tv The Communicators CSPAN January 3, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
travel with charlie duke. >> c-span, created by america's cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you as a public service by her local cable or satellite provider -- your local cable or satellite provider. >> the 114th congress is about to begin in 2015 -- and 2015 is shaping up to potentially be a busy year in telecommunications issues. this week on "the communicators" we invited three technology reporters to join us to preview the year, what the congress and fcc and administration may do. joining us is politico they "washington post" and "the national journal." when we asked all three of you what were the issues he wanted to talk about, all three of you put net neutrality first. what is going to happen with net
neutrality in 2015? >> that is the big telecom issue of 2014 and it will continue to be the big issue for 2015. fcc chairman tom wheeler said he wanted rules on the books by the end of this year. that is not going to happen. now it becomes an issue for 2015. in the first few months i'm expecting the fcc will come with final rules on net neutrality. president obama came out in support of re-classifying broadband service under title ii of the communications act, which would make it treated like a utility. the broadband industry groups are opposed to this. there's a lot of pressure on chairman wheeler to go that route. we will see in the first few months what happens there, and even once the rules are on the books, there is going to be lawsuits from the industry groups like verizon and comcast especially if chairman wheeler does what the president wants and uses title ii and then the
republicans in congress will probably also have a response. will they try to repeal it, put forward their own proposal -- this will be a fight that goes on for a long time, i think. >> all that is absolutely right and there's going to be a lot more to come when it comes to congress. the chairman isn't expected to unveil his proposal until february, march at the earliest which gives an opening for republicans in congress to introduce a bill about net neutrality of their own. is that going to force him to move forward quickly, or is it going to put him in a position where he will have to do some trading and negotiation with congressional republicans? that is not clear yet. that is something we will be watching early in the year. >> how quickly do you expect a bill? >> i think we are looking at next month, early in the year. >> in january? >> it's important to keep in
mind we are also talking about net neutrality against the backdrop of the communications act update, which is a big, multi-year update. republicans in the house and said they want to get pen to paper starting in january. we could see movement on that very soon. >> how much groundwork has been done on the rewrite? >> over the last year we have had a lot of hearings, a lot of papers touching on these issues. it seems like telecom is very hot in congress right now. they have briefings specifically about the com act update, which is the moniker they have been using for it. there's been a lot of groundwork. we haven't seen any drafting yet, any language put out there but they have had a lot of time to talk about it.
>> how much of a change will be with frank pallone as the member of the group? >> i think we know where senator thune's stance on these issues because he has been the ranking member -- he made it clear where he stands on things. the communication update act is very important to him. he's also taking a look at tv regulations and how broadcasters deal with cable companies. i think frank is more of a tossup. he hasn't been as involved in issues as an issue, who he beat for the position. it is unclear how much say she will have versus pallone. at the end of the day, i think it is up to congressman upton and walden to decide these issues in the house. >> it could be really interesting to see how pallone
is rights with the majority. with a shoe, you would have seen a lot of back-and-forth between republicans and democrats on tech issues that would have made for interesting fireworks. with pallone leaving things, you might see a little bit more consensus, a little bit more cooperation. we don't really know a whole about -- whole lot about pallone. some have said to me, new jersey is where at&t had a lot of its roots owing back to the 1940's and 1950's when it was a big monopoly. that is a direction he could go in. in general, we probably won't see the kinds of fireworks we might have seen with eschew at the top. >> what are other issues the fcc will be looking at? >> one thing the fcc will
continue to look towards is spectrum and incentive options. the fcc is still working through a tremendously successful auction of government airwaves right now. one big question is, does that set up telecom companies to spend more in upcoming auctions for broadcast airwaves, or does this mean they have depleted themselves and won't be able to spend as much? that will be one question moving forward. the fcc will continue to be working on developing how it holds the auction, the broadcast auction. that is going to be one big area moving forward. >> another big issue is going to be mergers. the fcc will have to make a decision on whether to allow comcast to buy time warner cable.
these are major decisions that have big impacts on the way we watch tv, the way we access the internet. those are decisions that have to be made if they allow the mergers to go forward. there will probably be conditions, so what served conditions will be placed on the company's -- sort of conditions will be placed on companies -- most people expect at&t and directv is getting less pushback. comcast and time warner cable is more controversial. that will be the big decision. >> when do you see the timeframe for decision making? >> the first part of 2015. there is a timeline that the fcc is supposed to stick to. the fcc positively shot -- paus es the shot clock. >> when the merger decisions come down, you will see a lot of reactions on the hill, especially. there have been members were pretty vocal about this stuff,
for and against. that will be interesting how it all plays out. the com acts update process, and all the other telecom issues. >> what is tom wheeler's relationship with the hill? >> i would say tense. he's very personable, and i'm sure he is charming in hearings and stuff, but we have definitely seen him come in. republicans are not afraid to drill into him, especially when they don't like what he's doing. there's a lot of tension over how wheeler treats the republicans. commissioners often say they are not getting a fair shake. wheeler doesn't care about consensus. wheeler would pushback. the relationship is tense. no matter what wheeler does, he's going to get called down to the hill for hearings and be grilled. >> what is his relationship with the president? >> also a little bit tense,
especially in the wake of the president's net neutrality statement. the sense a lot of people have is the chairman feels like he was thrown under the bus by the president when it comes to reclassification of broadband as a title ii service. on top of that, there's also a sense that net neutrality is a much more complicated issue than perhaps the white house will let on publicly. there's a lot of legal back-and-forth that has to go on. there's a lot of political tussling that goes on. for the white house, a lot of it they thought is political but in the context of congress mainly. this is a populist issue that they can rally the base around, set up a confrontation with congressional republicans whereas the fcc their job is to create the rules that everybody has to live under, which is a much more cop located process. >> kate, we have not talked
about cyber security, "the interview," in congress. >> that has been a hot topic for sure, after the sony hack, which apparently came from north korea. cyber security definitely will be an issue on everyone's mind especially as congress picks up in january. this is also recent and shocking in a way. past hacks, it kind of made sense. we wanted financial information. it wasn't censorship of free speech. that will be an issue on everyone's mind, especially with the history of cyber security legislation. will the sony hack be the thing that pushes us over the finishing line? we'll see. >> the hack increases urgency and puts pressure on people to push forward a bill. i don't know that it necessarily alters the fundamental calculus of getting cyber done.
there is still a big privacy concern. the white house issued a veto threat twice on privacy issues related to the cyber security bill. that hasn't gone away. there's a big question as to wehther -- whether the cyber security incident does increase pressure. >> everybody is on board with the basic idea that they want information sharing. they want companies and the government to do a better job of sharing information about attacks, what sort of viruses are coming out. the question is how much privacy protection do you put into the bill. i don't know if this incident necessarily changes that, but with publicans in control they might be able to set the debate. -- republicans in control they might be able to set the debate.
i don't know if there will be a filibuster in the senate with democrats still being able to block legislation. i think things are different now with republicans controlling the senate. they have been pushing smaller scale cyber bills. there have been a number passed recently. they are all sort of minor codifying certain programs and trying to address the quality or the experience of the workers in the federal government. the key passing bills, but they are sort of the smaller issues. the question is whether they can do something bigger and more substantial. >> kate, what is another issue we will be looking at in 2015? >> surveillance reform debate pick up right off the bat. that is something that any company that deals with communications is watching for. key parts of the patriot act are set to expire in june. the question will be kenny reform advocates get substantial reform through by june, or will it be a last-minute reauthorization kind of bill?
that is a debate arranged at -- raged on since he ever snowden -- the edward snowden leak. we saw a lot of movement and stop with surveillance reform last year. it passed the house and then nothing happened for months. we thought we would -- we thought we would see something in the senate. now we're going to see this kind of urgency pick up. if they don't pass something the u.s. government will lose the surveillance authority starting in june. >> that's a boon to folks who are defenders of strong surveillance programs. the closer you get to the deadline, more of an argument you can make that this is about to go away, we really need to ramp things up here. >> you can definitely see the defenders saying we have to protect the country, we have to get this done, but there may be some in congress who are willing to go nuclear and say we're not going to pass this. that would be a very intense game of chicken.
you're also seeing a lot of companies really want the last bill to get past and they were disappointed when it couldn't. i think they will be willing to get riskier and say we're not going to back something we don't like and time is on our side. that would increase the tension on both sides. >> some people on the privacy and of the debate are eager to see us go towards this cliff and they thought it would get more leverage to people like rand paul. i don't know if that was -- if they will have more leverage. look who is in charge of the senate now, mitch mcconnell. the statement he put out was this is going to help terrorists kill americans. it's hard for me to see him voluntarily push reel sweeping reforms. i think he's probably going to do as little as possible. that will push reformers to try to block that. i think that is ultimately the
dynamic. you need 60 votes to pass anything. can they muster enough to block what mitch mcconnell is pushing? maybe, but they probably missed their best shot in 2014. there is concern about isis and terrorism. the momentum is on the side of the people trying to defend the nsa. >> when you talk about reformers, who are you talking about? what are you talking about? >> patrick leahy, the senate of the -- chairman of the senate judiciary committee, was the author of the usa freedom act. the main issue is the first leak that came out of edward snowden's documents, which was this mass collection of information, all of our phone calls, the time, the phone numbers, the duration of the call. that mass surveillance for americans was a shocking revelation. that is the main debate, how do
you address that, how do you curb the nsa's authority. president obama took voluntary steps to change how they nsa handles that data, but ultimately they want to remove the reformers in congress. leahy, senator ron wyden, and others would like to remove the nsa's control of that vast database. >> short of large-scale, comprehensive nsa reform, the one thing they could be prepared to move is electronic communications privacy act. it got a terminus amount of support this past year in the house. it is a bill that would essentially update the nation's laws when it comes to e-mail privacy and requiring potentially warrants for law enforcement to get access to e-mail files. this is something that a lot of people would potentially support. if we can't get something like comprehensive nsa reform, hipaa
reform could be a palatable move. >> if it could get to the floor it would have support to pass. it had a majority of the house supporting at the past year, but it never came to the floor. some people in congress are hesitant to bring it up because this could change the same arguments we have with nsa reform. it is hugely supported and if it ever got to the floor, i would have to believe it would have the votes to pass. >> i wonder now with a governing majority that republicans every interested in getting things done and making it look like they can actually govern instead of simply being the opposition party. if there is appetite for something, perhaps this time it could come to the floor. >> is there a area of agreement between the republican congress and the president on this issue? >> on the electronic medications privacy act? >> right, a privacy.
>> pretty much everyone is supportive of the idea of changing the way that warrant that police would need to access e-mails. the justice department was resistant at first, but i think they're on board. it has broad support. the question is why has it not happened. this came up before the edward snowden leaks happened. it has really gone nowhere. i have heard there is some resistance from some certain key lawmakers. they might not oppose the idea generally, but if we are going to give this to the privacy side, what does law enforcement get? if you're at the bargaining table, what are you going to give us? that hasn't been hashed out in any way. if it goes to the floor, there is broad support. the question is if there is enough attention on this issue to force it through committee. >> kate, what about piracy? do you think we will see anything done with piracy in 2015? >> i can't imagine lawmakers are
eager to touch piracy after the online virus protest. the house is working on a copyright review. that has been going on for a while now. they will continue with more hearings and looking to decide what they want to do with the review. piracies could come up there. we have seen a lot of hesitancy to touch anything involving online piracy that could even ignite a protest. i think we have seen google more recently come out against the idea that anything needs to change dramatically. that is all fresh and lawmaker's minds, certainly in the wake of the sony hack which brought to life e-mails that members of the hollywood industry sent. we will see lawmakers talk about copyright broadly. i can't imagine there's a huge hunger to push on something that has been so controversial in the past.
>> anything to add to that? [indiscernible] >> she also mentioned google. google has had some issues with the european union especially and some of the regulations there. are these ankle biters for google? are these serious, complex issues? >> antitrust is a big issue for google. there was this resolution in the european parliament that suggested maybe they ought to tear google apart, which got a lot of attention. i don't think many people think that is what is going to happen, but it does put pressure on the european commission to take a harder line on google. of course we have the same debate in the united states on the same issues. google really won that fight in
the u.s. now it is fighting that in europe. there is some resentment to an american company that is so successful in europe, and they don't like the way it dominates people plus access to the internet, issues about the nsa and resentment about the u.s. having access to european's information. ultimately i don't think they will force google to split off a search engine, but could there be ways the google organizes its search results? we will see what happens there. >> another international issue coming up in 2015, i-cam. >> yes, that will be a big issue moving forward. at this point it's kind of unclear as to what kind of steps need to be taken. the folks i talk to say there's a lot of -- people are in a holding pattern, especially when
it comes to this idea of transitioning u.s. authority away from the internet addressing system. republicans approved a proposal that would basically prevent obama from funding any kind of projects to devolve u.s. authority away from that system. as we've seen, that process has been moving along of its own accord. it's not clear what republicans gained from doing that. at any rate, there's a lot of discussion that has to happen on a multilateral basis before any further movement can happen. >> would it change fundamentally how the internet is regulated? woudlld we see change in the states?
>> for the average consumer they probably won't notice a thing. a lot of this discussion is about the future of who has authority to determine changes to the internet infrastructure which is by definition a very political debate, how much authority should china and russia have to determine outcomes, how much authority should united nations how to determine outcomes. a lot of the pushback on devolving authority has focused around the united states is a bastion of free speech, and if we can't ensure the internet remains free and open, the internet will be harmed. as i said, that process has already begun. the united states has by devolving authority officially actually takes the moral high
ground by saying we recognize this is an international multi-stakeholder process. we are going through officially recognizing that and acknowledge that the internet is a much more diverse place than it was when it first began. >> how much of an outcry in congress over i-cam the changes to the regulation? >> huge outcry from congressional republicans. they considered a number of bills. one measure got attached to the overall spending bill. there isn't consensus in place. i can't imagine that the build and manage to get past as part
of the funding bill will have any huge consequence, but whatever happens next will certainly provoke anger from the republicans who think this is opening up the internet to russian or chinese control. i can't imagine they will be quiet when this starts to move forward, but it's a while out. >> when you are covering telecom issues, do you beat a path between the hill and fcc? where else do you look? what other areas are important to keep an eye on? >> what the industry groups say will matter a lot, what they filed to the fcc. within governments, the federal trade commission is important. the ftc regulates in the areas
that other agencies don't. if broadband is considered a common carrier service and it's under stricter fcc control, that will remove some of the ftc's authority to police consumer protection. recently the consumer financial protection bureau sued sprint on the issue of putting bogus charges on people's phone bills. that was an issue that -- that is an area that the [indiscernible] has not gotten involved in before. it is a new agency. now it's a question of how vigilant is a cfpb going to be in this area. their theory was that sprint was acting as a payment processor by putting these charges on people's phone bills. does the first time they acted against a phone company. >> -- that was the first time they acted against a phone company. >> what is something we have not
talked about that we need to talk about? >> one thing we haven't talked about yet is patents. we will probably see much more renewed efforts. there's a lot of talk about how reform advocates are going to do more with the covered business method, something they wanted to cover last year but ultimately had to back down on. there is a lawsuit right now that deals with the first business mission and if it turns out badly for reform advocates, you can expect to see a lot more effort and interest be poured into expanding cbm. >> think tv issues will be a big one, how much the broadcasters
pay the cable providers. a lot of people think the broadcasters are charging too much, and then also part of the broader tv regulation issue there is what the fcc is looking at, which is whether to give more protections to online video services, but to treat them the same way as cable companies. that would give them the same sort of protections to get access to broadcast content which could allow these online video services to more directly compete. that is a big set of issues. >> i'm going to go with immigration reform, something a lot of the companies we cover care about. a lot of tech companies are worried about filling the high skill jobs they have, and obama took some steps earlier this year to address a lot of the problems of immigration, but high-tech got left out. going to make sure they don't get left out this time.
high-tech immigration reform is one of the few areas where people agree in congress. can't move on its own? -- can it move on its own? that remains to be seen. >> this is "the communicators" on c-span. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national >> c-span, created 35 years ago and brought as a public service provider. >> the congress gavels in this tuesday at noon eastern and watch live coverage on c-span and the senate on c-span 2 and track the gop led congress and have your say as events unfold. c-span radio at c-span.org. new congress, best access.
>> a conversation with the john chambers who talks about the digital transformation of cities and cloud computing and internet security among other topics. he is interviewed i dennis berman. >> let's get right to it. you recently predicted that perhaps over the next 10 years some of the biggest technology companies will not be around. tell us about who they are, when they will go down? [laughter] go right to it. talk to us about that. it is a very real observation. >> if you look at high-tech industry, if i were to take a step back, my competitors -- >> such as? >> synoptics