FCC: Despite DDoS Attack in May, ECFS “Remained Secure” Wasn’t Hacked

Although the FCC’s electronic comment filing system (ECFS) experienced a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack last month (TR Daily, May 8), “the system remained secure and nothing was hacked,” according to FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray. Mr. Bray’s comment on the DDoS attack was attached to a letter that the FCC released June 27 from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to Sens. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) and Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii). The letter, dated June 15, responded to a letter from the senators on the DDoS attack.

Mr. Pai’s letter and the CIO’s responses were referenced yesterday in a letter that House Democrats wrote the FCC and the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) raising concerns about the Commission’s cybersecurity preparedness in the wake of the DDoS attack (TR Daily, June 26).  “We have determined that this disruption is best classified as a non-traditional DDoS attack,” Mr. Bray said in his response to questions from the senators. “Specifically, the disrupters targeted the comment filing system application programming interface (API), which is distinct from the website, and is normally used by automated programs or bots for bulk filings.” Continue reading

Parties Reiterate Concerns with Ligado Network

More than 20 parties with interests in GPS, satellite communications, and weather and other environmental data reiterated their concerns June 27 with Ligado Networks LLC’s proposed nationwide LTE network.

“We have read with interest recent FCC filings and statements in the press from Ligado claiming that virtually all of the opposition to its pending license modification application and request for rulemaking to utilize spectrum at 1675-1680 MHz have been resolved. Contrary to the assertions in Ligado’s FCC advocacy and recent media blitz, its proposed terrestrial operations continue to pose a significant interference risk to numerous parties that receive real-time weather and related environmental information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (‘NOAA’), certified GPS receivers and aeronautical safety SATCOM relied upon by the aviation industry, and Iridium’s 869,000 government and commercial subscribers,” said the ex parte filing in IB dockets 11-109 and 12-340.

“The risks to these critical services are very real and, consistent with the public interest, cannot be brushed aside,” the filing continued. “This is particularly true when contrasting the impact of interference on the services provided and/or depended on by the undersigned organizations with the highly uncertain benefits of Ligado’s proposal. For example, while Ligado is currently portraying itself as a hybrid satellite-terrestrial Internet of Things (‘IoT’) service provider, a recently released Ligado-commissioned economic analysis suggests that Ligado seeks the ability to sell its spectrum to the highest bidder, underscoring the uncertainty of any prospective value of the services it has on previous occasions suggested it may provide. As stated in the analysis, ‘Ligado and similarly-situated entities should be able to transfer spectrum interests in such a manner that entities that value spectrum more than Ligado can acquire it. … Clearer property rights [achieved by granting Ligado’s application] for spectrum would benefit not just Ligado but all parties with economic interests in spectrum.’” Continue reading

Comments Sought on CBRS Petitions

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology solicited comment June 22 on petitions for rulemaking filed by CTIA and T-Mobile US, Inc., seeking changes to the agency’s Citizens Broadband Radio Service rules (TR Daily, June 19 and June 20). Comments are due July 24 and replies Aug. 8 in GN docket 12-354 and Rulemakings 11788 and 11789. A public notice also invited comments on several ex parte filings that were submitted in the docket.

In a related development, FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly told reporters during a news conference after today’s meeting that his goal is to provide recommendations “as soon as possible,” hopefully by this fall, to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for changes in the 3.5 gigahertz band rules.  “I’d like to wrap the whole thing up by the end of the year,” said Mr. O’Rielly, who has been tasked by Mr. Pai with exploring changes in the rules for the band. He also reiterated his support for modifications to the priority access license (PAL) rules.

Courtesy TRDaily



CNN Reports: Your dog could call 911 in an emergency. Here’s how.

From high-tech wearable vests for dogs to a dog-friendly touchscreen that works like a telephone, Jackson and her colleagues at Georgia Tech are developing and testing new ways for canines to communicate with humans during a medical emergency. Read article here:




USA Today Reports: A solution for police officers searching for more accessible and inexpensive body cameras may have been in their pockets all along.

The Jersey City Police Department is the first in the nation to test a new smartphone app called CopCast that allows officers to turn everyday cellphones into body cameras. After months of testing the system with 10 officers, the department is expected to sign an agreement this week to expand the technology to as many as 250 officers. Read article here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/06/25/who-needs-body-cameras-police-testing-cellphone-cameras/426859001/

House Judiciary Committee Assignments Announced

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) announced today that Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) will be the new chairman of the crime, terrorism, homeland security, and investigations subcommittee, as former chairman Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) has been named chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  Also, Chairman Goodlatte welcomed Rep. Karen Handel (R., Ga.), the victor in the special election for Georgia’s Sixth District held last week, as a new member of the full committee.

Courtesy TRDaily

FirstNet Board to Adopt McEwen Resolution

At a meeting tomorrow, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board plans to consider a resolution thanking Harlin McEwen for his service as the first chair of the board’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). The meeting is also a combined session of the board’s four committees. It will be held from 9 a.m. to about 2:30 p.m. in Reston, Va.

Courtesy TRDaily


House to Hold Hearing on 14 Self-Driving Bills

The House digital commerce and consumer protection subcommittee plans to hold a June 27 hearing on discussion drafts of 14 self-driving vehicle bills. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

“These discussion drafts are a significant step towards introduction of meaningful legislation that will ensure consumer safety and provide clarity for federal and state governments on their role in regulating self-driving vehicles,” said subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta (R., Ohio). “Over time, this technology has demonstrated its potential to transform the transportation industry and save thousands of lives, and this hearing provides an opportunity to start this critically important discussion here in the House. Next week, members will explore how this legislation can increase safety, improve access and mobility, and grow our understanding of self-driving cars.”

Among the discussion drafts is one for the Automated Driving System Cybersecurity Advisory Council Act, which a news release said would direct “the Secretary of Transportation to establish a Federal Advisory Committee to undertake information gathering activities, develop technical advice, and present recommendations to the Secretary regarding cybersecurity for the testing, deployment, and updating of automated driving systems with respect to supply chain risk management, interactions with ISACs and ISAOs, and a framework for identifying and implementing recalls.”

Also, the MEMO Act would direct the Federal Trade Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the agencies’ oversight of highly automated vehicle privacy and cybersecurity.” —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily


S&T News Release: Virtual Training for Active Shooter Incidents Now Available to First Responders

WASHINGTON – First responders of all disciplines will now be able to train together for active shooter and other critical incidents thanks to a new virtual training platform made available by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL). The Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE) training platform was officially launched today and is available to first responders nationwide at no cost. EDGE is a multiplayer, scalable, online environment that trains responders—single agencies or cross-agency, jurisdiction, or discipline—for a coordinated response to active shooter incidents.

Built on the Unreal gaming engine, which powers such popular interactive video games as Mortal Kombat, BioShock, and Batman: Arkham City, EDGE allows responders to collaboratively role-play complex scenarios in a virtual environment, improving coordination and communication while mitigating injuries and loss of lives. S&T’s First Responders Group (FRG) developed the technology with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Simulation and Training Technology Center and Cole Engineering Services, Inc. These partners will join FRG staff and first responder stakeholders in facilitating the demonstration and answering press questions.

“In this day and age, it is essential that responders have every tool at their disposal to prepare for and respond to critical incidents,” said William N. Bryan, DHS Under Secretary (Acting) for Science and Technology. “When decisions must be made in a matter of seconds, every bit of training helps to save civilian and responder lives. EDGE harnesses the power of cutting-edge gaming and defense technology to make training accessible, engaging, and affordable to all responders — from rural volunteers to those serving our major metropolitan areas.”

The EDGE virtual training platform was developed and tested with direct input from the first responder community. The initial scenario—a hotel active shooter response—features avatars, equipment, vehicles, and architecture designed completely to scale, using as a backdrop Sacramento, California, where initial EDGE prototype pilots were conducted. Continue reading

FirstNet Proposes Revisions to NEPA Procedures

The First Responder Network Authority sought comment June 23 on proposed revisions to its procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Comments are due by July 24 in docket number 131219999-7305-03.The revised procedures involve categorical exclusions (CEs) and related extraordinary circumstances, as well as administrative and other provisions.

FirstNet released its original NEPA implementing procedures in 2014 (TR Daily, April 29, 2014). “As it has continued to mature as an organization, FirstNet, as mentioned above, has identified the need to modify its NEPA implementing procedures, CEs, and related extraordinary procedures better align with FirstNet’s statutory mission and activities related to the deployment of the NPSBN, as well as better assist FirstNet in complying with NEPA and FCC regulations,” FirstNet said in a notice published today in the “Federal Register.” “More specifically, FirstNet, as both an independent federal authority and a licensee of the FCC, must satisfy its own NEPA requirements as well as comply with FCC-promulgated NEPA procedures. Under CEQ [Council on Environmental Quality] regulations, federal agencies with overlapping NEPA requirements related to the same project are encouraged to streamline their NEPA implementing procedures to avoid duplicative NEPA review. Accordingly, FirstNet is proposing to modify its NEPA procedures and CEs to better align with FCC procedures in order to avoid duplicative NEPA reviews that would otherwise likely result in unnecessary costs to and delays in the deployment of the NPSBN. Continue reading