Overnight Technology

Overnight Tech: Lawmakers, tech talk diversity | Group raises security worries over internet handoff | FCC commish wants probe into debate Wi-Fi

LEDE: Lawmakers, industry leaders and government officials met on Tuesday to address diversity issues in tech.

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) held a panel that included Slack engineer and leader Leslie Miley, Verizon Director of Strategic Alliance Debra Speed and Pat Shiu , the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) director, among others.

{mosads}Shiu called for more power and resources for her office to be able to better handle workplace equity issues.

“What is required to address this issue is more resources for the agency. What is required is that every contractor has to file its affirmative action plan so we don’t get the plans just when we come knocking. What is required is that the OFCCP has the subpoena authority that the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] has,” Shiu said.

The panel’s talk also focused on specific government agencies as well as the general ethos in tech that critics say contributes to the lack of workplace diversity.

The panel members said the lack of diversity made it harder for tech companies to spot and fix certain problems.

“I felt there was a cultural problem at Airbnb,” said Laura Murphy, a senior adviser at the company. “Three young, white guys, who founded the company 8 years ago now run a company that’s valued at $30 billion. Doing that in 8 years, they grew very fast. They didn’t change their social networks in the process of growing. We live in a very segregated society. When issues of segregation came up they were turning to each other, which wasn’t the most effective option.”

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FTC COMMISSIONERS BEFORE CONGRESS: The Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday called Federal Trade Commissioner Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and the agency’s other two commissioners, Maureen Ohlhausen and Terrell McSweeny, for an oversight hearing. Republicans put pressure on the commissioners to say whether they felt the FTC should have another chance to comment on the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed broadband privacy rules — which are the result of the tech regulator stripping authority over privacy at internet service providers from the FTC. Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) asked whether “consumers would benefit” from the FTC engaging with the proposal again. All of the witnesses were quick to say they wouldn’t do so unless it was deemed appropriate by the FCC, but expressed a willingness to do so if allowed. “If it’s appropriate for us to have an opportunity to do that, and I’d have to defer to Chairman Wheeler and his colleagues as to whether it’s appropriate for us to be commenting yet again having had an opportunity to do that, we are certainly happy to do so,” said Ramirez. Watch the hearing here.

SECURITY WORRIES OVER INTERNET HANDOFF: A coalition of 77 national and cybersecurity leaders signed a letter addressed to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford urging them to oppose the IANA transition coming up at the end of the week. “Indeed, there is, to our knowledge, no compelling reason for exposing the national security to such a risk by transferring our remaining control of the Internet in this way at this time,” they wrote. “Of more immediate concern to us, however, is the prospect that the United States might be transferring to future adversaries a capability that could facilitate, particularly in time of conflict, cyberwarfare against us.”

WHAT’S NEXT?: Language to block the internet transition was left out of a must-pass funding measure in the Senate. Thune said that the next steps for supporters of a delay were unclear. “It was one of those deals where we thought the Dems were OK with it and at the last minute they started moving the goalposts,” he said. “And so I think at this point, it may be that the House tries to do something with that but I don’t have a good answer in terms of the path forward at the moment.” Thune said that administrative support for the transition might have played a role in the decision by Democrats not to accept the language.

HOUSE SENDS TELCO BILL BACK TO SENATE: The House added amendments to S. 253, a bill dealing with process at the FCC, and sent it back to the upper chamber on Tuesday. “This bill encompasses nearly two years of legislative activity,” said House Energy and Commerce tech subcommittee chair Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) in a statement. “This legislation is further evidence of our dedication to advancing thoughtful solutions that empower consumers and small businesses, make the FCC more transparent, and enhance our public safety communications networks.”

POST-DEBATE POLLS: Despite Donald Trump getting poor reviews on his debate performance even from within his own party, he crushed online polls after the debate. Regardless of who you think won, trolls may have manipulated the outcome of the polls, which are pretty susceptible to this sort of thing. The Daily Dot reports that pro-Donald Trump portions of 4chan and Reddit swarmed polls after the election to declare their candidate the winner.

ONLINE QUESTIONS FOR TOWN-HALL DEBATE: More details are emerging about how the Commission on Presidential Debates will incorporate web-sourced questions into the second presidential debate, which features a town-hall style. The top 30 questions posted to PresidentialOpenQuestions.com will be considered by ABC and CNN, the home networks of the journalists moderating the debate. “The commission was watching closely as the Open Debate Coalition tested out their innovative bottom-up question submission and voting platform in the primaries this year, and we were impressed with the results,” said Mike McCurry, the co-chair of the debate commission, in a statement. “This year’s presidential debate moderators will have a rich pool of voter-submitted questions they can draw on that carry greater weight because they are backed by votes from the American people.” The caveat, of course, is that the moderators don’t need to use the questions from that forum if they don’t want to.



At 9:00 a.m. FBI Director James Comey will testify in front of Congress for an FBI oversight hearing.

At 2:00 p.m. the House Subcommittee on Information Technology will hold an oversight hearing on cybersecurity for the 2016 election.



An FCC commissioner is requesting a probe into the potentially illegal restriction of personal Wi-Fi hotspots at the debate on Monday.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday blocked a tech bill championed by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) because of the stalled re-nomination of a Democrat on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

A German regulator on Tuesday ordered Facebook not to collect data from subsidiary WhatsApp after an outcry about the privacy concerns of such an arrangement.

Six Democratic senators are blasting Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, saying the delay in reporting a high-profile security breach is “unacceptable.”

More than 18 million people engaged in the conversation on Facebook about the first presidential debate of 2016 on Monday night, according to the company.

Tags Bobby Scott Donald Trump Harry Reid John Thune

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