The Washington Post

The Circuit: White House threatens CISPA veto, nuclear communications could be used for cybersecurity, Verizon’s spectrum deal

CISPA: After the White House threatened to veto the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, the House is debating amendments to the measure, many of which are intended to address privacy concerns.

CISPA, as the measure is more commonly called, is designed to make it easier for companies and the U.S. government to communicate about cybersecurity threats. But privacy advocates say the bill is written too broadly and could violate civil liberties.

The Center for Democracy and Technology, which had said it would support the bill moving forward, issued a statement reversing its position on Wednesday, after the House Rules Committee said it would not allow debate on additional amendments addressing privacy concerns.

On Thursday, privacy caucus co-chairs Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), urged lawmakers to vote no on CISPA. “In its current form, this legislation would allow companies to share personal information about consumers with other companies, even if that information has nothing to do with cybersecurity. The bill also frees companies from liability if they share this personal, sensitive information,” the lawmakers said in a statement. They called the bill “unacceptable.”

Nuclear communications: A secure communications channel set up to prevent misunderstandings is likely to expand to handle conflicts in cyberspace as well, The Washington Post reported.

The Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, established in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan so that Washington and Moscow could alert each other to missile tests and space launches that could be mistaken as acts of aggression, would take a central role in an agreement nearing completion between U.S. and Russian negotiators. The deal could be final in several weeks, but most key elements already are settled, U.S. officials familiar with the talks told The Post.

Verizon/AWS spectrum: In a letter to Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.), two top Democrats in the committee have asked for a hearing considering agreements between Verizon and cable companies for spectrum and licensing. Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said that the deal has “implications for competition in the wireless industry.”

“Although we have not taken a position on any of these proposals, we believe it is important that the Energy and Commerce Committee examine the policy implications of these deals carefully and hear testimony from opponents and supporters of these transactions.”

Facebook Support Dashboard: Facebook has launched a support dashboard for users of its site who want to know more about the company’s process for reporting content that violates its community standards. The company announced the new feature in a blog post Thursday.

Bullying and the posting of inappropriate content on Facebook has been a major concern, particularly for the parents of younger users. The new dashboard is designed to give anyone who reports content more information on when and how Facebook is looking into a complaint.

FCC proposes change to charity rules: The Federal Communications Commission announced Thursday that it will propose changes to the rules governing how public broadcasters can raise money on-air for charities. The proposal would allow non-commercial stations to devote up to one percent of their broadcast time to fundraising activities.

“Allowing noncommercial stations to partner with charities, churches and other religious organizations, schools, and other non-profits to raise money for worthy causes will enable these stations to help meet the needs of their local communities,” said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement.

On Wednesday, the commission also announced that it will launch the “Connect America” fund, which is aimed at bringing high-speed Internet to Americans in rural communities.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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