Morning Consult Tech, Presented by Visa: Obama Says ‘Significant Progress’ Made with Xi on Cybersecurity; Sprint to Sit Out FCC’s Spectrum Auction

By Amir Nasr

Today’s Washington Brief

  • President Obama said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping made “significant progress” on cybersecurity matters, but Obama also threatened sanctions against Chinese hackers who persist with cyber crimes. (Reuters)
  • House members of the Energy and Commerce Committee debated the Federal Communications Commission’s media ownership rules at a hearing, with some critics calling for changes to accommodate rising competition coming from streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. (The Hill)
  • Both the Senate and House will dig deep into the issue of cybersecurity this week with multiple hearings on the subject. Consideration of the Senate’s cybersecurity bill is expected in October, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said discussions on bringing the bill back to the floor have begun. (Morning Consult)

Today’s Business Brief

  • Sprint Corp. said it plans to sit out the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming auction of wireless airwaves, a decision that will save the carrier billions in dollars but could leave its network deprived of future upgrades. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed deals with various U.S. tech companies, including Google and Microsoft, in a two-day tour of Silicon Valley to further India’s tech ambitions and his “Digital India” initiative. (Financial Times)
  • Michael Petricone, a lobbyist for the Consumer Electronics Association, has the job of getting tech firms and lawmakers in Washington on the same page, a challenge he not only enjoys, but one he says is easier than most people think. (Morning Consult)

Today’s Chart Review

Mark Your Calendars (All Times Eastern)

Association of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems International hosts ASPRS UAS Technical Demonstration and Symposium @ 11:30 a.m.
The Telecommunications Industry Association holds a workshop to examine next-generation trends and technologies @ 12 p.m.

Telecommunications Industry Association holds event on trade issues and cross-border data flows @ 8 a.m.
The Telecommunications Industry Association holds a workshop to examine next-generation trends and technologies @ 9 a.m.
Senate Armed Services Committee holds hearing titled “United States Cybersecurity Policy and Threats” @ 9:30 a.m.
House Energy and Commerce Committee holds hearing titled “The Disrupter Series: How the Sharing Economy Creates Jobs, Benefits Consumers, and Raises Policy Questions” @ 10:15 a.m.
Association of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems International hosts ASPRS UAS Technical Demonstration and Symposium @ 11 a.m.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds hearing titled “The Changing Landscape of U.S.-China Relations: What’s Next?” @ 2:30 p.m.
Center For Democracy and Technology hosts event titled “Always On: Table for Tech” @ 4 p.m.

House Judiciary Committee holds markup of H.R. 2745, the SMARTER Act and H.R. 3490, the Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act @ 10 a.m.
House Foreign Affairs Committee holds hearing titled “Cyber War: Definitions, Deterrence, and Foreign Policy” @ 10 a.m.
House Armed Services Committee holds hearing titled “Implementing the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy” @ 10 a.m.
Association of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems International hosts ASPRS UAS Technical Demonstration and Symposium @ 11 a.m.
FCC holds event titled  “Connect2HealthFCC Beyond the Beltway Series: Florida” @ 12 p.m.
Association of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems International hosts event titled “Staying on Course: How to Know for Certain Where your Drone is… and Where It’s Headed” @ 1 p.m.

Electronics Transaction Association hosts event titled “Chip Card 101: Everything you need to know about the U.S. transition to more secure credit/debit card technology” @ 8:30 a.m.
FCC holds event titled “Connect2HealthFCC Beyond the Beltway Series: Florida” @ 9 a.m.
Christian Science Monitor hosts event titled “The Future of America’s Cyber Strategy” @ 9 a.m.
Senate HELP Committee holds hearing titled “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology” @ 10 a.m.
First Responder Network Authority holds joint meeting of the Technology and Consultation Committee @ 1 p.m.
New America Foundation hosts event titled “Tap, Click, Read : Growing Readers in a World of Screens” @ 4:30 p.m.

Commerce Department, National Telecommunications and Information Administration and First Responder Network Authority hold meeting of First Responder Network Authority Board @ 9 a.m.
New America Foundation hosts event titled “The Future of Work in America : Part Time Workers and Public Policy in the New Gig/Sharing Economy” @ 10 a.m.
Mobile Future holds event titled “5G: Accelerating Next Generation Wireless Opportunities” @ 1 p.m.



The Coming Week: Shutdown Averted as Lawmakers Mull Boehner Resignation
Fawn Johnson and Amir Nasr, Morning Consult

The Senate Intelligence Committee is making progress bringing Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-N.C.) cybersecurity bill back to the floor. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the vice-chair of the Intelligence Committee, told Morning Consult that Burr has discussed bringing the bill to the floor with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but the exact timing is still up in the air.

Narendra Modi signs US tech deals
Leslie Hook, Financial Times

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed tech deals during a two-day tour of Silicon Valley’s most prominent companies, highlighting India’s tech ambitions and his “Digital India” initiative. Among the Silicon Valley heavyweights to announce deals were Google, which confirmed plans to launch free WiFi in 500 Indian railway stations, and Microsoft, which pledged to help bring low-cost broadband to 500,000 Indian villages.

Telling Technology’s Story to Washington
Amir Nasr, Morning Consult

Michael Petricone is taking on a tough task — getting Washington and tech companies on the same page. His position as senior vice president of government affairs for the Consumer Electronics Association (read: big-time tech lobbyist) is “the best job in DC,” he said. And you can tell. He talks fast, his eyes alive, almost like he’s on a permanent sugar high.

Silicon Valley Lawyer, Gary Reback, Takes Antitrust Fight to Europe
Conor Dougherty, The New York Times

In the 1990s, Gary Reback was known as Silicon Valley’s dragon slayer, a lawyer who persuaded the Justice Department to sue Microsoft, accusing it of abusing its dominant position in desktop computers… Mr. Reback still makes his living fighting the technology industry’s most powerful companies, but today he is up against Google, not Microsoft.

Lawmakers spar over media ownership rules
David McCabe, The Hill

Critics of the Federal Communications Commission’s media ownership rules said at a House Energy and Commerce Committee brief hearing that the regulations needed an update, while Democrats pushed back against any changes. The FCC has rules designed to limit media consolidation and keep a range of voices on the air.

Regulatory Scrutiny Threatens Google’s Global Android Domination
Brian Womack and Jack Clark, Bloomberg News

Google Inc.’s Android’s operating system has come to dominate the world’s smartphones. Now, regulatory pressure could chip away at that leadership. The Federal Trade Commission is investigating new concerns about whether the company is violating antitrust laws by stifling competitors’ access to Android, according to people familiar with the matter.

Broadcasters push political campaigns to buy more ads
Mario Trujillo, The Hill

A broadcast industry trade group — TVB — is going up with a series of local Washington, D.C., ads over the weekend telling political campaigns why advertising on networks is beneficial. Those ads will air during the political Sunday show lineups on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.

Stocks Slide as Glencore, VW Buffet Global Markets; Bonds Climb
Nick Gentle and Daniel Tilles, Bloomberg News

European stocks and U.S. equity-index futures slid as tumbling automakers and mining companies sent ripples across global markets. The Stoxx 600 Basic Resources Index of commodity producers was on course for its lowest close in more than six years, with Glencore Plc plunging more than 22 percent. Oil fell for the first time in three days, while the yen strengthened and Treasuries rallied. Spanish bonds climbed after pro-independence parties came up short in Catalan elections.

Intellectual Property

Massive patent troll suit seeks to tax USB hubs at Wal-Mart, Amazon, Best Buy
Joe Mullin, Ars Technica

A shell company with a patent linked to Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest patent-holding company, has quietly filed a new lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas against a vast range of computer peripheral makers and sellers. The complaint, filed… under the name Minero Digital LLC, demands that 26 companies pay royalties on USB hubs, which link together multiple USB-enabled devices.


Sprint Plans to Sit Out Next U.S. Auction of Airwaves
Ryan Knutson, The Wall Street Journal

Sprint Corp. said it plans to sit out a coming auction of wireless airwaves, a decision that will save the carrier billions of dollars but could deprive its network of upgrades in the future. The Federal Communications Commission has scheduled a major auction for March 2016.

Mobile & Social

Facebook partners with UN to bring Internet access to refugee camps
Ian Sherr, CNET

Facebook is working with the United Nations to enable refugees from the Syrian civil war to access the Internet so they can more easily communicate while seeking resettlement. In a speech to the UN, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Internet connections in refugee camps will help refugees get better support from the aid community and maintain links to family and loved ones.

Merkel Confronts Facebook’s Zuckerberg Over Policing Hate Posts
Patrick Donahue, Bloomberg News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel confronted Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg on how his company is progressing in efforts to curtail racist posts, after her government complained the social network wasn’t doing enough to crack down on recent xenophobic outbursts. After Merkel briefly queried Zuckerberg about the hate-post affair, the Facebook CEO is heard responding that “we need to do some work” on the issue.

Data & Privacy

ACLU Argues for Right to Sue NSA for “Upstream” Surveillance
Kaveh Waddell, National Journal

Gov­ern­ment law­yers and pri­vacy ad­voc­ates lined up in front of a fed­er­al judge to ar­gue a case brought against a Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency mass-sur­veil­lance pro­gram. A group of nine plaintiffs rep­res­en­ted by the Amer­ic­an Civil Liber­ties Uni­on is fight­ing to get over the first hurdle in the law­suit: con­vin­cing Judge T.S. El­lis of the East­ern Dis­trict Court of Vir­gin­ia that they have stand­ing to sue the gov­ern­ment, a hurdle the ACLU was un­able to clear two years ago in a sim­il­ar case.

Secret Surveillance Court Picks First Outsider To Get a Look In
Jenna McLaughlin, The Intercept

The shadowy Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has appointed its first “friend of the court” to add an outsider’s perspective to the highly secretive process of approving surveillance requests from the government. Preston Burton, a criminal defense attorney known for his work with accused spies, is the first of at least five amici curiae the court must appoint due to a provision in the USA Freedom Act, the surveillance-reform legislative package passed in June.


Obama announces ‘understanding’ with China’s Xi on cyber theft but remains wary
Matt Spetalnick and Michael Martina, Reuters

President Barack Obama announced that he had reached a “common understanding” with Chinese President Xi Jinping on curbing economic cyber espionage, but threatened to impose U.S. sanctions on Chinese hackers who persist with cyber crimes. The two leaders also unveiled a deal to build on a landmark emissions agreement struck last year, outlining new steps they will take to deliver on pledges they made then to slash their greenhouse gas emissions.

Congress skeptical China will adhere to cyber promises
Cory Bennett, The Hill

Lawmakers were encouraged yet wary of a deal the White House and China, in which both sides committed to not support the digital theft of industry secrets. At least six members of Congress — Democrats and Republicans — used the phase “step forward” or “first step” to describe the accord.

Pentagon Small Biz Office Didn’t Know About Cyber Training
Aliya Sternstein, NextGov

Hackers pummel small companies because they are easy targets, with poor security hygiene and network access to big business partners, say security specialists. That logic applies to small military contractors, too. But the Pentagon’s Office of Small Business Programs has resources to help protect the little defense businesses – it just didn’t know it.

Complex Car Software Becomes the Weak Spot Under the Hood
David Gelles et al., The New York Times

The sophistication of new cars brings numerous benefits — forward-collision warning systems and automatic emergency braking that keep drivers safer are just two examples. But with new technology comes new risks — and new opportunities for malevolence.

Officials worried hackers will change your data, not steal it
Katie Bo Williams, The Hill

Intelligence leaders are worried that the next front in malicious cyber activity will be efforts to deliberately manipulate data, altering a hacked system in such a way that users will unwittingly rely on false information… At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, National Security Agency director Michael Rogers counted manipulation among the three kinds of cyber activity that concern him the most going forward.

A Message from Visa:

Visa is paving the way to make payments more secure. From real-time data analytics to chip technology and tokenization – it’s part of our DNA to move payments forward for consumers, merchants, and financial institutions. Together, these technological advancements will help drive secure, reliable payments. Learn more at

Opinions, Editorials & Perspectives

The Obama-Xi Cyber Mirage
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal

Presidents Xi and Obama announced a new cyber-agreement that is supposed to put the unpleasantness to rest. A White House fact sheet notes that both sides agreed that “neither country’s government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors.”… All of this is an elaborate way of saying that the two sides agreed to nothing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s State Visit Is Also a Show of Silicon Valley’s International Political Muscle
Noah Kulwin, Recode

Though Silicon Valley bungled its efforts to get immigration reform through Congress, the tech industry’s political influence is hardly waning. If anything, President Xi Jinping’s visit shows that tech is more politically relevant than ever.

Even if flawed, cybertheft deal with China a win for Obama
Jason Healey, The Christian Science Monitor

Maybe the critics are too fast to pounce on the deal, which is a pretty easy target. Are they missing an important point? Perhaps China continues its attacks intended to steal trade secrets but reduces the volume of the assaults. Cybersecurity experts often forget that diplomacy isn’t binary. It’s analog and if this leads to “less but not zero” – it is still a win for our side.

Bringing Out the Regulatory Wheel Clamps for Uber
Andrew Vila and Kevin Gardner, The Wall Street Journal

The big headlines in the political war on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have come from New York City. In a Manhattan speech in July, Hillary Clinton cast a skeptical eye toward the innovative business models of the “gig economy.” Around the same time, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced—and then quickly abandoned—a proposal capping the number of ride-share drivers roaming the city. But what you may not have heard is that similar battles are taking place all over America, including in our home states of Florida and Michigan.

President Xi’s Double Talk on Doing Business in China
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

At the start of his visit to the United States, President Xi Jinping of China sought to reassure American companies that his government was committed to protecting the interests of foreign companies and fighting cybercrime… [His] words sound encouraging, but there’s plenty of reason for skepticism.

A Message from Visa:

Visa continues to pioneer new technologies like chip, encryption, fraud analytics and tokenization to secure transactions in a smarter and ever-changing world. Chip protects in-store payments by generating a unique, one-time code for each transaction. Visa’s multiple layers of fraud protection are is designed to give consumers and merchants the confidence that Visa is the best way to pay and be paid, whether in store, online, or on a mobile device.  Learn more

Research Reports, Issue Briefs & Case Studies

The underground market fueling for-profit abuse
Kurt Thomas and Elie Bursztein, Google Anti-Fraud and Abuse Research

Over the last decade, Internet crime has matured into an underground economy where a large number of globally distributed criminals trade in data, knowledge, and services specifically geared towards defrauding users and businesses. Within this black market, criminals buy and sell compromised machines, scam hosting, exploit kits, and wholesale access to pilfered user records including usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive personal data.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!