Hillicon Valley: Trump unveils initiatives to boost 5G | What to know about the Assange case | Pelosi warns tech of 'new era' in regulation | Dem eyes online hate speech bill

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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) and Emily Birnbaum (@birnbaum_e).

 

WHITE HOUSE UNVEILS 5G PLANS: The Trump administration is announcing two major initiatives aimed at speeding the deployment of next-generation wireless networks -- a major new 5G spectrum auction and a $20.4 billion fund for building out broadband in rural areas.

Ajit Pai, the Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), announced the proposals at a White House event alongside President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE, top economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Trump's daughter, Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpOn The Money: DOJ offers legal opinion backing refusal to release Trump tax returns | Centrist Democrats raise concerns over minimum wage | Trump bashes Powell ahead of crucial Fed meeting | Design leaks for Harriet Tubman bill On The Money: DOJ offers legal opinion backing refusal to release Trump tax returns | Centrist Democrats raise concerns over minimum wage | Trump bashes Powell ahead of crucial Fed meeting | Design leaks for Harriet Tubman bill Financial disclosure form shows Ivanka Trump earned M from DC Trump hotel MORE.

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"Secure 5G networks will absolutely be a vital link to America's prosperity and national security in the 21st century," Trump said.

The president also tamped down on speculation that his administration would seek to nationalize or otherwise inject itself into the 5G deployment efforts, saying the rollout would be "private-sector driven and private-sector led."

The details: The FCC will begin auctioning off three different airwaves in December, with the 3,400 megahertz of airwaves for sale representing the largest-ever spectrum auction.

The $20 billion fund will aim to connect 4 million rural homes and businesses to fiber high-speed internet. Laying down the network for wired broadband will help facilitate deployment of 5G technologies in those rural areas.

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will allocate the $20 billion over the next 10 years.

Pai said in a call with reporters on Friday that the money will only be used in areas where broadband internet isn't currently available.

The proposal is still light on details, but the FCC chair said the funds would come from the agency's Universal Service Fund (USF), which provides subsidies for expanding access to communications services in poor and rural areas.

Dem criticism: Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the two Democrats on the FCC, criticized the administration's approach to promoting the new technology.

"So far, this Administration's interventions on 5G have done more harm than good," Rosenworcel said in a statement. "From imposing tariffs on 5G equipment to alienating allies on 5G security to falling behind the rest of the world on critical mid-band spectrum, the White House has yet to offer a workable plan for US leadership."

"I hope today's announcement offers better because our global leadership is at stake," she added.

Read more here.

 

AN INTERESTING INTERPRETATION: Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence communications director to leave White House White House crowd sings 'Happy Birthday' to Trump Trump won't say if he'd endorse Pence in 2024 MORE said that President Trump never indicated his support for WikiLeaks or its founder Julian Assange when speaking about the Democratic National Committee hacks during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Pence, speaking in an interview that aired Friday on CNN, condemned Assange following his arrest in London and reports of his possible extradition to the United States to face charges of computer hacking.

Speaking with CNN's Dana Bash, the vice president asserted that Trump's favorable comments in 2016 appearing to urge Russia to hack then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Trump jokes he'd get 'electric chair' if he deleted even one 'love note' email to Melania MORE's emails were not a direct endorsement of the anti-secrecy organization operated by Assange, which had previously published information on U.S. military operations in the Middle East.

Bash said that when Trump was running for president, he "welcomed seeing WikiLeaks and the information that they got from Hillary Clinton" before asking if the president's viewpoint has changed.

"I think the president always, as you in the media do, always welcomes information," Pence told CNN. "But that was in no way an endorsement."

WikiLeaks was famous before the 2016 election for its role in publishing documents leaked by former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, including evidence that U.S. forces were involved in the killing of civilians in Iraq in an attack that also killed two Reuters employees.

Read more here on the controversy.

 

GET UP TO SPEED: U.S. officials have unveiled long-awaited charges against Julian Assange, alleging that the WikiLeaks founder conspired to hack a government computer in connection with the organization's release of sensitive government files back in 2010.

The news came shortly after Assange was expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy and arrested by British authorities, after nearly seven years in asylum there.

As the founder of WikiLeaks, Assange is infamous for document leaks that have embarrassed the United States over the years. The organization most recently captured notoriety for leaking hacked Democratic emails that the U.S. intelligence community later tied to a plot by Russia to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Read the five things you need to know about the case against Assange.

 

WARNER CONSIDERS ONLINE HATE SPEECH BILL: Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDemocrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills Democrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills State attorneys general demand that Congress take action on election security MORE (D-Va.) is looking to create legislation to restrict hate speech and increase users' ability to move their data between social media platforms, Reuters reported Thursday.

Warner told the wire service that he was looking to propose bills in the next month or two and hoping to gain a Republican co-sponsor.

He added that online hate speech has real consequences, particularly referencing recent mass shootings at a Pittsburgh synagogue and New Zealand mosques in which the alleged killers also posted hateful content online.

"I want technology to stay. I want the social media platforms to stay," he said. "But I do think the days of the wild, Wild West where anything goes, people just aren't going to allow it."

Warner also said he wanted to increase transparency about who social media users are communicating with online.

"Shouldn't we have the right to know whether we're being contacted by a human being versus a bot when you're on social media?" he said.

Read more on Warner's potential bills here.

 

RED ALERT: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi slated to deliver remarks during panel hearing on poverty The DNC's climate problems run deep Cracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) this week warned of a "new era" for regulating tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter, suggesting Democrats are ready to take a harder look at Silicon Valley.

Pelosi said during an interview on the "Recode Decode" podcast that a key legal protection for tech firms could be "in jeopardy," saying a 1996 statute was a "gift" to the industry.

In making the remarks, Pelosi added her voice to the fray as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle consider making changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision that largely gives internet platforms legal immunity for content users post online.

"It is a gift to them and I don't think that they are treating it with the respect that they should, and so I think that that could be a question mark and in jeopardy," Pelosi told "Recode Decode" host Kara Swisher.

Pelosi said it is "not out of the question" that Section 230 could be removed.

"When we come to 230, you really get their attention," Pelosi said, referring to the tech companies. "But I do think that for the privilege of 230, there has to be a bigger sense of responsibility on it. And it is not out of the question that that could be removed."

"In the U.K., as you know, they've said the era of self-regulation ... of these companies is over," Pelosi said during the interview.

"Is it over in this country?" Swisher asked.

"It probably should be," Pelosi said. "Yeah, I mean, I think we have to subject it all to scrutiny and to cost-benefits and all that, but I do think that it's a new era."

More on Pelosi's tech remarks here.

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: Going back to the moon for science.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: Our editorial policy.

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

Facebook accidentally put hidden messages like 'Big Brother is Watching' and 'The Masons Were Here' in 'tens of thousands' of VR controllers. (Business Insider)

Russia finds Facebook failed to provide information on data-agencies. (Reuters)

German price platform sues Google over search results. (The Associated Press)

He has driven for Uber since 2012. He makes about $40,000 a year. (The New York Times)