Hillicon Valley: Trump gets pushback after reversing course on Huawei | China installing surveillance apps on visitors' phones | Internet provider Cloudflare suffers outage | Consumer groups look to stop Facebook cryptocurrency

Hillicon Valley: Trump gets pushback after reversing course on Huawei | China installing surveillance apps on visitors' phones | Internet provider Cloudflare suffers outage | Consumer groups look to stop Facebook cryptocurrency
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HUAWEI BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT: President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE's decision to lift the ban on U.S. companies selling products to Chinese telecommunications company Huawei is sparking pushback from lawmakers worried about the potential national security implications.

Trump at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit decided to ease his ban on the firm, announcing that "U.S. companies can sell their equipment to Huawei." He tried to allay any concerns, noting that "we're talking about equipment where there's no great national security problem with it."

The concession came as Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to restart trade talks after a face-to-face meeting, with Trump also saying that China would resume purchases of American farm products.

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The announcement brought a sharp reaction from Capitol Hill.

"Huawei is one of few potent levers we have to make China play fair on trade," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "If President Trump backs off, as it appears he is doing, it will dramatically undercut our ability to change China's unfair trade practices."

Trump's announcement was a stark reversal from his previous policies toward Huawei.

The Commerce Department added Huawei to its "entity list" in May, a move often seen as a death sentence for foreign companies. U.S. companies are banned from doing business with those on the list.

But in the case of Huawei, the Commerce Department issued a 90-day extension for implementing the ban in order to give companies time to adjust. That extension is now halfway completed, with Huawei set to be added in mid-August.

Trump said in Japan that Huawei would not be taken off the entity list but added that "we are going to be supplying equipment from our companies." 

Trump also signed an executive order in May that banned telecommunications companies deemed a national security threat from doing business in the U.S.

More from lawmakers: Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonZuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers to discuss 'future internet regulation' 2020 Democrats raise alarm about China's intellectual property theft MORE (R-Ark.) tweeted on Saturday that "Huawei is not only an arm of the Chinese Communist Party, but also a close partner of the People's Liberation Army."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate Judiciary Committee requests consultation with admin on refugee admissions Trump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Trump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition MORE (R-S.C.) said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that "there will be a lot of pushback" from both sides of the aisle if Huawei is used as a concession in trade talks.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioLiberal super PAC launches browser extension replacing 'Mitch McConnell' with 'Moscow Mitch' Trump faces difficult balancing act with reelection campaign Republicans wary of US action on Iran MORE (R-Fla.), meanwhile, vowed to pass legislation to put Huawei back on the entity list if President Trump decides to remove it, tweeting that the bill "will pass with a large veto proof majority."

Huawei's reaction: Huawei has stayed quiet after Trump's announcement, with many details still unclear.

A spokesperson for Huawei told The Hill on Monday that "we acknowledge President Trump's comments related to Huawei over the weekend and have nothing further to add at this time."

Read more here.

 

CHINESE SURVEILLANCE: Chinese authorities are reportedly installing surveillance apps on tourists' phones at certain border crossings that collect data and scan for a range of users' files, according to a sweeping new investigation.

The New York Times, Vice's Motherboard, The Guardian, Süddeutsche Zeitung and the German broadcaster NDR collaborated on an investigation into the methods used by China in its Xinjiang region, where the government has ramped up surveillance targeting its Uighur Muslim minority, forcing thousands into "reeducation" camps.

According to the Times' report, border officials in certain crossings into Xinjiang will install an app called Fengcai onto travelers' Android devices. For travelers with Apple devices, their phones were reportedly plugged into a USB cable connected to a handheld device.

Researchers told the outlets that the Android app scans for more than 73,000 different files. Many are related to Islamic extremist groups, including publications from ISIS and images of executions.

But the list of files also includes segments from the Quran, portions of an Arabic dictionary and a photo of the Dalai Lama. For some reason, a song from a Japanese heavy metal band is also on the list.

The app also sweeps up text messages and contact information from the devices.

Read more here. 

  

WORLDWIDE OUTAGE: Internet network and security provider Cloudflare experienced a massive outage Tuesday morning, with websites around the world unable to load and the cause of the outage not immediately clear.

Cloudflare co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince tweeted that he was "aware of major @Cloudflare issues impacting us network wide. Team is working on getting to the bottom of what's going on. Will continue to update."

Less than a half hour after that tweet, Prince tweeted that "traffic restored. Working now to restore all services globally."

The outage did not appear to last long, with Cloudflare posting online that it had "implemented a fix for this issue" and that it was "monitoring the results" 23 minutes after it wrote that "we are working to mitigate impact to Internet users."

The number of websites impacted was likely in the millions. According to Cloudflare, it hosts over 16 million internet properties, and the company powers internet requests for around 10 percent of the Fortune 1,000 companies and for more than one billion IP addresses every day.

Websites including those for the Drudge Report, The Diplomat, and chat service Discord were not able to load, with users receiving a "502" error message. Several cryptocurrency trading groups such as Circle Invest, and Poloniex Exchange were also briefly down.

While there was some speculation online that the outage was caused by a cyberattack, Prince told The Hill that Cloudflare had found "no evidence" that this was the case, and that the outage was actually caused by a "massive spike in the CPU usage," or the network processor usage.

Read more here. 

 

FAKE HEALTH CLAIMS: Facebook on Tuesday announced it is seeking to limit the circulation of debunked medical claims after multiple reports found that bogus cancer cures are rampant on the platform.

Last month, the company started down-ranking posts promoting "exaggerated or sensational health claims," meaning they now show up lower in the News Feed and Facebook won't surface them, according to a Tuesday blog post from the company.

And it is taking the same action against posts promoting products or services purportedly based on medical claims, like pills to help someone lose weight, Facebook said.

"In order to help people get accurate health information and the support they need, it's imperative that we minimize health content that is sensational or misleading," the blog post reads.

The tweaks come on the heels of two reports from The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal detailing how users can get sucked into rabbit holes of medical misinformation when they're seeking more information about cancer diagnoses.

The Post identified groups dedicated solely to sharing "natural" cures for cancer, which have been shown to be ineffective when pursued without modern medicine. Those groups, some of which had tens of thousands of members, were reportedly littered with members urging one another to try cures such as "cancer-fighting salad."

Facebook's update does not explicitly mention what it is doing about groups dedicating to promoting "exaggerated or sensational health claims." Most of the announcement focuses on down-ranking posts in the News Feed and predicts some pages will be affected.

Read more here.

 

SATELLITE CONCERNS: A pair of Republican senators are pressing the State Department for answers on Boeing's sales of American-made satellites to Chinese companies, raising national security concerns and worries Beijing is using the technology for human rights abuses.

"The use of American satellite technology by the Chinese military and police raises serious military, national security, and human rights concerns," Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Trump: 'Great to see' Pelosi plan to lower drug prices Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition 'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year MORE (R-Iowa) wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Senate Judiciary Committee requests consultation with admin on refugee admissions State Department's top arms control official leaving MORE made public Monday and sent June 27.

"Robust export control laws are critical to ensuring that sensitive technology does not fall into the hands of those who may use it against us," they added.

The senators cited a Wall Street Journal story from April which reported that Boeing has built nine communications satellites for China and is working on a tenth one.

"These satellites are allegedly 'part of efforts to connect Chinese soldiers on contested outposts in the South China Sea, strengthen police forces against social unrest and make sure state messaging penetrates far and wide,' " Grassley and Ernst added, quoting from the report.

Read more here. 

 

FACEBOOK GETS FINED: German authorities reportedly fined Facebook for $2.3 million for underreporting complaints of illegal hate speech. 

Germany's Federal Office of Justice said Tuesday the social media platform had misrepresented the amount by only tallying a certain category of complaints, Reuters reports.

Germany's network transparency law requires social media platforms to report the number of complaints of illegal content they receive, The Associated Press noted, adding that violations include anti-Semitic insults and content designed to incite hatred against people based on religion or ethnicity.

Facebook reportedly said it received 1,048 complaints related to illegal content on its platform in the second half of 2018. 

But officials claimed the amount was much higher. 

"It is quite clear that Facebook's community standards do not correspond to the standards of the law," Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht told reporters, according to Reuters.

Read more here. 

 

STOP RIGHT THERE: Dozens of consumer advocacy groups are asking lawmakers and regulators to put a halt to Facebook's plans to launch a cryptocurrency over concerns ranging from privacy issues to national sovereignty.

The broad coalition sent letters on Tuesday to congressional committees and regulatory agencies calling for them to impose a moratorium on Facebook's Libra project "until the profound questions raised by the proposal are addressed."

"The U.S. regulatory system is not prepared to address these questions. Nor are the regulatory systems of other nations or international institutions," the groups wrote in the letter. "All of us believe the risks posed by Facebook's proposal are too great to allow the plan to proceed with so many unanswered questions."

Among the 33 groups that signed the letter are Public Citizen, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Digital Democracy.

Facebook last month unveiled the Libra project, which will be housed in an independent nonprofit backed by major corporations like Visa, Uber and Paypal. A new Facebook subsidiary called Calibra would run a payment system using the currency, which Facebook argues would help those lacking access to established financial services.

But the proposal also raised immediate bipartisan concerns in Washington, where Facebook's reputation has been devastated by privacy scandals and disinformation campaigns on its platform.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate quickly called hearings on the project for later this month, where a Facebook executive is expected to testify.

Read more here. 

 

NOT GONNA HAPPEN: Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said Tuesday that he does not believe President Trump will be able to strike a trade deal with China, particularly if Chinese telecom firm Huawei is involved. 

After a months-long stalemate, Trump announced this week that talks with Beijing had resumed with a goal of striking tariffs and resuming more open trade, but Scott, a former Florida governor, called Huawei a non-starter.

"They're stealing technology, they won't open up their market, they're militarizing the South China Sea, they're involved in Venezuela where [President Nicolás] Maduro is killing his own citizens -- he just killed a Navy captain -- so I don't believe there will be a deal, but clearly there is no way we are going to allow Huawei to sell into the American market from a national security standpoint," he said in a CNBC interview

Scott said that the failure to reach a trade deal with China will have short-term impacts, but that American companies will be able to prosper in other markets even without one. 

"I think we'd all rather have a deal, but China's got to stop and decide they're going to be fair, and they haven't been willing to do that yet," he said. 

Read more here. 

 

NO MORE: Reps. Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerTen notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment Centrist House Democrats press for committees to follow pay-go rule Gun debate to shape 2020 races MORE (D-Va.) and Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump The Hill Interview: Sanford says Trump GOP doing 'serious brand destruction' GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan MORE (R-N.C.) introduced legislation on Tuesday meant to halt the use of Department of Defense (DOD) computer networks by users for sharing or procuring pornographic images of children.

The End National Defense Network Abuse (END Network Abuse) was introduced in the wake of in an investigation called "Project Flicker" carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This investigation identified over 5,000 individuals, including many affiliated with DOD, who were subscribed to child porn websites.

The Pentagon's Defense Criminal Investigative Service subsequently identified hundreds of DOD-affiliated individuals as suspects involved in accessing child pornography, several of whom used government devices to view and share the images.

The END Network Abuse Act would require the Pentagon to enter into agreements with groups including law enforcement, child protection services, social services, and trauma-informed healthcare providers in order to cut down or halt the spread and impact of these images on DOD networks. The bill would also upgrade the training and technical expertise of the military organizations involved in investigating these types of crimes.

Read more here. 

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: Why new digital identity guidelines are needed now

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: She definitely should have said no. 

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

Dozens of Facebook pages about current events in Libya were linked to malware (CyberScoop)

Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardAnalysis: 2020 digital spending vastly outpaces TV ads Sanders searches for answers amid Warren steamroller Kavanaugh book author on impeachment calls: 'That's not our determination to make' MORE says a teen hacked a replica of Florida's election system. She's wrong. (Motherboard) 

Cyber-incident reports from UK finance sector spiked by 1,000 percent in 2018 (BBC)