Overnight Tech: Hatch to unveil 'Innovation Agenda' | GOP lawmaker targets internet privacy rules | Yahoo warns of further breach

Overnight Tech: Hatch to unveil 'Innovation Agenda' | GOP lawmaker targets internet privacy rules | Yahoo warns of further breach
© Greg Nash

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Utah governor calls Bannon a 'bigot' after attacks on Romney MORE (R-Utah), the chairman of the Senate High-Tech task force, is unveiling his "Innovation Agenda for the 115th Congress" Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

A release announcing the event said that topics would include spurring tech investment via tax reform, and fostering an "open Internet."

A spokesperson for Hatch said the senator intends to unveil both legislative priorities and work that he intends to do on the executive side with President Trump on issues important to technology companies.

"There will be discussion of the legislative side, specifically bills that will be offered and a realistic view of how we get the Trump administration to work with us," the spokesperson said.

Craig Albright, Vice President of Legislative Strategy at BSA, The Software Alliance said that he expects Hatch to also reveal plans regarding highly skilled immigration and H-1B visas.

"[Hatch's] approach is also constructive because we've also suggested high skilled visa issues should be accomplished with strong support for strong computer science education to build up the pipeline with American workers."

ADVERTISEMENT
The tech industry is a big supporter of the visas for high-skilled workers, but Trump may be planning moves to restrict the program.

A Republican Senate aide confirmed that high skilled immigration paired with "a STEM [science, tech, engineering, math] education component," is expected to be brought up at the event.

Albright also said he anticipated Hatch would bring up issues on intellectual property and international law enforcement cooperation.

Albright's group, BSA, is one of several organizations that met with Hatch last week to discuss intellectual property reform, data privacy and high-skilled immigration.

Other groups or companies that met with Hatch included Apple, Amazon, Oracle, Cisco, Qualcomm, The Information Technology Industry Council and The Internet Association.

A Senate aide said "stakeholders were able to weigh in with what they considered their priorities legislatively" at the meetings with Hatch last week.

 

Please send your tips, comments and constructive criticism to Ali Breland (abreland@thehill.com) and Harper Neidig (hneidig@thehill.com) and follow us on Twitter: @alibreland@hneidig  and @HilliconValley.

 

BROADBAND PRIVACY BILL IN THE LEGISLATIVE PIPELINE: Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Sasse: RNC help for Roy Moore 'doesn't make any sense' Sasse calls RNC decision to resume support for Moore 'bad' and 'sad' MORE (R-Ariz.) says that he is going to introduce a resolution to block the FCC's broadband privacy rules. Flake says the effort to block the rules under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) could come in the next few weeks.

"The FCC's midnight regulation does nothing to protect consumer privacy," Flake said in a statement provided to The Hill. "It is unnecessary, confusing and adds yet another innovation-stifling regulation to the internet. My legislation is the first step toward restoring the FTC's light-touch, consumer-friendly approach. It will not change or lessen existing consumer privacy protections. It empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared. It has strong and growing support in both the Senate and the House, and I look forward to introducing it soon."

Republicans plan to use the CRA to roll back a host of Obama-era regulations. The law allows rules to be blocked within 60 legislative days with only a majority in both chambers.

 

FCC REACHES $9.1M SETTLEMENT: The Federal Communications Commission reached a $9.1 million settlement over improper billing charges with two companies that provide telecom services for the hearing and speech impaired.

In addition to a fine, the companies, Purple Communications and CSDVRS, will comply with a 5-year FCC compliance plan and repay an FCC fund that subsidizes those telecom services.

The two companies are both telecommunications relay services (TRS), which allow individuals with hearing or seeing problems to make and place phone calls.

Read more here.

 

SOFTBANK TARGETS INVESTMENT FIRM: Technology giant SoftBank is planning to buy Fortress Investment Group, a U.S. private equity firm valued at $70 billion, according to The New York Times. In December, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son met with President Trump and announced a $50 billion investment in the U.S.

 

DATE SET FOR NEXT STAGE OF SPECTRUM AUCTION: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will kick off the next stage of its auction of wireless spectrum on March 6, the agency announced in a notice posted online Tuesday.

In the so-called assignment phase, winning bidders from earlier rounds will now bid on specific frequencies.

The short delay before beginning the auction will allow the agency to run practice sessions later this month so that bidders can familiarize themselves with the process.

The FCC said it is aiming to wrap up the auction stage on March 30.

Read more here.

 

MORE TROUBLE FOR YAHOO ACCOUNTS: Yahoo issued a new warning to customers on Wednesday, informing them that their personal information may have been compromised in a data breach revealed last year. "Based on the ongoing investigation, we believe a forged cookie may have been used in 2015 or 2016 to access your account," the alert, first reported by the Associated Press, read. The Hill's Morgan Chalfant has more here.

The disclosure came on the same day as reports that Verizon is looking to lower the purchase price of its planned acquisition of Yahoo.

 

ON TAP:

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation hosts an event on retraining the workforce for tech jobs at 10 a.m.

The FCC will hold a webinar on dealing with robocalls at 1 p.m.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Bloomberg reports that Uber is buying back stock from its employees

New clues into how FBI cracked the iPhone

Conway: 'I don't know who' had access to Twitter account

FBI sounds alarm over rise in cyber 'romance scams'

Russian-speaking hacker breached HUD, security firm says

GOP reps demand investigation of EPA employees using encrypted chat