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January 31, 2015

Posts in "Social Media"

January 23, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: SOTU, Net Neutrality and Patents

It was a short but busy week and your Weekly Wrapup includes posts on the State of the Union address, net neutrality hearings and patents.

  • President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address and in advance of the speech, Technocrat had a roundup of a few stories that at least touched upon social media and either White House strategy or lawmakers.
  • Among the issues that weren’t mentioned in Tuesday’ night’s address was patents, and  a couple proponents of legislation targeting abusive patent litigation said they were disappointedMichelle K. Lee, deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, later said it wasn’t a reflection of any change in priorities.
  • Lawmakers on the Hill held net neutrality hearings and Technocrat had a post on interesting quotes from a couple House Republicans showing their current approach to the issue.
  • Oh, and Valencia Martin-Wallace has been promoted to a newly-created job at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office — deputy commissioner for patent quality.

Quote of the Day: Obama and Cybersecurity

Thursday’s livestream of YouTube stars interviewing President Barack Obama wasn’t focused on tech policy, with questions ranging from marijuana policy to bullying. But the YouTubers did ask a couple questions dealing with the Sony hack and Chinese Internet censorship.

In case you missed it, among Obama’s response to a question regarding the Sony hack: “In fact the hacking against Sony  – which we believe was done by North Korea – it wasn’t even that sophisticated. But it just goes to show how vulnerable we are.”


January 20, 2015

SOTU & Social Media

In advance of Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, here are a few stories that at least touch upon social media and either White House strategy or lawmakers.

  • Yahoo News’ Olivier Knox writes about the White House’s strategy for targeting four different audiences it sees: people actually on the House floor and watching on television, people streaming the speech online, people both watching on television and keeping tabs on social media commentary, and people who won’t watch or reach the speech.

“So while declining TV numbers have forced the White House to chase audiences across the social media landscape, the result has been to give the speech a longer life online,” he writes.

  • The New York Times’ Michael D. Shear reports: “The Obama administration has revamped its digital communications strategy in an attempt to reach new audiences for the State of the Union speech – a classic old-media event – and sidestep the skeptical filter often applied by White House reporters.”
  • CQ Roll Call’s David Hawkings writes: “This year there are more defensible rationales than ever for members of Congress to miss the State of the Union address. But there doesn’t seem to be any groundswell of absenteeism in the works.”

Among the “defensible rationales” for skipping out that Hawkings mentions: social media allowing lawmakers to just live-tweet commentary from home. But he writes that “as many lawmakers as ever” are gearing up to endure being “marooned under the House chamber’s hot TV lights and the crush in Statuary Hall’s ‘spin room.’” Among his reasons for why that would be: “It’s a rare opportunity for even the most obscure backbencher to be glimpsed live on 13 television networks simultaneously — an ego bump even for those aware the audience is likely to slip below last year’s 33.3 million, the smallest number since Clinton’s final address in 2000.”

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

Is Technology Stressing You Out?

Is all that texting and tweeting stressing you out? According to a report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, frequent use of technology isn’t to blame, but there is something to be said about the social use of technology and knowing about stressful events in others’ lives.

The report, based on a survey of roughly 1,800 people, found that: “Overall, frequent internet and social media users do not have higher levels of stress.”

In fact, for women, frequent use of some technologies (compared to not using them at all) was linked to less stress:

When it comes to stress, there was no statistical difference in stress levels between men who use social media, cell phones or the internet and men who do not use these technologies. However, some tech activities were linked to less stress among women – Twitter use, email use, and photo sharing via cell phones. Compared with a woman who does not use these technologies, a women who uses Twitter several times per day, sends or receives 25 emails per day, and shares two digital pictures through her mobile phone per day, scores 21% lower on our stress measure than a women who does not use these technologies at all.

But here’s the catch. The report shows that technology users (think Facebook, Instagram, texting, sharing photos online, etc.) are generally aware of more stressful events in the lives of people they know. (There are differences, though, in the specific technologies and awareness of these events according to gender and level of relationship.) People aware of certain stressful events in others’ lives also had higher stress levels themselves, according to the report. (This differs between men and women as well.)

“At the same time, the data show there are circumstances under which the social use of digital technology increases awareness of stressful events in the lives of others,” the report’s summary states. “Especially for women, this greater awareness is tied to higher levels of stress and it has been called the ‘cost of caring.’”

January 7, 2015

Op-Eds: Net Neutrality, Patent Overhaul and More

A few opinion pieces this week look at net neutrality and investment, adapting to our “tightly wired” world, and patent litigation overhaul.

  • The New York TimesThomas L. Friedman writes a piece about adapting to a world that has “never been more tightly wired” and concludes:

“In short, there’s never been a time when we need more people living by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Because, in today’s world, more people can see into you and do unto you than ever before. Otherwise, we’re going to end up with a “gotcha” society, lurching from outrage to outrage, where in order to survive you’ll either have to disconnect or constantly censor yourself because every careless act or utterance could ruin your life. Who wants to live that way?”

“The point is that estimating the effect of investment is not as simple as saying that reclassifying ISPs under Title II or using Section 706 as a foundation for expanding regulation will or will not affect investment. Instead, the specific rules adopted combined with uncertainty about the future of the rules will determine the investment effect. For example, a no-blocking rule probably would have little effect, while 1990s-style network unbundling rules would likely have a large effect. Similarly, uncertainty regarding forbearance under Title II and the probability of the FCC prevailing in a court challenge will also affect investment.”

  • Former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David J. Kappos, who is now senior adviser for the Partnership for American Innovation and a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, rhetorically asks in Roll Call, in the context that courts and agencies have taken actions on patent issues: “So the question at hand for Congress is this – do the patent policy issues that motivated the legislative effort in 2013 still hold in 2015?”

“The short answer is yes, albeit with a balanced approach informed by what has already been accomplished and the impact it is having. While the judicial and agency actions have been helpful, core policy issues that are deserving of balanced congressional attention remain,” he writes.

He goes on to write: ” The changes in the legal landscape for patent litigation, and shifting perspectives on litigation reform, signal a need for a careful and measured reform approach to a system that is very much in flux.”

January 5, 2015

Weekend Catchup: Internet of Things, Net Neutrality and More

Trying to transition back into the work week? Here are a few stories from the weekend to get you caught up.

  • The Wall Street Journal had a story about net neutrality and GOP lawmakers and the potential impact of the debate on other tech issues.
  • The Financial Times had a piece on artificial intelligence start-ups.

December 12, 2014

Weekly Wrapup: E-Rate Funding Cap Increase, Internet Tax Moratorium and IP Nominees

Among the happenings this week: the Federal Communications Commission increased the funding cap on the E-Rate program, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on intellectual property nominees, and the spending package to fund the federal government includes provisions such as an extension of the Internet tax moratorium.

  • The House passed a spending package to fund the federal government that includes an extension of the Internet tax moratorium through Oct. 1, 2015. It also includes a provision that would block the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from relinquishing its responsibilities over Internet domain names and other domain functions. The NTIA wants to shift those duties to organizations with a stake in the Internet, but Republicans have opposed the change. The Senate’s now considering the package.
  • The Federal Communications Commission approved a measure that would raise by $1.5 billion the funding cap for the E-Rate program that helps schools and libraries pay for Internet access. And since the program’s supported by Universal Service Fund fees, consumers will see up to $1.90 in additional fees on their phone bills each year.
  • Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, who is expected to be the next chairman of the Judiciary Committee, made clear that the nominations of Michelle K. Lee to be director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Daniel H. Marti to be the White House’s intellectual property enforcement coordinator, wouldn’t advance in the 113th Congress, since there wasn’t enough time. But he also indicated that the nominations might be acted on early in the next Congress.
  • Technocrat had a Q&A with University of North Carolina law professor William P. Marshall about the Supreme Court case involving violent comments made on Facebook. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
  • The Telecommunications Industry Association organized a letter to FCC commissioners and House and Senate leaders opposing proposals to reclassify broadband as a common carrier as part of the FCC’s rewrite of net neutrality rules. Sixty companies signed on including IBM, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Cisco, and dLink.
  • BSA | The Software Alliance released a survey of roughly 1,500 business owners and decision makers in the U.S. and Europe on data analytics and among its U.S. findings: While 33 percent thought more than 10 percent of their company’s growth will be related to data analytics this year, 58 percent thought the same looking five years from now.

December 11, 2014

Q&A: UNC Law Professor William P. Marshall, Part Two

Technocrat talked with University of North Carolina law professor William P. Marshall about potential implications for social media of Elonis v. United States, which the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on last week. You can find a roundup of the background of the case here. Below is Part Two of our Q&A with Marshall (lightly edited). Part One can be found here.

Q: So if the court finds in favor of Elonis, how could that impact social media…?

A: I think that will protect more kinds of communications that take place on social media. I mean this is a relatively narrow issue. The issue of threats is a relatively narrow issue. But it [suggests] that the court may be looking at Internet speech in not the same kind of way that it looks at face-to-face speech. So… [it] might allow a little bit more latitude on what you do on the Internet than you might otherwise do outside of that context.

Q: What about if the court rules against Elonis?

A: Well if the court rules the other way, I think this again will be a relatively narrow decision dealing with threats, but I think it will also be setting the table for other kinds of regulations of speech to be applied to people in their communications on the Internet.

…We say often things that we might say to a person in a private conversation that we know isn’t gonna go anywhere. A lot of people have yet to realize that when you send the same thing to somebody over the Internet it’s a long-term record that can be replicated and occasionally turned over to law enforcement authorities.

So it’s gonna tell us all to think before we write, whether it be text, or Twitter or email or Facebook.

Q: And how do you think the case will turn out?

A: My own thought is that I think they will overturn his conviction on the narrow statutory grounds and require there has to be a subjective intent to threaten.

And the reason why I think they may do that is because I’m not sure they’re ready to deal with the broader issues on Internet regulation that we just talked about….

December 9, 2014

Q&A: UNC Law Professor William P. Marshall, Part One

(Photo by Steve Exum, courtesy UNC School of Law)

(Photo by Steve Exum, courtesy UNC School of Law)

William P. Marshall is a law professor at the University of North Carolina who writes about First Amendment and constitutional law and separation of powers. Technocrat chatted with him about implications for social media of the Supreme Court case Elonis v. United States, which deals with violent comments Anthony Elonis made on Facebook. The court heard oral arguments last week. Below is some of the discussion (lightly edited).

Q: … What’s the issue in this case?

A: Okay, there are actually two issues here. One is the question of interpreting the statute under which Elonis was prosecuted and whether that required that in order to be convicted, the defendant had to have a specific intent to threaten or whether it would just be sufficient if it was reasonably interpreted that what he had to say would be taken as a threat.

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