Hillicon Valley – Trump-backed app goes live

Today is Monday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing everything you need to know about tech and cyber news, from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Follow The Hill technical team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@millsrodrigo) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

In other news, the IRS outlined its plan to allow taxpayers to bypass the facial recognition requirement in the ID.me verification process.

Let’s get to the news.

Launch of “Truth Social”

Truth Social, the social media platform backed by former President Trump, spear in the Apple App Store on Monday, although the product does not appear to be fully functional for all users.

People who downloaded the app on Monday were invited to register on the platform but were mostly added to a growing waiting list.

A beta tester with early access to the platform told The Hill that the app slowed down significantly on Sunday night when users started being added in droves.

Former representative Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesSunday preview: Russia-Ukraine crisis dominates as White House ‘convinced’ of invasion (R-Calif.), who left Congress to run Trump’s media company, previously said the app would be fully operational by the end of March.

Using Trump’s followers as a metric, about 5,000 users were added as of Monday’s close of business.

Read more.

IRS removes facial recognition requirement

The IRS announced Monday that it will allow taxpayers to opt out to use facial recognition technology for identity verification.

Those attempting to access their online accounts can instead verify their identity through a live virtual interview with a representative from a third-party service, ID.me.

The IRS announced earlier this month it would be moving away from ID.me after lawmakers and digital rights activists outcry over plans to require facial recognition verification to access tax information. .

Facial recognition has been found to consistently do worse at identifying people of color, although taxpayers can still use the technology for verification if they choose.

Read more.


The Dutch Antitrust Supervisory Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) a fine Apple 5 million euros, or $5.7 million, on Monday for access to non-Apple payment methods for dating app subscriptions.

ACM claims the tech giant is abusing its dominant market position by not allowing app makers in the Netherlands to use alternative payment methods for dating apps accessed through the App Company store, according to Reuters.

The fine is the fifth such penalty in consecutive weeks, the news service reported, because Apple missed a Jan. 15 deadline to make the ACM-mandated changes. The watchdog noted that Apple has made no new offers to comply with the ruling.

“We have made it clear to Apple how they can comply,” the agency said in a statement, according to Reuters. “So far, however, they have refused to make any serious offers.”

Read more.


A chewable editorial: The alarm industry sounds a false alarm on 3G

Lighter click: Go have fun

Notable Web Links:

$1.7 million worth of NFTs stolen in apparent phishing attack on OpenSea users (The Verge / Russell Brandom)

Uber Eats vs. DoorDash: The delivery wars heat up (Protocol / Sarah Roach)

Facebook’ leaves vigilantes in Ethiopia incite ethnic murder” (The Guardian / Jasper Jackson, Lucy Kassa and Mark Townsend)

One last thing: Australia demands answers

Last week, a P-8A Poseidon detected a laser illuminating a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy ship. According to the Australian Defense Force, illuminating the aircraft with a laser could have endangered the safety of personnel on board.

“It was dangerous, it was unprofessional and it was reckless for a professional Navy, and we want answers on why they did this,” Morrison said Monday, CNN reported. “At worst, it was intimidating and daunting.”

“They are the ones who need to explain, not just to Australia, but to think of all the countries in our region,” he continued. “It could happen to anyone else who is just doing normal surveillance of their own exclusive economic zone.”

Read more.

That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Discover The Hill’s Technology and cyber security pages for breaking news and coverage. We’ll see you Tuesday.

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