Construction Industry News

Committee Leaders Seek Information on Google’s Data Privacy Policies

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security today, in a letter to Alphabet Inc. CEO Larry Page, requested information about the privacy policy and practices associated with popular Gmail email service offered through subsidiary company Google.

Committee to Hold Hearing to Examine Spectre and Meltdown Cybersecurity Lessons

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing entitled, “Complex Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities: Lessons Learned from Spectre and Meltdown,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.  The hearing will review cybersecurity issues raised in response to the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, such as challenges with conducting complex coordinated vulnerability disclosure and supply chain cybersecurity, and how best to coordinate cybersecurity efforts going forward. This hearing follows a letter sent by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) to 12 organizations about the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities and the steps taken to mitigate these vulnerabilities. 


Witnesses:

  • Ms. Donna Dodson, Chief Cybersecurity Advisor and Director of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, President, Dakota State University
  • Ms. Joyce Kim, Chief Marketing Officer, ARM
  • Mr. Art Manion, Senior Vulnerability Analyst, Computer Emergency Readiness Team Coordination Center, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Mr. Sri Sridharan, Managing Director, Florida Center for Cybersecurity, University of South Florida

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Thune and Schatz Introduce the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act

Legislation seeks to update siting policies for 5G infrastructure...

NHTSA Responds to Senator's Inquiry on Kia and Hyundai Non-collision Fires

UPDATE: In a letter sent last night to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that it is currently reviewing non-collision fires in all Kia and Hyundai vehicles as part of two on-going investigations related to engine failures.  The agency also informed Nelson that it has received 402 complaints of both collision and non-collision fires involving the vehicles.

“I’m glad they’re looking into these fires but they need to pick up the pace,” Nelson said in response to the letter. “Consumers need to know as soon as possible if these vehicles are safe to drive.”

Nelson, who serves as the ranking Democrat on the Senate, Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, plans to ask NHTSA to brief the committee on the timeline for the current investigations and whether they expect to take further action. 

Click here to read NHTSA’s letter to Nelson.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Senator presses federal regulator on spontaneous Kia and Hyundai fires

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A key U.S. senator wants to know what’s behind a series of spontaneous non-collision-related fires affecting Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

In a letter sent today to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) called on the agency to detail what steps it’s taking to address the fires, including whether a safety defect investigation is being conducted.

A review undertaken by the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) recently found that there were more than 120 complaints filed with NHTSA involving non-collision-related fires in Kia and Hyundai vehicles. 

“Spontaneous fires are serious safety hazards and should not be taken lightly,” wrote Nelson, who serves as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees the automotive industry.  “We have to find out what is causing these fires and what can be done to prevent them.  Owners need to know if their vehicles are safe.” 

According to news reports and NHTSA complaint filings, there have been at least 23 incidents of spontaneous fires in Florida involving Kia and Hyundai vehicles since 2014.  

Just last month, an Ocala woman was forced to pull over and flee her 2012 Kia Sorento after it caught fire while she was driving on I-4.  That incident came on the heels of two separate fires involving parked and unoccupied Kia vehicles in the Tampa area this spring.   

Click here to read Nelson’s letter.

Committee Approves Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator, Other Agenda Items

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today, approved eight bills, four nominees subject to Senate confirmation, and a Coast Guard promotion.

Bills and nominations considered are as follows (approved by voice vote unless otherwise noted):

1.       S. 645, Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Angus King (I-Maine)

    a)       Klobuchar Substitute

2.       S. 1092, Interstate Transport Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

    a)       Thune Substitute

3.       S. 1896, TSA LEAP Pay Reform Act of 2017, Sponsor: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)

    a)       Johnson Substitute (modified)

    b)      Johnson 1

4.       S. 2941, Strengthening the Cooperative Observer Program Act of 2018, Sponsor: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)

    a)       Fischer 1

5.       S. 3094, TWIC Reader Rule, Sponsors: Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Gary Peters (D-Mich.)

6.       H.R. 4254, Women in Aerospace Education Act, Sponsors: Reps. Stephen Knight (R-Calif.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas)

    a)       Lee 1 (modified)

7.       H.R. 4467, Strengthening Aviation Security Act, Sponsor: Rep. Jody B. Hice (R-Ga.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.)

8.       H.R. 4559, Global Aviation System Security Reform Act, Sponsor: Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kan.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas)

9.       Nomination of Karen Dunn Kelley, of Pennsylvania, to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce

10.   Nomination of Heidi R. King, of California, to be Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (agreed by roll call vote: 14-13)

11.   Nomination of Geoffrey Adam Starks, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission

12.   Nomination of Peter A. Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for the remainder of the term expiring October 26, 2019

13.   Nomination of Peter A. Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a term of seven years from October 2019 (agreed by roll call vote: 14-13)

14.   Promotion of Coast Guard Admiral Andrew S. McKinley

Executive Session

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, June 27, at 10:00 a.m. to consider the following legislative measures and nominations.

Click here for additional information on nominees.

Agenda:

  1. S. 645, Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Angus King (I-Maine)
  2. S. 1092, Interstate Transport Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
  3. S. 1896, TSA LEAP Pay Reform Act of 2017, Sponsor: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
  4. S. 2941, Strengthening the Cooperative Observer Program Act of 2018, Sponsor: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
  5. S. 3094, Transportation Worker Identification Credential Act of 2018, Sponsors: Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Gary Peters (D-Mich.)
  6. H.R. 4254, Women in Aerospace Education Act, Sponsors: Reps. Stephen Knight (R-Calif.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
  7. H.R. 4467, Strengthening Aviation Security Act, Sponsor: Rep. Jody B. Hice (R-Ga.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.)
  8. H.R. 4559, Global Aviation System Security Reform Act, Sponsor: Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kan.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas),
  9. Nomination of Karen Dunn Kelley, of Pennsylvania, to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce
  10. Nomination of Heidi R. King, of California, to be Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  11. Nomination of Geoffrey Adam Starks, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission
  12. Nomination of Peter A. Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission


*Agenda subject to change

Executive Session Details:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Markup
Senate Dirksen Building, Room 106
 
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov

 

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

Mr. Chairman, we have a good agenda before us. 

On the nominees in particular, first, I must express concern that the administration has decided to stack two nominations for the CPSC nominee.

The first term is what we traditionally deal with in this committee – filling the remainder of an unexpired term. In this case, a term that would expire in October 2019.

The administration has decided to stack another seven-year term on top of that through October 2026.

This is not in line with traditional Senate practice and defies the whole premise of the Consumer Product Safety Act – which established staggered terms for the commission.

We’ve seen this before with stacked nominations for the FCC and I certainly don’t hold it against the nominees, but it needs to stop.

These agencies are supposed to be independent and this new practice undermines that.

I would also like to briefly address the nomination of Heidi King to run NHTSA. 

As I have noted many times in this committee over the past several years, we have suffered a number of deaths and serious injuries in Florida because of defective Takata airbags.

And we are continuing to see injuries in Florida because many of these recalls have not been completed – often because consumers have to jump through all sorts of hoops to get them done.

I have repeatedly asked Ms. King to demonstrate to me that she’s going to take this issue seriously. 

After providing several vague statements on the issue, Ms. King finally sent me a letter yesterday with a minimal plan of action to improve recall completion rates. 

I appreciate this step, but the long delay in coming up with this plan indicates to me that she lacks the fire in the belly needed to protect consumers from dangerous vehicle defects.

We desperately need someone in this position who is a champion for consumers.

Sadly, I have concluded that Ms. King is not that person and I will oppose her nomination.

Finally, I am pleased that we are advancing the nomination of Geoffrey Starks today.  Mr. Starks has committed to this committee to uphold the public interest.  

Right now, Commissioner Rosenworcel alone is holding the line for consumers at the FCC.  I hope that the Senate will move quickly on Mr. Starks’s nomination so that he can begin partnering with Commissioner Rosenworcel to fight against the dismantling of the FCC’s core principles.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

<p>Good morning. Thank you all for

Good morning. Thank you all for being here. Today we have another full agenda with eight legislative items and five nominations.

I’m especially pleased that we’ll consider my bill, the Strengthening the Cooperative Observer Program Act of 2018. The Cooperative Observer Program – or COOP system - is the nation’s largest and oldest weather network, with over 4,000 sites, staffed by over 11,000 volunteers.

In my home state of South Dakota, over 150 residents upload rain, hail, snow, and other weather data from their backyards daily, which provides critical weather and climate data.

Although COOP is a successful program, there are many places with limited observations, particularly in rural areas. Maintaining an adequate volunteer pool is another ongoing challenge as current volunteers move or pass away.

My bill directs the National Weather Service to provide additional support for COOP, particularly in areas with sparse data collection, by increasing COOP volunteer participation, adding data collection stations, and ensuring that long-running stations are continually maintained and staffed by volunteers.

We will also be considering the nomination of Peter Feldman, one of the Committee’s own, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Many of us here know Peter for his role leading bipartisan efforts in consumer protection, product safety, oversight, and investigations. Once confirmed, his temperament, experience, and overall spirit of collaboration will be a great asset to the Commission.

It is my hope that Peter and all of the nominees will be considered on the floor expeditiously.

With that, I will turn to Senator Nelson for any opening remarks.

Congressional Science Committee Leaders Introduce Bills to Advance Quantum Science

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who serve as the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, along with U.S. Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), who serve as the chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, today announced the introduction of Senate and House companions (S. 3143 and H.R. 6227) of the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018. The legislation would accelerate and coordinate public and private quantum science research, standards, and workforce development to give the United States a competitive advantage as China and Europe vie to achieve technological breakthroughs in this field.

“Furthering quantum science has immense economic and national security implications for the United States,” said Thune. “This legislation will establish a national quantum program and keep us ahead of our competitors, including China, in the race to develop technological breakthroughs based on quantum science.”

“Other nations, like China, have seen how our investments in science grow our economy and now seek to emulate us,” said Nelson. “Ensuring the U.S. remains the world leader in breakthrough technologies will take a national commitment to invest in emerging areas of science, like quantum information science.”

“The National Quantum Initiative Act will accelerate the development of quantum information science in the United States and secure our leadership in the quantum sector,” said Smith. “As other nations are rapidly developing their own quantum programs, the U.S. faces the risk of falling behind. This legislation provides a path forward to ensure that the U.S. secures its influence in the next generation of science and technology. I am glad that Senator John Thune has joined me in introducing this legislation, along with our respective Ranking Democrat Committee Members Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson and Senator Bill Nelson.


“The bill creates a 10-year federal program that will significantly develop our quantum knowledge. It will bring a whole of government approach to advance QIS to the next level of research and development, while also creating public-private partnerships, leveraging the resources and expertise of government, industry and academia. Through new research facilities and a strong workforce pipeline, students and researchers will have greater resources and opportunities to develop their quantum skills and create the next great computing innovation. There is no doubt quantum technology will revolutionize our world to come. This bill secures American leadership in quantum science and guarantees a first place finish in the great quantum race.”

“I am pleased to co-sponsor the forward-looking National Quantum Initiative Act,” said Johnson. “Advancements in the field of quantum information science promise to revolutionize the way we solve society’s most pressing problems. This legislation will accelerate progress in quantum research and technology development by ensuring interagency coordination and strategic planning with input from stakeholders across the Federal government, academia, and the private sector. At a time when other nations are aggressively investing in this area, this bill is essential if we are to maintain our position as global leaders on quantum.”
 

Highlights of the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018:

  • Accelerate Research – Establishes the National Quantum Initiative Program to speed quantum research and development over the next ten years. 
  • Establish Interagency Coordination – Authorizes a National Quantum Coordination Office and an interagency Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to oversee interagency coordination, provide strategic planning support, serve as a central point of contact for stakeholders, conduct outreach, and promote commercialization of federal research by the private sector.  
  • Support Standards Activities – Supports quantum information science research, measurement, and standards development, including a 5-year authorization of $80 million per year.
  • Establish Research and Education Centers – Sets up National Science Foundation-sponsored multidisciplinary quantum research and education centers including a 5-year authorization of $50 million per year.
  • Encourage Private Sector Involvement – Encourages U.S. high-tech companies and startups to contribute knowledge and resources to a national effort. 

Quantum science exploits certain principles of quantum physics, such as the ability of subatomic particles to exist in multiple states simultaneously, for valuable, real-world applications. Scientists believe quantum phenomena will enable future quantum computers to perform complex calculations at speeds that are potentially millions of times faster than today’s most advanced supercomputers.  Applications of this technology will also have a profound impact on communication security, navigation, imaging, and many other technologies that are not otherwise possible with conventional systems.

The House version would also establish Department of Energy national research centers, including a 5-year authorization of $125 million per year.


Click here for the full text of S. 3143 the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018.

 

Commerce Announces Markup on June 27

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, June 27, at 10:00 a.m. to consider the following legislative measures and nominations.

Click here for additional information on nominees.

Agenda:

  1. S. 645, Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Angus King (I-Maine)
  2. S. 1092, Interstate Transport Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
  3. S. 1896, TSA LEAP Pay Reform Act of 2017, Sponsor: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
  4. S. 2941, Strengthening the Cooperative Observer Program Act of 2018, Sponsor: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
  5. S. 3094, Transportation Worker Identification Credential Act of 2018, Sponsors: Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Gary Peters (D-Mich.)
  6. H.R. 4254, Women in Aerospace Education Act, Sponsors: Reps. Stephen Knight (R-Calif.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
  7. H.R. 4467, Strengthening Aviation Security Act, Sponsor: Rep. Jody B. Hice (R-Ga.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.)
  8. H.R. 4559, Global Aviation System Security Reform Act, Sponsor: Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kan.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas),
  9. Nomination of Karen Dunn Kelley, of Pennsylvania, to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce
  10. Nomination of Heidi R. King, of California, to be Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  11. Nomination of Geoffrey Adam Starks, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission
  12. Nomination of Peter A. Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission


*Agenda subject to change

Executive Session Details:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Markup
Senate Dirksen Building, Room 106
 
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov

 

Ranking Member Bill Nelson opening statement

Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling this hearing today to consider nominees for two critical independent agencies: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Let me start with the nomination of Geoffrey Starks to be a commissioner on the FCC.

Mr. Starks, welcome and congratulations on your nomination.

You will join what I believe to be one of the most important consumer protection agencies at a defining moment in its history.

The current FCC majority has spent the past year and a half abandoning the agency’s statutory authority and responsibilities.

Time and time again, the current FCC majority has turned their backs on consumers. 

When they eliminated net neutrality rules and gave up FCC authority to protect consumers online, the FCC majority ignored the critical role that unfettered access to a free and open internet plays in Americans’ lives – and the role that the nation’s expert agency should play.

The FCC is also determined to undercut – and do permanent damage to – the great American tradition of local broadcasting preserved through its media ownership rules.

And these are just two examples of a larger trend. 

From preempting state, local and tribal authorities to threatening the future of the Lifeline program that helps make phone and internet service affordable for low-income Americans, this FCC seems determined to fulfill special interest wish lists rather than protect those least able to protect themselves. 

Right now, FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel alone is holding the line for consumers and the public interest.

We need to get you confirmed quickly, Mr. Starks, so that you can partner with her to stand up for the public interest instead of powerful special interests and fight against the dismantling of the FCC’s core principles.

Much will be expected of you, Mr. Starks – and I look forward to working with you to meet these challenges.

Also, Mr. Chairman, I have a letter from Senator Schumer in support of Mr. Starks that I would like to put into the record.

I also want to welcome Mr. Peter Feldman, who is well known to us, as a current staffer for Chairman Thune.

I appreciate Mr. Feldman’s past work on mandatory consumer product safety standards.

In Florida during last year’s hurricane season, we lost at least twelve lives due to carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators.

We are still gathering statistics, but it is likely that other lives were lost in Puerto Rico from portable generator carbon monoxide deaths.

For years, I have urged the CPSC to adopt a mandatory safety standard for portable generator to stop these senseless deaths.

Unfortunately, the acting chairman of the CPSC continues to defer to portable generator industry on this issue.

Hurricane season is now upon us and more people will die from carbon monoxide poisoning if we don’t address this issue pronto.

So, Mr. Feldman, with your experience in the Senate I really hope you will approach this position with far more openness than the current acting chairman.

So, with that Mr. Chairman, I now look forward to hearing from the nominees.

<p>Good morning. Thank you to our

Good morning. Thank you to our nominees, Peter Feldman and Geoffrey Starks, for being here and for your willingness to serve in the important positions to which you have been nominated.

I would also like to say thank you to the families attending today’s hearing and supporting the nominees. I’d would especially like to recognize Peter Feldman’s father, Clifford Feldman, who is here with us today and just received the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal for his work with NASA Television, and its coverage of the 2017 solar eclipse. I also want to wish Peter’s mother, Susan Feldman, a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, she could not be here today, but I know both are extremely proud and supportive of Peter.

Peter Feldman who is a member of my staff, and is well-known to this Committee for his role leading bipartisan efforts in consumer protection, product safety, oversight, and investigations, has been nominated to serve as a Commissioner at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Throughout his time as a staffer, Peter has been instrumental in negotiating significant consumer protection, product safety, and sports legislation including: the bipartisan Consumer Review Freedom Act, a bill which prohibits businesses from inserting clauses into their contracts that limit the ability of their customers to criticize products and services online, and the bipartisan Better Online Ticket Sales Act, which prohibits the use of ticket bots, which can distort the market for event ticket sales. Most recently, he worked on the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, which unambiguously charged the U.S. Olympic Committee with the duty to provide a safe environment for sports and athletes as well as authorizing the U.S. Center for Safe Sport.

Not surprisingly, Peter has received support for his nomination from safety advocates and industry stakeholders alike. At an agency that has sometimes been hampered by partisanship, it is my firm belief that if confirmed, Peter’s background and experience on Capitol Hill, where he has shown an ability to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, will be an asset and a force for collaborative solutions at the agency.

Our second nominee, Geoffrey Starks, has been nominated to serve as a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Mr. Starks currently serves as assistant bureau chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau where he is responsible for enforcing the Commission’s rules, orders, licensing terms, and conditions. Prior to his tenure at the FCC, he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General from 2013 to 2015 where he provided advice to the Deputy Attorney General on domestic and international law enforcement.

If confirmed, Mr. Starks will have a voice on the many critical matters before the Commission. Some, as this Committee knows well, can be contentious. I have long advocated that the hyper-partisanship of the last Commission must come to an end. Mr. Starks, while I understand that not all issues before the FCC can be decided on a bipartisan basis, given the Commission’s role in overseeing regulatory matters that affect our economy and everyday lives, it is important that members of the FCC seek opportunities for common ground and I encourage you to try to do that as often as possible.

Since Chairman Pai has become the chairman of the FCC, he has made a number of important reforms to improve the agency’s processes and transparency, including publicly releasing text of all agenda items in advance of Commission meetings and instituting a process of sharing documents with other commissioners before discussing them publicly. It is my hope that this spirit of openness, transparency, and collaboration at the FCC is continued, and it is my hope that Mr. Starks will embrace this approach if confirmed.

Again, thank you both for your willingness to serve. With that, I turn to the Ranking Member for his opening statement.

Nominations Hearing

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, to consider two presidential nominees. 

Completed nomination questionnaires are available at www.commerce.senate.gov/nominations  

Witnesses:

  • Mr. Geoffrey Adam Starks, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission
  • Mr. Peter Aaron Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

<p>Good afternoon. Welcome to the

Good afternoon. Welcome to the Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security Subcommittee’s hearing on “Cambridge Analytica and Other Facebook Partners: Examining Data Privacy Risks.” The subcommittee will come to order. 

Earlier this year, reports surfaced regarding a Personality Test Application called “thisisyourdigitallife” founded in 2014 that was hosted on Facebook and downloaded by approximately 300,000 Facebook users who consented to the collection of data from their profiles. 

However, Facebook rules for third party applications at that time allowed users to consent on behalf of their Facebook “friends” for their profile information to be collected too. This arrangement allowed this application to collect data from tens of millions of Facebook users by gaining the affirmative consent of only 300,000 users. The application also shared this information with a data analytics firm called Cambridge Analytica, which worked with political campaigns on targeted advertising. 

It is alleged that other applications participated in similar collection practices, but Facebook changed their terms of service to prohibit this practice in 2015. While Facebook sought assurances from Cambridge Analytica and developers of the Personality Test Application that the user data in question was deleted, media reports earlier this year indicated that they were not.

Following the calls of concern from Congress and public alike, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) confirmed in March that the agency was investigating the privacy practices of Facebook and the company’s compliance with the consent order issued by the FTC in July 2012 to resolve allegations that the firm violated the FTC Act, which prohibits deceptive and unfair practices in or affecting commerce.

There have since been additional consumer protection concerns flagged against Facebook including reports that over the last decade, Facebook established partnerships called “application programming interfaces” with approximately sixty mobile device manufacturers in an effort to provide private data channels for the manufacturers. While Facebook has since provided some clarity on the purpose of these partnerships, outstanding questions remain regarding the role of Chinese telecommunications manufacturers.  

This hearing follows a joint hearing between the full Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee in which we heard from CEO and Chairman of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg on the company’s data collection and sharing arrangements with third parties and how its users’ privacy is safeguarded.  

Additionally, I co-authored letters with my colleagues Chairman Thune and Senator Wicker to Facebook and Strategic Communication Laboratories, the British parent company of Cambridge Analytica, to provide answers to their specific dealings with one another related to consumers’ data.

My goal today is to hear from subject matter experts in the use of social media data for commercial, political and research purposes. The examination of the state of research surrounding social media data and targeted advertisements is critical in enabling this subcommittee to better identify necessary steps to protect consumers.

It is my pleasure to introduce our expert panel today. Thank you all for being here.

Mr. John Battelle is the Chief Executive Officer for NewCo and a member of the Board of Directors at Acxiom Corporation, a data broker company that formerly partnered with Facebook. He also founded Wired Magazine and authored international best-seller The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture in 2005. 

Dr. Aleksandr Kogan is a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge who designed the controversial Personality Test App that collected user data of Facebook’s consenting users and their friends. Facebook alleges that he violated their policies by sharing information with Cambridge Analytica, and his testimony will provide additional perspective for the subcommittee’s considerations related to the recent scandal.

Mr. Ashkan Soltani is a technology expert with Soltani LLC. With more than 20 years of experience as a consultant and researcher focused on technology, privacy and behavioral economics, he served as a technical expert to a number of consumer protection agencies including the FTC and State Attorneys General. He recently served as the Chief Technologist of the FTC where he led a number of investigations into technology and internet companies. 

Additionally, David Sumpter, a professor of mathematics at Uppsala University in Sweden, has analyzed some of the issues relating to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Although he could not appear today, he has submitted written testimony for the record titled “Why the Facebook data available to Cambridge Analytica could not be used to target personalities in the US Presidential election.” I ask unanimous consent that his testimony be admitted into the record. Without objection, it is so ordered.

I look forward to hearing the testimonies of this expert witness panel. I now turn to my colleague Ranking Member Blumenthal for his opening remarks.

Cambridge Analytica and Other Facebook Partners: Examining Data Privacy Risks

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, will convene a hearing entitled, “Cambridge Analytica and Other Facebook Partners: Examining Data Privacy Risks,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.  The hearing is a follow-up to a joint full committee hearing with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with a focus on the collection and use of social media data, the privacy concerns raised in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal, and potential steps to protect consumers.


Witnesses:

To Be Announced

Hearing Details: 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
2:30 p.m.
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

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