OVERNIGHT TECH: Lawmakers weigh in on high court's GPS ruling

THE LEDE: Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) praised the Supreme Court's decision on Monday that police violated the Constitution by using a GPS device to track a suspect's car without a valid search warrant.

Leahy called the decision a "victory for privacy right and for civil liberties in the digital age," while Wyden said the ruling confirms that "constitutional protections of civil liberties extend to 21st century technology."

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Wyden expressed concern, though, that the Supreme Court left open whether police can use other forms of electronic tracking to spy on Americans.

"The Justices’ concurring opinions make clear that legislation clarifying how law enforcement can use geolocation devices and providing a clear legal framework for the future is still necessary," Wyden said.

Leahy said the decision is a reminder that Congress should update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a 1986 law that sets standards for when police officers can access electronic data.

Court upholds FCC's cell tower timeline: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected a challenge on Monday to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) standards for how long local governments can take to approve applications to build cell towers. 

The commission adopted the standards in 2009 after wireless companies complained that local governments were holding up the construction of new cell towers. The cities of Arlington and San Antonio in Texas sued, arguing that the FCC lacked the authority to establish the timeline, but the court sided with the commission. 

“I am pleased that the court of appeals upheld the FCC’s ruling, which removes unreasonable roadblocks to the nationwide build-out of cutting edge wireless broadband networks," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. "The FCC’s tower siting policy upheld today advances the crucial national priority of ensuring American leadership in mobile innovation and is part of the FCC’s relentless focus on unleashing the opportunities of wired and wireless broadband for all Americans, including job creation, increased investment, innovation and economic growth.”

Obama likely to discuss tech jobs in State of the Union: President Obama is set to deliver the State of the Union address on Tuesday, and it is a good bet that he will discuss growing tech sector jobs. 

He is expected to focus on improving economic growth for the middle class and will try to draw a sharp contrast between himself and congressional Republicans. The next day, he is scheduled to visit an Intel chip plant in Arizona, making it likely that innovation and technical education could be a key component of his message.


ICYMI:

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) blamed Republicans for scuttling his Protect IP Act (PIPA) and said he hopes to revive the bill after a brief delay.

The Justice Department's top antitrust official, Sharis Pozen, will leave by end of April, according to various reports.

President Obama will hold his first public event on the Google+ social network on Jan. 30, the search giant said Monday.