Earlier today, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it will host a series of public hearings on whether “broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection enforcement law, enforcement priorities, and policy.”

FTC Chairman Joe Simons noted that “important and significant questions recently have been raised about whether we should rethink our approach to some of these issues,” and expressed that “[w]e are excited about this new hearings project, and anticipate and look forward to substantial participation from our stakeholders.”

The FTC’s press release noted that the “multi-day, multi-part hearings” will be similar to the FTC’s “Global Competition and Innovation Hearings,” which took place in 1995 at the direction of then-Chairman Robert Pitofsky.  Those hearings were held to address “whether there have been broad-based changes in the contemporary competitive environment that require any adjustments in antitrust and consumer protection enforcement in order to keep pace with those changes.”  The 1995 hearings resulted in a two-volume report, released in May 1996, articulating the FTC’s analysis and recommendations on competition and consumer protection policy.
Continue Reading FTC Announces Series of Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection

By Ani Gevorkian

The issues of data breach notification and data security issued received a fair amount of attention in the House this week:  On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Trade approved one data breach bill, and on Thursday, Rep.  Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chairman of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, announced the release of another.

The bill approved on Wednesday—the Data Security and Breach Notification Act—is sponsored by Reps. Michael Burgess (R-TX),  Marsha Blackburn (R-TN),  and Peter Welsh (D-VT).  It would require companies to maintain reasonable security practices and inform customers within 30 days if their data might have been stolen during a breach.  It would also empower the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to enforce the bill’s rules.
Continue Reading House Focuses on Data Breach Bills

By Ani Gevorkian

The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on Tuesday entitled, “The Internet of Things: Exploring the Next Technology Frontier.” The hearing focused on the promises Internet of Things (“IoT”) technology holds, and what role Congress should play in addresses the challenges IoT presents, both with regard to privacy and data security concerns as well as technological concerns.

Panelists included Daniel Castro, Vice President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; Brian van Harlingen, Chief Technology Officer of Belkin International, Inc.;  Rose Schooler, Vice President of the IoT Group and GM of the IoT Strategy and Technology Office of Intel Corporation; and, Brad Morehead, CEO of LiveWatch Security, LLC.
Continue Reading House Holds Internet of Things Hearing

Next Tuesday, March 24 at 11 a.m., the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will host a hearing entitled “The Internet of Things: Exploring the Next Technology Frontier.”  The hearing will follow an Internet of Things (“IoT”) showcase featuring Internet-connected products manufactured in members’ districts.

Congress already has begun taking

By Caleb Skeath

This past Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities held a hearing on military cybersecurity issues.  The hearing focused on the most pressing cyber threats to the nation’s security, as well as the need to grow the military’s cybersecurity workforce while maintaining high levels of skill and training.

Navy Adm. Michael Rogers, Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, described four different types of cyber threats that the U.S. faces:

  1. Autocratic governments, such as North Korea, that “view today’s open Internet as a lethal threat to their regimes;”
  2. Theft of intellectual property by states, individuals, and criminal organizations;
  3. Disruptive activities, such as denial-of-service attacks, malware, and network traffic manipulation; and
  4. States developing the capabilities and system access for hostile activities in cyberspace, either as a deterrence measure or in preparation for future attacks.

Continue Reading Military Cybersecurity Hearing Discusses Cyber Threats, Information Sharing

By Caleb Skeath

This Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities will hold a hearing on military cybersecurity issues, entitled “Cyber Operations: Improving the Military Cyber Security Posture in an Uncertain Threat Environment.”  The following witnesses are scheduled to testify at the hearing:

  • Navy Adm. Michael Rodgers, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command
  • Army Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, Commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command
  • Navy Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, Commander, Navy Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet (FCC/C10F)
  • Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Daniel J. O’Donohue, Commanding General, Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command
  • Air Force Maj. Gen. Burke E. Wilson, Commander, 24th Air Force

The hearing is scheduled for this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 2118 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Continue Reading House Hearing Scheduled on U.S. Military Cyber Operations

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on February 11, 2015, entitled The Connected World: Examining the Internet of Things.  The panelists included Justin Brookman, director of the Consumer Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology; Adam Thierer, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center; Lance Donny, CEO of OnFarm; Douglas Davis, Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s Internet of Things Group, and Michael Abbott, General Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

While the hearing covered a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) related topics, an overarching theme the Senators contemplated was how to strike the appropriate balance between encouraging IoT innovation and protecting privacy and data security.  The opening statements of Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) laid out the basic concerns underlying each side of this consideration.  Chairman Thune suggested the Committee “tread carefully and thoughtfully before stepping in with a ‘government knows best’ mentality that could halt innovation and growth” while Ranking Member Nelson called talk of overregulating a red herring and stressed that the “promise of the Internet of Things must be balanced with real concerns of privacy and the security of our networks.”  But concern about overregulation cut across party lines.  Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ), for instance, noted that government efforts in the IoT space should not “inhibit a leap in humanity.”
Continue Reading Senate Holds Internet of Things Hearing

This morning, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), held a hearing to determine what elements should be included in federal data breach legislation.  Despite the momentum for legislation created by high-profile breaches at retailers like Target and Home Depot, and most recently at Sony, ongoing efforts in both the House and Senate to replace with a national standard the 47 currently existing state data breach laws so far have been unsuccessful.  This activity in the House is yet another attempt to enact a federal law governing data security, and today’s hearing made clear that many practical questions still remain for lawmakers to “get it right” on a data breach bill, as Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) said.
Continue Reading House Debates Federal Data Breach Legislation

Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will hold a hearing to determine what elements should be included in federal data-breach legislation.  The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:

  • Elizabeth Hyman, Tech America Executive Vice President of Public Policy
  • Jennifer Glasgow, Acxiom Chief Privacy Officer
  • Brian Dodge, Retail Industry Leaders

On October 20, 2014, a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-S.D.), requesting that the Committee schedule a “general oversight and information-gathering hearing” on digitally connected technologies before the end of 2014.

The letter, penned by Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hi), stated that the connected devices industry is expected to generate global revenues of $8.9 trillion by 2020, and that its importance would soon be felt by millions of Americans with the “proliferation of connected products” and “the upcoming holiday season.” The industry, however, raises a number of important policy questions in the areas of “consumer protection, security, privacy, technical standards, spectrum capacity, manufacturing, regulatory certainty, and public-sector applications,” the letter said.
Continue Reading Senators Request Hearing on Connected Devices