OVERNIGHT TECH: Pentagon drops cyberspace strategy Thursday

THE LEDE: The Defense Department will release its first strategy for cyberspace on Thursday at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn and Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will unveil the strategy, which is expected to focus more on deterring attacks on military networks than laying out a cyberwar plan for attacking enemy states.

A Defense spokesman previously acknowledged that a cyber-attack from a hostile nation could result in a physical response by the U.S. military should it be determined kinetic force is warranted. The Pentagon will reportedly advocate using economic sanctions and other diplomatic means to hold the perpetrators of cyber-attacks accountable. Lynn is also expected to announce a half-billion dollars in new funding for cybersecurity research and development.

Rockefeller calls for investigation of News Corp.: Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) issued the following statement late Tuesday on recent reports that News Corp.’s News of the World engaged in phone tapping and other illegal activity:

"The reported hacking by News Corporation newspapers against a range of individuals—including children—is offensive and a serious breach of journalistic ethics. This raises serious questions about whether the company has broken U.S. law, and I encourage the appropriate agencies to investigate to ensure that Americans have not had their privacy violated. I am concerned that the admitted phone hacking in London by the News Corp. may have extended to 9/11 victims or other Americans. If they did, the consequences will be severe."

NAB backs new House spectrum bill: Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Gene Green (D-Texas) introduced a comprehensive spectrum bill on Monday that closely follows legislation passed by the Senate Commerce Committee last month, with some additional protections for broadcasters. H.R. 2482 is a counterpart to legislation from Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) that would reallocate the valuable D block of spectrum to first responders to build a national, interoperable public-safety network. The House bill differs from the Senate version in that it explicitly prevents the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from seizing spectrum or punishing broadcasters for not taking part in a single incentive auction.

The National Governors Association came out in support of the Rockefeller-Hutchison bill recently, adding their voice to the White House and the House Homeland Security Committee. The main opposition to reallocating the D block appears based on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where members on both sides of the aisle prefer to auction the spectrum and use some of the resulting funds to build a separate public-safety network.

Privacy advocate opposes data retention provision in child-porn bill: Electronic Privacy Information Center executive director Marc Rotenberg told the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday he opposes the data retention and liability provisions included in H.R. 1981, which was introduced in May by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). The bill would force ISPs to retain data on which IP addresses were used by consumers for up to 18 months. Crime subpanel Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) was also opposed to the bill.

Rotenberg argued that forcing companies to retain more data for longer is contrary to current trends in data security, which encourage deleting data frequently to minimize risk in the event of a breach. He also suggested the data would be used to prosecute crimes other than child pornography and said the bill gives ISPs complete legal immunity for the data retained. Smith told Rotenberg he took his concerns seriously, but if the provision is unclear he would "give the benefit of the doubt to saving the children."

The Federal Communications Commission held its July open meeting on Tuesday:

• The FCC proposed new rules on Tuesday to crack down on unauthorized charges on telephone bills, a practice known as “cramming.” The proposed rules would require telephone companies to notify subscribers of the option to block third-party charges if that option is available, and would strengthen the FCC’s requirement that telephone companies list third-party charges separately on bills. Additionally, the proposed rules would require landline and wireless companies to post notices on their telephone bills and websites that consumers can file complaints with the FCC.

• The commission moved ahead with its plan to implement the terms of the Local Community Radio Act, which is designed to increase the number of low-power community FM radio stations. The commission moved to resume the licensing of translator stations, which repeat the signal of full-power stations, in small and rural markets while dismissing all pending translator applications for urban markets where there isn't much spectrum for low-power community FM stations. The FCC hopes to begin licensing low-power FM stations again by next summer.

• The commission also voted to tighten the rules surrounding E911 technology, which automatically provides a 911 call operator with the caller’s telephone number and location information from either a landline or a wireless phone.


The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing regarding cramming by landline phone companies where Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) will release the results of a yearlong investigation into the practice. Rockefeller has been receptive to the FCC's attempts to crack down on cramming, but has indicated he doesn't think it will be enough to end the practice. Witnesses slated to appear include Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and U.S. Telecom Association President Walter McCormick Jr.

The FCC will open its new technology experience center in the agency library that will showcase the latest communications technologies for the benefit of FCC employees and guests. Chairman Julius Genachowski will speak and be joined by a host of tech companies and telecom policy stakeholders.

The House Appropriations Committee will vote on a NASA appropriations bill cleared by the subpanel that would cut the agency's budget by $1.6 billion and axe the James Webb space telescope, the successor to the Hubble telescope. News of the project's potential demise has sparked an uproar from the scientific community. Democrats are expected to make a late push to save the program; backers include Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.).

Top antitrust cop calls NBC Universal-Comcast a win: Christine Varney listed her office's handling of Comcast's merger with NBC Universal among her accomplishments during her last speech as assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's antitrust division at the Center for American Progress Tuesday morning. Varney pointed to the Comcast-NBC merger as a highlight of her tenure and said that the deal between the two media giants would have allowed Comcast to limit competition in the video market. After making it clear to the companies that her office was prepared to take the issue to court, Varney said that Comcast and NBC agreed to a consent decree that preserved competition.

Netflix raises prices: Netflix announced on its blog on Tuesday that it would restructure its plans, increasing the cost of renting DVDs by mail and streaming unlimited video from $9.99 per month to $15.98. Customers can choose to stream video or rent one DVD at a time for $7.99, but in order get both services customers must purchase both plans. Previous customers could add the DVD mail service for $2. For new members, the price changes begin immediately; for current customers, the new prices go into effect on Sept. 1.


After a decade, Apple's top patent lawyer Richard "Chip" Lutton Jr., will leave the firm. 

Report: Google+ already has an estimated 10 million users.

Law enforcement agencies are increasingly turning to Facebook for information.