Overnight Technology

Overnight Tech: Trump slams internet transition plan | Lawmakers taking on robocalls | Zuckerberg goes big on health

LEDE: Donald Trump is opposing the White House’s plans to relinquish oversight of the internet domain system to an international body.

“The U.S. should not turn control of the Internet over to the United Nations and the international community,” Stephen Miller, Trump’s national policy director, said in a statement Wednesday criticizing the transition.

{mosads}”President Obama intends to do so on his own authority — just 10 days from now, on October 1st, unless Congress acts quickly to stop him.”

Some on the right have worried that the plan could hand internet governance over to the United Nations — although the current plan does not do so — if there are not proper checks and balances in place.

Trump’s comments on tech related issues are rare and the GOP nominee has also been slow to adopt many new technologies. As of 2013, he “very rarely” used email and as of 2007 did not have a computer.

In her technology platform, Hillary Clinton said that she does support the move to handoff domain management to an international body.

Trump’s comments come as the fight in the Senate over the transition rages on. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said that he was confident that there would be language blocking the transition in a short-term government funding bill that the Senate is currently working on. The move to block the transition isn’t a done deal though. The fight may spill over into next week, with the Senate staying in town to vote on overriding an expected veto from President Obama on a 9/11 victims bill.

FCC REPUBLICANS WEIGH IN: Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai asserted his opposition to the transition in a statement. “When it comes to Internet governance, I do not believe the transition should take place on October 1,” he said. “Getting it right is far more important that getting it done right now, and additional time to consider the merits of the transition would benefit all stakeholders.”

He followed his colleague Michael O’Rielly, who in a speech on Tuesday said that all “details of the transition must be worked out, fully considered and all questions answered before this transition goes any further.” But both FCC Republicans appear to be in the camp that wants to delay the transition, rather than shut it down outright. 

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.

PANEL TACKLES ROBOCALLS: The tech subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce committee will host a hearing on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act on Thursday. The hearing features witnesses from academia and the private sector. It’s a moment of bipartisanship for the panel: Democrats asked for a hearing on the law, which governs robocalls, earlier this month and Republicans have said they’re also interested in talking about the issue. “As technology evolves, so too should our laws,” said subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden. “The TCPA should be ensuring Americans receive the calls they want without being harassed by calls they don’t. Instead, it’s a prime example of an outdated law that lags behind modern communications technology and consumer preferences.” View the full witness list here.

ZUCKERBERG’S BIG HEALTH PLAY: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, said on Wednesday they would spend $3 billion trying to “cure, prevent or manage all disease,” per the Associated Press. That includes providing $600 million for a new research facility in San Francisco. “I’ve been with families where we’ve hit the limit of what’s possible through medicine and science,” Chan, a doctor, told the news service. “I’ve had to tell families devastating diagnoses of leukemia, or that we just weren’t able to resuscitate their child.”

TWITTER TWEAKS TRANSPARENCY REPORT: Twitter on Wednesday made changes to its semi-yearly transparency report. “Upgrades include bigger, bolder visualizations, clearer explanations about the numbers, and more granular details about many of the requests we receive,” said Global Legal Policy Director Jeremy Kessel in a blog post. “Specifically, we’ve added several new sections about global information requests, including: the number of preservation requests received for user data, more insights into requests that we formally or informally challenge, a breakdown between emergency and non-emergency requests, and the percentage of requests where basic account information is provided versus the production of the contents of communications (e.g., Tweets, DMs, media, etc.).”

RIDE-HAIL FIRMS HAVE ISSUES: Ride-hail companies Uber and Lyft have a presence in Washington — but their real policy battles are fought at the state and local level. Andrew Hawkins over at The Verge has a nice primer on the five big fights the companies face while they try to permeate the market in major states. They include problems with fingerprinting drivers and accessibility, among others. You can read the report he references here.



At 11:00 a.m., the tech subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee hosts a hearing on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

At 12:15 p.m., The Federal Communications Bar Association is holding a brown bag lunch.



Google’s new Allo messaging service is under fire from privacy rights advocates for a decision that will make it easier for law enforcement to retrieve chats.

The federal government’s power to recall unsafe driverless cars in the same manner it deals with traditional automobiles could help boost safety recall rates.

A Senate panel on Wednesday advanced legislation meant to combat ticket bot software that snaps up large swathes of tickets to live events so they can be resold at a higher price.

The nation’s top intelligence official is suggesting Russia could be tampering with U.S. election systems in order to create public doubt about their reliability.

Donald Trump came out against a plan for the U.S. to relinquish control of functions central to the internet, backing a group of conservative lawmakers seeking to block it.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton John Thune

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