Washington, D.C.—Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Chairman of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force, and member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch on important tech issues, including privacy standards for data stored abroad and trade secrets protections. He asked the following questions:
On Privacy and Data Security:
As currently written, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or ECPA, requires only a subpoena for law enforcement to access e-mail that has been opened, even though a search warrant would be required for a printout of the same communication sitting on a desk. To make matters more complicated, ECPA is silent on the privacy standard for accessing data stored abroad. Without an actual legal framework in place, this puts the privacy of American citizens at risk for intrusion by foreign governments. In the coming days I intend to reintroduce the LEADS Act, which will promote international comity and law enforcement cooperation. Will you commit to working with me on this important issue?
On Trade Secrets:
Trade secrets are among the most valuable assets for American companies. Currently, trade secrets are protected under federal criminal law by the Economic Espionage Act and by an array of state civil laws. Unlike other forms of IP, however, there is no federal civil remedy for trade secret owners. I introduced legislation last Congress with Senator Coons that would provide an efficient, federal remedy for trade secret owners. Do you agree that trade secret owners should have the same access to a federal remedy as owners of other forms of intellectual property?
Ms. Lynch answered that she looked forward to working with Senator Hatch on both issues, saying first of the LEADs Act, “Electronic privacy is central to many of our freedoms” and of trade secrets, “The issue of trade secrets, particularly as technology becomes more complex and becomes even more of a target, is an increasingly important issue.”
Washington, D.C.—Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, issued the following statement after co-sponsoring Senator Tim Scott’s CHOICE Act to expand educational opportunities.
"Students with disabilities, military dependent students, and the most underserved in our DC public schools shouldn’t be lost in our education system,” Hatch said. “This legislation will make sure that parents can give their children the best possible education our system has to offer."
“Access to a quality education empowers individuals, changes families and strengthens communities. I have seen firsthand in my own life how powerful education is, not just for the individual, but for all those connected to that student. Today, however, not all of our children, through no fault of their own, have access to a quality education that allows them to reach their full God-given potential. I believe that it is critical that we work together to provide every child with a good education and not get caught up in the politics. We can do that by providing parents and students greater choice when it comes to their education. My CHOICE Act will do that by expanding educational opportunities for children with disabilities, who live on military bases, or are in low-income communities."
When enacted, the CHOICE Act will:
Ensure Children with Disabilities Get Educational Options Best Suited for Them
- Encourage states to establish school choice programs for students with disabilities by providing startup funds to support the design and initial implementation of a disability choice program.
- Enable states that already run disability school choice programs to expand educational options for children with special needs with federal dollars.
Provide More Choices to Military Families As They Serve Their Country
- Create a pilot program under the Department of Defense on at least 5 bases without DoD Education Activity schools to provide scholarships to students in military families on base of up to $8,000 for elementary and $12,000 for high school.
Expand Educational Options for Low-Income Families in Washington, DC
- Expand the successful DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, which has served more than 5,000 low-income children in Washington, DC, by requiring excess carry-over funds that are not needed for the continuation of current participants’ scholarships be used to increase promotion and outreach and support more scholarships.
- Ensure children currently enrolled in private schools who meet all of the DC OSP eligibility requirements are not unnecessarily excluded from participation.
Organizations, including the American Enterprise Institute, Association of Christian Schools International, Orthodox Union, Heritage Action, American Association of Christian Schools, Lexington Institute, PublicSchoolOptions.org and Palmetto Policy Forum in South Carolina stand in support of the legislation.
In supporting the CHOICE Act reintroduction, Dr. Frederick M. Hess, director of educational policy studies at AEI, noted, “Senator Scott’s CHOICE Act is a sensible way for the federal government to make its investments in K-12 schooling more responsive to what families need. These are measured proposals that will help more students find better schools, while respecting the limited nature of the federal role. This is the kind of legislation that signals to American families that the government is pursuing workable solutions to real problems.”
Jan 27 2015
In working towards reasonable non-discrimination standards, we must not undermine religious liberty.
Washington, D.C.—Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, and member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement on religious liberty and non-discrimination:
“Religious freedom is a fundamental right of all Americans and is an essential part of how we define ourselves as a nation. In working towards reasonable non-discrimination standards, we must not undermine religious liberty. I will continue to help ensure that legislation designed to promote greater equality includes robust religious exemptions and non-retaliation provisions."
Jan 27 2015
The Internet must be kept open and free from undue influence by any one government or organization. This resolution will raise awareness and encourage the public to engage in the conversation about this incredibly important issue.
Washington, D.C.—Senator Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, Chairman of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force, and Senator Roy Blunt, member of the Senate Commerce Committee, issued the following statement upon introducing a resolution to increase awareness of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s announced intention to transition its stewardship role over the Internet’s domain name system to the global community.
“If the United States is going to transition the stewardship of the domain name system to the global Internet community, we must ensure that stakeholders commit to abide by the strictest standards of transparency and accountability in Internet governance. The Internet must be kept open and free from undue influence by any one government or organization. This resolution will raise awareness and encourage the public to engage in the conversation about this incredibly important issue.”
“The rapid expansion of the Internet continues to drive economic growth and freedom of expression around the world,” Blunt said. “The United States plays a pivotal role in this development, including through our commitment to the bottom-up approach to Internet governance. The United States will not accept a proposal that violates our fundamental principles of Internet governance or replaces NTIA’s role with that of another government-led or inter-governmental organization.”
The National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA), a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, holds a stewardship role over the domain name system by virtue of a contractual relationship with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit incorporated in 1998 to manage and oversee some of the Internet’s technical underpinnings.
Specifically, NTIA has contracted out the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to ICANN. These functions include the right and responsibility to assign domain names. NTIA’s contract with ICANN is set to expire September 30, 2015. While NTIA has not set a deadline for the IANA Functions Stewardship Transition to the global Internet community, it retains the option to extend the current contract – for up to four years – if specific conditions are not met.
On February 8-12, 2015, ICANN will hold its 52nd public meeting in Singapore to continue discussions about the IANA Stewardship Transition. The Hatch-Blunt resolution designates the week of February 8th as “Internet Governance Awareness Week.” In particular, the resolution will focus on three specific principles to be considered during the week:
- Increasing public awareness regarding the March 14, 2014, announcement by NTIA declaring its intention to transition its stewardship role to the global, multistakeholder community;
- Encouraging public education about the implications of the proposed transition; and
- Calling the attention of the participants at ICANN’s next global meeting in Singapore to the importance of designing a transition proposal for the stewardship of key Internet functions in conjunction with accountability and governance reforms of ICANN.
Jan 22 2015
Washington, D.C.—Today, Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee announced their sponsorship of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Grazing Protection Act. The bill comes at a time when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has reduced permitted grazing to the lowest levels the range has seen, despite recognition of grazing as an important heritage of the region. This bill will preserve the historical uses of the land in addition to granting BLM clear authority to issue future grazing permits.
Senator Hatch said: "When President Clinton designated the Grand Staircase-Escalante a monument, I called it ‘the mother of all land grabs.’ But BLM’s ongoing campaign to reduce grazing here makes it look more like a hijacking. We cannot stand idly by while work that previous generations have done is being undermined."
Senator Lee said: “Grazing is a critical component of Utah's rural economy and this amendment, if adopted, would preserve the grazing rights that Utah families have used for generations."
In 1996, President Clinton, without any input from the State of Utah, used the authority granted to the President under the Antiquities Act to issue a proclamation designating 1.7 million acres of land in Garfield and Kane Counties as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Grazing rights, however, remained grandfathered into the language of the proclamation, and the BLM’s existing Resource Management Plan for the area included a continuing grazing component. Unfortunately, over time BLM has issued fewer grazing permits and are now in the process of amending their management plan for the monument—where several options that would either decrease or eliminate grazing altogether are under consideration.
While Senators Hatch and Lee have introduced this legislation as an amendment to the Keystone pipeline in the Senate, they will introduce it as a standalone bill in the near future. Congressman Chris Stewart, R-Utah, plans to introduce a companion bill in the House.