By Brendan Sasso and Gautham Nagesh - 08/02/11 10:57 PM EDT
THE LEDE: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a bill Tuesday aimed at holding foreign nations accountable for failing to combat cybercrimes directed at the U.S. The International Cybercrime and Reporting Act would require the president to prepare an annual report on the sources of cyberattacks on the U.S. and countries’ attempts to combat such attacks.
Under the bill, countries cited as cyber concerns would be eligible for U.S. assistance programs aimed at cybercrime, but a failure to respond to attacks could result in the U.S. witholding financing, foreign assistance or preferential trade status. The bill would also deploy cybercrime experts to U.S. embassies and make the issue a key consideration for the president before entering into trade agreements. The legislation is one of a number of cybersecurity bills currently in front of Congress; negotiations on comprehensive legislation are expected to pick up in earnest this fall.
DHS loosens visa rules for entrepreneurs: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced Tuesday that the U.S. would be changing its visa rules to make it easier for entrepreneurs of exceptional ability to come to the U.S. The new rules will allow highly skilled foreigners to apply for temporary H-1B guest visas without jobs if they can show they will start a company in the U.S., supervised by a local board of directors.
The government will also promote the use of waivers for green cards in cases where foreigners plan to come to the U.S. to start a business that will serve the national interest. Finally, DHS will streamline the application process for the immigrant-investor visa. A coalition of more than 300 mayors and CEOs praised the moves.
House members voice support for proposed AT&T deal: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) sent a letter Monday to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Attorney General Eric Holder, in support of AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA. On Friday the four members of the Iowa House delegation minus Democratic Rep. David Loebsack sent a similar letter asking for an expeditious review of the merger. Reps. Leonard Boswell (D), Bruce Braley (D), Steve King (R) and Tom Latham (R) argued Iowa stands to benefit from AT&T’s broadband commitment.
Patent reform up first after recess: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he plans on filing for cloture on the House version of the America Invents Act immediately after the recess. The Democrats are casting the legislation as a job-creating measure and hoping to get it on the president’s desk as quickly as possible given the bipartisan support. The legislation has some key differences from the bill that overwhelmingly passed the Senate earlier this year, notably a compromise arrangement over allowing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to keep the fees that it collects.
FCC releases agenda for Aug. 9 open meeting: The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday released the agenda for next week’s open meeting. Notably, reform of the Universal Service Fund is not on the agenda. The Commission will discuss freeing up spectrum for wireless backhaul use and streamlining the review process for foreign firms purchasing wireless companies.
Facebook launches grant program: Facebook announced a new grant program Tuesday to fund research into how kids use social media, with a focus on bullying prevention. Marne Levine, Facebook’s vice president of public policy, announced the $200,000 grant program at a conference in Morgantown, W.Va. Academic and nonprofit institutions are eligible to submit proposals. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) praised the program in a video message.
Judge orders video site Zediva to shut down: A federal judge granted a motion from the Motion Picture Association of America for a preliminary injunction against video-streaming site Zediva. The judge rejected Zediva’s argument that it was a video-rental service and ruled that it violated film studios’ exclusive right to show movies publicly.
Music industry worried about new domain names: A coalition representing the music industry wrote to a government agency Friday to express concern over new Internet rules that would allow for the creation of domain names such as “.music” and “.tunes.” The music industry said these Web domains might confuse users into thinking that copyright-infringing websites are legitimate or affiliated with musicians. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a nonprofit that oversees the Internet’s naming system, approved a plan in June to allow for new domain names.
In the letter, Victoria Sheckler, deputy general counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America, said the music industry supports a proposed rule by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that future contracts with ICANN require the nonprofit to consider the public interest and the opinions of relevant stakeholders when it makes changes to the Internet’s address system.
HP hires new top lobbyist: Hewlett-Packard announced Tuesday that it had hired Gregg Melinson to serve as its new vice president of global government affairs. Melison was a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath and counsel to former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (R).
Lieberman disappointed spectrum left out of debt deal: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said Tuesday he was disappointed the debt-ceiling bill did not allocate the D Block of spectrum for a nationwide emergency responder network.
Hearings postponed: A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on cybercrime and a House Science Committee hearing on the effect of LightSquared’s wireless broadband network have been postponed. Both hearings were scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Facebook acquires Push Pop Press, a digital book designer.
Apple reveals details about its iCloud service.
On Tap Wednesday: The Commerce Department will release a report Wednesday on women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and jobs. The report is the second in a series by the Commerce Department. The first, “STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future,” was released July 14 and examined STEM employment in the United States.
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