Hillicon Valley: US, China trade war begins | Tech groups rail against tariffs | Report says Amazon profiting off sales of white-supremacist items | Elon Musk to aid Thailand cave rescue

Hillicon Valley: US, China trade war begins | Tech groups rail against tariffs | Report says Amazon profiting off sales of white-supremacist items | Elon Musk to aid Thailand cave rescue
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Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley.

Welcome! Follow the cyber team, Olivia Beavers (@olivia_beavers) and Morgan Chalfant (@mchalfant16), and the tech team, Harper Neidig (@hneidig) and Ali Breland (@alibreland).

 

TRADE WAR BEGINS: China accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE on Friday of starting "the biggest trade war in economic history" by slapping billions of dollars' worth of tariffs on Chinese goods.

The 25 percent tariffs, costing China roughly $34 billion, kicked in on Friday in Beijing.

Chinese officials announced that retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods would immediately go into effect on American exports like soybeans, seafood, SUVs and crude oil.

China accused Trump of using tariffs as "typical trade bullying."

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"China is forced to strike back to safeguard core national interests and the interests of its people," the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Trump has accused the country of abusing unfair trade practices and harming American companies.

The president has threatened another set of tariffs, worth $16 billion in Chinese exports, later this month.

China has promised to respond with additional tariffs on U.S. goods.

U.S. officials and business owners have warned Trump that the tariffs will be a major hit to American companies.

Read more here.

 

Tech is not pleased: The technology industry on Friday voiced its frustration as President Trump's tariffs on roughly $34 billion worth of Chinese goods took effect.

Lobbying groups representing major technology companies voiced their displeasure with the administration's decision to go through with the tariffs.

The Information Technology Industry Council: "The decision to impose tariffs on Chinese goods will harm American consumers and businesses without addressing discriminatory and systemic Chinese trade practices and policies," said Josh Kallmer, the vice president for policy of the Information Technology Industry Council, a lobbying group whose members include Apple, Oracle and Intel.

"It is troubling that the Administration continues to assume that the imposition of tariffs will convince China to resolve complex trade issues, and irresponsible to downplay the impact on American workers and businesses," Kallmer continued in a statement.

The Consumer Technology Industry Association: "A trade war based on increasing tariffs hurts the United States and China, and businesses and consumers. A trade war doesn't have winners -- our markets are interconnected," said Sage Chandler, vice president of government affairs and international trade at CTA.

"While China's trade behavior is troubling, diplomacy through constructive bilateral processes can achieve the desired objectives without the disproportionate harm to the U.S.," Chandler said in a post on the CTA website.

 

REPORT SAYS AMAZON STILL PROFITING OFF WHITE SUPREMACIST MERCHANDISE: Amazon.com has done a poor job of enforcing its terms of service to keep white supremacist products and content off its site, according to a report published Friday.

The Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race and the Economy, the two groups that released the report, said they found an ample amount of Confederate, Nazi and anti-black products on Amazon's e-commerce platform, despite the company's policy that prohibits the sale of such products on the site.

In the analysis, first reported by The Washington Post, the groups accuse Amazon of becoming a "platform for openly racist writers, musicians, and activists including some who advocate for violence against Black people, Muslims, Jewish people, and LGBTQ people."

"These uses of Amazon's platforms are made possible by what appear to be inadequate and poorly enforced policies," the report says, adding that Amazon has responded slowly to the presence of racist products on its platform instead of working to quickly remove such content.

Nazi, white supremacist and racist content and products violate Amazon's rules, which prohibit the sale of items that promote hatred.

Read more here.

 

TODAY IN THE PRESIDENT'S TWEETS: President Trump on Friday claimed that he had "won" a lawsuit claiming collusion between his campaign and Russia, a suit that a judge threw out earlier this week.

In a tweet, the president claimed that the lawsuit was filed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), despite no official support for the suit from the DNC, and asserted that he had won the lawsuit when in reality a judge dismissed the case on grounds of improper jurisdiction.

"Just won lawsuit filed by the DNC and a bunch of Democrat crazies trying to claim the Trump Campaign (and others), colluded with Russia. They haven't figured out that this was an excuse for them losing the election!" Trump tweeted Friday afternoon.

Despite the president's assertion, a judge who ruled on the case Tuesday evening declared that the plaintiffs had not successfully tied the Trump campaign to Washington, D.C., where the district court was located. Read more.

For more on the judge's decision, click here.

 

TEAMING UP ON AI: The United States and Canada kicked off a new project on Friday that aims to evaluate how artificial intelligence can be used during critical response efforts.

The effort, spearheaded by technology researchers at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Canada's Department of National Defence, is meant to "ensure both American and Canadian next generation first responders are better connected, protected and fully aware during critical incidents," according to a release circulated by Homeland Security on Friday.

The initiative will take place over the next two years, as the countries collaborate on research and development projects, stage field experiments, and hold joint workshops.

The two nations will host a field experiment in early 2019 in Ontario that will use an AI capability developed by Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, known as Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction and Synthesis, or AUDREY.

 

ECONOMY ADDS 213K JOBS IN JUNE: The U.S. economy added a solid 213,000 jobs in June, a stronger number than expected and a sign of the labor market's steady strength even as concerns mount about President Trump's trade policy.

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4 percent from 3.8 percent as more workers jumped into the labor market, the Labor Department reported on Friday.

The economy has added jobs for 92 straight months, beginning in October 2010 under President Obama, the longest streak on record.

Job gains also rose 37,000 more than previously reported in April and May.

"If any doubts lingered that slack in the labor force -- the number of Americans on the sidelines waiting for a good opportunity -- has been underestimated, they were quashed with this report," said Robert Frick, corporate economist with Navy Federal Credit Union.

Unemployment rose as 601,000 people entered the labor market and not all of them found a job.

Read more here.

 

MURDOCHS WOULD SEE BIGGER PAYDAY FROM DISNEY BID THAN COMAST: The Walt Disney Company's bid for much of 21st Century Fox could net Rupert Murdoch and his family $3.5 billion more than Comcast's offer, according to an analysis of the proposals by Bloomberg.

According to the report, the Murdoch's would be stuck with a $2.6 billion federal tax bill on their 17 percent stake in the company if it chooses to accept Comcast's $65 billion all-cash bid. Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James could get away with paying no taxes on Disney's cash and stock offer.

The family could make as much as $11.8 billion from a deal with Disney compared with $8.3 billion from a sale to Comcast.

Bloomberg says that Comcast would need to raise its offer 42 percent, to a total of $92 billion, for the Murdochs to come away with the same boon.

Read more here.

 

ELON MUSK PROMISES ENGINEERS FOR THAILAND CAVE RESCUE: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is sending a group of engineers to Thailand to assist the rescue efforts of the boys soccer team trapped in a cave by flooding.

"SpaceX & Boring Co engineers headed to Thailand tomorrow to see if we can be helpful to govt," Musk tweeted on Friday.

There are already dozens of Thai Navy SEALs and international experts trying to find a way to save the 12 boys and their soccer coach at the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex, where Musk is sending the engineers.

 

STATE'S TECH EXCHANGE: The State Department is hosting its "TechGirls" exchange program starting Sunday and running through August 1, hosting 28 teenaged girls from Algeria, Eqypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, and Tunisia to help hone their technical skills and lay the groundwork for future tech careers.

"The TechGirls initiative empowers girls around the world to become leaders in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields," a statement from State's press office said Friday.

 

ON TAP FOR NEXT WEEK:

Congress is back in session following the July 4th recess. Here are a few things we are tracking:

The House Homeland Security Committee is holding a hearing on securing U.S. election systems at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

And the following day, the same committee will hold a hearing on protecting the homeland security supply chain.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is planning a hearing on "protecting customer proprietary network information in the internet age" at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: Is Silicon Valley like the Soviet Union?

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON:

Senate farm bill provides a glimmer of hope for rural broadband. (The Hill)

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

How Facebook gave way to the crisis in Myanmar. (Wired)

The rise of pseudo AI. (The Guardian)

Russia's data law is creating problems for the country's telecommunications operators. (Reuters)

Facebook's dating app frustrates right-wingers in India. (BuzzFeed)

Google says its documents app is working properly despite reported issues in Russia. (AP)

Why Amazon keeps making tablets when the market has been struggling. (Washington Post)

By the numbers: The robocall scourge. (Axios)