Hillicon Valley: Roger Stone indicted in Mueller probe | Zuckerberg defends Facebook's data practices | Irish data regulators probing Twitter | Zinke vows to make his crypto company 'great again'

Hillicon Valley: Roger Stone indicted in Mueller probe | Zuckerberg defends Facebook's data practices | Irish data regulators probing Twitter | Zinke vows to make his crypto company 'great again'
© Greg Nash

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


HAPPY FRIDAY – The government is reopening.


STONE'S SWAN SONG?: Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneJudge gives Stone an extra 14 days to report to prison DOJ denies giving Stone special treatment over prison sentence delay Barr denies pattern of upholding Trump's interests, blames 'media narrative' MORE, the politically connected maverick who worked as an informal adviser to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, has been indicted as part of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's probe.

Stone was indicted on seven counts in connection with Mueller's investigation: one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering.


Stone was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the special counsel's office said in a statement early Friday. The indictment was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday and unsealed upon arrest on Friday.

According to the indictment, Stone obstructed the investigations by the House Intelligence Committee and the FBI into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecutors say Stone made "multiple false statements" to the House Intelligence Committee about his interactions regarding "Organization 1" -- which matches the description of WikiLeaks, the organization that released troves of hacked Democratic emails before the 2016 election that the U.S. intelligence community later said were originally pilfered by Russian intelligence agents.

The indictment also says Stone "falsely denied possessing records that contained evidence of these interactions" in his testimony before the committee.

"In the course of his [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] testimony, STONE made deliberately false and misleading statements to the committee concerning, among other things, his possession of documents pertinent to HPSCI's investigation; the source for his early August 2016 statements about Organization 1; requests he made for information from the head of Organization 1; his communications with his identified intermediary; and his communications with the Trump Campaign about Organization 1," the indictment reads.

Stone is also accused of trying to prevent individuals referred to as "Person 1" and "Person 2" from contracting his false statements to the committee.

The individuals match the descriptions of Stone associates Jerome Corsi and Randy Credico, both of whom have publicly acknowledged that Mueller has sought their testimony in the investigation. Stone identified Credico as the "intermediary" through which he contacted Wikileaks, which Credico has denied.

"This is now the second witness who has been indicted for or plead guilty to making false statements in testimony before our Committee," House Intelligence Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats hit Trump for handling of Russian bounty allegations after White House briefing Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November Democrats face tough questions with Bolton MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement. "These prosecutions should make it abundantly clear that those who appear before congressional investigators and attempt to mislead us will be held to account."

Read more on the indictment here.

And read the actual indictment here.


More Stone...

A federal judge ordered Stone to be released on $250K bond.

Stone says he's not guilty and won't testify against Trump.

Trump denounced the arrest, tweeting that "human traffickers are treated better."

Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted the arrest had "nothing to do with the president."

Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse votes unanimously to extend deadline for coronavirus small-business loan program Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House approves .5T green infrastructure plan | Rubio looks to defense bill to block offshore drilling, but some fear it creates a loophole | DC-area lawmakers push for analysis before federal agencies can be relocated MORE also took a shot at Trump over the indictment.

And CNN this morning aired dramatic footage of the arrest.


This is only the start – Stone's set to be arraigned on the charges in a Washington, D.C. court next week. Stay tuned!


ZUCKERBERG ON THE DEFENSE: Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Facebook claims it 'does not profit from hate' in open letter | Analysis finds most of Facebook's top advertisers have not joined boycott | Research finds Uighurs targeted by Chinese spyware as part of surveillance campaign Most of Facebook's top 100 advertisers have not joined the boycott: analysis Facebook claims it 'does not profit from hate' in open letter MORE defended his company's business practices in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Friday that comes after a slew of controversies over the social media giant's handling of user data.

Zuckerberg said that his company works to make sure users have honest and easy-to-understand guidelines on how their data is used by Facebook and advertisers on the platform.

"We give people complete control over whether we use this information for ads, but we don't let them control how we use it for security or operating our services," the Facebook CEO wrote in the Journal op-ed. "And when we asked people for permission to use this information to improve their ads as part of our compliance with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, the vast majority agreed because they prefer more relevant ads.

"Ultimately, I believe the most important principles around data are transparency, choice and control. We need to be clear about the ways we're using information, and people need to have clear choices about how their information is used," he added.

Zuckerberg went on to deny accusations that Facebook sells user data to advertisers, which he argued would "reduce the unique value of our service to advertisers."

"We don't sell people's data, even though it's often reported that we do. In fact, selling people's information to advertisers would be counter to our business interests," Zuckerberg wrote.

Read more on Zuckerberg's defense here.


For context: The New York Times details Facebook's data collection here.


Don't worry, here are some SparkNotes: "While it is true that Facebook hasn't sold users' data, for years it has struck deals to share the information with dozens of Silicon Valley companies. These partners were given more intrusive access to user data than Facebook has ever disclosed. In turn, the deals helped Facebook bring in new users, encourage them to use the social network more often, and drive up advertising revenue."


ONE TOO MANY? Ireland's data protection authority revealed Friday that it is investigating Twitter's compliance with Europe's new data privacy laws following a series of data breaches.

The Dublin-based Data Protection Commission (DPC) says that it opened a new "statutory inquiry" following the latest breach notification from Twitter earlier this month. The inquiry fits into a probe the DPC launched last November.

"The DPC has this week opened a new statutory inquiry into the latest data breach it received from Twitter on January [8], 2019. This inquiry will examine a discreet issue relating to Twitter's compliance with Article 33 of the GDPR," the DPC said in a statement provided to The Hill.

Under Article 33 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – the European Union's new data and privacy protection law – a personal data breach must be reported to the commissioner within 72 hours after it is discovered.

The Irish data commission started probing Twitter after receiving "a number of breach notifications" from the social media platform since the introduction of the GDPR, which went into effect in May 2018, according to the statement.

"The Data Protection Commission is currently investigating Twitter's compliance with its obligations under the GDPR to implement technical and organisational measures to ensure the safety and safeguarding of the personal data it processes," it added.

Earlier this month, Twitter disclosed that some Android devices may have disabled Twitter's "Protect your Tweets" setting between November 2014 and Jan. 14, 2019.

Read more on the investigation here.


ZINKE'S A CRYPTO BRO NOW: Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog | Ag secretary orders environmental rollbacks for Forest Service | Senate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog Overnight Energy: Trump officials may pursue offshore drilling after election, report says | Energy regulators to delay projects pending appeals | EPA union calls for 'moratorium' on reopening plans MORE may no longer be a member of the Trump administration, but he says he's still hoping to make something "great again" -- his new job at a private cryptocurrency company.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE's former Interior secretary, who departed Washington in January on the heels of multiple ethics investigations, is now working for Artillery One, a little-known blockchain and cryptocurrency investment company based out of North Carolina.

"I'm going to make Artillery One great again," Zinke told Vice News in an interview released Friday.

Zinke, the managing director of Artillery One, spoke to the publication from San Moritz, Switzerland, where the was attending a crypto-finance convention with his boss, Daniel Cannon.

Artillery One said in a press release that Zinke will be based in Montana and California but the job would also involve "extensive travel overseas." 

Read more here.


SURPRISE: CHINESE COMPANY DEFENDS CHINESE TELECOM FIRM: An executive at the Chinese company Alibaba on Friday took aim at the Trump administration's treatment of Chinese technology firm Huawei on Friday, attacking what he called "politically motivated" measures meant to curb the firm's access to western markets.

Reuters reports that Joe Tsai, an executive vice chairman at the company, called the U.S. actions against Huawei "a bit unfair" at a Reuters event in Hong Kong on Friday.

"I think what the American government and together with the Five Eyes Alliance – what they're trying to do with Huawei -- is a bit unfair, there's definitely a political agenda behind it," Tsai said.

The Trump administration has launched an investigation of Huawei over allegedly stealing trade secrets, and a report from The National Security Institute (NSI) at George Mason's Antonin Scalia Law School called the company along with another firm, ZTE, a "serious, long-term national security threat" to the U.S.


"Both companies have a history of actions ranging from troublesome to illegal -- involving bribery, corruption, and sanctions evasion, as well as a record of supplying technological tools being deployed by authoritarian regimes to suppress dissent," read the NSI report.

Huawei has denied accusations that its technology contains backdoors allowing access by Chinese intelligence, but it was reported last month that President Trump was considering an executive order banning all Huawei and ZTE products from the U.S.

More here.


AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: Why returning to the moon is more critical than reaching Mars.


A LIGHTER CLICK: Per the Stone indictment, Person 2 and Dog 1.



Zuckerberg to unify underlying structures of WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. (The New York Times)

YouTube to clean up promotion of conspiracy videos. (The New York Times)

Tinder settles age discrimination lawsuit. (The Verge)

How resellers are gaming the system with Amazon returns and liquidation sales. (The Atlantic)