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January 25, 2015

Posts in "Privacy"

January 21, 2015

Obama’s Tech Talk in SOTU

President Barack Obama’s call for lawmakers to pass legislation to address “cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information” in his State of the Union address wasn’t a surprise given his announcements last week in advance of Tuesday night’s speech, but he also mentioned net neutrality, surveillance and space in his speech. Below are some of his science and tech-related mentions:

  • “I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.”
  • “21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet.”
  • “No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information.”
  • “So while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, I haven’t. As promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. And next month, we’ll issue a report on how we’re keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening privacy.”
  • “I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs — converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kid; pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay. Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars. In two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. Good luck, Captain — and make sure to Instagram it.”

January 16, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality, Obama and Space Debris

Get ready for a double feature of net neutrality hearings from the House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over telecom next week. This week, the GOP chairmen the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee laid out a net neutrality proposal in a Reuters op-ed and released legislative text as well.

In case you missed them, other Technocrat coverage included posts on space debris, stress and technology and more:

  • The Pew Research Center released a report on stress and technology. Here’s our takeway from the report: if you’re stressed out and you think it’s because of all that texting and tweeting, don’t blame it on frequent use of Internet and social media itself. There is, though, something to be said about social use of technology and knowing about stressful events in others’ lives.
  • Technocrat also had a roundup of a few stories on issues covered in President Barack Obama’s multiple tech-related announcements this week that either give you a sense of stakeholder reaction, the current landscape or another announcement made in one particular state.
  • Among the findings in a recent Government Accountability Office report: the government watchdog contends that there are several reasons why the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s estimate of a minimum three-month potential gap in satellite data could occur sooner and last longer than anticipated. One of those reasons has to do with space debris.

January 15, 2015

Roundup: Data Breach Notification, Cybersecurity and Broadband

President Barack Obama’s announcements this week on data breach protection, privacy, cybersecurity and broadband drew a lot of media coverage, but if you’re looking to catch up, here are a few stories on the themes covered this week that either give you a sense of stakeholder reaction, the current landscape or another announcement made in one particular state.

  • The President’s legislative proposal for a national standard for data breach notification:

Seth Rosenblatt at CNET reports on reaction from outside groups and the current landscape of state laws: “While 47 states have laws requiring companies to at least notify consumers of security breaches involving their personal information, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the similarities often end there.”

  • Obama’s cybersecurity information-sharing proposal:

Steven Norton at The Wall Street Journal reports: “The move is indeed encouraging, CIOs and security experts say, but its success will depend largely on making companies comfortable sharing sensitive information in the first place.” He goes on to write: “Firms tend to agree that sharing is a good thing, but the reasons for not wanting to share are plenty.”

  • Broadband announcements:

Of course, the big news was Obama laying out his opposition to state laws restricting municipal broadband and the White House saying that the administration was sending a letter to the Federal Communications Commission urging the panel to address “barriers inhibiting local communities from responding to the broadband needs of their citizens.”

But Matthew Patane at The Des Moines Register reminds us that another announcement on broadband was made in Iowa as well. He looked at a broadband proposal unveiled on Tuesday by Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad: “Branstad asked the Legislature on Tuesday to approve a $5 million grant program that would provide money to telecommunications firms that build or provide more broadband access to rural areas, schools and under-served communities. A similar attempt last year to increase broadband service failed in the state House.”

He also writes that: “Branstad’s proposal calls for a 100 percent property-tax exemption for any broadband infrastructure put in place on or after July 2014. Similar language in last year’s legislation helped derail it.”

January 14, 2015

Goodlatte’s Agenda for 114th Congress Includes Many Tech Items

Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, May 29, 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, May 29, 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., laid out his agenda for this Congress at a Christian Science Monitor event on Wednesday and the committee released his remarks. Many tech-related items were included in those statements, including patent litigation overhaul legislation, a permanent Internet tax moratorium, and updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

Below are a few interesting items:

  • The panel will be looking at net neutrality:  “The key to an open and free Internet lies in strong enforcement of our nation’s antitrust laws. These time-trusted laws allow for maximum flexibility and consistently demonstrate their ability to prevent discriminatory and anti-competitive conduct in the marketplace.” Goodlatte has argued against a regulatory approach and favors antitrust enforcement.
  • He hopes for an agreement on how to “move forward quickly” on online sales tax legislation: “I have already re-started work with all affected stakeholders this Congress and hope that we can achieve consensus on how to move forward quickly.”
  • After more hearings as part of the panel’s ongoing review of copyright law, they’ll work with outside groups to “find consensus” on areas that “need improvement”: “In the months ahead the Committee will hold hearings to examine the last remaining issues and then we intend to work together with all the stakeholders – from the technology community to the content community – to find consensus on the areas of the Copyright Act that need improvement.”

January 12, 2015

Obama Talks Privacy and Data Breach Notification at FTC

President Barack Obama spoke at the Federal Trade Commission on Monday, where he outlined proposals on data breach notification and student data privacy.

Before talking about those legislative proposals, Obama laid out the groundwork, explaining his broader philosophical idea of the dual benefits and risks of our digital economy:

And in the 21st century, in this dizzying age of technology and innovation, so much of the prosperity that we seek, so many of the jobs that we create, so much of the opportunity that’s available for the next generation depends on our digital economy. It depends on our ability to search and connect and shop and do business and create and discover and learn online, in cyberspace. And as we’ve all been reminded over the past year, including the hack of Sony, this extraordinary interconnection creates enormous opportunities but also creates enormous vulnerabilities for us as a nation, and for our economy and for individual families.

The Week Ahead: Cybersecurity, Communications Law and More

This week, President Barack Obama will announce legislative proposals and executive actions addressing cybersecurity, privacy and identity theft and broadband access, previewing his State of the Union address, according to a White House official this past weekend. Events discussing the cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, communications law and digital security are on tap as well this week.


The House Foreign Affairs Committee holds a briefing titled “The North Korean Threat: Nuclear, Missiles and Cyber.” The briefing comes after the cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said North Korea is responsible for the cyberattack.

Heritage Action for America’s Conservative Policy Summit continues on its second day, which will include a session on digital security in 2015.


NetCompetition hosts a panel discussion on modernizing communications law.


The Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a panel discussion on strategic implications of the cyberattack on Sony Pictures.

December 29, 2014

December 22, 2014

December 15, 2014

The Week Ahead: Digital Privacy Laws, Microsoft’s Data Warrant Case and Intellectual Property Enforcement Abroad

The Senate is still in session after clearing a $1.1 trillion spending package over the weekend and there are a couple events dealing with intellectual property enforcement abroad as well as digital privacy laws and Microsoft’s data warrant case.


At 11 a.m., the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center in D.C. will show a live webcast of a Microsoft event in New York City where the issue of overhauling of digital privacy laws will be discussed. There will also apparently be an announcement related to the company’s legal case dealing with a warrant for data in a data center located in Ireland. You can also watch the event here.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center hosts a roundtable of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s intellectual property attachés to talk enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights abroad.


December 1, 2014

The Week Ahead: Cybercrime, Telecommunications Law and the Internet of Things

I hope you had your rest and relaxation over the Thanksgiving holiday because things are kicking into gear again, with events on cybercrime, telecommunications law and the Internet of Things.


The Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies holds an event on patent regulation and policy.

New America hosts talk with Shane Harris, author of “@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex.”

New York University’s Information Law Institute and Microsoft’s Innovation & Policy center host an event titled “Building Privacy Into Data-Driven Education.”

The Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic  Public Policy Studies holds its U.S. Telecoms Symposium.

The Planetary Society holds an event on the future of solar system exploration.


The Bipartisan Policy Center holds an event on health information technology.

The Cato Institute hosts a talk with Terence Kealey, vice-chancellor emeritus at the University of Buckingham, on public funding of science and research.

The House Oversight & Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.

The Information Technology Industry Council and Intel host an event on technology, policy and emerging health crises.


Georgetown University Law Center and the Justice Department’s Criminal Division sponsor an event titled “Cybercrime 2020: The Future of Online Crime and Investigations.”

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s Center for Data Innovation holds an event on the Internet of Things.

Republic 3.0 hosts a panel discussion on progressives and a rewrite of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

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