OVERNIGHT TECH: House GOP releases draft of spectrum bill ahead of Friday's hearing

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House Appropriations Committee scraps space telescope: The full House Appropriations Committee approved a NASA budget plan on Wednesday that would eliminate funding for the James Webb Space Telescope, successor to the Hubble telescope. NASA has already spent $3 billion developing the device, but the total cost is expected to reach $6.8 billion. The telescope was designed to see objects that were created just after the Big Bang that spawned the universe. The scientific community has strongly opposed the cuts.

Senators want new laws to fight cramming: Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) promised Wednesday to introduce legislation that would curb unauthorized charges on consumers' phone bills, a practice known as “cramming.” A yearlong investigation by the committee uncovered numerous examples of of practice. The hearing came just one day after the Federal Communications Commission proposed new rules to help consumers identify unauthorized charges on their phone bills.   

White House app competition targets sexual assault: The White House challenged software developers on Wednesday to create an application to help young adults prevent sexual assault and dating violence. The competition, called “Apps Against Abuse,” encourages developers to create applications that allow women to designate trusted friends or emergency contacts and to check in with those contacts, especially in an emergency. 

GLAAD pulls support for AT&T/T-Mobile merger: The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) withdrew its support of the pending AT&T merger with T-Mobile on Wednesday in the wake of a controversy that has already led to the resignation of the organization's president and much of its board of directors. The reversal came after several weeks of intense criticism from gay-rights bloggers and activists, who questioned why GLAAD was involved in telecommunications issues.


ON TAP THURSDAY:

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Commerce, Manufacturing and Technology will hold a joint hearing Thursday on Internet privacy featuring representatives from the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission and National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.) will focus on existing laws to identify key issues for upcoming privacy legislation. Bono Mack and Walden have said the hearing is the first in a series that will examine Internet privacy issues. Momentum for comprehensive privacy legislation has been building on both sides of the aisle in recent months.

The Senate Commerce Science subpanel will hold a Thursday hearing to discuss the potential of nanotechnology and debate the reauthorization of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. Representatives from Northwestern, West Virginia and Rice universities are expected along with Chuck Romine, acting associate director of laboratory programs at the National Institute for Standards and Technology.

The House Oversight Committee’s Technology subpanel will hold an afternoon hearing on transparency and federal management IT systems that will likely include discussion of the Obama administration's previous efforts to publish data on government technology spending through the IT Dashboard. Outgoing federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra is expected to discuss cuts to the E-Government fund that have imperiled the future of the site.

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