OVERNIGHT TECH: Committee vote set for Wheeler

While the Senate gears turn on Wheeler's nomination, Mignon Clyburn remains as acting chairwoman.

Other Commerce votes: The Commerce Committee is also scheduled to vote on Tuesday on 21 other bills and nominations, including a cybersecurity bill and a measure to fund research into violence in the media.

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The Cybersecurity Act, authored by Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and ranking member John Thune (R-S.D.), would codify a section of President Obama's cybersecurity order that directs the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to work with businesses to craft a framework of cybersecurity best practices and standards.

The Violent Content Research Act would require the National Academy of Sciences to examine whether violent video games and programming cause children to act aggressively or otherwise hurt their well-being.

Telecom groups endorse cyber bill: The leaders of USTelecom, CTIA and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association voiced support for the cybersecurity bill by Rockefeller and Thune in a letter sent to the two lawmakers on Monday. In particular, the groups said they appreciate that the bill does not take an overly regulatory approach to protecting critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.

"We applaud your bipartisan efforts and appreciate that your legislation avoids a prescriptive regulatory regime that does not fit the constantly evolving cyber threat environment, and in our view, would not improve cybersecurity," the groups wrote.

Intel: Innovation at stake with patent abuse: At a hearing of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, Intel General Counsel Doug Melamed will warn that some companies "have decided to flout" their commitment to licensing their standard-essential patents on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms, which will hurt customers and potentially stunt innovation. 

"Such acquisition of monopoly power injures consumers through higher prices, reduces incentives to invest in the development, manufacture and technological improvement of standard-compliant products," Melamed says in his written testimony.

Standard-essential patents cover basic industry technologies and have been at the heart of major battles among mobile companies.

"The harm to the public from [standard essential patent] abuse is not just theoretical. What is at stake is the threat of serious injury to the system of cooperative standard-setting, a system that has produced enormous benefits to consumers and has been vital to the great innovations that the technology sector has produced in recent decades," Melamed writes.

Senate approves FBI director: The Senate voted 93-1 on Monday to confirm James Comey to head the FBI, succeeding Robert Mueller. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who had held up the nomination over concerns about the domestic use of drones, was the lone dissenting vote.  


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Cyber theft bill floated: Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are circulating a draft bill to combat cyber espionage and trade secret theft. 

Most favor NSA limits in poll: Fifty-six percent of people in the United States say that federal courts should impose tougher restrictions on the government's ability to collect phone and Internet data, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center.

FCC moves to cut prison phone rates: The Federal Communications Commission will vote next week on an order to cut the rates that prisoners pay for interstate phone calls. The agency will also seek public comments on whether to limit rates for calls within states. 

RNC hires digital chief: The Republican National Committee has tapped Chuck DeFeo to serve as its chief digital officer and deputy chief of staff, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced on Monday. 

The RNC has been working to expand its digital and data strategy ahead of the upcoming midterm elections after it suffered a tough loss in the election this past November. The party is also trying to counter the massive trove of voter data and analytics that President Obama's presidential campaign amassed in 2008 and 2012. 

FTC targets text spammers: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday announced that it was filing a complaint against an international network that used text messages and phone calls to trick people into giving up sensitive information and paying money.


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