Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:
- The U.S. House of Representatives passed the USA Freedom Act, a bill aimed at curbing the NSA’s collection of phone records under section 215 of the PATRIOT Act slated to expire on June 1. Instead of allowing the NSA to collect all phone records of calls made to and from the United States, the bill requires the telecoms to retain phone records and would only allow the government to serve a phone company with a court order for specific phone numbers and related information. The bill, supported by a coalition of tech companies and the White House, is now awaiting its uncertain fate in the Senate, where Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for a simple reauthorization of section 215. Senator Ron Wyden and Rand Paul, both critics of the NSA’s call records program, have threatened to filibuster a reauthorization of section 215.
- The U.S. government has asked the Internet community how much longer it needs to complete its proposal to take over responsibility of the IANA functions. The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is currently responsible for undertaking the IANA functions as part of a contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce, set to expire on September 30, 2015. If the community fails to come up with a proposal before then, the U.S. government will likely need to extend the ICANN contract, a move that could embolden critics of the multistakeholder model and potentially derail the transition process should it drag on.
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg came out in favor of the EU’s Digital Single Market strategy. The strategy, announced last week, proposes a slew of reforms, from harmonizing telecom regulations to improving parcel delivery, to streamline digital commerce and spur economic growth in the European common market. Zuckerberg said that harmonizing rules related to digital commerce across the EU will make it easier for Facebook to comply with one set of rules instead of twenty-eight different, and sometimes competing, laws and regulations.