Upton voted to lead panel overseeing tech, telecom

Analysts say there is not a huge amount of light between the chairman condenders when it comes to tech and telecom policy.

The biggest impact could be who Upton favors for subcommittee leaders, with several members expressing interest in the telecom gavel. That includes Stearns, the current subcommittee ranking member who supported Barton's bid over Upton's, as well as Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.).

All of the full committee contenders pledged to exercise strong FCC oversight and to try thwarting the FCC's net-neutrality agenda.  

"We're going to be like a dog to a Frisbee on [net neutrality]," Upton said last week.

Privacy is the issue in which the candidates appeared to have the most difference in the tech and telecom realm, according to analysts.

They expected Barton, co-chairman of the privacy caucus, to put a strong priority on the issues. Upton's views on privacy are less of a known quantity, they said.

Barton had legislation to amend the Telecom Act so that phone companies must be careful with subscriber data and he had a bill to take on Spyware, according to Jim Halpert, a partner in the privacy practice at DLA Piper.

Though rarely in allegiance with House Republicans, reform group Free Press welcomed Upton's new position Tuesday.

Joel Kelsey, political director at Free Press, said the group wants to work with him on a handful of issues.  (It is unclear Upton is interested in any of the issues he cites).

“Free Press looks forward to working with Congressman Upton on increasing the number of competitors in the broadband market, lowering prices and increasing choices for consumers and fostering diverse voices in local media,” Kelsey said.