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 RossDesperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms Trump scheduled to attend Davos amid impeachment trial Let's remember the real gifts the president has given America 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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerVeronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge Liberal super PAC to run digital ads slamming Trump over Medicare comments MORE (D-N.Y.). The principles released Monday were signed by Senate Commerce Committee ranking member Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellSenators fret over lack of manpower to build 5G Five tech stories to watch in 2020 Hillicon Valley: House panel unveils draft of privacy bill | Senate committee approves bill to sanction Russia | Dems ask HUD to review use of facial recognition | Uber settles sexual harassment charges for .4M MORE (D-Wash.), Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCalifornia Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House seat Biden wins endorsement of Sacramento mayor Roberts under pressure from both sides in witness fight MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Banking Committee ranking member Sen.  Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Senate Democrat: 'Fine' to hear from Hunter Biden MORE (D-Ohio), and Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Trump becomes first sitting president to attend March for Life | Officials confirm second US case of coronavirus | Trump officials threaten California funding over abortion law Top health officials brief senators on coronavirus as infections spread Administration to give Senate briefing on coronavirus 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 says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group 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 YovanovitchParnas says he has turned over tape of Trump calling for diplomat's firing Pompeo explodes at NPR reporter, asks if she could find Ukraine on a map Schiff to Senate Republicans: 'What if it was you' 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 SchiffTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Schiff says Justice Roberts should rule on witnesses Schiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line 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. LangevinLawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown Hillicon Valley: DHS warns of Iranian cyber threats | YouTube updates child content policy | California privacy law takes effect | Tech, cyber issues to watch in 2020 Lawmakers close to finalizing federal strategy to defend against cyberattacks 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 Jean KlobucharKlobuchar plans campaign rallies across Iowa despite impeachment trial Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators Sanders says it's 'disappointing' he's not on campaign trail in Iowa 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 GrahamSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Schiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE (R-S.C.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDemocrats worry Trump team will cherry-pick withheld documents during defense Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Bezos phone breach raises fears over Saudi hacking | Amazon seeks to halt Microsoft's work on 'war cloud' | Lawmakers unveil surveillance reform bill 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 HawleyOvernight Health Care: Trump becomes first sitting president to attend March for Life | Officials confirm second US case of coronavirus | Trump officials threaten California funding over abortion law Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  Top health officials brief senators on coronavirus as infections spread 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)