OVERNIGHT TECH: Senate Judiciary approves data privacy, security bills

THE LEDE: The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a trio of data security and privacy bills over objections from Republicans including Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) at Thursday’s markup. The bills offered by Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Chairman Patrick Leahy (Vt.) all require firms to take precautions to safeguard personal data collected from consumers.

Grassley warned the bills could result in over-notification that would de-sensitize consumers to the threat of identity theft. He also argued the bills were more burdensome than past data breach notification legislation approved by the panel and said they could encumber small businesses. Leahy will likely huddle with his colleages to formulate a consolidated bill to send to the Senate floor.

Bachmann accuses Obama of “crony capitalism” over LightSquared: Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.)
accused President Obama of overlooking national security to help
wireless start-up LightSquared in an open
on her congressional website Thursday. LightSquared plans to launch a wholesale wireless broadband service, but
tests earlier this year revealed its network interferes with Global
Positioning System (GPS) devices, which are considered critical to
public safety. Bachmann accused the administration of trying to pressure Air Force Gen.
William Shelton into changing his congressional testimony to say the
GPS interference issues could be mitigated.

On Tap Friday:

{mosads}Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) will host a panel discussion on increasing the number of African-Americas in the technology industry at Washington Convention Center as part of the Congressional Black Caucus’s annual leadership conference.

The Federal Register will publish the Federal Communications Commission’s net-neutrality rules on Friday, meaning they will officially take effect on Nov. 20. The rules prevent Internet service providers from discriminating between two similar content providers, and are expected to draw legal challenges.

Groups push for online copyright bill: A coalition of 359 firms and organizations led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote to every member of Congress on Thursday asking them to pass the Protect IP Act, which would broaden the government’s authority to pursue online copyright violators. The bill is currently on hold in the Senate over concerns from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that its provisions are too broad and could infringe on free speech.

Senators ask OnStar to change privacy policy: Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Thursday urged OnStar to reconsider changes to its privacy policy that would allow
the navigation provider to continue tracking the location of vehicles
even after users cancel their service. OnStar sent emails to its customers last week notifying them of the
changes to the company’s policies. The senators said OnStar’s actions underscore the need for new
privacy laws to protect sensitive information such as consumers’

FCC seeks input on 911 upgrade: The FCC voted Thursday to seek public
comments on ways to modernize 911 technology, in an effort to
enable 911 call centers to accept emergency texts, photos and videos. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski explained that photos and videos from the scene of an emergency can help officials respond more effectively, noting that Virginia Tech students tried to send texts to 911 during the 2007 shootings there but dispatchers were unable to accept the messages.

Antitrust chief denies AT&T lawsuit is a tactic: The chief of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division denied Thursday that her agency’s lawsuit to block the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile is a negotiating tactic, Dow Jones reports.

“I wouldn’t call it a preemptive lawsuit of any kind,” said Sharis Pozen, the acting assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division, during an event at Georgetown University Law Center.

Pozen said the government’s antitrust objections to the $39 billion merger “couldn’t be clearer.”

FCC says Cablevision must license MSG: The FCC also ruled Thursday that the firm that controls both Cablevision and the Madison Square Garden channel must license the MSG and MSG HD channels to competing services from Verizon and AT&T. Both firms cheered the announcement.

HP names Meg Whitman CEO: Hewlett Packard named former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman its new CEO Thursday, replacing just-fired Leo Apotheker. Meg Whitman led eBay before losing her bid for the California governorship to Democrat Jerry Brown last year. The New York Times notes Whitman was a prolific dealmaker at
eBay, making about 40 deals worth more than $9.6 billion.

“We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead,” said Ray Lane, chairman of HP’s board of directors. “Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities. Furthermore, as a member of HP’s board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets.”

Hillicon on TV: Yours truly will be the reporter on Saturday’s edition of C-SPAN’s “The Communicators,” airing at 6:30 p.m. The show’s topic is the Google antitrust hearing, and will feature author and frequent Google critic Scott Cleland along with David Balto of the Center for American Progress.

Send us any tips or questions and follow @HilliconValley on Twitter.
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Tags Al Franken Chris Coons Chuck Grassley Dianne Feinstein Michele Bachmann Patrick Leahy Richard Blumenthal Ron Wyden Sheila Jackson Lee
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