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TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH: A House subcommittee overrode Democratic opposition to advance a bill to delay the administration's plan to give up oversight of Internet address functions. Antitrust agencies assured companies that they won't face lawsuits for sharing cyber information. A group advising the Congressional Internet Caucus will brief lawmakers on the administration's Internet plan. And a patent-reform proposal from Sens. Chuck Schumer and John Cornyn has begun to circulate.
HOUSE PANEL VOTES AGAINST INTERNET TRANSFER: The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee voted along party lines to advance the DOTCOM Act, which would require a GAO study of the U.S. plan to give up control of Internet address functions. The bill faced fierce opposition from Democrats, with Rep. Anna Eshoo calling it an "embarrassment" to the committee. The full Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to take up the bill after the recess. (Sasso, NJ)
GOODLATTE WEIGHS IN: While the administration asserts that its recent move to transition U.S. oversight of ICANN to a multi-stakeholder model has been the plan since the organization's creation in 1998, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte called the argument "sophistry" and said that an issue of this weight demands scrutiny. At a subcommittee hearing on Internet governance Thursday, he also questioned the argument that the move will boost U.S. credibility in a post-Snowden era, saying that surveillance reforms would better achieve that goal.
OBAMA'S LATEST CYBERSECURITY ACTION: With Congress gridlocked, the Obama administration took its latest step Thursday to unilaterally bolster cybersecurity. The Justice Department the Federal Trade Commission issued a statement saying they won't file antitrust complaints against companies that share information about cyberattacks. BSA, a software lobbying group, applauded the administration for acting to assuage concerns that have prevented some companies from working together to thwart hackers.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy issued statements applauding the announcement, but said Congress must still act. "Developing a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy is one of the most serious and unmet needs confronting the nation today," Leahy said. (Sasso, NJ)
PATENT REFORM TALKS MARCH ON: Hiccups earlier this week involved the issue of fee-shifting, which would make the loser pay the winner's legal fees in some infringement cases considered meritless. Sources close to the negotiations say Sens. Chuck Schumer and John Cornyn are now closing the gap that separated them, and they have begun circulating a "preliminary agreement" that would require federal judges to shift fees—but only when a judge deems the losing party did not "behave in an objectively reasonable fashion," according to a summary of the proposal. But aides said this week that fee shifting was still a bit of a "sticking point" and, like customer stay, the issue is not completely settled.
DOJ CHARGES THREE FOR LIFELINE FRAUD: The Justice Department filed charges against three men for allegedly defrauding the FCC's phone subsidy program of $32 million. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a statement emphasizing his support for the program, while saying he "will not tolerate abuse."
DATA ACT CLEARS SENATE: The Senate unanimously approved a bill to make more data about federal spending publicly available. The bill, which is sponsored by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, has already passed the House and now heads to the president for his signature.
FINANCIAL REGULATORS TELL FIRMS TO FIX HEARTBLEED BUG: The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council are telling financial institutions to patch and upgrade their systems "as soon as possible" to combat the encryption vulnerability.
HEARTBLEED BUG FOUND IN CISCO, JUNIPER EQUIPMENT: The encryption bug was found in Cisco and Juniper's network gear, a problem that is much more malicious and much more difficult to fix than websites' woes. (Danny Yardon, WSJ)
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Ashley, Senior Media Associate
FEDS APPROVE FACEBOOK ACQUISITION OF WHATSAPP: Facebook said the FTC has approved its purchase of WhatsApp, though the agency declined to comments specifically on the matter. The social-media giant still needs approval from international regulators before the acquistion can go forward. (Volz)
EUROPE GIVES MICROSOFT SOMETHING TO BRAG ABOUT: Microsoft says they are the only tech company to meet Europe's strict privacy laws thus far, and the company hopes customers will follow. (Mark Scott, NYT)
SILICON VALLEY PUSHES DEMOCRACY IN INDIA: Uber offered free rides to and from polls for New Delhi residents. (Leo Mirani, Quartz)
AT&T AND GOOGLE FIGHT FOR THE LEAD IN INTERNET SPEED: AT&T and Google are competing to bring the fastest internet to residents in North Carolina. (Sam Gustin, Time)
SILICON VALLEY IS STILL KING: Many cities claim to be the next Silicon Valley, but Silicon Valley is still the only one. (Joshua Brustein, Businessweek)
ITI LAUNCHES NEW PUBLIC SECTOR INITIATIVE: The Information Technology Industry Council announced a new initiative–called the IT Alliance for Public Sector (ITAPS)–aimed at helping the private sector and public sector work together to address government's tech needs. Participants include Amazon, Microsoft, and Xerox.
HOW PATENT TROLLS ARE COSTING THE ECONOMY BILLIONS EACH YEAR: Here's what you need to know about patents and the trolls that eat them—and why Washington is having such a hard time turning them into stone. (Volz/Flores/Whiteman)
RUBIO PRAISES CUBAN SOCIAL NETWORK PROGRAM: ZunZuneo, a social media network created by USAID to to promote democracy in Cuba, should be re-launched to give Cubans access to basic information freedoms, said the Florida Republican.
PAYPAL WILL STICK WITH EBAY: Carl Icahn dropped attempts to split the online payment provider from the Internet auction, ending months of tension with EBay Chief Executive John Donahoe. (Greg Bensinger/David Benoit, WSJ)
THE DAY AHEAD
The Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus will hold a briefing on ICANN, featuring representatives from the NTIA and ICANN at 12 p.m.
The Atlantic Council will hold a discussion on Bitcoin at 10:30 a.m.
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I read the Tech Edge every morning."
Ashley, Senior Media Associate