National Journal Tech Edge
May. 6, 2014
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TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH
: The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a markup of the USA Freedom Act for Wednesday, while the House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a closed-door markup of a competing NSA bill for Thursday. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will vote on an update to the satellite TV law STELA and a bill to halt the administration's plan to give up Internet oversight authority. House Republicans claim the FCC is acting like a cartel with its plan to cap spectrum auction bidding. CompTIA has acquired TechAmerica, and Mozilla has a plan to save net neutrality.
: After months of inaction, Congress is suddenly barreling ahead with proposed reforms to the government's surveillance programs, as two House panels duel to get their preferred bills out of committee and onto the floor. The House Judiciary Committee announced Monday that it would bring an amended version of its stalled anti-NSA bill up for a
vote Wednesday. Just hours later, the House Intelligence Committee responded, announcing it had slated a markup of its own anti-spying bill
which most closely aligns with what President Obama has requested
for a closed session Thursday. Amid the jurisdictional squabble, tech companies and privacy groups are closely sifting through Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte's new manager's amendment to the USA Freedom Act, which has long been viewed as the strongest strike against the NSA's surveillance programs. A tech lobbyist expressed concern that the compromise lacks a previous provision that would have given companies more leeway in disclosing information about government data requests. The new compromise "is a conversation starter," said Mark Jaycox of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but added it was "upsetting" to see some of the original bill's transparency and FISA court oversight provisions removed or altered. Jaycox and other privacy advocates additionally said some ambiguous terms, such as "selector," need to be more clearly defined. (Volz, NJ)
: The House Energy and Commerce Committee is set to vote on legislation to re-authorize the satellite TV law STELA and the DOTCOM Act, which would block the transfer of Internet authorities pending a GAO study. Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday afternoon with a full committee markup on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.