Tech Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

Net neutrality

  • The Federal Communications Commission said its comment system crashed because of hackers. Agency officials said the hackers intentionally tried to block legitimate commenters from participating in the process. Lawmakers requested that the FCC present evidence of its claim.
  • The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to review its decision defining the Federal Trade Commission’s regulatory exemption regarding common carriers and edge providers. The court’s next move is likely to have implications for both privacy and net neutrality.


  • President Donald Trump signed a long-awaited executive order aimed at improving the nation’s cybersecurity by implementing reviews of security practices and digital vulnerabilities. Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is expected to play a major as leader of the administration’s Office of American Innovation.
  • National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States warned France about cyberattacks leading up to that country’s recent presidential election. At the same congressional hearing, Rogers, who’s also head of U.S. Cyber Command, told lawmakers that there needs to be better policy guidance from lawmakers and the administration on cybersecurity matters.
  • Perpetrators of a massive global hack targeted people and organizations from Russia to Taiwan, including British hospitals, which were forced to turn patients away. The attackers asked victims to submit payments in bitcoin in return for regaining access to files such as medical records.

Intellectual property and innovation 

  • U.S. tech companies expressed displeasure with the European Union over its plans to crack down on what the EU considers unfair trading practices between U.S. web platforms and European companies like Spotify.
  • U.S. companies also expressed wariness over China’s draft regulations concerning cloud computing, saying they threaten intellectual property.
  • Makan Delrahim, Trump’s nominee to lead the Justice Department’s antitrust division, pledged to focus on international application of competition laws in the interest of U.S. companies if he’s confirmed by the Senate.
  • European courts are now more likely to classify Uber Technologies Inc. as a transportation company, instead of a tech firm. Stateside, a district court judge in California asked the U.S. attorney’s office to investigate Uber’s alleged theft of documents from Google Inc. parent Alphabet Inc. in advance of a pending trial over its self-driving cars.

What’s Ahead

  • The Senate reconvenes on Monday, and the House returns from a week-long recess on Tuesday.
  • On Thursday, the FCC will hold its monthly open meeting, when it will discuss the Connect America Fund, as well as Chairman Ajit Pai’s notice of proposed rulemaking to reclassify broadband as an “information service.”
  • Stakeholders will continue assessing the FCC’s recent spectrum incentive auction and its implications for wireless internet access.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Bipartisan Policy Center panel discussion on digitizing the power sector 10:30 a.m.
NIST holds cybersecurity framework workshop 8:30 a.m.
AEI author event to discuss new book on big data 4 p.m.
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on emergency alert systems 10 a.m.
ITIF event on federal radio systems and freeing up spectrum 10 a.m.
Phoenix Center event to discuss legal, economic and policy issues of FCC actions 11 a.m.
NIST holds cybersecurity framework workshop 1:30 p.m.
NTIA holds monthly webinar on accelerating broadband access 2 p.m.
FCC holds open meeting 10:30 a.m.
R Street Institute and Center for Democracy & Technology host tech policy happy hour 5 p.m.
Federal Communications Bar Association event on Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network 6 p.m.
The U.S. Chamber holds an event with Rep. Marsha Blackburn on broadband infrastructure 8:30 a.m.
Senate Broadband Caucus event on telehealth 10:30 a.m.
FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee meeting on robocalls 11 a.m.


Morning Consult Tech Top Reads

1) The FCC says an attack — not John Oliver — hampered its website
Hayley Tsukayama, The Washington Post

2) Trump signs long-awaited cyber order, launching hacking defense review
Eric Geller, Politico

3) Cutting Through Chinese Tech Giants’ Profit Distortion
Jacky Wong, The Wall Street Journal

4) French Websites Knocked Offline in Cyber-Attack on Cedexis
Carol Matlack, Bloomberg News

5) Six Agenda Items for Potential Antitrust Head
Liz Crampton, Bloomberg BNA

6) Five key players for Trump on cybersecurity
Morgan Chalfant, The Hill

7) China Says Draft Rules on Cloud Computing Have Been Misunderstood
Liza Lin, The Wall Street Journal

8) The FCC has received 128,000 identical anti-net neutrality comments
Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

9) Suicide online: Facebook aims to save lives with new actions
Jeff Martin, The Associated Press

10) A group of Obama veterans are banding together to invest in tech that can help Democrats win
Tony Romm, Recode


Tech Brief: Russian Hackers Targeted Elections in 21 States, DHS Official Says

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russian hackers targeted election-related databases in 21 different states leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Only two states — Arizona and Illinois — have been publicly identified as having their election systems targeted, and officials would not comment on the identities of the other 19 states.

Tech Brief: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Resigns

Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down from the helm of the ride-hailing service after five of the company’s major investors demanded that he resign. Kalanick’s resignation comes after a series of scandals forced him to take an indefinite leave of absence from the company last week.

Tech Brief: Data on 198 Million Voters Left Exposed Online

A proprietary data set containing the names and personally identifying information of approximately 198 million registered U.S. voters was left unprotected online for at least 12 days in a large cache of electronic files. The information was compiled by consulting firm Deep Root Analytics, which helps Republican campaigns with voter targeting efforts, and appears to include information on nearly all the estimated registered voters in the United States.

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