Overnight Tech: House weighs laws for driverless cars | Dems hit FCC chief on broadband | A new online fundraising tool | Microsoft calls for a 'digital Geneva Convention'

Overnight Tech: House weighs laws for driverless cars | Dems hit FCC chief on broadband | A new online fundraising tool | Microsoft calls for a 'digital Geneva Convention'
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The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday held a hearing on driverless cars, where automakers urged them to consider easing some safety standards for traditional cars to better accommodate self-driving cars.

"We believe there are several areas that should be addressed before the policy is implemented," said Gill Pratt, executive technical advisor and CEO of Toyota's research institute.

"It is imperative that manufacturers have the ability to test these vehicles in greater numbers to gather the safety data that will be critical to inform large-scale deployment of life-saving self-driving vehicles," said Mike Ableson, vice president of global strategy for General Motors.

"One good way to accomplish this goal is to grant the secretary of Transportation authority to grant specific exemptions for highly automated vehicle development."

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During the hearing, lawmakers noted that they considering various measures but hadn't decided anything concrete yet. Lawmakers have expressed interest in providing guidelines for self-driving cars including cybersecurity measures, but have been hesitant out of fear of stifling innovation.

Automakers at the hearing today also cited this as a concern.

"We wouldn't want the government ... to specify specific steps or solutions," Ableson said. "The goal is to prove they're safe."

Even so, on Monday, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneImpeachment threatens to drown out everything Republicans show signs of discomfort in defense of Trump   Embracing President Mike Pence might be GOP's best play MORE (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said on Monday that they are looking at ways to change regulations for self-driving car makers. The two said that they expect to introduce legislation on the matter by the end of the year.

Read the full story on the hearing from our colleague Melanie.

Click here for more on Thune and Peters's plans for legislation.

 

Please send your tips, comments and constructive criticism to Ali Breland (abreland@thehill.com) and Harper Neidig (hneidig@thehill.com) and follow us on Twitter: @alibreland@hneidig  and @HilliconValley.

 

DEMS LASH OUT AT PAI OVER BROADBAND SUBSIDIES: House Democrats are hammering Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai over his decision to cut nine companies from a program that provides subsidized internet service to low-income people. Forty-one Democrats, including Reps. Ro Khanna (Calif.), Anna Eshoo (Calif.) and Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindBlood cancer patients deserve equal access to the cure Democrats see whistleblower report as smoking gun Here are the House Democrats who aren't backing Trump impeachment inquiry MORE (Wis.), signed a letter on Tuesday saying that Pai's move would hurt poor communities.

"Your action will hurt those in our country that need the most help," they wrote. "Your arbitrary decision will hurt poor children and widen the digital divide."

Read more here.

 

NEW POLITICAL FUNDRAISING PLATFORM FROM INTERNET GIANTS: A trade group representing internet giants including Facebook and Google is launching a new online political fundraising platform. The program from the Internet Association will allow people to ask candidates selected by the group questions and donate money to the association's political action committee to help that candidate.

Users will be able to submit questions to lawmakers in livestreamed question-and-answer sessions hosted by the Internet Association. Donations made through the system will be transferred directly to the candidate, and by law will be subject to a contribution limit of $2,700 per election cycle.

Read more here.

 

FACEBOOK TV: Facebook announced some new features to its video services today. It will soon start playing videos with sound when users scroll to them in their news feeds. The company also revealed that it would be rolling out an app for smart TV's that would play Facebook videos.

 

DIGITAL GENEVA CONVENTION?: Microsoft President Brad Smith is calling for the creation of a digital convention, saying it's time "to call on the world's governments to implement international rules to protect the civilian use of the internet."

Citing a rash of "cyber-attacks mounted for financial gain" and "new nation-state attacks," Smith said tech companies should play the role of savior against such increasingly frequent incidents.

"Just as the Fourth Geneva Convention has long protected civilians in times of war, we now need a Digital Geneva Convention that will commit governments to protecting civilians from nation-state attacks in times of peace," he wrote in a Tuesday blog post.

Read more here.

 

OBAMA AIDE HEADS TO NON-PROFIT: Michael Daniel, former special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator for the White House, was named the first president of the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) Tuesday. Daniel headed Obama-administration efforts in cybersecurity strategy and policy from June 2012 until President Trump took office.

CTA, which was founded in 2014 and reformulated as a not-for-profit in January, is a collaborative effort by cybersecurity firms including Cisco, Fortinet, Intel Security and Symantec to increase cyber defenses. In the past, that has meant developing a decryption tool to thwart malware, and more recently, to create a threat information platform.

Read more here.

 

BLACKBERRY SUES NOKIA: The Canadian phonemaker is suing its Finnish competitor over a patent infringement claim, reports Bloomberg. Blackberry contends that Nokia is infringing on as many as 11 of its patents in its technology. "BlackBerry seeks to obtain recompense for Nokia's unauthorized use of BlackBerry's patented technology," the Canadian company said in the complaint.

 

ON TAP FOR WEDNESDAY:

Incompas, the communications and technology trade group, is holding its 2017 Policy Summit on Wednesday starting at 8:30 a.m.

The Cato Institute is holding an event with House Oversight leaders on the use of stingrays by law enforcement at 9:00 a.m. The devices help track cellphones.

BroadbandUSA will host its webinar series with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at 2:00 p.m.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Kellyanne Conway is claiming that she's not responsible for a retweet of a white nationalist on her account.

The Internet Association launched a new political fundraising platform.

Trump staffers are reportedly using an app that deletes their messages to communicate.

The House Homeland Security Chairman says that Russia should pay for meddling with the U.S. election.

Microsoft's President is calling for a "digital Geneva Convention."

Republicans and Democrats on the House Science Committee on Tuesday sparred over President Trump's personal cybersecurity practices.

Julian Assange is tweeting from a new personal account.

Amnesty International says there is an elaborate phishing campaign against journalists and social activists.