Hillicon Valley: Facebook to let users clear history | Black lawmakers push diversity during Silicon Valley visit | Rosenstein hits back at Republicans who want to impeach him | Apple plans $100B stock buyback

Hillicon Valley: Facebook to let users clear history | Black lawmakers push diversity during Silicon Valley visit | Rosenstein hits back at Republicans who want to impeach him | Apple plans $100B stock buyback
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The Hill's Overnight Cybersecurity and Tech teams are joining forces to bring you Hillicon Valley, a new comprehensive newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley.


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


FACEBOOK TO LET USERS CLEAR HISTORY: Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Advocacy groups target Facebook employees in push to keep Trump off platform | Senior Biden cyber nominees sail through Senate hearing | State Dept. urges Nigeria to reverse Twitter ban Advocacy groups target Facebook employees in push to keep Trump off platform Fauci on Blackburn video: 'No idea what she is talking about' MORE promised during his congressional testimony that Facebook would improve data privacy on its platform, and the company announced a new tool on Tuesday taking a step toward that goal.

Zuckerberg said on Tuesday that Facebook will create a "clear history" option allowing users to erase data about the apps and websites they've interacted with while logged into Facebook.


Facebook is moving to quell concerns about data privacy following the revelations about Cambridge Analytica, a British research firm hired by the Trump campaign that improperly harvested the data of 87 million Facebook users.

--Zuckerberg on the change: "After going through our systems, this is an example of the kind of control we think you should have. It's something privacy advocates have been asking for -- and we will work with them to make sure we get it right," he wrote in a post.

--Also worth noting: This is Facebook's first major privacy announcement since Erin Egan began focusing on the role of chief privacy officer at Facebook. She was previously in charge of their policy team in Washington as well. But the increasing scrutiny over

the company's data policies led the company to have Egan focusing on privacy issues

--From Egan: "As Chief Privacy Officer for the past six years, it's been rewarding to see the progress we've made. But now it's time to supercharge this work. Clear History is one of our first steps."


What to watch for: It remains to be seen how meaningful the changes will be and what "Clear History" will actually look like. Zuckerberg said that users will be able to see what interactions they have on Facebook with ads and websites are tracked, and that they'll be able to delete them.

But the final version of the tool has yet to be fully determined. Egan said that the Facebook will "work with privacy advocates, academics, policymakers and regulators to get their input on our approach," towards a final product.

Zuckerberg said that there are also more announcements in the works down the line.  


WHAT'S HILL-HAPPENING: Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are visiting Silicon Valley to push the tech industry to improve diversity.

The visit is part of the group's Tech 2020 initiative, which calls on companies to boost the numbers of African-Americans they employ.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), whose Oakland district borders the country's tech hub, expressed frustration with the industry's efforts.

"Silicon Valley's economy is booming but we still don't have the parity and equity in terms of racial inclusion," Lee told The Hill on Monday. "The lack of understanding of why racial equity is important is mind-boggling to me."

--This is their second visit since last fall. So far though lawmakers have had more praise for the industry's efforts on diversity and racial issues than during their last visit.



SHOT... HOUSE CONSERVATIVES DRAFT ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST DEPUTY AG ROSENSTEIN: A group of conservative House lawmakers have begun drafting a resolution that calls for the impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinDemocrats claim vindication, GOP cries witch hunt as McGahn finally testifies Protect the police or the First Amendment? Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' MORE, the top Department of Justice (DOJ) official overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's Russia investigation.

The impeachment document makes a series of charges against Rosenstein, the latest sign of escalating efforts among conservatives to oust the DOJ's No. 2 official, according to a copy of the draft obtained by The Hill.

Conservative members led by Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsBiden's no-drama White House chief Ex-Trump aide Meadows pushed DOJ to probe multiple election theories: report Trump working with Gingrich on policy agenda: report MORE (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a close ally to President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE, drafted the eight articles of impeachment against Rosenstein.

The articles include allegations that Rosenstein violated federal law by refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena over Congress's efforts to obtain documents about FBI surveillance during the election, intentionally stalling document production for congressional investigations into possible government misconduct and failing to enforce key laws and protocols.

BUT BUT BUT... There has been no indication, however, that Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanZaid Jilani: Paul Ryan worried about culture war distracting from issues 'that really concern him' The Memo: Marjorie Taylor Greene exposes GOP establishment's lack of power The Hill's 12:30 Report - Senators back in session after late-night hold-up MORE (R-Wis.) and other House GOP leaders will act on the measure, having largely remained silent amid calls for his removal by hard-line conservatives.

To read more, click here.

CHASER... ROSENSTEIN FIRES BACK: The deputy attorney general on Tuesday appeared to shrug off the news.

"They can't even resist leaking their own drafts," Rosenstein quipped during a moderated discussion at the Newseum to commemorate Law Day.

Rosenstein said the standards the Department of Justice (DOJ) follows for making charges against someone are far different than how the drafters approached making allegations in this document -- leaked and unsigned.

"The way we operate in the Department of Justice, if we are going to accuse someone of wrongdoing, we have to have admissible evidence, and credible witnesses, we need to be prepared to prove our case in court. And we have to fix our signature to the charging document, and that is something that not everybody appreciates," Rosenstein told the audience.

"I just don't have anything to say about documents like that that nobody has the courage to put their name on and they leak in that way," he continued.

Rosenstein also added: "There have been people who have been making threats privately and publicly against me for quite some time, and I think they should understand by now the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted."

To read more, click here.

LATEST: A White House spokesman brushed off the extortion remark, saying it had "nothing to do with us."


SPEAKING OF SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER: He's got dozens of questions for President Trump, reports The New York Times. The White House isn't commenting.


TECH'S TROUBLES IN EUROPE: Damian Collins, the British MP who's been hounding Facebook in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, threatened Mark Zuckerberg with formal summons unless he agrees to testify in front of Parliament's committee on digital media.

"It is worth noting that, while Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the UK Parliament, he will do so the next time he enters the country," Collins wrote in a letter to the company. "We hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not the Committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the UK."

The panel had invited Zuckerberg to testify last month, but he declined. Collins is clearly unhappy that Facebook sent its chief technology officer instead, and sent the social network a list of 39 questions that he says were left unanswered during last week's grilling.

To read more, click here.


And at the EU, the top watchdog for data privacy likened internet firms that rely on data collection to "sweatshops" and warned them not to look for ways to work around the new privacy law coming later this month.

"Brilliant lawyers will always be able to fashion ingenious arguments to justify almost any practice," Giovanni Buttarelli wrote in a blog post. "But with personal data processing we need to move to a different model. The old approach is broken and unsustainable - that will be, in my view, the abiding lesson of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica case."

To read more, click here.


LIGHTER (TWITTER) CLICK: The secretary of State is now on Twitter.


NEW TROUBLING CYBER RESEARCH: A cybersecurity firm is warning that a malicious Chrome extension is using a series of new techniques to target cryptocurrency platforms.

FacexWorm, which was first uncovered in August 2017, is accessing these digital wallets by spreading through affected web browsers as well as through shared socially engineered links on Facebook Messenger, Trend Micro wrote in a blog post on Monday.

"The links redirect to a fake YouTube page that will ask unwitting users to agree and install a codec extension (FacexWorm) in order to play the video on the page. It will then request privilege to access and change data on the opened website," according to Trend Micro's analysis.

Its capabilities, however, have changed. The malware now is able to steal key data from certain websites of interest, including data like account information and credentials.

But don't freak out quite yet: Despite its savvy methods of entry, the FacexWorm's impact appears to be relatively minor.

To read more, click here.


BREACHES GOT YOU STRESSIN': According to a new survey from Kaspersky Lab, a whopping 81 percent of Americans (and 72 percent of Canadians) say they're feeling stressed out by news of data breaches. The main culprit for this heightened worrying? A lack of awareness among consumers about how they can protect themselves, says the company.


FCC COMMISSIONER FOUND TO HAVE VIOLATED ETHICS LAW AT CPAC: FCC Commissioner Mike O'Rielly violated an ethics law during an appearance at CPAC earlier this year, a federal watchdog found.

The Office of Special Counsel, which is tasked with policing federal agencies for Hatch Act violations, issued a warning letter to O'Rielly for urging voters to re-elect President Trump.

"Commissioner O'Rielly advocated for the reelection of President Trump in his official capacity as FCC Commissioner," OSC official Erica Hamrick wrote in a letter to a public interest group. "Therefore, he violated the Hatch Act's prohibition against using his official authority or influence to affect an election."

To read more, click here.


$100 BILLION IS A LOT OF MONEY: Apple plans to buy back $100 billion in shares, the company announced Tuesday. The move comes as Apple beat quarterly revenue and profit projections from analysts and as the company reaps the benefits of massive tax cuts from the Republican tax law. The new buyback comes on top of an existing plan to repurchase $210 billion worth of shares.


LONGREAD OF THE DAY: The Atlantic has a piece today laying out why the 2018 midterms are vulnerable to interference by malicious actors.

Congressional Democrats have said they will not use stolen or hacked data as they campaign to win in November, reports the publication, but Republicans have stayed silent on whether they will do the same. 

Concerns about the potential for future foreign interference have mounted since the U.S. intelligence community revealed that Russia engaged in a hacking and disinformation campaign against the 2016 vote. Officials say that Moscow's intent has not changed.

Check out the full piece from The Atlantic here.



Keep an eye out for some new stories on TheHill.com Wednesday morning about the security of critical infrastructure and "active cyber defenses."


FROM TODAY'S HILL OPINION PAGE: NASA just proved it is serious about returning to the moon. (The Hill)



Count 'em: Three steps to secure elections. (The Advanced Cyber Security Center)

NIST wants your help to keep big data safe. (National Institute of Standards and Technology)

Federal IT official says focus on the 'dwell time.' (NextGov)

Over 400 UK businesses affected by NIS cybersecurity regulation. (SC Media)

Steve Ballmer sold his stake in Twitter (Bloomberg)