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Coronavirus Roundup: 5G and Broadband DATA Signed, Google’s Coronavirus Web Site, Facebook’s Face Masks

David Jelke

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Photo of Google CEO Sundar Pichai in December 2018 by Drew Clark

The president signed the “Secure 5G and Beyond Act” and the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act into law on Monday.

The passage was met with praise by members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The 5G Act requires the president to develop a strategy to secure and protect 5G technology, while the DATA Act reorganizes the way in which the Federal Communications Commission will collect data on the national broadband map moving forward.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J.,  Ranking Member Greg Walden, R-Ore., Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle, D-Penn.., and Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Latta, R-Ohio, released the following statement on Monday after President Trump signed the Secure 5G and Beyond Act of 2020 and the Broadband DATA Act into law:

“The bills signed into law today by the president are critical to ensuring that all Americans can access broadband and that our networks are secure and trusted.  The need for connectivity is even more critical now that millions of Americans are teleworking and learning from home in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s also long past time to fix our nation’s faulty broadband maps.  Accurately mapping unserved and underserved communities is essential to promoting the deployment of high-speed service to all Americans and ensuring our investments have maximum impact.  The Broadband DATA Act will help tremendously with those efforts.”

“We look forward to continuing to work together to ensure our nation’s telecommunications networks are safe and secure, and that Americans across the country can access the internet.”

Google deploys a very modest coronavirus web site praised by Trump

Google rolled out a website on coronavirus that bears very little resemblance to the website Trump announced in the White House Rose Garden about a week ago, Gizmodo reports.

Last week, Trump announced from the Garden that a Google team of “1,700 engineers” was making a website that would help screen for coronavirus. Google CEO Sundar Pichai quickly corrected the record by clarifying on a Google blog post that the website was currently only meant to provide information about the coronavirus.

The website, released on Monday, indeed looks more like what Pichai described than what Trump led Americans to believe. Coincidentally, Google’s sister company, Verily Life Sciences, has a website closer to what Trump described, but it currently only provides coronavirus screening directives for parts of the Bay Area.

Facebook donates 750,000 face masks masks to health care workers

Facebook will be donating 750,000 masks to help stop the spread of coronavirus, according to The Independent.

In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg said “Health workers urgently need more protective gear.” He also explained why Facebook has 750,000 masks lying around: “In case the wildfires continued,” he said. This response has prompted some to wonder why Facebook has been sitting on these masks for as long as they have.

Apple has undertaken a similar move, with CEO Tim Cook announcing he will be donating “millions” of masks to healthcare workers.

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