Overnight Tech: Industry offers rival cable box proposal | Colbert's net neutrality roller coaster | Black Caucus demands answers on Airbnb discrimination claims

LEDE: Industry groups on Thursday presented what they are calling an alternative to Tom Wheeler's set-top box proposal.

The plan, pushed by Comcast, NCTA and DirecTV, as well as minority programmers, at commission meetings, would require major television providers to create applications to give customers access to live content. They say the applications would be built along with a common standard (HTML5) and accessible through smart televisions and other devices.

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Not present at the meeting were Future of TV Coalition members Motion Picture Association of America, Dish or several other major content studios. MPAA, for its part, was nonetheless optimistic in a statement. "The new applications-based proposal presented today is a constructive step, and we appreciate the MVPDs' thoughtful effort," the group said. "We will continue conversations with the FCC and others as we evaluate how well this and other proposals respect programmers' rights, particularly their rights to determine whether and how to disseminate their programming and how best to secure it."

Of course, the major difference between the proposal and the one developed by FCC chair Wheeler is that the television providers wouldn't have to open their video feeds to, say, Google. For more on the industry alternative, click here.

FCC WILL TAKE A LOOK: "Chairman Wheeler is heartened that the industry has adopted the primary goal of our proposal, to promote greater competition and choice for consumers, and agree it is achievable," said FCC spokesperson Kim Hart in a statement. "We look forward to seeing additional details so we can determine whether their proposal fully meets all of the goals of our proceeding and the statute. We will continue to work with all stakeholders to develop rules that allow innovation to flourish and ensure consumers have real options for accessing the pay-tv programming they purchase."

#UNLOCKTHEBOX SUPPORTERS MIXED: "We look forward to continuing the dialogue with the cable industry," said IMCOMPAS in a statement. "Their current proposal presents both some positive movement and some familiar limitations that could fall short of delivering an open, competitive marketplace."

NATIONAL SECURITY LETTER DEBATE: Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWant a clean energy future? Look to the tax code Democrats brace for toughest stretch yet with Biden agenda Lawmakers lay out arguments for boosting clean energy through infrastructure MORE (D-Ore.) took to the Senate floor Thursday evening to rail against a push by some senators to pass an amendment that would let the government use National Security Letters to obtain a customer's electronic communications records. Those records would not contain the content of emails, but would include the times emails were sent, whom they were sent to, IP addresses and web browsing history. The amendment has been pushed on a number of different bills, and Wyden hinted the Commerce spending bill could be next. Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards Democrats to make pitch Friday for pathway to citizenship in spending bill Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime MORE (R-Texas), a backer of the proposal, has not filed that kind of amendment on the spending bill, according to an aide.  

THE NET NEUTRALITY ROLLER COASTER: John Oliver helped bring net neutrality into the mainstream in 2014, now it's Stephen Colbert's turn. During Wednesday's "The Late Show," Colbert brought on influential professor Tim Wu to explain the concept while riding a roller coaster -- because, in Colbert's words, the issue is "super boring to talk about."

MAJOR WIRELESS LOBBYIST LEAVING TRADE GROUP: Jot Carpenter, the top lobbyist at a major wireless industry trade group, is leaving next month. Carpenter has led governmental affairs at CTIA for nearly 10 years. Before that he was a lobbyist for AT&T for 10 years. CTIA Executive Vice President Brad Gillen will take over in the interim.

ZUCK FUNDS STARTUP WITH FOCUS ON AFRICA: The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic entity founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, said Thursday it was part of a funding round for an education startup called Andela that trains developers in Africa. It marks the first investment for the organization.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

An industry coalition on Thursday proposed what it calls an alternative to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler's plan to open up the market for television set-top boxes.

The family of one of the victims in the 2015 Paris terrorist attack has filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court, accusing social media companies of providing material support to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton, said that he doesn't plan to endorse presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Thursday demanded answers from the home-sharing website Airbnb over allegations that African-American guests face discrimination when trying to rent a room or house through the site.

Days after a crushing midterm defeat in which Democrats lost their Senate majority, President Obama released a video that endeared him to Silicon Valley and millions of internet activists. It was a crucial moment in the fight for net neutrality and a pivotal one for Obama.

Senate Democrats' takeover of the floor to draw attention to gun control legislation sparked a large response on social media as it played out over 15 hours, ending Thursday morning.

Microsoft and a high-powered list of business trade groups are fighting to block a government ruling that strengthens employment standards for temporary contractors. 

The head of the CIA told congressional overseers on Thursday that the law is failing to keep up with rapidly evolving technology, potentially giving foreign terrorists an avenue to escape U.S. intelligence agents' eyes.

Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal MORE (R-Ark.) on Thursday pressed the head of the CIA on recent reports that Twitter has cut off U.S. intelligence agencies, but not a Russian news outlet, from an analytics service that monitors and sorts the world's tweets in real time.

 

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