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Senate NSA Bill Expected Next Week

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

TODAY'S TOP PARAGRAPH: Senators are expected to unveil a deal on NSA legislation next week. Two communities filed petitions with the FCC asking the agency to strike down state laws limiting municipal broadband networks. Sen. Edward Markey and Rep. Peter Welch want mandatory privacy regulations for drones. Cable companies claim that popular websites are the real threat to net neutrality.

 

TOP NEWS

NSA REFORM BILL EXPECTED EARLY NEXT WEEK: Senate Intelligence Chairman Patrick Leahy is likely to introduce a beefed up version of the USA Freedom Act early next week that has largely earned the backing of privacy advocates and the blessing of the administration. Rumors swelled Thursday that the bill would hit later in the day, but sources close to negotiations said final language still needed tweaking—and that Leahy likely was rounding up more cosponsors.

As long as some of the bill's privacy safeguards aren't gutted over the weekend, it will be a "major improvement" over the watered-down Freedom Act that passed the House in May, said Harley Geiger, senior counsel with the Center for Democracy & Technology. Tech companies and privacy groups, including CDT, dropped support for the House's language after eleventh-hour negotiations with the White House broadened some of the key provisions, such as the definition of what could be considered a specific selector, or target.

COMMUNITY BROADBAND PETITIONS FILED WITH FCC: The Federal Communications Commission will get its chance to overturn state laws limiting municipal broadband networks. Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C., filed petitions Thursday asking the FCC to intervene. Chairman Tom Wheeler basically invited the challenges, saying the state laws stifle competition and hurt consumers.

 

Republicans and state legislators, however, have warned the FCC not to interfere with states' rights.

MARKEY, WELCH: GET STRICT ON DRONE PRIVACY: Obama's planned executive order would direct the NTIA to establish voluntary standards for privacy with commercial drone operators, but the New England Democrats say that doesn't go far enough. The pair said Obama needs to set rules—with consequences—for those who use unmanned vehicles to violate others' privacy.

Their demands include a requirement that operators disclose the data they gather, mandatory warrants for law-enforcement drone use, and an online repository of drone flights by time and location.

SINCLAIR WINS FCC APPROVAL FOR ALLBRITTON DEAL: The FCC's Media Bureau conditionally approved the $985 million purchase of TV stations Thursday. Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai blamed new FCC ownership regulations for forcing Sinclair to close three TV stations as part of the deal. Free Press claimed victory and applauded the FCC for "reshaping the worst aspects of this deal."

 

TOP LINES

CABLE COMPANIES: GOOGLE IS THE REAL THREAT TO NET NEUTRALITY: Popular websites could block access to content and extort tolls out of Internet service providers, cable companies warn. (Sasso, NJ)

HOUSE PANEL REVIEWS TRUTH IN CALLER ID BILL: The Anti-Spoofing Act would prevent companies from using deceptive caller ID to trick consumers, a problem Rep. Grace Meng said is "on the rapid rise."

AMAZON POSTS LOSSES DESPITE SALES INCREASE: The online sales company upped revenue by 23 percent in the second quarter, but rising expenses led to $126 million in losses. (Greg Bensinger, WSJ)

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E.U. WANTS GOOGLE TO TAKE 'RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN' GLOBAL: The company followed regulations to remove offending links from its European sites, but regulators say it needs them from the U.S. version as well—which some fear could extend a form of censorship. (Joe Mullin, Ars Technica)

ISSA BASHES FTC FOR TARGETING SMALL BUSINESSES OVER DATA BREACHES: The House Oversight Committee chairman said Federal Trade Commission "inquisitions" unfairly target companies that have been the victims of cybercriminals; the agency says it's defending consumers when businesses fail to protect their data. (Julian Hattem, The Hill)

WHO GETS YOUR ONLINE ACCOUNTS WHEN YOU DIE? Advocates want Congress to allow individuals to "will" their digital presence—from social-media accounts to online documents—to new caretakers. (Kate Tummarello, The Hill)

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK VICTIM OF HACK, BLACKMAIL: Hackers stole contact information of people who had registered for the bank's events, demanding money for the return of the data. No financial information was taken. (Jack Ewing, NYT)

MLB UNHAPPY WITH FCC'S NET-NEUTRALITY PLAN: The league thinks it might be targeted to pay for "fast lanes" for its popular video streams of baseball broadcasts, it said in a filing to the agency. (Amy Schatz, Recode)

GOOGLE NIXES OPENSSL PLANS FOR BORINGSSL: The company had planned to switch Chrome encryption to OpenSSL, but the Heartbleed bug convinced the company to create a new encryption known as BoringSSL—in the hope its lack of problems will be, well, boring. (Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica)

WIKIPEDIA BANS EDITS FROM CONGRESSIONAL IP ADDRESS: The user-generated encyclopedia cited repeated "disruptive" edits from a House of Representatives source, blocking anonymous edits from that IP address for 10 days. (Abby Phillip, WaPo)

FOUND IN SPACE: CONGRESSIONAL COLLEGIALITY: Crises and partisan battles abound, but at least members found 20 minutes to play nice for a video chat with astronauts. (Brown, NJ)

THE DAY AHEAD

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

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I read the Tech Edge every morning."

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