Overnight Technology

Overnight Tech: Deal reached on net neutrality transparency rules

LEDE: House Republicans and Democrats came to a compromise Wednesday to exempt some small Internet service providers from transparency requirements included in net neutrality rules.

The compromise on the Energy and Commerce committee would exempt Internet service providers that have fewer than 250,000 subscribers. The deal will allow the bill to pass out of Committee Thursday with Democratic support, but it still has a long way to go before becoming law.

{mosads}The Federal Communications Commission has already exempted small providers for a year, but the House legislation would put the exemption on the books for five years. The FCC had exempted companies with fewer than 100,000 subscribers, but Republicans wanted that number to hit 500,000 — a definition used by the Small Business Administration that would allow larger companies to fall into the exemption.

Under net neutrality rules passed last year, companies that provide Internet service must disclose things like prices, data caps, speed during peak usage, and any customer degradation of service. Small providers must still comply with more baseline transparency rules.

GOVERNMENT MEETING WITH TECH, ENTERTAINMENT: Technology and entertainment executives were scheduled to meet with government officials at the Justice Department on Wednesday about ways to combat violent extremism online, according to The New York Times. It follows a similar meeting in California last month. Twitter confirmed the meeting, directing reporters to a blog it released earlier. That post touted the company’s increased steps to suspend accounts expressing terror support.

OBAMA SIGNS JUDICIAL REDRESS: President Obama signed the Judicial Redress Act into law Wednesday, going at least part way toward mollifying concerns from European countries about how their citizen’s data is treated by American companies. “What it does in the simplest terms is makes sure that everybody’s data is protected in the strongest possible way with our privacy laws — not only American citizens, but also foreign citizens,” Obama said. “We take our privacy seriously. And along with our commitment to innovation, that’s one of the reasons that global companies and entrepreneurs want to do business here.” The signing comes after negotiators agreed on a framework, called Privacy Shield, governing trans-Atlantic data transfers.

LIBRARIAN NOMINEE WAS STRONG CRITIC OF PATRIOT ACT: President Obama’s nominee to become the new librarian of Congress was a strong critic of the Patriot Act in the years following 9/11, fearing the government would use the law to get patrons’ library records. Carla Hayden, Obama’s nominee, was a vocal critic during her time as head of the American Library Association, and reports from the time indicate public spats with then-Attorney General John Ashcroft over the surveillance law.

GOOGLE’S MOBILE SEARCH WILL FAVOR AMP PARTICIPANTS: Google will start prioritizing websites in its mobile search results that have participated in a Google-backed initiative — called the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project — to make websites easier to load on smartphones. The company had already begun prioritizing mobile-friendly results in its search results.

CHARTER GETS CLEARANCE FROM NJ: Regulators in New Jersey have approved Charter’s proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable. “The New Jersey BPU approval is another important step towards closing our transactions,” said Adam Falk, SVP of state government affairs for Charter, in a statement. The company says it has now gotten approved by every state but two where the post-merger firm would operate.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The Senate Commerce Committee will consider Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and ranking member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) MOBILE NOW spectrum bill on Thursday, March 3. Thune’s been fairly tight-lipped about any amendments to the bill but said on Thursday that “hopefully by the markup we’ll have something worked out” on proposals put forth by Sen. Brian Schatz related to unlicensed spectrum. The bill’s status in the House (where it has no direct companion) is unclear. Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton has said he’s unlikely to consider legislation that could be married with MOBILE NOW before the March 29 start of the broadcast incentive auction.



At 9 a.m., the House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on Worldwide Threats.

At 10 a.m., the Senate Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on changes to the patent system.

At 10 a.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on “cross border data flows” where Microsoft’s president will speak.

At 2 p.m., the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on “emerging cyber threats.”



Apple CEO Tim Cook is affirming his stiff stance against the FBI, drawing a line in the sand over the government’s call for a way around security software.

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers on Wednesday predicted broad support and swift passage of upcoming legislation to establish a national commission exploring how police can get at encrypted data without endangering Americans’ privacy.

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Carla Hayden to be the new librarian of Congress — potentially marking the first leadership switch in nearly 30 years as criticism has mounted over the organization’s technology policies.

Tensions flared Tuesday between presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the head of the organization that manages Internet domain names.

A new poll in the Apple encryption battle shows how the wording of surveys and their methodology can have a dramatic effect on results.


Please send tips and comments to David McCabe, dmccabe@thehill.com and Mario Trujillo, mtrujillo@thehill.com

Follow us on Twitter: @HilliconValley@dmccabe@_mariotrujillo

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