LEDE: The Federal Communications Commission's broadband privacy proposal will come under the microscope on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
The House Energy and Commerce tech subcommittee will consider the proposed rules at a hearing whose title, "FCC Overreach: Examining the Proposed Privacy Rules," leaves little doubt as to the majority's position.
"When the FCC overreaches, it's normally bad news for consumers and the economy," said subcommittee chair Greg Walden (R-Ore.) in a statement. "Consumers deserve to be protected and the FCC's privacy approach simply misses the mark.
Walden said the hearing "will provide the opportunity to examine the consequences of the FCC's proposal to regulate ISPs under separate privacy rules from the rest of the Internet."
The witness list includes Jon Leibowitz, a former Federal Trade Commission chairman who now works with the industry-backed 21st Century Privacy Coalition. In his testimony, he will push for industry's favored solution to the privacy question: aligning the FCC's standards with those used by the Federal Trade Commission.
INDUSTRY HAPPY WITH THE HEARING: No surprise here, but industry reps said that they were pleased the hearing was happening. "We are hopeful that your examination of these issues will highlight the need for an FCC approach that is consistent with the Administration's call for a uniform privacy framework and that closely harmonizes FCC privacy rules with the existing FTC framework," the group said. "Doing so would protect consumer privacy, minimize consumer confusion resulting from inconsistent regulations, and provide the flexibility the online marketplace needs in order to continue to innovate and evolve as it has done for many years under such a regime."
FOIA REFORM PASSES: Lawmakers applauded the Monday passage of reforms to the Freedom of Information Act that are heading to President Obama's desk. But Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the lead sponsor of the House version, noted the many provisions that were left on the cutting room floor.
"I don't want to belabor the point, but when this bill becomes law and is signed by the president, there will be enough left for a new bill to start again," he said. "Having said that, we celebrate today that we've made some milestones."
OBAMA'S NOT-SO-RINGING ENDORSEMENT: The White House earlier this year said Obama would sign the FOIA reform after the Senate hashed out a deal to bring skeptical members onboard. But the vow is far from a ringing endorsement. In the hours leading up to Monday's vote, the White House declined multiple requests for an on-the-record statement of support.
FCC ACCESSIBILITY AWARDS: The Federal Communications Commission on Monday released a list of winners of its yearly awards for the advancement of accessibility. The winners included companies that created an emergency support app and an app that simplified a smartphone for people with cognitive disabilities. Other winners included a Texas A&M project that uses sensors to translate sign language into text, and another by Disney that includes audio descriptions of various Disney movies for the blind. You can read about the winners here.
RATINGS AGENCY REVIEWS MICROSOFT AFTER LINKEDIN BUY: Following Microsoft's announcement of its planned $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, the ratings agency Moody's said it was deciding whether to downgrade Microsoft's "AAA" rating. While the agency said the buy could help the company's cloud-based services, it cautioned about the amount of debt it would take on. Moody's, however, reaffirmed its rating of Microsoft's prime short-term rating.
APPLE SPOTLIGHTS PRIVACY: Apple exec Craig Federighi highlighted the company's stated interest in user privacy during remarks at its Worldwide Developers Conference. He addressed questions about how the company would engage in machine learning, which requires large amounts of data to build an artificial intelligence. He said the company was doing more work in differential privacy, which is meant to allow companies to handle data without hurting user privacy. "We believe you should have great features and great privacy," he said. "You demand it and we are dedicated to providing it."
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Congress approved legislation to expand the public's access to federal records, and the measure now goes to President Obama for his signature.
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