Hillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference

Hillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference
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Welcome! Follow the cyber team, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and the tech team, Emily Birnbaum (@birnbaum_e) and Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills)

 

BIG HEARING NEXT WEEK: The co-founder and CEO of Reddit and a top policy official with Google are slated to testify next week before a key House panel about the tech industry's legal protections, the committee announced Friday.

The public hearing scheduled for Wednesday marks the latest sign that the House Energy and Commerce Committee is seriously looking at the possibility of tweaking or even partially pulling back the industry's liability shield. 

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Reddit chief Steve Huffman will testify at the hearing alongside Katherine Oyama, Google's global head of intellectual property policy, as well as leading experts on the law that protects tech -- including Danielle Citron, a law professor at Boston University School of Law, and Corynne McSherry, the legal director of top privacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced their intention to hold the hearing last month. 

"The Internet has opened America's homes to a wealth of social, economic and educational opportunities," Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) said in a joint statement with the heads of the committee's panels on technology and consumer protection. "Sadly, bad actors, both foreign and domestic, have abused this access to peddle extremism, disinformation and hatred that divides our nation."

Why Section 230 matters: At issue is a provision called Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects internet platforms from being sued over content posted by users and how it chooses to moderate those user-generated posts.

Increasingly, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in both chambers have hammered Section 230 as a "sweetheart deal" that protects Big Tech from dealing with issues on their platforms including hate speech, terrorist content and disinformation. 

While several federal lawmakers have floated changes to Section 230 over the past several months, there are still no bipartisan or bicameral proposals on the table. 

E&C's role: The Energy and Commerce Committee has primary jurisdiction over Section 230, and over the past several months, top members of the panel have expressed interest in various proposals to hold platforms "accountable" for their content moderation decisions.  

"This hearing will explore whether online companies are appropriately using the tools they have -- including protections Congress granted in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act -- to foster a healthier Internet," Pallone said in the statement with Reps. Mike DoyleMichael (Mike) F. DoyleHillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference Reddit, Google to testify before House panel on tech's legal protections Consequential GOP class of 1994 all but disappears MORE (D-Pa.) and Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz Hillicon Valley: FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Dems wrangle over breaking up Big Tech at debate | Critics pounce as Facebook's Libra stumbles | Zuckerberg to be interviewed by Fox News | Twitter details rules for political figures' tweets Lawmakers hit Trump administration for including tech legal shield in trade negotiations MORE (D-Ill.).

Read more here.

 

MAKES ME TWITCHY: President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE recently joined the video streaming platform Twitch, live-streaming his Thursday night rally on the Amazon-owned site. 

Presidential contenders and politicians have been using the platform over the past several months, live-streaming Q&As and informal conversations to audiences of tens of thousands.  

Trump's Twitch account had nearly 47,000 followers as of Friday morning. The page indicates that his Minneapolis rally had more than 40,000 views as of Friday, and that his campaign plans to broadcast his rally next week in Dallas. 

Trump also plans to hold a rally in Louisiana later on Friday.

The president is known for his prolific Twitter presence, but his aides have signaled in recent months that the president is looking to gain a foothold on other platforms as well. 

The Trump campaign advertised heavily in social media platforms such as Facebook in 2016, a strategy it has continued into the 2020 race.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment on joining Twitch.

Trump is not the first presidential candidate to join the platform, which is popular among the gamer community but has niches for many interests, including politics. Democratic candidates Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOcasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders Ocasio-Cortez throws support to Sanders at Queens rally MORE (I-Vt.) and entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangYang cautions Democrats: Impeachment might not be 'successful' Yang defends Gabbard: She 'deserves much more respect' Super PAC seeks to spend more than million supporting Yang MORE are also on Twitch

Trump joined the platform mere days after the Amazon company came under scrutiny over a shooting near a German synagogue, which was live-streamed and viewed by thousands of people on Twitch. 

Only five people tuned into the livestream, but a recorded version of the disturbing footage was viewed by more than 2,000 people before it was removed.

The footage has since circulated on Telegram, a partially encrypted app that is known to be favored by white extremists.

The incident made Amazon the latest tech giant to grapple with violent footage circulating on one of its platforms. Facebook dealt with the issue earlier this year when a mass shooter filmed himself attacking worshippers at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, an incident that left more than 50 dead and dozens injured.

Read more on Trump's move here.

 

SHIELD ME FROM THIS: The House will vote on legislation later this month aimed at limiting foreign interference in U.S. elections after a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee this week called on Congress to take action on the issue.

The move by House Democrats is likely to place additional pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhite House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours The Memo: Trump's sea of troubles deepens McConnell: Trump's troop pull back in Syria a 'grave strategic mistake' MORE (R-Ky.), whom Democrats have targeted on election security. 

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Scalise, Cole introduce resolution to change rules on impeachment Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg defends handling of misinformation in political ads | Biden camp hits Zuckerberg over remarks | Dem bill would jail tech execs for lying about privacy | Consumer safety agency accidentally disclosed personal data MORE (D-Md.) announced the House will take up legislation that would require campaigns to report "illicit offers" of election assistance from foreign governments or individuals to both the FBI and the Federal Election Commission (FEC). 

The legislation, known as the SHIELD Act and just introduced this week, also includes language designed to ensure that political advertisements on social media are subject to the same sponsor disclosure rules as ads on television and radio broadcasts. 

The vote will come in the midst of a presidential impeachment inquiry that focuses on whether President Trump asked Ukraine to interfere in aspects of the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election. 

Hoyer praised work done by House Democrats in regards to the impeachment investigation in a letter announcing the move, writing that "the President betrayed our nation's trust, undermined our national security, and abused his power by encouraging foreign interference in our elections, and the American people deserve answers."

The House Administration Committee is scheduled to mark up the SHIELD Act next week prior to the full House taking it up, with committee Chairwoman Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg defends handling of misinformation in political ads | Biden camp hits Zuckerberg over remarks | Dem bill would jail tech execs for lying about privacy | Consumer safety agency accidentally disclosed personal data House panel pushes forward election security legislation Democratic lobbyists bristle at party's attack on K Street MORE (D-Calif.) among the bill's key sponsors. 

Read more on the legislation here.

 

MEDIA LITERACY BOOSTER SHOT: A group of House Democrats on Friday introduced legislation intended to increase media literacy among Americans in order to combat social media disinformation campaigns.

The Digital Citizen and Media Literacy Act would establish a $20 million grant program at the Department of Education to help fund K-12 media literacy curricula. The funds would be available to local education agencies to create programs on media literacy and to state agencies to create "advisory councils" to establish state-wide media literacy guidelines. 

The bill was introduced days after the Senate Intelligence Committee released its bipartisan report on Russian social media disinformation efforts in the run-up to the 2016 elections. 

The committee found that the Kremlin directed the Russian Internet Research Agency to spread disinformation with the goal of helping now-President Trump over former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJill Stein: 'I am not a Russian spy' Trump criticizes Clinton for suggesting Jill Stein was Russian asset Graham: I'm seeking to make Trump successful 'but not at all costs' MORE, echoing findings detailed by former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE

The committee also included a set of recommendations for Congress, the Trump administration and social media companies in order to prevent future foreign disinformation efforts, including the idea of creating a "public initiative" aimed at promoting "critical thinking skills" to help Americans identify disinformation online. 

Read more here. 

 

SPACEX, NASA MAKE AMENDS: NASA Director Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineTrump speaks with NASA astronauts on all-female spacewalk NASA makes historic all-female spacewalk NASA reveals new spacesuits for next moon mission MORE says that the agency could begin using SpaceX equipment for manned orbital missions as early as next year if the company does not run into unexpected hurdles with the development of its crew capsule.

Bridenstine told reporters during a visit to 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 headquarters in California that if "everything goes according to plan," the agency will begin manned missions using SpaceX's capsule in the first quarter of 2020.

"If everything goes according to plan, it would be the first quarter of next year," he said, according to Reuters, while adding that the agency is "not going to take any undue risk" by sticking to an unrealistic timeline.

Musk also addressed reporters at the news conference, explaining that despite difficulties in developing the crew capsule's parachute, the company planned to finish testing by the end of the year.

"Testing will be complete and hardware at the Cape [Canaveral] by the end of December," he said, according to Reuters.

NASA's use of private contractors such as SpaceX for future space flights comes as the agency currently spends millions every year to use Russian technology necessary for reaching the International Space Station.

Read more here.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: Footage of people who must have a death wish. 

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: Automation won't destroy trade; it might even boost it 

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:  

Study links Russian tweets to release of hacked emails. (Associated Press) 

Mississippi audit finds 'disregard' for cybersecurity across the state. (StateScoop)

Tech companies didn't plan for Chinese censorship. (Vice)