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October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014

Big Differences in Net Worth Between Top Lawmakers on Some Tech Panels

Ever wonder how rich some of the most influential lawmakers in tech policy are?

Technocrat looked through Roll Call’s rankings of all lawmakers’ wealth (based on financial disclosure forms covering 2013), and organized chairmen and ranking members of some tech-related committees and subcommittees by panel. The list below isn’t exhaustive of all the tech-related panels, but what we’ve noticed so far are some big disparities between some of the top lawmakers who might sit right next to each other on the dais.

For example, on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has a minimum net worth of $108.05 million while ranking member John Thune, R-S.D., has a minimum net worth of $90,000.

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Online Harassment is Common, Young Women Experience More Stalking, Report Finds

pew young women 445x265 Online Harassment is Common, Young Women Experience More Stalking, Report Finds

(Source: Pew Research Center)

Online harassment is commonly experienced among all Internet users, but young women specifically experience more online stalking and sexual harassment than men the same age and even women who are a few years older, according to a new report by Pew Research Center.

The report’s findings, released Wednesday, were drawn from an online survey of 2,849 Internet users.

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October 21, 2014

Hatch Calls for ECPA, ‘Patent Troll’ Legislation in Next Congress


hatch002 0514131 445x287 Hatch Calls for ECPA, Patent Troll Legislation in Next Congress

Sen. Orrin Hatch the leaves the Senate side carriage entrance of the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In prepared remarks for a speech Tuesday detailing a wide-ranging “innovation agenda” for the next Congress, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, called for enactment of legislation targeting abusive patent litigation as well as changes to electronic privacy law.

In his written remarks for a speech at in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Utah Republican said about a patent litigation bill: “I intend to do everything in my power next Congress to pass such legislation.”

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Q&A: Law Professor Ryan Calo, Part Two

166657128 445x296 Q&A: Law Professor Ryan Calo, Part Two

A man practices surgery using a robot during the opening of the robotics surgery training center ‘Onze-Lieve-Vrouwziekenhuis Vattikuti Robotic Surgery Institute.’ (NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images)

Ryan Calo is an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law and has suggested a Federal Robotics Commission as a “thought experiment.” Technocrat talked with him about the idea, how he defines robotics, and more. Below is some of the discussion. You can read more on Technocrat’s chat with Calo here on legal issues he foresees arising in the coming years.

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October 20, 2014

Leahy Wants Comcast Pledge of No Paid Prioritization

luncheons002 031114 445x296 Leahy Wants Comcast Pledge of No Paid Prioritization

Sen. Patrick Leahy speaks with reporters before the Senate luncheons in the Capitol in March 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As federal regulators continue to review Comcast’s proposal to acquire Time Warner Cable and as the Federal Communications Commission seeks to draft net neutrality rules, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is calling on Comcast to promise that it won’t engage in paid prioritization.

In a letter to Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen on Monday, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., wrote:

In a May blog post, you wrote that Comcast does not intend to enter into paid prioritization agreements. I welcome that assertion, but I remain gravely concerned that if such agreements are permitted [under the FCC's net neutrality rules], market incentive may drive Comcast and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to change that position in the future.

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Do We Want to Risk Over-Enforcement or Under-Enforcement?

The question of over-enforcement versus under-enforcement in telecommunications came up in a panel talk on Friday that was part of a Duke University School of Law’s Center for Innovation Policy event on Internet regulation in 2020.

Howard Shelanski, who was speaking only for himself, and said he wasn’t there in his official capacity, laid out how he saw the European versus United States approach in his talk.

Shelanski heads the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget and is a former chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission and former director of the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission.

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By Anne L. Kim Posted at 12:31 p.m.

The Week Ahead: ‘Right to Be Forgotten,’ Net Neutrality and Cybersecurity

Events on the “right to be forgotten,” net neutrality are cybersecurity are on tap for this week.


Georgetown University holds a panel event on the “right to be forgotten.”


FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai holds a net neutrality forum at Texas A&M University.


The Atlantic Council hosts an event on the current landscape of cyber threats.

Microsoft hosts a panel discussion on cybersecurity and state and local governments.

The Brookings Institution holds a panel discussion on the 1934 Communications Act.


The George Washington University Law School holds an event on net neutrality and global Internet freedom.

October 17, 2014

Weekly Wrapup: Encryption, Patent Office and Robots

FBI Director James B. Comey’s remarks on encryption and law enforcement access to data, the nomination of Michelle K. Lee to head the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and a Q&A on robots and the law were among the highlights from the last few days. Check out the Mid-Week Catchup for happenings from earlier this week.

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Obama Issues New Requirements for Government Payment Cards

Government officials have been saying for years that they want to see more payment cards ditching the magnetic strips and signatures and switching over to the embedded microchips and PIN numbers favored by European nations and Canada, but they can’t agree on a way to get the industry to take action. The White House said President Obama is taking a shot at leading by example, signing an executive order Friday for government credit cards to make the change.

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By Rob Margetta Posted at 2:23 p.m.

Friday Q&A: Law Professor Ryan Calo, Part One

CaloRyan1 Friday Q&A: Law Professor Ryan Calo, Part One

Calo (Photo Credit: UW School of Law)

Ryan Calo is an assistant law professor at the University of Washington School of Law whose academic work looks at the legal and policy aspects of robotics. Technocrat talked to him about what he anticipates the future of robotics will look like, legal issues he thinks will arise in the coming years, and more.

Q: I know you say you’re a legal professor and not an engineer, but what are your assumptions of how you see robotics impacting our daily lives in the future, if at all, in the coming years?

A: Well, I think that robotics will rapidly be entering the mainstream. I think you’ll see ‘em in hospitals, I think you’ll see ‘em in stores. I think people will have them in their homes more so even than they do today. I just think that robots will touch every part of our lives. Transportation, medicine, you name it.

You’ll see them flying around and so forth. So, I think that robots will be almost ubiquitous the way that, you know, computers are.

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