Blog posts tagged with 'Legislation'
Wednesday, September 12
Via John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable, new legislation aimed at protecting privacy in the mobile space has been introduced in Congress:
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said Wednesday he has introduced mobile app legislation that would require app sellers to disclose the software being installed when an app is downloaded, and users to give their affirmative consent.
Some highlights from the bill include disclosure on monitoring by apps and other software, a focus on consumer consent before monitoring can proceed, and greater oversight from both the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.
Wednesday, April 25
Via The Hill‘s Brendan Sasso comes some startling new numbers from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding security on the nation’s networks:
Cyber attacks on the federal government soared 680 percent in five years, an official from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified Tuesday.
Gregory Wilshusen, director of information issues for the GAO, said federal agencies reported 42,887 cybersecurity “incidents” in 2011, compared with just 5,503 in 2006.
The incidents included malicious code, denial of service attacks and unauthorized access to systems.
Later this week, the House of Representatives is set to vote on a few cybersecurity bills, including the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA), which has already garnered close to 800,000 petition signatures against it due to privacy concerns. As Gerry Smith of the Huffington Post reports:
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, sponsored by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), seeks to give businesses and the federal government legal protection to share cyber threats with each other in an effort to thwart hackers.
Currently, they do not share that data because the information is classified and companies fear violating anti-trust law.
But privacy and civil liberties groups say the bill’s definition of the consumer data that can be shared with the government is overly broad, and once the data is shared, the government could use that information for other purposes—such as investigating or prosecuting crimes—without needing to obtain a warrant. They also criticize the legislation for not requiring companies to make customer information anonymous before sharing it with the government.
Thursday, April 05
Speaking of spectrum and mobile broadband, Senator Mark Warner has a good piece for Wired on why the airwaves matter more than ever:
We all know the United States, the birthplace of the internet, is falling behind the rest of the developed world in terms of broadband speeds and access. The Obama Administration and the Federal Communications Commission have been pushing for more commercial access to spectrum, yet it is increasingly clear that we do not have a long-term plan to manage this limited resource.
Earlier this year, the internet exploded with consumer concerns about proposed legislation intended to curb online piracy. Without a real spectrum plan, we risk reaching a tipping point where the same forces that spontaneously ignited during the PIPA/SOPA debate are stifled — along with our nation’s economic ability to further innovate and grow.
Tuesday, February 28
Broadcasting & Cable’s John Eggerton reporting on a speech made by FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell yesterday at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona:
McDowell was not opposed to Congress limiting the FCC’s ability to condition the auction. He has long complained of the conditions on the FCC’s 2008 auction of the first tranche of broadcast spectrum reclaimed in the DTV transition. Those are widely believed to have discouraged bidders and reduced revenue from the auction.
“The lesson learned from that auction and others is that when governments attempt to conduct social and economic engineering by foisting unnecessarily complicated mandates on the use of spectrum, their efforts frequently backfire,” McDowell said. He said he thought the FCC could get it right this time.
Friday, January 20
Earlier this week, a number of popular online sites — including Wikipedia and Google — went “dark” in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), two anti-piracy bills that had been making their way through the House and Senate, respectively.
The protests appear to have had an effect, as scheduled votes on both bills have been put on hold. Over at GigaOm, Stacey Higginbotham examines why the protests were effective:
The protests that rocked the web on Wednesday and resulted in 13 million Americans taking some form of action to protest PIPA and its companion bill in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), have been essential for swaying legislative opinion on the issue. Behind the scenes, tech industry leaders have been discussing the issue with congressional staffers and legislators in an effort to educate them about the effects of the legislation and more broadly about how the Internet works at a technical and business level.
Online piracy is a complicated issue, and it’s unlikely the debate will be settled any time soon. But it’s encouraging that Congress is willing take its time on legislation. After all, the Internet only became what it is today thanks to a “light touch” when it comes to government intervention.
Friday, January 06
Over at CIO, Kenneth Corbin offers five technology issues he believes will dominate policy discussion in the coming year. Not surprisingly, the number one spot is occupied by the need for more spectrum:
The proliferation of smartphones and tablet computers has meant that cellular networks are an increasingly popular on-ramp to the Internet. As mobile data usage has ballooned, wireless providers have been pressing hard for the government to free up spectrum that could boost the capacity in their networks. While there is general agreement that more spectrum is needed, the question of how to free up swaths of the airwaves for mobile broadband remains controversial.
Other hot topics on Corbin’s list: privacy, cybersecurity, and net neutrality.
Thursday, December 22
Over at The National Journal, Juliana Gruenwald has a good overview of the ongoing effort to free up more spectrum for public safety and wireless services:
Stakeholders in the year-long debate over spectrum legislation find themselves in a bit of a holding pattern while lawmakers try to figure out how to break a congressional logjam over how to extend a payroll-tax holiday.
House GOP leaders included a version of spectrum legislation approved earlier this month by the Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee in legislation the House passed last week providing a one-year extension of the payroll-tax cut. But the package passed by the Senate on Saturday providing a two-month payroll-tax holiday did not include spectrum legislation. On Tuesday, House GOP leaders balked at calls to pass the Senate’s payroll bill before leaving town for its holiday break, and instead say they want to negotiate with the Senate over the differences between the two bills.
Wednesday, March 30
At a hearing held today by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Governor Tom Kean and Representative Lee Hamilton, Chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, came out in support of dedicating spectrum — specifically, the 700 Mhz band (or “D Block”) — for a nationwide public safety network. As Sara Jerome of The Hill reports, Gov. Kean and Rep. Hamilton were “key holdouts” in endorsing the plan, which has the support of the Obama administration.
The endorsements were good news to the Public Safety Alliance, a coalition of public safety associations pushing for a nationwide network. The coalition’s spokesman, Sean Kirkendall, issued this following statement:
“One of the most important results of today’s hearing is how it showed continued Congressional momentum for a dedicated nationwide public safety network. The challenge for Congress now is to move forward and pass legislation to create this network by September, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Organizations representing hundreds of thousands of first responders have repeatedly weighed in with Congress on the need for a dedicated nationwide communications network. It is the best, most efficient way to coordinate responses during emergencies, both large and small, every day incidents to major disasters. Judging by today’s hearing, this public safety message is getting through.
Chairman King and ranking member Thompson deserve major credit for their continuing efforts to highlight and solve this crucial issue. The police, fire and rescue teams that protect our nation every day will not only be watching this issue closely in the coming weeks, but will continue to weigh in.”
Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller and House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King have both submitted legislation to move the plan forward. Stay tuned…
Monday, February 14
The issue of online tracking by companies has been floating around the halls of Washington the past few years. Now, Wired’s Ryan Singel reports, it’s being tackled in bill form by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA):
The bill, known as the Do-Not-Track-Me-Online Act, intends to let people choose a no-tracking setting in their browser and have companies obey that setting. The rules would mainly apply to companies whose primary business is collecting and analyzing data, but has loopholes for companies that collect data to improve their own services. Under those provisions, the FTC could rule website-analytics software to be legal.
The FTC asked browser makers in December to include a Do-Not-Track button in their browser, and called on online-advertising companies to agree to obey the settings. The setting is already available in beta builds of Firefox, and will soon be integrated into Chrome and IE as well.
Speier’s legislation seems directed at behavioral-tracking companies that track users around the web — usually without their knowledge — in order to create marketing profiles about users. The info is then used to serve targeted ads, which can be sold at a premium to advertisers.
Tuesday, February 01
Actually, make that the day after the Ides of February (as in, Feb. 16), when two — and possibly three — big telecom hearings will occur. On the docket: An effort to repeal net neutrality in the House, and spectrum legislation in the Senate, with the possibility of the Combating Online Infringement and Copyrights Act (COICA) also being taken up in the Senate.
Thursday, January 27
Despite the FCC’s actions last month, the net neutrality debate refuses to go away. Already Republicans in Congress have vowed to dismantle the FCC’s rules, and now legislators from across the aisle are getting in on the act. Reports Broadcasting & Cable:
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has introduced a bill, the Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011, that would create a new section under Title II of the Communications Act enshrining the FCC’s six new network neutrality rules and applying them to wireless.
Sen. Cantwell’s bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Al Franken, who has been one of the loudest voices in Congress calling for stricter rules.
Tuesday, January 25
Via The Hill’s Sara Jerome, House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith is calling for new online privacy laws. But unlike the usual talk about privacy — namely, protecting consumers online — Smith wants new laws that force providers to keep private data:
Smith said at a hearing on Tuesday that Internet access providers should be forced to save personal details linked to users’ IP addresses as a way to help combat child pornography. In the last Congress, he introduced a bill requiring they do so for two years.
“It ensures that the online footprints of predators are not erased,” he said.
Monday, January 24
A bill put together by Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins last summer that would grant the president power over Internet networks during a national crisis (also known as the “Internet kill switch” bill) will likely make a return, according Declan McCullagh of CNet:
Portions of the Lieberman-Collins bill, which was not uniformly well-received when it became public in June 2010, became even more restrictive when a Senate committee approved a modified version on December 15. The full Senate did not act on the measure.
The revised version includes new language saying that the federal government’s designation of vital Internet or other computer systems “shall not be subject to judicial review.” Another addition expanded the definition of critical infrastructure to include “provider of information technology,” and a third authorized the submission of “classified” reports on security vulnerabilities.
Thursday, November 18
With more and more countries censoring the Internet in some fashion, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) is aiming to solidify America’s position as an online freedom leader. The National Journal reports on the Rep’s proposed bill:
[The] Global Online Freedom Act would require the State Department to set up an Office of Global Internet Freedom and compile an annual list of Internet-restricting countries. The measure also would require U.S. information technology and communications firms to store personally identifiable information outside of Internet-restricting countries and report when countries ask them to censor, block or restrict access to information.
Friday, October 29
After the collapse of the Waxman net neutrality bill, some believed legislation that would finally settle the longstanding tech debate could be passed during the lame duck session. But as Darren Samuelsohn and Tony Romm of Politico report, that prospect is looking less and less likely:
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told POLITICO on Wednesday that Republicans would have little incentive to support a temporary compromise that even telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon seemed to support.
“Knowing we’ll have a much stronger hand come January, there’s no reason for us to compromise or save someone’s bacon,” he said in an interview.
Upton’s position should not come as a surprise to most Democrats. He has long opposed net neutrality regulations and was not a supporter of the proposal current committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) floated last month.
Rep. Upton is expected to be the next chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee should Republicans take control of the House next week as expected.
Monday, September 27
Charlie Savage at the New York Times reports that federal law enforcement agencies and national security officials want new powers to wiretap suspects online:
Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.
This, obviously, would have some major privacy ramifications. But there are technical issues as well. More from Savage’s story:
James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.
“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”
The Obama administration hopes to submit the bill to Congress sometime in 2011.
Friday, September 10
The long-gestating cybersecurity bill — aimed to upgrade the government’s security measures in order to keep up with technology — may soon be ready for prime time. But as Diane Bartz of Reuters reports, despite Senator Harry Reid pushing it near the top of the agenda, the bill’s chances of being passed this year are looking dicey:
Previous congressional efforts to address these threats have run into roadblocks from high tech and telecommunications companies. They staunchly oppose any mandates—such as certification of cybersecurity professionals or requiring portions of the network to be shut down to mitigate a threat.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Marcus Sachs, a cyber policy expert with Verizon Communications Inc, told Reuters, about the prospects for legislation this year.
Wednesday, August 04
Via USA Today, college students returning to campus this fall will find it a little more difficult to download movies and music illegally:
Every college across the country must either have installed software to block illegal file-sharing or have created some other procedure for preventing it. The requirement is part of the 2008 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which took effect July 1.
Some schools have been working to comply with the provisions for several years.
Under the law, student violators face fines from $750 to $30,000 for each song or movie downloaded. If a court determines the infringement was “willful,” that fine can be as much as $250,000, although some judges have reduced higher fines, saying they’re unreasonable. Schools’ liability is limited if they cooperate with law enforcement.
Monday, August 02
Last week, Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich) and Gene Green (D-Tex) co-submitted a resolution asking the FCC to step back from regulating the Internet under Title II. From The Hill:
“Currently, Congressional Leadership is working on crafting targeted legislation aimed at broadband Internet. It is important that the FCC gives Congress time necessary to complete its work,” Green said in a statement.
48 congressional leaders are listed as co-sponsors of the resolution.
Meanwhile, two more net neutrality supporters — Reps. Ben Chandler (D-Ky) and Alan Grayson (D-Fla) — sent a joint letter to the FCC stating that Congress, and not the Commission, should be the ones to tackle the legalities of broadband service.
Thursday, July 29
Four years ago, Congress banned Internet gambling. But as the New York Times reports, there is growing momentum around repealing the law:
On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill that would effectively legalize online poker and other nonsports betting, overturning a 2006 federal ban that critics say merely drove Web-based casinos offshore.
The bill would direct the Treasury Department to license and regulate Internet gambling operations, while a companion measure, pending before another committee, would allow the Internal Revenue Service to tax such businesses. Winnings by individuals would also be taxed, as regular gambling winnings are now.
It’s estimated that taxes on gambling could bring in $42 billion for the government over ten years.