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Hillicon Valley: Trump national security advisor says Huawei threat 'No. 1 concern' moving forward | Silicon Valley eager for Biden to reverse Trump visa rules | Democratic senators urge Facebook to take action against anti-Muslim bigotry

Hillicon Valley: Trump national security advisor says Huawei threat 'No. 1 concern' moving forward | Silicon Valley eager for Biden to reverse Trump visa rules | Democratic senators urge Facebook to take action against anti-Muslim bigotry
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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 team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

THE TOP THREAT: National security adviser Robert O’Brien said that Chinese telecommunications company Huawei is the “number one concern” for democracy moving forward. 

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In an interview with The Hill’s editor-at-large Steve Clemons as part of the 2020 Global Security Forum that took place last week, O’Brien pointed to concerns over the use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks around the world, accusing the embattled company of being an intelligence threat due to its potential access to sensitive networks.

“If you believe in democracy and you're concerned about our elections, that's the number one concern that we've got going forward and that all the democracies have is what China could do with that Huawei backbone in our countries,” O’Brien said. “It's really quite scary.”

O’Brien detailed concerns that Huawei, which the Trump administration has taken a series of steps to push back against, could give the Chinese government “backdoors to pull up every bit of data in the world.”

O’Brien applauded work done by the Trump administration to pressure allied countries into excluding Huawei equipment from sensitive networks, noting that he believed several nations had made this choice due to concerns around data privacy and security.

Read more here

WAITING FOR THE RULES TO CHANGE: Tech advocates in Washington are eager to work with the incoming Biden administration and reverse many of President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE's immigration policies, especially those that created barriers for high skilled visa holders.

Some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley have clashed with the Trump administration in court, suing over his executive orders restricting immigration for foreign workers. They’re now making clear to the next administration that nixing Trump's actions are the industry’s top priority for 2021.

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The Trump administration announced new immigration rules last month designed to make it more difficult for skilled workers to acquire visas. The rules tighten requirements for employers who hire workers on H-1B visas, which are set aside for skilled workers, particularly in the technology field.

TechNet, a group of industry executives from companies like Amazon, Apple, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Google, filed amicus briefs is support of lawsuits challenging the new rules.

If they’re unsuccessful, they hope President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force MORE will rescind or revise the rules.

“They’ve indicated they are going to be very different than the Trump administration on high-skilled immigration, immigration in general,” said TechNet CEO Linda Moore. “High-skilled immigration…has led to so much growth and technological superiority and competitiveness for the U.S.”

Read more here.

URGING ACTION ON ANTI-MUSLIM HATE: Democratic senators on Monday urged Facebook to take action against anti-Muslim bigotry spreading on its platform. 

The letter sent to Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergDemocrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Democrats press Facebook, Twitter on misinformation efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Hillicon Valley: Facebook content moderators demand more workplace protections | Ousted cyber official blasts Giuliani press conference | Tech firms fall short on misinformation targeting Latino vote MORE followed a recently released report by a Muslim advocacy group that concluded the social media giant enables global anti-Muslim hate and violence. 

Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDemocrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Biden rolls out national security team Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks MORE (D-Del.) led 14 Democratic colleagues in calling for the company to “do more” to mitigate the spread of anti-Muslim abuse on the platform. 

We recognize that Facebook has announced efforts to address its role in the distribution of anti-Muslim content in some of these areas,” the senators wrote.

“Nevertheless, it is not clear that the company is meaningfully better positioned to prevent further human rights abuses and violence against Muslim minorities today,” they added. 

The letter was supported by a range of advocacy organizations and civil rights groups, including Muslim Advocates which released a report last month about Facebooks’ “complicity” surrounding anti-Muslim bigotry. 

Read more here

TWEET ALL ABOUT IT: Twitter has hired Peiter Zatko, a famous hacker, to be its head of security, the company confirmed to The Hill on Monday. 

According to Reuters, which first reported the hiring decision, Zatko will take over the position in 45-60 days, after a security review has been completed. 

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Zatko is a high-profile hacker known as “Mudge,” and was a member of L0pht, a hacking group that testified to Congress in 1998 about cyber vulnerabilities in government. He is also one of the leaders of the Cult of the Dead Cow, a hacking group that released tools to hack Windows in a bid to force Microsoft to step up security. 

Zatko has also worked for both the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at the Defense Department, and for Google as part of their Advanced Technology and Projects Division. 

“Looks like the cat is out of the bag,” Zatko, writing as Mudge, tweeted on Monday, linking to the Reuters article. “I’m very excited to be joining the executive team at Twitter! I truly believe in the mission of (equitably) serving the public conversation. I will do my best!”

Read more here. 

Lighter click: Best for improving eyesight!  

An op-ed to chew on: House must take the first step to modernize how Congress works

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

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How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps (Joseph Cox / Motherboard)

Tillis victory threatens big tech’s second-favorite legal shield (National Journal / Brendan Bordelon)

Facebook Has A Rule To Stop Calls To Arms. Moderators Didn't Enforce It Ahead Of The Kenosha Shootings. (BuzzFeed News / Ryan Mac and Craig Silverman)

‘An overnight success 10 years in the making’: Atlanta is the future for Black leaders in tech (Protocol / Anna Kramer) 

Zoom pushes new tools meant to counter ‘Zoombombing’ (CyberScoop / Tim Starks)