Overnight Tech: House votes to reauthorize surveillance powers | Twitter on defensive after Project Veritas video | Senate panel to hold hearing on bitcoin

Overnight Tech: House votes to reauthorize surveillance powers | Twitter on defensive after Project Veritas video | Senate panel to hold hearing on bitcoin
© Greg Nash

HOUSE VOTES TO RENEW SURVEILLANCE AUTHORITIES: In a victory for the Trump administration, the House on Thursday approved legislation to renew government surveillance powers while voting down new limits on how authorities can use the information that is collected.

Just a few hours before the vote, President TrumpDonald John TrumpBrennan fires new shot at Trump: ‘He’s drunk on power’ Trump aides discussed using security clearance revocations to distract from negative stories: report Trump tried to dissuade Melania from 'Be Best' anti-bullying campaign: report MORE roiled the waters by sending out a tweet that appeared to contradict his own administration's opposition to the changes, which were offered by Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashTreasury retweets Trump, possibly violating campaign law Record numbers of women nominated for governor, Congress Watchdog files Hatch Act violation complaints against 10 Trump administration officials MORE (R-Mich.).

That amendment failed by a vote of 233-183.

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"'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.' This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?" Trump tweeted.

The White House had said it supported the underlying surveillance bill but strongly opposed Amash's amendment.

Trump later clarified that he "has personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land."

After rejecting Amash's amendment, the House passed an underlying bill backed by members of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees that renewed the NSA's warrantless surveillance program with just a few small changes.

The bill, passed by a vote of 256-164, now heads to the Senate, which is expected to swiftly take up and pass the measure before the surveillance program expires on Jan. 19.

Read more here.

 

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TWITTER DENIES BIAS AFTER PROJECT VERITAS VIDEO: Twitter is maintaining its commitment to imposing company rules "without bias" after an undercover video purported to show an employee saying he would turn over President Trump's tweets and direct messages to the Department of Justice.

"We deplore the deceptive and underhanded tactics by which this footage was obtained and selectively edited to fit a pre-determined narrative," a spokesperson for the social media platform said to the International Business Times.

"Twitter is committed to enforcing our rules without bias and empowering every voice on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules."

Read more here.

 

SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE TO HOLD BITCOIN HEARING: The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing with top financial regulators in early February examining the implications of bitcoin.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Christopher Giancarlo and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton will testify before the committee at the hearing, a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to The Hill.

Both agencies have largely not taken firm regulatory action on bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies over the past several months, but have issued warnings to investors about digital currencies in recent months.

Read more here.

 

FCC DELAYS SINCLAIR-TRIBUNE REVIEW: The Federal Communications Commission is again delaying its review of Sinclair Broadcast Group's acquisition of Tribune Media.

The FCC revealed on Thursday that it would be pausing its informal 180-day "shot clock" for the merger so that Sinclair can consider selling off some of its assets.

Michelle Carey, the FCC's media bureau chief, made the announcement in a letter to Sinclair's attorneys, saying that the pause went into effect on January 4.

Carey said that the decision came after FCC officials met with Sinclair executives that day to discuss the merger and a separate review by the Justice Department.

Read more here.

 

EQUIFAX DOMINATING CONSUMER BUREAU COMPLAINTS: Equifax was the subject of more consumer bureau complaints than any other financial services company in all but one state in 2017, according to an analysis of agency data published Thursday.

In every state but North Dakota, more residents complained to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) about the credit reporting company than any other firm.

The analysis is according to LendEDU, a financial resources website, which compiled the most frequently appearing companies in the CFPB's Consumer Complaint Database. The database tracks and -- to the ire of the finance industry -- publishes every complaint received by the CFPB about a bank or financial services company.

Read more here.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Daily Beast: Top U.S. government computers linked to revenge-porn site

Axios: Silicon Valley "sex party" was at Steve Jurvetson's home

WSJ: Bitcoin plunges as South Korea crafts cryptocurrency crackdown

The Outline: Are scammers invading Dogecoin again?

Bloomberg: Shareholders press Twitter, Facebook on sexual harassment