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The US Week Ahead: Senate spotlights cybersecurity

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The US Week Ahead: Senate spotlights cybersecurity

Cybersecurity will take center stage in the Senate this week, with three hearings covering cyberthreats, election security and possible remedies to cyberrisks offered by the development of blockchain applications on the calendar.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 21, looking at cyberthreats to America's critical infrastructure, including telecommunications systems, transportation systems and water supply systems. The hearing will feature testimony from senior cybersecurity officials from across the federal government, such as Sujit Raman, associate deputy attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice; Michael Moss, deputy director of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and Robert Kolasky who runs the National Risk Management Center at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

On the same day, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to assess the energy efficiency of blockchain and related technologies, as well as the cybersecurity capabilities of these technologies in the energy industry. Blockchain is a decentralized ledger technology that allows a network of users to digitally record and distribute transactions. The hearing will feature a range of testimony from cybersecurity and energy industry experts, including Paul Skare, who manages cybersecurity at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a scientific research laboratory run by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The next day, on Wednesday, Aug. 22, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a hearing looking at a bipartisan bill titled "Secure Elections Act," which seeks to better protect federal elections against cyberthreats. The bill seeks to improve information sharing between federal and state agencies around possible threats.

The House of Representatives remains out on recess until Sept. 4.

Also this week, the federal government also will begin imposing its next round of tariffs, a 25% hit on roughly $16 billion worth of Chinese products. The goods taxed will include a swath of Chinese electronic goods, such as semiconductors and antennas. China, meanwhile, has announced retaliatory tariffs on approximately $16 billion of U.S. goods, including motorcycles and fuels.

Lastly, the G20, an international forum to discuss financial policy measures for 19 nation states and the European Union, will hold its Digital Economy Ministerial in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Aug. 23-24. Ahead of the meetings, a collection of industry groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Internet Association, representing Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC and Facebook Inc., released a list of recommended outcomes for the meeting. The recommendations include: improving broadband deployment to boost digital inclusion; developing public-private partnerships to prepare future generations to have skill sets to benefit from technological innovations; and reducing barriers to entry in local markets to benefit entrepreneurship.

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Congress:
Aug. 21 The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing titled "Energy Efficiency of Blockchain and Similar Technologies."
Aug. 21 The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled "Cyber Threats to Our Nation’s Critical Infrastructure."
Aug. 22 The Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a business meeting to consider a bill titled "Secure Elections Act."
Cybersecurity:
Aug. 21 CompTIA, an IT trade association, will host a webinar titled "Penetration Testing for the New World."
Industry events:
Aug. 19-21 The Technology Policy Institute will host a forum in Aspen, Colo., titled "New Rules for the Digital Economy?"
Aug. 22 The National Association of Broadcasters will host a webinar titled "The Road to ATSC 3.0 - Realizing Next Generation Television."
Aug. 23 As a part of its Tech Summer Series, the Center for Democracy & Technology will host a happy hour titled "The Future of Work."

Stories of note:

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Democratic FCC commissioner skeptical that consolidation helps 5G deployment

Senate Hearing: FCC head grilled over false cyberattack claim, net neutrality

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