Rep. Markey releases mobile privacy bill #thecircuit

Cybersecurity hearing: Executives from Huawei and ZTE were on Capitol Hill on Thursday answering questions about whether or not their firms have ties to the Chinese government.

In statements prepared for the hearings, both Huawei corporate Senior Vice President Charles Ding and ZTE Senior Vice President for North America and Europe Zhu Jinyun said explicitly that they have no ties to the Chinese state.

“ZTE is not an SOE (state-owned enterprise) or government controlled. Indeed, ZTE is China’s most independent, transparent, globally focused, publicly traded telecom company,” Jinyun said.

Ding said it would be “immensely foolish” for Huawei to be involved in national security or economic espionage and that it will not “jeopardize our global commercial success nor the integrity of our customers’ networks for any third party, government or otherwise. Ever.”

Lawmakers said that they feel they have good reason to question the companies’ ties. As the Hill reported, lawmakers said they were denied previous requests for internal documents from the companies after being told that doing so would violate Chinese state secrecy laws.

Spectrum hearing: The House Energy and Commerce committee is discussing how federal agencies can more effectively use their spectrum and make more spectrum available to businesses and consumers.

Representatives from the Office of Spectrum Management, the U.S. Air Force, T-Mobile and others are testifying in front of the committee.

In a memo on the hearing, House Republicans said that they would prefer for the government to clear spectrum when possible, rather than implement recommendations from the President’s Council of Advisos on Science and Technology (PCAST), which pivots toward agencies and private enterprises sharing spectrum.

Mobile privacy bill: On Wednesday, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) released a new mobile privacy bill called the Mobile Device Privacy Act, which would require companies to share when and if their customers’ phones are transmitting data to third parties.

“Consumers should know and have the choice to say no to software on their mobile devices that is transmitting their personal and sensitive information,” Markey said in a statement. “This is especially true for parents of children and teens, the fastest-growing group of smartphone users.”

Groups such as the Software Information and Industry Alliance swiftly criticized the bill, recommending that it would be more effective to implement a multi-stakeholder model.

Apple introduces new iPhone: Apple introduced a new version of its iPhone on Wednesday, which is thinner and lighter than any of its predecessors and boasts a bigger screen.

Analysts said that a collection of small changes to the iPhone 5 have made it a whole new gadget, and one that will definitely compete well in the market. The addition of a larger screen and support for LTE networks keeps the iPhone in line with its competitors, and its content ecosystem will keep it a market leader.

The new phone also has a new charging port, which means that the company’s fans will likely find themselves having to update their accessories and docks or buy adapters that Apple will offer for $29.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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