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Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones

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Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech reporter, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills), for more coverage.

QANON CONDEMNATION: The House passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the sprawling QAnon conspiracy theory, though 17 Republican lawmakers voted against the measure in the 371-18 vote. 

The GOP lawmakers voting “no” were Reps. Jodey Arrington (Texas), Brian Babin (Texas), Rob Bishop (Utah), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Michael Burgess (Texas), Buddy Carter (Ga.), Warren Davidson (Ohio), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Drew Ferguson (Ga.), Bill Flores (Texas), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Steve King (Iowa), Mike Kelly (Pa.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Scott Perry (Pa.), Thomas Tiffany (Wis.) and Daniel Webster (Fla.).

Rep. Justin Amash (L-Mich.), who used to be a Republican, also voted against the resolution. 

Another GOP lawmaker, Rep. Andy Harris (Md.), voted present. 

President Trump has not condemned the QAnon conspiracy, which revolves around the baseless theory that he and his allies are working to expose a cabal of Democrats, media figures and celebrities who are running an international child trafficking ring.

As unhinged as the conspiracy is, it has gained steam in conservative circles and several Republicans running for the House this year have backed it, including Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who is expected to win her general election race this November. 

Greene has been praised effusively by Trump and backed by Republican leadership despite her supportive comments about QAnon and a history of racist and anti-Semitic comments.

The measure condemning QAnon was sponsored by Reps. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) and Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.). 

“QAnon and other conspiracy theories and movements that dehumanize people or political groups, incite violence or violent threats and destroy faith and trust in our democratic institutions must be identified, condemned and exposed through facts,” Riggleman told The Hill. 

Read more here.

AMERICANS HAVE CONCERNS: The majority of U.S. residents, around 59 percent, are “extremely” or “somewhat” concerned about potential election interference by a foreign government this year, poll results released Friday found. 

A survey conducted by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that respondents were most concerned about foreign governments conducting influence campaigns to sway public opinion on candidates. 

Respondents also cited concerns around the potential for hack and leak operations against political campaigns, and that voting infrastructure could be targeted. 

The poll found that Democrats were more than twice as likely as Republicans to be concerned about foreign interference, and that less than half of Republicans believed that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, compared to 90 percent of Democrats. 

The survey was conducted over four days in September, with more than 1,000 U.S. adults in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., participating. 

The poll was conducted less than two months before Election Day, and as concerns over foreign interference have ramped up.

Read more.

SEEN BUT NOT HEARD: A top official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told lawmakers on Friday that he had heard about his office receiving a request to extract information from protesters’ cellphones after demonstrations in Portland, Ore.

In a public hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, Joseph Maher, the DHS official carrying out the duties of the under secretary for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), told lawmakers he was aware of a request for protesters’ cellphones to be combed for information, but he said it was never carried out. He also said he was unaware of who made the request.

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), who raised concerns about possible violations of civil liberties, pressed Maher about recent reports about protesters having their phones seized, while citing committee interviews with DHS officials as corroborating the claims.

“Did I&A receive a request to exploit those phones?” Himes asked.

“I have heard that,” Maher replied.

Maher quickly added that the DHS inspector general is investigating the activities in Portland and that the internal watchdog has “specifically” asked him not to interview individuals within I&A about matters that are under investigation, which he indicated has limited his conversations on this issue.

Himes said that such a request for cellphone information would be “shocking.”

Read more here.

PINTEREST TACKLES HALLOWEEN: Social media platform Pinterest on Thursday announced that it would be limiting recommendations for Halloween costumes that could be considered culturally insensitive. 

The photo-sharing company issued a statement on its website announcing the move, adding that it would be prohibiting “advertisements with culturally inappropriate costumes, and make it possible for Pinners to report culturally-insensitive content right from Pins.” 

The platform also said that certain searches, including “Day of the Dead costumes,” will lead users to information developed by experts and Pinterest employee group PIndigenous “on how to celebrate thoughtfully and respectfully.”

“Costumes are consistently a top-searched term, but many people may not know that certain costumes are appropriations of other cultures,” Pinterest wrote in the statement. “As a platform for positivity, we want to make it easy to find culturally-appropriate Halloween ideas, and bring awareness to the fact that costumes should not be opportunities to turn a person’s identity into a stereotyped image.”

Read more.


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The Best New Animators Are Making Their Names On Tiktok (The Verge / Jacob Kastrenakes)

Why Is Amazon Tracking Opioid Use All Over the United States? (Motherboard / Lauren Kaori Gurley)

In U.S.-China Tech Feud, Taiwan Feels Heat From Both Sides (New York Times / Raymond Zhong)

What the antitrust proposals would actually mean for tech (Protocol / Emily Birnbaum)

Tags Andy Harris Bill Flores Buddy Carter Daniel Webster Denver Riggleman Donald Trump Drew Ferguson Jeff Duncan Jim Himes Jodey Arrington Justin Amash Michael Burgess Mike Kelly Mo Brooks Paul Gosar Ralph Norman Rob Bishop Scott Perry Steve King Tom Malinowski Warren Davidson

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