as DoD’s acting deputy secretary. (Federal News Network)
  • Inspectors found mold in nearly 1,200 dorm rooms at a military complex in San Antonio, leading to hundreds of military personnel being housed in hotels. The mold was found at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and at the Camp Bullis training support center. The civilian and uniformed leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps apologized to Congress in March for allowing substandard living conditions at housing facilities across the country. They laid blame largely on private contractors who build the housing facilities and are obliged to keep them in good repair.  (Federal News Network)
  • Starting today, the U.S. Postal Service is offering forever stamps honoring the nation’s military working dogs. The designs being offered feature pictures of the four canine breeds that commonly serve in the armed forces — German shepherd, Labrador retriever, Belgian Malinois and Dutch shepherd — all known for their aggressiveness, intelligence and loyalty.  Some 2,300 working dogs, along with their handlers from every military service, are deployed worldwide in support of the war on terror, to help safeguard military installations, and to detect bombs and other explosives.  (USPS)
  • The Office of the Inspector General for the Interior Department has confirmed that its investigation of former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s use of private email to conduct official business has been folded into a larger criminal probe being coordinated with the Justice Department. There are two other criminal investigations currently involving Zinke’s tenure at DOI: A grand jury probe of reports that he lied to federal investigators about the construction of a casino in Connecticut, and a DOJ investigation of Zinke’s role in a property development deal in his hometown of Whitefish, Mont. (House Oversight)
  • Two chief human capital officers delivered a clear message to Congress: Stop giving us more hiring authorities. The Government Accountability Office said agencies have about 105 different hiring authorities. CHCOs at the departments of Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs told a Senate committee Congress should put a moratorium on adding new hiring authorities. They suggested agencies should get one authority to hire veterans and another one to strategically target a diverse workforce. (Federal News Network)
  • DHS is starting to shorten the hiring process for border patrol agents and customs officers. DHS Chief Human Capital Officer Angela Bailey said the agency cut out and rearranged some steps of the hiring process at Customs and Border Protection. It created a fast-track hiring lane for applicants who easily cleared an initial security questionnaire. DHS also arranged some questions on the polygraph and said more people are passing. The average time to hire for CBP is 190 days, down from 350 days several years ago. (Federal News Network)
  • Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan requesting documents relating to the Committee’s investigation into Border Patrol agents involved in “secret Facebook groups.” Cummings said he wants to know if agents and other CBP employees who wrote Facebook posts disparaging immigrants are still working with immigrants and children. In testimony before the Committee on July 18, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan said he believed all those involved have been put on administrative duties.  (House Oversight)
  • DHS has turned to its Procurement Innovation Lab (PIL) to crack the financial system modernization nut. DHS held an industry day this week and attendees said the PIL will take the lead on this decades-old problem. The agency released a notice to industry earlier this month outlining its initial strategy. First, it will award a Blanket Purchase Agreement under the GSA IT Schedule to obtain system integration support services to move away from the legacy applications and to a new integrated financial IT system.  Second, DHS will buy software to support the financial systems modernization program. DHS has tried four other times to modernize its financial management system only to fall short of its goals each time. (FBO)
  • The Small Business Administration is one step closer to getting a new permanent chief. President Donald Trump has nominated U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza to serve as the next SBA administrator. Carranza also serves a principal adviser to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for community economic development. (White House)
  • Former White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert has joined Trinity Cyber as its chief strategy officer. Bossert served both Trump and President George W. Bush, wherein he worked on a host of issues around cybersecurity, counterterrorism, and global health security policy as well as managed a range of domestic and transnational security issues. He left the Trump administration in April 2018 and has worked as a homeland security expert for ABC News since then. (Trinity Cyber)

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