House Passes Small Business Cybersecurity Bills, Facebook Shutting Down Facial Recognition Tech, Yahoo Exiting China

The House pushed forth bills aimed at increasing cybersecurity notification and support for small businesses.

House Passes Small Business Cybersecurity Bills, Facebook Shutting Down Facial Recognition Tech, Yahoo Exiting China
Rep. Young Kim, R-California

November 3, 2021 – The House of Representatives Tuesday passed two bills aimed to strengthen cybersecurity for small businesses.

In a unanimous vote, representatives approved the Small Business Administration Cyber Awareness Act, brought forth by Reps. Jason Crow, D-Colorado, and Young Kim, R-California. The legislation will mandate government reports on the cybersecurity capabilities of small businesses and notify Congress in the event that sensitive information is released in a breach after such protections failed to become law last Congress.

The passing comes after a Department of Justice official, in testimony in front of the Senate judiciary committee earlier this year, supported mandatory breach reporting from companies. At the time, Angus King, I-Maine, called for the crafting of that type of legislation following the hacking of SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline.

By a vote of 409-14, the House also passed the Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act, brought forth by Rep. Andrew Garbarino, R-New York. Under that legislation, a cybersecurity counseling certification program would be established to help Small Business Development Centers assist businesses in implementing cybersecurity systems.

Earlier this year, the Senate introduced legislation requiring that credit bureaus notify small businesses of data breaches within 30 days.

Facebook shutting down facial recognition system

Facebook will be shutting down its facial recognition system in the “coming weeks” amid increasing concerns over its negative repercussions, the company said Tuesday.

The technology was used by Facebook for automatic tagging of individuals when they appeared in a photo posted on the platform and used to create image descriptions that identify individuals in a photo to make the site more usable for visually impaired users.

With the company’s suspension of this technology, more than a billion people representing a third of the platform’s daily active users will have their facial recognition templates deleted from the site’s data stores.

Facebook, which recently changed its name to Meta, has not committed to permanently outlawing the use of facial recognition systems in its products. Jerome Pesenti, the company’s vice president of artificial intelligence, said that Facebook still views facial recognition technology as a powerful tool to promote privacy and transparency through functions such as verification of users’ identities.

Yahoo’s China exit

After 20 years, Yahoo announced Tuesday that it has ended its services in China as the Personal Information Protection Law took effect in the country to limit data collection by tech companies.

Per the Wall Street Journal, the announcement does not come as a surprise to Chinese users of Yahoo products as the company has closed many parts of its business in the years since 2013.

The company closed its Beijing office in 2015 and had discontinued email service in China.

The Chinese government had blocked Yahoo’s web portal in September 2000, controlling what overseas news could be accessed.

Yahoo is the second major U.S. tech firm to pull out of China in the past few weeks after Microsoft shut down operations of LinkedIn in the country this October.