Overnight Tech: Senate looks at self-driving trucks | Facebook to keep ads off fake news | House panel calls Equifax CEO to testify

Overnight Tech: Senate looks at self-driving trucks | Facebook to keep ads off fake news | House panel calls Equifax CEO to testify
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SENATE PANEL LOOKS AT SELF-DRIVING TRUCKS: Senators are wrestling with whether to include trucks in a congressional effort to speed up the deployment of self-driving vehicles.

The issue has been holding up the final release of Senate legislation to enhance driverless vehicles, with Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenators share their fascination with sharks at hearing Helsinki summit becomes new flashpoint for GOP anger Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash MORE (R-S.D.), Gary PetersGary Charles PetersThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments Dem senator: Kavanaugh sides with 'wealthiest special interests' Judge on Trump shortlist boasts stint on Michigan's high court MORE (D-Mich.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonElection security bill picks up new support in Senate Senators share their fascination with sharks at hearing Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds MORE (D-Fla.) instead releasing a discussion draft last week that still has major gaps that need to be filled in.

Trucking is one of the primary industries expected to be largely transformed by automated vehicles, with companies like Uber already jumping into the long-haul driverless trucking space.

But there has been widespread concern that the emerging technology could threaten millions of trucking jobs around the country.

"Trucks are different than automobiles. One of those differences deals with the employment," Peters said at a Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on Wednesday. "It's the top job in over 20 states. We need to think very carefully about the impact."

Bill sponsors said they hoped to gather more input on Wednesday about whether to include commercial motor vehicles in their driverless car bill or whether to address trucks in separate legislation. The committee has held hearings on automated vehicles this year, but none have touched on highly automated trucks and buses.

A House-passed bill establishing a federal framework to govern self-driving vehicles only included cars, because the committee that wrote the legislation did not have jurisdiction over trucks.

Read more here, from our colleague Melanie Zanona.


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FACEBOOK OVERHAULS ADS: Facebook is implementing new standards for content makers looking to earn ad revenue from the social network, explicitly excluding "misinformation and false news" sites.

"Those who share content that repeatedly violates our Content Guidelines for Monetization, share clickbait or sensationalism, or post misinformation and false news may be ineligible or may lose their eligibility to monetize," wrote Nick Grudin, vice president of media partnerships, in a blog post Wednesday.

Facebook came under fire after the 2016 election for not doing more to prevent the spread of "fake news," intentionally inaccurate, viral sites that capitalized on partisan discord and news stories spun far from the truth.

Read more here.


GOOGLE CRITICS LAUNCH NEW GROUP: A group of antitrust experts has launched their own independent organization after they were pushed out of the New America think tank two weeks after raising criticisms of Google.

The new group is called the Open Markets Institute, and its goal is "to protect this country's economy and democracy from corporate monopolies that undermine opportunity, competition, choice, and -- as we have now personally experienced -- freedom of expression."

Open Markets is headed by Barry Lynn, the former New America scholar whose praise of the European Union's decision to fine Google $2.7 billion for antitrust violations led to a clash with New America president Anne-Marie Slaughter.

Read more here.


21ST CENTURY FOX BACKS SEX TRAFFICKING BILL: 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, announced Wednesday its support of a bill aimed at countering online sex trafficking.

In a letter to Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBipartisan bill would bring needed funds to deteriorating National Park Service infrastructure The Memo: Trump allies hope he can turn the page from Russian fiasco Trump seeks to quell Russia furor MORE (R-Ohio) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), sponsors of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017, the company said that it strongly backs the bill and slammed critics of the legislation for resorting "to hyperbole and scare tactics."

"As a company that could benefit from legal protections afforded in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, we are confident the narrow and tailored legislation that you have proposed will appropriately target bad actors participating in this illegal activity, and immediately serve to protect the most vulnerable among us from predatory sex traffickers," 21st Century Fox wrote in their letter to the lawmakers.

Read more here.


HOUSE COMMERCE CALLS EQUIFAX CEO TO TESTIFY: The CEO of the credit reporting company at the center of a massive cybersecurity scandal has been called to testify before congressional lawmakers at the beginning of October.

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Equifax CEO Richard Smith on Wednesday formally requesting his testimony before members of the committee on October 3.

Smith will testify before members of the subcommittee focused on digital commerce and consumer protection. He had already agreed to testify before the lawmakers, but the letter represents a formal notification of his invitation to appear before the committee.

Read more here.



FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will testify on the Lifeline program before the Senate Homeland Security Committee at 10 a.m.



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