Overnight Tech: Senate tees up Internet tax ban

LEDE: The Senate on Thursday is expected to pass a customs bill containing a provision to indefinitely extend a state and local ban on taxing customers' payments for Internet service.

After passing the House, the legislation has been held up for a few months in the Senate with some opponents promising to use a procedural move to strip out the Internet tax language.

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Those critics wanted to use the tax ban as a vehicle to pass more controversial legislation, which would give states the authority to tax their residents' online purchases even when those purchases are made from retailers outside the state.

Hoping to strike a deal and pass the customs bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell expects Paul to return to Senate next week Former Hill staff calls for mandatory harassment training Gaming the odds of any GOP tax bill getting signed into law MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday assured lawmakers that he would allow for separate consideration of that proposal, known as the Marketplace Fairness Act, "sometime this year."

SENATE CLEARS KEY PRIVACY BILL: The Senate approved the Judicial Redress Act, a key priority for tech, late on Tuesday. The bill has been closely watched against the backdrop of data privacy talks between the U.S. and the European Union. The Hill's Katie Bo Williams has more here.

THUNE CAUTIOUS ON CABLE BOX REFORM: Senate Commerce Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneOvernight Tech: Senate panel subpoenaed ex-Yahoo chief | Twitter gives all users 280 characters | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | EU wants tax answers from Apple Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Former Yahoo CEO subpoenaed to appear before Congress MORE (R-S.D.) said that he didn't "have a strong view one way or another" on the set-top box item the FCC will vote on this month. But he also expressed skepticism that such action was necessary. "I don't have a strong view on what they're doing other than I think the best innovations we've seen in that world, the video marketplace, have been things where the government hasn't had to wade into it," he said. "So I think in a lot of these cases, less is better. And I understand kind of what the FCC is attempting to do, they think they're following through on the 1996 law, but I think this is one of those places where the market is working."

SPECTRUM REFORM COMING THIS WEEK?: Thune (R-S.D.) also said on Tuesday morning that he and ranking member Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Tech: Senate panel subpoenaed ex-Yahoo chief | Twitter gives all users 280 characters | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | EU wants tax answers from Apple Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Former Yahoo CEO subpoenaed to appear before Congress MORE (D-Fla.) hope to introduce their spectrum reform bill, the MOBILE NOW Act, this week. "Ranking Member Bill Nelson and I are close to finalizing the details of the MOBILE NOW Act, and we hope to be able to introduce the bipartisan bill this week," he said at an event hosted by CTIA. "Our colleagues in the House are also working on their own wireless legislation, and I am confident we should be able to marry up our efforts and enact a good, bipartisan, pro-growth bill."

BUT DON'T EXPECT SOMETHING FROM THE HOUSE RIGHT AWAY: House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) indicated that the panel will eye the upcoming incentive auction before taking action on spectrum reform legislation. "I think we're going to wait to see how this auction goes, and then we'll probably have a hearing and then we'll see where it takes us," Upton said.

DAILY FANTASY SPORTS HEARING IN THE WORKS? House E&C is also playing with the idea of doing a field hearing, "maybe in New Jersey," on the daily fantasy sports industry, Upton said. The issue has home state implications for ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) because of an ongoing fight over whether to legalize sports betting in the state. But Upton cautioned that while it's an idea that's been discussed -- it's far from certain. "Nothing's been set yet," he said. "It's not in cement."

500 STARTUPS HIRES FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PARTNER: 500 Startups, the tech accelerator based in Silicon Valley, has hired its first African-American venture partner in Monique Woodard. "We have to diversify who's going out there and finding companies and who's writing the checks," Woodard, the executive director of Black Founders, told USA Today, who broke the story of her hiring. 500 Startups manages investments in tech companies.

CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE SECURITY: The federal government is working with a number of technology companies on an awareness campaign to promote multi-factor authentication and to encourage more customers to use the security feature, the White House said Tuesday. Through the National Cybersecurity Alliance, technology companies are working to bring greater visibility to security features that are already in place.

TWITTER ESTABLISHES SAFETY COUNCIL TO DEAL WITH ABUSE: Twitter announced on Tuesday that they are forming a "Trust and Safety Council" to help them deal with issues of abuse on their platform. "As we develop products, policies, and programs, our Trust & Safety Council will help us tap into the expertise and input of organizations at the intersection of these issues more efficiently and quickly," the company said in a blog post. Members of the (large) group include GLAAD, the Anti-Defamation League and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

 

ON TAP:

At 10 a.m., the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will consider a number of bills, including the "Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act of 2016."

At 11:00 a.m., the Cato Institute will hold a forum on intellectual property.

At 3 p.m., the Innovation Alliance will hand out awards to Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteTrump voter fraud panel member fights back against critics Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Stale, misguided, divisive: minimum wage can't win elections MORE (R-N.H.) and Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsMcConnell: 'I don't hear much pressure' to pass bill protecting Mueller from Trump Bipartisan lawmakers can rebuild trust by passing infusion therapy bill Democrats double down on calls for Congress to protect Mueller MORE (D-Del.).

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

The Sunlight Foundation's tool to catch and save the deleted tweets of lawmakers and political candidates is back online in the United States.

President Obama's $4 billion plan to help fund computer science classes in schools calls for $40 million in funding in 2017, with yearly spending quickly escalating for the next five years.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) create new security risks for the United States, a top intelligence official told Congress on Tuesday.

Congress spent at least $288 million on technology services in 2014, according to an analysis by the OpenGov Foundation released Tuesday.

France's privacy regulator on Monday threatened to fine Facebook Inc. if it doesn't change some of its data tracking practices and halt transatlantic transfers under a recently invalidated data flow agreement.

 

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