With public outcry over the huge mountains of money in government, Google’s recent increase in lobbying expenditures could be troublesome. The search giant now spends more than Microsoft lobbying the federal government, $9.68 million in 2011 according to the company’s recent public filings. That is nearly double the 2010 number. This came in a year when government agencies and the congress took a closer look at the Internet than ever before.
You've probably read the soundbites: critics say that the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act working their way through Congress will stifle technological innovation, trample free speech and unravel the Web as we know it. Thousands of websites have “gone dark” and shut down for at least a portion of the day just to protest the depths of the bills’ combined sucktitude. But do you really know why SOPA sucks? (Hint: The answer’s different now than it was a few weeks ago.) Do you know which websites joined the blackout? Do you know what YOU can do to help? No? You will after reading this.
Big media isn’t used to losing a fight, but then again this is the Internet we are talking about here. The much despised SOPA censorship bill introduced by Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith seems to have completely stalled, which according to The Hill is due to a lack of consensus. If you are one of the countless thousands who called your local officials to lodge complaints, sent old fashioned mail, or even just complained in online forums give yourself a pat on the back, somebody heard you.
The idea of Amazon’s Silk browser, for the Kindle Fire is an intriguing one. By caching web assets ahead of time, Amazon hopes to accelerate the browsing experience. But running all user traffic through Amazon’s EC2 cloud has made some privacy-minded people a little uneasy. Now members of Congress are starting to ask questions, and some of them are not totally ridiculous.
In a rare example of bipartisanship, the US Congress passed a patent reform bill, and President Obama has just signed it into law. The America Invents Act is the most significant revamp of the patent system in decades. It aims to speed the review process, weed out bad patents, and ensure the right party gets the patent.
Sony executives bowed down before the Japanese and international press earlier this year to tell everyone “we’re sorry”, but for those of us wondering if our credit card numbers were being sold off on the seedier parts of the web, somehow “we’re sorry”, just didn’t cut it. A new law being presented by Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal however will finally start holding large companies responsible for cyber security, and impose pretty harsh penalties on firms that don’t take the appropriate precautions.
Smart phones perform many roles in modern life, but political tool wasn’t at the top of our list. Fourth of July week is a great time to feature a politically driven app such as Congress by Sunlight Labs.
“We are Legion.” So said a file – titled “Anonymous,” naturally – that Sony allegedly discovered while combing through the smoldering wreckage of its hacked-to-pieces online infrastructure. Sony revealed that juicy bit of evidence in response to a Congressional hearing over data breaches, which – in itself – was the closest thing to a live evisceration you'll ever see broadcasted on CSPAN.
A congressional hearing this morning took on a confrontational tone as Representatives criticized Google for falling short on policing piracy online. After pointing out that El Goog did pull Grooveshark from the Market (which is apparently a good thing), the committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte said it was not about what Google has done, " But more about what Google has left to do."
Boy, times sure have changed, haven't they? Our technology makes Thomas Edison's predictions look downright silly, we might have cured HIV, and – most insanely of all – Duke Nukem Forever has a friggin' release date. Oh, but you know what hasn't changed? Like, at all? Congressman Joe Baca.
Yep, he's at it again. Same “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent games has been linked to blah, blah, blah” bit, same alleged proof that games cause violence, same ignorance of all evidence to the contrary. Hell, he's even regurgitating the same two year-old press release!
This time, though, Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia is his co-sponsor, which means an entire two people now support this hilariously misguided cause. Seeing as the bill flopped last time and then proceeded to disappear for a couple years, its passing is about as likely as Baca changing his first name to “Chew.” (Which would completely change our opinion of him, but we digress.)