OVERNIGHT TECH: House Judiciary panel to consider tech-backed immigration bill

Judiciary Committee Democrats have raised concern about the bill’s proposal to eliminate the diversity visa program and the sibling green card program, among other matters. Some argue that Democrats will vote against the bill to preserve momentum for a comprehensive immigration bill being finalized by a bipartisan group of House members.

Two key Democrats on the Judiciary panel, Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), are members of the bipartisan working group.

{mosads}Lofgren said she hasn’t ruled out voting “yes” for the bill, but noted it would have to incorporate a series of changes in order to win her support.

“We’re making some suggestions to try to improve it, so I’ll reserve judgment on that,” Lofgren told The Hill. “We’re trying to fix some things that are problematic. We’re communicating directly with the Republicans on some things that are really a mess in the bill.”

Lofgren declined to outline the changes she wants to see incorporated to the bill. 

“I’m trying to forge consensus here, not trying to just be a naysayer,” the California Democrat said. “But if they can’t fix the problems, then that would be a problem.”

Issa’s bill has won big-name endorsements from the Consumer Electronics Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Information Technology Industry Council.

Lofgren’s district is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, and she is known as a champion in the House for tech companies. This could put her in a tough voting spot because the tech industry has voiced full-throated support for Issa’s measure.

Lofgren, however, rejects that argument.

“There’s real problems with the way [the bill] is crafted and I’ve heard from a lot of tech people that they’re not happy with the bill,” she said.

Communications companies privacy group: Leading telecommunications carriers and TV providers announced a new privacy coalition on Wednesday.

The 21st Century Privacy Coalition will be led by former Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz of Davis Polk & Wardwell and former Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) of FaegreBD Consulting.

The founding members include AT&T, Comcast, CTIA-The Wireless Association, DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable, USTelecom and Verizon.

The group will push for privacy and data security laws that “better serve consumer expectations as well as technological and competitive changes in the communications marketplace.”

The group argues that consumers expect privacy protections to be consistent across different devices and services.  

Wireless tax ban introduced in Senate: Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduced the Wireless Tax Fairness Act on Wednesday. The bill, which was introduced in the House earlier this month, would ban states from imposing new and discriminatory taxes on cellphone bills for five years.

“There is no reason wireless tax rates should be on par with vice taxes like tobacco and alcohol. It is time to protect wireless services from unfair and excessive taxes,” Wyden said in a statement. 

“We need to let the Internet economy thrive without being subject to a tax that is not imposed on other products or services,” Toomey said. 

ICE seizes 328 sites: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and several European law enforcement agencies seized 328 Web domains in two related operations on Wednesday. The domains were allegedly used to sell counterfeit merchandise.


Readers interested in cybersecurity should come to the Hyatt Regency (Ballroom B) on Thursday at 3 p.m. Your Hillicon Valley writers will talk with Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) about the latest developments with cybersecurity legislation, the president’s executive order and the impact of revelations about domestic surveillance programs.

We will then moderate a panel discussion with Chris Finan of the Defense Department, Brian Finch with Dickstein Shapiro, Walter McCormick with USTelecom, Sharon Bradford Franklin with The Constitution Project and Greg Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology. 

In other tech news, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Communications will hold a Thursday morning hearing to examine the government’s use of spectrum.

In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) will say that having private users bear the cost of moving federal incumbents “has been successful in the past but is not without limitations.”

In her statement, ranking member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) will emphasize spectrum sharing and say she hopes Congress will develop a plan to “incent federal agency participation” in using spectrum more efficiently. 

The witnesses will be representatives from the Defense Department, NTIA, CTIA and Qualcomm.


Facebook denies giving data to Turkey: Facebook said in a statement Wednesday that it has not provided user data to Turkish authorities despite the requests it has received from the government for information related to protests in the country.

The social network said it rejects all government requests for data from Turkish authorities, and encouraged the country to submit these requests to international law enforcement structures.

NSA takes down ‘inaccurate’ fact sheet on surveillance: The National Security Agency has removed a fact sheet about surveillance programs from its website after two Democratic senators claimed the information was misleading.

Pandora fights back against Pink Floyd: In response to a scathing op-ed written by the members of rock band Pink Floyd earlier this week, online music service Pandora said the musicians had been fed “badly misleading information” about music royalty legislation. Pandora blamed a well-oiled lobbying campaign led by the recording industry.

A Pandora spokesman said the company respects the “genuineness” of the rock band’s opinions and their accomplishments in the music industry, but asserted that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had given them a false impression about a bill that would modify the royalty rules for Internet radio services. 

Please send tips and comments to Brendan Sasso,, and Jennifer Martinez,

Follow Hillicon Valley on Twitter: @HilliconValley, @BrendanSasso, @JenMartinez

— This post was updated at 10:37 to correct the wage level provision in Issa’s bill.

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