THE LEDE: Twitter CEO Dick Costolo will discuss politics and his vision for his company at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday.
The talk will provide a rare view into the policy views of Twitter, which has mostly stayed out of Washington policy fights, unlike the other major Internet companies.
Twitter has a small Washington office but still has no registered lobbyists and is not a member of the Internet Association, the new lobbying group for Internet companies.
Twitter was not listed as one of the nine participants in the National Security Agency's recently revealed Internet surveillance program, PRISM. Costolo is also not a member of FWD.us, the pro-immigration advocacy group funded by Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley CEOs.
The social media service was widely credited with helping protesters to coordinate during the Arab Spring.
"The conversation will center on Costolo’s vision for the company, as well as his views on freedom of expression and Twitter’s role in entertainment, politics, news and world events," according to Brookings.
Civil society groups warn Senate on cyber legislation: Around 38 civil society groups called on the Senate to include the same privacy protections that were baked into a sweeping cybersecurity bill last year in future legislation on the matter, warning against handing more authority over to the National Security Agency (NSA). In a letter to senators, the groups say the recent revelations about the NSA surveillance programs "have heightened our concerns" about upcoming Senate debate on cybersecurity legislation.
"The newly disclosed NSA programs clearly illustrate that the government will interpret any surveillance laws aggressively, and that that any new legislation to permit government access to Americans’ communications information must include robust and meaningful privacy safeguards to avoid intrusions into our civil liberties and constitutional rights," the groups, including the Center for Democracy and Technology and American Civil Liberties Union, write in the letter.
The privacy-focused provisions in the Senate cybersecurity bill last year "are the minimum safeguards necessary to protect civil liberties in any information sharing legislation." Notably, the bill designated the Department of Homeland Security as the hub of information-sharing efforts between government and industry on cyber threats. By contrast, a House bill fiercely opposed by privacy advocates, known as CISPA, would allow industry to share cyber threats with the NSA.
The groups warn that they will oppose any "backtracking" on these principles in forthcoming Senate legislation.
Dell joins BSA: BSA | The Software Alliance said Tuesday that it's added Dell as a new member. The trade group, which represents software companies in Washington, lobbies on anti-piracy measures, trade and cloud computing policies, among other matters. Its member companies include Microsoft, Apple, Intel and IBM.
“As a top-20 global software company, Dell is an important addition to BSA’s membership. It has a shared interest in the same issues that other BSA members face, such as protecting intellectual property, opening global markets, and fostering the growth of cloud computing," Matt Reid, BSA's senior vice president for external affairs, said in a statement. "We look forward to combining our energy, resources, and voices to promote continued growth for the whole industry.”
Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) will speak on a Wednesday morning panel regarding proposed updates to an email privacy law at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference. Following the panel, Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill will give a keynote address.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) is hosting a briefing Wednesday afternoon for members and staffers about efforts at the state and local level to combat cyber crime. The briefing will feature a panel of cyber specialists from state and local law enforcement agencies. The panelists will describe their first-hand experiences handling cyber crime and the changing needs of prosecutors when it comes to making arrests and collecting information in cyber cases.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Judges named for net-neutrality case: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals named the three-judge panel on Tuesday that will hear Verizon's challenge to the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality rules.
The judges, who were selected randomly, are Clinton appointees Judith Rogers and David Tatel and Reagan appointee Laurence Silberman, a senior judge on the court.
Google releases new data on hacker websites: Google is adding a new section to its Transparency Report that will provide users with data on the number of malware-laced and phishing websites it spots on the Web, the search company announced on Tuesday.
The move is intended to shed more light on the rising number of malicious websites that Google identifies online, and also show users where these malware and phishing sites are concentrated across the world. This data in the Transparency Report is culled from Google's "Safe Browsing" program, which was started in 2006 as a way to identify and flag "suspect websites" to browser users.
Senate votes 97-1 to confirm Obama's nominee to head Commerce: The Senate confirmed President Obama’s nominee to head the Commerce Department on Tuesday in a 97-1 vote.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was the only senator to vote against Penny Pritzker's confirmation. She is the billionaire heiress to the Hyatt hotel fortune.
FTC warns search engines over failing to disclose ads: The Federal Trade Commission sent letters to the major search engines on Tuesday, warning them that failing to properly distinguish paid advertisements from natural search results is illegal.
The FTC first laid out guidelines for identifying ads in search results in 2002, but on Tuesday, the FTC said there has been a "decline in compliance" in recent years.
Privacy groups skeptical of plan to limit NSA's data access: Privacy advocates are skeptical of proposals to restructure a National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program so phone companies, rather than the spy agency, would retain consumers' phone records.
During a House Intelligence Committee hearing last week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) asked NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander to look into restructuring the 215 surveillance program so phone companies would retain metadata on their consumers' phone calls, rather than that data being stored by the spy agency.
Trade panel acts against patent trolls: The International Trade Commission is joining other federal agencies in trying to curb frivolous patent litigation.
The independent commission announced a pilot program on Monday to more speedily and cheaply resolve unfounded patent lawsuits.
Please send tips and comments to Brendan Sasso, email@example.com, and Jennifer Martinez, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Hillicon Valley on Twitter: @HilliconValley, @BrendanSasso, @JenMartinez