Hillicon Valley: Trump stuns with election interference claim against China | FCC limits fees for 5G | Uber reaches $148M settlement over breach | Fox sells Sky stake to Comcast | House passes bills to fix cyber vulnerabilities

Hillicon Valley: Trump stuns with election interference claim against China | FCC limits fees for 5G | Uber reaches $148M settlement over breach | Fox sells Sky stake to Comcast | House passes bills to fix cyber vulnerabilities
© Getty Images

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 Jacqueline Thomsen (@jacq_thomsen), and the tech team, Harper Neidig (@hneidig) and Ali Breland (@alibreland). And CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter.


CHINA DID WHAT?: President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani says he is unaware of reported federal investigation Louisiana's Democratic governor forced into runoff Lawmakers focus their ire on NBA, not China MORE raised eyebrows on Wednesday when he accused China of attempting to meddle in the November midterm elections and claimed the country it does not want Republicans to win because of his actions on trade.

"Regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election," Trump said during a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York. "They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade."


Trump did not provide evidence to back up his claims.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who sat near Trump at a round table inside the Security Council chamber, later denied the president's assertions.

"We did not and will not interfere in any country's domestic affairs. We refuse to accept any unwarranted accusations against China," Wang said through a translator. Trump did not respond to Wang's denial.

A senior administration official later told reporters that China is "actively interfering in our political system," accusing Beijing of trying to use tariffs to hurt farmers in states and districts that voted for Trump.

When pressed on the scope of China's efforts to meddle in U.S. politics, the official said the activities "go beyond" targeting farming districts with tariffs but offered few details. The official described the activity as "covert" and involving propaganda, cyber activity, and corruption, adding that the administration would share more "over time." 

Read more here.

Just so we're clear – while administration officials have warned that China could influence upcoming elections, there is no evidence that they have interfered in the midterms.


FCC CUTS FEES FOR WIRELESS PROVIDERS: The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday approved a new rule that would limit what fees local authorities can charge wireless providers as the industry builds out its next-generation networks, known as 5G.

All four commissioners offered support for the rule, with Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel dissenting over only part of the proposal.

Companies like Verizon and AT&T are competing to bring new 5G service in the years to come, an endeavor that will require a massive deployment of hardware across the country. Unlike 4G signals, which can be transmitted for miles by large cell towers, the next generation's waves can only travel short distances and will require small cell stations every few city blocks.

In order to install these refrigerator-size stations, wireless providers will need to negotiate access to utility poles and other public assets. The order approved on Wednesday would cap what municipalities can charge for rights of way and limit the amount of time that local authorities can take to review businesses proposal for deploying wireless infrastructure.

When the new rules take effect, local officials will have 60 to 90 days to review installation requests.

Read more here.

Expect a court fight: Republicans on the commission say that limiting what they see as exorbitant fees in major cities will free up capital for companies like Verizon and AT&T to invest in building out their networks in underserved rural areas. The commission estimated that the rule will save wireless providers $2 billion.

But some critics think that the rush is leading to careless deregulation that will exacerbate the "digital divide" between those who have access to fast internet and wireless capabilities and those who don't.

The proposal generated significant opposition from mayors and other local officials around the country, who accused the FCC of overriding their authority to regulate the rollout of the new technology.


UBER REACHES NATIONWIDE SETTLEMENT OVER 2016 DATA BREACH: Uber on Wednesday agreed to pay a $148 million nationwide settlement resolving allegations that the ride-hailing company failed to properly report a massive data breach in 2016.

The company admitted to paying hackers $100,000 to destroy data stolen in a 2016 breach that exposed 57 million users in an effort to cover up the incident, rather than reporting the hack to authorities as required by law.

The hackers had stolen personal information of riders and drivers, including names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers. They also made off with driver's license information for approximately 600,000 drivers.

State attorneys general made the announcement regarding the company's largest settlement, which was reached with all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C.

"Uber's decision to cover up this breach was a blatant violation of the public's trust," California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraTrump administration ends five-year oil and gas drilling moratorium in California  Feds won't pursue charges against Sacramento officers who fatally shot Stephon Clark Overnight Energy: 17 states sue Trump over weakening of Endangered Species Act | Federal land agency chief releases 17-page recusal list | UN climate report warns of warming oceans, sea level rise MORE (D) said in a statement.

"The company failed to safeguard user data and notify authorities when it was exposed. Consistent with its corporate culture at the time, Uber swept the breach under the rug in deliberate disregard of the law."

Read more here.


IT'S MODERNIZATION, STUPID: The Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be marking up a key cyber bill that aims to modernize the federal government.

Reps. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeGOP searches for impeachment boogeyman Democrats claim new momentum from intelligence watchdog testimony Hillicon Valley: Senate passes bill to boost cyber help for agencies, businesses | Watchdog warns Energy Department failing to protect grid | FTC sues Match for allegedly conning users MORE (R-Texas) and Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaCongress set for showdown with Trump over Kurds Is Congress too afraid to fight Big Pharma? Democrats probing whether groups booked Trump hotel rooms to earn president's favor: report MORE are co-sponsors of the 21st Century IDEA bill, which aims to "lower federal costs and increase efficiency by digitizing government processes and establishing minimum standards for federal websites."

"Bringing our government into the digital age is a long-overdue step forward that will save the precious time of people seeking assistance from federal agencies, while greatly reducing the cost to taxpayers," Ratcliffe said in a statement to The Hill. "The commonsense 21st Century IDEA implements critical online upgrades that are often standard in the private sector, which will allow us to better serve the American people."


FOX SELLING SKY STAKE TO COMCAST: 21st Century Fox announced Wednesday it plans to sell its remaining stake in European broadcaster Sky, tying off a final loose end in Comcast's acquisition of the broadcast giant.

21st Century Fox, which earlier this year had many of its assets purchased by Walt Disney Co., said in a statement that it and Disney opted to sell its 39 percent holding in Sky, giving Comcast full control of the company.

"We are grateful to our exceptional colleagues at Sky for creating this unique and outstanding company and wish them continued success," 21st Century Fox said in a statement.

Comcast beat out Fox in a long-running bidding war for control of Sky earlier this week with a $40 billion offer.

Read more here.


HOW DO YOU HACK A NUKE: A new study out today warns that nuclear weapons are increasingly vulnerable to sophisticated cyberattacks.

Nuclear Threat Initiative warned that a sophisticated cyber attack could "increase the risk of unauthorized use of a nuclear weapon," according to the report released Wednesday. Hackers also could set off false alarms, thereby undermining the public's confidence in nuclear deterrents.

"Today, that fact remains the chilling reality. Cyber threats are expanding and evolving at a breathtaking rate, and governments are not keeping pace," the authors of the report wrote. "It is essential that the U.S. government and all nuclear-armed states catch up with--indeed, get ahead of--this threat."

The report points to the issue of keeping up with the quick-moving digital landscape.

"This is because the speed, stealth, unpredictability, and challenges of attribution of any particular cyberattack make it increasingly difficult to anticipate, deter, and defend against all cyber threats," according to a press release of the report.


FIX! THAT! BUG!: The House passed three cyber bills Tuesday night, including one that would create a policy for disclosing and resolving cyber vulnerabilities on Department of Homeland Security networks.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyFive ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble The Hill's Morning Report — Arrest of Giuliani associates triggers many questions Cheney slated to introduce bill to place sanctions on Turkey MORE (R-Calif.) opens the door for ethical hackers to notify DHS of the bugs and then fix them, which is currently not permitted under federal law.

"Internationally backed hackers and nations states are waging a war against us in cyberspace, but the government cannot face these threats alone," said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse Foreign Affairs leaders to introduce sanctions bill against Turkey Hillicon Valley: Senate passes bill to boost cyber help for agencies, businesses | Watchdog warns Energy Department failing to protect grid | FTC sues Match for allegedly conning users Senate approves bill to boost cyber assistance for federal agencies, private sector MORE on the House floor. "We need help from the private sector."

The House also passed a bill to create a similar program at the State Department, and another asking the National Institute of Standards and Technology to expand its cybersecurity research.





House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing (10:15 a.m.) on "DOE Modernization: The Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response"

Day 2 of the Wilson Center's "Hack The Capitol" event, which will feature cyber experts that will discuss a range of topics like protecting America's Industrial Control Systems.



The Temptation of Apple News. (Slate)

WhatsApp Cofounder Brian Acton Gives The Inside Story On #DeleteFacebook And Why He Left $850 Million Behind. (Forbes)

The Crisis of Election Security. (THE New York Times)

How Uber's Cultural Overhaul Was Tested by Complaints Against Top Deal Maker (The Wall Street Journal)

Equity could become the gig economy's next benefit. (Axios)