Infrastructure Bill Goes to House, Senators Add Crypto to Bill, Apple Tool to Scan for Child Abuse

Infrastructure bill passes the Senate, crypto regulations in the bill, and Apple will scan iPhones for child abuse material.

Infrastructure Bill Goes to House, Senators Add Crypto to Bill, Apple Tool to Scan for Child Abuse
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY

August 10, 2021 – The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes $65 billion for broadband infrastructure, passed in the Senate on Tuesday.

H.R. 3684, which now must go through the House, requires the FCC to evaluate and report on how the legislation would help in its efforts to meet universal service goals, while also establishing as unserved areas with access to speeds of less than 25 Mbps download speeds (the federal standard), and as underserved those areas with access to less than 100 Mbps download.

The legislation also creates the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program under the auspices of the commerce department, which will manage $42 billion under the program.

It also establishes the Digital Equity Act, a set of provisions for digital inclusions projects at the state and federal level. These projects include $125 million in formula grants to create and implement digital equity plans in each state. It provides the same amount in competitive grants for digital inclusion projects.

Senators add cryptocurrency regulation to infrastructure bill

New amendments to the Senate-passed infrastructure bill include provisions to tax and regulate cryptocurrencies.

One of the two amendments would reportedly raise $30 billion in taxes over 10 years. The other would dictate which types of crypto tools would be defined as financial intermediaries (i.e., brokers) and be subject to reporting requirements.

These amendments function to provide another means for the U.S. government to pay for the cost of the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill.

According to the new definition, “cryptocurrency miners and engineers are exempt from the proposed regulations.” Crypto brokers will have to collect and send purchaser and seller data to the Internal Revenue Service.

Should the bill pass the House, it will make it more difficult for crypto investors to avoid paying taxes.

Apple’s NeuralHash to scan iPhones for child sexual abuse

Apple recently announced plans to scan U.S. iPhones to check for child sexual abuse content.

The company’s “NeuralHash” tool will scan images prior to uploading them to iCloud.

The scans will be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Apple stated this will only happen if content matches what’s already been uploaded to the Center’s database.

If CSAM is found, Apple will disable the user’s account, report it to the center, and forward it to law enforcement automatically.

In addition, Apple plans to scan users encrypted messages for sexually explicit content to protect children.

Privacy advocates contend the NeuralHash “could suffer from a mission creep and be expanded to detect other kinds of content that could have political and safety implications.”

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