Overnight Tech: FCC eyes cybersecurity role | More trouble for spectrum auction | Google seeks 'conservative outreach' director

Overnight Tech: FCC eyes cybersecurity role  | More trouble for spectrum auction | Google seeks 'conservative outreach' director
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FCC EYES CYBERSECURITY: Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Dem lawmaker wants briefing on major chip vulnerabilities Week ahead: Tech giants to testify on extremist content MORE (D-Va.) is hailing the FCC, for what he sees as a framework for the incoming Trump administration to address the security of the so-called Internet of Things.

Warner had pressed the Federal Communications Commission for answers on the recent Mirai Botnet attack that used internet-connected devices to take down a number of major websites. The attack, which happened last month, took down major websites like The New York Times, Airbnb and Twitter and theoretically could occur again, should someone rent the necessary bandwidth using the open source Mirai Botnet.


On Monday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler responded to Warner's questions and floated the possibility that regulations could help beef up the security of the Internet of Things.

"[W]e cannot rely solely on the market incentives of ISP to fully address the risk of malevolent cyber activities," Wheeler wrote.

"Cyber-accountability therefore requires a combination of market-based incentives and appropriate regulatory oversight where the market does not, or cannot, do the job effectively," Wheeler continued in the letter, justifying potential FCC action on improving cybersecurity.

Warner on Monday hailed the FCC's response.

"The Commission's response to my questions validates my concerns about the risk of crippling cyberattacks made easier through connected consumer appliances and wirelessly connected household devices," Sen. Warner said. "The FCC chairman confirms that internet service providers already have the authority – if not the responsibility – to protect their networks by blocking malicious and harmful traffic.

While Wheeler noted that cybersecurity was a "top priority," the FCC will likely face tumult in the coming months and it's unclear where cyber security will fit into the commission's myriad of concerns.

A Trump-appointed Republican will almost certainly replace Wheeler as FCC commissioner. The three AEI affiliated experts who have spots on Trump's FCC landing team all have a history of critiquing net neutrality. Most speculation by experts has assumed that this will be their initial focus.

FCC Trump landing team member Jeffrey Eisenach has expressed a serious interest for improving cybersecurity, but it's unclear if that will translate into FCC action in the new administration. Eisenach and fellow FCC landing team member Mark Jamison, have a history of aggressively opposing regulation.

But Warner saw Wheeler's remarks as opening a door.

"The FCC chairman confirms that internet service providers already have the authority – if not the responsibility – to protect their networks by blocking malicious and harmful traffic."

Whether or not the next FCC chairman will agree is unclear.

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DEMS REMAIN IN CONTROL?: Some conservative groups are wary that Democrats could manage to retain control of the FCC, despite a Republican winning the White House, reports Inside Sources. Conservative tech groups penned a letter to Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE and Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle MORE warning that reconfirming Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel before Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler steps down could lead to Democrats unexpectedly retaining control of the FCC. Rosenworcel needs to receive confirmation before the end of the year to stay at the FCC and, while Wheeler is likely to resign, he can still stay on as a Commissioner until 2016.

THIRD TIME IS NOT THE CHARM: The third FCC spectrum auction failed to draw enough bids, reports the Wall Street Journal. The process will now move into its fourth stage as the FCC attempts to get major telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T to purchase licenses currently being used by television broadcasters. The auction's prices have declined as each one has failed to produce a sufficient amount of bids. The FCC had initially agreed to spend $84.6 billion for licenses. That number is now down to $40.3 billion.

SEARCHING FOR CONSERVATIVES: Google is looking for a "conservative outreach" manager after Trump's win reports Bloomberg.

"As a member of Google's Public Policy outreach team, you will act as Google's liaison to conservative, libertarian and free market groups," the listing reads. "You are part organizer, part advocate and part policy wonk as you understand the world of third-party non-governmental advocacy organizations."


The FCC Disability Advisory Committee is holding a meeting on the Internet of Things and other tech matters at 9:00 a.m.

The Heritage Foundation is hosting a panel of speakers on American intellectual property protections abroad at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation is holding a lunch briefing on Tuesday at 12:00 p.m. on quantum computing.

The Federal Communications Bar Association will hold a seminar on the FCC's lifeline rules on Monday at 6:00 p.m.


The White House announced a new initiative to bolster computer science education in the U.S.

The top bank regulator in the U.S. said that financial tech companies could soon apply for charters which would give them a path to earn approval from each state they operate in but subject them to strict federal bank regulations.

In a letter to the NHTSA, Apple came one step closer to acknowledging its secretive, but thinly veiled autonomous car project.

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ Democrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration Trump’s first year in office was the year of the woman MORE's Commission on Cybersecurity released its final report on Friday.