This Week in Tech: Lawmakers take on cybersecurity

It’s going to be a busy week for cybersecurity, after a digital intrusion at raised new alarms on Capitol Hill.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing to explore cybersecurity and terrorism for Wednesday morning. Intelligence and digital security officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI will testify.


Committee Chairman Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperAdvancing a bipartisan conservation legacy The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge Trump's latest water policy exposes sharp divides MORE (D-Del.) last week called the intrusion into “deeply troubling.” The hack did not result in any user’s information being stolen and occurred on a test server but appeared to be launched from a foreign country. 

Carper said the incident “underscores the scary reality of how much of a target our sensitive information has become in cyberspace.”

Both the FBI and DHS were involved in investigating the ObamaCare site breach, and lawmakers could question officials about whether or not government systems are as safe as they need to be.

Also on Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) is set to take the stage at a summit on protecting financial information from hackers.

The event is a joint effort by retail and financial services industries that have often sparred in the past but are joining forces to press for stronger cyber protections. Financial Services Roundtable CEO Tim Pawlenty and senior executives from Wal-mart, MasterCard and retail and hotel trade groups are also scheduled to speak.

Later that afternoon, the House Armed Services Committee is probing ways that the military can take advantage of cyber resources.

On Tuesday, a House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee is holding a hearing to explore the DHS’s main research and development arm.

On Wednesday, the committee will hold a hearing examining ways to explore the solar system, focusing on a bill from Reps. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) and Derek KilmerDerek Christian KilmerHouse extends Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress for another year Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to testify on Libra | Extremists find home on Telegram app | Warren blasts Facebook for not removing anti-Biden ad | California outlaws facial recognition in police body cameras | China rips US tech sanctions MORE (D-Wash.) that would create property rights for exploring asteroids.

Also that day, activist groups and Web companies including Mozilla, Etsy, Demand Progress and Engine Advocacy are launching a protest to raise support for strong net neutrality rules. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in its second round of comments for a proposal that seeks to ban Comcast, Cox and other Internet companies from treating users differently depending on which websites they visit.

The coalition is launching an “Internet Slowdown” to encourage companies to use a “loading” symbol that will not actually slow down their traffic but will represent their fears about a slower Web. The FCC has received more than 1.2 million comments on its plan, a spokesperson said, the most of any regulatory process.

On Thursday, the Atlantic is holding a forum on technology in education featuring Rep. Anna Eshoo, (D-Calif.) ranking member of a technology subcommittee, as well as White House technology advisor John Holdren.

Virginia Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDemocrats worry Trump team will cherry-pick withheld documents during defense Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Bezos phone breach raises fears over Saudi hacking | Amazon seeks to halt Microsoft's work on 'war cloud' | Lawmakers unveil surveillance reform bill MORE (D) and his opponent Ed Gillespie (R) were set to take part in a town hall on technology Monday morning in suburban Reston, Va.

Starting Wednesday, the American Enterprise Institute will hold a three-day conference on regulating the broadband Internet market, featuring a number of academic, government and think tank voices.

On Friday, the National Security Agency’s (NSA) legal authority for collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is scheduled to expire. Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Senators ask FDA to crack down on non-dairy milks, cheeses Lawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent MORE (D-Vt.) has a bill to end that program, but it could take weeks for him to convince Senate leaders to put this bill on the calendar.

In the meantime, the Obama administration is likely to ask for a secretive federal surveillance court to renew the agency’s powers.