Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found

Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found
© Greg Nash

STATES SUE FCC OVER NET NEUTRALITY REPEAL: Twenty-two state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the agency's repeal of its net neutrality rules.

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"An open internet -- and the free exchange of ideas it allows -- is critical to our democratic process," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) said in a statement. "The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers -- allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online."

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday afternoon in the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

The FCC voted last month to scrap the Obama-era rules governing how internet service providers handle web traffic, sparking intense backlash.

The state officials were joined by the web company Mozilla and consumer groups including Public Knowledge in petitioning the court. They argued the FCC's move was "arbitrary and capricious" and violated the Administrative Procedures Act.

The Obama-era rules prohibited internet service providers from blocking or throttling legitimate traffic or creating fast lanes for websites to buy.

Republicans like FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argue the rules were heavy-handed and unnecessary and that antitrust and consumer protection laws already on the books are sufficient to prevent broadband companies from abusing their power.

But net neutrality supporters say the rules are essential to maintaining a level playing field on the internet.

"Internet access is a utility -- just like water and electricity," Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraColorado joins states adopting stricter vehicle emissions standard Overnight Energy: New controversies cap rough week for Pruitt | Trump 'not happy about certain things' with Pruitt | EPA backtracks on suspending pesticide rule EPA backpedals on suspending pesticide rule following lawsuit MORE, California's Democratic attorney general, said in a statement. "And every consumer has a right to access online content without interference or manipulation by their internet service provider."

Read more here.

 

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DEMS NEED ONE MORE VOTE FOR NET NEUTRALITY BILL: Senate Democrats have put together 50 votes for a measure meant to block the Federal Communications Commission's December decision to end net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration.

Democrats are just one GOP vote shy of the 51-vote threshold for a Senate resolution of disapproval, which would strike down the FCC's December rules change.

"With full caucus support," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan Selling government assets would be a responsible move in infrastructure deal Ignore the naysayers trying to disrupt US diplomacy with North Korea MORE (D-N.Y.) said, "it's clear that Democrats are committed to fighting to keep the internet from becoming the Wild West where ISPs are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers while average consumers are left with far inferior options."

The Democrats' effort won the support of its first Republican backer, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsActress Marcia Gay Harden urges Congress to boost Alzheimer's funding 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families Trump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril MORE (Maine), last Tuesday.

The measure, if it passes the Senate, faces a murky future as it would have to pass the GOP-held House and get President TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations MORE's signature to go into effect.

Lawmakers have a window of 60 days from the FCC's December 14 decision to repeal the new regulations under the Congressional Review Act.

Read more here.

 

DEMS PUSH APPLE FOR ANSWERS ON PHONE SLOWDOWNS, KIDS' HEALTH

A group of Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Robin KellyRobin Lynne KellyLawmakers sound alarm over Amazon face recognition software Dem letter calls for rolling back move targeting drug companies Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers weigh in after Texas school shooting MORE (D-Ill.) are pushing Apple to provide more answers on how its products can negatively affect consumers.

In a letter, Kelly, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, asked Apple to provide more insight into smartphone addiction among children who use its products. The letter also asked for information about actions the company is taking to curb the Spectre and Meltdown chip vulnerabilities and how Apple slowed down its phones without letting consumers know.

House Energy and Commerce Committee members Reps. Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeAmazon adopts NFL rule to boost diversity on its board Black, Hispanic lawmakers hammer Amazon directors' opposition to diversity rule 'Diamond & Silk' offer chance for bipartisan push back on social media censorship MORE (D-N.Y.) and Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyStudents press Congress for action on guns Overnight Finance: Mulvaney remark on lobbyists stuns Washington | Macron takes swipe at Trump tariffs | Conservatives eye tax cut on capital gains | Gillibrand unveils post office banking bill | GOP chairman pushes banks on gun policies Overnight Tech: Highlights from Zuckerberg's second day of testimony | Trump signs anti-sex trafficking bill | Cambridge Analytica interim CEO steps down | IBM stops advertising on Laura Ingraham's show MORE (D-Ill.), as well as Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Bonnie Watson ColemanBonnie Watson ColemanAmazon adopts NFL rule to boost diversity on its board Black, Hispanic lawmakers hammer Amazon directors' opposition to diversity rule Apple tells senator it may give rebates to consumers who bought iPhone batteries MORE (D-N.J.), Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeDeVos grilled on civil rights for students Farm bill abandons endangered wildlife House rejects effort to condemn lawmaker for demanding 'Dreamer' arrests MORE (D-Ohio) and Marc VeaseyMarc Allison VeaseyHouse Dems launch '18 anti-poverty tour How much collateral damage will there be in the 2018 midterms? Armed Services chair: US should be 'alert' about Russian mercenaries in Syria MORE (D-Texas), signed the letter.

The group's letter addresses issues that have created public relations headaches for Apple in recent weeks.

Read more here.

 

POLL: MOST AMERICANS UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT SHARING ROADS WITH DRIVERLESS CARS: A recent poll found that a majority of Americans are worried about operating cars on the same roads as driverless vehicles.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they are concerned about sharing the streets with driverless vehicles, according to a poll from Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety.

Thirty-four percent of Americans surveyed said they were not concerned, while 2 percent of those polled said they did not know.

Results of the survey come after the House last year passed the bipartisan Self Drive Act, meant to speed up the development of driverless vehicles and provide a set of federal laws for the technology.

Read more here.

 

LAWMAKERS REPORTEDLY PUSHING AT&T TO ABANDON HUAWEI: Lawmakers are pushing AT&T to sever its ties with Chinese phone company Huawei and to reject telecommunications company China Mobile Ltd.'s plans to break into the U.S. market, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The move, which congressional aides said is motivated by national security concerns, comes amid mounting pressure from the government to curb Chinese firms' entry into U.S. markets.

Earlier in January, AT&T scrapped a plan to offer Huawei phones following pressure from lawmakers. The government also recently blocked several attempted Chinese acquisitions of U.S. companies.

Read more here.

 

RESEARCHERS IDENTIFY ANDROID MALWARE: Kaspersky Lab on Tuesday sounded the alarm about the discovery of highly advanced surveillance software that it said can infiltrate Android mobile devices and gather "targeted" information without users' consent.

Researchers at the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm described the spyware, named Skygofree, as a sophisticated mobile implant "designed for targeted cyber-surveillance" that can be potentially used as an "offensive security" product.

"Skygofree is a sophisticated, multi-stage spyware that gives attackers full remote control of an infected device," the company said in a Tuesday press release.

Skygofree, which has been active since 2014, could allow hackers to listen in on conversations if mobile phones are in certain locations.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP:

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing about terrorist content on social media featuring testimony from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at 10:00 a.m.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will hold a hearing on NASA commercial systems crew development at 10:00 a.m.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will continue its webinar series on broadband connectivity at 2:00 p.m.

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on federal cybersecurity at 2:00 p.m.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Net neutrality advocates look to states after FCC repeal

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Media industry braces for Facebook changes

Bloomberg: Apple supplier workers describe noxious hazards at China factory

Wired: Free speech, tech turmoil, and the new censorship

Gizmodo: Google's fact checking widget