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Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding its Emergency Alert Service (“EAS”) rules.  These rules govern how emergency alerts are transmitted by federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial officials to the public over mobile phones, radios, and televisions.

Continue Reading FCC Considering Changes to Emergency Alert Service Rules; Collecting Information About Potential Application to Streaming Services

Connected and automated vehicle (“CAV”) developments in Washington are likely to pick up speed as 2021 rolls in. Indeed, a new presidential administration, new agency leadership, and a new Congress may drive new CAV regulation while also spurring innovation in an industry that many believe can enhance road safety, mobility, and accessibility. For instance, John Porcari, a Biden-Harris campaign advisor and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation under President Barack Obama, recently indicated that transportation agencies under President Biden would prioritize innovation and technological change and adopt a federal framework for autonomous vehicles.

Lawmakers and regulators, furthermore, will have the opportunity to build on some of the initiatives that picked up speed during the fall of 2020, such as the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act (H.R. 8350) (“SELF DRIVE Act”), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (“NHTSA”) AV TEST tool, and NHTSA’s request for comment on its proposed framework for Automated Driving Systems (“ADS”) safety. Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) adoption of rules to modernize the 5.9 GHz Band could spur the deployment of CAV technology, and the new administration may reinvigorate inter-agency efforts to examine consumer data privacy and security issues posed by CAVs, as well as CAV-related developments in infrastructure. This post looks down the road ahead for CAV developments in Washington.
Continue Reading IoT Update: The Road Ahead for Connected and Automated Vehicle Developments in Washington

Since the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) repealed the 2015 net neutrality rules last year, federal and state lawmakers have debated how to address the issue of net neutrality going forward.  We previously have discussed some of the state net neutrality laws that were enacted, including California’s law, which currently is on hold pending the resolution of Mozilla Corp v. FCC, the lawsuit challenging the FCC’s order that repealed net neutrality rules.  Oral argument for this case was held in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on February 1, 2019.

Continue Reading Net Neutrality Update: House Hearing and Proposed Legislation

On February 27th, Reps. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced a resolution emphasizing the need to ethically develop artificial intelligence (“AI”). H. RES. 153, titled “Supporting the development of guidelines for ethical development of artificial intelligence,” calls on the government to work with stakeholders to ensure that AI is developed in a “safe, responsible, and democratic” fashion. The resolution has nine Democratic sponsors and was referred to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Continue Reading AI Update: U.S. House Resolution on AI Ethical Development Introduced

On September 26, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Artificial Intelligence in Government Act, legislation that would direct certain executive agencies to specifically research and consider AI applications and strategy, as well as create an advisory board to address AI policy and issues. The bill’s sponsors cited both the promises and risks of AI as significant motivations for the proposed legislation.

Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the initial draft of the bill. Each pointed to AI’s great potential across numerous facets of society, as well as the importance of proactively addressing AI’s place in government. As Senator Portman summed up, “[a]rtificial intelligence will have significant impacts for our country, economy, and society. Ensuring that our government has the capabilities and expertise to help navigate those impacts will be important in the coming years and decades. . . . [T]his bipartisan legislation [ensures that] our government understands the benefits and pitfalls of this technology as it engages in a responsible, accountable rollout of AI.”
Continue Reading AI Update: Senators Introduce AI in Government Bill

Timothy M. Persons, GAO Chief Scientist Applied Research and Methods, recently provided testimony on artificial intelligence (“AI”) before the House of Representatives’ Subcommittees on Research and Technology and Energy, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.  Specifically, his testimony summarized a prior GAO technological assessment on AI from March 2018.  Persons’ statement addressed three areas:  (1) AI has evolved over time; (2) the opportunities and future promise of AI, as well as its principal challenges and risks; and (3) the policy implications and research priorities resulting from advances in AI.  This statement by a GAO official is instructive for how the government is thinking about the future of AI, and how government contractors can, too.

The Evolution and Characteristics of AI

Persons stated that AI can be defined as either “narrow,” meaning “applications that provide domain-specific expertise or task completion,” or “general,” meaning an “application that exhibits intelligence comparable to a human, or beyond.”  Although AI has evolved since the 1950s, Persons cited today’s “increased data availability, storage, and processing power” as explanations for why AI occupies such a central role in today’s discourse.  And while we see many instances of narrow AI, general AI is still in its formative stages.


Continue Reading AI Update: GAO Testimony Before Congress Regarding Emerging Opportunities, Challenges, and Implications for Policy and Research with Artificial Intelligence

A congressional subcommittee held an oversight hearing Tuesday addressing the Federal Communications Commission’s progress in setting rules for the upcoming incentive auction of television broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband use. On Monday, the FCC released a Public Notice addressing one aspect of those rules, which would govern how TV stations that do not sell their spectrum would be assigned new channels. This process is known as the “repacking” of the broadcast spectrum.

Also Tuesday, a Senate bill that would encourage cable and satellite operators to allow subscribers to purchase channels a la carte picked up its first Democratic co-sponsor, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
Continue Reading SpectrumWatch: Congress, FCC Consider Options for TV Spectrum Repacking, Cable Pricing

A group of senators announced on Wednesday that they would renew their push for federal legislation to limit the ability of federal authorities to compel journalists to reveal information about or obtained from confidential sources, after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would tighten its own standards for when to seek such information.

The bill, the Free Flow of Information Act of 2013, is an updated version of a reporters’ shield bill that was considered in 2009. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) reintroduced the bill in mid-May of this year, co-sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The Obama administration asked Schumer to reintroduce the bill after the U.S. Justice Department disclosed that it had obtained call records for more than 20 telephone extensions of Associated Press journalists.

The bill generally would prevent federal authorities from compelling journalists to identify confidential sources or reveal information obtained under a promise of confidentiality, unless a court determines that the government has exhausted all reasonable alternative sources of the information and the government’s need for the information outweighs the public interest in the free flow of information.
Continue Reading Senators, Justice Department Voice Support for Expanding Journalists’ Protections

House and Senate Judiciary Committee leaders joined the cell phone unlocking debate last week by introducing a pair of new bills.  If enacted, the bills would overturn an October 2012 regulation issued by the Library of Congress, which effectively prohibits consumers from unlocking cell phones purchased after January 26, 2013 so that they may be used on other networks.

The bills — H.R. 1123 and S. 517 — take a narrow approach, similar to the one advocated by the White House, by temporarily re-enacting an older Library of Congress rule that allows unlocking.  That policy would remain in place until 2015, at which point the Library would revisit the matter.  The bills also direct the Library to determine whether consumers should be permitted to unlock tablets and other wireless devices.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, the Senate measure’s sponsor, explained in a March 11 floor statement that the tablet proceeding “makes sense” because “the line between phone and tablet is beginning to blur.”
Continue Reading Cell Phone Unlocking Push Moves to Congress

A bill has been introduced in Congress that would permit prevailing defendants in patent infringement suits to recover litigation costs and attorneys’ fees.

The Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (“SHIELD”) Act was introduced on February 27 by Congressmen Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).  The bill would provide for the award of full litigation costs to a prevailing party asserting invalidity or noninfringement in a patent action.  In order to recover fees, the party asserting invalidity or noninfringement would first have to obtain a judgment that the party alleging infringement was not (1) the original inventor, (2) exploiting the patent, or (3) a university or technology transfer organization.
Continue Reading SHIELD Act Seeks to Shift Litigation Costs in Patent Suits Brought by Non-Practicing Entities

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