Tag Archives: SOPA

The New Face of Silicon Valley’s Political Activism

Sarah Lai Stirland at Tech President discusses the massive online and offline presence seen on January 18th in response to SOPA and PIPA, and what it could portend for further engagement of Washington DC by members of the tech community. In particular, Stirland spoke with Engine Advocacy‘s Mike McGeary, who sees the potential for a variety of tools enabling entrepreneurs and others to better convey to policymakers their positions on the issues and legislation. McGeary is also setting up a steering committee for this effort; among its members, Tech Dirt’s Mike Masnick, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and Marvin Ammori.

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The Latest On SOPA / PIPA

Yesterday, six Republican senators of the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Harry Reid, telling him that PIPA is not ready to be brought to a vote and that significant work must be done on it. The letter expressed concerns over the “cybersecurity implications” and “dilution of First Amendment rights” the current legislation poses. This comes as another Republican, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania,  declared he was unlikely to support PIPA.

Meanwhile, the White House issued a response to two petitions urging the President to veto SOPA, stating:

While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.

That may seem like significant statement, but as Politico points out, “it stopped short of saying whether that includes two bills that have sent the tech industry into a panic.”

And earlier today, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) announced that a hearing scheduled for January 18th on technical concerns about SOPA has been postponed following assurances from Rep. Lamar Smith that the legislation won’t move forward without a consensus. Smith also said that the DNS blocking provisions would be removed from the bill.

Despite these developments, opposition remains fierce. The SOPA blackouts are still on for the 18th. And on the 17th, Marvin will be doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit. Be sure to check it out.

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Morning Stories (1-13-2012)

  • The Hill reports that Sen. Patrick Leahy will be putting forth a manager’s amendment of PIPA for the January 24 vote, pledging to cut the DNS blocking provision from the legislation. Mike Masnick at TechDirt provides some critical analysis.
  • Meanwhile, Rep. Jared Polis has taken to the League of Legends gaming forum to rally the opposition to PIPA and SOPA. And Carl Franzen at TPM asks what the upcoming January 18th “Blackout” and House Oversight Committee hearing will accomplish.
  • Gen. Keith Alexander, head of US Cyber Command,  reiterates that active defenses are increasingly necessary to thwart cyber threats, suggesting the current approach used by most businesses is akin to the “Maginot Line.”
  • At the Technology Liberation Front, Berin Szoka, Geoffrey Manne, and Ryan Radia have a thoughtful piece on Google’s Search Plus Your World:

All the usual blustering and speculation in the latest Google antitrust debate has obscured what should, however, be the two key prior questions: (1) Did Google violate the antitrust laws by not including data from Facebook, Twitter and other social networks in its new SPYW program alongside Google+ content; and (2) How might antitrust restrain Google in conditioning participation in this program in the future?

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Morning Stories (1-12-2012)

  • Senator Wyden and Representative  Issa spoke about  SOPA at CES and warned that there’s not much time left to stop the legislation. IBI Times and cnet discuss their remarks.
  • The Brookings Institute hosted an event yesterday entitled “Principles of Internet Governance: An Agenda for Economic Growth and Innovation.” You can watch the event here, and read a recap of the event from National Journal.
  • Pirate Bay is again “clogged up” by Dutch Authorities, who have ordered two ISPs to block access to the site, or face daily fines of €10,000.
  • Carl Szabo at NetChoice discusses the Second Circuit decision of Kirstaeng v Wiley & Sons that held the first-sale doctrine is inapplicable for products manufactured outside the US. NetChoice has filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court asking the Court to overturn the decision.
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Morning Stories (1-11-2012)

  • From the WSJ, a story on the continued rise of Internet activism in Russia, with interesting stats on financial support protesters have received via the web.
  • Google has unveiled a new search feature, called “Search, plus Your World.” Twitter came out swinging against it, but other reactions have been more positive. Ian Paul at PC World provides some further analysis.
  • Stewart Baker briefly discusses his upcoming testimony against SOPA, slated for January 18.
  • CES also took to the SOPA debate, hosting a panel that included various stakeholders. ars technica provides a good recap.
  • Dara Kerr at cnet reports that Facebook will begin inserting sponsored ads into users’ news feeds. Users can place their mouse over the item to determine whether it is from a friend or a sponsored ad.
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Morning Stories (1-10-2012)

  • Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) announced the House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on the technical consequences of SOPA on January 18. Andy Greenberg at Forbes has more.
  • Liz Gannes at Digits has an interesting piece on Twitter’s photo-sharing numbers, and what happened to the third party services when Twitter offered users built-in image hosting.
  • In other Twitter news, Daniel Freedman discusses the quickly deteriorating relationship between Twitter and the US government amid calls for shutting down accounts operated by terrorist groups and other developments.
  • Finally, Google is transforming search once again, with “Search, plus Your World.” Brendan Sasso at Hillicon Valley discusses some of the details.
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Morning Stories (1-6-2012)

  • Larry Downes has an excellent piece discussing Silicon Valley’s response to SOPA, the risk of unintended consequences when regulators intervene in areas they don’t fully comprehend, and the potential for the tech community to establish a bulwark against ill-conceived legislation that threatens innovation and prosperity.
  • Google, Facebook, and Twitter have endorsed the OPEN Act, proposed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), as an alternative to SOPA and PIPA.
  • Vint Cerf had an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday making the point that technology is “an enabler of rights, not a right in itself,” and that engineers and technology creators have an obligation to empower and protect users of that technology. He closes on a thoughtful note:

Improving the Internet is just one means, albeit an important one, by which to improve the human condition. It must be done with an appreciation for the civil and human rights that deserve protection — without pretending that access itself is such a right.

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that the Iranian government is instituting draconian obligations on Internet cafes, requiring them to install surveillance equipment and obtain personal information from customers. There is speculation that this is a precursor to what will be an Iranian intranet, designed to “insulate its citizens from Western ideology and un-Islamic culture, and eventually replace the Internet.”
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Morning Stories (1-5-2012)

  • Dennis Berman at the Wall Street Journal discusses how algorithms and data analytics continue to shape our world, in ways we might not even expect.
  • Apple is increasing pressure on “app pirates” by sending numerous DMCA notices to Apptrackr, a website that locates cracked apps.
  • The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) has completed its transition to a cloud based email system, as part of a broader government cost savings effort to move appropriate systems to the cloud.
  • Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOM asks some crucial questions about what we want and need our elected officials to understand about technology and the Internet, a “political litmus test for tech.” In addition to Higginbotham’s questions – what do you think is important for our leaders to grasp in this area?
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Morning Stories (1-4-2012)

  • Yesterday there was a great deal of ballyhoo over news that Belarus had passed a law to prevent its citizens from browsing foreign websites. The law is a bit more nuanced than that, but nevertheless concern is warranted. Glyn Moody at TechDirt and Gavin Clarke at The Register give good breakdowns on what we know about the law.
  • John Dunn at CIO discusses Japan’s development of a new “virus cyberweapon” that can be used to back trace attacks and shut down offending systems.
  • Brendan Sasso at The Hill reports that the ACLU is suing a Missouri public library after it blocked websites related to Wicca.
  • Want to know where your representatives in Congress stand on PIPA and SOPA? Check out SOPA Track - you can see whether your lawmakers are actively supporting or opposing the legislation, and how much money they’ve raised from groups in favor of and opposed to the legislation.
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Morning Stories (1-3-2012)

  • Verizon cancels its $2 fee for online or by phone bill payments, a day after it announced it.
  • European hackers plan to take the broader Internet censorship battle to the final frontier with plans for a satellite-based “Internet in space.”
  • Interesting story on the developing trend of “open innovation;” reveals some history about the iPod of which I was unaware.
  • Paul Vixie sets the record straight on the differences between “hop by hop” and “end to end” in DNS security and its relevance to SOPA.
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