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TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The third data-breach hearing kicks off at 9:30 this morning, this time on the House Energy & Commerce Committee's court. Execs from Target and Neiman Marcus will again testify, as will FTC head Edith Ramirez. The House Homeland Security Committee will markup a cybersecurity bill at 10 a.m. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will deliver remarks on E-Rate reform at 11:00 a.m., and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel will participate in a discussion on technology in the classroom at 2:30 p.m. as part of a daylong event on digital learning.
CAPITOL HILL REMAINS TRANSFIXED ON DATA HEISTS: Round two of this week's carousel of congressional hearings on all things breaches saw Target apologizing for its recent breach and professing it had no idea it had been hacked until the government told the company. Brass from Neiman Marcus also told the Senate Judiciary that the company first realized it was hacked on Jan. 2 and expelled the virus from its systems on Jan. 10. About 1 million payment cards may have been compromised, said CIO Michael Kingston.
FTC BACKS DATA-SECURITY LEGISLATION: FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez urged Congress to pass data-security and breach-notification legislation on Tuesday. Speaking at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, she argued that the FTC already has the authority to go after companies with inadequate security practices, despite pending challenges in federal court. Ramirez urged Congress to clarify the FTC's existing authority and to expand it to cover nonprofits and to allow fines.
SENATORS EXPAND DATA-BREACH INVESTIGATION: Democratic Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Claire McCaskill and sent letters Thursday to White Lodging, Yahoo and Michaels Stores as part of Congress's expanding inquiry into corporate data-security practices.
PATRIOT ACT ARCHITECT: NSA AT RISK OF LOSING AUTHORITY FOR SPYING: Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner continued cheerleading his anti-NSA Freedom Act during a House Judiciary hearing Tuesday reviewing NSA reform proposals. The Wisconsin Republican told Deputy AG James Cole that he doesn't see Congress reauthorizing Section 215 of the Patriot Act when the measure sunsets on June 1, 2015, unless legislation reining in government surveillance is enacted first. (Volz, NJ)
Cole and other witnesses from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and the president's surveillance review taskforce also were asked to provide specifics on how phone carriers or a hypothetical third-group would be able to store metadata records in lieu of the government--or if some other alternative was possible. But logistics of any data-retention change remain murky. "We're also trying to think outside the box and see if there are any other options," Cole offered.
AND IN CASE IT WASN'T OBVIOUS, CONGRESS IS SUBJECT TO NSA DATA SWEEPS: One key takeaway of the House Judiciary hearing is that the NSA "probably" collects phone records of members of Congress and their staffs, Cole admitted. This shouldn't come as any surprise to anyone who understands how the NSA's telephony metadata collection works, but it's the closest officials have come to directly answering the "are you spying on me?" question from lawmakers. (Volz, NJ)
NEW TECHNET CEO: TechNet, the lobbying group for tech executives, announced that Linda Moore will be its new CEO, ending a year-long search. Moore was the deputy political director for President Clinton and was an aide for ten years to Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.
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DEAN HELLER BRINGS BACK FCC PROCESS REFORM BILL: The Nevada Republican introduced a bill Tuesday that's similar to the bipartisan measure passed by the House Energy & Commerce Committee in December. (Ryan, NJ)
APPLE GETS NO SYMPATHY FROM COURT: An appeals court is skeptical of Apple's efforts to restrain a court-appointed antitrust monitor. One judge said that if Apple executives "spent some of their very valuable time keeping the company from violating antitrust laws, perhaps they wouldn't be in this position." (Joe Palazzolo, WSJ)
WHAT BITCOIN'S FIRST BIG MONEY-LAUNDERING SCANDAL MEANS: Last week's arrest of Charlie Shrem makes clear that "stakes are high: the government is still asserting its jurisdiction over the decentralized, peer-to-peer network it could quite possibly destroy." (Jeffries/Brandom, The Verge)
McCONNELL NIXES IMMIGRATION REFORM IN 2014: The minority leader calls immigration an "irresolvable" conflict with little hope of reconciliation between the parties. (Alexander Bolton, The Hill)
DOOM AND GLOOM IN HP'S CYBERSECURITY REPORT: HP's annual cybersecurity report reveals massive vulnerabilities in software businesses use to run companies. Good news for NSA, bad news for everyone else. (Dune Lawrence, Businessweek)
CISCO, GOOLE MAKE PATENT PEACE: Cisco and Google's truce will cross-license patents in an effort to help the companies avoid unnecessary lawsuits. (Winkler/Clark, WSJ)
CHANGING OF THE GUARD FOR MICROSOFT: Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are out, John Thompson and Satya Nadella are in. But Nadella may be the most Gates-like president yet. (Cade Metz, Wired)
GOVERNMENT PASSWORDS DON'T PASS MUSTER: A new report from GOP staffers on the Homeland Security Committee reveals that government agencies are still--still!--protecting top-secret data with sub-par passwords. (Brown, NJ)
SILVER LINING FOR CABLE INDUSTRY: Comcast's X1 cable box helped the cable company add video customers for the first time in six and a half years. Even Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has some nice things to say about it. (John McDuling, Quartz)
CAMPAIGNING AGAINST THE NSA: At least one upstart Democratic challenger in Maine vying for Republican Susan Collins's Senate seat thinks she can win on a platform opposing government spying—and she's got the early fundraising clout to suggest she might be onto something. (Volz, NJ)