OVERNIGHT TECH: South Korea cyberattack raises fears from lawmakers

Meehan told The Hill that he planned to hold more hearings on the cyber threats facing the country, such as the recent attacks against the U.S. financial sector.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, aims to pass a cybersecurity bill out of the committee this spring. McCaul and Meehan have already conducted a series of meetings with various industry groups to solicit their feedback for legislation. They met with a group of tech companies, including Oracle, on Tuesday.

Meehan wasn't specific on when the committee's bill will be finalized, but said "it's realistic" to have a draft outlined "in a month or two." That draft will then be circulated for feedback to tighten up the language, he said.

One of the other witnesses at the hearing, Mandiant Chief Security Officer Richard Bejtlich, will be testifying at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on the threat cyberattacks pose to the country. Chris Painter, coordinator for cyber issues at the State Department, will also be among the witnesses slated to testify.

FCC proposes 911 rules: The Federal Communications Commission proposed rules on Wednesday aimed at ensuring the reliability of 911 services during emergencies.
The FCC rules would mandate backup power requirements, require periodic audits of 911 circuits and require network monitoring systems. The regulations are in reaction to widespread 911 outages that resulted from last year's derecho storm.

Cyber bill passes out of House Oversight Committee: The Federal Information Security Amendments Act of 2013 passed out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday by a voice vote. The bill focuses on continuous monitoring for cyber threats on federal government computer systems. 


The House Small Business subpanel on Health and Technology will hold a hearing on Thursday morning that will examine ways to protect small businesses from cyberattacks. Among the witnesses slated to testify are Justin Freeman, corporate counsel for Rackspace, and Phyllis Schneck, chief technology officer for the public sector at McAfee. Freeman will be testifying on behalf of the Application Developers Alliance.

"The recent string of cyber-attacks on high-profile companies is a stark reminder of the current threat. Although small businesses don’t make the headlines, a recent report shows nearly 20 percent of cyber-attacks are on small firms with less than 250 employees," Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), the subcommittee chairman, plans to say in his opening statement.

"Small businesses generally have fewer resources available to monitor and combat cyber threats, making them easy targets for expert criminals. In addition, many of these firms have a false sense of security and believe they are immune from a possible cyber-attack," Collins is expected to say.

Also on deck, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioStudents gather outside White House after walkout to protest gun violence Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes Senate confirms Trump’s pick to lead NASA MORE (R-Fla.) and Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai will speak at the Free State Foundation’s Telecom Policy Conference.


Senators fear drones 'buzzing overhead': Senators expressed concern on Wednesday that without proper restrictions, police and private groups could use drones to invade the privacy of people in the United States.

Drones are cheaper to build and fly than helicopters, making them a cost-effective option for police departments looking to gain a bird's-eye view of a scene. Commercial drones are currently illegal, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working on rules to grant licenses to private groups by 2015.

Internet retailers bash Senate attempt to 'sneak through' online sales tax: Opponents of an online sales tax measure are pushing back on efforts to get the bill added to the Senate budget this week.

Phil Bond, the executive director of the WE R HERE Coalition, accused backers of online sales tax measures of trying to “sneak through” their legislation outside regular congressional order.

Robert McDowell to resign from FCC: Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission, said on Wednesday that he will resign from the agency in a few weeks.

"After nearly seven years of carrying out the incredibly high honor of serving the American people at the FCC, it is time to turn more of my energies towards an even higher calling: serving my family," McDowell said.

FCC chief counsel to leave commission: Sherrese Smith, chief counsel and legal adviser to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski, will leave the commission in the coming weeks.

Smith is the last remaining member of the chairman's original team of legal advisers and plays a key role in the chairman's office. She is responsible for managing the commission's overall policy agenda and coordinating between its various bureaus and offices.

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