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Leahy Nears Deal on NSA Reform Leahy Nears Deal on NSA Reform

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Leahy Nears Deal on NSA Reform

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

TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH: A deal between the Senate and the Obama administration on NSA reform legislation may be in sight. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Board will get an earful from privacy advocates today. The House passed a bill to reauthorize the satellite TV law STELA, but the Senate has more ambitious plans for the must-pass legislation. Yahoo pays a visit to the FCC to talk about net neutrality.



ADMINISTRATION NEGOTIATING ON NSA REFORM: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy is "within inches" of a deal on NSA reform legislation with the Obama administration, according to a Leahy aide.

Speaking off the Senate floor Tuesday, Leahy said he is "impressed" with how open intelligence officials have been to his proposals. "I'm far more encouraged that we can finally come up with some legislation," he said. The aide said the bill would likely go straight to the Senate floor, and insisted a vote is possible before the August recess.

According to the LA Times, the administration has agreed to a stricter definition of the search terms the NSA uses to mine through phone records. The intelligence officials have also agreed to be more transparent about government spying and will support a stronger public advocate at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, according to the report.


Ned Price, a White House spokesman, said negotiations with privacy groups and senators have "yielded significant progress."

"While there are a number of additional steps that must take place before this critical bill becomes law, we are encouraged by the recent progress in the Senate," Price said.

PCLOB TO HEAR BACKLASH FROM PRIVACY GROUPS: The Privacy and Civil Liberties Board will hear from a number of privacy advocates this afternoon who will call for more scrutiny of the NSA's surveillance powers.

During a public meeting convened to consider PCLOB's near- and long-term agenda, the Electronic and Privacy Information Center will tell the Board to follow-up its recent reviews of Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act with a review of Executive Order 12333, which it says is "completely opaque to the public." EPIC will argue that 12333 "clearly falls within the Board's jurisdiction."


The Center for Democracy & Technology will raise similar concerns about 12333. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, meanwhile, will draw attention to recent reports that the NSA and FBI have targeted Muslim-Americans for spying.

HOUSE VOTES TO REAUTHORIZE STELA: The House approved legislation to reauthorize the satellite TV law STELA on a voice vote Tuesday. The House bill includes some minor tweaks to give cable providers more leverage in negotiations with broadcasters. But broadcasters, who stayed neutral on the legislation, were relieved the House didn't go farther.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller and ranking member John Thune are working on more ambitious legislation. TiVo is lobbying senators to take out a provision from the House bill that would end an encryption requirement for cable set-top boxes.

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YAHOO TO FCC: USE TITLE II AS 'LAST RESORT': In a meeting with FCC aides, Tekedra Mawakana, Yahoo's head of global public policy, urged the agency to ban paid prioritization, but said reclassifying broadband as a Title II common carrier should only be used as a "last resort." Some small tech companies have backed the Title II option, but most major firms (aside from Netflix and Mozilla) have stayed out of the debate.


GAO REPORT: USF REFORMS FALLING BEHIND: The FCC says their efforts to gain stakeholder input is the main reason that reforms for the Universal Service Fund won't be in place until the end of 2014, a year behind schedule.

COMCAST REP WAS ONLY DOING 'WHAT WE TRAINED HIM TO DO': "The agent on this call did a lot of what we trained him and paid him—and thousands of other Retention agents—to do," Comcast COO Dave Watson said in an internal blog post to employees. (Chris Morran, The Consumerist)

9/11 COMMISSION AUTHORS WARN OF CYBERATTACKS: Authors of the 9/11 Commission Report compare the threat of cyberattacks to the threat of terrorism before 9/11. (Adam Goldman, WaPo)

E.U. MAY REVISIT GOOGLE ANTITRUST SETTLEMENT: The European Commission will probably revise the unpopular settlement it reached with Google earlier this year to make it stricter. (Tom Fairless, WSJ)

GOOGLE USER DATA LAWSUIT WILL PROCEED: A federal judge rejected Google's bid to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the tech giant of commingling users' data across products. (Jonathan Stempel, Reuters)

SENATORS INTRODUCE BILL TO REVIEW LOCAL TV NEEDS: Sens. Cory Booker and Deb Fischer introduced a bill that would require the FCC to study how designated market areas affect television programing for local communities.

TIME WARNER MOVES TO STOP MURDOCH BID: Time Warner's board changed one of its rules to prevent shareholders from calling special meetings in a move to make a Murdoch takeover more difficult. (Crayton Harrison/Edmund Lee, Bloomberg)

AMAZON'S SECRET FOR SUNDAY DELIVERY: Amazon's "sortation centers" let the retail giant control orders up until the last couple of miles of the delivery process. (Jay Greene, Seattle Times)


  • 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 and Technology event on digital life at 3:30 p.m.

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

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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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