Welcome to the Tech & Telecom Weekly, an e-newsletter keeping you apprised of the latest developments in the telecommunications and high-tech industries.
Section 230 News
On October 28, 2020, at 10:00am ET, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled “Does Section 230’s Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?”. Appearing remotely will be Mr. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. The hearing will be live streamed here. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
The FCC and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to promote open and secure 5G networks in the developing world. For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.
The FCC has announced the comment cycle on a proposed new fee schedule for applications, petitions, and other filings across all Commission-regulated industries. The rulemaking represents the broadest update to the fee schedule in 30 years. Comments are due November 16, 2020, with reply comments due November 30, 2020. For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall. (FCC 20-116, MD Docket No. 20-270)
In the Courts
Privacy and technology are at the heart of National Election Defense Coalition et al. v. Boockvar, a voter security case, heard in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court last Thursday. NEDC alleges that the state’s ExpressVote XL system should not have been certified for use, citing numerous alleged privacy and accessibility problems, and asserts that the system is vulnerable to hacking. ExpressVote XL provides voters a touchscreen to select candidates, and those choices are then printed to a paper ballot that is scanned to record the vote electronically. NEDC seeks a statewide injunction to prevent use of ExpressVote XL in this election. For more information, please contact Susan Metcalfe.
The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a nominations hearing on November 10, 2020, at 2:30pm ET. Nathan Simington, Pres. Trump’s nominee to replace FCC Commissioner O’Rielly, will be among the nominees considered. The hearing will be livestreamed here. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, has introduced the BEAT China for 5G Act of 2020, which would require the FCC to reallocate the 2.45-2.55 GHz band and set it for auction. In a press statement announcing the bill, Sen. Wicker stated that “It is essential for the U.S. to win the race to 5G against China, and we need to unleash critical mid-band spectrum to get us there.” For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
The California Attorney General is proposing several modifications to the rules implementing the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act. The proposed rules address how brick-and-mortar businesses can notify consumers of their privacy rights, would prohibit businesses from making it more difficult for consumers to opt-out of the sale of their personal information than it is to opt-in to such sales, and clarify how businesses can ensure that an agent that submits a request to know or to delete on behalf of a consumer in fact is authorized to do so. Comments are due October 28, 2020, and further action on the rules should occur during the winter. For more information, please contact William Baker.
On October 13, 2020, the FCC Rural Broadband Auction Task Force, Office of Economics & Analytics, and Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice identifying 386 applicants found qualified to participate in the Rural Development Opportunity Fund reverse auction (Auction 904). The Commission noted a 75% increase in the number of qualified bidders since Auction 903 two years ago. Approximately 120 applicants were rejected. Auction 904 October 29, 2020 at 10:00 am ET. For more information, please contact Doug Bonner.
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