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Hillicon Valley: Airbnb canceling reservations in DC during inauguration week | Biden appoints NSA's Anne Neuberger to key national security position | Google pausing political ads through Jan. 21

Hillicon Valley: Airbnb canceling reservations in DC during inauguration week | Biden appoints NSA's Anne Neuberger to key national security position | Google pausing political ads through Jan. 21
© LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images

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.

AIRBNB CANCELS INAUGURATION VISITS: Online home rental platform Airbnb announced Wednesday it would preemptively cancel all reservations in the Washington, D.C. area for the next week as a precautionary measure.

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Airbnb made the call after discussions with local leaders and law enforcement officials over the potential of violent demonstrations in the lead up to President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Fauci infuriated by threats to family MORE’s inauguration.

Reservations previously made during the time period will be fully refunded and any new attempted reservations will be blocked.

In addition to local police presence, 20,000 National Guard members will be deployed in D.C. until the transition of power is completed.

Airbnb also announced previously that it would permanently ban any individuals associated with last week's violent riot at the Capitol from renting on its platform.

Read more.

THE NSA HAS A JOB OPENING: President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team on Wednesday announced the appointment of Anne Neuberger, the director of cybersecurity at the National Security Agency, to serve in a new role on his National Security Council.

Neuberger will serve as deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology in the incoming Biden administration, with the role created as the federal government continues to grapple with the fallout of the Russian hack of IT group SolarWinds. 

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The Biden transition team also announced Wednesday that former deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall would serve as deputy national security adviser and homeland security adviser, while Russ Travers, the former acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will serve as deputy homeland security adviser.

Read more about appointments here.

ANOTHER AD FREEZE: Google is putting another political ad freeze in place starting Thursday that will remain in place until at least President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration after the deadly riot at the Capitol last week, the company said Wednesday. 

Google sent a letter to advertisers on Wednesday notifying them of the ad ban. 

Google said in a statement that it would block all political ads, as well as any ads “referencing impeachment, the inauguration, or protests at the US Capitol,” as part of an expansion of its “Sensitive Event” policy enforcement. 

The tech giant had previously put in place a ban on political ads after the election, but lifted it before last week’s Georgia Senate runoff races. 

Read more here

YOUTUBE SUSPENDS TRUMP ACCOUNT: YouTube temporarily suspended President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE’s account due to violations of the platform’s policies and concerns about the “ongoing potential for violence" in the wake of last week's deadly riot at the Capitol.

The president’s account is unable to post new videos for a minimum of seven days, but previously uploaded videos remain on the channel.

YouTube’s suspension follows stricter action taken by Facebook and Twitter against the president’s accounts. Twitter permanently suspended the president and Facebook indefinitely suspended him at least until the transfer of power. 

Read more here

AMAZON CITES DEATH THREATS ON PARLER: Amazon cited a series of death threats directed at top tech executives and Democratic lawmakers in a court filing Tuesday urging a judge to keep the social media platform Parler offline. 

Attorneys for Amazon defended the company's move on Tuesday, saying Parler demonstrated an “unwillingness and inability” to remove content that “threatens the public safety, such as by inciting and planning the rape, torture, and assassination of named public officials and private citizens.”

Parler sued Amazon on Monday, alleging Amazon Web Services violated antitrust law and breached the companies’ contractual arrangement when the tech giant removed the platform that is popular with conservatives because of its hands-off approach to content moderation.

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Read more here

FACEBOOK’S TOP DEM LEAVES: The top Democrat on Facebook’s policy team, a former chief of staff to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDivide and conquer or unite and prosper Trump impeachment article being sent to Senate Monday Roe is not enough: Why Black women want an end to the Hyde Amendment MORE (D-Calif.), has left the social media company.

Catlin O’Neill left her post as director of public policy, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed. She had worked at the company since May 2013 after serving as chief of staff in Pelosi’s personal office. Before that, she was Pelosi’s deputy director of legislative operations.

“As a committed Democrat and one that’s devoted to the House of Representatives as an institution, I’m sure it became too much,” a former Hill colleague told The Hill. 

Read more here



Lighter click: Wednesday vibes 

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An op-ed to chew on: America must bolster cybersecurity

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

Reporter’s essay: Capitol attack was a community invasion, not just an insurrection (The Hill / Scott Wong) 

Facebook’s Sandberg deflected blame for Capitol riot, but new evidence shows platform played pivotal role (The Washington Post / Elizabeth Dwoskin) 

Big Tech is cutting off political contributions. Here are the biggest losers (Protocol / Issie Lapowsky) 

FBI aims for stronger cyber strategy as US grapples with SolarWinds incident (CyberScoop / Sean Lyngaas) 

The paradox of online “body positivity” (Vox / Rebecca Jennings)