Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2014

Posts by Anne L. Kim

167 Posts

July 31, 2014

Old-School NASA Ground Ops Are Highlight of Ranger 7 Film

For #ThrowbackThursday: Fifty years ago today, NASA got its first close pictures of the moon with its Ranger 7 spacecraft after several failed attempts.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory released the above 1964 film it produced on Ranger 7, and if anything, it’s an interesting look at old-school ground operations.

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By Anne L. Kim Posted at 10:12 a.m.
Space

July 30, 2014

Still Room for Congress on Patent Fee-Shifting, USPTO’s Lee Says

The deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said on Wednesday that “legislative clarification” is still possible on the issue of fee-shifting in patent lawsuits, even after two Supreme Court decisions on the matter earlier this year.

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Wireless Cramming: Consumers Took Big Hits, Report Says

A report released by a Senate panel estimates that unauthorized third-party charges on consumer cellphone bills, known as “cramming,” likely cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars over several years. It also states that wireless companies’ policies to address the issue and ” sometimes lax oversight left wide gaps in consumer protection.”

The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is holding a hearing on the issue Wednesday afternoon and its report comes just a couple days after the Federal Trade Commission issued a staff report listing recommendations for industry to reduce mobile cramming. The agency also filed a lawsuit recently against T-Mobile, accusing the company of engaging in cramming.

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Bill Foster, the No. 1 Science Geek in Congress?

foster 203 032614 445x301 Bill Foster, the No. 1 Science Geek in Congress?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While it’s common for lawmakers to have had former careers as lawyers or business owners, having “physicist” on your employment history is pretty rare. Roll Call’s Jason Dick has a profile out this morning on Illinois Democrat Bill Foster, who was a physicist before being elected to Congress (according to CQ’s member profiles, he also previously owned a theater lighting company). Over the summer, the “entrepreneur/experimental physicist/politician has been playing the role of science guy,” Dick writes.

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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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By Anne L. Kim Posted at 2:33 p.m.
Surveillance

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

483412571 web 445x306 Bitcoin Event Pulls In Jared Polis, Bob Goodlatte, Mick Mulvaney

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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