House cybersecurity bill on tap: Lungren also took a moment to update Hillicon on the status of House cybersecurity legislation, which he expects to introduce regardless of whether the Senate chooses to act. Lungren said Republicans have refined their initial draft recommendations, which would incentivize private sector firms to adopt greater network protections while limiting strict requirements to sectors that are already heavily regulated, such as nuclear power and water safety. The Senate and White House both favor rules that would apply more broadly and be enforceable in some manner by the Department of Homeland Security.
White House officials and Senate leaders met behind closed doors last month to discuss the urgent need for comprehensive cybersecurity legislation, after which both sides came away optmistic about the chances of passing a bill this year. But the House Republicans appear to be holding all the cards, since both sides are likely to view the passage of any legislation, however limited, as a political victory and sign of progress worth building on.
Snowe says too much focus on spectrum auctions: Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) told Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski that policymakers have been focusing too much attention on incentive auctions of broadcast spectrum in a letter on Wednesday. She identified technical innovation and more efficient spectrum management as other possible ways to free up more airwaves for wireless devices. Genachowski has urged Congress to empower the FCC to incentivize television stations to give up their spectrum for wireless broadband use.
Snowe noted that even if the congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction includes spectrum auctions in its plan, the policy would make only a small dent in the nation's debt problem. The auctions would be estimated to raise $25 billion in government revenue, which Snowe points out is only 1.7 percent of the $1.5 trillion in savings the committee is charged with finding.
Senate Commerce Chairman Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerDemocrats look to scale back Biden bill to get it passed Humorless politics a sad sign of our times Bottom Line MORE (D-W.Va.) said he will hold a hearing on reports Facebook tracks users after they log out of the site.
House Commerce subpanel Chairwoman Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) has told her staff to meet with Facebook next week over a widespread spam attack involving violent and pornographic images.
The House telecom subpanel approved two pieces of legislation that would overhaul how the Federal Communications Commission does business.
—Brendan Sasso contributed to this post.
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