Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found

Overnight Tech: States sue FCC over net neutrality repeal | Senate Dems reach 50 votes on measure to override repeal | Dems press Apple on phone slowdowns, kids' health | New Android malware found
© Greg Nash

STATES SUE FCC OVER NET NEUTRALITY REPEAL: Twenty-two state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the agency's repeal of its net neutrality rules.

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"An open internet -- and the free exchange of ideas it allows -- is critical to our democratic process," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) said in a statement. "The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers -- allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online."

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday afternoon in the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

The FCC voted last month to scrap the Obama-era rules governing how internet service providers handle web traffic, sparking intense backlash.

The state officials were joined by the web company Mozilla and consumer groups including Public Knowledge in petitioning the court. They argued the FCC's move was "arbitrary and capricious" and violated the Administrative Procedures Act.

The Obama-era rules prohibited internet service providers from blocking or throttling legitimate traffic or creating fast lanes for websites to buy.

Republicans like FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argue the rules were heavy-handed and unnecessary and that antitrust and consumer protection laws already on the books are sufficient to prevent broadband companies from abusing their power.

But net neutrality supporters say the rules are essential to maintaining a level playing field on the internet.

"Internet access is a utility -- just like water and electricity," Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: Trump moves forward with rule on California drilling | House panel advances bill that resumes participation in Paris climate fund | Perry pressed on 'environmental justice' | 2020 Dem proposes climate corps Trump administration moves forward with final rule to allow new California drilling Overnight Energy: Interior chief says climate response falls on Congress | Bernhardt insists officials will complete offshore drilling plans | Judge rules EPA must enforce Obama landfill pollution rules MORE, California's Democratic attorney general, said in a statement. "And every consumer has a right to access online content without interference or manipulation by their internet service provider."

Read more here.

 

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DEMS NEED ONE MORE VOTE FOR NET NEUTRALITY BILL: Senate Democrats have put together 50 votes for a measure meant to block the Federal Communications Commission's December decision to end net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration.

Democrats are just one GOP vote shy of the 51-vote threshold for a Senate resolution of disapproval, which would strike down the FCC's December rules change.

"With full caucus support," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer wants investigation into Chinese-designed New York subway cars Getting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act MORE (D-N.Y.) said, "it's clear that Democrats are committed to fighting to keep the internet from becoming the Wild West where ISPs are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers while average consumers are left with far inferior options."

The Democrats' effort won the support of its first Republican backer, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDem senator: Many Republicans 'privately expressed concerns' about Mueller findings Congress: Support legislation to defend Medicare home health  The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition — Trump: GOP has `clear contrast' with Dems on immigration MORE (Maine), last Tuesday.

The measure, if it passes the Senate, faces a murky future as it would have to pass the GOP-held House and get President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE's signature to go into effect.

Lawmakers have a window of 60 days from the FCC's December 14 decision to repeal the new regulations under the Congressional Review Act.

Read more here.

 

DEMS PUSH APPLE FOR ANSWERS ON PHONE SLOWDOWNS, KIDS' HEALTH

A group of Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Robin KellyRobin Lynne KellyThe Congressional Black Caucus: America stands to lose a lot under TrumpCare Pelosi joins other Dem leaders in support of Chicago Symphony Orchestra strikers Hillicon Valley: US threatens to hold intel from Germany over Huawei | GOP senator targets FTC over privacy | Bipartisan bill would beef up 'internet of things' security | Privacy groups seize on suspended NSA program | Tesla makes U-turn MORE (D-Ill.) are pushing Apple to provide more answers on how its products can negatively affect consumers.

In a letter, Kelly, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, asked Apple to provide more insight into smartphone addiction among children who use its products. The letter also asked for information about actions the company is taking to curb the Spectre and Meltdown chip vulnerabilities and how Apple slowed down its phones without letting consumers know.

House Energy and Commerce Committee members Reps. Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeDem lawmakers urge FCC to scrutinize broadcast workforce diversity Hillicon Valley: House votes to reinstate net neutrality rules | GOP lawmakers lay into Twitter, Facebook over censorship claims | Amazon workers push company on climate | Bill targets algorithmic bias | Yahoo to pay 7M in breach settlement Dems introduce bill targeting bias in algorithms MORE (D-N.Y.) and Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyHouse Dem cites transgender grandson in voting for Equality Act Dems plan 12-hour marathon Mueller report reading at Capitol US should be producing the HIV prevention drug its research helped create MORE (D-Ill.), as well as Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Bonnie Watson ColemanBonnie Watson ColemanOvernight Energy: Interior chief says climate response falls on Congress | Bernhardt insists officials will complete offshore drilling plans | Judge rules EPA must enforce Obama landfill pollution rules Trump Interior chief says climate change response falls on Congress Interior chief says offshore drilling plan not 'indefinitely sidelined' MORE (D-N.J.), Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeHouse Administration Committee to make election security a 'primary focus' Dems rally behind Omar as Trump escalates attacks Congressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker MORE (D-Ohio) and Marc VeaseyMarc Allison VeaseyThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump attacks on McCain rattle GOP senators Congressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker Overnight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set 'stringent' oversight on North Korea talks MORE (D-Texas), signed the letter.

The group's letter addresses issues that have created public relations headaches for Apple in recent weeks.

Read more here.

 

POLL: MOST AMERICANS UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT SHARING ROADS WITH DRIVERLESS CARS: A recent poll found that a majority of Americans are worried about operating cars on the same roads as driverless vehicles.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they are concerned about sharing the streets with driverless vehicles, according to a poll from Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety.

Thirty-four percent of Americans surveyed said they were not concerned, while 2 percent of those polled said they did not know.

Results of the survey come after the House last year passed the bipartisan Self Drive Act, meant to speed up the development of driverless vehicles and provide a set of federal laws for the technology.

Read more here.

 

LAWMAKERS REPORTEDLY PUSHING AT&T TO ABANDON HUAWEI: Lawmakers are pushing AT&T to sever its ties with Chinese phone company Huawei and to reject telecommunications company China Mobile Ltd.'s plans to break into the U.S. market, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The move, which congressional aides said is motivated by national security concerns, comes amid mounting pressure from the government to curb Chinese firms' entry into U.S. markets.

Earlier in January, AT&T scrapped a plan to offer Huawei phones following pressure from lawmakers. The government also recently blocked several attempted Chinese acquisitions of U.S. companies.

Read more here.

 

RESEARCHERS IDENTIFY ANDROID MALWARE: Kaspersky Lab on Tuesday sounded the alarm about the discovery of highly advanced surveillance software that it said can infiltrate Android mobile devices and gather "targeted" information without users' consent.

Researchers at the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm described the spyware, named Skygofree, as a sophisticated mobile implant "designed for targeted cyber-surveillance" that can be potentially used as an "offensive security" product.

"Skygofree is a sophisticated, multi-stage spyware that gives attackers full remote control of an infected device," the company said in a Tuesday press release.

Skygofree, which has been active since 2014, could allow hackers to listen in on conversations if mobile phones are in certain locations.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP:

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing about terrorist content on social media featuring testimony from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at 10:00 a.m.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will hold a hearing on NASA commercial systems crew development at 10:00 a.m.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will continue its webinar series on broadband connectivity at 2:00 p.m.

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on federal cybersecurity at 2:00 p.m.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Net neutrality advocates look to states after FCC repeal

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Media industry braces for Facebook changes

Bloomberg: Apple supplier workers describe noxious hazards at China factory

Wired: Free speech, tech turmoil, and the new censorship

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