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TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The FCC is expected to vote to move ahead with trials for the transition to IP-based networks at its open commission meeting at 10:30 a.m. The agency will lay out the values it is looking to protect and will explain how it will choose the trial locations. Also at the meeting, the FCC will vote on proposed rules to enable people to send emergency text messages to 911 call centers. The commissioners will receive updates from the task force working on the incentive spectrum auction and the group reviewing the agency's internal procedures for possible reforms.
SO, UH, WHAT'S THE IP TRANSITION?: If you're asking yourself that, Brendan Sasso has your explainer here.
MORE ON IP TRANSITION: According to an FCC official, the agency will declare that it wants to protect four values: public safety, universal access, consumer protection, and competition. The deadline for applications for IP-transition trials will be Feb. 20 with reply comments due by March 31. The FCC will announce the experiment locations at its May meeting, the official said. Some of the experiments will allow consumers in certain areas to voluntarily opt out of old copper phone systems and buy IP-based services. Other experiments will focus on specific issues like rural broadband, people with disabilities, and how to handle phone numbers in an all-IP world.
DOJ SKEPTICAL OF WIRELESS MERGERS: The Justice Department is throwing some cold water on the rumored merger between Sprint and T-Mobile.
"It's going to be hard for someone to make a persuasive case that reducing four firms to three is actually going to improve competition for the benefit of American consumers," William Baer, the head of DOJ's Antitrust Division, told The New York Times, without referring to any specific merger. "Any proposed transaction would get a very hard look from the antitrust division." (Edward Wyatt, NYT)
GOOGLE SELLS MOTOROLA: Google agreed on Wednesday to sell its handset business, Motorola Mobility, to Lenovo for about $2.91 billion. The deal marks a dramatic failure for Google. The company paid $12.5 billion for Motorola less than two years ago."The smartphone market is super competitive, and to thrive it helps to be all-in when it comes to making mobile devices," CEO Larry Page wrote in a blog post.
Although Google will be retreating from the hardware market, it will retain control over the "vast majority" of Motorola's patent portfolio, one of the driving motivations behind the deal in the first place. Google has been using the patents to fight back against lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft and others. (Google, WSJ, NYT)
CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE TO NSA SPYING: Uzbekistani refugee Jamshid Muhtorov is challenging the NSA surveillance program in Denver's federal, calling it unconstitutional. With the help of the ACLU, Muhtorov wants to toss out any evidence gathered via Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which authorizes much of the NSA's foreign surveillance, on grounds it violates the fourth amendment. The case appears to be the first to challenge the legality of the 2008 act and could have wide-reaching ramifications for government surveillance. (Ellen Nakashima, WaPo)
DOJ PROBES TARGET BREACH: Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed during a Senate hearing Wednesday that the Justice Department is trying to track down the hackers responsible for stealing millions of credit card numbers from Target.
DEMS QUESTION NEIMAN MARCUS: Rep. Henry Waxman and other Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats sent a letter to Neiman Marcus Wednesday demanding answers to how hackers were able to steal its customers' information.
DIGITAL TRADE: BSA is out with their digital trade agenda this morning, which calls for modernizing trade rules to yield better returns on digital commerce. View the full report here.
PCLOB REPORT TO GET SENATE REVIEW: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on PCLOB's report on Feb. 12 at 10:00 a.m. All five members of the privacy board are slated to testify.
HOUSE DATA BREACH HEARING: The Secret Service, DHS, Target and Neiman Marcus will testify at a House Commerce hearing on Feb. 5 at 9:30 a.m.
DEMS DOWN ON OBAMA NSA COMPROMISE: Sen. Rockefeller does not trust the private sector to store phone data. (Sasso, NJ)
SNOWDEN NOBEL PEACE NOD: The controversial figure was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by two members of Norway's socialist party. (Volz, NJ)
NEW CLUES IN TARGET BREACH: A review of the malware that stole thousands of Target customers' credit card information found it took advantage of a few soft spots in the retail chain's IT-management software. (Krebs on Security)
NSA GETS A PRIVACY OFFICER: Rebecca Richards was tapped from within the DHS to serve as the inaugural civil-liberties and privacy officer. (Volz, NJ)
NETFLIX GOES TO EUROPE: Netflix wants to expand into Europe, but not if US media companies can help it. (Schechner/Sharma, WSJ)
DELBENE TO THE RESCUE: Get to know the former Microsoft executive who just took over as HealthCare.gov's repairman-in-chief. (Daniela Hernandez, Wired)