OVERNIGHT TECH: Wyden wants hearing on hacking law in wake of Swartz's death

  THE LEDE: Sen. Ron WydenRon WydenTrump's CIA chief clears Senate New CIA director arrives to tense intel community Here comes Trump-o-nomics MORE (D-Ore.) said he's engaged in talks with members on both sides of the aisle about how they can update an anti-hacking law that was used to press charges against Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide this month. 

Wyden said he's talking to members of the Judiciary Committee and other relevant panels about how they can modify the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. 

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"This is going to take some time, and as with everything in this area, you try to look for what can actually get accomplished because you have people with very strong views," Wyden said. "But to me, if you start with that basic proposition — this law as currently written just kind of defies common sense — then I think that there's an opening."

Federal prosecutors accused Swartz of breaking into a computer network at MIT and downloading 4.8 million documents from JSTOR, a subscription service for academic articles. He faced up to 35 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Swartz's family said those aggressive charges contributed to the 26-year-old's death.

Wyden said he'd like to see a hearing that discusses updating the computer hacking law, but noted that he doesn't chair a committee that has jurisdiction over the issue. 

"I'd certainly like to see that, I'm advocating [for] it, but that's not my call," he said.

WSJ joins the getting-hacked-by-China club: The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday that it, like The New York Times, was the target of Chinese hackers.

Both papers said they suspect the hackers were trying to monitor their coverage of China.

The Times said that hackers cracked into the newspapers' computer systems and obtained passwords for its reporters and other employees after it published an investigative story on Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. The Journal acknowledged that the hackers were able to infiltrate its computer systems.

The Journal wrote that the attacks "indicate that Chinese spying on U.S. media has become a widespread phenomenon."

The Times and the Journal said they plan to beef up their computer security to protect the private communications of their reporters and sources.

Recording industry tells House to lift Spotify ban: The Recording Industry of America is urging the House to stop blocking users from accessing the popular music-streaming service Spotify on its network.

The managers of Congress's Internet networks block many sites, including illegal peer-to-peer music-sharing websites. Politico first brought attention on Thursday to the fact that the House had blocked access to Spotify. 

In a letter to the House's chief administrative officer, RIAA CEO Cary Sherman noted that Spotify is a "licensed, secure online music streaming service."

"[Authorized] services are safe and secure, and assuring access to them not only respects the contractual relationship users may have with these services, but also achieves an important public policy goal of promoting legal, safe digital providers," Sherman wrote.

Christine Varney to take on former DOJ colleagues: Christine Varney, the former chief of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, will square off with her old colleagues over a merger of beer companies.

The agency has sued to block Anheuser-Busch InBev from taking over Modelo. Varney, now a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, is the top attorney for Modelo. 


ON TAP:

FTC to crack down on mobile privacy violation: On Friday morning, the Federal Trade Commission will unveil a report on mobile privacy and announce a "related enforcement action."

The FTC discussed best practices for cellphone and mobile app companies in a report it issued last year on online privacy. The agency has also held workshops on the issue.

The FTC has the authority to sue companies that fail to comply with their own privacy policies.

Obama to honor scientists, innovators: On Friday, President Obama will give the National Medal of Science award to 12 researchers and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to 11 inventors, including three IBM scientists. 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Carper expects cybersecurity order after State of the Union: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom CarperTom CarperPruitt says his EPA will work with the states Dems prepare to face off with Trump's pick to lead EPA Justice, FBI to be investigated over Clinton probes MORE (D-Del.) said the White House has signaled that it will likely introduce its cybersecurity order in the second half of February, following President Obama's State of the Union address. 

After the White House releases the cyber order —  which it has been crafting over the last several months — Carper said he plans to hold a joint hearing with the Commerce and Intelligence committees to discuss the measures included in the order. Carper said he wants to hear from administration officials and stakeholders' feedback as well. 

Senators push start-up tax credit: A bipartisan group of senators led by Sens. Chris CoonsChris CoonsTrump, Democrats can bridge divide to make college more affordable Senate Dems urge Sessions to abstain from voting on Trump’s Cabinet picks Booker to vote against Tillerson MORE (D-Del.) and Mike EnziMike EnziDem senator: DeVos ‘sends shivers down the spine’ Trump Education pick: States should decide on allowing guns in schools Schumer puts GOP on notice over ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Wyo.) re-introduced a bill on Thursday that is designed to help burgeoning start-ups access the research and development (R&D) tax credit. 

The bill, called the Startup Innovation Credit Act, would provide small start-up companies that do not yet make a profit with a vehicle to claim the R&D tax credit. 

Klobuchar takes over Antitrust panel: The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday selected Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharFranken emerges as liberal force in hearings Justice requires higher standard than Sessions Booker is taking orders from corporate pharmaceuticals MORE (D-Minn.) to chair its subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. 

Klobuchar succeeds Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), who retired at the end of last term. Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeOvernight Finance: Trump takes US out of Pacific trade deal | WH says Trump has left his businesses | Lobbyists expect boom times GOP senator floats eliminating the corporate income tax Booker is taking orders from corporate pharmaceuticals MORE (R-Utah) will stay on as the panel's ranking member. 

Sen. Al FrankenAl FrankenFranken emerges as liberal force in hearings Trump nominees dodge 'climate denier' charge Justice requires higher standard than Sessions MORE (D-Minn.) will stay on as chairman of the Privacy, Technology and the Law Subcommittee, with freshman Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeThis week: Congressional Republicans prepare to huddle with Trump GOP eyes new push to break up California court Live coverage of Trump's inauguration MORE (R-Ariz.) as the top Republican.

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinJustice requires higher standard than Sessions Warren burns Mnuchin over failure to disclose assets Trump Treasury pick to defend foreclosure record MORE (D-Ill.) will remain as chairman of the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights subcommittee, and freshman Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump's America: Businessmen in, bureaucrats out When Trump says 'Make America Great Again,' he means it Booker is taking orders from corporate pharmaceuticals MORE (R-Texas) will serve as the ranking member.


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