Hillicon Valley: Tech tries to stop spread of New Zealand shooting video | Booker says big tech must do more to combat online hate | US allies drawn into Huawei fight | O'Rourke not 'proud' of being in hacking group as teenager

Hillicon Valley: Tech tries to stop spread of New Zealand shooting video | Booker says big tech must do more to combat online hate | US allies drawn into Huawei fight | O'Rourke not 'proud' of being in hacking group as teenager

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) and Emily Birnbaum (@birnbaum_e).


TECH STRUGGLES TO REMOVE BROADCASTED KILLING: Social media companies are scrambling to stop the spread of live footage appearing to show the attacks on two mosques in New Zealand after one of the shooters reportedly livestreamed the massacre.

At least 49 people were killed in two mosques in the city of Christchurch on Friday.

"New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video," Mia Garlick, Facebook's director of policy for Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement.


Facebook is "removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we're aware," Garlick added.

The video reportedly showed a gunman opening fire inside the mosque.

New Zealand police have asked social media users to stop sharing the reported footage.

Twitter said in a statement that it has suspended an account related to the shooting and is trying to remove the video from its platform.

A Google spokesperson said YouTube has removed the "shocking, violent and graphic content" as soon as it was made aware of it.

Read more here.


2020 DEM SAYS TECH FIRMS MUST ACT FASTER: Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Shooting in Jersey City leaves multiple people dead, including police officer Schumer to colleagues running for White House: Impeachment comes first MORE (D-N.J.), a 2020 presidential candidate, said Friday that tech companies have a responsibility to quickly take down hate speech, responding to reports that the shooter at two New Zealand mosques posted a manifesto and video on the massacre online.

"Tech companies have a responsibility to do the morally right thing. I don't care about your profits, when it comes to the values, the safety, security the decency, tech companies have an obligation to the right thing," Booker said while discussing the attack, according to a video tweeted by a campaign adviser.

"This is a case, where you're giving a platform to hate," he added. "That's unacceptable and should have never happened and it should have been taken down a lot more swiftly. The mechanisms should be in place to allow these companies to do that."

Booker did not mention Twitter or the alleged shooter's manifesto directly in the video clip.

Twitter said in a statement to The Hill that its priority is to act as quickly as possible in situations like this and encouraged users to report content that violates its rules.

Reports emerged Friday that the suspect in the shootings, which left 49 people dead, had previously posted a 74-page manifesto to Twitter in which he expressed hostility to nonwhites and a fear of foreign "invasion."  

The shooter also used a helmet-mounted camera to post live video of the attack online.

Read more here.


HUAWEI HEATS UP: The Trump administration's standoff with Chinese tech giant Huawei is entering a new phase, one that could put existing intelligence-sharing agreements with U.S. allies at risk.

The U.S. has reportedly warned Germany that it would no longer fully share intelligence information with the European ally as it has in the past if the country works with Huawei to boost its domestic tech infrastructure, signaling American officials are willing to put long-standing relationships on the line as they raise concerns about the company's alleged ties to Chinese intelligence agencies.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are applauding the move, arguing that kind of action is necessary to protect U.S. secrets from China. And it could set the tone for the Trump administration's stance with allies when it comes to Chinese tech firms: It's us or them.

"It would make sense that there would be a concern of what we share with any partners would find its way back to Chinese intelligence," Rep. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinHillicon Valley: Commerce extends Huawei waiver | Senate Dems unveil privacy bill priorities | House funding measure extends surveillance program | Trump to tour Apple factory | GOP bill would restrict US data going to China Trump makes social media a player in impeachment Bill introduced to give special immigrant visas to Kurds who helped US in Syria MORE (D-R.I.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities, told The Hill.

Rep. Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayLive coverage: Democrats, Republicans seek to win PR battle in final House impeachment hearing Laughter erupts at hearing after Democrat fires back: Trump 'has 5 Pinocchios on a daily basis' Live coverage: Schiff closes with speech highlighting claims of Trump's corruption MORE (R-Texas), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who has been highly critical of Huawei, said that sharing any information that could go back to China is "a risk that's going to be evaluated."

"We just can't risk giving Xi Jinping that kind of information," Conaway said of the Chinese president.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told authorities in Berlin that the U.S. would start to withhold information from German intelligence officials if the nation worked with Huawei technology.

Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker, is seen as a global leader when it comes to emerging technologies like 5G networks, which are expected to be faster and reach far more people than existing mobile networks.

U.S. officials and policymakers argue that Huawei's close ties to the Chinese government make it a national security threat. But Huawei is fighting back against that assertion.

Read more here.


FIRST HACKER PRESIDENT?: Presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeButtigieg picks up third congressional endorsement from New York lawmaker Klobuchar hires staff in Nevada Deval Patrick enters 2020 race MORE (D-Texas) was a member of a famous "hacktivism" group as a teenager, a Reuters report revealed Friday.

O'Rourke joined the group, called the Cult of the Dead Cow, when he was in high school, Reuters reported, citing interviews with members of the group.

The Cult of the Dead Cow, which still exists today, released a pair of tools in the late 1990s that hacked into computers that used Windows operating systems. The move caused Microsoft to increase security for their products, according to Reuters.

But O'Rourke told Reuters that he had stopped participating in the group by the time he enrolled at Columbia University in 1991.

The report is an excerpt from an upcoming book by Reuters reporter Joseph Menn titled "Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World."

O'Rourke wrote pieces for the group under the username "Psychedelic Warlord." The posts are still online.

Among the pieces he wrote were critiques of racism and a fictional piece describing hitting two children with a car.

Read more here.

Update: O'Rourke not 'proud' of association: Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke on Friday acknowledged that he was part of a hacking group as a teenager, saying he is not "proud" of the fact.

The former Texas congressman told reporters in Iowa while on the campaign trail that the hacking group was something "that I was part of as a teenager, not anything that I'm proud of today," according to the Texas Tribune.

"That's the long and short of it," he added.

More on O'Rourke's response here.


TRYING TO GET RURAL COMMUNITIES TO SWIPE RIGHT? Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) cited the dating app Tinder when expressing the need to expand broadband to rural communities.

"In Texas we have a problem with broadband in rural communities. You may have that in Iowa as well, where farmers and ranchers and producers literally cannot get online, where people cannot start businesses in their own town or finish their education after high school because they cannot get online," O'Rourke said at a campaign event in Keokuk, Iowa.

"They can't go to Tinder and find a date tonight, to find that special person who's going to make the difference in their lives. I want to make sure every American has that opportunity."

Read more here.


FIREWORKS: Apple is pushing back on Spotify's accusations that the iPhone maker is putting up barriers around the streaming service in order to bolster its own competing app, Apple Music.

Apple published a blog post on Thursday dismissing the arguments Spotify made in an antitrust complaint to the European Union, in which it said that Apple's efforts to tax and impose technical hurdles on its service were part of an effort to suppress Apple Music's top competitor.

Apple said Spotify is demanding special treatment and accused the company of exploiting the musicians that use its platform to reach listeners.

"Spotify wouldn't be the business they are today without the App Store ecosystem, but now they're leveraging their scale to avoid contributing to maintaining that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs. We think that's wrong," Apple said in its statement.


"Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify's aim is to make more money off others' work," Apple added. "And it's not just the App Store that they're trying to squeeze -- it's also artists, musicians and songwriters."

Spotify's complaint alleges that Apple's conduct as both the owner of the App Store marketplace as well as a competitor within it puts rival services at a disadvantage and violates European antitrust law.

Read more here.


AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: All we want is the chance to compete: Economic development in rural America.


A LIGHTER CLICK: Nothing but respect for MY Psychedelic Warlord.



Documents show how Facebook moderates terrorism on livestreams. (Motherboard)

The Democratic Party's chief technology officer will step down. (BuzzFeed News)

Documents shed light on Russian hacking of Democratic Party leaders. (The Washington Post)

Facebook's daylong malfunction is a reminder of the internet's fragility. (The New York Times)