Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 23, 2014

Posts in "Telecom"

November 17, 2014

The Week Ahead: Sports Blackouts, Intellectual Property and Smart Phone Encryption

It’s a busy week in Washington with several congressional hearings including one on sports blackouts and events on intellectual property and smart phone encryption.

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November 10, 2014

The Week Ahead: Net Neutrality, Cybersecurity and Lifeline

Congress returns for the lame duck session and events on net neutrality, cybersecurity and the Universal Service Fund’s Lifeline program are on tap this week.

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November 7, 2014

Weekly Wrapup: Elections, FTC and Patent Assertion Entities and More

News from this week includes the mid-term elections, of course, and a Federal Trade Commission settlement with a patent assertion entity. Technocrat had some election and 114th Congress-related posts and we also covered a panel discussion on issues like revenge porn and the law.

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November 6, 2014

Group Calls for Payment Changes in Lifeline Program, Looks to Food Stamp Program Model

Under a proposal by the Internet Innovation Alliance, beneficiaries of a federal program that discounts phone service for low-income Americans would directly get the subsidies through debit cards, the government would determine eligibility instead of phone companies and the program would expand to cover broadband.

And in the white paper calling for changes to the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program, the group looks to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (better known as food stamps) as a model for restructuring how payments are made. Criticizing the program’s structure, including the fact that reimbursements go to telecom companies instead of directly to consumers, the group writes:

In essence, the service provider-centric Lifeline Program is built like an upside-down Food Stamps program that limits consumer choice by paying a grocery store to allow consumers to shop only at that store. By contrast, the existing Food Stamps/SNAP program empowers consumers by providing a debit card that provides low-income shoppers with the freedom to choose among various service providers for a variety of items.

They propose modeling how payments are issued after the federal food assistance program in that individuals would get a debit card to use at authorized companies.

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November 5, 2014

Upton Lays Out House E&C Tech Priorities for Next Congress

upton015 0801141 445x296 Upton Lays Out House E&C Tech Priorities for Next Congress

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., makes his way to a meeting of the House Republican caucus in the Capitol on August 1, 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., didn’t waste much time after winning his re-election to lay out priorities for the 114th Congress, and among them is an effort the panel has been working toward for a while now — an update to communications law.

In a statement Wednesday, Upton said:

We have also spent the past year gathering input and information to inform our work to bring the nation’s communications laws into the 21st Century. Over the next several months, we will take what we have learned from our hearings and white papers to update the law to boost job creation and economic growth in the innovation era.

Upton announced last year a long-term effort to review and update communications law.

Other priorities in tech he pointed out included data protection, privacy and manufacturing:

Likewise, we have made progress on key issues to consumers, workers, and job creators, exploring issues that range from data protection to privacy to manufacturing. We will continue to advance these priorities in the coming year.

October 31, 2014

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality, Spacecraft Crashes & ECPA

Some highlights of the news this week relate to net neutrality, commercial spacecraft and data “throttling.” In case you missed it, Technocrat had a Q&A with the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Chris Calabrese on the details of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act as well as coverage of a report on tariffs and taxes different countries place on technology goods and services.

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October 28, 2014

FTC Sues AT&T Over Disclosure of ‘Throttling’ on Unlimited Data Plans

The Federal Trade Commission is suing AT&T Mobility, alleging that the company engaged in deceptive acts by inadequately disclosing that it “throttled” speeds of customers of data plans the company represented as unlimited after customers used a certain amount of data in a given billing cycle.

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October 27, 2014

The Week Ahead: Yelp’s CEO, Cybersecurity & Identity Theft

Events on cybersecurity and identity theft are on tap this week and Yelp’s Jeremy Stoppelman stops by 1776.


The State Educational Technology Directors Association and the National Association of State Boards of Education host a day-long education technology event.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce holds a day-long cybersecurity forum.

The Progressive Policy Institute hosts an event on wireless policy.


The Identity Theft Resource Center hosts an event related to a survey they’re releasing on the impacts of identity theft on victims.


Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology hosts a day-long event on the Privacy Act and the 1974 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act.

1776 hosts a discussion with Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder and chief executive officer of Yelp.

October 24, 2014

Weekly Wrapup: Spectrum Incentive Auction, ECPA & Online Sales Tax Bill

Among some of the news in tech policy this week: the Federal Communications Commission announced a delay of the spectrum incentive auction as well as a pause on its 180-day review of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV transactions. In case you missed it, Technocrat had posts on Sen. Orrin G. Hatch‘s call for enactment of legislation targeting abusive patent litigation and changes to electronic privacy law next Congress as well as the state of play on the online sales tax bill.

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October 20, 2014

Do We Want to Risk Over-Enforcement or Under-Enforcement?

The question of over-enforcement versus under-enforcement in telecommunications came up in a panel talk on Friday that was part of a Duke University School of Law’s Center for Innovation Policy event on Internet regulation in 2020.

Howard Shelanski, who was speaking only for himself, and said he wasn’t there in his official capacity, laid out how he saw the European versus United States approach in his talk.

Shelanski heads the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget and is a former chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission and former director of the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission.

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By Anne L. Kim Posted at 12:31 p.m.

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