Overnight Tech: Republicans not sold on Internet domain plan

LEDE: The House on Thursday will dig into the U.S. government's plan to hand off its oversight role of technical functions that help people navigate the Internet.

The plan reached a major step last week when a multistakeholder group offered up their plan to the government for approval. Before any handoff can occur, the Commerce Department must sign off on it. And the agency has promised to give Congress some time to review it.

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While much of the work has been finished, the House Energy and Commerce Committee said "many questions remain."

Officials from trade and advocacy groups are slated to testify on the latest developments. Lawmakers will be interested in seeing how the new proposal lines up with the government's requirements -- the most important being the protection of the open Internet and assurance that oversight would not be commandeered by other government groups.

TOMORROW, join us as we take a deep-dive into the defining moments of the past 7+ years of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFormer NYT correspondent rips Democrats' 'selective use' of constitutional violations Obama portraits leaving National Portrait Gallery to tour museums across the country Tulsi Gabbard explains decision to sue Hillary Clinton: 'They can do it to anybody' MORE's presidency. Top officials in Congress and the administration, including Josh EarnestDemocratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell will reflect on the issues that exemplify Obama's legacy. Limited space is available to attend, or watch online.

GOOGLE LOBBYING ON CABLE BOXES: Google brought on Swan Creek Strategies to lobby on the set-top box issue, according to a filing earlier this week. The FCC voted to approve proposed rules last month meant to open up the cable box market. Brian Woolfolk is representing the company. He met with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and others last month to highlight the importance of the proposal.

NEXT STEP ON FOIA: Congress is split over how to merge similar bills to reform the Freedom of Information Act. Both chambers have passed their version of the bill. Senators have called on the House to go back and pass the Senate bill. In the House, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the bill's lead sponsor, said he wants the bills to go to conference. But the lead Democrat on the bill, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) has sided with the Senate, and asked House leaders to approve the upper chamber's version.

GERMANY DROPS HATE-SPEECH INVESTIGATION OF FACEBOOK: The German government is no longer investigating whether Facebook managers' allegedly slow responses to some instances of hate speech constituted illegal incitement, according to the Wall Street Journal. The probe reportedly ended because the local managers being investigated aren't the ones tasked with removing posts that violate content policies or laws. A complaint has been lodged against the decision to end the investigation.

WHEELER CONTINUES HIS MEDIA TOUR: Tom Wheeler has already gotten superstar treatment from The Verge, which dubbed him The Dragonslayer in an interview last week. He's back today in a conversation with The New Yorker's Nicholas Thompson that was recorded for CBS News. Most of the conversation is about the agency's privacy proposal, but he also says that "people did get it wrong" when they assumed his past as a lobbyist made him an industry shill.

TESLA'S COMMS CHIEF IS OUT: Ricardo Reyes is out as Tesla's vice president of global communications. Bloomberg notes that the role is particularly important because the company relies on free media coverage, not paid advertising, to build buzz. His exit comes as the company prepares to unveil a prototype of its Model 3, which will provide an affordable option for consumers for whom a Tesla vehicle was previously out of reach.

SENATE TO VOTE ON BACKPAGE SUBPOENA: The Senate will vote Thursday afternoon on a resolution asking the Senate's Legal Counsel to take steps to enforce a subpoena against Backpage.com, the classified ads website. The company has long been in the crosshairs of Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Collins walks impeachment tightrope The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions MORE (R-Ohio) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillHow Citizens United altered America's political landscape #MidnightMoscowMitch trends amid criticism of McConnell's proposed impeachment trial rules The most expensive congressional races of the last decade MORE (D-Mo.), who are behind an investigation into the sex trafficking of minors. They contend the company has been resistant to their attempts to examine documents and speak to its CEO.

 

ON TAP:

At 10:15 a.m., a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on privatizing the Internet Assigned Number Authority.

In the afternoon, the Senate will vote on a resolution to help enforce a subpoena on classifieds site Backpage.com.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

The decision to close Washington, D.C.'s subway system for safety checks on Wednesday was a boon for Uber.

The House on Wednesday unanimously passed one of the first pieces of legislation that deals directly with controversial net neutrality regulations passed by the Federal Communications Commission.

Several major civil rights groups signed on to a letter Wednesday asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to consider the way privacy issues affect traditionally marginalized communities while crafting privacy rules for Internet providers.

A prominent digital rights group will protest the March 22 court hearing in the fight between Apple and the FBI over a locked iPhone.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler is likely to circulate soon a proposal to approve Charter's bid to buy Time Warner Cable, according to The Wall Street Journal.

 

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