Legislative Activity

DATA Act Of 2014 Introduced

Last Friday, April 4, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) introduced the bipartisan DATA Act of 2014 (H.R. 4400). The legislation would require commercial entities that own or possess consumers’ personal information to implement information security policies and procedures in compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations. The bill also would generally require such entities to notify consumers within 60 days of discovering a security breach.

Legislation Introduced On Internet Domain Name Responsibilities

Last week, two separate bills were introduced in the House to prohibit the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from relinquishing responsibilities with respect to Internet domain name functions. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced the Internet Stewardship Act of 2014 (H.R. 4367), and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) introduced H.R. 4398. The bills were introduced in response to NTIA’s recent announcement of its intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the “global multistakeholder community.” As the first step, NITA is asking the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role played by NTIA in the coordination of the Internet’s domain name system.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, April 8: The House Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will hold a hearing titled “Trolling for a Solution: Ending Abusive Patent Demand Letters.”
  • Wednesday, April 9: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “Examining the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger and the Impact on Consumers.”
  • Thursday, April 10: The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet will hold a hearing titled “Should the Department of Commerce Relinquish Direct Oversight Over ICANN?”.

Regulatory Activity

FCC March 31 Open Meeting

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took the following actions at its March 31 open meeting:

  • The FCC adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) and Report and Order initiating its 2014 Quadrennial Review of broadcast ownership rules. The FNPRM builds on the record of the ongoing 2010 Quadrennial Review and addresses issues referred to the FCC by the Third Circuit Court of Appeal’s remand of the 2008 Diversity Order. The FNPRM also seeks comment on proposals to define and require disclosure of certain shared services agreements under which independently owned broadcast stations share resources. The Report and Order modifies the FCC rules to attribute ownership interests for certain joint sales agreements (JSAs) for purposes of complying with the FCC’s ownership limits. Under the new rules, ownership will be attributed for same-market JSAs under which one station sells more than 15 percent of a separately owned station’s weekly advertising time. The Report and Order provides a two-year period for broadcasters to amend or terminate JSAs that would violate the ownership rules, and parties may also seek a waiver of the rules if they can show a waiver would be in the public interest.
  • The FCC adopted a Report and Order revising its retransmission consent rules. The revised rules prohibit a television broadcast station ranked among the top four stations in a market from engaging in joint retransmission consent negotiations with another top four station in that market if the stations are not commonly owned. The FCC also adopted an FNPRM proposing to eliminate the network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules.
  • The FCC released a Report and Order adopting allocation, licensing, service, and technical rules to make 65 MHz of AWS-3 spectrum available for auction for flexible use services, including mobile broadband. The auction is expected to take place in the fall of 2014.
  • The FCC adopted a First Report and Order revising and streamlining its Part 15 rules for Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices in 100 MHz of the 5 GHz frequency band.

Tentative Agenda For FCC April 23 Open Meeting

The FCC’s tentative agenda for its April 23 open meeting includes the following items:

  • The FCC will consider a Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, Order, Memorandum Opinion and Order, and Seventh Order on Reconsideration to continue implementation of the reforms adopted in the 2011 USF/ICC Transformation Order to modernize universal service. The FCC also will consider an FNPRM proposing steps to update and further implement the reforms adopted in 2011.
  • The FCC will consider an FNPRM to implement a three-tier spectrum sharing approach to make up to 150 MHz of spectrum available for wireless broadband services in the 3550-3700 MHz band.
  • Monday, April 7: Initial comments are due in response to the FCC’s Public Notice seeking further, focused comment on E-rate modernization issues.
  • Tuesday, April 8: The board of the First Responder Network Authority will hold a special meeting.

This Week’s Events And Deadlines:

  • Monday, April 7: Initial comments are due in response to the FCC’s Public Notice seeking further, focused comment on E-rate modernization issues.
  • Tuesday, April 8: The board of the First Responder Network Authority will hold a special meeting.