OVERNIGHT TECH: Walden to push FCC overhaul this fall

THE LEDE: Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) is still working to win over Democrats on his bill to revamp how the Federal Communications Commission operates.

In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday, Walden will say he hopes to move ahead with the bill in the coming months. 

"We’ve worked with all of the stakeholders, held multiple hearings, and are now working with our colleagues in a bi-partisan approach to see if we can agree on legislation to get this done sometime this fall," Walden, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Communications and Technology subcommittee, will say according to a copy of his prepared remarks. 

The House passed similar legislation last year, but the Senate never took it up. 

Republicans argue the bill would provide more openness and transparency at the FCC, but Democrats warn it would open the agency up to more litigation and would hamper its ability to protect consumers.

Walden's bill would require the FCC to conduct cost-benefit analyses before adopting new rules, set deadlines for agency decisions and provide the public an adequate opportunity to review proposals.

"These will help create the kind of predictable and consistent practices that ensure the agency is productive in carrying out its responsibilities," Walden will say.


His subcommittee advanced the legislation in July. 

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In his speech, Walden is also expected to urge the Senate to take up his bill declaring support for the current multistakeholder model of Internet governance. 

Clyburn, Matsui push Internet subsidy: Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) called for an expansion of the agency's Lifeline phone subsidy to cover broadband Internet service in an op-ed in The Hill.

Republicans have claimed the program is a prime example of a wasteful government handout, but Clyburn and Matsui argued the government should ensure access to basic communications services. 

"We need to make sure that low-income Americans, in both urban and rural areas, aren’t missing out on the benefits modern communications, from searching and applying for jobs online, to working from home when a child is sick, to taking classes online, consulting with doctors remotely, or accessing essential government services," they wrote. "This is why it is so critical that we have an efficient and effective Lifeline program."

They touted the FCC's Broadband Pilot Program, which is testing ways to increase broadband adoption among low-income consumers. 

"The data the Pilot produces will guide us all as we consider the future of Lifeline and in Congress, the Broadband Adoption Act would allow households that qualify for Lifeline support to choose support for landline service, mobile service or broadband," they wrote. 

Matsui is the lead sponsor of the Broadband Adoption Act. 

FTC seeks comments on COPPA safe harbor: The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday that it is seeking comments on kidSAFE Seal Program’s “kidSAFE+,” a recently submitted self-regulation program that would exempt participants from the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rule. The COPPA rule, updated at the end of last year, limits the ways website can track children online. 

A potential participant of the kidSAFE+ program “must demonstrate its compliance with both our safety guidelines and our additional privacy,” which “are modeled after the Revised COPPA Rule,” the company wrote. “We firmly believe that our kidSAFE+ program far exceeds the requirements of the Revised COPPA Rule.”  

The FTC will accept comments on the effectiveness of the proposed safe harbor program until Oct. 18.

Update on broadband construction EO: The White House released a report on Monday touting its progress towards implementing a 2012 executive order designed to accelerate the construction of broadband networks on federal land. The White House also announced tools to make it easier for companies to build broadband networks. 


ON TAP

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman will speak at an American Enterprise Institute event on broadband policy.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will hold an event examining the changing landscape of online piracy, featuring opening remarks from Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

The Application Developers Alliance will hold a patent summit, featuring an Intellectual Ventures representative facing off against startup executives who claim they have been victims of patent assertion entities.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) expressed concern that there are “blind spots” in the oversight of the National Security Agency.

The members of the FCC are split over a plan to auction the "H block" of wireless spectrum by early next year. 

The Federal Trade Commission will examine the growing field of “sponsored content” in digital media.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) plans to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to limit frivolous patent lawsuits

The percentage of Americans who go online using their cellphones has doubled since 2009, according to a Pew Center study released Monday


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