OVERNIGHT TECH: Business groups call for data breach law

Subcommittee Chairman Lee Terry (R-Neb.), who took the gavel this year, expressed interest in pursuing legislation again, but the hearing was mostly informational. 

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Democrats argued that any federal legislation should not undercut state standards.

"Federal legislation must not move backward by undermining those states with strong breach notification laws," Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the full committee, said. He also argued that legislation should include "reasonable safeguard" requirements for private data.

Feinstein tries to restart California patent office: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) inserted language into an appropriations bill that would require the Patent and Trademark Office to build a satellite office in Silicon Valley.

The agency had planned to build an office in the region until it was forced to cut back due to sequestration. 

“Even in this challenging budget environment, it made no sense to penalize the satellite office program, particularly the office in Silicon Valley, which is a center of innovation, home to more than 100 colleges and universities, and 27 percent of the country’s venture capital investment,” Feinstein said.

Wireline hearing: The Senate Commerce's subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet will hold a hearing next Thursday on the state of wireline competition. The subcommittee has previously held hearings on the state of the wireless and video industries. Possible topics include network resilience, rural broadband access and Universal Service Fund programs. 

Copyright hearings: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.), chairman of the panel's IP subcommittee, announced that the Judiciary Committee's IP subpanel will hold two hearings before the August recess that examine current copyright law. 

"The copyright and technology sectors are core parts of our nation’s economy. They are the job-creating engine that can help rebuild our economy," Goodlatte and Coble said in a joint statement. "Over the next several weeks, the Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee will hold two hearings that will focus on the important role that both the copyright and technology industries play in our nation."


ON TAP

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to approve a notice of proposed rule-making to expand its E-Rate program at Friday's open meeting. 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Hackers hit Hill aides: A Twitter account that claims to be affiliated with the hacker group Anonymous said it posted the email addresses and alleged passwords of hundreds of current and former Hill staffers online late Wednesday.

Democrats investigate hidden fees: Four House Democrats sent letters on Thursday to leading Internet and cellphone service providers, questioning them over extra fees that are often tacked on to consumers' bills.

The "below-the-line" charges include administrative, recovery and service fees and generate hundreds of millions of dollars for communications companies, according to the lawmakers.

Conservative economist backs online sales tax: Allowing states to tax online purchases could produce about 1.5 million new jobs and a $563 billion boost in gross domestic product, according to a report from famed conservative economist Arthur B. Laffer.

The study, which was co-authored by Donna Arduin and was released on Thursday, analyzed the economic impact of online sales tax legislation if states lowered other tax rates, such as personal income taxes. 

Tech giants ask Obama to lift gag order: Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other major tech companies joined with civil liberties and trade groups on Thursday to call for the United States government to let companies publish more information about the national security-related requests they receive for user information. 

The diverse coalition of 63 groups — which includes Twitter, Apple, Reddit, the American Civil Liberties Union and investors like Union Square Ventures — said companies should be able regularly report figures on the number of government requests they receive for user data under the surveillance laws used to operate two controversial National Security Agency programs and other national security authorities. 

House panel approves email privacy amendment: The House Appropriations Committee unanimously adopted an amendment on Wednesday that would require certain federal agencies to obtain a warrant before seizing emails and other online messages.

The amendment, offered by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), was added to the Fiscal Year 2014 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. The privacy requirement covers the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory agencies funded by the legislation.


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