OVERNIGHT TECH: Senators to oppose UN Internet regulation

The Lede: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on a resolution on Wednesday urging the Obama administration to fight efforts to give a United Nations agency more control over the Internet.

The measure is a counterpart to a resolution unanimously passed by the House last month.

ADVERTISEMENT
Proposals to give the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet could come up at a conference in Dubai in December.

The proposals, reportedly backed by China, Russia and other U.N. members, would give the international body more control over cybersecurity, data privacy, technical standards and the Web’s address system.

The Obama administration has already announced its strong opposition to such proposals.

The Internet is currently governed under a “multi-stakeholder” approach that gives power to a host of nonprofits rather than governments.

The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), would urge the administration to "promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the Internet today."

ADVERTISEMENT
“The U.S. must lead an international effort to prevent authoritarian governments and regimes from diminishing Internet freedom,” Rubio said in a statement.  “An international regulatory regime goes against the very nature of the Internet and its purpose of sharing ideas and connecting people.”

The measure is co-sponsored by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

Senators urge FCC to protect broadcasters in auction: Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R) urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday to protect local television broadcasters as it moves ahead with its planned incentive spectrum auction.

The senators said they "strongly support" the auction because it will help wireless carriers address the looming "spectrum crunch."

"However, it is imperative that this effort also protect broadcasters that choose not to participate in such auctions and the American public that relies on over-the-air broadcast services for both entertainment and critical public emergency information," the senators wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

YouTube could be blocked in Russia over anti-Muslim video: YouTube could be blocked across Russia if the website does not remove the controversial anti-Muslim video that's sparked protests worldwide due to a new Russian law that goes into effect Nov. 1, Reuters reports

Senate Commerce to examine the Competes Act: The Senate Commerce Committee will take a look at the implementation of the America Competes Act that was signed into law last year and how to maintain the United States’s leadership in innovation and technology. Slated to testify are Norman Augustine, retired CEO of Lockheed Martin; Peter Lee, corporate vice president of Microsoft Research; Jeffrey Furman, an associate professor at Boston University; John Winn, chief program officer of the National Math and Science Initiative; and Carl Wieman, a Nobel Laureate in physics and professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. 

DHS, FBI officials to testify at Senate Homeland Security hearing: The Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday morning on threats to the homeland and agency responses to them. Witnesses will include Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Matthew Olsen from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Kevin Perkins, associate deputy director of the FBI. 

Human-rights group slams White House for asking Google to review video: A human-rights group criticized the White House on Tuesday for asking Google to consider taking down a controversial anti-Muslim video.

Meg Roggensack, a senior adviser for Human Rights First, argued the request undercut the government's responsibility to protect free speech

Smith unveils tech-friendly STEM visa bill: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced a high-skilled immigration bill on Tuesday that has received the backing of several tech companies.

Smith's bill, the STEM Jobs Act, is scheduled for a vote in the House on Thursday. The measure boast 50 co-sponsors, the bulk of whom are GOP members. 

Twitter hires GOP staffer: Twitter expanded its Washington presence on Tuesday with the hire of William Carty, a longtime Republican aide on Capitol Hill.

Carty began working for the Republicans on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee last year. Before that, he spent about 10 years as an aide on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

FBI warns cyber criminals are targeting banks to conduct wire fraud: The FBI has issued a fraud alert warning that cyber criminals are hacking into the computer systems of banks and credit unions to send unauthorized wire transfers overseas that range from nearly half a million to one million dollars.

Coons, Blumenthal call on White House to issue cyber order: Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are calling on President Obama to issue an executive order aimed at protecting the nation's critical infrastructure from cyber attacks.

In a joint letter sent to the White House on Tuesday, the two Democratic senators urged Obama to direct Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to form an inter-agency group that "will develop, in close collaboration with the private sector, voluntary standards for digital safeguards for our nation's critical infrastructure." 

Microsoft faces EU antitrust complaint: European regulators plan to file an antitrust complaint against Microsoft for restricting users' choice of Web browsers, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the case.

The complaint will allege that Microsoft violated a 2009 agreement that required it to offer Windows users a choice of Web browsers in addition to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, according to the report. 

Public interest groups to file FCC complaint against AT&T's FaceTime plans: Three public interest groups notified AT&T on Tuesday about their plans to file a complaint against the wireless company with the FCC, arguing that its new FaceTime policies violate net-neutrality rules. 

Public Knowledge, Free Press and the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute will argue that AT&T's plans to make FaceTime available over its mobile network only to MobileShare data plan subscribers is a violation of the commission's Open Internet rules, which restrict mobile providers from blocking applications that compete with its voice service.