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Senate Reintroduces IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act

On March 11, 2019, a bipartisan group of lawmakers including Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Cory Gardner introduced the Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019. The Act seeks “[t]o leverage Federal Government procurement power to encourage increased cybersecurity for Internet of Things devices.” In other words, this bill aims to shore up … Continue Reading

Net Neutrality Update: House Hearing and Proposed Legislation

Since the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) repealed the 2015 net neutrality rules last year, federal and state lawmakers have debated how to address the issue of net neutrality going forward.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 … Continue Reading

A Look at February on Capitol Hill

Washington, D.C., is absorbing President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address to Congress since the Republican Party lost the House of Representatives in the midterm election last fall, amid concerns that the ongoing budget impasse over a potential southern border wall and related immigration issues might lead to the year’s second government shutdown. … Continue Reading

Will the 116th Congress Improve Retirement Security? Democrats Move to Shore Up Troubled Multiemployer Pension Plans   

With the 116th Congress recently underway, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are making it clear that retirement security is one of their top priorities.  On Wednesday, February 6, 2019, the House Ways & Means Committee will hold one of its first hearings in the new Congress, which will examine an array of retirement security issues … Continue Reading

Congressional Forecast: December

The U.S. House and Senate have convened for a lame duck session of Congress, during which they must compromise on legislation that funds the government or face a shutdown. They may also endeavor to move additional legislation and continue to confirm Trump administration nominees before the end of the 115th Congress later this month. The … Continue Reading

Litigation Options For Post-Cyberattack ‘Active Defense’

In March 2017, Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., introduced a draft bill titled the Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act. The bill would amend the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to enable victims of cyberattacks to employ “limited defensive measures that exceed the boundaries of one’s network in order to monitor, identify and stop attackers.”[1] More specifically, … Continue Reading

Senate Discusses a Federal Privacy Law with Privacy Experts: Examining Lessons From the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act

On October 10, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held second hearing on data privacy that invited advocates and experts to discuss a federal privacy law. The panelists included Andrea Jelinek, director of the European Data Protection Board; Alastair Mactaggart, chair of Californians for Consumer Privacy; Laura Moy, executive director of the Georgetown … Continue Reading

Congress takes the lead on U.S.-Africa Policy

While the nation has been transfixed by the confirmation hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the Supreme Court, Congress passed significant legislation on Africa that has attracted virtually no attention. On October 3, the Senate passed the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act, better known as the Build Act. President … Continue Reading

Congressional Forecast: September

The House and Senate are entering their respective final runs before the November midterm elections, following a two-day break for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year — even though the possibility of Hurricane Florence entering the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area cut short an already shortened week. The pressing items of business are funding the government … Continue Reading

Congressional Forecast: July

Congress returned from the July 4 recess to the much anticipated announcement by President Donald Trump of his nominee to succeed retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Former Kennedy law clerk Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a highly credentialed Washington, D.C., veteran with a dozen years of service on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is … Continue Reading

GAO Testimony Before Congress Regarding Emerging Opportunities, Challenges, and Implications for Policy and Research with Artificial Intelligence

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) … Continue Reading

Stronger patents dominate IP agenda in 115th Congress

Patents have been mainstay of the Judiciary Committee agenda in both chambers for more than a decade, but never before has the debate seemed so firmly focused on strengthening patent rights.  Significant patent bills are pending in both chambers, and the House and Senate Judiciary Committees have summoned Andrei Iancu, the new director of the … Continue Reading

Recent Developments in the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans

The solvency crisis bearing down on the multiemployer pension plan system has captured the attention of Capitol Hill.  Since March, the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans (the “Committee”) has held a series of hearings examining the multiemployer pension system.  Although it is unclear whether the bipartisan Committee ultimately will agree on … Continue Reading

Congressional Forecast: June

As the weeklong July 4 recess approaches, members of Congress are pursuing a busy legislative schedule, focused on the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, some lesser FY 2019 appropriations bills, reform of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, immigration reform and border security, the farm bill authorization (set to lapse … Continue Reading

Senate Armed Services Committee Proposes Expansive but Unclear Software Review Provisions

As the Senate approaches the end of its debate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, provisions of the bill regarding access to and review of information technology code deserve close attention.  These sections, if enacted, would significantly impact Department of Defense contractors and also would affect matters associated with investments subject … Continue Reading

The Congressional Agenda for May

Members of Congress return to Washington, D.C. this week for a three-week work period before the Memorial Day recess.  As with the congressional agenda in April, the Republican majority will work towards meeting deadlines on several priority items—Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations bills, the Farm Bill authorization (set to lapse in September), the Federal Aviation … Continue Reading

Senate Democrats Propose CONSENT Act

On April 10, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced new privacy legislation titled the Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions (CONSENT) Act.  In a statement published on his website, Senator Markey referred to the legislation as a “privacy bill of rights” and explained that “[t]he avalanche of privacy violations by … Continue Reading

The Congressional Agenda for April

Today a three-week work period begins for Members of Congress arriving back in Washington, where President Trump has remained active (including via his Twitter account). The President has announced initiatives to address a host of topics, from immigration reform to international trade, as well as personnel changes within his Cabinet and White House staff. With the … Continue Reading

Political Law Potpourri—The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018

While the din over a possible government shutdown dominated the headlines, political law played a supporting role in the recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act (Pub. L. No. 115-141).  The content and omissions of the so-called “Omnibus” spending bill will be of interest to political actors in all sectors, but particularly those operating nonprofit entities engaged … Continue Reading

CLOUD Act Creates New Framework for Cross-Border Data Access

On March 23, 2018, Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (“CLOUD”) Act, which creates a new framework for government access to data held by technology companies worldwide.The CLOUD Act, enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, has two components.Part I:  Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Orders … Continue Reading

A Review of Pending FARA Reform Bills

In recent months, Congress’s efforts to reform dramatically the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) have picked up steam. As we explained in our recent FARA guide, FARA is a complex and broadly worded criminal statute that requires any “agent of a foreign principal” to register with the Department of Justice and file detailed public reports … Continue Reading

Giving The Middle Class Credit: With Latest Bill, Congress Is Taking A Step In The Right Direction

Bank-fintech partnerships are good for consumers and banks, as I recently explained in testimony to Congress during a hearing on the opportunities and challenges in the fintech marketplace. Consumers benefit because banks are able to use fintech to deliver safer, more transparent, lower cost and more convenient financial products and services to consumers over the … Continue Reading

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”): A Guide for the Perplexed

 Eighty years ago, Congress enacted the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”), requiring “foreign agents” to register with the Attorney General. As amended over the years, it applies broadly to anyone who acts on behalf of a “foreign principal” to, among other things, influence U.S. policy or public opinion. Until recently, it was a backwater of … Continue Reading
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