OVERNIGHT TECH: Kerry to drop privacy bill Tuesday

THE LEDE: Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) will finally unveil his long-awaited commercial privacy bill at a Tuesday lunchtime press conference on Capitol Hill. Kerry will be joined by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), signaling the effort will likely garner significant bipartisan cooperation at a time when the drumbeat for privacy legislation continues to get louder in both chambers.

The Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 will likely codify how companies must handle consumers' data and give the Federal Trade Commission authority to enforce those requirements. Watch for a mandatory op-out procedure for online targeted advertising, another likely addition opposed by some Web firms. Stay tuned for full coverage on Hillicon Tuesday.

On tap for Tuesday: House Communications subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) will hold a hearing Tuesday focused on whether to auction the controversial D Block of spectrum or dedicate those airwaves to public safety organizations.

House Energy and Commerce Oversight subpanel Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) will speak at a Free State Foundation event on regulatory reform at the FCC taking place at lunchtime Tuesday in the Capitol Visitors Center.

The Senate Judiciary Crime subcommittee will hold a cybersecurity hearing at 2:30 p.m. in Dirksen featuring representatives from the FBI, Secret Service and the Justice Department's criminal division. The hearing comes as reports emerge that Senate leaders have settled a deadlock over comprehensive cybersecurity legislation.

More cybersecurity: Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Gen. Keith Alexander both took part in an all-day cybersecurity symposium at the University of Rhode Island on Monday. Langevin recently introduced a comprehensive cybersecurity bill in the House that would place the Department of Homeland Security in charge of ensuring private sector firms deemed crucial to the nation's physical or economic security comply with federal security standards. Alexander is both the head of the National Security Agency as well as the leader of U.S. Cyber Command, which leads the military's cyber-operations.

Pull Quotes:

"Today, and often times Members of Congress will ask me, so how are you going to defend the country in cyberspace? Well, right now that’s not my mission. My mission as the Commander of US Cyber Command, is to defend the military networks. That’s what authority I have today. I do not have the authority to look at what’s going on in other government sectors nor what would happen to critical infrastructure. That right now falls to DHS."

- Gen. Alexander, adding that the power industry is probably close to the bottom of the list in terms of cybersecurity capability and expertise.

My proposal establishes one national office to oversee cybersecurity, while ensuring the government and military can acquire the best technology and undergo regular reviews to evaluate their performance. However, all the best ideas won’t keep us secure without the right people to execute them, and our nation’s cyber workforce is not large enough to match the scale of these threats. Experts have estimated that the U.S. has fewer than 1,000 people with the advanced security skills to effectively compete in cyberspace, but the reality is that we need 20,000 – 30,000.

- Langevin on his comprehensive cybersecurity bill and the shortage of qualified personnel.

C-SPAN cites lawmakers' tweets: The network featured a live feed of tweets from lawmakers during Friday night's quorum calls. Check out the video here.

Microsoft, Google trade barbs over federal contract: The latest exchange in the growing rivalry between the tech titans saw Microsoft accuse Google of misleading customers about whether its Google Apps for Government product is certified for federal use under the Federal Information Security Management Act. Google says its previous Apps product was certified by GSA and the new version is the same thing with better security.

Perhaps the most noteworthy development was Microsoft deputy general counsel David Howard's argument that FISMA certification means a system "has met an adequate level of security for a specific need." The consensus between most lawmakers and cybersecurity experts has been that the law is outdated, overly focused on compliance and has largely failed to secure federal networks. Several attempts at FISMA reform have garnered bipartisan support.


The spending deal reached over the weekend should put a damper on the White House's ambitious plans for agencies focused on research and innovation.

The FCC wants to give consumers more information about the speed of their broadband connections.

The NAB and CEA disagree about the popularity of spectrum auctions with the public. 

Finally, 2009 was not a good year to be in the international calling business.