OVERNIGHT TECH: FCC on track for 2015 spectrum goal

THE LEDE: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced on Thursday that his agency is on track to meet its goal of freeing up 300 MHz of spectrum for mobile broadband by 2015.

He said that to hit its target, the commission is pursuing auctions, spectrum re-designation, moving government users and spectrum sharing.

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Although he said he supports "innovative" proposals to share spectrum bands with multiple users, he said clearing remains a "core" policy goal.

"I believe clearing and auctioning spectrum for exclusive licensed use must remain a core component of spectrum policy, and that we should also pursue next-generation ideas like spectrum sharing and expanded unlicensed use," Genachowski said in a speech at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

He pushed back against criticism from the Republican commissioners that the FCC should focus less on unlicensed spectrum.

"As innovation opportunities and demand for unlicensed uses continue to grow, and Wi-Fi networks get more and more congested – have you tried using Wi-Fi in a busy airport recently? – we need to ensure unlicensed spectrum opportunities keep pace," Genachowski said.

Wireless carriers have struggled in recent years to keep pace with the exploding demands placed on their networks by smartphones and tablet computers.

The FCC is now reviewing comments on its plan to buy back TV spectrum licenses for auction to wireless carriers.

Huawei report due Monday: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Thursday that he will release his panel's long-awaited report on Chinese telecom company Huawei on Monday.

The committee investigated whether the company poses a national security risk to the United States.

"The report will explain why there may be reasons for concern," Rogers said in a speech at the Chamber of Commerce.

FCC database misses ads: The Sunlight Foundation concluded Thursday that the FCC's new database of TV station files is missing large chunks of political ads in battleground states.

For now, the FCC order only applies to network-affiliated stations in the top 50 markets 

"But that leaves out some 160 television markets, some of which are in battleground states," Sunlight wrote. "In four of the nine states considered key in this year's general election — Colorado, Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin — less than half of presidential ads would be disclosed on the FCC database, a Sunlight analysis reveals."

Broadcasters hire Kaplan: The National Association of Broadcasters announced Thursday that it has hired Rick Kaplan, the former chief of the FCC's Wireless Bureau.

The hire is a major coup for the lobbying group, which is looking to protect the interests of local TV stations as the FCC moves to auction their airwaves to cellphone service providers.

Rogers reveals new wave of cyber attacks, calls for legislative push: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Thursday that secretive attacks on American computer systems could spark a renewed push for legislation after the election.

Speaking at a cybersecurity event at the Chamber of Commerce, Rogers said House and Senate lawmakers have been briefed on "what appears to be a new-level threat."

He hinted that the attacks are coming from a foreign government, but not China or other usual suspects.

Also at Thursday's event, Rogers blasted the White House for failing to consult with him on a potential executive order to enhance cybersecurity.

"I don't get it. I don't understand it," Rogers said. "I think it's irresponsible."

Republicans say report shows DHS not up to cybersecurity challenge: Senate Republicans are arguing that a recent congressional report on the Homeland Security Department shows that the agency lacks the skills and resources to take a lead role in protecting the nation's computer systems.

The report, issued earlier this week by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), concludes that DHS "fusion" intelligence-sharing centers wasted taxpayer dollars by analyzing and relaying information that was either duplicative or unrelated to counterterrorism. The regional centers produced "useless" reports but also collected information on innocent American Muslims, the lawmakers found.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) said the findings bolster their arguments that the Homeland Security Department should have a limited role in cybersecurity. 

Justin Bieber fan site accused of tracking kids: The operator of fan websites for music stars Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday for allegedly collecting information on children without their parents' consent in violation of federal law.

The settlement requires website operator Artist Arena to pay a $1 million fine and delete the information it collected.