Digital Policy Roundup: House Passes 4 key cyber bills, FTC Explores Mobile Payments and House Judiciary Panel Hears Intl. Patent Issues

House Passes Four Key Measures during “Cyber Week”
Last week, the House passed four key measures as part of “cyber week.” Most notably, the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA, H.R. 3523) passed Thursday night by a vote of 248-168. Of the supporting 248, 42 Democrats were in favor and 28 Republicans against. This was a strong vote and a big victory for SIIA and many of our members that were leading supporters down the stretch. In response to the bill’s passage, SIIA released a statement of support.

The CISPA vote was followed by a unanimous voice vote on HR 4257, widely supported legislation to reform the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and the House concluded activities on Friday by passing the two cyber R&D measures: H.R. 2096 – Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, and H.R. 3834 – Advancing America’s Networking and IT R&D Act without significant opposition. Cybersecurity now shifts back to the Senate, where Maj. Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would like to have the Lieberman-Collins comprehensive Cybersecurity Act (S. 2105) on the floor this month.

FTC is Latest to Explore Mobile Payment Issues
The FTC looked at mobile payments last Thursday, an event that capped several weeks of intense attention to this innovative new technology by policymakers. In March the Senate Banking Committee held hearings. And the Internet Caucus held a Congressional briefing, which SIIA’s Mark MacCarthy chaired. The major issues noted at the FTC’s workshop were privacy, security and consumer redress. While no new regulation or legislation was proposed, it was clear that policy makers expect mobile payment providers to provide adequate protections in these areas. Read more on SIIA’s Digital Discourse Blog.

House Judiciary Panel Hears Intl. Patent Issues
On April 26, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held a hearing on “International Patent Issues: Promoting a Level Playing Field for American Industry Abroad.” Witnesses from Pfizer, Qualcomm, American Continental Group, and Nebraska College of Law testified on their views of “threats” to procuring and exploiting patent rights internationally.

Among the key topics discussed were the upcoming Special 301 list from USTR, compulsory licenses in many mid- and low-income foreign countries, exclusions from patentability that may violate TRIPs (such as second uses, business methods, certain biological materials and uses, etc.), under-resourced patent offices, weak judicial enforcement, subsidies for local manufacturers (over non-local or “non manufacturing” entities), and the possible, perceived narrowing of patentable subject matter in the United States–which almost certainly would have international implications.

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David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy.

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