This Week in Tech: Electronic labels, ‘spoofing’ and spectrum

A House subcommittee will tackle a trio of bills this week aimed at protecting consumers and helping out electronics companies.

At the top of the list for the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on technology is legislation that would allow electronics manufacturers to publish mandatory labels for devices electronically, instead of physically on the machine’s surface. Tech companies argue that existing regulations are burdensome to meet and have greeted the E-Label Act warmly.


A version of the bill was introduced in the Senate in recent weeks, which could point toward speedy passage despite the shrinking legislative calendar.

Also on the subcommittee’s docket for Thursday is a bill from Reps. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) that aims to prevent caller ID scams known as “spoofing.” Current law prevents scammers from duping caller ID services with misleading or inaccurate information, but the Anti-Spoofing Act would update that law to also include text messages, calls from outside the U.S. and calls that operate over Internet lines, known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Lastly, the subcommittee will take up the Low-Power TV (LPTV) and Translator Act, which would make sure that the LPTVs, which are often run by schools, churches, local governments and others trying to reach a small, targeted audience, get a seat at the table during the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming incentive spectrum auction.

The bill would ask that the FCC take the low-power stations into account during the auction, so long as it would not adversely impact the spectrum sales.

On Wednesday morning, The Hill is holding a panel discussion on tech policy and innovation. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Julie Brill, a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, and ACT executive director Morgan Reed are sitting down for chats moderated by The Hill’s tech policy team.

The event will also feature Information Technology Industry Council chief executive Dean Garfield, who is slated to deliver remarks on the perspective from the industry, and officials from the Intelligent Car Coalition, Department of Education and Mobile Future, who will talk about how new ideas are reshaping old laws.

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will continue its review of copyright law, an initiative spearheaded by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). The Judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property will hold the hearing, which is focused on “copyright remedies.”

That same day, the Internet Innovation Alliance is hosting an event examining the potential fallout if the FCC were to reclassify Internet providers and regulate them like phone companies. FCC Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai will start off the event with a keynote address and will be followed by a panel of analysts.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is getting together on Wednesday to announce its next moves. After a pair of reports that criticized National Security Agency’s phone records collection program and largely endorsed agents’ spying on foreigners through Facebook, Google and other services, the five-member board is gathering to chart its course for the future.

On Tuesday morning, the American Enterprise Institute is holding an event to talk about global Internet governance with National Telecommunications and Information Administration chief Larry Strickling and Danny Sepulveda, the State Department’s head of information policy issues.

The Center for Democracy and Technology is holding an event on Wednesday afternoon with Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez about the impacts of an “always on” world.

Gen. William Shelton, the head of the Air Force Space Command, is talking about the U.S.’s future in space at the Atlantic Council on Tuesday morning.