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What’s Next for NSA Reform? What’s Next for NSA Reform?

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What’s Next for NSA Reform?

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 introduced his new USA Freedom Act with 13 cosponsors, including Republican Ted Cruz. AT&T is the latest Internet provider to strike an interconnection deal with Netflix. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler scolds Time Warner Cable for "depriving" LA fans of Dodgers games. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vows to defend the FCC from Republican attacks on net neutrality.



LEAHY INTRODUCES NEW NSA REFORM BILL. NOW WHAT?The Senate Judiciary chairman introduced his long-awaited upgraded USA Freedom Act on Tuesday, and a flood of stakeholders quickly lauded its improvements. The 97-page bill currently boasts support from the White House, tech companies, and a litany of privacy and civil-liberties groups that see it as fixing much of what was undone during eleventh-hour backroom negotiations ahead of the House vote back in May.

But the measure is still likely to incur resistance from defense hawks and others as Leahy attempts to move it quickly through Congress sometime shortly after lawmakers return to Washington from August recess. (Volz, NJ)

WHO ARE THE COSPONSORS? The list of 13 cosponsors includes potential GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, who has been mostly quiet on NSA spying until now. His support could help rally Republicans to the bill. The other 12 cosponsors are Democrats Dick Durbin, Al Franken, Richard Blumenthal, Tom Udall, Christopher Coons, Martin Heinrich, Edward Markey, Mazie Hirono, Amy Klobuchar, and Sheldon Whitehouse, as well as Republicans Mike Lee and Dean Heller.


WHO ISN'T ON BOARD? As expected, Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein hasn't warmed up to Leahy's bill just yet. Tech and privacy groups are still worried that the California Democrat will try to tack on a data-retention mandate. But while Feinstein and her gaggle of defense hawks might think the Freedom Act goes too far, Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall aren't convinced it goes far enough. The pair of liberal NSA critics issued a joint statement saying more needs to be done to limit so-called "backdoor" searches of American records incidentally collected during foreign surveillance.

NETFLIX IS ABOUT TO GET FASTER FOR AT&T CUSTOMERS: AT&T agreed to give Netflix direct access to its network in May, and the companies are now beginning to deploy the connections, both companies said Tuesday. Netflix confirmed that it is paying for the deal, but didn't disclose the terms.

Netflix, which also has interconnection deals with Comcast and Verizon, has accused Internet providers of demanding unfair tolls for interconnection. The FCC has launched a review of the issue, but isn't likely to address Netflix's complaints as part of its new net neutrality rules.

WHEELER GETS INVOLVED IN DODGERS DISPUTE: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler scolded Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus for getting in the way of Los Angeles residents and their baseball team, the Dodgers. A majority of LA residents haven't been able to watch Dodgers games all season long because TWC—which owns the rights to the Dodgers' sports network, SportsNet LA—has not been able to reach an agreement with other pay-TV providers to carry the network.


In a letter to Marcus Tuesday, Wheeler said the FCC is closely monitoring TWC's dispute with other distributors, like DirecTV, and is willing to intervene. Wheeler asked for a number of documents from Marcus so that the commission can begin to build a record in case arbitration fails.

TWC welcomed the FCC's intervention in a statement Tuesday, saying carriage for the Dodgers "has been our goal all along." Maureen Huff, a TWC spokeswoman, said the company hopes the FCC is making the same inquiries with other TV distributors "to determine their rationale for refusing to carry SportsNet LA."


REID PRESSES FCC ON NET NEUTRALITY: "Let me assure you that I will lead the fight to protect any Open Internet rules promulgated by the FCC against the inevitable Republican attack against such rules," the Senate majority leader wrote in a letter. He said he wants to "ensure that priority arrangements that harm consumers are prohibited." (Todd Shields, Bloomberg)

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ESHOO WARNS DATA CAPS COULD UNDERMINE NET NEUTRALITY: A government study finds that data caps discourage people from streaming online videos, and Rep. Anna Eshoo is worried that caps pose a similar threat to the Internet as "fast lanes." (Sasso, NJ)

BILL INTRODUCED TO PROTECT TRADE SECRETS: A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Republican Rep. George Holding, introduced legislation Tuesday that aims to make it easier for U.S. companies to take legal action against foreign cyber criminals who steal their secrets.

GET RICH OR SPY TRYING: Former NSA head Keith Alexander is now a consultant, and he says his company's anti-hacking technology is worth up to $1 million a month to the companies who will use his services. (Shane Harris, Foreign Policy)

DON'T EXPECT A SPRINT-T-MO MERGER BEFORE SEPTEMBER: Sprint and T-Mobile are taking the time to build a bulletproof merger case before they announce the deal. (Lopes/Kim/Baker, Reuters)

C-SPAN TO ADD PAYWALL FOR ONLINE CONTENT: Too many users without cable were using C-SPAN's free Web feeds as a workaround, so the political broadcaster will soon require online viewers to prove they pay for a TV subscription. (Adam Epstein, Quartz)

SHARING IS CARING…AND GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY: … according to a new paper from the Free State Foundation. The paper says regulators should get out of the way of the sharing economy– driven by companies like AirBnB and Uber–because it is an "economic growth engine."

AMAZON HIRES DRONE GROUP'S COUNSEL: Ben Gielow is leaving a drone trade company to join the push for Prime Air, Amazon's much-hyped drone-delivery plan. (Politico)

WHY DARPA IS BUILDING A SPACE PLANE: The suborbital vehicle would put satellites high in the sky (where a second stage would take them into orbit), then return to Earth for a launch the next day, making launches cheaper and faster. (Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica)


  • The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on mobile cramming at 2:45 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.

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

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