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Hillicon Valley: 50M affected by Facebook hack | Google CEO to testify on Capitol Hill | Tesla shares slump after SEC sues | House Intel votes to release Russia probe transcripts | Dem holds up passage of key intel bill

Hillicon Valley: 50M affected by Facebook hack | Google CEO to testify on Capitol Hill | Tesla shares slump after SEC sues | House Intel votes to release Russia probe transcripts | Dem holds up passage of key intel bill
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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.

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50 MILLION FACEBOOK USERS AFFECTED IN HACK: Facebook revealed on Friday that it discovered a hack affecting the accounts of 50 million users.

The company said that hackers had exploited a vulnerability affecting those users, but it hasn't determined what information might have been accessed.

"This is a real serious security issue and we're taking it really seriously," Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Public funds support proposal to remove Zuckerberg as Facebook chairman Obama responds to several excuses people give for not voting in new video MORE said on a call with reporters. "It definitely is an issue that this happened in the first place."

Facebook said that hackers had attacked a vulnerability in their software related to the "View As" feature, which lets users look at their own profiles from a third-party's perspective. The company said it's fixed the vulnerability and turned the feature off as a precaution.

The vulnerability was introduced into Facebook's system in July of 2017 when the company overhauled the "View As" feature. On September 16, Facebook says that it found unusual activity on its platform and launched an investigation, ultimately identifying the vulnerability and the intrusion on Tuesday.

The big picture: The announcement comes at an awkward time for Facebook, which is still struggling to rebuild its reputation after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal earlier this year, which Zuckerberg had to answer for on Capitol Hill.

And it comes as Congress is preparing a national privacy bill that the tech industry is hoping will prevent states from passing their own data collection laws like California did this summer.

Read more here.

 

GOOGLE CEO TO TESTIFY BEFORE HOUSE JUDICIARY: The House Judiciary Committee said it will hold a hearing with Google CEO Sundar Pichai about "social media filtering practices" following a meeting between Republican congressmen and Pichai on Friday.

"Today we held a very productive meeting with Google CEO Sundar Pichai to discuss concerns regarding Google's business practices," Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFusion GPS co-founder pleads the Fifth following House GOP subpoena House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein Fusion GPS co-founder will invoke 'constitutional rights not to testify': lawyers MORE (R-Va.) said in a statement. "Following this meeting, I will officially be inviting Mr. Pichai to testify before the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing this fall."

Pichai, accompanied by Google's Washington, D.C. staff swiftly left the Capitol Hill meeting without taking questions from reporters.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — GOP faces ‘green wave’ in final stretch to the midterms Conservatives fear Trump will cut immigration deal Democrats in swing districts advised to avoid talking about immigration MORE (R-Calif.) who organized the meeting, however, called the meeting "productive" and said that they spoke about topics including alleged bias against conservatives on tech platforms and Google's reported plans to enter China's search market.

McCarthy characterized some of the discussions on bias as "very frank," and said that Pichai outlined challenges Google faces in addressing his and other Republicans concerns.

Read more here.

 

SET THE TRANSCRIPTS FREE: The House Intelligence Committee on Friday voted to release dozens of transcripts from its now-shuttered investigation into Russia's election interference, likely teeing up a massive document dump ahead of the November midterm elections.

The transcripts include testimony from several of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE's associates and campaign officials, including Stephen Bannon, Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump: 'I don't call it tweeting. I call it social media' The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Trump heads to battleground Iowa, where GOP House members seek help Hope Hicks to become Fox chief communications officer MOREJared KushnerJared Corey KushnerMueller assembles team of cooperators in Russian probe Secret Service: Agent who blocked reporter questioning Kushner reacted to ‘abrupt movement’ Kushner and Saudi crown prince communicated informally on WhatsApp: report MOREDonald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpMueller assembles team of cooperators in Russian probe Election Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage Senate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia MORE, and Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneMueller assembles team of cooperators in Russian probe Mueller's team asking Manafort about Roger Stone: report Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel MORE.

They also include transcripts of interviews with officials from the Obama administration, such as former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperWrong for Democrats to call for more Kavanaugh investigations The Hill's Morning Report — Where the Kavanaugh nomination stands Hillicon Valley: 50M affected by Facebook hack | Google CEO to testify on Capitol Hill | Tesla shares slump after SEC sues | House Intel votes to release Russia probe transcripts | Dem holds up passage of key intel bill MORE and former Deputy Attorney General Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesThe Hill's Morning Report — Where the Kavanaugh nomination stands Hillicon Valley: 50M affected by Facebook hack | Google CEO to testify on Capitol Hill | Tesla shares slump after SEC sues | House Intel votes to release Russia probe transcripts | Dem holds up passage of key intel bill House Intel votes to release Russia transcripts MORE, as well as Trump administration officials, including Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcGahn departs as White House counsel The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump requests Turkey's evidence on missing journalist | Takeaways from Texas Senate debate | Key Mueller findings could be ready after midterms The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — GOP faces ‘green wave’ in final stretch to the midterms MORE and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case Lawmakers seeking intel on alleged Saudi plot against journalist MORE.

While lawmakers from both parties voted in favor of releasing the documents, Democrats are accusing the Republican leaders of selectively withholding some documents from the public and slow-rolling others' release.

The transcripts -- 53 in total, covering thousands of pages -- will not immediately be released but will now go to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for a classification review, which could take days or weeks to complete. 

Read more here.

 

SAY BYE TO THE SPY?: Security experts and privacy advocates are hopeful the rollout of the new 5G wireless network could eliminate a glaring surveillance vulnerability that allows spying on nearby phone calls.

Lawmakers have been pressing the Trump administration to crack down on technology known as "Stingrays," after it was revealed they were found near federal buildings in Washington D.C. earlier this year.

The devices, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers, allow for unauthorized cellphone surveillance. They are often used by law enforcement to track suspects in cases. But the devices have vexed federal officials who until recently had no way of tracking them, sparking worries about their use by foreign powers.

Stingrays exploit cell towers that are the backbone of the current 4G network. Experts say the structure of 5G, short for fifth-generation networks, could block the way the devices operate, resolving the thorny surveillance problem.

5G networks would be less reliant on those towers and also would require new security standards for communications. The new network would be built using smaller cells, which are about the size of refrigerators and located every few blocks.

"The use of next-generation 5G technologies, with stronger security options, promises to lower the threat from unauthorized rogue base stations, so called "stingray" devices," Charles Romine, head of the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, told The Hill in an email.

"There is still a lot of work to be done, but we expect innovations like 5G to make a real difference in many aspects of telecommunications security." 

Read more here.

 

TESLA SHARES SLIDE AFTER SEC CHARGES: Tesla shares dropped 12 percent Friday morning after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged CEO Elon Musk with fraud and pushed to have him removed from the company.

The lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon in federal court in Manhattan, alleged that Musk misled shareholders in a series of unusual tweets in August, in which he said he had secured funding to take the electric car company private.

Musk responded by saying the charges were "unjustified."

Tesla shares were trading at about $270 when the market opened Friday morning -- more than 12 percent lower than the $307 price on Thursday afternoon.

Read more here.

 

YOU'RE HOLDING UP THE INTEL: Leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees failed to pass an annual intelligence authorization bill before the new fiscal year after the objections of a key House Democrat held up passage of the compromise bill.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Trump travels to hurricane-ravaged Florida, Georgia Dems eye ambitious agenda if House flips Schiff: There is legal precedent for impeaching sitting officials over prior criminal conduct MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, would not agree to support the two-year Intelligence Authorization Act over concerns about a provision in the classified portion of the report, sources tell The Hill.

The other leaders -- Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrDems can use subpoena power to reclaim the mantle of populism Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel The National Trails System is celebrating 50 years today — but what about the next 50 years? MORE (R-N.C.), Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDems can use subpoena power to reclaim the mantle of populism Is there a difference between good and bad online election targeting? Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel MORE (D-Va.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesJuan Williams: Trump, the Great Destroyer The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — Latest on Hurricane Michael | Trump, Kanye West to have lunch at White House | GOP divided over potential 2020 high court vacancy Senate Dem: Trump's 'fake, hyperbolic rantings' an insult to real Medal of Honor recipients MORE (R-Calif.) -- were all on board with the legislation.

Schiff's objection means the intelligence panels won't be able to articulate their priorities to the intelligence community during the fiscal 2018 year, losing important oversight on national security matters like cyberattacks and Russian aggression.

Out of thousands of pages of legislative text, Schiff took issue with a paragraph in the classified annex of the report. According to one congressional source, this section is related to an oversight matter. Further details about the provision are not known.

More on what it all means here.

 

WHAT'S REALLY THE DEAL WITH CHINA: Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have requested an intelligence briefing on President Trump's accusations that China has tried to interfere in the midterm elections.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the committee's ranking member, told The Hill Thursday that the minority has requested a briefing before the House's next recess on Trump's claims.

"We have requested to be briefed on what he was referring to," Schiff said. "We expect that we will, before we recess, have the opportunity to ask just what he is talking about."

On Wednesday, Trump accused China of trying to meddle in the elections during a speech at a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York.

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

At a later press conference, Trump pointed to an insert in the Des Moines Register purchased by a Chinese government-backed media company that criticized Trump's trade policies. He described the alleged Chinese interference as "different" than Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 vote. 

Read more here.

 

OBAMA HITS FACEBOOK: Former President Obama said Thursday that private businesses should work with the government to develop products so they avoid being disconnected from social consequences.

"Too often, at least in the United States, there's a tendency for business leaders to say, 'Let's just avoid the government as much as we can,'" Obama told Swedish billionaire entrepreneur Niklas Zennstrom during an interview, according to the Associated Press.

"That strategy can work for a time, but eventually -- as I think Facebook has now discovered -- you're going to have to engage," he said.

Facebook has faced increasing government and public pressure in the U.S. and abroad to alter its platform to better fit various people's wishes.

Read more here.

 

HOW TO TELL THE FBI YOU GOT HACKED: The Department of Justice (DOJ) released new guidance Thursday on how best companies can share information with federal officials during data breaches.

The document, released the same day as a DOJ roundtable with private sector officials who work on data breaches, builds on previous guidelines on how to respond to cyber attacks.

The newly released guidance says the FBI has created more direct lines to communicate with companies in the case of breaches, and that organizations should also dedicate staff to better share information with federal officials on cyber threats.

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinRosenstein says Mueller probe is 'appropriate and independent' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump requests Turkey's evidence on missing journalist | Takeaways from Texas Senate debate | Key Mueller findings could be ready after midterms Mueller to present key findings related to Russia probe after midterms: report MORE was among the officials who spoke at the roundtable, along with officials from the White House, the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security.

Rosenstein said in a statement that partnerships between public and private entities "play a critical role in our efforts to hold criminals accountable for data breaches."

"We depend on the private sector to help us maintain the rule of law in cyberspace at every stage of our work," he said. "That includes working together to obtain critical evidence for investigations and trials, and collaborating on developing the legal authorities needed to protect our 21st century economy."

 

A LIGHTER TWITTER CLICK: I think there's a pretty simple fix for that one.

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

The hot property that's next on tech's agenda: Real estate. (The New York Times)

Trump's antitrust chief questions whether there's 'credible evidence' Big Tech is harming innovation. (The Washington Post)

Hackers are holding high-profile Instagram accounts hostage (Motherboard)

Hackers bring stark warning about election security to Capitol Hill ahead of midterms (CNN)

Indie hacker gets cold feet on an attack on Zuckerberg (Bloomberg)