OVERNIGHT TECH: FCC preps for sequestration cuts

The cuts will likely come from travel budgets, office supplies and outside contracts, according to the official. The commission's planned auctions of broadcaster airwaves won't be affected.

Ramirez is the pick for FTC chief: In case you missed today's big news, Edith Ramirez is President Obama's choice to chair the Federal Trade Commission.

Ramirez, a current Democratic commissioner who attended Harvard Law School with Obama, will replace Jon Leibowitz on Monday.

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In a statement, Ramirez said she is "deeply honored" for the opportunity to lead the FTC.

“I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners and the able FTC staff to continue the agency’s proud history of promoting vigorous competition and protecting consumers,” Ramirez said. “I also want to thank Chairman Leibowitz for his strong leadership. I welcome the opportunity to build on his legacy of active enforcement of our antitrust and consumer protection laws.”

As a sitting commissioner, Ramirez doesn't need Senate approval to become chairwoman, but her promotion does leave a Democratic vacancy on the five-member commission.

The choice won praise from consumer advocacy groups and lawmakers. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), chairwoman of the Senate Antitrust subcommittee, said Ramirez is "a highly-respected FTC Commissioner who will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to her new position as head of the FTC."

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a senior House lawmaker and Senate hopeful, called Leibowitz one of the "all-time greatest chairmen in the history of the Federal Trade Commission" who will "leave behind an incredible legacy of achievement, particularly in the area of protecting children’s privacy on the Internet."

He added that by picking Ramirez, Obama ensured that "consumers will continue to have a strong voice and effective advocate." 

"Commissioner Ramirez brings both deep knowledge and dedication to protecting consumers," Markey said.


ON TAP

The RSA cybersecurity conference comes to a close on Friday with a keynote by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. House Intelligence Committee leaders Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) will also be on hand at the conference on its final day.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

White House debating how to respond to cyber attacks: The White House is debating what actions will be taken to retaliate against individuals and countries that launch cyberattacks against the United States.

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel on Thursday said officials might consider financial sanctions, visa restrictions and military action as tools to use against foreign hackers who target U.S. networks. However, the U.S. is still weighing when a cyber incident will prompt a response from the federal government.

Do Not Track bill gets introduced: Sens. Jay Rockfeller (D-W.Va.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced legislation on Thursday that would give Internet users the right to opt out of online tracking.

The Do Not Track Online Act would instruct the Federal Trade Commission to issue regulations requiring online companies to honor a user's request not to have information collected about their online activities. The FTC and state attorneys general would have authority to penalize companies that violate the request.

FBI director says private sector help 'essential': FBI Director Robert Mueller on Thursday said the U.S. government and private industry need to forge a collaborative working relationship to successfully combat the growing number of cyber threats facing the country. 

Mueller said the government needs industry as a partner because it boasts security expertise and also creates cyber defense technology. 

Senate plans joint cyber hearing: The chairmen of the Senate Commerce and Homeland Security committees announced Thursday that they will hold a joint hearing next week on cybersecurity.

The hearing, planned for 2:30 p.m. on March 7, will examine the implementation of President Obama's recent executive order on cybersecurity and potential legislation on the issue.


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