Overnight Tech: FCC won't fine Colbert over Trump joke | Trump budget slashes science funding | Net neutrality comment period opens

Overnight Tech: FCC won't fine Colbert over Trump joke | Trump budget slashes science funding | Net neutrality comment period opens
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FCC WON'T FINE COLBERT: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) won't take any action against late night host Stephen Colbert over a controversial joke about President Trump, the agency said Tuesday.

The FCC earlier this month said they would investigate after receiving complaints about a joke the "Late Show" host told that referring to Trump as "Vladimir Putin's c--k holster."

"Consistent with standard operating procedure, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau has reviewed the complaints and the material that was the subject of these complaints. The Bureau has concluded that there was nothing actionable under the FCC's rules," the FCC said in a Tuesday statement, according to Variety.


FCC chairman Ajit Pai had said earlier in May that the bureau would investigate and take "appropriate action" against Colbert if the remark was deemed obscene. He said "a number" of complaints were filed about the joke.

Read more here.


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TRUMP BUDGET CUTS SCIENCE RESEARCH: President Trump's fiscal 2018 budget unveiled Tuesday proposes massive cuts for the National Science Foundation.

The plan would cut $776 million, an 11 percent reduction, from the foundation, which gives grants for non-medical research in science and engineering.


Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, defended the proposal, accusing the foundation of wasteful spending.

"The National Science Foundation last year used your taxpayer money to fund a climate change musical. Do you think that's a waste of your money?" he said in a White House briefing on Tuesday.

While Congress is expected to reject much of the president's budget, the scientific community blasted the cuts.

"The extreme funding cuts to science agencies and related programs included in the budget released today would harm America's research enterprise and our nation's leadership in scientific discovery," said Science Coalition Vice President Anna Quider.

"From life changing discoveries to innovations that produce new industries, and from building a STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] workforce to creating new jobs, science-driven innovation has been a powerful driver of the U.S. economy for decades," she continued.

The science cuts are part of a budget blueprint that would cut $1.5 trillion in nondefense spending and another $1.4 trillion in Medicaid spending, while boosting defense by over half a trillion over a decade.

The budget also makes significant cuts to medical research.

Read more here.


NET NEUTRALITY NOW OPEN TO PUBLIC INPUT: The Federal Communications Commission released the text of its proposal to repeal the agency's net neutrality rules Tuesday, opening it up to comments from the public.

The commission voted along party lines Thursday to move forward with the proceeding to eliminate the regulations, which reclassified internet service providers as telecommunications companies and required them to treat all web traffic equally.

Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal would eliminate the commission's legal authority to prevent internet service providers from blocking or throttling web content or creating "fast lanes" that websites can buy into. The 75-page proposal, "Restoring Internet Freedom," also asks the public to comment on whether rules are needed to ban those practices.

Read more here.


TECH EXECS ON THE HILL: The Business Software Alliance, a D.C. technology trade association representing the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Salesforce, is hosting a fly-in for major technology executives on Capitol Hill Tuesday. According to the association, data issues, workforce development, and trade are amont the topics to be discussed during their meetings with lawmakers and White House administration officials. The group is expected to meet with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (R-Tenn.), Senate Commerce Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate MORE (R-S.D.), Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineFinger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate Russian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Overnight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police MORE (D-Va.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Gianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers to address alarming spike in coronavirus cases MORE (R-Utah), as well as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the co-chairs of the Digital Trade Caucus, House Judiciary members, and the Office of American Innovation.

Notable tech employees that will be there include Microsoft's President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, and Apple's general counsel and senior vice president of legal and global security, Bruce Sewell, along with IBM's assistant general counsel, Daniela Combe.


UBER TO PAY BACKWAGES TO NYC DRIVERS: Uber will refund its New York City drivers millions in backpay after shortchanging them since November 2014, the company told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. Uber said that it mistakenly took a higher cut out of drivers' revenue than was agreed upon in a nationwide contract with drivers in 2014.

The ride-sharing app was supposed to take around 25 percent after taxes and fees, but Uber said that it had miscalculated and was deducting that commission from New York City driver's gross fares. Uber told the Journal that the payout will average about $900 per driver, though the company would not give a total figure that it would be paying out.

Read more here.



BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE: President Trump finally mentioned broadband as a part of an infrastructure package. In his fiscal 2018 budget proposal, the White House said that it "will work to fix underlying incentives, procedures, and policies to spur better, and more efficient, infrastructure decisions and outcomes, across a range of sectors," mentioning broadband as one of those. But the details still aren't clear...


WIKIMEDIA GETS WIN IN NSA LAWSUIT: A federal appeals court on Tuesday reversed a lower court's decision to dismiss Wikimedia's lawsuit challenging the National Security Agency's mass interception of Americans' international digital communications.

The lower court had ruled in 2015 that the case, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation, The Nation magazine, Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch and other groups, failed to demonstrate that plaintiffs' communications were being monitored by the NSA.

A panel of three judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously disagreed with this on Tuesday, allowing Wikimedia et al. to continue their lawsuit.

"This is an important victory for the rule of law. The NSA has secretly spied on Americans' internet communications for years, but now this surveillance will finally face badly needed scrutiny in our public courts. We look forward to arguing this case on the merits," said ACLU attorney Patrick ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy NSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general MORE.

Read more here.




The Senate Judiciary committee will hold a nomination hearing for Vishal J. Amin to be the White House's intellectual property enforcement coordinator 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Microsoft and New America will hold an event on expanding spectrum and wireless access at noon tomorrow.

The Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism will host a hearing on law enforcement data access at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow.



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