Overnight Technology

Overnight Tech: Internet privacy, subsidies on agenda for FCC oversight hearing

LEDE: All five members of the Federal Communications Commission will testify Tuesday in the House amid a bevy of activity at the agency.

Look for Chairman Tom Wheeler and the two other Democratic commissioners to defend a pair of proposals slated for a vote next week — one to start creating Internet privacy rules and another to expand the federal Lifeline program so the government can begin offering Internet subsidies to the poor.

{mosads}A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is holding the oversight hearing. The full committee recently passed a bill to prevent the FCC from regulating Internet service rates charged to customers. Expect Wheeler to be pressed on the legislation. The FCC will also likely brief lawmakers on the state of a major spectrum auction slated to start at the end of the month.

This is the second time in a month that the entire commission testifies before Congress, and the third time for Wheeler and Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai. Earlier this month, Wheeler got into hot water with some senators during a hearing for not completely committing to leaving at the end of President Obama’s term, per tradition. You can find commissioners’ prepared testimony here.

Click here for more on Wheeler’s potential departure.

Click here for more on the forthcoming Internet privacy rules.

And click here for more on the broadband subsidy proposal.

APPLE TALKS FBI CASE AT PRODUCT LAUNCH: Apple held a high-profile product launch Monday, but it spent the first half hour talking about encryption, as well as clean energy and health initiatives. A day ahead of a court hearing in the Apple’s dispute with the FBI, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company would not “shrink” from its privacy and security obligations to customers.

“We did not expect to be in this position at odds with our own government,” Cook said. “But we believe strongly to help you protect your data and protect your privacy, we owe it to our customers and we owe it to our country. This is an issue that impacts all of us, and we will not shrink from this responsibility.”

Read more on Tim Cook’s comments here.

The FBI and Apple were poised to force off in court on Tuesday, but the feds are asking the judge to delay the hearing. Read more on that here.

HOUSE ENCRYPTION WORKING GROUP: The House Judiciary Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee announced a working group to study the issue. The participants include Reps. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.), Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.). Click here to read more about the encryption working group.

GOOGLE’S WORK IN CUBA: The Associated Press offered details of Google’s new technology center in Cuba that features laptops, cellphones and other Internet-connected devices. The studio is based in a complex run by a famous sculptor in the country. The announcement coincides with President Obama’s trip to the country, and Google said it hopes the narrow opening will be part of a broader effort to connect the country to Internet service.

VERIZON WANTS CONGRESS TO TAKE ON NET NEUTRALITY: Verizon is again calling on Congress to step in and legislate on net neutrality. In a blog post anticipating a court decision any week now on a lawsuit challenging the FCC’s new regulation, Verizon said it supports legislation to prevent Internet service providers from blocking, throttling or creating paid fast lanes. It also would support a broader general conduct standard. Proposals have been floated in Congress, but there has been little movement. Verizon led the lawsuit that struck down the FCC’s earlier rules in 2014, and telecom trade groups are now challenging new FCC rules passed last year.

DAILY FANTASY SPORTS SETTLEMENT IN NY: The two largest daily fantasy sports websites, FanDuel and DraftKings, came to an agreement with the New York attorney general to not operate in the state. The state considers the online gaming a form of illegal betting, but the companies say they fall within the carveout in the law. The state said the case against the two companies for false advertising and consumer fraud will continue.


At 10:15 a.m., all five FCC commissioners will testify at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. http://1.usa.gov/1RgmCEG

At 4 p.m. ET, a federal court in California is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Apple-FBI encryption case. The Justice Department is moving to cancel the hearing.


Apple CEO Tim Cook opened up the company’s Monday product launch by doubling down on the firm’s refusal to help investigators unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.

The Supreme Court is wading into a years-long patent dispute between Apple and Samsung that could have broad implications for the tech industry.

Presidential candidates have a new fallback line during debates: “Go to my website.”

Priceline Group on Monday announced it will begin allowing U.S. citizens to reserve Cuban hotels through its Booking.com website.

The Federal Communications Commission will vote in less than two weeks on whether to consider proposed new privacy rules for broadband providers like Comcast or Time Warner Cable.

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

Tags Federal Communications Commission House Jim Sensenbrenner oversight Suzan DelBene

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