This Week in Washington IP: Library of Congress Modernization, China’s Techno-Governance and Big Tech’s Exposure of User Data week in Washington D.C., the U.S. Senate is the lone house of Congress that will host hearings on tech and innovation topics. On Tuesday, Senate subcommittees will explore national security concerns related to big tech use of user data along with NASA’s efforts to improve the STEM workforce. On Wednesday, a few legislative hearings will commence to look at bills related to government AI, cybersecurity and geothermal innovation, among other tech subjects. Elsewhere in D.C., the Center for International and Strategic Studies explores the future of the electrical grid and China’s efforts towards techno-governance.

Tuesday, November 5 

Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism 

How Corporations and Big Tech Leave Our Data Exposed to Criminals, China, and Other Bad Actors

At 2:30 PM on Tuesday in 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), Chairman of the Senate Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee, has grown increasingly involved with big tech matters by introducing a bipartisan bill requiring social media firms to make user data portable and calling on the Federal Trade Commission to release the findings of a 2012 report on Google’s anticompetitive practices. This hearing, which Hawley announced in late October, will explore national security concerns related to foreign governments accessing user data and the unique vulnerabilities Americans face in the digital landscape. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Senate Subcommittee on Aviation and Space

Building NASA’s Workforce of the Future: STEM Engagement for a 21st Century Education

At 2:30 PM on Tuesday in 562 Dirksen.

NASA is often involved in STEM-related educational outreach programs and recently the space exploration agency pledged $1.5 million to help curriculum-building efforts designed to meet the growing demand for aerospace workers. This funding has been awarded to projects at minority-serving academic institutions including Tuskegee University, University of Texas at El Paso and Virginia State University. This hearing will explore student engagement with NASA educational programs and how such programs impact the future of the STEM workforce. The witness panel for this hearing will include Shella Condino, Physics Teacher, Oakton High School; Dr. Josh Gladden, Vice Chancellor of Research, University of Mississippi; Jeffrey Manber, CEO, Nanoracks; and Dr. Linda Tarbox Elkins-Tanton, Managing Director, Interplanetary Initiative and Principal Investigator of NASA Psyche Mission, Arizona State University.

Wednesday, November 6 

Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs 

Business Meeting

At 9:30 AM on Wednesday in 342 Dirksen.

On Wednesday Morning, the Senate Homeland Security Committee will meet to discuss various judicial nominations, postal naming bills and proposed legislation. This will include a pair of bills related to technology and innovation: S. 1363, the AI in Government Act of 2019 which will promote the government use of artificial intelligence to benefit the public; and the unnumbered DOTGOV Online Trust in Government Act of 2019 which will provide resources to local governments for adopting .gov domain names to improve website resiliency to cyber attacks.

Senate Subcommittee on Energy 

Legislative Hearing

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 366 Dirksen.

On Wednesday morning, the Senate Energy Subcommittee will convene a legislative meeting to discuss several bills related to technology including S. 2556, the Protecting Resources On The Electric grid with Cybersecurity Technology (PROTECT) Act of 2019; S. 2657, the Advanced Geothermal Innovation Leadership Act of 2019; S. 2688, the Technology Transitions Act of 2019; and S. 2714, the ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2019.

Center for Strategic and International Studies 

China’s New Era in Techno-Governance

At 11:00 AM on Wednesday at CSIS Headquarters, 2nd Floor A, 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Although technological innovation can be a liberating force for individual freedoms, surveillance technologies like those being implemented by China have been incredibly detrimental to such freedoms in service to an authoritarian political regime. This event will feature a discussion with a panel including Josh Chin, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal; Kate O’Keeffe, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal; and Christina Larson, Global Science and Environment Reporter, Associated Press. The event also features CSIS Experts Jude Blanchette, Freeman Chair in China Studies; and Amy Lehr, Director, Human Rights Initiative.

Thursday, November 7

Senate Committee on Rules and Administration 

Library of Congress Modernization Oversight

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 301 Russell Senate Office Building.

Modernization efforts at the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office have been a growing focus for lawmakers who want those agencies to incorporate new technologies to better service their consumers through reduced copyright application pendency and digitized records. In early October, Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden and Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple sent a letter on modernization efforts to Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) discussing the “significant operational undertakings” involved with modernization, including development of an Enterprise Copyright System as well as cloud and mobile technologies.

The Stimson Center 

Contesting the Indo-Pacific: Military Technology and the Shifting Offense-Defense Balance

At 10:00 AM on Thursday at The Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Ave. NW, 8th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036.

China has been increasing its influence over the Indo-Pacific region and U.S. military strategists have explored ways that advances in military technologies, especially anti-access area-denial systems, may be able to respond effectively by building buffer zones and deter aggression. This event will feature a presentation from Eugene Gholz, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame. Following that presentation will be a discussion with a panel including Yun Sun, East Asia Program Co-Director, The Stimson Center; Evan Montgomery, Senior Fellow and Director of Research and Studies, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; and moderated by Sameer Lalwani, South Asia Program Director, The Stimson Center.

Friday, November 8 

Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Electrification Pathways to 2050

At 9:00 AM on Friday at CSIS Headquarters, 2nd Floor A/B, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036.

The future of the electric power sector will have to respond to several challenges including growing demand from various use sectors, the impacts of climate change and regional pressures which differ across the globe. Speakers at this event will include Arshad Mansoor, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, EPRI; Akira Yabe, Director General, Energy Systems & Hydrogen Unit, Technology Strategy Center, NEDO; Lawrence Jones, Senior Associate, Energy and National Security; and Howard Gruenspecht, Senior Associate, Energy and National Security.

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