Overnight Tech: Dems make last stand for net neutrality | Lawmakers unveil bill to boost AI technology | Trump signs law forcing drone users to register | SEC warns investors on cryptocurrencies

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DEMS MAKE LAST-MINUTE APPEAL ON NET NEUTRALITY: Democrats are trying to pressure the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the eleventh hour to call off its planned vote to scrap its net neutrality regulations.

The vote is planned for Thursday and the repeal proposal is expected to pass along party lines.

On Tuesday, 39 senators sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to call off what they termed a “reckless” proposal to eliminate the Obama-era regulations.

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“Your plan gives a broadband provider the ability to significantly alter their subscribers’ internet experience,” the letter reads. “Once adopted, this proposal will permit that provider to freely block, slow down or manipulate a consumer’s access to the internet as long as it discloses those practices — no matter how anti-consumer — somewhere within mounds of legalese in a new ‘net neutrality’ policy.”

And across the Capitol, Rep. Mike DoyleMichael (Mike) F. DoyleFCC’s net neutrality repeal sparks backlash Dems to FCC: Force Sinclair to sell stations for merger approval More than a dozen lawmakers put family on campaign payroll MORE (D-Pa.) on Tuesday promised to introduce legislation after the vote that would roll back Pai’s plan.

The net neutrality rules bar internet service providers from slowing down or favoring any web content.

Republicans largely blast the rules as a heavy-handed regulatory approach that stifles investment and innovation, while Democrats see them as essential for preserving the free flow of information on the web.

The last-ditch effort is unlikely to sway Pai, who has vowed to move forward with the repeal vote. His plan would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to police broadband companies for any unfair or deceptive behavior. He argued the proposal would require the industry to be transparent about its practices and that the FTC is equipped to make sure that companies like Verizon and Comcast don’t abuse their powers over web traffic.

“Instead of saddling the Internet with heavy-handed regulations, we will work together to take targeted action against bad actors,” Pai said Monday as the two agencies unveiled a blueprint for how they will police the internet after net neutrality.

“This approach protected a free and open Internet for many years prior to the FCC’s 2015 Title II Order and it will once again following the adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order,” he added.

Read more here.

 

Please send your tips, comments and net neutrality takes to Ali Breland ([email protected]) and Harper Neidig ([email protected]) and follow us on Twitter: @alibreland and @hneidig. We’re also on Signal and WhatsApp. Email or DM us for our numbers.

 

POLL FINDS 8 IN 10 VOTERS SUPPORT NET NEUTRALITY RULES: More than 80 percent of voters oppose the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to repeal its net neutrality rules, according to a new poll from the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation.

The survey presented respondents with detailed arguments from both supporters and opponents of the repeal plan, before asking them where they stood on the rules. It found that 83 percent favored keeping the FCC rules overall, including 75 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of independents.

“A decision to repeal net neutrality would be tacking against strong headwinds of public opinion blowing in the opposite direction,” Steven Kull, the director of the university program, said in a statement.

Read more here.

 

LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN AI LEGISLATION: Lawmakers unveiled bipartisan legislation in both the House and Senate on Tuesday aimed at bolstering the development of artificial intelligence (AI).

The Fundamentally Understanding the Usability and Realistic Evolution of Artificial Intelligence Act of 2017 — or FUTURE of AI Act — aims to both ensure the U.S.’s global competitiveness in AI, as well as protect the public’s civil liberties and ease potential unemployment that the technology produces.

“While artificial intelligence holds the promise of providing goods and services more efficiently and effectively, increased automation has potentially broad negative impacts on our workforce and our privacy,” explained Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyNet neutrality supporters predict tough court battle over FCC’s repeal plan Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Driverless car bill hits Senate speed bump MORE (D-Mass.).

Read more here.

 

DEM WARNS OF LACK OF DIVERSITY IN AI ENGINEERING: Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzSenate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank GOP on verge of opening Arctic refuge to drilling Dems rip GOP over handwritten changes to tax plan MORE (D-Hawaii), the top-ranking Democrat on Senate Commerce Subcommittee dealing with the internet subcommittee highlighted technology firms’ lack of diversity and the harms it could pose to minorities during a hearing about artificial intelligence on Tuesday.

The Hawaii senator argued that Silicon Valley and tech firm’s general homogeneity presents dangerous issues as the industry grapples with the serious applications of AI in areas like criminal justice and defense.

“You have software engineers and decision makers both at the line level writing the code, but all the way up to project management and all the way up to people dealing with these moral questions are mostly white men,” he said.

Read more here.

 

DEM OFFERS MOCK ALTERNATIVE TO NET NEUTRALITY REPEAL: Mignon Clyburn, a Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission, on Tuesday offered “edits” to a proposal from the FCC’s Republican chairman to repeal net neutrality rules.

The mock proposal distributed by Clyburn’s office would cut everything from the repeal order except for the words “After further review of the record we affirm the 2015 Open Internet Order.”

The FCC will vote Thursday on a proposal to scrap its 2015 net neutrality regulations, which prohibit internet service providers from discriminating against or promoting certain websites. With Republicans holding three of the commission’s five seats, the proposal is expected to pass.

Read more here.

 

SEC CHIEF WARNS INVESTORS ON CRYPTOCURRENCY: The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is cautioning investors about putting money into cryptocurrencies in one of the SEC’s strongest statements to date on the matter.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton warned investors to be wary of promises of “fortunes” from cryptocurrencies’ rapid rise in value and to be skeptical of the refrain that “this time is different.”

Clayton did not specify any cryptocurrencies by name, but attention in the past several months has focused primarily on Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, several of the largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization

Read more here.

 

TRUMP SIGNS LAW FORCING DRONE USERS TO REGISTER: President Trump signed a sweeping defense policy bill into law on Tuesday that will allow the government to require recreational drone users to register their model aircraft.

A federal court ruled earlier this year that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not have the power to force toy drone users to register their aircraft with the agency because Congress had said in a previous a law that the FAA can’t regulate model aircraft.

But the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which landed on Trump’s desk Tuesday, would restore the FAA’s registration system for civilian drones.

In December 2015, the FAA issued an interim rule requiring drone hobbyists to register their recreational aircraft with the agency.

The rule — which had not been formally finalized — requires model aircraft owners to provide their name, email address and physical address; pay a $5 registration fee; and display a unique drone ID number at all times. Those who fail to comply could face civil and criminal penalties.

Read more from The Hill’s Melanie Zanona here.

 

ON TAP:

The Cato institute will host a conference on surveillance at 9:00 a.m.

The Brookings Institution will hold an event on IP reform at 1:30 p.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the consumer welfare standard in antitrust at 2:30 p.m.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

BuzzFeed: Steve Bannon’s war against Twitter

New York Times: Big tech is quiet amid net neutrality protests

The Guardian: The SEC warns about cyrptocurrencies

Bloomberg: Facebook to start paying taxes locally

Op-ed: Net neutrality’s effect on rural America


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