Hillicon Valley: US, France reach deal on tech tax | FEC vice chair resigns | Move leaves agency unable to vote on actions | Groups seek net neutrality pledge from 2020 Dems | Australia eyes blocking extremist content

Hillicon Valley: US, France reach deal on tech tax | FEC vice chair resigns | Move leaves agency unable to vote on actions | Groups seek net neutrality pledge from 2020 Dems | Australia eyes blocking extremist content
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Welcome! Follow the cyber team, Olivia Beavers (@olivia_beavers) and Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and the tech team, Harper Neidig (@hneidig) and Emily Birnbaum (@birnbaum_e).

 

A FRENCH CONNECTION: French and American negotiators have reached an agreement on France's digital tax law.

A source close to the negotiations told Reuters that the deal made between French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow would have France repay companies for the national tax once the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development establishes an international system for digital taxes.

The draft agreement was reportedly given to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE and his French counterpart Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronMacron urges EU to condemn Turkish invasion of Syria US should support, but also prod, Ukraine Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill MORE during the Group of Seven summit Monday.

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"Trump's adviser is OK with the proposal," the source told Reuters. "That would be the mechanism at this stage, that's the joint proposal."

The new French law places a 3 percent tax on yearly revenues of technology companies that make at least 750 million euros annually and provide services to users in France, affecting companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Those companies have said the tax unfairly affects U.S. businesses and could harm their operations.

Read more here.

 

...MACRON TOUTS DEAL: French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronMacron urges EU to condemn Turkish invasion of Syria US should support, but also prod, Ukraine Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill MORE praised the deal his country reached with the U.S. on France's digital tax as a "very good agreement."

"The idea is that we need to find a joint agreement in order to address joint international problems," Macron said at a joint press conference with President Trump following the Group of Seven. "And the situation right now is very negative, and the international tax system definitely needs to be modernized, and I think we will work together in a spirit of cooperation on this."

Macron also took to Twitter to tout the agreement after the press conference.

"Some digital players pay very little tax. This is an injustice that destroys jobs. @realDonaldTrump and I have just agreed to work together on an agreement at the @OECD level to modernize international tax rules," Macron tweeted.

 

HOLD ON...: Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Facebook removes Russian, Iranian accounts trying to interfere in 2020 | Zuckerberg on public relations blitz | Uncertainty over Huawei ban one month out US ban on China tech giant faces uncertainty a month out Hillicon Valley: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship MORE (D-Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, though, said in a statement Monday that the Trump administration "should reject any deal that allows France and other countries to move ahead with discriminatory taxes on U.S. technology companies, in exchange for vague promises down the line."

"If Donald Trump gives France a pass now, then it will be open season for foreign governments to go after major American employers," Wyden said.

Read more from The Hill's Naomi Jagoda here. 

 

THE VOTES DON'T ADD UP: The vice chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) submitted his resignation letter to President Trump on Monday, leaving the agency without the necessary number of commissioners to vote on proposed actions.

Matthew Petersen, a Republican who has served as a commissioner since 2008, wrote that he will formally step down on Aug. 31.

"Throughout my service, I have faithfully discharged my duty to enforce the law in a manner that respects free speech rights, while also fairly interpreting the relevant statutes and regulations and providing meaningful notice to those subject to FEC jurisdiction," Petersen wrote. "I am honored to have served the American people in this capacity and to have fulfilled the oath taken 11 years ago."

A spokesperson for the FEC confirmed Petersen's resignation, declining to comment further.

His departure leaves the agency with only three of the four members required to vote on proposed actions.

"By law, no more than three Commissioners can represent the same political party, and at least four votes are required for any official Commission action," the FEC wrote on its website. "This structure was created to encourage nonpartisan decisions."

The remaining commissioners are Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat; Commissioner Caroline Hunter, a Republican; and Commissioner Steven Walther, an independent. President Trump nominated Republican attorney Trey Trainor to serve as an FEC commissioner in 2017, but the Senate has not voted on his nomination.

The cyber angle: Petersen was heavily involved in technology issues, which he highlighted in his resignation letter.

Also in July, Petersen joined the other FEC commissioners in voting unanimously to allow federal political campaigns to accept discounted cybsersecurity services from Area 1 Security, a California-based company. He also voted last year in favor of allowing federal campaigns and national parties to accept a package of "enhanced online account security features" from Microsoft.

Read more here. 

 

The Hill's Reid Wilson looks at what Petersen's resignation means for the FEC.

 

FEC FALLOUT: America's elections cop will be stuck on the sidelines for what could be months, unable to complete investigations, mete out punishments or even give candidates advice about what is and isn't legal, just as the 2020 election season gets underway.

Without at least four commissioners, the FEC will be unable to take action on its core mission, enforcing campaign laws.

The FEC "will now pretty much grind to a halt," said Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause. "This is a big deal that the FEC is now going to be without a quorum."

More from Reid here.

 

PROGRESSIVES PUSH NET NEUTRALITY PLEDGE: A coalition of progressive groups is asking 2020 Democratic candidates to pledge to restore the Obama-era net neutrality rules repealed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) during the Trump administration.

The groups launched a site Monday asking White House hopefuls to sign the pledge, which also includes a commitment to forgo campaign contributions from telecom executives and lobbyists.

"The FCC's net neutrality repeal ignored the voices of millions from across the political spectrum, in what ended up being one of the biggest and most undemocratic giveaways to the telecom industry we've ever seen," Mark Stanley, a spokesman for the group Demand Progress, said in a statement.

"For too long, phone and cable companies have exerted an undue influence in Washington, by pushing unpopular policies that harm the American people's ability to communicate and access crucial services online," he added. "It's time candidates fight this corrosive influence by refusing contributions from the telecom industry."

Other groups backing the pledge include People for the American Way, Color of Change, Daily Kos, Common Cause, Fight for the Future and Democracy for America.

Read more here.

  

BLOCKED: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday announced plans to block websites that spread extremist content during crises.

"The shocking events that took place in Christchurch demonstrated how digital platforms and websites can be exploited to host extreme violent and terrorist content," Morrison said Sunday while in Biarritz, France, for the Group of Seven (G-7) economic summit.

"That type of abhorrent material has no place in Australia and we are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes, including taking action locally and globally."

The details: Australia's eSafety commissioner will now have authority to quickly shut down domains hosting terrorist or extreme violent material.

The government is also creating a protocol which will include a "24/7 Crisis Coordination" center to monitor and notify relevant government agencies of online crisis events.

Morrison linked the measures to the shootings that killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year. The suspected shooter livestreamed the killings and had posted a racist screed on online messaging boards before the attack.

Read more here.

 

BEWARE OF ROCKET: Police in a small Texas community have recommended that residents temporarily vacate their homes on Monday while Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskHillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference NASA targeting early 2020 for first manned SpaceX mission Hillicon Valley: Senate Intel report urges action to prevent 2020 Russian meddling | Republicans warn Microsoft of 'urgent' Huawei threat | Court rules FBI surveillance violated Americans' rights MORE's SpaceX attempts an experimental launch of a Mars rocket prototype.

A public safety notice was issued to residents of Boca Chica, a town on the southern tip of Texas with houses within two miles of SpaceX's launch pad for the Starhopper rocket, Business Insider reported on Sunday.

A county sheriff reportedly went door-to-door on Saturday to deliver the notice to approximately 20 households, warning of possible shattered windows and "potential risk to health and safety."

"There is a risk that a malfunction of the SpaceX vehicle during flight will create an overpressure event that can break windows. Therefore, in order to protect Public Health and Safety, it is recommended that you consider temporarily vacating yourself, other occupants, and pets, from the area during the Space Flight Activities," the notice obtained by Business Insider read.

"At a minimum, you must exit your home or structure and be outside of any building on your property when you hear the police sirens which will be activated at the time of the Space Flight Activity to avoid or minimize the risk of injury."

Read more here.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: A presidential weight loss plan 

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: Prediction: 2020 election is set to be hacked, if we don't act fast

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

DHS stored data from bioterrorism program on insecure website for over a decade (Los Angeles Times) 

Internet domain site Hostinger gets hacked (CyberScoop)  

The spy in your wallet: Credit cards have a privacy problem. (The Washington Post)

Uber and Lyft take a lot more from drivers than they say. (Jalopnik)