Overnight Tech: House voting on Internet rate bill despite veto threat

LEDE: The House on Friday will vote on a bill to bar the Federal Communications Commission from setting or reviewing the rates companies charge for Internet service.

House passage might be as far as the legislation goes, since the White House has already issued a veto threat against it. The FCC says it has no intention of regulating the monthly rates customers pay for Internet service under net neutrality rules. Democrats are concerned the bill could instead kneecap much of the agency's rules and other consumer protection authority.

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Democrats will be allowed to offer three amendments that would clarify that the legislation would not affect the FCC's ability to act in the public interest, to deploy Internet service for poor people or to require disclosure filings from TV and radio companies.

While the bill is expected to be approved by Republicans in a mainly partyline vote, it will be interesting to see which, if any, Democrats cross over. A small group of Democrats were previously hesitant about the strict authority the FCC used to create its net neutrality rules. Here is the bill, the amendments and the White House veto threat.

TECH SUBCOMMITTEE TO MARK UP SEVEN BILLS: The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on Tuesday will mark up the seven bills it considered at a legislative hearing yesterday. Among them is a measure that would put a hard $1.5 billion yearly cap on the Lifeline program, but the slate also includes an anti-swatting bill and several related to public safety. The anti-swatting bill would crack down on those who call in fake threats to police with the intent of sending law enforcement into someone's home. There was some debate at the hearing as to whether a bill mandating that wireless carriers hand over location data in emergency situations needed more privacy protections, so it's worth watching to see if that gets any traction.

COINCIDENCE?: Microsoft says it is just a coincidence that the timing of its Justice Department lawsuit over the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) announced Thursday lined up nearly perfectly with the House Judiciary Committee's passage of an ECPA reform a day earlier. The lawsuit and legislation partially overlap, but many of the changes to gag orders that Microsoft is looking for with its lawsuit are not included in the House bill slated for floor action at the end of the month.  Here's more on Microsoft's lawsuit and more on the email privacy bill.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION IS EXPENSIVE: The University of California at Davis paid consultants at least $175,000 to help manage its online presence and attempt to bury references to the 2011 incident in which an officer pepper-sprayed a protester there, which generated tons of negative media attention. The Sacramento Bee uncovered the story using documents obtained by open records laws. A search on Thursday for UC Davis on Google turned up a series of links to official pages from the university and a number of news stories about the search engine optimization payments.

FCC COMMISSIONER TO START LISTENING TOUR: Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn plans to begin a national tour over the next few months to meet with people about the challenges of bringing strong and affordable phone and Internet service around the country. She will visit a number of areas, including health care facilities, startups, jails and prisons, tribal land and 911 call centers, among others.

TASKRABBIT GETS NEW CEO: Recode notes that the new CEO of TaskRabbit, Stacy Brown-Philpot, will be one of the only black women to be a top executive at a major valley firm. "I deserve this job and I am going to take the opportunity to lead," the new chief executive told the outlet. She was formerly the on-demand economy company's chief operating officer.

UPTON MUM ON FANTASY SPORTS WITNESSES: House E&C chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said that next month's hearing on fantasy sports would include "comprehensive" testimony but that he didn't know yet which witnesses would be called to testify. To read more about the upcoming hearing, click here.

ICYMI: SICK BERN: Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE yesterday, after being criticized by the CEOs of GE and Verizon: "I welcome their contempt."

 

ON TAP:

At 9 a.m., the House will begin debating a bill to ban the FCC from regulating broadband rates.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

A congressional panel will hold a long-awaited hearing on the legal status of daily fantasy sports next month.

Microsoft sued the Justice Department on Thursday, asking a federal court to strike down a law that gives the government the authority to prevent technology companies from telling their customers when their data is handed over to authorities.

Apple has hired the National Football League's top lobbyist to run its policy apparatus in the Americas, a spokesman confirmed on Thursday.

General Motors has hired a series of lobbyists to push its case for self-driving vehicles to lawmakers and regulators.

The White House has named the CEO of Mastercard and the former director of the National Security Agency to a special commission dedicated to bolstering the nation's cybersecurity defenses.

 

 

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