Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 30, 2014

July 29, 2014

Leahy: Surveillance Bill Is About ‘Fundamental Relationship’ With Government (Video)

“This is a debate about Americans’ fundamental relationship with their government,” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said on the Senate floor Tuesday about his new bill to limit surveillance. “About whether our government should have the power to create massive databases of information about its citizens or whether we are in control of our own government, not the other way around.”

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New Surveillance Overhaul Bill Coming From Sen. Leahy

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to introduce new surveillance overhaul legislation.

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July 28, 2014

In ‘Mobile Cramming’ Report, FTC Puts the Onus on Wireless Companies

Mobile telecom carriers should make third-party charges conspicuous on bills and not be deceptive, says the Federal Trade Commission in a new staff report that recommends best practices for industry to reduce “mobile cramming,” or the practice of placing unauthorized third-party charges on cellphone bills.

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Bitcoin Event Pulls In Jared Polis, Bob Goodlatte, Mick Mulvaney

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Polis uses a Robocoin machine to purchase bitcoins during a demonstration on Capitol Hill in April. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Jared Polis and two other House members who have shown a piqued interest in digital currency are hosting an event on the topic Tuesday evening in a House office building.

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This Week: Wireless Cramming, Minority Media and Microsoft’s Data Warrant

The highlights include a look at Microsoft’s challenge of a warrant for data located in Ireland, a Senate hearing on wireless cramming and a conference on issues for minority media and telecom businesses.

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July 25, 2014

Cellphone ‘Unlocking’ Bill Now Just Needs the President’s Signature

As House lawmakers left town for the weekend, they sent the president a bill that would again let cellphone users “unlock” their devices to switch wireless carriers without violating copyright law.

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Vint Cerf Says NTIA Domain Name Plan Would Help Keep Internet Free

A video from Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist, seems to be defending the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s proposal to step back from its role in certain functions of the Internet domain name system. The video has been making the rounds on tech blogs.

“There’s been some confusion about the United States’ role in creating ICANN,” Cerf says in the animated (literally) video, where he gives an brief history of governance over Internet protocol addresses and domain names. In addition to working at Google, Cerf is widely regarded as “father of the Internet.”

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Should There Be a System for Resolving Small Copyright Claims?

Some lawmakers appear interested in the idea of a small claims system for resolving copyright infringement disputes, or were at least asking questions about it at a House hearing Thursday.

Last year, the Copyright Office, following a congressional request, issued a report on small copyright claims that said small copyright owners face “formidable challenges” in pursuing infringement claims under the current system and proposed a voluntary system for addressing small claims within the Copyright Office that would serve as an alternative to going to federal court.

“What are your views on the Copyright Office recommendation for a small copyright claims system?” Howard Coble, R-N.C., asked witnesses at a Thursday House Judiciary Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee hearing on copyright infringement penalties.

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July 24, 2014

The Issue of ‘Trolls’ Apparently Isn’t Limited to Patents

The issue of patent “trolls” has been a high-profile issue in Washington, but the issue of copyright “trolls” also cropped up at a House hearing on Wednesday.

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E-Rate Shakeup: Wi-Fi Money Is Available, but There’s a Catch

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to shake up the E-Rate program of federal subsidies for Internet service in public schools and libraries has only partly been successful — his FCC colleagues have agreed to make more money available for Wi-Fi, as Wheeler proposed in June, but only if the dollars aren’t needed for basic Internet connections.

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