Hillicon Valley: Court delays ruling against Qualcomm | Google asks employees not to talk politics at work | Facebook releases early emails discussing Cambridge Analytica | Bannon to release anti-Huawei film

Hillicon Valley: Court delays ruling against Qualcomm | Google asks employees not to talk politics at work | Facebook releases early emails discussing Cambridge Analytica | Bannon to release anti-Huawei film
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QUALCOMM GETS A STAY: A federal appeals court on Friday handed Qualcomm a temporary victory with its decision to stay parts of a judge's ruling that the chipmaker used its expansive market power to shut out rivals and overcharge for its products in violation of antitrust laws.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that portions of the earlier decision should be stayed because Qualcomm showed it had a reasonable chance of winning its appeal and that the decision risks irreparable harm to the company.

"We are satisfied that Qualcomm has shown, at minimum, the presence of serious questions on the merits of the district court’s determination that Qualcomm has an antitrust duty to license its [standard-essential patents] to rival chip suppliers," the appeals court ruled.

The lawsuit was brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the final days of the Obama administration and has since created remarkable and unusual rifts within the federal government.

Reaction: “We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit granted our request and believe the district court decision will be overturned once the merits of our appeal have been considered,” Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg said in a statement. “The stay, which remains in effect through the course of the appeals process, keeps intact Qualcomm’s patent-licensing practices. This will allow Qualcomm to continue to invest in inventing the fundamental technologies at the heart of mobile communications at this critical time of transition to 5G.”

"While I am disappointed in the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay part of the district court’s order, we respect the decision and look forward to defending the district court’s decision on the merits," Bruce Hoffman, the director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, said in a statement.

What's next: Still, Hoffman noted that parts of the district court decision remain in effect, including a prohibition against Qualcomm entering into any exclusive supply agreements and a requirement for the chipmaker to submit to compliance monitoring. The firm is also barred from trying to prevent any of its partner companies from providing information to regulators.


“The Bureau of Competition will monitor Qualcomm’s conduct relating to the on-going injunctive provisions, and we stand ready to evaluate any information from industry participants relating to whether Qualcomm is complying with its obligations,” Hoffman said.

Read more here.


FACEBOOK EMAILS COME TO LIGHT: Facebook released a set of emails on Friday showing that the company was questioning whether Cambridge Analytica was in violation of its policies as early as September 2015.

Facebook had been fighting the release of the documents as part of a lawsuit that the attorney general for Washington, D.C., filed last year over the social network’s handling of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the firm used Facebook data to profile and target voters in the 2016 U.S. elections.

The two sides had reached an agreement this week to unseal the emails while keeping certain portions redacted to protect employees’ privacy.

The documents reveal internal discussions about Cambridge Analytica and other third parties among Facebook employees who said they were contacting the companies in question to probe their use of Facebook data and whether it was being used in ways that may violate Facebook's policies.

The actual emails shed little light beyond what had been previously known about their contents. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine’s office and the Securities and Exchange Commission both described them earlier this year in court filings.

A spokesperson for Racine told The Hill that the District fought to make the documents public "because we believe the American people have a right to know what and when Facebook knew about its data security weaknesses."

"According to the conversations this document contains, Facebook employees were raising alarms about political partners and doubts about their compliance with Facebook’s data policies as far back as September 2015,” the spokesperson added.

Read more here.


NO MORE POLITICS TALK AT GOOGLE: Google released a new set of community guidelines Friday that ask employees to stop discussing politics during the workday.

Google said the guidelines, which prompt employees to avoid certain subjects in internal communications, help keep Google "a safe, productive, and inclusive environment for everyone."


“While sharing information and ideas with colleagues helps build community, disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story does not. Our primary responsibility is to do the work we’ve each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics,” one guideline states.

Without outright banning topics, Google said managers are expected to address discussions that violate “those rules.”

Other newly issued guidelines emphasize that employees use “respect” when communicating and try to avoid discussions that “make other Googlers feel like they don’t belong.” Another reminds employees to “treat our data with care” and not disclose confidential information in violation of the company’s data security policy.

In an emailed statement, a Google spokeswoman said the guidelines “exist to support the healthy and open discussion that has always been a part of our culture.”

“They help create an environment where we can come together as a community in pursuit of our shared mission and serve our users,” the spokeswoman added.

Read more here.



ON THE BIG SCREEN: Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon will release a new film this fall titled "Claws of the Red Dragon," which will go after Chinese telecom giant Huawei, a company which President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE has deemed "a national security threat."

"Run by a radical cadre of the Chinese Communist Party, China's Communism today is the greatest existential threat the West has ever faced," Bannon, the executive producer for the film, said in a press release. "Huawei, the technology and telecommunications arm of the CCP and the People's Liberation Army, is the greatest national security threat we have ever faced, as it is already in the process of a global tech domination via 5G and 6G."

"Claws of the Red Dragon is a seminal and timely work exposing the inner workings of the CCP and Huawei," he added.

The film comes as the Trump administration moves to crack down on Huawei. The U.S. intelligence community has called the company a national security threat, highlighting what they say are close ties to the government in Beijing. Huawei has denied those claims.

The administration has banned Huawei from doing business with federal agencies. But Trump officials on Monday also extended a deadline for U.S. businesses to cut ties with Huawei. Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossPelosi gets standing ovation at Kennedy Center Honors Space race is on: US can't afford congressional inaction in this critical economic sector Trump escalates fight over tax on tech giants MORE said U.S. telecom companies would get another 90-day extension.

“Some of the rural companies are dependent on Huawei. So we’re giving them a little more time to wean themselves off," Ross said on Fox Business. "But there are no specific licenses being granted for anything.”

Read more here.



A LIGHTER CLICK: The absolute chonk.


AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: Outdated safe harbor laws have no place in trade agreements.



Amazon has ceded control of its site. The result: thousands of banned, unsafe or mislabeled products. (Wall Street Journal)

How Uber got lost. (New York Times)

Google says it’s making Chrome more private, but advertisers will still track you. (Recode)