Overnight Tech: Employee who sent false missile alert not cooperating with FCC | Trump nominates four to the FTC | Hatch unveils bill on high-skilled visas | New push for broadband infrastructure

Overnight Tech: Employee who sent false missile alert not cooperating with FCC | Trump nominates four to the FTC | Hatch unveils bill on high-skilled visas | New push for broadband infrastructure
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EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBLE FOR FALSE ALERT NOT COOPERATING WITH FCC: The employee responsible for sending a false mobile alert across Hawaii warning of an incoming ballistic missile is not cooperating with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigations looking into the matter, an FCC official said Thursday.

Lisa Fowlkes, who heads the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, told lawmakers at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing that, while leaders at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency were cooperating with investigators, the employee who sent the notification was not.

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"We are quite pleased with the level of cooperation we have received from the leadership of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency thus far," Fowlkes said.

"We are disappointed, however, that one key employee, the person who transmitted the false alert, is refusing to cooperate with our investigation," she added. "We hope that person will reconsider."

Widespread panic and confusion broke out in Hawaii earlier this month after an alert was sent to mobile devices warning that a ballistic missile was heading toward the state and urging people there to take immediate shelter.

Read more here.

 

TRUMP NOMINATES FOUR TO FTC: President TrumpDonald John TrumpMia Love pulls ahead in Utah race as judge dismisses her lawsuit Trump administration denies exploring extradition of Erdoğan foe for Turkey Trump congratulates Kemp, says Abrams will have 'terrific political future' MORE put forth four nominees to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has been operating with only two of its five seats filled throughout his administration.

The names are not entirely new. Last year, Trump announced his intention to nominate antitrust attorney Joseph Simons to chair the agency; Noah Phillips, an aide to Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump’s backing may not be enough on criminal justice reform Congress should ban life without parole sentences for children  Senate GOP discussing Mueller vote MORE (R-Texas), to fill one of the GOP slots; and consumer advocate Rohit Chopra to serve in the Democratic opening. But for some reason, the White House did not submit the proper paperwork to the Senate.

On Thursday, Trump renominated them to the consumer protection agency along with a fourth, Delta Airlines vice president Christine Wilson, to fill the Republican opening that will be left by Maureen Ohlhausen, the current acting chairwoman who was recently nominated for a federal judgeship.

Simons is a longtime corporate antitrust attorney with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and also headed the FTC's competition bureau under the George W. Bush administration.

Chopra is a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America and a former assistant director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFacebook reeling after damning NYT report Schumer warns Trump to stay out of government funding negotiations Schumer predicts Nelson will 'continue being senator' if 'every vote counted' MORE (D-N.Y.) had recommended Chopra to the White House as a potential Democratic pick.

Cornyn on Thursday hailed the decision to nominate Phillips, his chief counsel.

"A talented lawyer and dedicated member of my staff, Noah's extensive work on the Judiciary Committee will serve him well in this role," Cornyn said in a statement. "He will be a big asset to the Commission, and I'm proud to support his nomination."

Read more here.

 

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HATCH RELEASES H-1B BILL AGAIN: Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGinsburg attends Medal of Freedom ceremony amid recovery from fall Utah New Members 2019 Congress braces for high-drama lame duck MORE (R-Utah) released legislation on Thursday that would expand high skilled immigration visas and allow the spouses and children of such visa holders to legally work in the U.S.

According to the text of the bill, Hatch's Immigration Innovation (or I-Squared) Act would increase the cap on H-1B high skilled immigration visas from 65,000 to 85,000 a year and expand the number of visas allocated to meet demand up to 195,000.

The bill would also scrap the per-country cap on employment-based green cards.

The bill, if it became law, would also create a legislative provision to allow the dependents of H-1B visa holders to legally work in the U.S. with H-4 visas. The Department of Homeland Security has signaled that it is considering scrapping this program, to the dismay of the technology industry, which has vocally supported the visa.

The visa increases don't come without caveats. In an attempt to win over President Trump and other Republicans wary of increased immigration, the bill would make sure that holders of U.S. master's degrees or higher, foreign Ph.D.'s and U.S. STEM bachelor degrees are prioritized in the lottery process.

Read more here.

 

CONGRESS FULL STEAM AHEAD ON INFRASTRUCTURE: Congress is making a push to get rural internet access projects funded through President Trump's promised $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan.

Lawmakers representing rural areas have argued that many of their constituents are losing out on economic and educational resources due to a lack of broadband access. And as the president teases an infrastructure plan, members are stepping up their calls for increased funding.

This week, leaders of the bipartisan House Rural Broadband Caucus raised their concerns about the possibility that the plan might not include any funding for rural internet connectivity.

The increasing importance of internet access has turned it into an infrastructure issue that many see as just as vital as roads and bridges.

Read more here.

 

SOROS LASHES OUT AT TRUMP, TECH GIANTS: Billionaire Democratic donor George Soros on Thursday took aim at President Trump and tech giants during an appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"I consider the Trump administration a danger to the world," Soros said, according to Bloomberg News. "But I regard it as a purely temporary phenomenon that will disappear in 2020, or even sooner."

"I give President Trump credit for motivating his core supporters brilliantly," he added. "But for every core supporter, he has created a greater number of core opponents who are equally strongly motivated. That's why I expect a Democratic landslide in 2018."

Soros, who said climate change should be viewed as a threat to civilization, also targeted Facebook and Google in particular in his remarks, calling for stricter regulations, BuzzFeed News reported.

Read more here.

 

SAN JOSE MAYOR RESIGNS FROM FCC ADVISORY PANEL: San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has reportedly quit a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advisory committee that focuses on broadband deployment.

Liccardo accused the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee of providing policy recommendations that give internet service providers "a very favorable hand," Axios reported.

"It has become abundantly clear that despite the good intentions of several participants, the industry-heavy makeup of [the committee] will simply relegate the body to being a vehicle for advancing the interests of the telecommunications industry over those of the public," Liccardo said in his resignation letter.

Read more here.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

BuzzFeed: Cryptocurrency scammers are running wild on Telegram

Reuters: Benchmark Capital drops lawsuit against ex-Uber CEO Kalanick

Fight For The Future launched its campaign to get Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) to be the 51st vote in the Senate to preserve net neutrality rules

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty talks about data responsibility at Davos