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Hillicon Valley: Commerce extends Huawei waiver | Senate Dems unveil privacy bill priorities | House funding measure extends surveillance program | Trump to tour Apple factory | GOP bill would restrict US data going to China

Hillicon Valley: Commerce extends Huawei waiver | Senate Dems unveil privacy bill priorities | House funding measure extends surveillance program | Trump to tour Apple factory | GOP bill would restrict US data going to China
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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).

 

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THIRD EXTENSION FOR HUAWEI: The Commerce Department on Monday announced that the temporary license allowing U.S. companies to do business with Chinese telecommunications group Huawei had been extended by 90 days.

It marked the third time the agency has extended the deadline since Huawei was added to the Commerce Department's "entity list" in May, citing national security concerns. American companies are banned from doing business with companies on the list, effectively blacklisting groups included.

The extended license is narrow in scope, only authorizing "specific, limited engagements in transactions involving the export, reexport, and transfer of items" to Huawei and its non-U.S. affiliate companies.

"The Temporary General License extension will allow carriers to continue to service customers in some of the most remote areas of the United States who would otherwise be left in the dark," Secretary of Commerce Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossConservative justices seem prepared to let Trump proceed with immigrant census plan for now Supreme Court to hear arguments on Trump administration's attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from census Central Asia is changing: the Biden administration should pay close attention MORE said in a statement. "The Department will continue to rigorously monitor sensitive technology exports to ensure that our innovations are not harnessed by those who would threaten our national security."

The Trump administration has moved to crack down on Huawei, which the intelligence community sees as a threat. But the efforts to target Huawei have also caused worry in the tech industry where many companies have important business dealings with Huawei. And the numerous extensions are also causing headaches for U.S. tech companies.

Read more here. 

 

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PRIVACY IN THE SPOTLIGHT: A group of top Democratic senators from four key committees on Monday unveiled their priorities for the nation's first comprehensive privacy bill, reinvigorating a debate that had stalled for months on Capitol Hill. 

Legislation built on the Democrats' stated priorities would limit how much sensitive information tech companies are allowed to collect on their millions of U.S. users, require companies to audit whether their algorithms result in unintended discrimination against minorities and vulnerable populations, and allow users to sue companies that do not protect their privacy rights. 

The politics: Some of the proposals set out by the Democrats could be non-starters for Republicans, including the clause that would allow users to sue companies over privacy violations and the fact that it does not override state privacy legislation. The Democratic proposal would allow states to enact their own tough privacy laws, which Republicans and the tech industry have largely opposed.

But the principles released Monday allow the Democrats to draw a line in the sand in negotiations around the market-shifting legislation.

Who's on board: The Democrats first came together to work up a privacy legislation framework at the request of Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell: COVID-19 relief will be added to omnibus spending package Overnight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden MORE (D-N.Y.). The principles released Monday were signed by Senate Commerce Committee ranking member Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Esper reportedly working with lawmakers to strip Confederate names from bases | Enemy attacks in Afghanistan jump by 50 percent, watchdog says | Fort Hood soldier arrested, charged in Chelsea Cheatham killing MORE (D-Wash.), Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCriminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot Bottom line Incoming Congress looks more like America MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Banking Committee ranking member Sen.  Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownRare Mnuchin-Powell spat takes center stage at COVID-19 hearing Biden introduces economic team, vows swift action on struggling economy Biden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate MORE (D-Ohio), and Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayCriminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot National reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition MORE (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. 

All of those committees have jurisdiction over the issue of online privacy.

Read more here. 

  

SURVEILLANCE EXTENSION: The stopgap government funding measure on which the House is set to vote Tuesday would give Congress more time to debate a set of controversial government surveillance provisions currently set to expire by Dec. 15. 

One last-minute addition to the continuing resolution (CR) would give Congress ninety more days to debate whether it wants to reauthorize the expiring provisions of the USA Freedom Act, a divisive bill that allows the government to access phone records on millions of Americans. The House is largely expected to pass the CR this week. 

A source familiar with the debate around the USA Freedom Act told The Hill that key lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee quickly realized there was not enough time for Congress to decide what to do about the surveillance provisions before Dec. 15 when they sat down to negotiate this month. 

The source said it was "easier to tuck it in" to the continuing resolution. They noted the lawmakers felt "impeachment has gotten in the way" of the negotiation process around the expiring surveillance provisions, and a longer timeline would give them more space to hammer out an agreement without such an intensive time constraint. 

For months, Congress has been gearing up for a battle over whether to reauthorize expiring provisions in the USA Freedom Act, a 2015 surveillance reform bill that passed following whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations about the enormous amount of sensitive information the government was collecting on everyday Americans. 

Read more here. 

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ICYMI... SOCIAL MEDIA AND IMPEACHMENT: Social media is quickly becoming a powerful force in the impeachment hearings for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE.

The first impeachment carried out in the online age has seen Trump criticizing Democrats and a key witness, as pundits and lawmakers weigh in on the latest developments -- all in real time.

The impact of social media was highlighted most dramatically on Friday when Trump sent out a tweet harshly criticizing former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchTrump has discussed possible pardons for three eldest children, Kushner: report Former Giuliani associates plead not guilty to new fraud charges Why it's time for a majority female Cabinet MORE while she was testifying in a public hearing before Congress. 

"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," Trump tweeted. "She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President's absolute right to appoint ambassadors."

Trump's tweets immediately become part of the hearing.

"As we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE (D-Calif.) said, as he read them to Yovanovitch.

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Yovanovitch pushed back against the president, saying that she did not think she had "such powers," adding that she thought she had "demonstrably made things better, for the U.S. as well as for the countries that I've served in." 

When Schiff asked Yovanovitch what Trump intended, she responded that "the effect is to be intimidating." Schiff's fellow Democrats pounced on the tweet, accusing the president of "witness intimidation" and citing it as evidence of more misconduct.

Rep. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinStates plot next moves on redistricting Cyberattack forces shutdown of Baltimore County schools for the day Pressure grows to reinstall White House cyber czar MORE (D-R.I.), the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s cybersecurity subcommittee and a leading voice on tech issues, told The Hill that Trump's live tweets during the impeachment proceedings could affect how Americans viewed them.

“It has both positives and negatives, his followers are hearing from the president with each tweet, so it’s a part of free speech,” Langevin said. “I guess it’s something that all people have to factor in as they are listening to the proceedings."

We took a look at the first impeachment in the age of social media here. 

 

KLOBUCHAR TAKES ON ELECTION SECURITY: 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (D-Minn.) on Monday published a strategy for how she would secure elections against cyber and disinformation threats if elected president, the same day she joined a group of Senate Democrats in pushing for election security funding.

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In her plan, Klobuchar, who is a longtime advocate in the Senate for election security efforts, zeroed in on improving the transparency of political ads on social media, combating disinformation, and promoting cybersecurity.

Key parts of the strategy include Klobuchar's intention to issue an executive order that would bolster government-wide cybersecurity efforts and launch a "cabinet-level taskforce" that would coordinate across federal agencies and with state and local governments to better address cyber threats to elections.

Klobuchar would also require states to use paper ballots as a way to prevent cyber tampering with the vote and set "strong cybersecurity standards" for voting infrastructure.

On the disinformation front, the strategy points to passage of the Honest Ads Act as a major priority Klobuchar would pursue as president. The bill, which is sponsored by Klobuchar and Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel Democracy is the MVP in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms MORE (R-S.C.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerBipartisan, bicameral group unveils 8 billion coronavirus proposal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Congress ends its year under shadow of COVID-19 MORE (D-Va.), aims to increase transparency of who buys political ads on social media.

Read more here. 

 

STOP RIGHT THERE: Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyTime to bring federal employees home for every holiday Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls The Memo: GOP mulls its future after Trump MORE (R-Mo.) on Monday introduced a bill that would curtail the flow of sensitive information about people in the U.S. to China through large tech companies like Apple and TikTok. 

Hawley's legislation would place new and wide-reaching limitations on companies with ties to China such as TikTok, the mega-popular social media platform owned by a Chinese firm, and Apple, an American company that builds many of its components in mainland China. 

The bill, called the National Security and Personal Data Protection Act, would subject a litany of companies with ties to countries of "national security concern," including Russia and China, to a new privacy regime.

"Current law makes it far too easy for hostile foreign governments like China to access Americans' sensitive data," Hawley, a China hawk and Big Tech antagonist in the Senate, said in a statement. "This legislation takes crucial steps to stop Americans' sensitive data from falling into the hands of hostile foreign governments." 

Read more here.

 

TRUMP ON TOUR: President Trump will tour an Apple manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas, with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday. 

White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed an Austin American-Statesman report that the tour would occur in a tweet Saturday. 

An unidentified White House official told the newspaper that Trump, Cook and senior administration officials will hear from employees about how products are made there.

Read more here.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: Well that's awkward

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: For televised impeachment hearings, 'boring' is helpful to Democrats 

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB

Sen. Menendez questions Twitter about former employees spying for Saudi Arabia (CyberScoop) 

Ford unveils all-electric car--the Mustang Mach-E (BBC News) 

WeWork planning to cut thousands of jobs (The Washington Post) 

TikTok's chief is on a mission to prove it's not a menace (The New York Times)