Feb 1, 2017

Surveillance, privacy and patent reforms on House agenda

Steve Helber / AP

Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House's Judiciary Committee, laid out his agenda for the next two years.

Here's where it collides with tech:

  • Surveillance: In what is likely to be a major fight, the committee will have to re-approve a portion of U.S. law used to authorize government surveillance of foreigners. He didn't explicitly mention encryption in his speech, but told a reporter that the debate over law enforcement access to encrypted data remains on the committee's radar.
  • Privacy: Goodlatte also said the committee would try and pass reforms to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, although the Senate has had less success moving a companion bill. He also said the committee will "continue to explore solutions to govern law enforcement's access to data stored overseas."
  • Patents: The committee will "work on reforms to discourage abusive patent litigation." This is an issue that failed to gain traction in the last Congress. In general, the reforms Silicon Valley companies are pushing to discourage "patent trolls" are largely opposed by the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Copyright: Goodlatte mentioned giving the Copyright Office more autonomy. And he said music licensing rules and so-called "orphan work" are possible areas of focus — though he cautioned it would require buy-in from lawmakers.
  • Immigration: Goodlatte said that in "order to remain competitive in the global economy" the U.S. immigration system should put more emphasis on the skills immigrants bring to the country. It's an issue he's worked on in past years.

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Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

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