Data Firms Team up to Prevent the Next Cambridge Analytica Scandal

A bipartisan group of political data firms are drafting a set of industry standards that they hope will prevent voter data from being misused like it was in 2016. The guidelines cover transparency, foreign influence in elections, responsible data sourcing and storage, and other measures meant to root out bad actors in the industry and help fend off security threats.

The conversations, which are being organized by Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, come at a time when data collection more broadly faces increased scrutiny from lawmakers and consumers. Ever since news broke this spring that the political firm Cambridge Analytica used an app to hoover up data on tens of millions of Americans and use it for political purposes, Facebook and other Silicon Valley tech giants have had to answer to Congress and their customers about their mass data collection operations. But the Georgetown group focuses specifically on the responsibilities of the companies that undergird some of the country’s biggest political campaigns. Among the firms participating in these discussions are Republican shops like DeepRoot Analytics, WPA Intelligence, and Targeted Victory, as well as Democratic firms, including Bully Pulpit Interactive, NGP VAN, and DSPolitical.

“These are the firms that power all of the elections in America, and so my hope was if you can get them in a room and get them to understand the importance of the data they’re using and to self-regulate, you could achieve a dramatic improvement on behalf of voters,” says Tim Sparapani, a fellow at the Georgetown Institute who is overseeing the group.

Sparapani served as Facebook’s first director of public policy from 2009 until 2011, after spending several years at the American Civil Liberties Union. A self-proclaimed privacy advocate, he has warned about the need for stricter oversight of data brokers for years. These are companies that collect, store, and analyze data about consumers for a variety of purposes. In the political world, that data can include basic information about how many times a person has voted, their party registration, and their donation record, but it can also include social media and commercial data that can help campaigns better understand who a given person is and target them with political advertising.

The data broker industry remains largely unregulated, both inside and outside politics. The Federal Trade Commission has urged Congress to regulate data brokers since at least 2012, but nothing has come of it so far. In June, Vermont became the first state to pass a data broker law, which goes into effect in January.

The Georgetown group first met last fall, months before Cambridge Analytica began making headlines. At the time, the industry’s primary concern was the risk of a data breach or a hack at the hands of a foreign threat: In the summer of 2017, a cybersecurity firm discovered DeepRoot Analytics’ entire trove of 198 million voter records was exposed in a misconfigured database, constituting the largest known voter data leak in history. Brent McGoldrick, CEO of DeepRoot, says the leak was a shock to the system.

“You just have a different mindset coming out of something like that, where you start to think differently about everything from security to privacy to the data you have and the perceptions of it,” he says.

Coupled with the intelligence community warnings about Russia and other foreign actors’ continued attacks on the American electoral system, McGoldrick says, it seemed well past time for his company and its competitors on both sides of the aisle to talk about protecting themselves and the people whose data they hold.

McGoldrick brought up the idea with Mo Elleithee, a former Democratic National Committee spokesperson who founded Georgetown’s Institute of Politics and Public Service in 2015. Together, they tapped Sparapani to oversee the effort. “We understand that in order to move the ball forward on privacy and security issues, we’re going to have to hear from people who, maybe we don’t like hearing what they have to say,” McGoldrick says. When the Cambridge Analytica story broke months later, he says, it only underscored the need for this kind of work.

The group, which has yet to be named, has begun circulating a set of guiding principles among data privacy advocates and the companies themselves to see what the participants are willing to agree to. While the final list is still being ironed out, Sparapani described a number of commitments for which there is broad-based support. One proposal would require the companies involved to alert one another and the proper government officials of any attempts by a foreign actor to influence the election. Another would have the companies vow to only use their tools to support people’s right to vote, not to suppress it. The group is working on a standard that would guarantee some transparency for consumers and educate them about how their data is being used. They’re also working on security standards around data storage, as well as language that they would commit to include in any contract with a potential client.

“It would make contractually binding not only their practices, but their clients’,” Sparapani says.

The hope is that these guidelines would act as a sort of seal of approval for political campaigns. “If firms have publicly stated they’re following these guidelines, hopefully candidates, committees, and causes will look for this when they’re trying to hire someone,” says Mark Jablonowski, DSPolitical’s chief technology officer, who has been involved in the initiative since its early days.

Of course, getting dozens of political opponents and business competitors who have never been regulated before to agree to any set of standard practices is no easy task. “Everyone’s got to have everything vetted through their lawyers,” McGoldrick says. “The last thing a lawyer likes is you voluntarily saying something you don’t have to say.”

“Sadly over the last few cycles there have been bad actors on both sides working in multiple campaigns,” says Chris Wilson, CEO of WPAIntelligence, which worked briefly with Cambridge Analytica during senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign. “I believe all in our industry, WPAi included, are hopeful that a set of standards will allow us, and the public, to be cognizant of the origins of data and its ultimate use.”

Until the details are finalized, it’s impossible to assess the effectiveness of this collaborative effort. As with any discussion around data privacy, it’s the fine print that matters. In California, where the governor recently signed a landmark privacy bill, lobbying groups have already begun picking apart nearly every sentence to better align with their interests.

Still, it is worth asking how much good this kind of work can ever do. These are well-known, well-regarded players in the industry committing themselves to a certain set of values. But what about everyone else? What about the people who are intending to deceive? Without substantive regulation, there’s nothing stopping anyone from harvesting data for nefarious purposes with impunity.

Then there’s the fact that these proposed guidelines don’t give consumers any real power. While other data privacy laws like the one that passed in California or Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation give people the ability to control what data is collected and see who it’s shared with, these proposed guidelines can’t promise the same.

Elleithee stresses that this is just the first step. Once the companies have all agreed to a set of standards, the Institute plans to convene a larger group from the broader tech and privacy communities. “As the conversation progresses, we want to bring more voices in,” he says.

Whatever the group eventually proposes, Sparapani says he fully expects pushback from privacy advocates. Even he has concerns. “If it were me, and I was critiquing this document, I could point out a dozen things I’d have the companies commit to,” he says. “In the room, they get an earful from me every time we meet, where I find this to be insufficient.”

But he also believes that waiting on the perfect solution that satisfies all parties will take more time than the country can afford. “Is it a fulsome commitment that I have been pushing for as an advocate? No. But does it begin to push companies to raise their standards to meet government and consumer expectations? Yes. And that’s a good thing.”


More Great WIRED Stories

New York sues U.S. to stop fintech bank charters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York state’s top banking regulator on Friday sued the federal government to void its decision to award national bank charters to online lenders and payment companies, saying it was unconstitutional and put vulnerable consumers at risk.

FILE PHOTO: A woman looks at her phone as she passes by a Lending Club banner on the facade of the the New York Stock Exchange December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Maria Vullo, superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services, called the July 31 decision by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to let financial technology companies, or fintech firms, obtain charters “lawless, ill-conceived, and destabilizing of financial markets.”

She said New York could best regulate those markets, but the OCC decision left consumers “at great risk of exploitation” by weakening oversight of predatory lending, allowing the creation of more “too big to fail” institutions, and undermining the ability of local banks to compete.

“The OCC’s reckless folly should be stopped,” Vullo said in her complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

OCC spokesman Bryan Hubbard said in an email that the regulator, part of the U.S. Department of Treasury, would vigorously defend its authority to grant national charters to qualified companies “engaged in the business of banking.”

Vullo’s complaint joins a slew of litigation from regulators in Democratic-controlled or -leaning states challenging Trump administration policies.

FILE PHOTO: The Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Federal Courthouse is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York, NY, US, August 26, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

It seeks a declaration that the OCC exceeded its authority under the National Bank Act and violated the Constitution’s 10th Amendment by usurping state powers.

The fintech industry includes such companies as the online lenders LendingClub Corp and OnDeck Capital Inc, and the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.

Fintech firms have long pushed for national bank charters to let them operate nationwide without needing licenses in every state, a process they say can impede growth and boost costs.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said easing regulation of newer financial companies can “encourage financial ingenuity to foster the nation’s vibrant financial services and technology sectors.”

But critics believe granting national bank charters to fintech firms, including those that do not hold deposits, could shield unscrupulous companies from state oversight.

Vullo oversees more than 2,200 banks, financial services companies and insurers with about $7 trillion of total assets.

“Financial centers like New York, which have developed comprehensive and well-functioning regulatory bodies, should not needlessly bear the harmful brunt of an overreaching federal agency,” the complaint said.

The case is Vullo v. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-08377.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Bernadette Baum

Cryptocurrency project Tezos to launch main network next week: document

NEW YORK/ZURICH (Reuters) – The Tezos cryptocurrency project is preparing to launch the long-awaited main version of its network that underpins a new virtual token on Monday, according to a message seen by Reuters from Ryan Jesperson, the president of a Swiss foundation that promotes the initiative.

FILE PHOTO – Tezos co-founder Kathleen Breitman speaks during the Crypto + ICO Summit cryptocurrency conference in Duebendorf, Switzerland March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

The Tezos Foundation raised $232 million in July 2017 to build the network and issue a new type of cryptocurrency to its backers in one of the largest-ever initial coin offerings, and launched an initial version of the network one year later after months of delays.

The Tezos Foundation plans to transition the network to a mainnet, or a more complete version, on Monday, according to Jesperson’s message. A foundation representative did not provide comment in time for publication.

That launch would mark an achievement in a project hobbled by internal infighting and delays. Tezos still faces litigation in the United States and the threat of increased regulatory scrutiny of the nascent cryptocurrency sector.

A high-profile feud between project founders Arthur and Kathleen Breitman and former foundation president Johann Gevers was followed by Gevers stepping down in February. He was replaced by Jesperson, one of the project’s contributors.

Since Tezos’s problems were first detailed by Reuters in October, several class-action lawsuits have been filed in the United States against the project’s organizers alleging the fundraiser violated federal securities laws and defrauded investors.

    In February, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission denied a public information request from David Silver, a lawyer representing some of the class-action plaintiffs, seeking information on Tezos, saying doing so could interfere with an investigation or enforcement activities.

The Tezos fundraiser was structured as a donation, though some contributors say they believed it was an investment. If deemed a securities offering, the new cryptocurrency might fall under the remit of the SEC.

The Reuters investigation published in October also found that Arthur Breitman, a French citizen registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the United States, had not reported any outside business activity while working at Morgan Stanley in 2014 and 2015 when he was developing and pitching Tezos.

In April, FINRA suspended Breitman from associating with broker-dealers for two years, part of a settlement to resolve allegations that he made false statements about his side venture while working at Morgan Stanley.

Reporting by Anna Irrera and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

Top German court delays YouTube illegal uploads case to seek EU opinion

KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) – Germany’s highest court has postponed a decision on whether YouTube is liable for violations of intellectual property rights on its video platform in order to seek the opinion of European Union judges, a process expected to take one to two years.

Silhouettes of mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Youtube logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The lawsuit, which concerns illegally uploaded songs by the British singer Sarah Brightman, was brought by a music producer who has been quarrelling with Google’s YouTube since 2008, seeking compensation not only from the uploader but also from the platform itself.

A German court in Hamburg ruled in 2015 that YouTube must make sure the rights violations resulting from illegal uploads are being stopped, but the judges did not order YouTube to pay the producer any financial compensation.

Germany’s highest court, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), found on Thursday the interpretation of European law, over which the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg has sole legal authority, was central to the case.

As a result, it said it was referring the case to the ECJ for its legal opinion.

In their preliminary request, the German judges asked the ECJ whether the fact that an internet platform operator makes content available that is protected by intellectual property rights, and that users publish on the platform without the owner’s consent, comprises a “communication to the public” that is forbidden under EU law.

The EU’s highest court will now make a general assessment of the role that internet platforms play in intellectual property rights violations, a decision that it likely to determine the outcome of the case.

Reporting by Ursula Knapp; Writing by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Mark Potter

Walmart teams up with Instacart for same-day delivery in Canada

(Reuters) – Walmart Inc said on Thursday it has teamed up with U.S. home delivery company Instacart to bring some Canadian customers same-day grocery deliveries, raising the stakes in the country’s hotly contested retail space.

FILE PHOTO: A Walmart store is seen in Encinitas, California April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Walmart’s Canada unit said the service, which is part of a pilot program with Instacart, will be available in the Greater Toronto Area from Sept. 13, while customers in Winnipeg can start availing the service later this month.

Like in the United States, retailers in Canada have been facing stiff competition from Amazon.com Inc, pushing a lot of them to invest in online sales and home delivery.

Last November, Canadian grocery and pharmacy chain Loblaw Cos Ltd teamed up with Instacart to offer home delivery service in Toronto and Vancouver. Startup Instacart counts Whole Foods, Costco, Target and more than 100 other retailers as customers for grocery deliveries, and charges a delivery fee for its service.

Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

British air taxi firm takes flight, inspired by F1 racing advances

LONDON (Reuters) – A British energy entrepreneur and one-time Formula 1 racing team owner is entering the race to build new inter-city “flying taxi” services that tap recent aerospace advances while steering clear of more fanciful blue-sky visions touted by tech-focused rivals.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder of Ovo Energy, an upstart challenger to the UK’s big six electric utilities, said his new venture will apply lessons from F1 racing to build electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

    Vertical Aerospace, as his self-funded, Bristol-based flying company is known, aims to offer short-haul, inter-city flights carrying multiple passengers using piloted aircraft within four years, Fitzpatrick said.

Since its inception in 2016, the firm has hired 28 veteran aerospace and technical experts from Airbus, Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Martin Jetpack and GE with extensive experience building certified commercial aircraft.

Unlike the majority of flying-car projects from tech, aerospace and automotive entrepreneurs that have captured the popular imagination by seeking to turn aircraft into pilotless, autonomous vehicles, Vertical believes it can overcome regulatory and safety concerns by delivering piloted, fixed-wing aircraft that capitalize on incremental, existing innovations.

    Vertical is looking to target some of the most congested air corridors in the world with aircraft that don’t require runways but also have enough heft to travel up to 500 miles (800 km), Fitzpatrick said in an interview.

“We are investing in all the technology evolution taking place in aerospace but we are trying to apply that to something that’s real world and is possible to execute four years out,” the Vertical Aerospace founder and chief executive said.

“We are not waiting for huge changes in existing regulations.”

Competitors working toward launching autonomous flying cars early in the next decade range from aerospace giant Airbus to Uber, which is developing an intra-city flying taxi fleet, Volocopter, which is testing drone taxis that resemble a small helicopter powered by 18 rotors, and AeroMobil, with a stretch-limousine concept that can turn into a fixed-wing aircraft.

An image handed out on behalf of Vertical Aerospace shows its prototype of a flying taxi during a demonstration at Costwold Airport, near Kemble, Britain, June 5, 2018. GF Williams/Milltown Partners, handout via Reuters

Several of these projects envision services that can be ordered up, on-demand, via smartphones, from skyhubs in city centers.

FLYING RACE CARS

    Vertical said it had conducted a test flight of an unmanned, single-passenger vertical take-off prototype at an airport in Gloucestershire in western England in June after it was granted flight permission by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The black passenger pod with four rosters set the stage for more ambitious work.

    It is gearing up to produce a fixed-wing, piloted version of its vertical take-off aircraft capable of carrying multiple passengers. It will work with regulators to win certification in the first stage of the air taxi project through 2022, it said.

    In a later stage, Vertical will seek to extend the aircraft’s range, introduce elements of autonomous flight and expand the number of chartered routes it can serve.

Belfast-born Fitzpatrick prides himself on developing business ideas in areas where, at the outset, he has zero technical background.

    He said he spent years studying energy markets before launching his energy utility firm, Ovo, in 2009. It now counts around 680,000 customers, or 2.5 percent of the UK domestic retail energy market, and employs 1,200 staff.

    His first brush with hardware and physical product engineering came when he was a short-term owner of flagging Formula 1 team Manor Racing.

Fitzpatrick said it dawned on him that many racing car advances also applied to aircraft, from high-powered electric batteries to hybrid power trains, lighter structural materials, like carbon fiber and, of course, aerodynamic design.

    “The technology we were using in Formula 1 was just too high-spec to be applied to the challenges of the typical road car,” Fitzpatrick said. “What you can get from an F1 engine has more power density per kilo than a jet turbine,” he said.

Slideshow (5 Images)

Reporting by Eric Auchard in London; Editing by Keith Weir

Enterprise investments in datacentre infrastructure rebound as component shortage price hikes hit

Following successive quarters of decline, enterprise spending on datacentre infrastructure appears to be rallying, fuelled in part by rising component costs and demand for private cloud deployments.

That’s according to Synergy Research Group’s second-quarter datacentre infrastructure market tracker, which shows a 28% increase in the amount of money spent on datacentre hardware and software over the past 24 months.

Much of this growth can be attributed to the growing demand for public cloud-enabling datacentre hardware and software. This, in turn, has benefited suppliers in this space, which are reporting 54% revenue growth over the same time period.

“We are seeing cloud service revenues continuing to grow by 50% per year, enterprise SaaS [software-as-a-service] revenues growing by over 30%, search/social networking revenues growing by over 25%, and e-commerce revenues growing by over 40%, all of which are driving big increases in spending on public cloud infrastructure,” said John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy Research Group.

According to Synergy’s own calculations, total datacentre infrastructure equipment revenue hit $38bn in the second quarter of 2018, with public cloud-enabling technology accounting for around a third of this spend.

The analyst house has also picked up on a sudden surge in spending on infrastructure for use in enterprise facilities, particularly where private cloud-enabling technologies are concerned.

“Growth for enterprise datacentre infrastructure has been much lower, and spending was actually in slow decline until the recent spike in server demand and pricing gave vendor revenues a boost,” Synergy Research Group said in a statement.

Within the enterprise, it is private cloud infrastructure that is driving spending, with a 45% increase since the second quarter of 2016.”

From a supplier perspective, Dell EMC is leading the private cloud market, followed by Microsoft and HPE, Synergy’s research shows, while on the public cloud-enabling infrastructure side, it is the white-label, original design manufacturers (ODMs) who are ruling the roost.

“ODMs in aggregate account for the largest portion of the public cloud market, with Dell EMC being the leading individual vendor, followed by Cisco and HPE,” said Synergy.

Rising cost of hardware

It is not just the growing demand for private cloud deployments that has caused enterprise spending on datacentre infrastructure to surge. Ongoing component shortages are also driving up the average selling price of kit, which is having an impact too.

It is a trend fellow IT analyst house Gartner has previously flagged as having a dampening effect on server shipments across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in recent quarters, as increased prices have caused some enterprises to delay server refresh projects.

Despite this, and as a direct consequence of the price hikes, the amount of revenue generated by sales of these servers has risen.

In particular, it is the supply of semiconductors, and consequently dynamic random access memory (DRAM), that appears to have hit the datacentre infrastructure market hard in recent months.

Industry watchers have attributed the shortages to a mix of issues, including the explosion in hyperscale cloud datacentres, growing demand for internet-connected devices, and the supply chain disruption caused by a series of mergers and acquisitions in the server component space.

There is also evidence, Synergy said, to suggest enterprises are also buying more expensive datacentre equipment, as they opt for systems that can handle the increasing workload complexities associated with running hybrid cloud environments.

India's top digital payments firm bets on local expertise to fend off rivals

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – India’s top digital payments firm, Paytm, is betting on its local expertise and a deep pool of backers to fuel business growth and fight off global rivals in a rapidly growing market, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: An advertisement of Paytm, a digital wallet company, is pictured at a road side stall in Kolkata, India, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

Paytm, which started in 2010, became a household name in the country after a ban on high-value currency notes in late 2016 led to a cash crunch and spurred the use of digital payments.

“The fight is no more about one company, it is about ecosystem players,” Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of Paytm’s parent One97 Communications, told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a private equity and venture capital conference organized by DealStreetAsia.

“If you have a standalone payments company, you definitely have an opportunity in the market. But there is a bigger game being played in the ecosystem level – there the revenue gets made or the value gets created,” Sharma said on Tuesday.

Paytm, which counts Alibaba Group and SoftBank Group Corp among its investors, is transforming into a financial services start-up with forays in banking, mutual funds and later insurance. Sharma has also started an e-commerce venture, on which payments are driven by Paytm.

Paytm competes with Alphabet Inc’s Google Pay and faces an expected launch by Facebook’s WhatsApp in India’s digital payments sector.

Credit Suisse estimated the value of transactions industry-wide to grow five-fold to $1 trillion by 2023.

With 95 million monthly active users, Paytm has been growing by 5 percent to 6 percent month-on-month. It aims to reach 500 million users by 2022, Sharma said.

Paytm has set a target to increase its offline merchants to 15 million by March 2019, from 9 million now.

“Paytm has gone into a network effect right now,” said Sharma, 40, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $2.2 billion.

As more customers start using Paytm, more merchants join, spurring further use, he added.

Many Paytm users have bank accounts, but it has simplified its app to reach India’s vast unbanked population, especially in smaller towns and cities. The app is also available in about 11 languages.

The Unified Payment Interface (UPI), a state-backed open platform, allows people to send money to each other and directly into bank accounts by linking mobile numbers.

The platform has reshaped the payments arena and Paytm and other mobile wallet firms are adding services to retain users.

Last month, Berkshire Hathaway Inc joined as an investor in a deal that valued Paytm at more than $10 billion, media said.

Sharma said Paytm had no need to raise more funds.

“There is an advantage of being a private company,” he said. “And we always have capital requirements three years forward in our bank. So for three years, we are sorted.”

Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Darren Schuettler

‘You Can See Almost Everything.’ Antarctica Just Became the Best-Mapped Continent on Earth

Antarctica might not be the hottest tourist destination, but for anyone who does visit, scientists now have an incredibly high-resolution map of the white tundra. According to the scientists at Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota who created the imagery, Antarctica is now the best-mapped continent on Earth.

The Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA) was constructed using hundreds of thousands of satellite images taken between 2009 and 2017, Earther reports. A supercomputer assembled the massive amounts of data, including the elevation of the land over time, and created REMA, an immensely detailed topographical map, with a file size over 150 terabytes.

The new map has a resolution of 2 to 8 meters, compared to the usual 1,000 meters, says an Ohio State press release. According to The New York Times, the detail of this new map is the equivalent of being able to see down to a car, or smaller, when before you could only see the whole of Central Park. Scientists now know the elevation of every point of Antarctica, with an error margin of just a few feet.

“Up until now, we’ve had a better map of Mars than we’ve had of Antarctica,” said Ohio State University glaciologist Ian Howat, head of the REMA project, in a press release. “At this resolution, you can see almost everything. We can actually see variations in the snow in some places. We will be able to measure changes in the surface of the continent over time.”

The map will be a vital instrument for research projects, providing data on snow cover, the motion of ice, thinning glaciers, and river and volcano activity. Scientists will better be able to monitor the effects of climate change, and it’ll be easier for researchers to plan field expeditions.

Trump tells Apple to make products in U.S. to avoid China tariffs

(Reuters) – U.S. President Trump tweeted on Saturday that Apple Inc (AAPL.O) should make products inside the United States if it wants to avoid tariffs on Chinese imports.

FILE PHOTO: An attendee uses a new iPhone X during a presentation for the media in Beijing, China October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

The company told trade officials in a letter on Friday that the proposed tariffs would affect prices for a “wide range” of Apple products, including its Watch, but it did not mention the iPhone.

Trump, speaking on Friday aboard Air Force One, said the administration had tariffs planned for an additional $267 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Trump tweeted that “Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China – but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive. Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now.”

Apple declined to comment.

The technology sector is among the biggest potential losers as tariffs would make imported computer parts more expensive. Apple’s AirPods headphones, some of its Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face levies.

“The burden of the proposed tariffs will fall much more heavily on the United States than on China,” Apple said in its letter.

Reporting by Christopher Bing; Editing by Richard Chang