OVERNIGHT TECH: FCC's low-income broadband plan under scrutiny

LEDE: The FCC's Lifeline program will get its share of Congressional scrutiny Tuesday -- less than a week after Chairman Tom Wheeler announced plans to expand it to provide broadband subsidies to low-income Americans.

Tuesday morning, the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet will hold a hearing on the program. It is sure to feature tough questions from Republicans, who view it as a poorly managed effort and have criticized abuse in the past.

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Critics point to a recent GAO audit that found gaps in the way that the commission evaluated the program's effectiveness. Senate Commerce Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneHillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account Hillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account New push to regulate self-driving cars faces tough road MORE (R-S.D.) has argued against any expansion until better evaluations take place.

Supporters have sought to silence the criticism by suggesting their own accountability measures. Wheeler's proposal calls for providers to keep data on recipients for 10 years and will consider whether the budget for the whole program should be capped.

A group of Democratic lawmakers announced a bill on Monday that is designed to support the FCC's proposal. It would order the FCC to keep a "national database" to prevent people from receiving a Lifeline subsidy twice and mandate another GAO audit.

AT&T WEIGHS IN: In a blog post, AT&T said that any reform to Lifeline should shift the burden of determining who is eligible from carriers to the government -- something the FCC proposal includes -- and said it agreed with the agency's decision to expand the program to include broadband. The company said that any reforms to the program should be done within the confines of its current budget.

TECH COMPANIES AWARDED FOR HELPING THOSE WITH DISABILITIES: Google, Comcast and AT&T were all the recipients of awards handed out by the Federal Communications Commission on Monday that judge technology innovations to help people with disabilities. Seven categories are judged including "Augmented Reality, CAPTCHA Alternatives, Internet of Things, Real-Time Text, Teleconferencing, Video Description and Miscellaneous." A full list of winners and their products are listed here.

PATENT MARKUP THURSDAY: The Senate Judiciary Committee will mark up its legislation to rein in so-called patent trolls on Thursday. Recent debate has surrounded potential changes to the post grant and inter partes review processes at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Sens. John CornynJohn CornynSanders says Juneteenth should be a national holiday Sanders says Juneteenth should be a national holiday GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE (R-Texas) and Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community Senate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community Democrats detail new strategy to pressure McConnell on election security bills MORE (D-N.Y.), who helped draft the legislation, are soliciting questions on Twitter for a discussion on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. about patent reform using the hashtag #PatentHangout.

OVERSIGHT TO START FOIA DOUBLE HEADER: The House Oversight Committee on Tuesday will kick off a double header of hearings focusing on the government's shortcomings in complying with open records laws. Nearly a dozen witnesses will testify at Tuesday's hearing, including a number of reporters as well as open government groups. Those include journalists from Vice News and Newsweek, as well as the general counsel of The New York Times. For the past few weeks, the committee has been surveying outside groups and journalists about their Freedom of Information Act horror stories.  

AGENCIES PUSHED FOIA AMENDMENTS: E&E Publishing obtained emails between congressional staff and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in which the agency located within the Treasury Department raised concerns about a Freedom of Information Act reform bill working its way through Congress. Agencies have remained publicly silent but the emails show private recommendations for changes, which were ultimately not adopted in committee.

FSR GETS NEW PRESIDENT OF TECH DIVISION: The Financial Services Roundtable hired Chris Feeney to lead its advocacy division that focuses on cyber and emerging technologies, which is named BITS. Fennel was previously the chief information officer of LPL Financial. He heads his own consulting firm and has advised a number of financial institutions. He replaces Paul Smocer who recently retired.

GOOGLE SAYS IT'S SEEING 'POSITIVE TRENDS' ON DIVERSITY: Nancy Lee, Google's vice president of people operations, said that the company was making headway on diversifying its workforce -- despite new numbers that show that diversity at the company hasn't changed much since last year. "I think we are getting better and we are hoping that ultimately we are able to accelerate the improvement," Lee told USA Today.

 

ON TAP:  

At 8 a.m., Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonDemocrats make U-turn on calling border a 'manufactured crisis' Democrats make U-turn on calling border a 'manufactured crisis' GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE (R-Wis.) will headline a National Journal discussion on high-skilled immigration.

At 9:30 a.m., the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the FCC's program to bring phone service to people with low incomes.

At 10:30 a.m., the Senate could vote to advance the USA Freedom Act.

At noon, the Center for Democracy and Technology hosts Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) at an event discussing student privacy.

At 2 p.m., the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the government's compliance with FOIA laws.

At 5 p.m., the House Energy and Commerce Committee will give opening remarks for a full committee markup on a series of FCC process reform bills.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

The Supreme Court reversed the conviction of a Pennsylvania man who was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for making violent threats on Facebook.

Facebook is the most common source of political news for millennials, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

Google debuted new privacy tools, part of an ongoing effort to convince consumers that their data is safe with the Web giant.

BlackBerry announced a settlement that would prohibit Typo -- a Ryan Seacrest-backed company that produces smartphone keyboards -- from selling them anywhere in the world.

And the top Google search about former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) following his presidential announcement was "Who is Martin O'Malley?", according to data analyzed by CNN.

 

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