OVERNIGHT TECH: Financial groups renew cybersecurity push

THE LEDE: Financial trade groups are renewing their call for lawmakers to take up cybersecurity legislation this year.

A dozen organizations including the American Bankers Association, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and Credit Union National Association made an 11th-hour bid for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) to the floor on Thursday. The request came hours before the upper chamber skipped town for the August recess and shows that the financial industry will continue to make the issue a priority.

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“CISA will strengthen the nation’s ability to defend against cyber-attacks and better protect all Americans by encouraging the business community and the government to more quickly and effectively share critical information about these threats while ensuring privacy,” the groups wrote. “The threat of cyber-attacks is a real and constant danger to our industry and to other critical infrastructure providers that we, and the nation as a whole, rely upon and the financial services industry is dedicated to improving our capacity to protect customers and their sensitive information.”

The legislation, which passed out of the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month, would allow companies and the government to share information about possible hackers and security vulnerabilities, which supporters say is critical to protecting against blind spots. Privacy advocates have revolted, though, and warned that the bill would allow too much personal information to be shuttled to government agencies like the National Security Agency.

The groups’ letter came the same day that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill to create a new refundable tax credit incentivizing companies to share information about possible cyber threats. Her Cyber Information Sharing Tax Credit Act would make it easier for companies to join sector-specific information sharing centers, she said. In a statement, she called information-sharing between companies “a critical step that must be taken.”

The financial industry also praised that bill, though it nonetheless faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Congress is out of town until September, and the midterm elections threaten to sideline any but the most critical or innocuous bills.

Political watchdogs want more disclosure rules: The Sunlight Foundation, Common Cause and the Campaign Legal Center urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend a disclosure requirement that currently applies to broadcasters to cable and satellite companies as well. The three groups filed a petition for a rulemaking on Thursday demanding that the paid TV services also keep online databases about the times when politics ads air and the rate campaigns are charged, just like broadcasters do. Cable and satellite firms keep track of that information but do not keep it on the FCC’s online database.

“The information about political ads purchased on cable and satellite is too important to keep locked in a filing cabinet," Sunlight Foundation national policy manager Sean Vitka said in a statement “Broadcasters are now required to put their political files online, and cable companies should be held to the same standard.”

Poll shows most don’t trust social media: More than half the public has little or no trust in social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, according to a new poll. The survey from Rad Campaign, Lincoln Park Strategies and Craig Newmark found that 70 percent of respondents were certain or thought it was very likely that those companies were collecting and selling their data for advertising and 74 percent were concerned about having too much information online.

Sprint selling Facebook-, Twitter-only Internet: Sprint will soon let wireless subscribers pay $12 per month for wireless Internet that will only connect to certain social media services, according to the Wall Street Journal. According to the report, subscribers will be able to pay $12 to connect to either Facebook, Instagram, Instagram, or Pinterest through a Virgin Mobile prepaid plan. For $10 more, subscribers can access all four social media services, and another $5 will get them “unlimited streaming of a music app of their choice.”

While the low-cost, service-specific plans may offer more affordable mobile Internet access, it is “testing the long-held principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally by creating strong incentives for subscribers to use already dominant services,” the report said.

Twitter acquires password manager: Password storage and sharing service Mitro announced Thursday that it has been acquired by Twitter. In a blog post, Mitro CEO Vijay Pandurangan said the company “is joining Twitter’s location team in New York, focusing on a variety of geo-related projects.” Pandurangan also announced that the company — with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation — is now open source and making its code available.

Free State Foundation hits FCC’s 'flawed' local broadband plans: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s claim that the commission can step in to block state laws banning municipal broadband companies is “flawed from both a policy and legal perspective,” Free State Foundation President Randolph May wrote in an op-ed on The Hill.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

CIA officials improperly hacked the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers as staffers compiled a report on “enhanced interrogation” techniques, the spy agency’s inspector general has concluded.  

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) on Thursday called for CIA Director John Brennan to resign after the agency admitted that officials had spied on Senate staffers’ computers.  

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is looking for tougher rules to keep bogus charges off of consumers' cellphone bills.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called on the Senate to pass a short-term extension of a ban on Internet access taxes.  

French telecommunications company Iliad has made an offer to purchase T-Mobile.

 

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