Overnight Tech: GOP steps up fight over internet control | Apple unveils its new iPhone | Crunch time for Congress | FCC chief talks 5G

LEDE: A fight is brewing over ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the group responsible for helping organize the workings of the internet.

As the federal government prepares to hand of control of the internet to an international governing body, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Seth Rogen says he's not in a feud with 'fascist' Ted Cruz, whose 'words caused people to die' GOP votes to replace Cheney with Stefanik after backing from Trump MORE (R-Texas) and others are gearing up to stop it. Cruz says he wants to keep "Obama from [giving] up the internet."

The U.S. deal with ICANN will be up on Sept. 30th and the U.S. is looking to cede control to global multistakeholder community.


In June, Cruz launched an initiative against the move. His bill, the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, would block the U.S. from handing over control of the internet.

Cruz says the U.S. would be giving up the internet to the likes of Russia, China and Iran, members of the body.

Next Wednesday, Cruz plans to hold a hearing on "Protecting Internet Freedom."

Supporters of the move contend that granting stewardship of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to an international body would  include checks and balances that would prevent any groups from taking control and doing harm.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP split on counteroffer to Biden's spending Senate GOP dismayed by vote to boot Cheney Top Democrat: FCC actions are a 'potential setback' to autonomous vehicles MORE (R-S.D.) said on Wednesday that Republicans in both chambers were "discussing options" to stop the transition from moving forward as part of a broader legislative package this month. Given the short time frame involved, Thune said it was likely that Republicans would pursue an appropriations rider to stop the transition, which is a tactic they've turned to before.

"I think you could come up with some variation of that this time around, that would at least delay or push it out in the future," he said. "I think that's what you'd have to do at this point." But he acknowledged that the Department of Commerce says its current execution of the transition isn't in violation of the previous riders and that "the language is going to have to be massaged."

As always, please send your tips, comments and stray observations to David McCabe (dmccabe@thehill.com) and Ali Breland (abreland@thehill.com) and follow us on Twitter: @dmccabe@alibreland and @HilliconValley.

APPLE IS BRAVE: Apple's new iPhone 7 is resistant to both water and analog headphone jacks. At the company's annual event today, Apple announced its new iPhone as well as a new Apple Watch and a new version of iWork. Apple, as expected, ditched the traditional headphone jack on its new phone in favor of audio through its lightning cable port and Bluetooth options. The company called the phone the most "deliberate evolution" of their original design and specifically called the move to abandon the headphone jack, courageous.

WHEELER TALKS 5G IN VEGAS: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler devoted much of his speech at CTIA's annual conference in Las Vegas to the agency's work on 5G and its next steps. "And while we are busy putting out new spectrum, we will facilitate experimentation and innovation -- by soon launching our electronic filing system to accept applications for program experimental licenses," he said, according to his prepared remarks. "The new program licenses will provide much greater flexibility for researchers, universities, OEMs, and other innovators to conduct experiments and field tests of 5G technologies at scale." Watch it here.

A LITTLE SHOWMANSHIP: We'd note, for you Broadway fans, that Wheeler walked out to a few bars of "The Room Where It Happens," a jazzy number about backroom political deals from the hit musical "Hamilton." Wheeler is an avowed "Hamilton" fan: he used quotes from one of its songs in a speech this summer and, at last year's Federal Communications Bar Association Chairman's Dinner, rapped some of the show's opening number. The real question on our minds, though, is who will write the Title II debate's version of "Someone in a Tree?"

WAIT FOR IT: Looking ahead, we'd note that tomorrow is the circulation deadline for items Wheeler wants considered at September's open meeting. There's been a flurry of activity on the set-top box docket this week, but Wheeler's special access and broadband privacy proposals remain open as well.

CONGRESS IS BACK. BACK AGAIN: Lawmakers returned on Tuesday and are sprinting to make use of the remaining legislative days. We'll likely see more aspirational statements from lawmakers hoping to move their tech policy measures in the coming days -- and some are already making their priorities known.

In the upper chamber, Sen. John Thune said he hopes he can move bills on rural call completion, reauthorizing the FCC and freeing up spectrum. All of those, however, are endangered by the ongoing battle over the renomination of FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

"But my guess is all of this stuff kind of gets tied up in whatever the year-end negotiation is," Thune told reporters on Wednesday.

The ICANN battle is also playing out with Cruz at the forefront.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteBottom line No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden Press: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself MORE (R-Va.), meanwhile, is introducing legislation for a digital retail sales tax. And the House Energy and Commerce Committee has more than one outstanding bill of interest to tech and telecom circles in Washington.

Lawmakers in both chambers are also looking for a way to advance a version of the Kelsey Smith Act that doesn't worry privacy advocates, something we wrote about in more detail today. And it's fair to say that Republicans in both the House and Senate will continue to closely watch the policy fights playing out at the FCC.

Thune also said that he sees the Commerce Committee's oversight authority over the FCC as important in the final months of the administration. Thune said that until Democratic leader Sen. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom line Biden's first 100 days is stylistic 'antithesis' of Trump The Memo: Washington's fake debate on 'bipartisanship' MORE (Nev.) stops holding up Republican priorities "the best thing that we can do to try and influence and shape some of these issues is to have these open forums where members of Congress can ask questions" and express their opinions.

THUNE BRUSHES OFF FAKE NEWS ON FACEBOOK:  Earlier this year, Thune was the loudest lawmaker voice when it came to concerns that curators working for Facebook's Trending Topics section were filtering out stories and sources popular with conservatives. Criticism of the feature ultimately led to the human editors being let go. Now, the system is run based on an algorithm. But that's come with a new set of problems. Most notably, the product featured a fake news story about Fox News's Megyn Kelly. Thune dismissed the idea that it posed a consumer protection question because, he said, Facebook is working to make the trending feature more neutral. "I think any time you've got information out there that's not accurate, that's problematic," Thune said. "I think it's a work in progress, it seems like to me."

CONTEXT: ZUCK'S MEA CULPA: Facebook knows it has a problem on its hands, though. This week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that though social media may offer a more diverse set of perspectives than the broadcast media of yore, the company can do better when it comes to fake news. "Still, we can help by doing a better job filtering out false information or clickbait," he said. "We've made some changes to the News Feed algorithm, and we're constantly trying to get a better understanding of what our community finds valuable and what it doesn't." Read the whole post here.



At 2:00 p.m., the House Energy and Commerce Committee's tech subcommittee hosts a hearing on rural call completion.

At 5:00 p.m. ET, CTIA's trade show hosts a panel featuring FCC commissioners.



Here's what you missed while you were live-tweeting the Apple event.

AT&T said it was zero-rating a subsidiary's content.

Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (R-Utah) went after Stringrays.

Peter Thiel used your Metro Safetrack rage to make the case for Trump. (Update: Trump liked it.)

Consumer groups pushed back against some of industry's arguments in the FCC broadband privacy proceeding.

House Oversight slammed the Office of Personnel Management for the data breach it suffered starting in 2014.