The Chamber of Commerce is opposing Gigi Sohn for the FCC

The powerful business lobby objects to the longtime net neutrality advocate's "extreme views," even as a Senate panel hopes to move her nomination to the floor.

The Chamber of Commerce building facade in Washington, DC on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.

The Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is opposing Senate confirmation for longtime net neutrality advocate Gigi Sohn, President Biden's choice to fill the last open slot on the Federal Communications Commission.


The business group, which is among the U.S.'s most powerful lobbying associations, cited Sohn's "longtime advocacy of overly aggressive and combative regulation of the communications sector" in a letter to the leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Sohn has already faced an uphill battle for confirmation, although the Democrats who lead the commerce panel are hoping to move her nomination to the floor on Thursday.

Many Republican senators have opposed her over her role as a key staffer on the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules. The agency's order banned internet service providers from blocking web content, slowing it down or demanding pay for prioritizing it. The absence of Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján, who has been recovering from a stroke, also slowed down action on Sohn's nomination. And several trade associations, especially for ISPs, have expressed worries about Sohn.

At the same time, progressives have cheered her work on behalf of consumer broadband access, and some small conservative TV channels who often fight with big broadcasters have backed her.

The Chamber, which counts AT&T on its board, said Sohn's work has placed her among the "leading advocates for policies that amount to regulatory overreach in the broadband market." That includes the net neutrality order, which the Chamber said "led to the decline in private sector broadband investment for the first time outside a national economic slowdown." (Research has come to varying conclusions on that point.)

The group also objected to Sohn's praise of municipal-owned broadband networks and Biden's order attempting to counter consolidation in tech and telecom.

"Ms. Sohn’s track record and her views on competition would create unnecessary obstacles to crafting effective, durable policies to ensure all Americans are connected," the Chamber said.

Enterprise

US issues sweeping new rules on chip-tech exports to China

The Biden administration rolled out new, wide-ranging export controls on the chips and equipment U.S. companies are able to sell to China.

The Biden administration’s new controls on chip exports represent a significant shift in U.S. policy related to China.

Photo: Chen Zhonghao/Xinhua via Getty Images

The U.S. unveiled a set of new regulations Friday that aim to choke off China’s access to advanced chips, the tools necessary to manufacture years-old designs, and the service and support mechanisms needed to keep chip fabrication systems running smoothly.

On a briefing call with reporters Thursday, administration officials said the goal is to block the People’s Liberation Army and China’s domestic surveillance apparatus from gaining access to advanced computing capabilities that require the use of advanced semiconductors. The chips, tools, and software are helping China’s military, including aiding the development of weapons of mass destruction, according to the officials, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss the administration’s policies freely.

Keep Reading Show less
Max A. Cherney

Max A. Cherney is a senior reporter at Protocol covering the semiconductor industry. He has worked for Barron's magazine as a Technology Reporter, and its sister site MarketWatch. He is based in San Francisco.

Sponsored Content

Great products are built on strong patents

Experts say robust intellectual property protection is essential to ensure the long-term R&D required to innovate and maintain America's technology leadership.

Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.

From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Keep Reading Show less
James Daly
James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.
Enterprise

Why CrowdStrike wants to be a broader enterprise IT player

The company, which grew from $1 billion in annual recurring revenue to $2 billion in just 18 months, is expanding deeper within the cybersecurity market and into the wider IT space as well.

CrowdStrike is well positioned at a time when CISOs are fed up with going to dozens of different vendors to meet their security needs.

Image: Protocol

CrowdStrike is finding massive traction in areas outside its core endpoint security products, setting up the company to become a major player in other key security segments such as identity protection as well as in IT categories beyond cybersecurity.

Already one of the biggest names in cybersecurity for the past decade, CrowdStrike now aspires to become a more important player in areas within the wider IT landscape such as data observability and IT operations, CrowdStrike co-founder and CEO George Kurtz told Protocol in a recent interview.

Keep Reading Show less
Kyle Alspach

Kyle Alspach ( @KyleAlspach) is a senior reporter at Protocol, focused on cybersecurity. He has covered the tech industry since 2010 for outlets including VentureBeat, CRN and the Boston Globe. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and can be reached at kalspach@protocol.com.

Fintech

Election markets are far from a sure bet

Kalshi has big-name backing for its plan to offer futures contracts tied to election results. Will that win over a long-skeptical regulator?

Whether Kalshi’s election contracts could be considered gaming or whether they serve a true risk-hedging purpose is one of the top questions the CFTC is weighing in its review.

Photo illustration: Getty Images; Protocol

Crypto isn’t the only emerging issue on the CFTC’s plate. The futures regulator is also weighing a fintech sector that has similarly tricky political implications: election bets.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has set Oct. 28 as a date by which it hopes to decide whether the New York-based startup Kalshi can offer a form of wagering up to $25,000 on which party will control the House of Representatives and Senate after the midterms. PredictIt, another online market for election trading, has also sued the regulator over its decision to cancel a no-action letter.

Keep Reading Show less
Ryan Deffenbaugh
Ryan Deffenbaugh is a reporter at Protocol focused on fintech. Before joining Protocol, he reported on New York's technology industry for Crain's New York Business. He is based in New York and can be reached at rdeffenbaugh@protocol.com.
Enterprise

The Uber verdict shows why mandatory disclosure isn't such a bad idea

The conviction of Uber's former chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, seems likely to change some minds in the debate over proposed cyber incident reporting regulations.

Executives and boards will now be "a whole lot less likely to cover things up," said one information security veteran.

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

If nothing else, the guilty verdict delivered Wednesday in a case involving Uber's former security head will have this effect on how breaches are handled in the future: Executives and boards, according to information security veteran Michael Hamilton, will be "a whole lot less likely to cover things up."

Following the conviction of former Uber chief security officer Joe Sullivan, "we likely will get better voluntary reporting" of cyber incidents, said Hamilton, formerly the chief information security officer of the City of Seattle, and currently the founder and CISO at cybersecurity vendor Critical Insight.

Keep Reading Show less
Kyle Alspach

Kyle Alspach ( @KyleAlspach) is a senior reporter at Protocol, focused on cybersecurity. He has covered the tech industry since 2010 for outlets including VentureBeat, CRN and the Boston Globe. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and can be reached at kalspach@protocol.com.

Latest Stories
Bulletins