Week in Review
Federal Communications Commission
- President Donald Trump held a closed-door meeting with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in the Oval Office on Monday. They did not discuss any pending agency proceedings, and did not discuss deals such as the proposed AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. merger. The next day Pai was renominated by Trump for a five-year term at the agency.
- All three FCC commissioners testified at a Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing. Pai told lawmakers that even if the commission’s rule mandating strict privacy rules for internet service providers is undone, the FCC still has the authority to protect consumer privacy on a case-by-case basis.
- Pai announced an investigation Wednesday into the nationwide outage of AT&T Inc.’s 911 emergency call service.
ISP privacy rule
- Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced a resolution that would overturn the FCC’s privacy rule for internet service providers. The resolution, which would utilize the Congressional Review Act, has at least 23 cosponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, introduced the House version of a Congressional Review Act resolution that would overturn the FCC’s privacy rule. All 16 Republicans on her subcommittee are co-sponsors.
- Because the FCC is set to block the implementation of the rule regardless, some analysts are questioning why congressional Republicans are working to repeal them through the CRA. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) suggested it could be a way to push Democrats to negotiate on broader net neutrality legislation, a notion echoed by several tech policy analysts.
- WikiLeaks released thousands of documents that purportedly detail software tools used by the Central Intelligence Agency to hack into smartphones, computers and internet-connected televisions.
- Contractors likely breached security and provided documents detailing the CIA’s use of hacking tools to WikiLeaks, according to U.S. officials. Intelligence agencies have been aware of the breach since last year.
- Google Inc. says its Android and Chrome products are now strong enough to defend some of the vulnerabilities the CIA may have exploited to carry out surveillance, as described in the documents published by WikiLeaks.
- Industry leaders are reviewing an updated version of a delayed cybersecurity executive order. The White House’s decision to share the draft with stakeholders suggests the order is nearing completion, according to Center for Global Enterprise Chairman Samuel Palmisano.
- Researchers have found several “critical” security vulnerabilities in Confide, an encrypted messaging app that’s said to be used by federal employees to communicate and leak information.