Tech Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead


Week in Review

FCC chairman confirmation

  • Four Democrats — Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Gary Peters of Michigan and Jon Tester of Montana — voted with their Republican colleagues to confirm Pai.

Russian interference investigations

  • During a joint press conference, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), committee vice chairman, emphasized that they had a number of unresolved questions for Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Twitter Inc. regarding Russian-sponsored political ads and urged executives from those companies to testify at a hearing scheduled for Nov. 1.
  • Facebook and Twitter officials have agreed to testify at the committee’s hearing. Google has not yet commented on its plans.
  • Facebook cut references to Russia from a public report published in April about influence campaigns on the social media platform during the 2016 election because some staffers believed the company’s understanding of Russian activity was too speculative, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • A number of the Russian-financed ads that ran on Facebook during last year’s presidential election season reportedly targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two critical battleground states that were essential to Donald Trump’s electoral victory. Facebook turned over 3,000 Russia-linked ads to three congressional committees on Monday.

Equifax

  • Former Equifax Inc. CEO Richard Smith was criticized by members of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee after he said that he and other executives were not aware of the significance of the company’s data breach until weeks after it was detected in late July.

European taxes

  • The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, ordered Amazon.com Inc. to pay roughly 250 million euros ($294 million) in back taxes to Luxembourg, saying that the tech giant had been receiving an unfair tax advantage. The European Union’s antitrust chief also said it would take the Irish government to court for failing to recoup back taxes from Apple Inc., a move that had been ordered over a year ago.
  • Luxembourg will ask Amazon to set aside the 250 million euros that the commission ordered the company to repay in back taxes while both parties consider whether or not to appeal the decision.

What’s Ahead

  • The Senate will be on recess next week and will return on Oct. 16. The House will be in session.
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee is planning to hold a public hearing on Nov. 1 and has invited officials from Facebook, Twitter and Google to discuss Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Facebook and Twitter officials have already agreed to testify, while Google has still not confirmed whether it will send a representative to the hearing.
  • The next Federal Communications Commission open meeting will occur on Oct. 24.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Monday
Wireless ISP Association conference 9 a.m.
Tuesday
Wireless ISP Association conference 8 a.m.
IEEE Broadcast Symposium 8 a.m.
Fifth annual Internet of Things Global Summit 8:15 a.m.
NRECA event on electric utility cybersecurity 8:30 a.m.
Wireless Infrastructure Association’s HetNet Expo 8:30 a.m.
Brown bag lunch on FCC incentive auction task force repacking update 12:15 p.m.
UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity report and discussion on cybersecurity at the Olympic Games 4 p.m.
Wednesday
Wireless Infrastructure Association’s HetNet Expo 7:30 a.m.
IEEE Broadcast Symposium 8 a.m.
Event on 5G by Access Intelligence 8:15 a.m.
Wireless ISP Association conference 8:30 a.m.
Fifth annual Internet of Things Global Summit 8:30 a.m.
National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters annual fall conference 1 p.m.
Atlantic Council discussion on building a more defensible cyberspace 5 p.m.
Seminar on IoT cybersecurity challenges across sectors and in telehealth 6 p.m.
Thursday
IEEE Broadcast Symposium 7:30 a.m.
National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters annual fall conference 8 a.m.
ForgeRock and Public Sector Media Group forum on strategies for securing digital government 8 a.m.
Wireless ISP Association conference 8:30 a.m.
Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on trade barriers and protecting cross border data flow policies 10:15 a.m.
Sixth annual Americas spectrum management conference 8:45 a.m.
ITIF lunch event on “opt-in” vs. “opt-out” privacy policies 12 p.m.
FCBA New England Chapter event including FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly 2 p.m.
Washington Center for Equitable Growth conversation with tech entrepreneur Tim O’Reilly on the future of work 5 p.m.
Friday
Wireless ISP Association conference 8:30 a.m.
Sixth annual Americas spectrum management conference 8:45 a.m.
Senate Commerce Committee field hearing on expanding New Hampshire’s broadband infrastructure 10 a.m.
FCBA Intellectual Property Committee brown bag lunch on music licensing 12:15 p.m.
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