Hillicon Valley: Trump holds meeting on election security | New NSA director takes over | Google will start verifying election ads

Hillicon Valley: Trump holds meeting on election security | New NSA director takes over | Google will start verifying election ads
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The Cyber and Tech overnights have joined forces to give you Hillicon Valley, The Hill’s new comprehensive newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news driving the day 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.

Happy Star Wars Day: May the 4th be with you.

 

ELECTION SECURITY MEETING: President TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE met with members of his administration, including leaders of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, on Thursday to discuss election security, the White House said Friday.

The meeting comes amid widespread concerns over the possibility of foreign interference in future elections, including this year's midterms, following Russia’s hacking and disinformation effort against the 2016 vote. The Russian effort included the targeting of digital state election systems.

Trump met Thursday with Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMueller's investigation ends, but divisive political circus will continue Mueller delivers report to Justice, ending investigation Trump says 'people will not stand' for Mueller report MORE, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenClinton calls for people to sign petition to help DACA recipient detained by ICE Hillicon Valley: Nunes sues Twitter for 0 million | Trump links tech giants to 'Radical Left Democrats' | Facebook settles suits over ad discrimination | Dems want answers over spread of New Zealand shooting video Nielsen calls for greater public-private collaboration on cyber threats MORE, Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsOvernight Defense: Pentagon lists construction projects at risk from emergency declaration | Officials deny report on leaving 1,000 troops in Syria | Spy budget request nears B Trump administration requests nearly B for spy budget Dems request probe into spa owner suspected of trying to sell access to Trump MORE and FBI Director Christopher Wray to discuss election security, “including enhanced protections against malign foreign influence,” the White House said in a statement early Friday.

The Department of Homeland Security has been working to provide sensitive threat information and vulnerability assessments to states that request them, as part of a broader effort to protect election infrastructure going forward.

“The President received an update about current Federal election security-related efforts, including information sharing and best practices like using paper ballots, issuing security clearances, and conducting security assessments,” the White House said in a statement early Friday.

“He also reiterated his guidance that election security is national security,” the White House said. “The Trump Administration will continue to provide the support necessary to the owners of election systems — State and local governments — to secure their election processes.”

The context: Officials revealed last year that Russia had targeted voting systems in 21 states as part of a broader plot to interfere in the 2016 election. Most of the efforts involved only preparations for hacking, like probing for vulnerabilities, and did not lead to successful breaches.

Why the meeting is notable: Critics of the administration, particularly Democrats, have charged that the president isn’t doing enough to punish Russia for its actions or to protect against future interference. Trump has at times cast doubt on the intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s activity, which in part concluded that Moscow acted to help him win the election.

To read more from our piece, click here.

 

WE’VE GOT A NEW NSA DIRECTOR: The National Security Agency (NSA) formally welcomed Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone as its new director on Friday afternoon. Nakasone takes over from Adm. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersSpace bureaucracy should not slow America down against competitors Why states should push forward with cyber laws Getting real about Huawei MORE as the dual-hat leader of NSA director and commander of Cyber Command. He was officially welcomed at a ceremony at Forte Meade in Maryland, which also marked the official elevation of Cyber Command.

SPEAKING OF THE NSA: The spy agency collected collected more than 530 million U.S. call records in 2017, representing a dramatic increase over the previous year.

According to an annual transparency report released Friday, the spy agency collected 534 million call records in 2017, more than three times the 151 million collected in 2016. The new statistics were first reported by Reuters.

The report, released on Friday by the director of national intelligence, is mandated by the USA Freedom Act passed by Congress in 2015 that aimed to restrict and boost oversight of the spy agency’s surveillance program.

The NSA’s surveillance powers have weathered intense scrutiny since the 2013 Edward Snowden revelations that exposed the agency’s now-defunct bulk collection program. Under the old program, the NSA is estimated to have gathered billions of phone records.

The call detail records, obtained from U.S. telecommunications providers, include the numbers and the time and duration of the phone call. They do not include the actual content of the call itself.

A spokesman for the director of national intelligence told The Hill that the NSA has discovered that a range of factors can influence the number of call records collected and that the agency expects them to “fluctuate from year to year.”

To read more, click here.

 

GOOGLE WILL VERIFY POLITICAL ADS: Google is finally jumping onboard with verifying political ads on its site. It follows Twitter and Facebook, who took similar steps this year.

Google announced on Friday that it will now require advertisers to verify that they are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents in order to purchase ads for candidates running for office.

Such political advertisers will now to have to provide Google a government-issued ID, among other materials.

Political advertisements on Google will now also feature disclosures that reveal who paid for them.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter however, Google’s verification will be limited to candidates, not social and political issues. Also unlike the two, it has not supported congressional legislation that would increase political ad transparency on digital platforms.

Read more here.

 

NO NEW VINE FOR NOW: V2, the proposed sequel to the popular short-video app Vine, is being delayed indefinitely because of “financial and legal hurdles."

Dom Hofman, a co-founder of Vine, said on Friday that he hadn’t anticipated the amount of resources the project would need.

“The V2 needs to operate as a company with sizable external funding probably from investors,” Hofmann said, explaining that he could not accomplish those things amid commitments to another company he'd already made.

“I’m very, very sorry for the disappointment. if it’s any consolation, i think it would have been even more disappointing if this service had been developed and released incorrectly, which is where were headed. I’d like for us to get it right,” he said.

To read more, click here.

 

A lighter Twitter click: This it NUT(ella) the best advice. (Tweet)

 

TRENDING WITH TWITTER: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey used to retweet Kanye West frequently, but stopped doing since he began spurring political controversy. Dorsey has instead started retweeting inspirational things from the less contentious Kanye collaborator Rick Rubin.

 

TODAY’S OPINION: America’s being invaded by China and Russia with chips, bits and bytes. (The Hill)

 

ON TAP FOR NEXT WEEK:

 

HEARING FOR HASPEL: Gina Haspel, President Trump’s controversial pick to lead the CIA, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday morning for what is gearing up to be a contentious confirmation hearing. Haspel has faced scrutiny from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for her involvement in the spy agency’s controversial interrogation program, and now she will have to answer to a panel of senators about her torture record. Her nomination likely hinges on she performs during this high-profile hearing.

A POSSIBLE VOTE FOR KREBS?: The Senate Homeland Security Committee could vote as early as next week to confirm President Trump’s pick to helm the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) office that is responsible for guarding federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyber and physical threats. Christopher Krebs, if confirmed, would oversee DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate office, which has spearheaded efforts to secure U.S. election systems from foreign interference. The panel’s chairman, Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonScott Walker considering running for Wisconsin governor or Senate: report GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers The Hill's 12:30 Report: O'Rourke jumps into 2020 fray MORE (R-Wis.), told reporters late last month — shortly before Congress broke for recess this past week — that he expects to vote on the nomination “as quickly as possible.”

DEMS GET MOVING ON NET NEUTRALITY: Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar MORE (D-N.Y.) is planning to file a discharge petition on Wednesday that will force a vote on a bill to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality protections. The move will likely bring about a vote the following week.

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

Judge in Manafort case pushes back on prosecutors. (The Hill)

Defense bill would allow sanctions waivers for some allies buying Russian weapons. (The Hill)

What will happen to users’ data with Facebook’s new online dating features? (CDT blog post)

A German computing magazine reports ‘next generation’ of flaws on computer processors. (Reuters)

Nunes did not to read classified document that kicked off Russia probe after fiercely fighting for access to it. (CNN)

New report says Chinese cyberspies are turning attention to supply chain attacks. (Bleeping Computer)

Facebook’s liberal bias audit will be led by a former senator who has worked with Southern Poverty Law Center-labeled hate groups. (Vice News)

With the Dream Machine, Instagram-capitalism becomes the stuff of nightmares. (The Baffler)

Here are the biggest losers from Theranos’ implosion (Wall Street Journal)