Hillicon Valley: Mnuchin urges antitrust review of tech | Progressives want to break up Facebook | Classified election security briefing set for Tuesday | Tech CEOs face pressure to appear before Congress

Hillicon Valley: Mnuchin urges antitrust review of tech | Progressives want to break up Facebook | Classified election security briefing set for Tuesday | Tech CEOs face pressure to appear before Congress
© Getty

The Cyber and Tech Overnights have joined forces to give you Hillicon Valley, The Hill's new comprehensive newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley.

 

Welcome! Follow the cyber team, (Morgan Chalfant (@mchalfant16) and Olivia Beavers (@olivia_beavers), and the tech team, Ali Breland (@alibreland) and Harper Neidig (@hneidig), on Twitter. Contact us with scoops, tips, comments, and good vibes for the Houston Rockets.

 

PROGRESSIVES PUSH TO BREAK UP FACEBOOK: A coalition of progressive groups and trade associations is demanding that the FTC break up Facebook by forcing it to unload subsidiaries like WhatsApp and Instagram.

The new "Freedom from Facebook" campaign also wants the agency to implement new privacy rules to give users more control over their data.

The groups involved include MoveOn, Demand Progress, the Open Markets Institute and the Content Creators Coalition.

Key quote: "Facebook unilaterally decides the news that billions of people around the world see every day. It buys up or bankrupts potential competitors to protect its monopoly, killing innovation and choice. It tracks us almost everywhere we go on the web and, through our smartphones, even where we go in the real world," the groups wrote on their website.

The campaign will also be pushing a six-figure ad buy that will even reach Facebook's own platforms.

Don't forget: The FTC is currently investigating whether the social network violated a 2011 consent agreement with the agency in its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

What to watch for: It's unclear how receptive the agency will be to these suggestions. The new leadership is being closely watched for any signs it plans to go after the internet giants who have been under scrutiny for months.

What we know so far: FTC Chairman Joseph Simons tapped an industry lawyer who's represented Facebook as the head of the agency's Consumer Protection Bureau. That could be good for Facebook.

But Rohit Chopra, a Democratic FTC commissioner, argued in a policy paper earlier this month that the agency should crack down on companies for violating consent agreements (like the ones that Facebook and Google are currently subject to.)

To read more about the new campaign against Facebook, click here.

 

TECH CRITICS FIND AN UNLIKELY ALLY: Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinDem lawmaker calls for cryptocurrency probe after Mueller indictments Meet the woman who is Trump's new emissary to Capitol Hill On The Money: Fed chief lays out risks of trade war | Senate floats new Russia sanctions amid Trump backlash | House passes bill to boost business investment MORE called for the Justice Department to investigate big tech companies for antitrust violations in a new interview today.

"These issues deserve to be reviewed carefully," Mnuchin said in a CNBC interview.

He was responding to a recent report on CBS News's "60 Minutes" about antitrust concerns over Google.

"These are issues the Justice Department needs to look at seriously, not for any one company, but as these technology companies have a greater and greater impact on the economy," Mnuchin continued.

To read more, click here.

 

CONGRESS TO GET ELECTION SECURITY BRIEFING BRIGHT AND EARLY TUESDAY: House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia National Dems make play in Ohio special election Trump vows to hold second meeting with Putin MORE (R-Wis.) has rescheduled a briefing for Congress on election security, which will now be classified, for Tuesday morning.

Top U.S. officials are expected to brief lawmakers behind closed doors on current threats and risks to the election process and efforts by the Trump administration to help state officials secure their digital voting assets from hackers.

The briefing will take place at 8 a.m. and will be classified, according to an aide for Ryan. The briefing was originally expected to take place last Thursday and be unclassified but closed to the public.

Ryan postponed the briefing last week in order to make it classified, after Democrats complained that the unclassified nature would prevent officials from going into sufficient detail about the scope of the threat or the administration's efforts to secure upcoming elections.  

Why it's happening: Officials have grown increasingly wary of digital threats to future elections following Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential contest, which included efforts to target and hack into state electoral systems, like voter registration databases.

What they'll hear about: The Department of Homeland Security has been working to provide state election officials with cybersecurity vulnerability assessments and other services in order to ensure that their digital systems are secure and resilient and to bolster confidence in the vote.

For more on the meeting, click here.

 

IT'S OFFICIAL: The Federal Communications Commission is investigating reports that U.S.-based LocationSmart exposed data on the precise location of mobile devices on its website because of a software flaw. A spokesperson for the FCC confirmed to The Hill in an email that "the matter has been referred to the Enforcement Bureau." For more on the revelations about LocationSmart, check out our piece from last week.

 

ON THE INTERNATIONAL FRONT: Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Claire Grady is traveling to Bulgaria later this week to participate in the U.S.-EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial. At the event, she'll touch gloves with international counterparts on issues including counterterrorism, cybersecurity, aviation security, and "vetting measures," the Department of Homeland Security said Monday. The ministerial is set to take place Tuesday and Wedensday.

 

WE'VE GOT A DEAL: President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday reached an agreement to allow the inspector general to investigate conservative claims of FBI wrongdoing in the Russia probe, diffusing at least for now a burgeoning crisis between Trump and senior law enforcement officials.   

"Based on the meeting with the President, the Department of Justice has asked the Inspector General to expand its current investigation to include any irregularities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's or the Department of Justice's tactics concerning the Trump Campaign," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

The Justice Department had already made the referral to Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Sunday, in an apparent effort to ratchet down tensions.

But the White House also announced that Chief of Staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE will "immediately set up a meeting" with Trump allies on Capitol Hill to "review" the classified materials that had sparked the standoff.

Our national security reporter, Katie Bo Williams, has more here.

 

TRUMP WELCOMES NEW CIA CHIEF: President Trump officially welcomed his new CIA director, Gina Haspel, delivering remarks at her swearing-in on Monday. Among the highlights: the president lauded House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesNunes used political donations for K in NBA tickets, winery tours, Vegas trips: report Russia raises problems for GOP candidates GOP lawmaker regrets appearing on Alex Jones's radio show MORE (R-Calif.) as "a very courageous man."

 

SINCLAIR-TRIBUNE MERGER BACK UP FOR DEBATE: The FCC is re-opening its review of the $3.9 billion Sinclair-Tribune merger for public comment after the companies proposed restructuring the deal to bring it in line with ownership restrictions. The public will have until July 12 to weigh in.

 

ZUCKERBERG'S EU TESTIMONY WILL BE LIVESTREAMED: Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Officials pressed on Russian interference at security forum | FCC accuses Sinclair of deception | Microsoft reveals Russia tried to hack three 2018 candidates | Trump backs Google in fight with EU | Comcast gives up on Fox bid Facebook's Zuckerberg congratulated Trump after 2016 election: report Facebook to start removing misleading posts that incite violence MORE's meeting with the EU Parliament tomorrow will be livestreamed. Some legislators had criticized

the previous plan to hold the hearing behind closed doors.

 

PRESSURE BUILDS FOR OTHER TECH CEOS TO TESTIFY: Check out our piece from the weekend on how tech CEOs not named Zuckerberg are facing more pressure to testify in front of Congress. Two top Republicans, Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenDominant internet platforms must disrupt themselves Hammond pardons raise fears of emboldened anti-government extremists Oregon ranchers pardoned by Trump fly home on Pence donor's private jet MORE (Ore.) and Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenators share their fascination with sharks at hearing Helsinki summit becomes new flashpoint for GOP anger Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash MORE (S.D.), both gently urged Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to come before Congress while his company isn't facing Cambridge Analytica-sized drama.

 

NO SURPRISE THERE: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that it isn't surprising that China's president asked President Trump to look into the Chinese telecommunications firm sanctioned by the U.S. government.

"President Xi [Jinping] asked President Trump to look into this. That's not a surprise," Mnuchin told "Fox News Sunday."

Mnuchin said Trump, who received criticism last week after saying he would help ZTE get "back into business," is working to protect American jobs and technology.

"The president wants us to be very tough on ZTE. And all he did was ask the secretary to look into this," Mnuchin said, referring to Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossOn The Money: Commerce to review uranium imports | Lawmakers urge Trump not to impose auto tariffs | White House wants steeper cuts to EPA funding | Google hit with massive B fine Auto industry groups, lawmakers urge Trump administration to avoid tariffs on auto imports Census Bureau faces hiring woes amid low unemployment MORE.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle raised concerns over Trump's recent tweets about ZTE. The Commerce Department earlier this year prohibited American companies from selling materials to ZTE, claiming the firm had violated U.S. sanctions.

Meanwhile, Larry Kudlow, Trump's economic adviser, insisted Monday that ZTE would not get off "scot-free."

"They broke the law on several occasions after being warned," Kudlow said during an appearance on CNBC.

 

A LIGHTER TWITTER CLICK: Late-breaking development on the monkey on the loose at the San Antonio airport.

 

ON TAP:

House lawmakers will be briefed behind closed doors on election security Tuesday at 8 a.m.

The House Science Committee has scheduled a hearing on "empowering U.S. veterans through technology" for Tuesday morning.

House Democratic Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia House leaders clash over resolution backing ICE Hoyer calls on GOP to bring up election security amendment MORE (D-Md.) and Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHillicon Valley: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | Sparks fly at hearing on social media | First House Republican backs net neutrality bill | Meet the DNC's cyber guru | Sinclair defiant after merger setback Sparks fly at hearing on anti-conservative bias in tech Dems try to end hearing on bias against conservatives in tech MORE (D-Md.) are cohosting an election security forum Tuesday evening at Richard Montgomery High School in Maryland, which will feature officials from the Election Assistance Commission.

 

LONGREAD OF THE DAY:

The Ringer has an oral history of tech's first major antitrust court fight. The story breaks down Microsoft's antitrust case, with perspectives from people who saw it firsthand in the 90s.

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

A new survey from the Brookings Institution explores attitudes toward AI. (Brookings)

"Why our nuclear weapons can be hacked." (New York Times op-ed)

An Israeli company wants to help governments implement citywide surveillance. (CyberScoop)

Survey: Election systems are still vulnerable. (The Washington Post)

Meet the Israeli company ready to sell citywide surveillance. (CyberScoop)

A California politician is now trying to run attack ads centered on Bitcoin. (Axios)

States launch new offensive on cryptocurrency schemes. (Washington Post)