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<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.

Chairman Chabot Applauds New DOL Rule on Association Health Plans

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new rule on Association Health Plans:

“Today’s actions by the Department of Labor are a life raft to the 30 million American small businesses and startups struggling with the burdensome regulations Obamacare imposed on them. I applaud Secretary Acosta and the Trump Administration for expanding access to Association Health Plans (AHPs), thus allowing small businesses and self-employed workers to band together by geographic location or industry to obtain health care coverage. By doing so, AHPs are leveling the playing field, lowering health care costs, and expanding affordable coverage.”  

Chairman Chabot also cosponsored H.R. 1101the Small Business Health Fairness Act, which passed the House last year. 

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SBC Requests GAO Provide a Report on SBA’s Hurricane Disaster Relief Programs

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON—Recently, Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Ranking Member Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) sent a letter to the Honorable Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States at the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), requesting a report on the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) performance during the past hurricane season.

“SBA is a resource for millions of people who have been victims of natural disasters across our nation,” said Chairman Steve Chabot. “As we examine disaster relief efforts at the SBA, it is critical that we have every piece of information from the past hurricane season at our disposal. We want to ensure that every opportunity to help is not overlooked or wasted as these communities that have been destroyed start to rebuild. I thank the Ranking Member for her persistence and passion as we tackle these pressing issues together.”

“When a natural disaster strikes, SBA is a vital part of the federal response to help small businesses and homeowners rebuild,” said Ranking Member Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez. “As communities from Texas to Puerto Rico still struggle to recover from the devastating hurricanes of 2017, it is imperative that SBA disaster relief efforts are carried out with maximum efficiency and as Congress intended. I am grateful to the Chairman for joining me in asking GAO to examine SBA’s 2017 disaster response. As we embark upon the start of a new hurricane season, this is an important step toward ensuring the agency is best equipped to respond to future disasters.”

Read the full letter HERE.

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Trio of Soda Cases Test the Limits of Attorney-Driven Class Action Lawsuits

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 4:52pm
Guest Commentary By Jeffrey B. Margulies, Partner-in-Charge of the Los Angeles, CA office of Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP. The approach of many plaintiff consumer class-action lawyers is not difficult to discern: Concoct a factual theory to support a claim under California’s consumer-friendly laws that survives a motion to dismiss and a motion for class …

Continue reading Trio of Soda Cases Test the Limits of Attorney-Driven Class Action Lawsuits

Categories: Latest News

The Perspective of Rural Small Businesses in North Mississippi

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 2:00pm

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a field hearing titled, “The Perspective of Rural Small Businesses in North Mississippi.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:00 P.M. (CT) on Monday, June 18, 2018 at the ServPro Training Center, 1160 Stateline Road East, Southaven, MS.

Rural America is still recovering from the last recession in 2008. Many rural small businesses have not been able to survive because of overregulation, lack of access to capital, and a drop in net farm income. With the United States economy now flourishing, rural small businesses are finally starting to see the effects and get back on their feet. Through H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and the rollback of numerous regulations by many government agencies, the federal government is working to help rural small businesses survive.  This hearing aims to highlight how rural small businesses are faring in today’s economy and the outlook going forward.

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses
Mr. Pat Woods
Owner
Woods Farm Supply, Inc.
Byhalia, MS

Mr. Geoffrey Carter
Founder, President and CEO
Hyperion Technology Group, Inc.
Tupelo, MS

Exploring the State of Western Kentucky’s Small Businesses

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 10:00am

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Exploring the State of Western Kentucky’s Small Businesses.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. (CT) on Monday, June 18, 2018 at the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce, Paducah Bank Room, 300 South 3rd Street, Paducah, KY.

The purpose of the hearing is for Western Kentucky small business leaders to share their experiences and to provide the Committee with recommendations about federal policies that will help them to grow their businesses and create jobs.

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses
Mr. Bruce Kimbell
President
First Community Bank of the Heartland
Clinton, KY

Mr. Leon Owens
President
Swift & Staley, Inc.
Paducah, KY

Mr. Edward Musselman
Owner
Musselman Properties
Paducah, KY

Mr. Jonas Neihoff
Owner
Socially Present
Paducah, KY

Rep. Kelly Examines Small Businesses in Rural America

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:00am

MISSISSIPPI – This afternoon, the House Small Business Committee held a field hearing in Southaven, Mississippi to examine issues facing rural small businesses including access to capital, lack of reliable broadband, and finding qualified employees.

Subcommittee Chairman on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations Trent Kelly (R-MS) said, “Although the economy is getting stronger, rural America is still recovering from the 2008 recession. Today we asked these small business owners to share with us problems they are still facing so we can share them with our colleagues and develop policies to address them. The best ideas don’t flow from Washington to the people, the best ideas flow from the people back to Washington.”

“I thank Subcommittee Chairman Kelly for having me attend this hearing as well and hear first-hand from rural small businesses in North Mississippi. While the economy is doing better thanks to tax cuts and fewer regulations, we can see we still have work to do to help our countries’ small businesses succeed,” said House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH).

Issues and Triumphs in Rural America

“Rural Mississippi is lagging behind in the area of connectivity to the internet.  I hear stories on a daily basis of school children that have to come to town to download their homework, business growth hampered by a lack of adequate service, and precision agriculture technology that loses a signal due to a lack of connectivity in their area….I commend the Committee for all the work that has been done to bring broadband to rural America,” said Pat Woods, Owner of Woods Farm Supply in Byhalia, MS.

“As we continue to grow, one of our many challenges is when to invest in another full-time employee. As you can imagine being in the service business as we are, people are critical, but due to some of these government initiatives, we have to hold back from hiring and stretch our people further, and as you know there is a breaking point with personnel, and we don’t want to reach that,” said Jason Bailey, President and CEO of Summit Management Services in Oxford, MS.

The roll back and benefits from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created significant financial resources available as expendable income to all of customers, which has been realized by 20% growth from the same period last year,” said Michael Hatcher, President of Michael Hatcher & Associates in Olive Branch, MS.

The tax cuts afforded to us by H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, will make it easier for Hyperion to continue to grow and expand its footprint in both the government and commercial sectors,” said Geoffrey Carter, Founder, President, and CEO of Hyperion Technology Group in Tupelo, MS.

 

 

 

Exploring the State of Western Kentucky’s Small Businesses

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:00am

PADUCAH, KENTUCKY—Today, the House Committee on Small Business held a field hearing in Congressman James Comer’s (R-KY) congressional district on the state of Western Kentucky’s small businesses and what recommendations they have about federal policies.

“Small businesses were responsible for 1.9 million net new jobs in 2015 (including more than 17,000 net new jobs in Kentucky),” said Congressman James Comer. “As most of you know, Paducah is a dynamic, fast-growing city that engages its citizens and is recognized as a regional leader on many levels. Paducah is also financially sustainable, maintains quality infrastructure and facilities, and has a thriving river industry. It is a small city with big aspirations that offers great incentives for families and businesses to flourish.”

Hearing from the Heartland

“In order for small businesses to grow they require safe and reliable funding. Community banks focus intensely on small business lending,” said Mr. Bruce Kimbell, President and CEO of First Community Bank of the Heartland in Clinton, KY. “At my bank, as is true of my banker colleagues around the country, we are intensely focused on building and maintaining long-term relationships with our customers. We view our customers not as numbers but as individuals and business owners.” 

“Swift & Staley Inc. transitioned from a privately owned company to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Company in May 2017. We are aggressively looking to expand our service to other federal sectors and locations while maintaining our core competencies and client focus,” said Mr. Leon Owens, President of Swift & Staley Inc. in Paducah, KY. “On behalf of all ESOP small businesses, we would like to thank the Committee for supporting H.R. 5236 (Main Street Employee Ownership Act).”

“If the cost of doing business is less, more will be able to successfully operate a business while providing an adequate living to their family and those that they employ,” said Mr. Edward Musselman, Owner of Musselman Properties in Paducah, KY. “Fewer vacant buildings will strengthen real estate markets. More jobs and more offerings and strong economies will attract addition al residents and businesses.”

“When I first launched Socially Present over 6 years ago, there were several obstacles I ran into but also several resources that helped me get started. The main obstacle was a lack of organized information and the complexity of putting together a business plan,” said Mr. Jonas Neihoff, President of Socially Present in Paducah, KY. “Seeing that need, we launched our own program called “Small Town Big Idea” to help budding entrepreneurs develop their idea to a place where it is ready to launch.”

Click here for full witness testimony. 

Shrinking the Skills Gap: Solutions to the Small Business Workforce Shortage

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:00am

The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access will meet for a hearing titled, “Shrinking the Skills Gap: Solutions to the Small Business Workforce Shortage.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, June 14, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

This hearing will examine the current small business workforce, and provide an opportunity for small business owners and experts to provide innovative solutions to combat the small business employee shortage.

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List 

Witnesses
Mr. Todd Hitt
CEO
Kiddar Capital
Falls Church, VA

Mr. Kelly McCreight
President and CEO
Hamilton-Ryker IT Solutions
Nashville, TN
*Testifying on behalf of the American Staffing Association

Ms. Angela Dine Schmeisser
President and CEO
St. Marys Foundry, Inc.
St. Marys, OH

Shrinking the Skills Gap: How Small Businesses are Confronting a Big Problem

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGON—Today, Members of the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access heard from a panel of small business owners and experts on the solutions that exist to combat the small business workforce shortage.

“The American economy is creating jobs at historic rates. Over 1 million jobs have been created so far this year, the unemployment rate is at an 18 year low of 3.8 percent, and there are now more vacant jobs than unemployed job seekers in the United States,” said Subcommittee Chairman Dave Brat (R-VA). “The problem is, when there are 6.6 million job vacancies, small businesses have a particularly difficult time finding and retaining qualified employees.”

Solutions to the Shortage

“I’ve witnessed the devastating effects a labor shortage can have on a business. Quite simply, it means a company cannot grow.… According to the National Federation of Independent Business, in April of this year 22 percent of small businesses said finding qualified workers was their ‘single most important business problem,’” said Mr. Todd Hitt, CEO of Kiddar Capital in Falls Church, VA. “There are several factors that contribute to the nation’s labor shortage: the vast Baby Boomer generation exiting the workforce, declining U.S. birth rates, the opioid epidemic that is gripping our country, and the gap between skills and employer needs.”

“Hamilton-Ryker is a total workforce solution and industry leader for the provision of industrial, administrative, and information technology staffing, as well as recruiting, management consulting, and information technology solutions,” said Mr. Kelly McCreight, President and CEO of Hamilton-Ryker IT Solutions in Nashville, TN. “With the economy at full employment, we’re taking measures to “upskill” the existing workforce—for instance, by taking workers who may have a certain skill set and providing them training to allow them to be promoted or move into another position at a higher wage rate.”

“The shortage of workers is both a result of a retiring workforce and overall growth in the economy and the manufacturing sector, “said Ms. Angela Dine Schmeisser, President and CEO of St. Marys Foundry, Inc. in St. Marys, OH. “Changing public perceptions to match the realities of U.S. manufacturing is critical to addressing the worker shortage in our sector, especially among millennials. Also important is rebuilding a pipeline of potential recruits through high school and career technical programs.”

Click HERE to read full testimonies and HERE to watch full hearing video.

Committee Announces Hearing for Presidential Nominees to the FCC and CPSC

WASHINGTON – 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.

Subcommittee to Hold Hearing Examining Social Media Data Use and Privacy Concerns

WASHINGTON – 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.

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.

Oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing entitled, “Oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.  As part of the Committee’s oversight responsibilities, this hearing will examine the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the agency’s role in managing federal spectrum and representing U.S. interests with the global internet multistakeholder community. Additionally, the hearing will look at how NTIA is working to deliver a modern National Broadband Map capable of providing better service availability data, along with other major policy issues before NTIA.

Witness:

  • The Honorable David J. Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator, NTIA, U.S. Department of Commerce

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, June 13, 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.

The Impact of Category Management on the Small Business Industrial Base

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 11:00am

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “The Impact of Category Management on the Small Business Industrial Base.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building

This hearing continues the Committee’s longstanding oversight examining the use of contract bundling and consolidation in the federal procurement system.  Category management, at its core, can be distilled to contract bundling and consolidation.  The hearing will examine the Administration’s approach to utilizing category management principles in the context of past Executive Branch initiatives and will discuss the impact the current approach may have on small businesses and the industrial base. 

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witness List
Ms. Shirley Bailey
Co-Owner, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
GCC Technologies, LLC
Oakland, MD

Mr. Alan Chvotkin
Executive Vice President & Counsel
Professional Services Council
Arlington, VA

Ms. Beth Laurie Strum
Vice President of Business Development
IT WORKS
Washington, DC
* Testifying on behalf of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce

<p>Welcome to today&rsquo;s hearing on

Welcome to today’s hearing on oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

This is Assistant Secretary Redl’s first appearance before the Committee since his nomination was approved by the Senate last November.

We welcome you back and look forward to hearing what NTIA has accomplished under your leadership and what you have planned for the future.

As you know, it is NTIA’s mission to advise the President on domestic and international telecommunications and information policy issues.

This makes NTIA a major driver in fulfilling the Commerce Department’s mission to promote job creation and economic growth while making sure the Federal government has the spectrum it needs.

NTIA has a critical role to play in ensuring that Americans benefit from next-generation telecommunications technology and the United States maintains its leadership in such technology.

Maintaining American leadership will require the identification of more spectrum for next-generation services, both licensed and unlicensed, including spectrum currently allocated for federal use.

It’s important that we build upon the success of the recently enacted MOBILE NOW Act, which I sponsored along with Ranking Member Nelson, to ensure that spectrum will be available for new technologies, including 5G.

This will make it easier to deploy networks that deliver better, faster internet to rural areas and across the country.

Earlier this year, NTIA took a good first step and announced that it has identified 100 megahertz of spectrum—the 3450 to 3550 megahertz band—for potential repurposing for commercial wireless innovation.

I am glad to see NTIA move so quickly on a priority outlined in MOBILE NOW.

But as I have stated many times, MOBILE NOW was just a down payment.

There is much more to do to ensure that the American economy reaps the benefits of next-generation telecommunications.

We will look to you to help ensure that America’s spectrum resources are used efficiently.

I look forward to hearing how you intend to do more, and whether NTIA has all the tools it needs to get the job done.

Of course, identifying and freeing up spectrum is only part of the equation.

Knowing what parts of the country are unserved and prioritizing deployment in those areas is crucial to closing the digital divide.

Mapping broadband availability relies on the quality of broadband data.

Since the initial deployment of broadband in the 1990s, two federal agencies have implemented broadband data mapping initiatives—NTIA and the Federal Communications Commission.

While each agency has identified areas of the nation in need of further development, everyone can agree that such mapping can and should be improved.

That is why, earlier this year, NTIA was appropriated funds to deliver a modern National Broadband Map, which hopefully will provide more accurate mapping of the current state of broadband access across the nation.

On the topic of deployment, FirstNet, which operates as an independent authority within NTIA, has awarded a 25-year, $6.5 billion contract to AT&T to build out a nationwide public safety network.

As of January 19, 2018, all states, five territories, and the District of Columbia had opted into the public safety network.

FirstNet has established a schedule with goals for deploying the network and milestones for public safety user adoption and I am very pleased to see that the Oglala Sioux Police Department in South Dakota is leading the way in implementing FirstNet.

The state-of-the-art technology will allow the Oglala Sioux officers to better serve and protect tribal members and the public generally.

I am interested to hear what oversight efforts NTIA is conducting to ensure FirstNet meets its deployment and adoption goals throughout the country to safeguard the speedy and efficient deployment of this network, especially in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

Our first responders deserve nothing less.

Also, NTIA and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been jointly tasked with providing $115 million in grants to support the implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1 nationwide.

It is important that joint undertakings between differing agencies run smoothly.

Getting the most effective use out of taxpayer dollars for this critical service is something the Commerce Committee is paying close attention to and hopes to hear an update about today.

Finally, on the issue of Internet governance, as of October 1, 2016, NTIA allowed its contracts with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to expire, transferring NTIA’s stewardship role and procedural authority over key Internet domain name functions to a global Internet multistakeholder community.

Earlier this month, NTIA released a Notice of Inquiry seeking comments on “its international Internet policy priorities.”

I am interested to hear about how NTIA can leverage its resources and expertise to ensure the growth and openness of the internet.

Again, I want to thank Assistant Secretary Redl for being here and now I turn it over to the Ranking Member.

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