OVERNIGHT TECH: Conservatives want humble FCC chief

The president is currently considering who to nominate to replace outgoing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell.

The letter also calls for Obama to pick a humble commissioner for the open slot on the Federal Trade Commission.

Genachowski backs Lifeline expansion:
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced his support on Tuesday for legislation that would expand the agency's Lifeline program to cover broadband Internet service for the poor.

"Transitioning Lifeline support to 21st century communications is vital: today, broadband is essential for finding jobs, allowing children to do their homework, communicating in times of emergency, and accessing vital health information," Genachowski said in a statement.

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced the Broadband Adoption Act on Tuesday, along with Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and others.

Eshoo pushes for 911 upgrades in wake of Boston bombing:
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) argued on Tuesday that the Boston bombing shows the need to transition to next-generation 911 services, which allow callers to send videos, photos and text messages to emergency responders.

“First responders in Boston did not hesitate and, without question, saved lives,” Eshoo said. “We owe it to them and to the public to ensure the best possible emergency response technology is being utilized.”

She noted that a recent Government Accountability Office report concluded that local agencies are making good use of federal funds for next-generation 911 services.

Firms increase lobbying spending in Q1: The Motion Picture Association of America spent $730,000 during the first quarter, up from $570,000 the prior year. The film lobby said it lobbied lawmakers and the administration on issues regarding "violence in media," movie ratings and intellectual property enforcement. This comes after the entertainment and video game industries faced criticism for producing violent content in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Apple spent $720,000 on lobbying in the first quarter of this year, a slight increase from the same period a year ago, according to lobbying disclosure forms filed Monday. The company spent $500,000 from January to March in 2012. 

Apple, which has kept a low profile in Washington, said it lobbied Congress on patent reform, corporate tax reform, digital textbook issues, cybersecurity and the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, as well as the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said it also lobbied on "issues related to government procurement rules regarding technology" in the latest House GOP budget crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). 

Netflix poured $300,000 into lobbying spending during the first three months of this year. The movie-streaming company said it lobbied on the Video Privacy Protection Act, which was signed into law earlier this year, as well as broadband caps, Internet privacy and competition issues. During the same period a year ago, Netflix spent $260,000.

Meanwhile, Microsoft spent more than $2.5 million lobbying during the first three months of 2013, more than the $1.7 million it spent during the same period last year. It lobbied on issues ranging from cybersecurity, children's online safety and gaming safety issues tied to parental controls and family settings within the Xbox 360 video game console, among other items. 


The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday afternoon to scrutinize industry efforts to allow users to opt out of online tracking.

Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said he plans to use the hearing "to find out what is holding up the development of voluntary Do-Not-Track standards that should have been adopted at the end of last year.” He has introduced legislation that would mandate the feature.

The Senate is expected to begin voting on amendments to online sales tax legislation on Wednesday.

Scheduling note: The Commerce Committee announced that Thursday's hearing on the state of wireless communications has been postponed.


FBI investigating fake tweet about White House explosions: The FBI is investigating a fake tweet from an Associated Press account that claimed two explosions had occurred at the White House and injured President Obama. The AP suspended its Twitter account on Tuesday afternoon after hackers gained access.

Internet tax supporters promise to allow amendments: The sponsors of Internet sales tax legislation promised on Tuesday to allow floor votes on all relevant amendments.

"We want those members who have germane and relevant amendments to come forward," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. "We want to have an opportunity to debate and vote on it."

Facebook escalates lobbying spending: Facebook spent more than $2.4 million on lobbying during the first quarter of 2013, a nearly four-fold increase over the company’s influence spending last year, public records show.

That figure puts Facebook on track to beat its previous record for lobbying spending. The company spent just $650,000 on lobbying during the first three months of 2012.

Privacy groups urge FTC to reject delay in children's privacy rules: Privacy advocates urged the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday to reject a proposed delay in rules aimed at protecting the privacy of children online.

In a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, the groups argued that delaying the rules, as app makers have requested, would be "unwarranted," "harmful to children" and "undermine the goals of both Congress and the FTC."

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