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Congress Takes on Data Breaches, And the FCC's Plan to Double School Internet Spending

Welcome to the National Journal's Tech Edge, a morning tipsheet with the news you need in technology policy, featuring a round-up of the best coverage and exclusive tips for the day ahead. Got this by forward? Sign up at

By Alex Brown (@AlexBrownNJ), Laura Ryan (@NJLJRyan), Brendan Sasso (@BrendanSasso), and Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)


TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Three congressional committees will take a look at the recent spate of data breaches at hearings this week, starting with the Senate Banking Committee on Monday. Testimony later in the week from Target and Neiman Marcus executives will get particular attention, but they will likely be cagey about revealing too much information while the breaches are still under investigation. The FCC wants to double spending on school Internet access, and the Justice Department is sending strong signals to Sprint to back-off from a possible merger with T-Mobile.


Join National Journal on Thursday, February 6 for "Dialing In on the IP Transition" Policy Summit underwritten by Neustar. The Newseum, 3rd Floor Broadcast Studio, 8:00 am - 10:30 am. RSVP @

FCC TO DOUBLE SCHOOL SPENDING: The FCC plans to double spending on Internet access in schools and libraries by restructuring its E-Rate fund, an agency official confirmed to NJ. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is expected to explain the details of the plan, which is part of the president's goal of connecting 20 millions students to high-speed Internet, on Wednesday. (First reported by Edward Wyatt, NYT)


OBAMA ON NET NEUTRALITY: During a Google+ Hangout on Friday, President Obama said he is confident the FCC will act to protect net neutrality in the wake of the court decision striking down its rules. Obama said he has "cared deeply" about the issue ever since he first ran for office—in part because his campaign couldn't have organized as effectively if there were "commercial barriers and roadblocks" to an open Internet.

"The new commissioner of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, who I appointed, I know is a strong supporter of net neutrality," Obama said, adding that the FCC is looking at "all the options at their disposal," including appeals and a new rulemaking, to protect net neutrality.

"The one good piece of news coming out of this court opinion was that the court did confirm that the FCC can regulate this space. They have authority," Obama said. "And the question now is how do they use that authority. If the old systems and rulings that they had in place were not effective in preserving net neutrality, do they have other tools that would stand up to court scrutiny that accomplishes the same goals?" (Question comes at 9:40 in this YouTube video; H/T Free Press)

WHY SPRINT MIGHT BE RETHINKING T-MO BID: The Obama administration has been sending clear signals to Sprint that it would oppose a bid to buy T-Mobile. But will Sprint be willing to take the gamble anyway for the chance to gain equal footing with AT&T and Verizon? (Brendan Sasso, NJ)


OBAMA ON CLAPPER'S FALSE TESTIMONY: "I think that Jim Clapper himself would acknowledge, and has acknowledged, that he should have been more careful about how he responded," Obama told CNN. "His concern was that he had a classified program that he couldn't talk about and he was in an open hearing in which he was asked, he was prompted to disclose a program, and so he felt that he was caught between a rock and a hard place." (Justin Sink, The Hill)

REPUBLICANS QUESTION FCC SPENDING: House Republicans sent a letter to the FCC on Friday, demanding documents and other information related to the agency's budget. In particular, they questioned an increase in staff for the Wireline Bureau and the agency's plan to use some spectrum auction revenue to cover administrative costs.


Monday: The Senate Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance will hold a hearing on "safeguarding consumers' financial data" at 3:00 p.m.

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Tuesday: The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing at 10:00 a.m. to examine proposals to reform NSA surveillance. Executives from Target and Neiman Marcus and top administration officials will testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at 10:15 a.m. on data breaches.

Wednesday: The executives and some of the same officials will go a second round on data security with the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade at a 9:30 a.m. hearing. The House Homeland Security Committee will vote on a bill intended to better coordinate the government's cybersecurity efforts at 10 a.m. FTC Commissioner Julie Brill will answer questions on Twitter at 2:00 p.m. FCC Chairman Wheeler is expected to unveil his plan to improve Internet access in schools.

Thursday: Wheeler will discuss the IP transition at an event hosted by NJ at 8:00 a.m. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on "financial stability and data security" at 10:00 a.m. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will hold its first meeting to discuss the privacy implications of facial recognition technology at 1:00 p.m.


MICROSOFT TO ANNOUNCE CEO: Microsoft's board was expected to meet over the weekend to pick a new CEO. The company will reportedly announce their choice (likely enterprise unit head Satya Nadella) this week. (Kara Swisher, Re/code)

GET TO KNOW SATYA NADELLA: "What drives me every morning and what keeps me up every night is one thing: this business is not about longevity, it's about relevance." (Clark/Langley/Ovide, WSJ)

AEREO SELLS OUT OF ANTENNAS: Online TV service Aereo, which is facing a Supreme Court challenge, said Friday that it sold out of antennas for New York customers. (Alex Barinka, Bloomberg)

STATES NAME THEIR PRICE FOR E-BOOK FIASCO: A coalition of states and consumers is seeking $840 million from Apple over its role in the e-book price-fixing case. (Hurtado/Smythe, Bloomberg)

TWITTER ACQUIRES 900 IBM PATENTS: Twitter agreed to buy more than 900 patents from IBM, ending a dispute between the two companies and giving Twitter its first major patent arsenal. (Yoree Koh, WSJ)

AT&T ESCALATES PRICE WARS: AT&T cut $40 a month from one of its family plans in a bid to win more customers in an increasingly competitive mobile landscape. (Thomas Gryta, WSJ)

AT&T CEO ON NEUTRALITY: "In the last couple of years, the industry has worked and agreed to a framework for Net Neutrality. So the court order really changed nothing." (Chris Bayers, USA Today)

APPLE MULLS HEALTH MONITORING: Apple officials met with the FDA to discuss mobile medical applications, possibly for inclusion in an upcoming smartwatch. (Bilton/Chen, NYT)

SPRINT TO MEET WITH FCC: Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son is expected to meet with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday. (Knutson/Nagesh, WSJ)

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

Love it - first thing I read in the morning."

Amy, VP of Communications

I read the Tech Edge every morning."

Ashley, Senior Media Associate

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