Overnight Tech: Obama signs FOIA reform bill | Musicians take YouTube fight to Europe | Feds probe first driverless car death

LEDE: A multi-year slog to update the law that gives the public access to federal records is over.

President Obama on Thursday signed a bill to update the Freedom of Information Act, and the White House vowed to release new guidance later this year. A centralized request portal for federal agencies should be set up by next year, the White House said.  

Lead sponsor 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) said the signing was an "important step forward," while Democratic co-sponsor Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPhotos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Senators denounce protest staged outside home of Justice Kavanaugh Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' MORE (D-Vt.) said the bill brings "FOIA into the digital age."


The bill went through a series of changes to narrow its provisions throughout the process amid opposition from some federal agencies. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who led the House bill, previously said that there was enough left on the cutting room floor for a whole new bill.

WATCH THE SIGNING: C-SPAN released the video of Obama's brief remarks before he signed the bill. He called it an "important" step and said, "hopefully this is going to help" people get their requests fulfilled more rapidly.

COMMENTS ONLINE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA PROPOSAL: The Customs and Border Patrol has opened up online comments for new rules that propose asking foreigners visiting the United States without a visa to list their social media accounts for vetting. A number of privacy and digital rights groups had been angry that the agency was initially only accepting comments submitted by mail.

A VIOLATION OF LAW AT FEC?: Democratic FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel on Thursday told The Hill off-hand that her colleague's early release of information about a case regarding Fox News this week might have been "a violation of the law." But her colleague, Commissioner Lee Goodman, defended himself, saying he checked with the general counsel beforehand. He said there are restrictions on talking about cases while they are pending, but his revelation came weeks after it had already been voted on and decided. There is a delay between the vote and public release.   

A deadlock on the Federal Elections Commission ended the pursuit of an investigation into allegations that Fox News broke a law that governs how participants for a debate are selected. The news got out early when Goodman revealed it to the Washington Examiner a day before the public release on Thursday.


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DE BLASIO SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR SAYS BOSS DOESN'T GET IT: A New York publication DNAInfo reported that Bill de Blasio's social media director abruptly quit after a short two-month stay. The social media director Scott Kleinberg said he had to quit to keep his sanity, saying he was surrounded by political hacks and a boss that "just couldn't get it."

ITIF SAYS 'RIGHT POLICIES' NEEDED FOR 5G TO THRIVE: Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's Doug Brake says in a report that there's an important place for regulators in encouraging the rollout of 5G wireless technology, but cautioned that they shouldn't get too involved. "There is certainly a role for government in encouraging 5G to flourish, but industry-led standard setting better allows discovery of new technologies and a more nuanced understanding of what areas are most economical to explore," he wrote, before adding that "overly-enthusiastic government involvement in standards setting is likely to reduce, not maximize, global wireless innovation, with some nations 'winning' but the global wireless ecosystem losing." Read the report here.

MUSICIANS TAKE CRUSADE TO EUROPE: A group of musicians signed on a letter to the president of the European Commission on Thursday, asking the union to crack down on what they view as YouTube's ability to make money off of their content. Signatories include Gwen Stefani and Bruno Mars. Bloomberg has the report here.

TODAY IN ACQUISITIONS: The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in talks to acquire Tidal, Jay-Z's streaming service. The outlet describes them as "exploratory." Tidal denies its execs are talking to the Cupertino giant -- but if it is legit, the deal would give Apple Music access to some of the artists that have exclusively debuted their work on the rapper and businessman's streaming service.



New York's powerful attorney general on Thursday supported proposed privacy rules for internet service providers currently being considered at the Federal Communications Commission.

A federal safety agency is investigating a deadly accident involving a Tesla Motors vehicle in self-driving mode -- the first-ever fatality linked to a driverless car.

President Obama on Thursday signed into law a bill to strengthen the government's open records laws.

A slate of technology giants and other corporations signed on to a White House push to encourage other companies to help provide support to the millions of refugees around the world.

The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee welcomed an industry-backed proposal for reforming the set-top box market and the Federal Communications Commission's response.

Fox News escaped penalties from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) after regulators deadlocked on whether to punish the cable network over the criteria it used to select presidential debate participants.

Google will now give search users information about earthquakes, right after they feel them.