Hillicon Valley: Apple woes raise stakes for trade deal | Zuckerberg wants public debate on tech in 2019 | Suspect arrested in German data leak | Watchdog wants investigation into Lieberman's work for Chinese firm ZTE

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).

 

APPLE SHOCKS RAISE STAKES FOR TRADE DEAL: A shock warning from Apple blaming trade tensions with China for a predicted drop in revenue is putting new pressure on the Trump administration to end its tariff fight with Beijing.

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter to investors last week that the company was cutting its revenue expectations due to an economic downturn in China that has reduced the demand for iPhone upgrades.

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The warning from one of the most reliable American companies for investors brought new anxiety to the markets, dragging down tech stocks and shaking the industry.

Tech companies have long highlighted their concerns with the Trump administration's trade policies. But the rare revenue warning from Apple is putting a new spotlight on the trade negotiations, which are resuming this week between the U.S. and China. Read more here.

 

ZUCK WANTS TO TALK IT OUT: Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergFacebook users in lawsuit say company failed to warn them of known risks before 2018 breach Social media never intended to be in the news business — but just wait till AI takes over Facebook exploring deals with media outlets for news section: report MORE is vowing to hold a series of public discussions throughout the year focusing on the "future of technology in society" as his company has become increasingly embattled over its handling of user privacy and the prevalence of disinformation on its platform.

Zuckerberg said that the discussions will force him to be more accountable.

"I'm an engineer, and I used to just build out my ideas and hope they'd mostly speak for themselves," he wrote in a post on his Facebook page. "But given the importance of what we do, that doesn't cut it anymore. So I'm going to put myself out there more than I've been comfortable with and engage more in some of these debates about the future, the tradeoffs we face, and where we want to go." Read more here.

 

USE! BETTER! PASSWORDS! German authorities have arrested a 20-year-old suspect who confessed to his role in the massive online leak that revealed the personal data belonging to hundreds of German politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The hacker, who authorities say lives with his parents and is not a computer expert, allegedly used the passwords "Iloveyou" and "1234" to hack into online accounts of hundreds of politicians whose political views he disagrees with, according to reports.

Germany's investigative police body, the BKA, said that the suspect "confessed to the accusations and provided "information" on other crimes. Read more here.

 

LIEBERMAN TO LOBBYMAN: An ethics watchdog group is urging the Department of Justice to investigate former Sen. Joe Lieberman's work on behalf of the Chinese telecom firm ZTE to determine whether he needs to register as a foreign agent.

The nonprofit Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint on Tuesday alleging that Lieberman appears to be exploiting a loophole in the reporting requirements for those working on behalf of foreign entities.

Lieberman registered as a lobbyist for ZTE last month but told Politico at the time that he wouldn't actually be doing any lobbying for the company. Instead, he said he would be performing an independent national security assessment of ZTE's goods.

The CLC argued that this should trigger a requirement under the Foreign Agents Registration Act for Lieberman to register. The law provides exemptions for those who register as lobbyists. Read more here.

 

YIKES: Amazon has pulled more than a dozen products from its website after concerns raised by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that the items were offensive to Muslims, CNN reported Tuesday.

"All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account," an Amazon spokesperson told CNN. "The products in question are being removed from our store."

CAIR, the largest Muslim advocacy organization in the U.S., thanked Amazon for its response after the organization issued a statement last week requesting the retailer take down products they said are offensive to Muslims. The products in question included bath mats, doormats and other household items that contained references to Prophet Muhammad, CNN reported.

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"We thank Amazon for its swift action on this issue and hope it sends a message to manufacturers of such inappropriate and offensive items that they will not profit from Islamophobia or any other form of bigotry," Masih Fouladi, executive director of CAIR's Washington state chapter, said in the statementRead more here.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: We all should, Cher.

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

A bounty hunter quickly located a phone location after being paid $300. (Motherboard)

Don't reply to your emails: The case for inbox infinity. (The Atlantic)

AI technology can identify genetic diseases by looking at your face, study says. (CNN)

Inside Facebook's 'cult-like' workplace, where dissent is discouraged and employees pretend to be happy all the time. (CNBC)