Other Developments, Further Reading, and Coming Events (17 May 2021)

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Other Developments

  • The Senate Rules and Administration Committee met last week to markup its version of the “For The People Act” (S.1), an omnibus voting rights, election security, campaign finance, and lobbying and ethics reform package. In March, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the initial version in mid-March and issues a section-by-section summary. However, the committee deadlocked along party lines 9-9, resulting in the bill being unfavorably reported, meaning the bill did not make it out of committee. Nonetheless, Schumer will be able to bring the measure to the Senate floor.
    • In March, House Democrats sent the “For The People Act” (H.R.1) to the Senate that contains a number of technology-related provisions:
      • States must use “individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballots” that are hand-counted or counted by an optical character recognition device
      • Standards would be established for election vendors “based on cybersecurity and company ownership” and expands the grant program the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to increase the cybersecurity of the U.S. election system
      • Funds would be made available to states to replace old and insecure voting machines
      • Sets a three day deadline for “qualified election infrastructure vendors” to determine whether security incidents have occurred and to report such incidents to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the EAC
      • Authorizes $1 billion for FY 2021 and then $175 million for 2022, 2024, 2026, and 2028
      • Tasks states with preventing and deterring cybersecurity incidents involving state computerized voter registration databases
      • Creates a competitive grant program for researchers to develop methods and technology that could better secure elections
      • Requires DHS to maintain its designation of the election sector as a critical infrastructure
      • Directs DHS to provide timely critical threat indicators to state election officials
      • Tasks the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report on threats to elections and infrastructure to Congress and state officials within 6 months of an election
      • Mandates that all voting systems must be tested for cybersecurity vulnerabilities at least nine months before a federal election
      • Establishes the Election Security Bug Bounty Program
      • Creates a duty to report foreign election interference
      • Places new obligations on large social media platforms to maintain public databases of all attempts to buy political advertising costing more than $500 and to prevent foreign nationals and entities from directly or indirectly buying political advertising
      • Expands current law on election communications and advertising to include many online activities, which would create new limits and reporting requirements
      • Requires television broadcasters and cable and satellite broadcasters to make their best effort to block foreign nationals or entities from directly or indirectly buying political advertising
  • The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee marked up and reported out the “Endless Frontier Act” (S.1260), dramatically expanding the bill. The committee also approved the nomination of Lina Khan to be a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commissioner, and her nomination now moves to the Senate floor. The committee made available S.1260 as amended, a section-by-section summary, and a one-page summary (that is actually four pages). In the latter document, the committee highlighted the following “notable” provisions:
    • Technology Directorate (Title I) The Endless Frontier Act would create a new Directorate of Technology and Innovation at the NSF to support research and technology development in key technology focus areas, such as artificial intelligence and quantum science, in order to strengthen the global leadership of the United States in innovation. Major activities would include funding research and development at collaborative institutes, supporting academic technology transfer and intellectual property protection, establishing technology testbeds, and awarding scholarships and fellowships to build the relevant workforce. The Directorate would be authorized at $29B over fiscal years 2022 to 2026, including a transfer of $2.9B to existing NSF divisions to support basic research collaboration.
    • Existing NSF Divisions (Title II) The NSF is the gold standard for basic research around the world. The Endless Frontier Act would authorize $52.0Bover fiscal years 2022 to 2026for existing NSF activities (before the $2.9B transfer from the Directorate), representing a seven percent increase each year. The legislation would also create a Chief Diversity Officer at NSF and increase STEM education to enhance the domestic STEM workforce. The legislation would also incorporate a series of Commerce Committee member priorities for NSF, including programs for precision agriculture, rural STEM education, quantum information science, skilled technical education, critical minerals, and bioeconomy R&D. It would also develop policies to combat sexual harassment in science and provide flexibilities for researchers with caregiver responsibilities.
    • Research Security (Title III) The Endless Frontier Act would take strong steps to secure research from adversaries. It would authorize NSF’s research security office, provide NIST cybersecurity assistance for universities, and set up an information sharing and analysis organization to exchange information on research security risks. It would also require policies to prohibit participation in state-sponsored foreign talent programs that unethically or illegally transfer U.S. knowledge to adversaries. Capacity Building (Title I and II) and Technology Hubs (Title IV) The Endless Frontier Act would take steps to build capacity across the nation and increase the participation of those underrepresented in STEM, including through support for early-career researchers, emerging research institutions, minority serving institutions, rural institutions, and institutions that participate in the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, to reduce geographic concentration of R&D and education. It would also create a regional technology hub program at DOC to support regional economic development in innovation. Technology hubs would carry out workforce development activities, business and entrepreneur development activities, technology maturation activities, and infrastructure activities related to the technology development. The technology hubs program would be authorized at $8B over fiscal years 2022 to 2026.
    • Manufacturing (Title IV) The Endless Frontier Act would authorize a quadrupling of the DOC Manufacturing Extension Partnership and create a new track within the program for public benefit activities like workforce development and cybersecurity services. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership would be funded at $2.4B over fiscal years 2022 to 2026. The substitute would also authorize the Manufacturing USA program, at $1.2B over fiscal years 2022 to 2026, and add workforce and coordination provisions.
    • Supply Chain Resiliency (Title V)The Endless Frontier Act would establish a supply chain resiliency program at the Department of Commerce to work with the private sector, for the purpose of identifying and recommending opportunities to mitigate or address supply chain vulnerabilities in the United States and in allied and partner countries. It would also amend the recently-enacted CHIPS Act to provide $2 billion in incentives for domestic production of mature semiconductor technologies, such as for the automotive industry.
    • Space(Title VI)The Endless Frontier Act incorporates the bipartisan NASA Authorization Act of 2019, which passed the Senate unanimously last Congress, and would authorize NASA’s activities, including the agency’s exploration, science, aeronautics, STEM education, and technology missions. It also incorporates the bipartisan SPACE Act, which would provide the authorities necessary for DOC to perform certain space situational awareness activities and authorize centers of excellence for space situational awareness. The space title would authorize just over $10B for these activities between fiscal years 2022 and 2026.
    • Telecommunications (Title V) The Endless Frontier Act would authorize $100M to establish the Telecommunications Workforce Training Grant Program Fund at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). It would also authorize $35M to NTIA to expand internet access to rural areas and tribal lands through the establishment of internet exchanges facilities and submarine cable landing station grants. The substitute would authorize $50M to NTIA to create a testbed to develop open network architecture technologies and applications and increase U.S. participation in international standards-setting bodies.
  • The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a markup of bills that were packaged together into the “Securing America’s Future Act” that will be added to the “Endless Frontier Act (S.1260) marked up and reported out by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee made available a summary of the markup and a summary of the “Securing America’s Future Act,: in which the committee explained some the bills bundled together:
    • Securing our Networks and Supply Chains
    • Cyber-attacks remain one of the most significant threats to our national security –and they can have real-world consequences for Americans, as the recent attack on the Colonial Pipeline showed. Whether an attack is coming from adversaries like the Chinese and Russian governments, or criminal organizations, these provisions strengthen the federal government’s roles and resources to better prepare for and respond to significant cyber incidents, including requiring regular National Risk Assessments and the creation of a Cyber Response and Recovery Fund. This section also includes provisions to block the purchase of drones manufactured and sold by companies backed by the Chinese government, and prohibits the social media app TikTok from being downloaded to government devices to better safeguard the privacy and security of Americans.
    • Recommitting to American Workers and Manufacturers
    • American taxpayer dollars should be used to buy American-made manufactured products and materials, which supports American workers and advances American competitiveness. These provisions modernize Buy American requirements to address the longstanding practice of using Chinese-or Russian-made steel and other products that undercuts American manufacturers and American workers. They also increase transparency when waivers are granted to Buy American requirements by creating a central publicly available website. This section also includes a provision to address the serious national security risk posed by our overreliance on companies in China and other countries for medical supplies by encouraging greater domestic production of personal protective equipment.
    • Safeguarding Groundbreaking Research
    • Adversarial foreign governments, including China, continue to pose a threat to the U.S. research enterprise and have used various means to exploit gaps in research security that allow bad actors to steal American research, technology and intellectual property. This provision will boost American competitiveness by ensuring the federal government is securing taxpayer-funded research from misappropriation by foreign competitors.
    • Investing in Responsible Federal Use of Artificial Intelligence
    • This provision will help lock in America’s competitive advantage over the Chinese government in the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence by leveraging American values, innovation and entrepreneurialism to advance this technology. The new partnerships created by this provision would allow the federal government to harness commercial breakthroughs to improve efficiency, better serve the American people and strengthen American economic competitiveness and national security.
    • Providing New Skills and Opportunities for Our Federal Workforce
    • The United States faces increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats from foreign actors such as China and Russia, and we need a federal workforce that possesses the knowledge, skills, and competencies to counter those threats. These provisions would strengthen American competitiveness by investing in the future of the federal workforce –establishing programs to grow federal expertise and interagency coordination on cybersecurity, as well as offering opportunities to reskill federal workers to better meet emerging and mission-critical workforce needs and stay competitive on the global stage.
  • The European Parliament’s The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee issued its draft opinion on the European Commission’s “Data Governance Act” (DGA), along with its proposed amendments. LIBE explained:
    • The DGA combines several instruments. First, it complements the Open Data Directive (EU) 2019/1024 by a regime, which allows public sector bodies to make data available for re-use covered by third party rights, including personal data. Second, it establishes rules for data sharing service providers, with the purpose of enabling data sharing among businesses with and without remuneration, and encourages the creation of cooperatives that would strengthen individual data subjects’ and small non-personal data holders’ position. Finally, it encourages “data altruism” by individuals by creating a standardized consent form for data subjects to make their personal data available for purposes serving the general interest, and by establishing organisations to pool these data and make them attractive for data users. It also creates a structure of competent authorities to enforce its provisions, and an expert group to support its goals.
    • LIBE went on to state in terms of proposed changes to the DGA:
      • A. Emphasizing the centrality of GDPR
      • The rapporteur deems legal clarity and certainty about the DGA’s relationship vis-a-vis the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) a central element of the regulation, considering that the legislator is bound by Article 8 of the Charter and Article 16 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Thus, the LIBE opinion draft proposes one central provision stating the primary role of the GDPR. This clarification will secure the fundamental right of protection of personal data. This solution also follows the joint opinion of the EDPB and the EDPS.
      • B. Effective differentiation between personal and non-personal data.
      • One of the main premises of the data protection law is that the data subjects’ rights are very different from rights exercised by holders of non-personal data. Thus, the rapporteur decided to re-draft the provisions applying to data subjects and data holders respectively to emphasize the differences between the two categories. This also applies to data sharing service providers who must treat the two categories differently.
      • In case of non-personal data, they can offer pooling and sharing, as well as additional treatment of data as a service. Regarding personal data, those providers cannot and should not substitute data subjects who must continue to comprehensively exercise their rights in their own name. As a result, the providers’ function with respect to personal data must be distinctly different, and focus on facilitating between data subjects and potential data users. Only then, will they be able to remain neutral and not process personal data themselves.
      • C. No disincentive for public sector bodies to make data available under the Open Data Directive
      • While the Open Data Directive’s provisions exclude non-personal data protected on grounds of commercial and statistical confidentiality, of intellectual property rights of third parties, as well as personal data, the Data Governance Act applies explicitly to those.
      • This should not create any disincentive for public sector bodies to publishing Open Data. Where techniques such as anonymization, aggregation, or others can effectively be applied and thus derive data that does fall under the re-use regime mandated by the Open Data Directive, the latter should take precedence.
      • D. Data altruism must lead to data use in the general interest
      • Where individuals are incentivised to make their data available voluntarily for the benefit of general interest, their trust should not be abused. Therefore, it is important to clarify that the organisations that make such data available, as well as the potential data users, use the data with the same objective of contributing to the general interest.
  • Four British regulators have submitted their response to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) “on the future of the digital regulatory landscape and how to achieve coherence in regulatory approaches across digital services.” The Digital Regulatory Cooperation Forum (DRCF) consists of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the Office of Communications (Ofcom), the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In March, the DRCF “outlined its priorities for the coming year, marking a step-change in coordination of regulation across digital and online services.” The DRCF was formed by the CMA, the ICO and Ofcom in July 2020 “to support regulatory coordination in online services, and cooperation on areas of mutual importance.” The FCA joined the DRCF thereafter. In its response to the UK government, the DRCF stated:
    • The DRCF will allow us to be agile and to act with pace to deliver coherent regulation in the public interest, while still providing transparency and accountability for industry and wider stakeholders. Building on this approach, through further measures to strengthen this cooperation, could help ensure that the digital regulatory landscape is fit for purpose in the future. Our recommended actions and options for the Government to consider are set out below.
    • Recommendation1: that the Government review information sharing gateways of digital regulators to ensure that they are suitable for expected cross-regulatory engagement in the future, and support the actions of our regulators in their functions with respect to online markets.
    • Recommendation 2: that the Government adopts measures to incorporate regulatory coherence and cooperation in the duties of digital regulators. Options include:
      • aligned supplementary duties, for example to promote benefits for consumers, data subjectsand citizens;
      • duties to consult; and
      • duties to cooperate.
    • We also see merit in the Government considering mechanisms that allow it to provide input on its strategic priorities with respect to digital services and platforms.
  • The California Assembly passed AB1262 “Information privacy: other connected device with a voice recognition feature,” sending the bill to the Senate. The Assembly posted an analysis of AB1262 for floor consideration that summarized the bill:
    • This bill establishes limitations on the use, retention, sharing, and sale of recordings or transcriptions containing personal information (PI) collected by the voice recognition feature of a smart speaker device, and would prohibit a person or entity from providing the operation of a voice recognition feature without prominently informing the user during initial setup of a smart speaker device.
    • Major Provisions
    • 1)  Prohibits a person or entity from providing the operation of a voice recognition feature within this State without prominently informing, during the initial setup or installation of a smart speaker device, either the user or the person designated by the user to perform its initial setup or installation.
    • 2)  Provides that a recording or transcription collected or retained through the operation of a voice recognition feature by the manufacturer of a smart speaker device, if the recording or transcription qualifies as PI or is not deidentified, shall not be: a) used for any advertising purpose; b) shared with, or sold to, a third party, unless the user has provided affirmative written consent, as defined; or c) retained electronically, unless the user opts in to having that recording retained by the manufacturer either during installation or at a later time in the device settings.
    • 3)  Specifies that a manufacturer may be held liable for functionality provided by applications that the user chooses to use in the cloud or are downloaded and installed by a user if the manufacturer collects, controls, or has access to any PI collected or elicited by the applications.
    • 4)  Defines “smart speaker device” to mean a speaker and voice command device offered for sale in this state with an integrated virtual assistant connected to a cloud computing storage service that uses hands-free verbal activation; and specifically excludes from this definition a cellular telephone, a tablet, a laptop computer with mobile data access, a pager, or a motor vehicle, or any speaker or device associated with, or connected to, a vehicle.
  • A new law will take effect in New York City in early July barring commercial entities from selling “biometric identifier information.” In a summary, the City Council summarized the statute:
    • This bill addresses the increased collection and use of biometric identifier information, such as the use of facial recognition technology, by commercial establishments to track consumer activity. The bill prohibits the sale of biometric identifier information. It also requires certain commercial establishments, such as retailers, restaurants, and entertainment venues, to post signage notifying consumers if they collect biometric identifier information. The bill provides for a private right of action that allows for judgments of $500 for failing to post signage or negligently selling/sharing biometric information and $5,000 for the intentional or reckless sale of biometric information. The bill requires the Chief Privacy Officer to conduct outreach and education to affected commercial establishments.
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) “has delivered the initial Department of Defense (DOD) Zero Trust Reference Architecture to help the U.S. military maintain information superiority on the digital battlefield.” This announcement was made a day after the White House issued the “Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity” that calls for an “advance toward Zero Trust Architecture” and will require within two months, all agency heads will need to review and then update its existing plans to use cloud computing and fashion plans to employ Zero Trust Architecture. At the end of April, the DOD issued version 1.0 of a document with the same title and the DOD explained the strategic purpose of the issuance:
    • The Department of Defense (DOD) next generation cybersecurity architecture will become data centric and based upon Zero Trust principles. Zero Trust supports the 2018 DOD Cyber Strategy, the 2019 DOD Digital Modernization Strategy and the DOD Chief Information Officer’s (CIO) vision for creating “a more secure, coordinated, seamless, transparent, and cost-effective IT architecture that transforms data into actionable information and ensures dependable mission execution in the face of a persistent cyber threat.” Zero Trust should be used to re-prioritize and integrate existing DOD capabilities and resources, while maintaining availability and minimizing temporal delays in authentication mechanisms, to address the DOD CIO’s vision.
  • “A cross-sector alliance of semiconductor companies and major downstream users of semiconductors” announced “the formation of the Semiconductors in America Coalition (SIAC) and called on congressional leaders to appropriate $50 billion for domestic chip manufacturing incentives and research initiatives.”
  • 45 state attorneys general are calling on Congress to establish a new grant program to help states enforce federal and state antitrust laws. In their letter, the state attorneys general asserted:
    • There is precedent for Congress aiding state antitrust enforcement consistent with our request. The Hart–Scott–Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 revitalized both federal and state enforcement and notably authorized state attorneys general to bring damages actions as parens patriae on behalf of citizens in our states. In conjunction with this Act, Congress also passed the Crime Control Act of 1976, which, in part, authorized the U.S. Department of Justice to “provide assistance and make grants to states” in order “to improve the antitrust enforcement capability” of states. Crime Control Act, Pub. L. No. 94-503, S 309, 90 Stat. 2415 (1976). Many states used this seed money to establish their own antitrust divisions and enhance enforcement efforts throughout the country. More generally, there are other precedents for federal financial support for state enforcement activities, including COPS Hiring Program and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. These could provide models for a similar program for state antitrust enforcement.
  • Signal claimed in a blog posting that Facebook blocked its “multi-variant targeted ad designed to show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to” Signal wanted to place on Instagram.

Further Reading

  • Cobalt angst will turn carmakers into mine owners” By Ed Cropley — Reuters. Henry Ford left little to chance. To ensure raw materials reached his slick new production lines, the U.S. automobile pioneer owned everything from coal mines in West Virginia to rubber plantations in Brazil. It’s a lesson for successors like Elon Musk and Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess as they stake their futures on electric vehicles and hard-to-get battery metals like cobalt.
  • Seeing the Real Faces of Silicon Valley” By Mary Beth Meehan and Fred Turner — The New York Times. The workers of Silicon Valley rarely look like the men idealized in its lore. They are sometimes heavier, sometimes older, often female, often darker skinned. Many migrated from elsewhere. And most earn far less than Mark Zuckerberg or Tim Cook.
  • Amazon and Apple Built Vast Wireless Networks Using Your Devices. Here’s How They Work.” By Christopher Mims — The Wall Street Journal. What to do if you’re a globe-spanning tech titan that wants to connect millions or even billions of devices, but you don’t want the hassle or cost of dealing with telcos, satellite operators or cable companies for connectivity? You use the devices your customers have already purchased—and brought into homes, businesses and public spaces—to make an end-run around traditional wireless networks. Apple and Amazon transforming the devices we own into the equivalent of little cell towers or portable Wi-Fi hot spots that can connect other gadgets and sensors to the internet. They have already switched on hundreds of millions—with many more on the way. Instead of serving as wireless hubs solely for your own smartwatches, lights and sensors, your iPhones and Echo speakers can help other people’s gadgets stay connected as well—whether you know it or not.
  • Intelligence community creating hub to gird against foreign influence” By Martin Matishak — Politico. The nation’s top spy agency has begun work to establish a hub to combat hostile foreign meddling in U.S. affairs,following multiple assessments that Russia and other countries have sought to sway elections and sow chaos among the American people. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence will create the Foreign Malign Influence Center “in light of evolving threats and in support of growing policy and congressional requirements,” an agency spokesperson said Monday in a statement to POLITICO.
  • China holds 35% of global 6G patents, government report says” By Zeyi Yang — Protocol. China currently holds 35% of all 6G patents worldwide, according to a recent report authored by the Chinese Patent Office. The document was released on Sunday in a press conference, according to Communications Weekly, a state-owned publication. 6G is the next, next generation of telecommunications technology, which can be 100 times faster than 5G and enable a seamless connection between cellular and satellite networks.

Coming Events

  • On 18 May, the House Homeland Security Committee will markup technology related legislation, including bills to address the recent Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack:
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee’s Cybersecurity Committee will hold a hearing on 18 May titled “Cybersecurity of the Defense Industrial Base” with these witnesses:
    • Rear Admiral William Chase III, Deputy Principal Cyber Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and Director of Protecting Critical Technology Task Force
    • Mr. Jesse Salazar, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for, Industrial Policy
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee will hold an 18 May hearing titled “Promises and Perils: The Potential of Automobile Technologies” a week after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued its preliminary report “for its ongoing investigation of the fatal, April 17, 2021, crash of a 2019 Tesla Model S near Spring, Texas” with these witnesses:
    • Jason Levine, Executive Director, Center for Auto Safety
    • Greg Regan, President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
    • Professor Ragunathan Rajkumar, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
  • On 18 May, two House Appropriations Committee subcommittees will hold hearings:
    • The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “The Need for Universal Broadband: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” with these witnesses:
      • Joi Chaney, National Urban League
      • Matt Dunne, Center on Rural Innovation
      • Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service
    • The Defense Subcommittee will hold a closed hearing titled “National Security Agency and Cyber Command FY 2022 Posture” with the head of the National Security Agency and United States Cyber Command General Paul Nakasone testifying.
  • The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee’s Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on 18 May titled “Protecting Kids Online: Internet Privacy and Manipulative Marketing” with these witnesses:
    • Ms. Angela Campbell, Professor of Law and Co-Director, Institute for Public Representation
    • Mr. Serge Egelman, Research Director, Usable Security and Privacy, International Computer Science Institute, University of California Berkeley
    • Ms. Beeban Kidron, Founder and Chair, 5Rights
  • On 18 May, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing titled “Funding and Financing Options to Bolster American Infrastructure” with these witnesses:
    • Joseph Kile, Ph.D., Director of Microeconomic Analysis, Congressional Budget Office
    • Victoria F. Sheehan, President, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
    • Heather Buch, Subcommittee Chair, Transportation Steering Committee, National Association of Counties
    • Shirley Bloomfield, Chief Executive Officer, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association
  • The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Examining the Role of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis” on 18 May with these witnesses:
    • The Honorable Francis X. Taylor, Former Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis (2014-2017), U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    • Patricia Cogswell, Former Deputy Administrator (2018-2020), Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    • Mike Sena, President, National Fusion Center Association
    • Faiza Patel, Director, Liberty & National Security Program, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law
  • On 19 May, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing titled “Leveraging the Tax Code for Infrastructure Investment” but witnesses have not yet been announced.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights Subcommittee will hold a 19 May hearing titled “Antitrust Applied: Hospital Consolidation Concerns and Solutions” but no witnesses have been announced.
  • On 20 May, the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee will hold a closed hearing on the Intelligence Community’s World Wide Threat Assessment and the FY 2022 National Intelligence Program/Military Intelligence Program Posture with these witnesses:
    • The Honorable Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence
    • The Honorable David M. Taylor, Performing Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security, Department of Defense
  • The Commerce, Science, and Transportation will consider Eric Lander’s nomination to be the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on 20 May.
  • The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will hold a 20 May hearing titled “Powering Up Clean Energy: Investments to Modernize and Expand the Electric Grid” with these witnesses:
    • Linda Apsey, President and CEO, ITC Holdings Corp. Apsey is responsible for the strategic vision and overall business operations of ITC, the largest independent electricity transmission company in the United States. Based in Michigan, the company owns and operates high-voltage transmission infrastructure in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, with plans underway to expand to Wisconsin.
    • Donnie Colston, Director, Utility Department, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Colston manages issues related to collective bargaining agreements, working conditions, safety-related work practices, and apprenticeship training. A utility lineman, he started his career in transmission and distribution construction before working as an electric troubleman. He has been a member of the IBEW Local Union 2100, which represents the employees of Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities Company (KU), for more than four decades.
    • Michael Skelly, Founder and President, Grid United. Skelly is a renewable energy entrepreneur and pioneer in the U.S. wind industry who currently leads Grid United, an early-stage transmission development company. He was previously the founder and president of Clean Line Energy, a company that successfully permitted some of the longest transmission lines in the United States in the last 50 years.
    • Emily Sanford Fisher, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary & Senior Vice President, Clean Energy Edison Electric Institute (EEI). Sanford Fisher manages EEI’s litigation and legal affairs at EEI, an association that represents all investor-owned electric companies in the United States. She also oversees and coordinates strategic clean energy engagement across EEI and across the federal government.
  • The House Armed Services Committee’s Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems Subcommittee will hold a 20 May hearing titled “Reviewing Department of Defense Science and Technology Strategy, Policy, and Programs for Fiscal Year 2022: Fostering a Robust Ecosystem for Our Technological Edge” with these witnesses:
    • Ms. Barbara McQuiston, Acting, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E)), Office of the Secretary of Defense
    • Dr. Philip Perconti, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology (DASA R&T), Department of the Army
    • Ms. Joan “JJ” Johnson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Research, Development, Test, and Engineering (DASN RDTE), Department of the Navy
    • Ms. Kristin Baldwin, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics for Science Technology, and Engineering (SAF/AQR), Department of the Air Force
  • On 20 May, the House Veterans Affairs Committee’s Technology Modernization Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Cybersecurity and Risk Management at VA: Addressing Ongoing Challenges and Moving Forward” but no witnesses have been announced.
  • On 20 May, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an open meeting with this tentative agenda:
    • Reducing Interstate Rates and Charges for Incarcerated People – The Commission will consider a Third Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Fifth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, among other actions, will lower interstate rates and charges for the vast majority of incarcerated people, limit international rates for the first time, and seek comment on further reforms to the Commission’s calling services rules, including for incarcerated people with disabilities. (WC Docket No. 12-375)
    • Strengthening Support for Video Relay Service – The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order to set Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund compensation rates for video relay service (VRS). (CG Docket Nos. 03-123, 10-51)
    • Enforcement Bureau Action – The Commission will consider an enforcement action.
    • Enforcement Bureau Action – The Commission will consider an enforcement action.
  • On 27 July, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold PrivacyCon 2021.

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