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FCC Dives Into 1,067,779 Net Neutrality Comments FCC Dives Into 1,067,779 Net Neutrality Comments

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FCC Dives Into 1,067,779 Net Neutrality Comments

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

TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH: The FCC will read through 1,067,779 comments on net neutrality. The House is expected to vote on legislation to reauthorize the satellite TV law STELA this week. Apple and Samsung tell Sen. Al Franken that their customers' cellular data is safe. The FCC will vote at their next open meeting on new rules to ensure Americans can send text messages to 911 during an emergency.

 

TOP NEWS

EYE OF THE NET NEUTRALITY STORM: Net neutrality chatter will come to a lull until reply comments are due on September 10th, but the fun is just beginning for the FCC. Reading through nearly 1.1 million comments is no small task, and Chairman Tom Wheeler reiterated in a statement Friday that "today's deadline is a checkpoint, not the finish line for public comment."

Sliding in on the last day were filings from T-Mobile, CTIA, Free Press, Cisco, and Microsoft. Microsoft said the FCC should ban paid prioritization but did not endorse Title II reclassification. The tech giant also said new rules should be applied to wireless and fixed Internet, putting it in line with the tech companies represented by the Internet Association. Unsurprisingly, T-Mobile and CTIA opposed expanding the rules to mobile.

HOUSE TO VOTE ON STELA: The House is scheduled to vote on Tuesday on legislation to reauthorize the satellite TV law STELA. The bill is being brought up under a suspension of the rules, meaning it will need a two-thirds vote to pass. But the legislation, which has bipartisan support, is expected to easily clear that hurdle.

 

The bill, which mirrors legislation out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, includes some minor tweaks to boost cable providers. The bill would allow cable providers to drop broadcasters during "sweeps weeks" when ratings are tallied, and broadcasters wouldn't be able to negotiate programming deals as a group. In a blow to TiVo, the bill would end an encryption requirement for cable set-top boxes.

A strong House vote in favor of a modest STELA reauthorization bill could put pressure on the Senate Commerce Committee to aim lower in its version of the legislation.

TEXT-TO-911 ON FCC AGENDA: The FCC announced Friday that it will vote on whether to require wireless carriers to be capable of delivering text messages to 911 by the end of the year. But even with the new rules, set for a vote on August 8, the 911 call centers will still need to upgrade their technology for the texts to work. The commissioners will also vote on whether to loosen building requirements for antenna structures.

APPLE, SAMSUNG: OUR FINGERPRINT DATA IS SECURE: The mobile phone giants, in separate responses to a list of concerns raised by Sen. Al Franken, attempted to downplay privacy concerns about the fingerprint scanner technology used on the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S5 models. Both Apple and Samsung wrote that it was not possible for hackers to extract fingerprint data because print images are stored locally on phones and converted to a mathematical formula that "cannot be converted back to the actual image" of the fingerprint.

 

While noting the letters contained "mostly good news," Franken said in a statement that both companies needed to do more to protect customer data from being swiped by criminals who might possess a "spoofed print." Fingerprint readers, Franken warned, are "becoming a gateway to a range of powerfully sensitive information."

TOP LINES

VERIZON LEADS THE 'FAST LANE' CHARGE: Verizon is particularly excited about the chance to charge websites for faster service. (Sasso)

MEET THE UNLIKELY TEAM BEHIND AN NSA-PROOF EMAIL: A convicted hacker and Internet icon are collaborating on a project called Dark Mail that aims to protect your metadata.(Andy Greenberg, Wired)

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AMAZON INTRODUCES NETFLIX-ESQUE E-BOOK SERVICE: For $10/month, users can access an unlimited number of e-books and audio books from Amazon's library. (Alexandra Alter, NYT)

PAI RAISES CONCERNS WITH FCC PROCESS: The Republican complains that he wasn't given information on a spectrum item, which was then approved on the bureau level. (John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable)

MICROSOFT D.C. OFFICES AFFECTED BY MASSIVE LAYOFFS: Microsoft's D.C. offices lost five policy and government relations staffers as a result of the company's restructuring process. (Byron Tau, Politico)

INSIDE MICROSOFT'S PRIVACY CRUSADE: "You can look at everything we've said for a long time and they all relate to one thing: We believe consumers will only use technology if they trust it," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith tells the Wall Street Journal. (Shira Ovide, WSJ)

SNOWDEN CALLS DROPBOX "HOSTILE" TO PRIVACY: Edward Snowden says Dropbox users should switch to Spideroak because the cloud computing service is not a friend to privacy. (Jemima Kiss, The Guardian)

GOOGLE AND CANON TEAM UP AGAINST PATENT TROLLS: The companies are starting a network of companies vulnerable to frequent patent lawsuits—their plan is to share within the network the licenses for every patent they sell. (Susan Decker, Businessweek)

THE WEEK AHEAD

MONDAY 

  • The Center for a New American Security will host an event on cybersecurity with officials from DARPA at 4 p.m.

TUESDAY

  • The American Enterprise Institute will host an event on Internet governance and the multistakeholder process at 8:50 a.m.
  • Republic 3.0 will host a discussion on "What is – or should be –patentable? And the damaging consequences," at noon. 
  • Gen. William Shelton will give remarks on the U.S. future in space at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council at 9 a.m.
  • Former White House CTO Aneesh Chopra will talk about how new technologies can transform government at the National Press Club at 6 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

  • The House Financial and Contracting Oversight Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the National Technical Information Service and "Let Me Google That for You Act" at 2:30 p.m.
  • FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and FTC Commissioner Julie Brill will participate in a panel discussion hosted by The Hill at 8:00 a.m.
  • The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will host an event on the social impact of open data at noon.
  • The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss its agenda and receive public feedback.
  • FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez will speak at a Center for Democracy event on digital life at 3:30 p.m.

THURSDAY

  • The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee will hold a hearing on three bills – Anti-Spoofing Act, the LPTV and Translator Act, and the E-LABEL Act – at 10:15 a.m. 
  • The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on copyright policy at 2:00 p.m.
  • FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai will speak at an Internet Innovation Alliance event on net neutrality 10 a.m.

FRIDAY

  • The FCC will hold a Consumer Advisory Committee meeting at 9 a.m.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories

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I read the Tech Edge every morning."

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