Government Relations Update January/February 2023

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By Matthew Hall, Internet2 External Relations Program Manager

FCC Proposes Changes to Data Breach Reporting

On January 6, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding updates to reporting requirements surrounding data breaches. The aim of the new rulemaking process would be to would be to strengthen the existing rules for notifying customers and federal law enforcement of breaches of customer proprietary network information (CPNI). This would include an elimination of the current seven business day mandatory waiting period for notifying customers of a breach and a clarification of the rules governing customer notification of inadvertent breaches, as well as a requirement that the FBI, FCC, and U.S. Secret Service be notified of all reportable breaches.

Subsequent to that announcement, on January 23, the FCC announced the dates for public comments and reply comments related to the NPRM as February 22 and March 24, respectively. The FCC will review all submitted comments and reply comments as part of their rulemaking process on these issues, with notices regarding updates to the status of the process posted in the coming weeks and months.

National AI Research Task Force Submits Final Report

On January 23, the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) Task Force submitted its final report to the president and Congress. This report details the findings of the Task Force and provides a roadmap aimed at guiding federal investment in the tools, infrastructure, and policies needed to accelerate U.S. AI research. The Task Force was made up of a diverse group of experts each sharing their perspectives from across the research and education (R&E) community, federal research agencies, and industry and determined that the NAIRR should be established with four measurable goals in mind:

  1. to spur innovation,
  2. increase diversity of talent,
  3. improve capacity, and
  4. advance trustworthy AI.

Key recommendations include ensuring broad accessibility of tools and data to increase the diversity of AI researchers, a multi-agency governance process for the NAIRR led by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and a focus on using a federated mix of computational and data resources, testbeds, software and testing tools, and user support services via an integrated portal to best address both capacity and capability needs.

The Task Force estimates that achieving the vision and goals of this undertaking will require a budget of $2.6 billion over an initial six-year period and should be rolled out through a four-phase process over that time.

With the final report now in the hands of legislators and policymakers, Congress will set off on carrying out phase one of the process by passing legislation to officially authorize and fund the NAIRR over the coming months.

Bipartisan Tech and Rural Broadband Bills Proposed in U.S. Senate

Throughout January and February, several new and returning pieces of legislation were proposed by bipartisan groups of Senators to address technology and connectivity issues.  

Senators Thune (R-SD), Lujan (D-NM), Fischer (R-NE), and Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Rural Internet Improvement Act (S. 130), a bill that would streamline the broadband programs operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and ensure that their funding is targeted at the rural communities most in need of support. This legislation would combine USDA’s existing broadband grant and loan program with the ReConnect program and establish a mandate that only areas in which 90 percent of households are classified as unserved would be eligible for funding. The bill was sent to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry on January 30, for consideration.

Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) and Capito (R-WV) reintroduced the Rural Broadband Protection Act (S. 275), which would change the rules used by the FCC for vetting participants in the Universal Service Fund (USF) high-cost programs. This would include requirements that the service providers provide sufficient evidence to the FCC to prove that they possess the technical capabilities to successfully deploy the proposed network to ensure better outcomes through federal investment in these programs. On February 7, the bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Senators Schatz (D-HI) and Thune (R-SD) reintroduced the Internet Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency (PACT) Act (S. 483). The PACT Act would amend the Communications Decency Act’s Section 230 to require large online platforms and social media companies to establish clear content moderation policies to establish greater accountability for content that is illegal or a violation of the policies of the platforms themselves.  Specifically, it would create a requirement for platforms to remove “court-determined illegal content and activity within four days.” Additionally, an exemption would be created for the enforcement of federal civil laws to prevent interference with federal regulatory activity by the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, or other federal agencies while also enabling state attorneys general to enforce federal civil laws against online platforms. On February 16, the bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for consideration.