New Defense Bill Would Reestablish Cybersecurity Position Previously Nixed by Trump Administration

A provision to establish a national cybersecurity director at the White House has been included in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which outlines the budget for national defense spending. In 2018, the administration of President Donald Trump eliminated a similar position.



James Langevin wearing a suit and tie sitting on a stage: The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act could provide for a new national director of cybersecurity, according to Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin.


© Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis/Getty
The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act could provide for a new national director of cybersecurity, according to Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin.

Rhode Island Democrat Congressman Jim Langevin, a senior member of the House Armed Servies Committee, co-introduced separate legislation in June to create the position. The provision included in the 2021 NDAA is based on that legislation, known as the National Cyber Director Act.

“I’ve been working on bolstering our nation’s cybersecurity for more than a decade, and it is abundantly clear the country needs someone in charge of cybersecurity at the highest levels

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Trump administration adds China’s SMIC and CNOOC to Defense blacklist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Thursday added China’s top chipmaker, SMIC, and oil giant CNOOC to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies, a move likely to escalate tensions with Beijing before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The Department of Defense designated a total of four additional companies as owned or controlled by the Chinese military, also including China Construction Technology Co Ltd and China International Engineering Consulting Corp.

The move, first reported by Reuters on Sunday, brings the total number of companies blacklisted to 35. While the list did not initially trigger any penalties, a recent executive order issued by Republican President Donald Trump will prevent U.S. investors from buying securities of the blacklisted firms starting late next year.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington referred Reuters to prior remarks made by its Foreign Ministry spokesperson that “China firmly opposes the politicization of

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The Trump administration in a new lawsuit accused Facebook of reserving over 2,600 high-paying jobs for foreign workers instead of hiring Americans



a man wearing a suit and tie: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. Andrew Harnik/AP


© Andrew Harnik/AP
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. Andrew Harnik/AP

  • The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, accusing the company of reserving over 2,600 high-paying jobs for foreign workers with temporary work visas instead of hiring US residents.
  • The lawsuit alleges that Facebook did not adequately advertise the positions before hiring foreign workers.
  • Trump administration officials have said they would stop foreign workers from taking jobs away from Americans.
  • The government blocked foreign H-1B holders from entering the country in June and proposed restrictions on H-1B visas in October.
  • Tech companies like Facebook largely hire skilled foreign workers and have pushed back on Trump’s H-1B restrictions as being harmful to the US economy.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Department of Justice is suing Facebook, accusing the tech company

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In an unusual move, Trump administration will protect a pine tree due to climate change

with Alexandra Ellerbeck

In an unexpected decision, the Trump administration announced that a lethal fungus, a rapacious beetle and even a changing climate jeopardize the survival of an iconic tree of the American West.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is set to propose Wednesday listing the whitebark pine as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

Granting federal protections to the tree is a “watershed decision,” said Diana Tomback, professor of integrative biology at the University of Colorado at Denver who has studied the tree for decades.

The whitebark pine’s habitat spans over 80 million acres across seven states and Canada. In its official filing, the agency acknowledged that rising temperatures are pushing the high-elevation tree’s habitat up to higher altitudes, hurting the chances of survival for a pine whose nutritious seeds provide sustenance for everything from red squirrels to black bears.



a man standing next to a tree: A dead whitebark pine tree in the mountains east of Jackson Hole, Wyo. (Mead Gruver/AP)


© Mead Gruver/AP
A dead whitebark pine

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What An Inclusive Administration Means For Inclusive Technology

It started with President-elect Biden selecting Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as his running mate. The effort to build a diverse, representative administration thankfully didn’t stop there.

Janet Yellen is poised to be the first woman to run the Treasury Department. Cecilia Rouse is set to be nominated as the head of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Neera Tanden as budget director. And, the economics and communications teams enlist mostly women and several women of color; the communications team is all women.

Putting politics aside to recognize the power of these pending appointments is seemingly impossible, yet absolutely necessary. Amid the economic crisis and global pandemic, this is the first time in American history when there is such heightened public awareness surrounding the nomination of administration officials. And yet, one

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How the Biden administration is expected to approach tech research and development

WASHINGTON — Experts expect President-elect Joe Biden’s administration to build on the Trump administration’s investments in emerging technologies, while adding to research and development budgets in the Defense Department and across the federal government.

The incoming Biden administration signaled throughout the campaign that basic research and development funding would be a priority. Biden wrote in Foreign Affairs he would make research and development a “cornerstone” of his presidency and pointed to the United States having the “greatest research universities in the world.”

“It’s basic research that’s the area where you get the breakthroughs, and you need long-term, sustained investments to build up a strong S&T base,” said Martijn Rasser, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security’s technology and national security program.

Biden’s R&D investment is an expected change from the Trump administration’s approach, which experts have noted is narrower in scope and focused on harnessing private

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Biden’s top technology advisor has a history of cracking down on Big Tech, and he may land a major role in the new administration



a man wearing a suit and sunglasses talking on a cell phone: President-elect Joe Biden. Drew Angerer/Getty Images


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President-elect Joe Biden. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • It looks increasingly likely that President-elect Joe Biden’s administration is going to come down hard on Big Tech.
  • The Biden campaign’s top technology advisor, Bruce Reed, helped draw up strict privacy legislation for California, and has publicly argued that tech companies should be held liable for harmful content on their platforms.
  • It’s not clear yet whether Reed will get a position in the Biden administration, though Reuters reports he is expected to take a “major role.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As tech giants prepare for the handover of power from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden, signs are mounting that the new administration is preparing to clamp down on them.

Reuters reported Sunday the Biden campaign’s top advisor on technology, a veteran Biden staffer called Bruce Reed, has a history of advocating for policies

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EPA Science Transparency Rule Faces Two Potential Paths to Revocation in Biden Administration

November 23, 2020 at 12:01 am ET

Rolling back the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks might be easier said than done, former Environmental Protection Agency officials say. As President-elect Joe Biden transitions into office, his administration will be faced with how to strengthen the litany of weakened environmental regulations that will be its predecessors’ legacy, a task that could involve multiple paths depending on the rule in question.   

“The Biden EPA is going to have to prioritize,” said Betsy Southerland, who worked at the EPA for 30 years, including most recently as director of science and technology in the Office of Water before stepping down in July 2017. “They can’t just agree to redo every single Trump rule or they’ll spend their entire four years just trying to undo the damage of the past four years.” 

Southerland expects the agency to zero in on the rules that have caused the most

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Trump Administration Using Lame-Duck Period as Government Jobs Program for Longtime Racists

Some real auspicious personnel news over here in the waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency!



a tree in front of a building: The White House on Wednesday. Drew Angerer/Getty Images


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The White House on Wednesday. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

• Jason Richwine, a writer who floats around right-wing think tanks and websites arguing that Black and Hispanic people are genetically inferior to whites, has been hired as “deputy undersecretary of commerce for standards and technology.” That’s according to reporting by Science Insider, which notes that Richwine is infamous for suggesting that immigrants should be screened with IQ tests. He has no apparent experience that would qualify him for a job involving science and technology—but he did, however, once contribute to a journal founded by Richard Spencer!

• Corey Stewart, who moved to Virginia from Minnesota to run a series of losing political campaigns premised around his fetish for Confederate history, has also been hired by the Department of Commerce as the

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Gov. Cuomo threatens to sue Trump administration over vaccine distribution

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that his state may sue the federal government after President Trump threatened to withhold a potential coronavirus vaccine from New Yorkers.

“I tell you today, if the Trump administration does not change this plan and does not provide an equitable vaccine process, we will enforce our legal rights. We will bring legal action to protect New Yorkers,’’ the governor said according to the New York Post.

“I’m not going to allow New Yorkers to be bullied or abused,’’ the Democratic governor added.

Trump, aiming to settle political scores, said he would not ship vaccines to hard-hit New York after Cuomo said he will have his own panel of experts independently “review” any immunization from the federal government.

“The governor will let us know when he’s ready,” Trump said.

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Cuomo previously pushed back, saying New York is

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