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May. 6, 2014
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Welcome to National Journal's Tech Edge, a morning tip sheet with the news you need in technology
policy, featuring a roundup of the best coverage and exclusive tips for the day ahead. Got this by
forward? Sign up at http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech-edge.
By Alex Brown (@AlexBrownNJ), Laura Ryan (@NJLJRyan), Brendan Sasso (@BrendanSasso), and
Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)
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.
TWO HOUSE PANELS TO MARKUP NSA BILLS THIS WEEK: 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)
STELA, DOTCOM ACT SET FOR COMMITTEE VOTES: 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.
WHY DID COMPTIA ACQUIRE TECHAMERICA?: Details of the deal announced Monday remain
sealed, but the merger is an attempt to "enhance our global capacity" as a big-tent coalition
representative of all of IT and expand CompTIA's state and local presence, according to Todd
Thibodeaux, CompTIA's CEO. Thibodeaux in an interview said TechAmerica's settlement last week of a
poaching suit with the Information Technology Industry Council "had nothing to do with this transaction—
not in any level involved."
About 24 TechAmerica employees will join CompTIA, bringing the overall total to just under 200. About
seven TechAmerica staffers who worked in "the administrative office" are being let go. As for
TechAmerica CEO Shawn Osborne, Thibodeaux said he would remain with the company during a
transition period, but that he could not comment on Osborne's long-term plans.
HOUSE GOP URGES FCC TO RECONSIDER AUCTION CAPS: The FCC's plan to cap bidding in the
upcoming spectrum auction "borders on reckless" and resembles "how a cartel controls price," according
to a letter signed by every Republican member of the House Communications and Technology
Subcommittee. "The Commission is not better able than the market to dictate the worth of spectrum and
attempts to do so jeopardize the success of the auction," the lawmakers wrote. The FCC will vote on the
rules on May 15, and the House panel is set to give Chairman Tom Wheeler an earful at a hearing on
MOZILLA'S PLAN TO SAVE NET NEUTRALITY: The nonprofit group outlined a new legal path to ban
Internet "fast lanes." (Sasso, NJ)
ONE CHART SHOWING WHY TARGET'S CEO RESIGNED: Mounting public pressure mixed with
sagging profits and sales in the wake of last year's massive data breach led to Gregg Steinhafel's
departure. (Volz/Stamm, NJ)
FCC FINES PHONE COMPANY FOR DECEIVING CUSTOMERS: A Colorado long-distance phone
provider is facing a whopping $3.9 million fine from the FCC for allegedly tricking customers into switching
service plans and billing customers for unauthorized charges. Many of the victims were elderly or
disabled, according to the FCC.
BOEHNER ON THE SPOT WITH NSA: It will be up to the House speaker to decide how to move ahead
with NSA legislation. (Kate Tummarello, The Hill)
SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CELL TOWER CASE: The justices will consider whether local officials
need to provide written explanations when they deny applications to build new cell towers. (Brent Kendall,
LEVEL 3 ACCUSES ISPS OF DEGRADING TRAFFIC: The Internet backbone provider claimed six
unnamed ISPs are abusing their market power. (Marguerite Reardon, CNET)
YOSEMITE BANS DRONES: The National Park Service announced the increasingly popular unmanned
aircraft will no longer be allowed, citing noise, safety and wildlife concerns.
AJIT PAI: FCC NEEDS TO SHOW MORE LOVE TO BROADCASTERS: "Unfortunately, the relationship
between broadcasters and the FCC has become strained of late," the Republican FCC commissioner
said in a speech in Pennsylvania. "Based on what I heard at the NAB Show last month, I wonder if it's
time to call Dr. Phil and see if he is available to mediate."
iOS7 MAIL APP FAILS TO ENCRYPT ATTACHMENTS: The security flaw puts iPhone users at risk,
allowing hackers with the right software to access sent email files. Apple says it's working to fix the
problem. (Salvador Rodriguez, LAT)
WHY WE DON'T HAVE SMART GUNS: Sellers are leery of the NRA's wrath—and a New Jersey law that
requires all guns to meet owner-identification requirements once the first one is sold in the U.S. (Adrianne
Jeffries, The Verge)
THE DAY AHEAD
WifiForward will host an all-day event at the Newseum with keynote speeches from Republican
Rep. Darrell Issa and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. NJ's Brendan Sasso will
moderate a panel on policy issues surrounding unlicensed spectrum featuring representatives
from CableLabs, CEA, ASA Networks, and Google.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn, Pai, and Rosenworcel will speak at an
FCC E-Rate Modernization Workshop at 9:30 a.m.
The National Press Club will host an event titled "Responding to the Second Digital Divide" at 10
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