Hillicon Valley: Rosenstein drama dominates the day | Biz, regulators focus on 5G revolution | New questions over Trump cyber strategy

Hillicon Valley: Rosenstein drama dominates the day | Biz, regulators focus on 5G revolution | New questions over Trump cyber strategy
© 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.


IN OR OUT: President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE will meet with Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinFeds will not charge officer who killed Eric Garner The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates MORE on Thursday, the White House said Monday, leaving the deputy attorney general's future in limbo amid reports of his possible ouster.

The White House issued the statement after hours of confusion about Rosenstein's job status triggered by a visit to the executive mansion, where the No. 2 Justice Department official reportedly expected to be fired or would resign.


"At the request of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday in a statement.

"Because the President is at the United Nations General Assembly and has a full schedule with leaders from around the world, they will meet on Thursday when the President returns to Washington, D.C.," she added.

As of early afternoon, Rosenstein remained in his position, but it is unclear if he will survive Thursday's high-stakes meeting with the president.

There has been broad speculation about the future of Rosenstein's job after The New York Times reported on Friday that the deputy attorney general suggested secretly taping the president last year and recruiting Cabinet officials to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office for being unfit.

Rosenstein has aggressively denied the report as inaccurate. Read more here.


ALL EYES ON 5G: Both the federal government and private sector are laying the groundwork for 5G wireless networks, a highly-touted upgrade to mobile internet service that industry leaders say will bring about promising new technologies.

The goal of 5G, shorthand for fifth-generation, is to bring about networks that deliver wireless internet at much faster speeds and with increased capacity.

The upgrades have the potential to allow mobile users to download massive high-definition video files in seconds and to experience virtual reality on the go. Wireless providers are also promising that the new technology will bring advanced medical capabilities to rural areas through faster connections and allow driverless cars to communicate with each other.

"It will create trillions of dollars in new economic output, as well as initiating an era of innovation that we can't even imagine right now," Robert McDowell, a former Republican commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), told The Hill.

"The endgame is to get wireless networks to do what fiber networks can do," Harold Feld, a senior vice president at the consumer group Public Knowledge, said in a phone interview.

The move from 3G to 4G brought faster broadband internet to cell phones, enabling an entire economy to spring out of mobile apps that led to businesses like Uber, AirBnB, and others. And many are expecting a similar revolution in the next generation.

Read more here, and here are five things to know about the new networks.


A HOUSE INTEL STANDOFF: Objections from the House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat are stalling efforts to pass a two-year intelligence authorization bill that would include provisions for election security and Russian aggression, sources tell The Hill.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse passes annual intelligence bill Judge finds Stone violated gag order, blocks him from using social media The peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff MORE (D-Calif.) broke with other Gang of Eight members Friday by withholding his support on the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA), a senior GOP aide and two congressional sources told The Hill.

The bill, which has bipartisan support, allows the House and Senate Intelligence committees to voice their priorities for the intelligence community.

"The lone person holding out is Schiff," the senior GOP aide said, adding that the bill applies to authorizations for both 2018 and 2019. "It would be irresponsible to allow this law to lapse and we hope Schiff will end his hold-up of this bipartisan bill."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders mounts staunch defense of 'Medicare for All' | Biden, Sanders fight over health care heats up | House votes to repeal ObamaCare 'Cadillac Tax' | Dems want details on fetal tissue research ban Top North Carolina newspapers editorial board to GOP: 'Are you OK with a racist president?' Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns MORE (R-N.C.) did not directly name Schiff, but confirmed that one of the four intelligence committee leaders objects to the bill. He says this has caused delay of legislation that enables Congress to relay its views on Russian aggression and election security to the intelligence community.

"Three of the four leaders on the congressional intelligence committees signed off on a bipartisan bill that includes numerous compromises between the House and Senate, while protecting the priorities of both committees," Burr told The Hill in a statement on Saturday, noting the legislation passed his Senate committee on a "rare, unanimous" vote.

"Unfortunately, some members continue to object to the bill, delaying important legislative provisions to strengthen our response to Russian aggression, protect our election security, and implement much-needed security clearance reforms, among other critical items," Burr continued. Read more here.


THE BEST DEFENSE IS A GOOD OFFENSE: The Trump administration's new cyber strategy is raising questions about the U.S. role in offensive cyberattacks.

The document itself, unveiled Thursday, largely consists of existing practices and policies dealing with defensive measures. But national security adviser John Bolton told reporters that the U.S. will now act more aggressively in cyberspace, a move that could both deter cyberattacks and expose the country to new vulnerabilities, according to some cyber experts.

Bolton on Thursday confirmed reports that Trump had rescinded Obama-era guidance on how to handle cyberattacks by signing a replacement policy, one that puts the U.S. on offense.

Cyber experts and Obama-era officials said they agree that a fresh policy is needed, but they also have reservations about the Trump administration putting an emphasis on the offense component.

They warned against the dangers of taking this new approach too far: Federal government actions could set a precedent for what is considered to be acceptable behavior. And while the U.S. already faces cyberattacks on a daily basis, the new aggressive posture means it could end up the victim of the same kinds of attacks it ends up carrying out.

Michael Daniel, cybersecurity coordinator for the Obama White House, said in an email to The Hill that the U.S. "should consider carefully the precedents it will set when using these capabilities, because any cyber operation we conduct will either explicitly or implicitly be considered acceptable."

"Given the nature of cyberspace and the potential for unintended consequences, the murkiness surrounding attribution, and the perception that being on offense is better than defense, the potential for unplanned escalation is a very real," said Daniel, who is now president and CEO of the Cyber Threat Alliance. Read more here.


UP IN THE CLOUDS: In case you missed it, the White House on Thursday released a draft strategy on federal cloud computing.

The new proposed guidance, titled "Cloud Smart," updates an Obama-era plan called "Cloud First" and details the work federal agencies have done to shift their data to the cloud and keep it secure.

"The evolution of the Federal Government's cybersecurity policy and capabilities is essential to modernization. To implement a risk-based approach to cloud adoption, agencies should transition to security and protections at the data layer instead of the network and physical infrastructure layers, as well as improve the governance of systems," the draft reads.

The draft strategy is now open for public comment. Read it here.


LEAKED WHITE HOUSE ORDER CRACKING DOWN ON TECH: The White House is drafting an executive order to look into the business practices of top tech companies like Google and Facebook, Bloomberg reported Saturday.

A copy of the draft order obtained by Bloomberg directs federal antitrust and law enforcement officials to "thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws."

Other government agencies are then asked to provide recommendations on how to "protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias."

A White House official told Bloomberg it was just a draft and had not been discussed with any relevant agencies.

Read more here.


GOOGLE'S PRIVACY WISHLIST: Google on Monday released a set of privacy principles to guide Congress as it prepares to write legislation aimed at governing how websites collect and monetize user data.

The framework largely consists of privacy principles that Google already abides by or could easily bring itself into compliance with. It calls for allowing users to easily access and control the data that's collected about them and requiring companies to be transparent about their data practices.

"This framework is based on established privacy frameworks, as well as our experience providing services that rely on personal data and our work to comply with evolving data protection laws around the world," Keith Enright, Google's chief privacy officer, wrote in a blog post. "These principles help us evaluate new legislative proposals and advocate for responsible, interoperable and adaptable data protection regulations."

Read more here.


CRAIGSLIST FOUNDER BANKROLLS NEW TECH JOURNALISM PROJECT: A new journalism nonprofit aimed at investigating tech giants is set to launch next year, backed by a $20 million donation from Craigslist founder Craig Newmark.

The Markup, which will begin publication early next year, was founded by a pair investigative journalists who previously worked at ProPublica -- Julia Angwin and Jeff Larson -- and Sue Gardner, former executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The project, announced on Sunday, is aimed at exploring how tech platforms like Google and Facebook impact society.

Read more here.


GOOGLE CEO PUSHES BACK ON BIAS CLAIMS: Google CEO Sundar Pichai in an email to Google staff on Friday said the company has not and will not bias its search results in favor of any political cause, movement or party, according to The New York Times.

"Recent news stories reference an internal email to suggest that we would compromise the integrity of our Search results for a political end. This is absolutely false," Pichai wrote in the email, obtained by the Times. "We do not bias our products to favor any political agenda. The trust our users place in us is our greatest asset and we must always protect it."

Read more here.


A LIGHTER TWITTER CLICK: Tag yourself, I'm "script kiddies."


AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: The hot race for 5G will change the world we know now



Trump's China fight puts U.S. tech in the cross hairs. (The New York Times)

Computer hack cost Pennsylvania's Senate Democrats $700,000; others pay less-costly ransoms (TribLive)

No sex please, we're Apple: iPhone giant seeks TV success on its own terms. (The Wall Street Journal)

Snapchat teams up with Amazon to offer image-based shopping. (Bloomberg)