Overnight Technology

OVERNIGHT TECH: Net neutrality court battle heating up

THE LEDE: The net neutrality legal fight is heating up with critics pressing the court to issue a stay, preventing the rules from taking effect next month. 

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. on Thursday asked the Federal Communications Commission and other parties to explain why the court should allow the rules to go forward. It gave a deadline of next Friday to respond. 

A group of Internet service providers and trade groups have sued to fully strike down the controversial rules that reclassify broadband Internet access. While the case moves forward, those providers want the court to prevent the rules from going into effect on June 12. And they are looking for a quick decision

{mosads}The FCC is confident in the court fight and more than a dozen supporters this week alone have filed motions to help defend the rules, including advocacy groups and big technology companies like Netflix, Etsy, Kickstarter, Tumblr and Dish, among others. 

The motion is before Judges Sri Srinivasan and Nina Pillard — both appointed by President Obama — and Thomas Griffith, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush. It also became increasingly clear Thursday that the overall case will take place in D.C., as groups that filed similar suits in the Third Circuit did not object to a transfer. 

PATENT BILL TO GET MARK UP: The House Judiciary Committee next week will mark up the Innovation Act, the lower chamber’s legislation meant to crack down on so-called patent trolls. An aide confirmed the markup of the bill, which overwhelmingly passed the lower chamber last Congress before reform stalled in the upper chamber. The Senate has introduced its own patent bill, but it is unclear when the committee will take it up. The earliest the bill could make it on the committee’s agenda is next Thursday. 

ANTITRUST REGULATORS HIT THE HILL: At 9:00 a.m., FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division William Baer will appear before House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law to update the panel on the work being done by their agencies.

Baer will tout Justice’s role in shutting down the Comcast-Time Warner merger during his testimony and say the deal “risked making Comcast an unavoidable gatekeeper for internet-based services that rely on a broadband connection to reach consumers.” Ramirez will discuss her agency’s role in shutting down several anti-competitive tech mergers and the commission’s work on the sharing economy.

TECH GROUPS PUT PRESSURE ON DE BLASIO: Technology giants and trade groups are pressing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to reconsider draft rules from the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, which they say can stifle ride-sharing technology used by companies like Uber and others. The draft rules would require commission approval before companies could build out their applications. The tech groups warn the rules would give the commission “veto authority over software updates.” Groups including the Internet Association, which counts Uber and Lyft among its members, signed the letter

TPA REPORT LANGUAGE APPLAUDED: The Computer and Communications Industry Association applauded the Senate Finance Committee for releasing report language on a trade promotion bill that clarifies that “digital trade requires balanced copyright and reasonable online liability limitations.” The Internet Association called the language “a positive step.” The group pointed to the bill’s “shortcomings,” however, because the language isn’t included in the legislative text. The Senate on Thursday voted to begin debate on the trade promotion package. 

FTC LAUNCHES ID THEFT SITE: The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday launched a site to help members of the public who have been the victims of identity theft. The site IdentityTheft.gov offers tips to victims and walks them through steps that should be taken after a theft. The commission noted that identity theft — like stolen tax records or medical records — has been the largest consumer complaint reported for the past 15 years.

DISH MOVING TO WIRELESS: A confidential document from Dish obtained by Yahoo News revealed the company is entering the wireless market and is expected to offer “wireless voice, video and data.” Dish spent more than $13 billion during the spectrum auction that closed earlier this year, more than any other company except AT&T. A $3 billion “designated entity” discount that the company has claimed during the auction has been the source of controversy over the past few months. 


The House Judiciary antitrust hearing kicks off at 9:00 a.m.

At 9:15 a.m., the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a second hearing on making the FCC more transparent.

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and a host of others will speak at a Mashable event at the Newseum, starting at 11:40 a.m.


Lawmakers behind a surveillance reform bill that sailed through the House this week are making it clear they won’t accept a short-term deal to accommodate Senate leaders.

Reddit has introduced an anti-harassment policy that will allow users to email moderators about content that they consider to be harassment.

Companies like Dish and Cogent Communications want AT&T to follow net neutrality rules as a condition of its proposed merger with DirecTV, regardless of whether the new regulations are struck down in court.

A study by Pew Research released Thursday found members of the public tend to be more willing to express a “very unfavorable” view of politicians when they are surveyed online, compared to questioning on the phone. 

Megaupload creator Kim Dotcom blasted Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as a foe of online liberty.


Please send tips and comments to David McCabe, dmccabe@thehill.com and Mario Trujillo, mtrujillo@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter:@HilliconValley, @dmccabe

Tags court battle Federal Communications Commission Hillary Clinton Net neutrality

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