Rockefeller set to rock telecom?

The telecom industry has been trying to figure out what the regulatory effect of the Obama Administration will be, and with the promise of a national CTO and movement on Net neutrality and other policies, it could be extensive. Now, it appears that Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.V.) likely will become chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which steers and influences much of the telecom industry.

Observers believe that Rockefeller will be much more active as chairman than previous committee leader Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), especially when it comes to Net neutrality legislation, and privacy issues related to traffic monitoring. He also has been viewed in the past as a champion of Internet availability for public libraries, schools and the under-privileged. Additionally, he has taken on the Federal Communications Commission in the past, joining other legislators in urging a review of the agency's processes.

However, it also was Rockefeller who helped drive Congress toward a compromise on the amended Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allowed telcos immunity for engaging in warrantless wiretapping at the federal government's request. That compromise angered some fellow Democrats, but President-Elect Barack Obama, who supported telco immunity in the Senate, was not among them.

For more:
- CNN Money has the Dow Jones wire story

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