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Senate Bill Aims to Strengthen National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center

On June 24, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE), introduced S. 2519, the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center Act of 2014.  The bill aims to codify the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) role as the hub for the public and private sector information sharing on the fight against cyber threats. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved the legislation on June 25, the day after the bill was introduced.

USPTO and NTIA Continue Efforts to Reform DMCA Notice-Takedown Process

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) continue to conduct meetings with stakeholders to discuss possible improvements to the notice and takedown process required under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

House Republicans Look to Block FCC Action on Net Neutrality

Republicans in the House of Representatives are attempting to limit the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) ability to act on network neutrality.

On May 28, Representative Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced H.R. 4752, which would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from reclassifying Internet service providers (ISP) as common carrier services. According to Latta, reclassification would result in heavy regulations for the industry, destroying competition and innovation.

Senate and House Preparing for Higher Ed Reauthorization

At the end of June, both Senate Democrats and House Republicans began drafting and introducing legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, which was most recently reauthorized in 2008. The proposed bills incorporate various measures designed to hold higher education institutions accountable for rising tuition costs and supplying students with reliable and accurate information regarding student loans, federal student aid, and other relevant data. The two chambers and political parties are tackling the issues using very different strategies, however.

FCC Considering Regulating Municipal Broadband Network Projects

On June 10, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a blog post encouraging consumer advocacy groups and individuals to file comments on whether or not a Tennessee state law prohibiting municipalities from investing in broadband network projects actually hinders competition and hurts economic growth in their communities. The blog post may be a signal that the agency intends to issue regulations that would allow municipalities to invest in the broadband development projects regardless of any current or future state or local laws to the contrary.

Circuit Court Issues Decision in HathiTrust Digital Library Case

On June 10, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit determined in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust that the HathiTrust Digital Library constitutes a “fair use” of copyrights works, largely upholding the 2012 dismissal of the case by the U.S. District Court in New York.  EDUCAUSE filed an amicus brief to the Second Circuit with other higher education associations and issued a policy brief outlining the importance of the case.

Sloan-C, UPCEA, and WCET Send Letter to ED on State Authorization

In a June 13 letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C), University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), and WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) set forth their joint stance on the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) proposal on “state authorization for distance learning.” ED is expected to release the regulations based on the proposal for public comment this summer.

Senators Introduced Bill to Overhaul Federal Student Privacy Law

On May 14, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Edward Markey (D-MA) released draft legislation that would amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, or FERPA, to increase regulation of students’ personal and private information that has been or may be accessed by private companies. The draft bill, entitled the Protecting Student Privacy Act of 2014, was issued in response to recent changes in the interpretation of FERPA—changes that allowed schools and educational institutions to increase the sharing of student data with outside companies. The bill will largely address the K-12 space, but postsecondary institutions should remain aware of these changes and consider future implications for their own practices.

FCC Approves and Releases Net Neutrality Proposal

On Thursday, May 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3 to 2 in favor of Chairman Tom Wheeler’s (D) proposal to create a new, albeit more limited, net neutrality rule to protect the open Internet.  Commissioners voted along party lines, with the two Republicans dissenting.  As previously reported, the D.C.

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