OVERNIGHT TECH: US fails to win early backing for UN treaty

The U.S. has been fighting against proposals to expand the scope of the treaty to include the Internet and private networks. But on Tuesday, a committee comprised of representatives from six regional bodies did not grant the U.S. proposal an early stamp of approval, Reuters reported, signaling a tough slog ahead for the U.S. as the treaty conference begins.

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Ambassador Terry Kramer, the head of the U.S. delegation for the conference, said on a conference call with reporters last week that the United States's first item of business in Dubai would be to maintain the current scope of the treaty, which is confined to telecom networks. The U.S. will push to keep measures related to the Internet and cloud computing networks out of the discussions, he said. 

An ITU spokesman told Reuters that the matter would be revived during talks on Friday, but related discussions would continue in the meantime.  

Senators warn FCC over media ownership proposal: Senate Democrats criticized a Federal Communications Commission proposal to weaken media ownership restrictions during a hearing on Tuesday.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) warned that the FCC could face a congressional resolution of disapproval if it plows ahead with the proposed changes.

"This is not the Rupert Murdoch view of the world," she said during a hearing to consider four presidential nominations, including Commissioner Mignon Clyburn's nomination to a second term at the FCC.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) also expressed concern over changes that would allow for more media consolidation.

Clyburn revealed to lawmakers that the commission has granted an extension of the comment period for the proposal, meaning it will not vote on the changes until 2013.

Clyburn re-assured the senators that she is committed to preserving diversity in the media.

The FCC issued a statement on Monday saying that reports that it plans to make it easier for one company to own a top TV station and a major newspaper in a single market are wrong.

"In fact, the order would strengthen the current rule by creating an express presumption against a waiver of the cross-ownership ban to allow such a combination. In addition, the proposed order preserves the existing TV duopoly rule, which forbids ownership of more than one of the top four TV stations in any market,” Bill Lake, chief of the FCC's media bureau, said in the statement.

Clyburn declines to rule-out reclassifying broadband:
Clyburn on Tuesday declined to rule out the possibility that the FCC could reclassify broadband Internet service as a "telecommunications service" under Title II of the Communications Act, which would give the agency more authority to regulate it.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who was participating in her last hearing on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, pressed Clyburn on whether the FCC would consider reclassifying the Internet if the courts strike down the commission's net-neutrality regulations. The FCC currently considers broadband Internet a Title I "information service," which it has only limited authority to regulate.

"That determination has yet to be made," Clyburn said. She added that she would consider reclassification if the court strikes down the net-neutrality regulations.

"I'm not comfortable committing on a pathway forward at this time," she said.

Lieberman 'restless' waiting for White House cyber order: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said the White House has not given him any clues on when it plans to drop the cybersecurity executive order it's been crafting over the past few months, but he's "getting restless" waiting for its release. 

Lieberman was one of the chief sponsors of a sweeping cybersecurity bill that failed to clear the Senate twice this year. But he said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who is expected to assume Lieberman's chairman role on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has indicated that cybersecurity is "a priority for him right away" and Carper hopes to start work on the issue "in the first quarter of next year."

Walden to keynote Villanova event: Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the influential House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Telecommunications and Technology, will deliver a keynote at an event on the election's effect on policy and politics at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The event is hosted by the Villanova School of Business Center.

Google and CNN to dissect digital trends during 2012 election:
On Wednesday afternoon Google and CNN are hosting a series of panels that will discuss the digital trends that surfaced during the 2012 election. Susan Molinari, the head of Google's Washington office, will start off the event, and Zac Moffatt, the digital director for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, and Andrew Bleeker, the senior strategist for President Obama's campaign, will share their insights on Internet trends from the front lines of the campaigns. Also speaking at the event will be Peter Greenberger from Twitter and Facebook's Jamie Smolski.

Democrats skeptical of Obama's FTC pick: Joshua Wright, President Obama's nominee to fill one of the Republican slots on the Federal Trade Commission, faced tough questioning from Senate Democrats at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

The members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee grilled Wright, an economist and law professor at George Mason University, over whether he would aggressively enforce antitrust and consumer protection laws.

Obama signs Safe Web Act into law: President Obama signed into law on Tuesday a bill that would reauthorize the Federal Trade Commission's authority to clamp down on Internet fraud and online scammers based abroad.

The bill was originally passed by Congress in 2006 and was set to expire next year. With the president's signature, the measure is reauthorized through September 2020. 

Court rejects Verizon's challenge to FCC's data roaming regulations: A federal court rejected Verizon's challenge to the Federal Communications Commission's data roaming rules on Tuesday, an important victory for the commission as it looks to fend off a series of lawsuits that would curb its regulatory power over Internet services.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said that the data roaming requirements fall under the FCC's "broad authority" to manage the airwaves.

Senate Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing to use Google Plus's Hangout feature: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's subpanel on African affairs is going high-tech during a hearing on Wednesday by using Google's video chat feature, Hangout, to let a representative from a non-governmental organization based in Mali testify before lawmakers.

Though Mohamed Quid Mahmoud, vice president of the Lobbying Network for Peace, Security and Development for Northern Mali, will be speaking from the U.S. Embassy in Mali's capital of Bamako, the Google Plus video chat technology will connect him face-to-face with subcommittee members. 


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