Overnight Tech: FCC commissioner poised to get new term

LEDE: Jessica Rosenworcel appears poised to win easy Senate approval for a new term on the Federal Communications Commission. 

Aside from a handful of tough questions on net neutrality, the collection of enforcement fines and timely responses to Congress, the Democratic commissioner emerged from a re-nomination hearing with praise from lawmakers. 

"I don't foresee any reasons why she wouldn't move," Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said after the hearing. 

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Commission nominees usually move to the floor in pairs. A recent Republican opening at the Federal Trade Commission could be that match, but a new nominee has yet to be named. 

FCC nominations also usually move by unanimous consent, giving individual senators increased leverage to hold up passage for issues unrelated to the nomination. Rosenworcel, who previously served on the committee staff, was held up for about seven months when she was first confirmed back in 2012. However, there is no rush this time around as Rosenworcel already has a seat on the commission.

UBER UNVEILS POLICY BLOG: Uber's public policy team is promising to give people a peek "under the hood" with periodic updates through Medium. Betsy Masiello, Uber's director of policy and communications, said the blog would feature insights on the future of work, regulation, and service for underserved people. It will also try to explain how the company works -- from earnings figures for drivers to details on how surge pricing works. 

NELSON HOLDING OFF ON SELF-DRIVING CAR TEST DRIVE: Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.), the ranking Democrat on the Commerce Committee, said he was recently impressed by some of the automatic driving safety features included in a car during a recent trip to Detroit. However, he said he is not quite ready personally for autonomous vehicles. "Now I'm not sure that I am ready to get into a car that drives itself, but that application of spectrum was very instructive, and I think very optimistic how we might use spectrum in the future," he said during a hearing. 

ITI APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF BUDGET AGREEMENT: Some technology groups applauded House passage of a government funding agreement. The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) said that adding "fiscal certainty to the federal marketplace is good news for technology and IT products."

'DRONE SLAYER' TRIUMPHS: A Kentucky judge dismissed a case against a man who shot down a drone hovering over his property. "I think it's credible testimony that his drone was hovering from anywhere, for two or three times over these people's property, that it was an invasion of their privacy and that they had the right to shoot this drone," the judge said.

ON TAP:

At 9:30 a.m., New America is holding an event on the sharing economy. 

At noon, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation will hold a talk on crafting a compromise on net neutrality rules. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: 

A bipartisan budget deal unveiled this week includes a small provision that would allow government debt collectors to robocall mobile phones to help pressure people to pay up.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the company's controversial Internet.org project while in India on Wednesday, saying it could help connect parts of the country that otherwise wouldn't have access to the Internet.

A decision on whether to start tacking Universal Service fees onto Internet customers' bills has been delayed amid ongoing litigation over net neutrality rules, according to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member.

roster of high-powered attorneys on both sides of the net neutrality debate will face a panel of three judges next month that includes some influential and familiar faces. 

House lawmakers are divided over whether social media companies such as Twitter are responsible for the flood of extremist propaganda that can wash over their sites.

 

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