Hillicon Valley — Twitter’s tough day ahead

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A Twitter whistleblower alleging widespread security deficiencies at the company will testify before a Senate panel Tuesday. The same day, Twitter shareholders will vote on Elon Musk’s embattled $44 billion deal to buy the platform.  

Meanwhile, Twitter argued in a new regulatory filing that Musk’s latest argument to back out of the deal is invalid.  

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Whistleblower heads to Senate  

Twitter is facing a tough Tuesday as senators gear up to hear testimony from a whistleblower alleging widespread security deficiencies at the social media company — the same day Twitter shareholders vote on whether to approve Elon Musk’s embattled $44 billion deal to buy the company.  

The Senate Judiciary hearing featuring whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko and shareholder vote come after Musk has leveraged Zatko’s allegations in his legal attempt to back out of the agreement to buy Twitter, and as lawmakers have ramped up scrutiny of Twitter and other social media companies’ ability to protect users ahead of the upcoming midterms.  

We broke down five things to watch ahead of the hearing — from national security concerns to the way Musk will factor in.  

Read more here.  

Twitter responds to Musk’s latest attempt  

Twitter in a new filing argues that Elon Musk’s latest move to back out of his agreement to buy the company for $44 billion over the company’s handling of a high-profile whistleblower is “invalid and wrongful.” 

Twitter’s attorneys pushed back on Musk’s third attempt to cancel his acquisition in a regulatory document filed Monday, reiterating arguments they used in the two prior instances while stating that Twitter has “breached none of its representations or obligations” under the agreement.  

  • “As was the case with each of your prior purported terminations, the Musk Parties third purported termination is invalid for the independent reason that
    Mr. Musk and the other Musk Parties continue to knowingly, intentionally, willfully, and materially breach the Agreement,” they wrote.  
  • Musk’s attorneys last week tried to back out of the deal by saying that Twitter should have notified him before the company paid $7.75 million in a separation agreement with Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the company’s former security chief who has come out with accusations of widespread security deficiencies at Twitter. 

Read more here.  

RAMPING UP RESTRICTIONS  

The Biden administration next month will place new restrictions on U.S. shipments of semiconductor chips and chipmaking equipment to China, according to Reuters

The Commerce Department will formalize new rules prohibiting the shipment of chipmaking equipment to Chinese factories that produce advanced semiconductors, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. 

U.S. companies seeking to export the equipment must obtain a Commerce Department license. 

Three U.S. companies — KLA Corp., Lam Research Corp., and Applied Materials Inc. — already operate under the restrictions as directed by the Commerce Department. 

Read more here.  

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Rocket Lab to conduct first private mission to Venus  

Notable links from around the web: 

Revamp of Federal Software Buys Could Force Microsoft Changes (Bloomberg / Leah Nylen and Dina Bass)  

Instagram Stumbles in Push to Mimic TikTok, Internal Documents Show (The Wall Street Journal / Salvador Rodriquez, Meghani Bobrowsky and Jeff Horwitz) 

📝 Lighter click: You can’t take them away from us  

One more thing: Stelter to discuss ‘threats’ 

Brian Stelter, a former CNN host and noted media pundit, is joining Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. 

Stelter will serve as a media and democracy fellow and convene a series of discussions about what the center described as “threats to democracy and the range of potential responses from the news media.” 

“These discussions with media leaders, policy makers, politicians, and Kennedy School students, fellows, and faculty will help deepen public and scholarly understanding about the current state of the information ecosystem and its impacts on democratic governance,” the school said in an announcement. 

Read more here.  

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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