tv The Communicators CSPAN September 8, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
recommendations -- i would encourage you in your recommendations to whoever the next president is to keep that recommendation in mind. >> the challenge here -- and the paper i left the talks about the digital revolution. it has been around for about 25 years and it turns out that every major industrial revolution goes through a process where you start trying to figure out what institutions will channel this tremendous economic power. the 1996 act was a little bit early, but it understood what was coming. the thing is, the new deal, it is the same cycle. it is really important to understand that each revolution produces a new set of institutions.
we do not have to give up our values, but we have to fix our institutions. for me, the interesting thing is electricity and ict. they are the only two technologies that are widely accepted as general purpose technologies. they fight about steam and they love agriculture which was 10,000 years ago, but these two technologies that have come in short order between each other, they have combined to completely transform the world. you go out and look at the world and there's a mobile merkel. you look at the rate of growth in developing nations in the last couple of decades, and it is a function of these two nations -- these two and innovations. >> please give our paddle a round of applause. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> in four weeks, the first of the presidential debates live on c-span common c-span.org and c-
span radio. and next to my computer decatur's looks at -- up next, "communicator's" looks at telecommunication. >> summer is over, as are the political conventions. congress is returning to washington and the sec will be holding hearings again. this week on "the communicator's" we are joined by 10 -- three technology reporters to look at the upcoming legislative and policy agenda which involves technology. elizabeth wasserman is the technology editor at politico. one of the issues we have covered on this over the last year is cyber security. what is the status of it and do you see further action this fall? >> when the senate left town this summer, they had just
failed to pass a democratic- backed bill on cyber security that was calling for more requirements on critical infrastructure industries, such as power plants, pipelines, water lines. the parties did not want to leave it as a full thing. they came back -- they gave a lot of observers that they could come back with a compromise. however, each party has fueled the topic with a little more rhetoric. and finger-pointing. it will be interesting to see whether they take care of cyber security when they come back into town. >> there has been talk that president obama might look at cyber security through an executive order. >> yesand during his -- in the party platform at the democratic
convention that was hinted at a, that he could go that route. and the white house as either an executive order or some type of executive action is still in the cards. the lobby watching that, too. >> gaupham nagesh of ceq, anything to add to that? >> sure, there is a draft of the order out there. there is steadily discussion of what it would look like. it is not dissimilar to the final version of the senate bill, which was essentially voluntary public-private councils that would be implemented as standard and as best practices. and what standards could be implemented during question because this is not legislation. it would be an executive program and the authorities are more limited. the real question is whether the industry would go along. some wood.
-- would. there are some that would be open to this, especially if there is some fourth information open about cyber security threats. the implementation of these best practices would engender some kind of liability, potentially for them, particularly with regard to their client. that has always been the robotic comes to cyber security legislation. there are no rules now. the ones to implement rules, people are accountable for following them. suits,alking about civil contracts, threats of collusion if such laws are not put into place. that is the issue and whether or not our industry would be willing to -- especially in these already heavily regulated and large industries like telecommunications, would they be willing to follow an
involuntary -- a voluntary regime? >> crandon sasso, what is the mood on the hill, especially if president obama were to issue this executive order? >> i think there was some breakdown on whether people like lieberman oppose the bill in the first place. they have been saying it would like to see an executive order if nothing gets done on the hill. whereas, republicans who are leading the opposition, senator mccain and others, and they are saying the this is a power grab by the president and he did not get what he wanted in congress, so he will just go around them. senator lieberman has been saying for a long time that if this does not get done by the end of july, then that this will not get done at all. now they are saying it might still happen. it seems to me that if you are going to get on with it -- if
you were going to bet on whether congress would come together, it seems more likely an executive order will happen. >> one of the wild cards in of this is the prospect of a cyber attacks. and if such an event could really like a fire under either lawmakers or the white house. i think they have also been posturing to leave themselves some protection in case there is. there was just an attack on saudi arabia on the oil companies there, a cyber attacks. it is not unheard of. and it could very well happen here. >> i think that speaks directly to the issue, actually. there are people who would say it would take a catastrophic cyber attacks for us to pass some regulations, at which point there would be a danger of overreaching in what they passed. that is a valid concern.
we have seen more information and last year come out about what is possible to cyber attacks than ever before. part of it is because u.s. companies have been targeted. some of it is because we suddenly have information about what the u.s. government is capable of doing. i do not think that is a complete coincidence. now that this knowledge is out there, it came at a time when there's pressure for cyber security legislation. we may hear of more cyber attacks that have been previously kept under wraps. we may now hear things like the stock exchange was hit or this company suffered an attack. >> and our laws. companies have two reports -- have to report cyber attacks in their sec filings. that may get something moving. >> one of the most interesting things in this story line is this divide between senators mccain and lieberman. they are the closest of friends.
they are the three amigos, along with grant, especially on national-security issues. and yet, this is lieberman's batie, his biggest gold before he retires, and mccain is torpedoing it. they have had lots of discussions and lieberman reportedly exploded at mccain saying, how could you do this? how are you going to feel if a year from now there is an attack and people died and you block to this? and of course, mccain comes back at him and saying, you have no right to question my ability on -- my credibility on national- security issues. that speaks to how seriously people take this. >> gaupham nagesh, you mentioned best practices. don't most corporations already have cyber security in place? what would this legislation add to that? >> you would be very surprised
at even sophisticated technology companies that do not necessarily implement best practices' right now. the government does not really implement best practices' right now. the pentagon has had to go through massive upgrade in the past five years because of vulnerability. the state of cyber security right now was very bad. you cannot really overstate that. we are very vulnerable. the question is whether the legislation would change that. you cannot dictate something that technology cannot work around. that is one of the questions that came up in the online piracy, if you implement certain roles, criminals will work around it is trying to get companies to take seriously the issue of threat. i think they do, depending on the bottom line. if the threat is small enough --
you know. if it is catastrophic, the company could go out of business. there are companies that make that bet. that is spreading, especially when you talk about a company that consumers depend on for part of their livelihood, like power transportation. >> there are some corporate interests that want some kind of legislation because they want information about cyber threats from the government. they all met -- they want it almost like a one-way street. they want the information, but they do not necessarily want to give in return. that will be interesting to see as well, because i think there will be momentum for something, but time will tell whether the parties in the divide will be brief -- can be breached. and the political hot rhetoric has been heating up. >> you mentioned that the
parties through a little fuel on the fire at the conventions. how did they do that? >> the republicans in their platform pointed appeal -- pointed fingers at the obama administration saying that they have not done enough. they also said that the obama strategy for cyber security was another example of overregulation and overreach, sticking with mitt romney's theme about the obama administration and business. on the other hand, democrats right after the lieberman bill altered the summer, the white house was pointing fingers at republicans for supporting the bill, a much-needed bill. -- for thwarting the bill, a much-needed bill. and in other instances, congress
out of white house actions and again reiterated the need for some type of requirement to protect that critical infrastructure of the nation. >> brendan sasso, you see this as something that john mccain would filibuster? >> yes, they did in the senate because -- in the senate. cyber security is something that everybody wants, but there is not the executive order. the executive order would only have the standards. i then it creates the interesting question that if the white house praised the executive order, then there would not be any information sharing on the hill to get another piece done piccata then there's the question of privacy protection -- another piece done. then there's the question of privacy protection.
if companies just hand over all of this personal information to the nsc -- the nsa or another agency, they want to make sure it is protected. >> we have to move on to of current issues, but very quickly, yes or no, congressional action or executive order action. >> executive order is more likely. >> i would not give up hope on information sharing in congress. i think the house bill with privacy protections has a shot. >> i will side with gaupham there. i think there is a possibility of information sharing. >> brendan sasso, technology front this fall? >> there is a bill passed earlier this year with tax cut extensions and up the last moment to raise revenue, they
attacked on this provision giving the sec the authority to encourage television broadcasters to give up their licenses for frequencies. and then to make room in the air waves for cellphone providers because of the growth in the smart phones and tablet computers. there was a crunch for frequencies. get thetrying to broadcasters to give up their long-term licenses for cellular providers. the sec is circulating in order that would have a really aggressive time line in trying to get this done. it is a complicated process and they are trying to get it done by 2014, which might sound pretty slow for something like this, but it is really an aggressive time line. >> the options will not take place until 2014? >> that is right. and that is the fastest time line that anyone has been talking about. they're trying to shoot to do this simultaneously where they have some sort of process where
they get the licenses from the broadcasters and then give them to the cellular providers. the big questions how many broadcasters will be going out of business -- how many broadcasters will be wanting to bring this debate because it essentially means they will be going out of business. >> de you see any more time warner and verizon type of deals? >> they do not have any more spectrum, so that while has run dry. if we may see the people need spectrum going out and finding it where it still exists. that is where people got the cable spectrum was. at the end of the day, most of the spectrum is held by the government. in that case, the pentagon has its hand on most of it. if we are looking for more air waves, eventually, all roads lead back to the pentagon.
they have acknowledged that. we have heard members of the administration essentially acknowledged that the government spectrum need to be repurchased for commercial use. what brendan is talking about is the shift in video over to cable connection and consuming it on a tablet computer or a smart phone. that is what is changing the moved in bandwidth. people are watching television on their iphone or their ipad. broadcasters can argue that they can do that using this technology. i think a lot of them will be reluctant. and when local stations start closing, we may hear something from congress. if local businesses are going out of business in exchange for money for the wireless companies, that is an important topic. >> the business spectrum, it does not have the political divide that something like a cyber security issue house. both parties supported the idea
of incentive options. and they recognized the need to get more spectrum out on the market for wireless companies to provide these services, which people want and are clamoring for. at the same time, you got industries that are divided. i would not be surprised if broadcasters did work through lawmakers to raise questions about or raise concerns about what it will do to the local television markets. at the same time, there are some broadcasters who are probably willing to have their spectrum repacked or move to, or they want to call it quits or sellout. there was an article in the (wall street journal" recently about buying up spectrum. they're hoping that this double option would be profitable
because the broadcasters would get to share the profits. they would sell their spectrum back to the government, and the government would auction it off to wireless companies. this deal was brokered as a way to incentivize broadcasters to turn over unused, or little- used, resources. >> could we see a private deal like the verizon cable company -- could and abc and sprint, for example, make some kind of arrangement probably without the involvement of the government? >> i think at&t made some smaller acquisitions after the t mobil bid failed. not on the scale of the verizon spectrum bid, but i think you may see some of those kinds of deals made where they can because big companies need the resources. >> and of course, government will always be involved because
any transfer of licenses will have to be approved by the sec. the light squared spectrum, that was a private deal. there are other questions -- companies interested in that if they decide not to move forward. if there is any spectrum not actively being deployed, it is probably right for someone, and most likely a major wireless carrier. >> do you see spectrum coming back to the table, and they have allies in congress? >> they have a massive lobbying going on right now. and right now, the spectrum that they had was interfering with gps. they have backed away, and they are under the radar now. but they are still out there and there's still a lot of money under them. and a half allies in congress, so there are enemies on the hill, too. anyone who is allied with the gps committee -- senator grassley has put a hold on the new nominees for months. i do not think any of them will
forget that the reason they did not get confirmed for six months or so was because of this light squared issue. i think they are still trying to find a way to find some other spectrum, maybe another swap out there. they are still trying to build their networks. >> there is also a way to share spectrum. and i think light squared has indicated they are interested in doing that, too. but i also wanted to bring back the topic of government spectrums. that is where the government owns the most spectrum. and the chairman of the sec has been meeting with our military leaders to try to explain how some of the spectrum that is either underutilized or used only in certain areas or at certain times could return to
the market. i do not think that is going to happen in time for the 2014 auction, but this industry is already on the hill lobbying for even another spectrum auction after this one. they do not see their needs been alleviated by the incentive options. >> i think that is absolutely correct. based on the projections and the demand for mobile data, the curve goes straight up. the administration's national broadband plan calls for 500 megahertz of spectrum to be freed up. they do not know that they will meet that target. i think they have freed up something like 200 mhz since obama took office. they do not know that they will get 300 more megahertz, but even if they did, they would need cigna begin the more bandwidth. sharing of spectrum is really what they think will achieve
the -- and technological advancements along with that. but the next set of spectrum from the pentagon, instead of auctioning it off, they want to create some kind of spectrum super highway where multiple companies can run their business on it. in the short term, we do not know how it is going to work out. >> gaupham nagesh, you were at the conference last year and a lot offer networks were they can offer wireless networks of what they are showing. will this restrict of -- restrict what the networks are able to give away or trade? >> you are talking about the broadcast networks? >> yes. >> broadcasters are also working on technologies that they say will enable them to be in content directly to your smart phone or tablets your broadcast
platform, which is not quite the same as mobile data. and when they broadcast one to many, it is not taking up as much bandwidth. if everybody is going to watch nbc shows on their ipad, and comcast and nbc feel they have a more efficient way to do without giving up all of their spectrum. these are very forward looking technologies and their adoption by the consumer market will have a lot to do without the proposals get in the mix. >> one more issue -- >> i think that court cases will have a huge impact going forward. one is the verizon cable deal. that will result in some deals, like t. mobile getting some verizon spectrum. apple won a huge patent infringement case. the bottom line is that same sun will have to rethink how would constructs its products in order
to not violate apple's patents. this is an issue that we had coming to a net -- coming to a head. we do not know how that will affect the future of the vice creation and design. other companies allowed to take very seriously whether or not they are infringing on other technologies. >> and this is after car was just over all the patmos for the first time in six -- the patent laws for the first time in 60 years. that was just this last year. it remains to be seen whether there will be a move on the hill to look at the patent issue again. certainly, i think some lawmakers are concerned about the apple-stains on -- the apple-same sun case where if it stands, apple will be able to get an injunction to pull some samsung products off of shelves. we want the real device, but we
want the norcross, too. that is the reality. -- we want the knock-offs, too. that is the reality. it could become a trade war on the hill. >> i would be surprised if devices actually got pulled from the shelves. things are changing so quickly and by the time samsung appeals and this gets out of the court, these devices will be three generations old and they will not be on the shelves any more anyway. >> the iphone fight is apparently supposed to come out next week -- the iphone 5 is apparently supposed to come out next week. maybe we have already moved on. >> what did you want to talk about? >> net neutrality was a hot topic at the conventions as well. we thought it had been resolved by the sec. although, there is this lingering court case. verizon and metro pcs are
challenging the net neutrality rules in court. that case probably will not go to trial until the end of the year or early next year. there was a lot of rhetoric again at the conventions about net neutrality and whether it is a good policy or not. republicans very much adopted a platform that called for the repeal of net neutrality roles. and i think that as a line that house republicans have been -- is a line that house republicans have been calling attention to, the issue of net neutrality. it will be interesting to see depending on how the elections go, how the congressional elections go, whether there is a move to undo the rules like neutrality. >> i am not a lawyer, but i am
told that the case for the net neutrality regulations is, i think, debatable at best. the court challenges -- the court cases have real challenges. the cases in 2010, i believe they won. and broadband was brought out as a way to get around that. they elected not to do that. aside from that, as elizabeth pointed out, the republican party is really trying to conflate neutrality and the internet freedom issue. and they are portraying it as democrats are regulating the internet and interfering with content. and the net neutrality campaign promise of 2008 came at a very different time. now the nation's largest internet provider owns one of the four broadcast networks. verizon and cable have these deals. we are starting to see isp's and content providers link up in
meaningful ways. these are exactly the concerns about access the proponents of net neutrality raised -- that opponents of net neutrality race in the first place. the sec has other options. we'll see what happens in the courts. >> and the net neutrality provisions have been invented in some of the telecom deal -- embedded in some of the telecom deal. there are conditions of some mergers that there are reviews and that they ought to -- how to make net neutrality incorporated into their business plan. >> the net neutrality might get struck down only to those provisions that can be imposed on those deals. i am not a lawyer, but the d.c. circuit district court knocked down these rules before and were pretty clear about it. the sec just got unlucky. eight courts it could have ended up in and they got the same one th
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