Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 25, 2014

Posts in "Social Media"

October 14, 2014

The Week Ahead: FCC Meeting and the Future of Internet Regulation Event

The Federal Communications Commission holds an open meeting, the American Red Cross holds an event on video games and the laws of war and Tim Berners-Lee, Vinton G. Cerf and others are scheduled to participate at a Duke event on the future of Internet regulation.

Tuesday

The Society of Professional Journalists and the Medill School of Journalism hold a panel discussion on net neutrality and media.

The American Red Cross hosts an event on video games and the laws of war.

Wednesday

The Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative hosts a panel discussion on net neutrality rules and wireless Internet.

The Heritage Foundation hosts an event on regulation of the video marketplace.

Thursday

The Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus hosts a panel discussion on whether an update of the Communications Act needs to include the Internet.

The United States Institute of Peace hosts an event on the impact of technology on Afghanistan’s democratic process.

Friday

The Federal Communications Commission holds an open meeting.

Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy hosts an event titled “Internet Regulation in 2020.”

October 10, 2014

Weekly Recap: Net Neutrality, Mobile ‘Cramming’ and a Spacewalk

Among the highlights in happenings from the past few days: President Barack Obama talked net neutrality, AT&T Mobility agreed to a $105 million settlement over mobile “cramming” allegations, and an astronaut popular on Twitter took his first spacewalk outside the International Space Station. That and more news highlights as well as some Technocrat posts are below. For happenings from earlier this week, check out the Mid-Week Catchup.

Full story

October 8, 2014

Mid-Week Catchup: Twitter’s Lawsuit, Student Data Privacy & AT&T’s Data Breach

Need to catch up on what’s happened in tech policy news over the past day or so? A few highlights include Twitter’s lawsuit against the federal government, student data privacy and an AT&T data breach.

  • The Software & Information Industry Association and the Future of Privacy Forum released an education privacy pledge on student data, with Microsoft and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt among the companies that signed on.  A few stories point out that some big name companies did not sign on, like Apple, Google and Pearson.

October 3, 2014

Weekly Recap: Football, Spectrum Incentive Auctions and Facebook Research

Happy National Manufacturing Day! Football, the spectrum incentive auctions and research processes at Facebook were among the issues that cropped up this week. Here’s a look at some of the highlights along with a few Technocrat posts in case you missed them.

Full story

October 2, 2014

Roundup: Facebook Announces Research Process Change

This past summer, Facebook sparked controversy over its changing of users’ News Feeds for an emotion study and on Thursday, the company announced some changes to its research process.  Some of the initial articles on the announcement point out what’s missing from it, say it’s not really sufficient or say it’s a step forward.

In a blog post Thursday, Mike Schropfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer wrote:

Although this subject matter was important to research, we were unprepared for the reaction the paper received when it was published and have taken to heart the comments and criticism. It is clear now that there are things we should have done differently.

Among the changes, according to the blog post, are an “enhanced review process” prior to research on certain groups of people and content  that could be “considered deeply personal” and the creation of an internal review panel for these projects. The blog post states that the “bootcamp” for new engineers will include education on the company’s research practices and that its published academic research will available on one site.

But the New York Times’ Vindu Goel points out that this doesn’t include outside review and that there are some unanswered questions:

But no outside body will review Facebook’s research projects, and the company declined to disclose what guidelines it would use to decide whether research was appropriate. Nor did it indicate whether it will get consent from users for projects like its emotion manipulation study, which set off a global furor when it was disclosed this summer.

In essence, Facebook’s message is the same as it has always been: Trust us, we promise to do better.

Gigaom’s Carmel DeAmicis writes that it’s unclear whether “external policing” will be conducted and points to potential problems with an internal review panel:

Facebook says its internal study review team will be comprised of lawyers, engineers, and privacy experts. That sounds hunky-dory, but outside accountability matters, since anyone who works for Facebook may be too close to the company to accurately determine ethical practices. For academic researchers, there are clear ways of doing things determined by industry organizations, external review boards, and even federal law.

It’s a step in the right direction for the company, but without additional systems to hold Facebook accountable, it’s not quite enough.

Ellis Hamberger at The Verge, on the other hand, has a more positive take:

Facebook can’t take back what it did, but today’s measures go a long way towards rectifying the underlying structures that enabled such an aggressive study to happen without Facebook’s higher-ups having any idea it was taking place. It should also help new engineers understand that Facebook users aren’t just numbers on a chart. 1.3 billion users is a whole lot of people, but that doesn’t mean you can experiment on them — even a tiny percentage of them — without being more transparent about exactly what you’re doing.

Josh Constine at TechCrunch writes: “If we’ve gained anything from the emotional manipulation study backlash, it’s that more of Facebook’s research will now be out in the open.”

“Before, it was buried in academic journals and often lacked comprehensible explanations of what Facebook was doing and why,” he writes. “That both made it feel like Facebook was shadily being secretive, and left research open to sensationalist interpretation.”

September 24, 2014

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, His Tech Interests & Five Guys

chaffetz 281 102813 445x269 Rep. Jason Chaffetz, His Tech Interests & Five Guys

Rep. Jason Chaffetz does a television interview from the rotunda in the Russell Senate Office Building on Oct. 28, 2013. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz sits on the House Judiciary subcommittee with jurisdiction over intellectual property and information technology issues, is a prolific user of Twitter and is interested in the intersection of security, technology and privacy.

CQ Roll Call’s updated profile of Chaffetz went online (subscription) earlier this week and a significant portion of it looks at his work and stances on tech policy issues, including: online gambling, music royalty rates and legislation that would allow states to collect sales taxes on online purchases made by residents, even when the retailer is out of state.

Full story

September 22, 2014

Week Ahead: OkCupid, High-Skilled Immigration Policy & Cross-Border Data Flows

Lawmakers are out of town for several weeks, and that means a somewhat quieter week in Washington. But there’s still plenty going on, with OkCupid’s co-founder and president talking at Sixth & I as well as events on high-skilled immigration policy and and cross-border data flows.

Monday

OkCupid’s Christian Rudder caused a stir this summer over a blog post about experiments the online dating site has conducted. He has a new book out and he’ll be at Sixth & I on Monday talking to The Atlantic’s Megan Garber.

On Monday and Tuesday, The National Academies’ Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy hosts a conference titled “High-Skilled Immigration Policy & the Global Competition for Talent.”

Tuesday

On Tuesday, The Brookings Institution hosts an event releasing three papers proposing ways to spur more efficient use of government-owned spectrum.

Wednesday

The Center for Democracy & Technology on Wednesday holds an event on education, data and privacy.

Thursday

On Thursday, Brookings hosts a panel discussion on challenges to cross-border data flows and their potential impacts on communications, trade and commerce.

August 8, 2014

FCC Adopts Text-to-911 Rules

The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules on Friday requiring all wireless carriers and some texting apps to be capable of supporting texts to 911 emergency call centers by the end of the year.

In addition to covering wireless carriers, the rules cover texting apps that can send messages to any phone number, but they don’t cover those whose texts are limited to other users of the app. It also wouldn’t cover texts from Wi-Fi-only locations.

Full story

August 1, 2014

The Internet.org App, Net Neutality and the Digital Divide

Facebook on Thursday announced an app from Internet.org – a project among companies including Facebook which tries to expand Internet access in parts of the world where people aren’t connected – that lets mobile phone users connect to certain websites without incurring data charges, starting with Airtel customers in Zambia. A couple articles say that’s a good thing or at least has the potential to do so, but they also lay out questions about implications on net neutrality and the digital divide.

Full story

July 22, 2014

Hillary Clinton Q&A at Twitter HQ

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the potential Democratic presidential candidate who has been promoting her new book “Hard Choices,” did a Q&A on Monday at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, where she talked about women in politics, college costs, Russia and many other topics — including tech issues.

Full story

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