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Leahy Previews NSA Bill

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

TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH: Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy is expected to introduced a beefed up NSA reform bill on Tuesday that has earned the backing of the White House, privacy advocates and a strong vote of confidence from the New York Times editorial board. The House will vote on four non-controversial cybersecurity bills under suspension of the rules today. Obama will soon sign a bill legalizing cell phone unlocking after the House unanimously approved the legislation Friday.



NYT: LEAHY'S FREEDOM ACT IS A 'BREAKTHROUGH' ON NSA REFORM: The New York Times editorial board is gushing over Senate Intelligence Chairman Patrick Leahy's meatier USA Freedom Act, which is expected to be introduced Tuesday. In a glowing endorsement out in today's paper, the paper commends Leahy for negotiating an NSA reform bill that both the White House and privacy advocates are backing.

Leahy's new Freedom Act, according to those who have seen recent drafts, would limit the amount of call-records data the NSA can collect by tightening the definition of a target. It would also require the government to be more transparent about how much data is being collected and what portion of that belongs to Americans, and create a panel of privacy advocates to argue before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The board, however, notes that Leahy's compromise could be further strengthened by requiring a warrant for "backdoor" searches of American records incidentally collected during foreign surveillance, an idea which passed the House last month as an amendment to the annual defense appropriations bill on a 293-123 vote.


CYBER BILLS SET FOR HOUSE FLOOR: The House is expected to vote today on four non-controversial cybersecurity bills. Three of the bills are out the Homeland Security Committee and aim to strengthen federal cybersecurity programs, improve research, and put more emphasis on cybersecurity workers. The bill out of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee would require federal agencies to certify that certain sensitive websites are secure.

OBAMA TO SIGN CELL PHONE UNLOCKING BILL: President Obama will soon sign legislation to legalize cell phone unlocking. The House unanimously approved the legislation Friday following action by the Senate earlier in the month.

Cell phone unlocking became a popular cause for lawmakers after a White House petition on the issue gathered more than 114,000 signatures. But the bill about to become law won't have any sweeping effects. It only overturns a 2012 Copyright Office decision, which is set for review next year anyway. Additionally, all the major carriers already agreed to an unlocking policy under pressure from the FCC. (Sasso, NJ)



SEC DROPS FACEBOOK INVESTIGATION: The agency had been looking into notifications that went out in 2012—just before the company's IPO—notifying clients that ad revenue wasn't meeting expectations. (Reed Albergotti, WSJ)

COULD RIVALS CHALLENGE AMAZON'S CLOUD OFFERINGS? Amazon's dropping share price could be an indication investors are wary that competitors—such as Verizon, Cisco and IBM—could challenge for Amazon's place in the cloud market. (Shira Ovide/Clint Boulton, WSJ)

RESEARCH DISCOVERS BACKDOOR INTO IPHONE USERS' DATA: Apple acknowledged a researcher's discovery that iPhone users' data, like text messages and photos, can be accessed by Apple employees through secret techniques. (Joseph Menn, Reuters)

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LAWMAKERS WANT FCC TO BROKER DODGERS TV DEAL: Time Warner Cable has yet to reach an agreement with other companies on broadcast right for the team's games, and Rep. Tony Cardenas and other California lawmakers want the FCC to step in. (Joe Flint, LAT)

CONFUSION SURROUNDS SPAIN'S 'GOOGLE TAX': Spain passed a law that allows authors to seek payment for websites that link to their work, but no one really knows what that means. (Kabir Chibber, Quartz)



  • The Minority Media & Telecom Council will kick-off their two-day Access to Capital and Policy Conference at noon. Reps. John Conyers and G.K Butterfield and FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn are among the participants during the first day of the conference.

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host a lunch discussion on big data and transportation with Uber Federal Public Policy Lead Brian Worth at noon.


  • Rep. Anna Eshoo will hold a briefing on a new Government Accountability Office report on broadband data caps at 10:15 a.m.

  • FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Jessica Rosenworcel, Ajit Pai, and Mike O'Rielly and FTC Commissioners Julie Brill and Maureen Ohlhausen will participate in panel discussions and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will make a video appearance on the second day of the Minority Media & Telecom Council's Access to Capital and Policy Conference.

  • The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit will hold a hearing on "Coordinating Future Investment in Broadband," at 10 a.m.

  • The House Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee will hold a hearing on nanotechnology at 10:15 a.m.

  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will hold a roundtable on Copyright Internet Policy topics in Los Angeles at 11:30 a.m. EST.

  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a markup of the "E-LABEL Act" at 4 p.m.

  • The Data Transparency Coalition will host a breakfast to discuss data transparency and the DATA Act at 7:30 a.m.

  • @Microsoft will host a breakfast discussion on the legal system and cloud computing at 8:30 a.m.

  • Reps. Rodney Davis and Jan Schakowsky will speak at an event on smart cars and road safety hosted by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America at noon.


  • The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on mobile cramming at 2:30 p.m.

  • The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, IP, and the Internet will hold a hearing on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the America Invents Act at 3 p.m.

  • The USPTO will hold another roundtable on Copyright Internet Policy Topics in Berkeley at 11:30 a.m. EST.


  • A House Science Subcommittee and will hold a hearing on technology and the U.S. border crisis at 10 a.m.

  • FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright will speak at a Tech Freedom lunch on "Where is the FTC heading on Digital Consumer Protection?" at 11:45 a.m.

  • The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation will hold a discussion on how IT is creating a new era of disruptive innovation at noon.


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

Sign up form for the newsletter