Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.
Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech reporter, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills), for more coverage.
FLAG ON THE TWEET: Twitter on Monday flagged a clip tweeted by the Trump campaign of a brief segment of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as “manipulated media.”
The campaign tweeted a 3-second clip of Biden saying, “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” that was clipped to separate it from the line before where Biden clearly stated that he was quoting the message the Trump campaign has been pushing.
“Since they can’t run on the simple proposition of sending our children safely back to school. And since they have no agenda or vision for a second term, Trump and Pence are running on this: ‘You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,’” Biden said during his speech delivered in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
After receiving some online backlash for the video, the Trump campaign followed up with a message dismissing the tweet as a “joke.”
“To all the triggered journalists who can't take a joke about their candidate, it's not our fault Joe Biden was dumb enough to say this on camera,” the campaign tweeted.
SECOND TIME THIS WEEK: Twitter on Sunday flagged a manipulated clip posted by House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseSarah Palin's defamation case against New York Times heads to trial Supreme Court handcuffs Biden on vaccinations House GOP campaign arm rakes in 0M in 2021 MORE (R-La.) that alters a question from activist Ady Barkan to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
The clip is included in a video the House’s No. 2 Republican tweeted that accuses Democrats of fomenting and encouraging violent unrest. “No police. Mob rule. Total chaos. That’s the result of the Democrat agenda,” Scalise tweeted.
In the initial interview, Barkan, who uses a computerized artificial voice due to his amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, asks Biden if “we agree that we can redirect some of the funding” for police departments toward public safety and mental health services. “Yes,” Biden responds.
The clip Scalise tweeted, however, inserts the words “for police” into Barkan’s question using the same computer-generated voice from earlier in the interview.
Biden has repeatedly come out against the movement to defund the police. Barkan, who also uses a wheelchair, endorsed Biden in July and asked him about the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks.
DEMOCRATS HAVE CONCERNS: A group of key House and Senate Democrats led by Senate Rules Committee ranking member Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) on Monday demanded that the intelligence community reverse a decision to halt congressional briefings on election security.
The concerns were raised days after Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe notified Congress that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) would no longer participate in classified election security briefings, and would instead submit written reports.
In a letter to Ratcliffe, the Democratic members, who also included House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (Calif.), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (Miss.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (N.Y.), and Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), demanded the election security briefings “immediately resume.”
“There are 63 days remaining until the election, and your office has confirmed that Russia and other foreign adversaries are actively working to undermine our democracy,” the members wrote. “As a former Member of Congress, you understand that in order to effectively do our jobs, Congress must receive comprehensive intelligence briefings on critical issues like the security of our elections. In addition to being necessary, these briefings are required by law.”
The lawmakers pointed to the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act in making their case. The bill established the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and requires the ODNI to keep policymakers “fully and completely informed” on intelligence issues.
“We also remind you that the ODNI does not own the intelligence it collects on behalf of the American people, it is a custodian of the information,” they wrote. “In addition to the power to establish and fund the ODNI, Congress has the power to compel information from it.”
The Democrats cited a recent assessment from a senior ODNI official in calling for the briefings to resume, with the official warning earlier this month that Russian actors were attempting to interfere in the 2020 elections to favor President Trump and Iranian and Chinese actors were interfering to favor former Vice President BidenJoe BidenCourt nixes offshore drilling leases auctioned by Biden administration Laquan McDonald's family pushes for federal charges against officer ahead of early release Biden speaks with Ukrainian president amid Russian threat MORE.
“Information about these serious threats to our elections must be provided to those elected to represent the American people,” the Democrats wrote.
DELIVERY BY DRONE: Amazon's Prime Air drone delivery fleet received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Monday, making it only the third company to receive certification.
Amazon will now be allowed to "safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers,” the FAA said in a statement.
The online retail giant has been testing drone delivery since 2013 as part of its efforts to cut down on package travel time.
The certification granted Monday by the FAA allows Amazon to carry property on drones “beyond the visual line of sight” of the operator. The company submitted its petition in August 2019.
"This certification is an important step forward for Prime Air and indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world," David Carbon, vice president of Prime Air, said in a statement.
The company did not specify when deliveries might be available under the new service, but widespread use of drones is not expected in the short term.
REGULATIONS RAISE CONCERNS: Energy industry owners and operators are growing increasingly nervous about new rules proposed by the Trump administration in an effort to limit foreign threats to the grid.
The rules, proposed by an executive order to protect the bulk power system signed by President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE in May, could severely restrict the ability for grid equipment and other critical technology to be manufactured in countries deemed threats, such as China.
With utilities supporting digital communication and modern life becoming even more essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential for an upset to the supply chain is becoming a concern, particularly as tensions spike between the U.S. and China.
“The recognition that certain assets in the system are used on the grid should not be supplied by a certain adversarial country, that concept makes a lot of sense,” Tobias Whitney, vice president of Energy Security Solutions at Fortress Information Security, told The Hill.
“I completely understand that, but one of the challenges with looking at it in a black and white, very straightforward way, is there is a tremendous amount of influence on how our global multinational companies are structured,” Whitney added. “What does it mean if a company is based in Europe, but they have manufacturing in China?”
Under the executive order, the secretary of Energy was tasked with creating a list of “pre-qualified” vendors that U.S. companies can work with, along with identifying which equipment currently in use in the power system poses a security risk and should be replaced.
The order also prohibits any acquisition, import, transfer, or installation of bulk power system electric equipment with connections to a foreign nation that poses a national security risk.
The Department of Energy asked for industry feedback on vulnerabilities in the supply chain of the bulk power system, giving interested stakeholders until Aug. 24 to submit comments. In its request for comments, the agency noted that “foreign adversaries” of concern were Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela.
Many organizations utilized the comment process to air strong concerns over what the order would mean for supply chains.
GOOD DAY FOR APPLE AND TESLA: Apple's and Tesla's market caps both hit record highs Monday after their stock splits went into effect, overwhelming major trading platforms in the process.
Monday was the fifth time that Apple split stocks, a process whereby companies break up individual shares into more affordable chunks.
Apple shares have grown nearly 5 percent, to $130.80 each, since the Silicon Valley stalwart split its shares in four, raising the company's market valuation to $2.2 trillion as of 2 p.m.
The technology giant became the first American company to reach a market cap of $2 trillion earlier this month.
Tesla's stock split, which it announced Friday, is a first in the electric car manufacturer's history.
On the first day of trading after the 5-for-1 split, shares rose nearly 10 percent to roughly $487 each as of 2 p.m.
That surge was enough to push Tesla CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskMusk says 'Canadian truckers rule' ahead of drivers' protest over COVID-19 vaccine mandate On The Money — Economy had post-recession growth in 2021 Hillicon Valley — Presented by Cisco — Feds forge ahead on internet 'nutrition labels' MORE past Facebook's Mark ZuckerbergMark ZuckerbergFacebook winding down cryptocurrency effort: report Can our nation afford higher interest rates with the current national debt? Hillicon Valley — States probe the tech giants MORE to be the world's third richest person, at least temporarily.
"The reactions of these stocks that split I think speaks to a broader appetite for tech stocks," Wedbush Securities equity analyst Dan Ives told The Hill.
"This is a trend we expect from more tech companies as the strong have gotten stronger during this COVID pandemic," he added.
DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT S&T: Lawmakers in both parties urged their colleagues Monday to invest in and work to develop a new, diverse generation of American scientists and researchers to help close the innovation gap with foreign rivals.
In discussions held during The Hill’s “Science & American Advancement” event Monday, Democratic and Republican members of the House voiced support for boosting research funding and increasing the public interest in developing crucial technologies.
“This is hugely important because it underpins so many aspects of our modern life and it bears fruit going forward for how we might be able to live even better,” said Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.).
“I want to make sure that this is invested in, I want to make sure it's nurtured, I want to make sure that we recognize the boundaries thereof, but ultimately, I want to make sure it's constantly at the forefront of our mind,” Hollingsworth told The Hill's Steve Clemons.
Both Democrats and Republicans have grown increasingly concerned about protecting the U.S.’s role in driving scientific innovation and have sought to steer more youth — particularly women and minorities that are underrepresented in science and technology — toward those careers.
Black Americans make up 11 percent of the U.S. workforce but just 9 percent of STEM workers, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center, while Hispanic Americans make up 16 percent of the workforce but just 7 percent of all science, technology, engineering and math workers.
“We know that the growing population is going to be both female and minority, and that's the population we really need to impact,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), the first woman and Black lawmaker to chair the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
TIKTOK LOSING GROUND: Four in 10 Americans support President Trump's threat to ban the hugely popular social media video app TikTok if it is not sold to an American buyer, while slightly less say they oppose the ban, according to a new poll.
A Reuters survey released Monday found that 40 percent of U.S. adults agreed with the president's push to either ban TikTok or force its Chinese owner, ByteDance, to sell it to a U.S. company. Two U.S. giants, Walmart and Microsoft, are reportedly pursuing a potential joint purchase of the popular app.
Thirty percent of U.S. adults in the survey said that they opposed the president's efforts on TikTok, while another 30 percent said they had no opinion or did not know enough about the issue.
Twenty-one percent of respondents who identified as Democrats said they supported Trump's order, which was put on hold for 45 days in early August, according to the poll.
Just 38 percent of all respondents said that they were familiar with the app to some degree, while 25 percent said they had watched videos using it. Thirty-five percent said that they had heard about it but not used it.
POTENTIAL SPEED BUMP: A sale of TikTok's U.S. operations may have additional barriers to overcome following the implementation of new technology export rules in China.
The government in Beijing on Friday updated its export rules to cover some technologies it considers sensitive, The New York Times reported, which could mean the Chinese internet firm ByteDance needs a license before selling part of the wildly popular video app.
Citing national security concerns, President Trump in early August issued an executive order effectively banning TikTok from operating in the U.S. unless it was sold to a U.S.-based company. The president signed another order one week later calling for ByteDance to divest its American assets and any data it obtained from TikTok users in the U.S.
Microsoft has acknowledged that it is in talks with ByteDance about a potential sale. Walmart said last week it was looking to secure a joint deal with the tech company. Oracle is also said to be engaging in discussions with ByteDance.
China's updated list on export restrictions included "technology based on data analysis for personalized information recommendation services," the Times noted.
Cui Fan, a professor University of International Business and Economics, told Xinhua, the state-run press agency in Beijing, that the revised restrictions could apply to a potential TikTok deal. He added that ByteDance would need to go through the Chinese government's approval procedures.
RIP: A tweet from Chadwick Boseman’s account confirming the actor’s death on Friday is now Twitter's most-liked post of all time, surpassing a 2017 tweet from former President Obama.
“Most liked Tweet ever. A tribute fit for a King. #WakandaForever,” Twitter posted Sunday, referring to Boseman’s role as Marvel’s Black Panther.
The Boseman tweet was liked more than 6.9 million times as of Sunday morning.
It confirmed that Boseman died after battling colon cancer since 2016. He died in his home with his family by his side, according to the statement.
Obama’s 2017 tweet, which has more than 1.9 million likes, was posted in wake of the deadly white supremacist rally and counter-protest in Charlottesville, Va.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion,” he had tweeted, quoting former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Lighter click: How does she do it?!
An op-ed to chew on: Senator McConnell: Put out the fire at the Postal Service
NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:
Capturing the Police (The Verge)
Facebook’s new research project will show how it influenced the 2020 election--after it’s over (Protocol / Issie Lapowsky)
Preaching equality, start up didn’t practice it with employees (The New York Times / Erin Griffith)
TikTok teens are exposing brutal conditions for migrant farm workers (Motherboard / Angie Jaime)