OVERNIGHT TECH: Senate aides negotiate over FCC nominees

THE LEDE: Staffers for Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) met on Monday to discuss President Obama’s stalled nominees to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), according to a Senate aide.

This was their first meeting on the nominations since negotiations in December. The staffers did not reach an agreement, but a Grassley spokeswoman said the discussion is “ongoing.”

{mosads}Rockefeller’s Commerce Committee unanimously recommended Ajit Pai and Jessica Rosenworcel in December, but Grassley has blocked their nominations from coming to a vote in the full Senate.

He is demanding that the FCC release internal documents on its review of wireless company LightSquared before lifting his hold. The FCC granted LightSquared a conditional waiver last year to launch a nationwide 4G wireless service, but officials now plan to block the network after tests showed it would disrupt GPS devices.

Grassley questions why the agency allowed LightSquared to get as far as it did in the regulatory process.

Top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee demanded the LightSquared documents from the FCC on Tuesday. The agency is more likely to comply with their request because the committee has jurisdiction over the FCC.

In a statement Tuesday, Grassley indicated he would be willing to lift his hold if he gets the FCC documents from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The five-member commission has been operating with three members since the beginning of this year.

Dems question ad companies over tracking Apple users: Top Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to three online advertising companies on Tuesday, questioning the companies’ tracking of Apple Safari users in violation of the Web browser’s privacy settings.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Google and several ad companies were tracking Safari users. 

Google officials explained that they installed a temporary cookie to allow users to interact with the company’s “+1” button on sites and ads, but this feature caused Safari to accept other tracking files from Google’s ad network. Google said the tracking was inadvertent and that the problem was fixed.

Lawmakers have grilled Google over the issue, but the lesser known ad companies that also tracked users, Media Innovation Group, PointRoll and Vibrant Media, have avoided the same level of scrutiny.

In the letter, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) asked the ad companies to explain how and why they were tracking users. 


President Obama signed an executive order to create a new trade agency to protect American intellectual property and enforce other trade rights.

The CEO of LightSquared resigned as the company battles to save a planned high-speed cellphone network that regulators are moving to kill. 

House lawmakers said at a hearing that they are worried the country’s electrical grid is vulnerable to a crippling cyber attack.

Tags Chuck Grassley G.K. Butterfield Jay Rockefeller

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