Tech Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

Cybersecurity

  • President Donald Trump’s budget request proposed $1.5 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to defend critical infrastructure and federal computer networks from cyberattacks. The White House also called for greater collaboration between public and private partners on cybersecurity.
  • Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said Trump’s long-awaited executive order on cybersecurity is unlikely to come out in the near future, suggesting its final release is weeks or months away.
  • The Justice Department indicted two Russian intelligence officers for allegedly coordinating the theft of data from more than 500 million Yahoo Inc. accounts in 2014. The Russian government used the data collected by those officers and two other hackers — who were also charged — to spy on government and civilian targets in the United States and civilian targets in Russia, according to the indictment.

Telecommunications

  • The European Commission gave its approval of AT&T Inc.’s proposed $85 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. The commission said the merger would not raise antitrust concerns because the companies’ activities do not overlap within the European Union.
  • New York City sued Verizon Communications Inc. for allegedly failing to honor a 2008 contract that promised high-speed Fios internet service availability to all prospective customers in the city. New York says “tens of thousands” of people remain without access to Fios.
  • Verizon initially sought a $925 million discount from its proposed $4.83 billion deal to purchase Yahoo following revelations that Yahoo suffered two massive data breaches. Verizon eventually agreed to a $350 million discount.

Driverless cars

  • Intel Corp. acquired Mobileye, a self-driving car company based in Israel, for $15.3 billion. The two companies began partnering on autonomous vehicles last year.
  • Waymo, the self-driving car business spun out of Alphabet Inc. last year, asked a federal court to block Uber Technologies Inc.’s work on autonomous vehicles as part of a lawsuit alleging that Uber is using driverless technology stolen from Google. Uber sought to resolve its intellectual property dispute with Waymo through compulsory arbitration decided by a three-judge panel rather than a trial by jury, suggesting it wants to avoid Waymo’s demand that the court halt Uber’s work on driverless cars.

What’s Ahead

  • The Senate is looking to vote on a resolution that would repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband privacy rules this week. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters it could get “slotted” as early as this week, but said that depends on how many members sign on to the resolution and when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) decides to schedule a vote. McConnell is a cosponsor of the resolution.
  • The FCC is slated to hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, when commissioners will vote on a series of items, including a proposal aimed at combatting unlawful robocalls and rules that would deploy technologies to stop contraband wireless devices from getting into correctional facilities.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology meets on Tuesday to discuss draft legislation aimed at improving the deployment of broadband infrastructure. Conversations about broadband infrastructure have increased following Trump’s remarks last month that he plans to ask Congress to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure package.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Monday
FBI’s Comey, NSA’s Rogers testify at House Intelligence Committee hearing 10 a.m.
Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Judge Gorsuch 11 a.m.
Tuesday
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on legislation for broadband infrastructure 10 a.m.
FCC’s Clyburn discusses Lifeline program at Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council event 12 p.m.
FTC’s Ohlhausen, McSweeny testify at Senate Commerce Committee hearing 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday
House Oversight Committee hearing on law enforcement use of facial recognition technology 9 a.m.
Senate Commerce Committee hearing on emerging technologies and cybersecurity 10 a.m.
Thursday
Open Technology Institute event on ranking digital rights 9:30 a.m.
FCC monthly meeting 10:30 a.m.
Friday
No events scheduled

 

Morning Consult Tech Top Reads

1) EU reassured on U.S. privacy directive: source
Julia Fioretti, Reuters

2) U.S. Officials Plan to Unveil Charges Tied to Yahoo Hack
Deepa Seetharaman and Aruna Viswanatha, The Wall Street Journal

3) New York City Sues Verizon, Claiming Broken Promises of Fios Coverage
Patrick McGeehan, The New York Times

4) Trump’s budget proposal gives DHS $1.5 billion for cybersecurity
Morgan Chalfant, The Hill

5) European Union Approves $85 Billion AT&T-Time Warner Takeover
Variety Staff, Variety

6) Advertisers urge Congress to roll back internet privacy rule
Harper Neidig, The Hill

7) Stronger signal for US telecoms M&A
Nic Fildes et al., Financial Times

8) What Trump cut in his budget
Kim Soffen and Denise Lu, The Washington Post

9) China Tries to Reassure Foreign Companies over Industry Plan
Gillian Wong, The Associated Press

10) Maker of ‘Smart’ Vibrators Settles Data Collection Lawsuit for $3.75 Million
Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, The New York Times

Briefings

Tech Brief: NIAC Warns of U.S. Vulnerability to Cyberattacks

The National Infrastructure Advisory Council warned that the United States is not ready to cope with catastrophic cyberattacks aimed at the U.S. power grid and other critical infrastructure, with one member warning that “we’re in a pre-9/11 moment.” The presidential advisory group, which includes former government officials and business executives, voted up a report recommending that the country establish separate communications networks for critical systems and work to rapidly declassify cybersecurity threats for infrastructure operators.

Tech Brief: NTSB Plans Vote on Cause of Tesla Autopilot Accident

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board plans to vote at a hearing next month on the probable cause of a May 2016 car crash that killed a man who was using the semi-autonomous driving system in his Tesla Model S sedan. The incident raised questions about the safety of semi-autonomous vehicle systems that allow car operators to drive for long stretches with little human-vehicle intervention.

Tech Brief: Lobbying Tech Groups Target NAFTA Renegotiations

According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the number of tech companies and trade associations registered to lobby U.S., Canadian and Mexican government officials has more than doubled in the last few months. Companies like Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are looking to zero out tariffs for tech goods and remove restrictions on cloud storage as officials prepare to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Tech Brief: Intel CEO Leaves Trump’s Manufacturing Council

Brian Krzanich, Intel Corp.’s chief executive, joined the chief executives of Merck and Under Armour in announcing that he would leave Trump’s council on American manufacturing following the president’s response to violence during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Krzanich said he resigned “to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues.” 

Tech Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit will not block the Federal Communications Commission’s April decision to eliminate price caps for much of the business broadband market. The FCC’s business data services ruling deems certain local markets as competitive, even when there is only one broadband service provider.

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