Hillicon Valley: White House rejects Dem request for AT&T merger docs | Apple, Qualcomm end massive court fight | Ecuador says it faced 40M cyberattacks after Assange arrest | SpaceX wins NASA contract to fly craft into asteroid

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).

 

WHITE HOUSE REBUFFS DEM INQUIRY INTO AT&T-TIME WARNER: The White House is rejecting a request from top House Democrats for information that would shed light on whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Lara Trump: Merkel admitting migrants 'one of the worst things that ever happened to Germany' Financial satisfaction hits record high: survey MORE tried to sway the Justice Department into opposing the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone told House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis Nadler21 questions for Robert Mueller Klobuchar on impeachment: 'I'm the jury' Where 2020 Democratic candidates stand on impeachment MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineFacebook expects B-B fine over Cambridge Analytica Bipartisan lawmakers urge Trump to reconsider Central America aid cuts Dems charge ahead on immigration MORE (D-R.I.), chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust issues, in a letter dated Monday that the documents requested by the lawmakers were shielded under confidentiality protections afforded to the president and his advisers.

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"As I have conveyed to the Committee before, we stand ready to work to accommodate all congressional committee requests for information related to a legitimate legislative purpose," Cipollone wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Hill. "We cannot, however, provide the Committee with protected communications between the President and his most senior advisors that are at the very core of the Executive Branch's confidentiality interests."

The letter was first reported by Bloomberg.

Background on the request: Nadler and Cicilline made their request last month after The New Yorker published a story reporting that Trump had pressured Gary CohnGary David CohnTrump frustrated with aides who talked to Mueller Hillicon Valley: White House rejects Dem request for AT&T merger docs | Apple, Qualcomm end massive court fight | Ecuador says it faced 40M cyberattacks after Assange arrest | SpaceX wins NASA contract to fly craft into asteroid White House rejects House Dems' request for documents on AT&T-Time Warner merger MORE, his former top economic adviser, to press the Justice Department to intervene on the merger. The president was reportedly against the deal out of spite toward CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.

The two Democrats asked both the White House and the Justice Department for detailed records of discussions involving the $85 billion deal.

Read more here.

 

APPLE AND QUALCOMM MAKE UP: Leading chipmaker Qualcomm and Apple on Tuesday agreed to drop all litigation between them across the globe, ending a web of legal battles the tech giants have fought on multiple continents for two years.

The surprise settlement came on Tuesday, just as Apple and Qualcomm were gearing up for a significant court battle in San Diego.

The terms: Qualcomm and Apple on Tuesday afternoon announced an agreement to dismiss all litigation between the companies, which includes a payment of an undisclosed amount from Apple to Qualcomm.

The settlement includes a six-year patent licensing agreement, effective at the beginning of April, Apple said in a statement. The agreement can be extended for two years.

Qualcomm as part of the settlement has agreed to supply parts to Apple over the span of multiple years, meaning it could start supplying chips to Apple again.

Qualcomm will end litigation with Apple's contract manufacturers.

What they were fighting about: In courts around the world, Apple has claimed Qualcomm boosts its prices excessively and accused the chipmaker of acting as a monopoly as it charged fees for patents. Qualcomm has accused Apple of stealing its intellectual property without compensation.

Apple bought modem chips from Qualcomm for years, but the relationship soured two years ago as Apple accused Qualcomm of charging exorbitant prices.

The companies on Tuesday had started proceedings in a trial, which saw both sides asking for billions of dollars in damages.

Qualcomm in recent months has indicated that it would be willing to work with Apple to unroll an iPhone with 5G capabilities, which Apple has reportedly struggled to launch.

Read more on the surprise settlement here.

 

ECUADOR FACES CYBER RETALIATION: Ecuador said this week that it has been hit by more than 40 million cyberattacks since last week's arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange outside the country's embassy in London.

Ecuador's deputy minister for information and communication technologies told Agence France Presse (AFP) that the attacks primarily came from the U.S., several European countries, Brazil and Ecuador itself.

Assange, who had been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for years in self-imposed exile, was arrested last week after Ecuadorian officials allowed British police to enter the facility and arrest him.

He is currently in the process of extradition and had previously been charged under seal.

The Justice Department revealed on Thursday that Assange faces one count of conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to "knowingly access a computer, without authorization and exceeding authorized access," to obtain classified information that "could be used to the injury of the United States."

The indictment alleges that Assange helped Manning crack a password stored on a Defense Department computer. The computer was connected to a U.S. government system and used to store confidential information.

Read more on the attacks here.

 

TWITTER TOUTS PROGRESS ON ABUSE: Twitter said its automated systems proactively flag 38 percent of abusive tweets identified by the platform, touting the figure in an announcement on Tuesday.

Just a year ago, that number was 0 percent, as Twitter's policies dictated that it would only take action against tweets reported by users.

Twitter faced widespread criticism for that policy, with critics claiming it was a method of abdicating responsibility over the platform's rampant harassment problem. Over the past year, Twitter has invested in systems to detect "abusive" content before it is reported to them.

"People who don't feel safe on Twitter shouldn't be burdened to report abuse to us," Twitter wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. "Previously, we only reviewed potentially abusive Tweets if they were reported to us. We know that's not acceptable, so earlier this year we made it a priority to take a proactive approach to abuse in addition to relying on people's reports."

Twitter's Tuesday blog post highlights multiple statistics that it says reveal the "progress" the company has made when it comes to the "health" of conversation on the platform. "Health" refers to Twitter's ongoing efforts to root out content that is hateful, harassing, untrue, or otherwise inflammatory.

Read more here.

 

SPACEX SCORES WITH NASA: Elon Musk's SpaceX has been awarded a $69 million contract for a mission that will include flying a spacecraft into an asteroid.

NASA last week awarded the contract to SpaceX, selecting the company to provide services for NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, NASA said in a statement.

The current target date for the mission is June 2021, and NASA plans to use one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets, the agency said.

With the mission, NASA will look to "demonstrate a kinetic impact" by deliberately flying a spacecraft into a small asteroid, according to a description of the project on NASA's website.

"The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet at a speed of approximately 6 km/s, with the aid of an onboard camera and sophisticated autonomous navigation software," the website reads.

"The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one percent, enough to be measured using telescopes on Earth."

Read more here.

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: Cybersecurity doesn't stop at the federal level -- our states need help

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: Sick and tired of Surface Buds.

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

15 months of fresh hell inside Facebook. (Wired)

Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Facebook expects up to B FTC fine | DHS face scanning at airports sparks alarm | New Twitter tool targets election misinformation | Lawmakers want answers on Google 'Sensorvault' Facebook expects B-B fine over Cambridge Analytica Hillicon Valley: Trump meets Twitter CEO after slamming company | Kushner calls Russia probes more 'harmful' than election interference | Dem wants FTC to hold Zuckerberg 'liable' for data missteps | Sri Lanka faces tough questions over social media ban MORE leveraged Facebook user data to fight rivals and help friends, leaked documents show. (NBC News)

Trump's 2020 plan: Target seniors on Facebook. (Axios)

Google will pay Louisville millions to fix roads after failed Fiber experiment. (The Verge)