LEDE: The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and a Democratic colleague think wireless carriers could do more to help fight robocalls and spam texts.
In a letter, obtained first by The Hill, Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneManchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Manchin-McConnell meet amid new voting rights push Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee MORE (R-S.D.) and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal Six Democrats blast Energy Department's uranium reserve pitch Facebook draws lawmaker scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens MORE (D-Mass.) asked wireless trade group CTIA for comments on creating a list of numbers that had been reassigned. They argue that would help make sure that customers don't get calls meant for other people and businesses don't violate the law by calling the wrong person at a reassigned number.
"We also believe wireless carriers may have an opportunity to provide consumers and businesses more needed relief by establishing a reassigned numbers database, containing a list of cell phone numbers that have changed ownership," they said in the letter. "Wireless companies are in a unique position to create and maintain such a database, which could protect wireless subscribers from unwanted robocalls and robotexts."
Specifically, they asked for comments on "how wireless companies may be able to compile reassigned numbers in a database shortly after numbers are abandoned or relinquished; how access could be provided to calling parties to determine whether a number is still assigned to the party who gave consent to receive calls or texts at that number; whether carriers can cover the costs of developing and maintaining such a database by charging calling parties fee for access."
Read it here.
FACEBOOK, TWITTER BACK REVENGE PORN BILL: Technology companies were some of the last to come on board with new legislation to make it a federal crime to distribute revenge porn, which is when someone intentionally shares nude or explicit images of another person without their consent. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said a safe harbor provision was added to the bill during negotiations with the industry. Twitter and Facebook are supporting the bill, while Google is staying neutral. The bill's introduction was delayed for about a year during negotiations. Speier said she didn't want to introduce it without the industry's support.
PAI PUSHES BACK ON HOUSE DEMS REPORT: Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai acknowledged and pushed back on a report from House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats taking issue with his recent investigation of the Lifeline program, which offers phone and internet subsidies. Pai said it was evident that there was fraud in the system, citing a particular loophole used to sign people up, which warranted further examination. "I welcome the recent staff report of the House Energy and Commerce Democrats on the Lifeline program, which addressed one of the five loopholes I mentioned before," he said.
Democrats have pushed back though, arguing there is no evidence of fraud.
Pai said his report was about the potential for fraud, and not a finding of a hard dollar number for the cost of fraud related to the loophole. "I'm not going to prejudge what the result is before we've had a chance to gather all the facts," he said. Pai has argued that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent through the loophole in question.
WHEELER TALKS TRANSITION: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler declined to say exactly when he will make up his mind about whether he will leave with President Obama in January. But he indicated that calculation would be part of the transition process to a new White House. "I intend to work with the new administration on how do you have an appropriate next step at this agency," he said at his press conference on Thursday.
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A LETTER TO A LIBRARIAN: The Internet Association sent a letter to Carla Hayden, who was recently confirmed to be the next librarian of Congress, asking her to keep their priorities in mind with the Copyright Office, which is housed in the library. The tech group said the office can't only serve "a single incumbent" and said information and transparency must be prioritized. The group also said the office needs to keep up with the technology needs of the digital age.
T-MOBILE'S POKEMON GO OFFERING: For a little less than a month, T-Mobile will not count data used when playing "Pokemon Go" against customers' cellular data cap. The Washington Post reported it was the latest giveaway for customers. T-Mobile's Binge On program has exempted certain video platforms from counting against data caps but it ran into early criticism that the offering might run afoul net neutrality rules.
LAWMAKERS APPLAUD MICROSOFT RULING: A handful of lawmakers applauded the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit's ruling in Microsoft's favor. The court decided that the government can't use a warrant to force tech companies to hand of a customer's emails that are stored overseas. Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchCongress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage Drug prices are declining amid inflation fears The national action imperative to achieve 30 by 30 MORE (R-Utah) and Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsBiden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict Senate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' Hillicon Valley: Cryptocurrency amendment blocked in Senate | Dems press Facebook over suspension of researchers' accounts | Thousands push back against Apple plan to scan US iPhones for child sexual abuse images MORE (D-Del.) and Reps. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and Suzan DelBeneSuzan Kay DelBeneHouse Democrats call for spending bill to include expansion of housing credit Biden's keeping the Canada-US border closed makes no sense Biden administration stokes frustration over Canada MORE (D-Wash.) said the ruling gives more incentive to pass the International Communications Privacy Act, "which establishes a legal framework for law enforcement to obtain electronic communications, no matter where the person or the communications are located."
FACEBOOK'S NEW DIVERSITY NUMBERS: Facebook's diversity numbers for the last year are out, and there's been relatively little progress. The percentage of black employees in the U.S. stayed the same, at two percent. The share of Hispanic employees rose to four percent from three percent. The percentage of employees identifying as two or more races also rose, as did the percentage of Asian employees. They also broke out numbers of the company's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population for the first time. Of the 61 percent who responded, seven percent identified as LGBT. Read all the data here, and compare it to 2015's numbers here.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel said on Thursday that he was addressing the Republican National Convention because he thought Americans should speak "frankly" about the country's problems.
Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MORE is getting in on the Pokemon Go craze.
A group of prominent tech leaders on Thursday said that a Donald TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE presidency would be bad for innovation in America.
Lawmakers on Thursday unveiled legislation to make it a federal crime to share sexually explicit pictures of people without their permission.
Many of the most intuitive internet addresses that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton might use to help unveil their vice presidential picks were snatched up months or even years ago.
European regulators are opening up a third front in their years-long antitrust probe against Google.