Hillicon Valley: Dems used fake online campaign in Alabama Senate race | Huawei hits back with suit against US tech firm | Study finds people want $1,000 to quit Facebook for a year | Feds' new program helps companies counter cyber attacks

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. If you don't already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.

Welcome! Follow the cyber team, Olivia Beavers (@olivia_beavers) and Jacqueline Thomsen (@jacq_thomsen), and the tech team, Harper Neidig (@hneidig).

 

WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING IN ALABAMA: Democrats in Alabama created a deceptive online campaign in 2017 meant to help defeat Republican Senate candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreRoy Moore wants judge who ruled against him removed from case The Hill's Morning Report - Lawmakers split over Mueller findings: 'case closed' vs. 'cover-up' Roy Moore 'seriously considering' another Senate bid MORE in a special election, The New York Times reported Monday.

The "Dry Alabama" campaign reportedly featured a Facebook page and a Twitter account suggesting that Moore supported a statewide ban on alcohol.

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The campaign is the second revelation of a disinformation campaign used by Democrats in the special election, according to the Times. The newspaper reported last month that New Knowledge, a cybersecurity research firm, used social media posts to spread disinformation in the race.

Both campaigns were reportedly modeled after the disinformation campaign carried out by Russia on social media ahead of the 2016 presidential election, a campaign that aimed to help then-candidate Donald Trump defeat Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWarren policy ideas show signs of paying off Biden at campaign kickoff event: I don't have to be 'angry' to win Top Dem: Trump helps GOP erase enthusiasm gap; Ohio a big problem MORE.

Each of the disinformation campaigns in Alabama received $100,000 from Investing in Us, a group that supports progressive political causes, according to the Times. Read more here.

 

Remember: Foreign influence campaigns have been a major concern for U.S. officials, but domestic efforts haven't earned as much scrutiny. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who defeated Moore in the race, condemned the first misinformation campaign and has called for a federal investigation. Jones's legal adviser also told The Times that the senator is preparing to file a complaint with the FEC -- a move that will likely draw more attention to U.S.-based misinformation and disinformation campaigns.

 

HUAWEI STRIKES BACK: Chinese technology giant Huawei has sued U.S. technology firm InterDigital Inc., alleging the company hasn't fairly licensed its intellectual property in China, Reuters reported Monday.

InterDigital wrote in a filing that Huawei had filed a lawsuit on Jan. 2 accusing the U.S. firm of not licensing patents on fair and nondiscriminatory terms, according to the news agency.

The lawsuit, filed in the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court, specifically concerns patents related to wireless telecommunication requirements.

InterDigital and Huawei previously had a patent licensing agreement but it expired at the end of 2018, according to Reuters. InterDigital, which is based in Delaware, said Huawei has asked the court to determine the royalty rate on its products for the next four years. Read more here.

 

IT'S ONE FACEBOOK, MICHAEL. WHAT COULD IT COST? The average person would need to be paid more than $1,000 to agree to stop using Facebook for a year, a new study suggests.

As part of a study that was published in PLOS One, researchers conducted auction experiments in which winners were paid to deactivate their Facebook accounts for up to one year.

When Facebook users were paid to deactivate their accounts for the full year, it consistently required more than $1,000, the study found.

The researchers write in the study that their results show that Facebook provides large benefits to its users.

"While the measurable impact Facebook and other free online services have on the economy may be small, our results show that the benefits these services provide for their users are large," the study reads. Read more here.

 

AT&T GOES OVERSEAS: Telecommunications giant AT&T eliminated more than 10,000 U.S. jobs last year and outsourced some of those positions to contractors overseas, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said in a report released Monday.

CWA for months has raised questions about AT&T's layoffs following the 2017 tax-cut law, which the union says resulted in roughly $20 billion in tax savings for the telecom company.

"Iconic U.S. telecom giant AT&T received an unprecedented windfall from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE signed into law in December 2017," CWA said in its report. "But despite this massive boost to its profits, the company is choosing to undercut and offshore American jobs."

CWA estimated that AT&T has eliminated 10,700 jobs across the country, saying the cuts have come by way of closing or shrinking dozens of call centers. The union said AT&T is replacing U.S. workers with low-wage contractors overseas. Read more here.

 

HOW TO NOT GET HACKED 101: The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) on Monday launched a program aimed at helping U.S. companies protect themselves from cyber attacks or other threats from foreign nation-state actors.

The NCSC, housed within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), is now sharing materials on how firms can guard themselves against threats to the supply chain -- or components manufactured outside of the U.S. -- spear-phishing campaigns and economic espionage, like the theft of intellectual property.

"Make no mistake, American companies are squarely in the cross-hairs of well-financed nation-state actors, who are routinely breaching private sector networks, stealing proprietary data, and compromising supply chains," NCSC Director William Evanina said in a statement.

"The attacks are persistent, aggressive, and cost our nation jobs, economic advantage, and hundreds of billions of dollars," he continued.

The materials include videos on topics like social media deception as well as brochures and posters that share facts like how foreign intelligence agencies might try to access private networks to steal private information. Read more here.

 

UBER DRIVER PLEADS GUILTY TO FATAL SHOOTINGS BETWEEN FARES: The Uber driver in Michigan charged with shooting eight people between rides pleaded guilty to all counts against him on Monday.

Jason Dalton this week cut jury selection short in order to plead guilty to six counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and eight counts of felony use of a firearm, local NBC affiliate WOOD reported.  

The shootings occurred in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2016. Dalton reportedly shot eight people throughout the course of one night around the city. He gave Uber rides in between the shootings, which took place over five hours, according to WOOD. None of the Uber users were harmed.

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Dalton has previously stated that the Uber app turned him into a "puppet" that night, choosing which people he would target in the shootings on Feb. 20, 2016. His attorney several days ago said he would not pursue an insanity defense, WOOD reported.

Dalton is facing the possibility of a life sentence in prison without parole. Read more here.

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: Lessons to take from drones shutting down Gatwick airport.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: Old man yells at cloud or Old man gets in cloud.

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

Republicans question progress on probe of DOJ, FBI actions during 2016 election. (The Hill)

South Carolina voting machines miscounted hundreds of ballots, report finds. (StateScoop)

China offered to bail out troubled Malaysian fund in return for deals. (The Wall Street Journal)

AT&T decides 4G is now "5G," starts issuing icon-changing software updates. (Ars Technica)

Apple's biggest problem? My mom. (The New York Times)