This Week in Tech: House to examine email privacy rules

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Revising the law to protect all electronic communications, regardless of how old they are, is a top goal for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said earlier this month that modernizing the privacy act to “reflect our current digital economy” will be a priority for his committee. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) have introduced legislation that would require police to obtain a warrant before accessing private online communications or mobile location data.

Tuesday’s hearing, which will be held by the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, will be a chance to discover other lawmakers’ opinions on the issue and whether law enforcement groups plan to push back aggressively on the proposal.

In other technology news, the House Judiciary’s subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet will hold a hearing on Wednesday afternoon to consider revising copyright law. Lawmakers will likely bring up the issue of cellphone unlocking, which allows owners to switch their device to a new carrier, as well as a broader look at the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, according to a committee aide.

It’s also another packed week of cybersecurity-related hearings, with three different congressional committees examining the issue.

On Tuesday, Mandiant CEO Kevin Mandia will brief the Senate Armed Service Committee’s subpanel on Emerging Threats and Capabilities about cyber threats the computer security firm is observing. The subcommittee will then hold a closed briefing with Stephanie O’Sullivan, principal deputy director of national intelligence, and Lt. General Jon Davis, deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command.

The House Homeland Security Committee’s Cybersecurity subpanel will hold a Wednesday hearing that will cover the cyber threats stemming from Iran, China and Russia. The witnesses slated to testify are Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University; Richard Bejtlich, chief security officer at Mandiant; Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council; and Martin Libicki, senior management strategist at the RAND Corporation.

On Thursday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subpanel on Emerging Threats will hear from Mandiant Chief Security Officer Richard Bejtlich and Coalition for a Prosperous America senior economist Greg Autry at a hearing that will examine the national security threat that cyberattacks pose.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday morning to examine the privacy issues surrounding domestic drone use.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold three days of hearings to examine regulation and taxation of health information technology, including smartphones and tablets.

The Association of National Advertisers will hold a two-day conference on advertising law and public policy. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) will give the opening remarks on Tuesday morning, Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Julie Brill will speak on Wednesday morning and Fadi Chehadé, the president and CEO of ICANN, will speak on Wednesday afternoon.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ajit Pai, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission will speak at the Free State Foundation’s Telecom Policy Conference on Thursday.


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