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Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

All eyes (and tweets) were on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation vote and hearings this week. Still, the tech industry managed to provide plenty of important news.

Catch up quick: The big news was the Facebook network breach, but other important developments got less attention. The major tech and telecom companies met with the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday; Google's CEO will testify before the House on bias accusations; kids are already outsmarting parental iPhone time limits on iOS 12; and a report says a voting machine used in half of U.S. is vulnerable to attack.

Major tech and telecom companies met with the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday

Why it matters: Companies including Google, Apple and AT&T expressed reservations about particularly strong steps lawmakers could take to ensure user data privacy. The companies are drawing lines in the sand for lawmakers who are under pressure to produce something, thanks to new privacy rules in Europe and a California privacy law that will go into effect in 2020.

Google CEO will testify before House on bias accusations

Why it matters: Google came under fire from members of both parties and from Google employees for not sending a top executive to join Twitter and Facebook at a recent Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. Though Google CEO Sundar Pichai adamantly denies bias in the algorithm, he agreed to answer questions some time after the midterm elections.

Kids are already outsmarting parental iPhone time limits on iOS 12

Why it matters: Yes, children are good at finding loopholes. But the flaw also leads back to the original argument for implementing time limits — it won't work unless users are actually willing to cut back on screen time.

Report: voting machine used in half of U.S. is vulnerable to attack

Why it matters: Election security has been a high-priority concern over the last two years, especially as we head to the midterms. Still, according to a new report, a voting machine used in more than half of the states is vulnerable, and "senior intelligence officials have described Russian efforts to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections as deep, real and ongoing," per the Wall Street Journal.

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

7 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.