Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Shenzhou 9 Sparks Renewed Debate On Space Race With China

June 19th, 2012 06:19 admin View Comments


MarkWhittington writes “With the flight of the Shenzhou 9, which includes the first docking between a Chinese spacecraft and a prototype space station module, a renewed debate has arisen over the implications of Chinese space feats. China is planning a large space station by the end of this decade. It has expressed the desire to land people on the moon sometime in the next decade. Scientists, foreign policy experts and journalists debate whether China has supplanted the U.S. as a space power and whether that matters. ‘In reality, the implications of China’s move could be a much cooler third option: a new space race between the Chinese government and U.S. startups. While China is 50 years behind the U.S. government, they are much more comparable to U.S. companies. It was only a couple of weeks ago that SpaceX made history by becoming the first private company to successfully dock a space module to a station in orbit. This means they are roughly 10-15 years behind the Chinese government, but they could gain fast.’”

Source: Shenzhou 9 Sparks Renewed Debate On Space Race With China

The Canadian DMCA Battle Concludes: How Thousands of Canadians Changed Copyright

June 18th, 2012 06:22 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “Nearly 15 years of debate over digital copyright reform will come to an end today as Bill C-11, the fourth legislative attempt at Canadian copyright reform, passes in the House of Commons. Many participants in the copyright debate view the bill with great disappointment, pointing to the government’s decision to adopt restrictive digital lock rules as a signal that their views were ignored. Despite the loss on digital locks, the “Canadian copyright” led to some dramatic changes to Canadian copyright with some important wins for Canadians who spoke out on copyright. The government expanded fair dealing and added provisions on time shifting, format shifting, backup copies, and user generated content in response to public pressure. It also included a cap on statutory damages, expanded education exceptions, and rejected SOPA-style amendments.”

Source: The Canadian DMCA Battle Concludes: How Thousands of Canadians Changed Copyright

US Gov’t Demands For Google Data Up 37% Over the Last Year

June 18th, 2012 06:09 admin View Comments


Sparrowvsrevolution writes “Governments are sticking their noses into Google’s servers more than ever before. In the second half of 2011, Google received 6,321 requests that it hand over its users’ private data to U.S. government agencies including law enforcement, and complied at least partially with those requests in 93% of cases, according to the latest update to the company’s bi-annual Transparency Report. That’s up from 5,950 requests in the first half of 2011, and marks a 37% increase in the number of requests over the same period the year before. Compared with the second half of 2009, the first time Google released the government request numbers, the latest figures represent a 76% spike. Data demands from foreign governments have increased even more quickly than those from the U.S., up to 11,936 in the second half of 2011 compared with 9,600 in the same period the year before, though Google was much less likely to comply with those non-U.S. government requests.”

Source: US Gov’t Demands For Google Data Up 37% Over the Last Year

MPAA’s Dodd Secretly Lobbied For a Canadian DMCA

June 15th, 2012 06:17 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “The Canadian government is expected to pass copyright reform next week. The bill’s anti-circumvention rules are a mirror image of the DMCA, leading many to conclude that the government simply caved to U.S. led lobbying pressure. Now Michael Geist provides the evidence — a secret series of unreported meetings between MPAA head Christopher Dodd and Canada’s foreign minister, heritage minister, and a senior industry official, just weeks after the bill was introduced and days before SOPA landed in the U.S.”

Source: MPAA’s Dodd Secretly Lobbied For a Canadian DMCA

US Security Services May ‘Have Moles Within Microsoft,’ Says Researcher

June 15th, 2012 06:30 admin View Comments


Barence writes U.S. government officials could be working under cover at Microsoft to help the country’s cyber-espionage programme, according to one leading security expert. According to Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at security firm F-Secure, the claim is a logical conclusion to a series of recent discoveries and disclosures linking the U.S. government to 2010′s Stuxnet attack on Iran and ties between Stuxnet and the recent Flame attack. ‘It’s plausible that if there is an operation under way and being run by a U.S. intelligence agency it would make perfect sense for them to plant moles inside Microsoft to assist in pulling it off, just as they would in any other undercover operation,’ he said. ‘It’s not certain, but it would be common sense to expect they would do that.’”

Source: US Security Services May ‘Have Moles Within Microsoft,’ Says Researcher

US Gov’t Wants Megaupload Users To Pay For Their Data

June 13th, 2012 06:20 admin View Comments


angry tapir writes “U.S. federal prosecutors are fine with Megaupload users recovering their data — as long as they pay for it. The government’s position was explained in a court filing on Friday concerning one of the many interesting side issues that has emerged from the shutdown of Megaupload, formerly one of the most highly trafficked file-sharing sites. Prosecutors were responding to a motion filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in late March on behalf of Kyle Goodwin, an Ohio-based sports reporter who used Megaupload legitimately for storing videos. The government argues that it only copied part of the Megaupload data and the physical servers were never seized. Megaupload’s 1,103 servers — which hold upwards of 28 petabytes of data — are still held by Carpathia Hosting. Goodwin’s options, prosecutors said, are either pay — or sue — Carpathia, or sue Megaupload.”

Source: US Gov’t Wants Megaupload Users To Pay For Their Data

A Digital Citizen’s Bill of Rights

June 12th, 2012 06:19 admin View Comments

The Internet

New submitter matt.a.f writes “Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has published a first-draft Internet Bill of Rights, and it’s open for feedback. He wrote, ‘While I do not have all the answers, the remarkable cooperation we witnessed in defense of an open Internet showed me three things. First, government is flying blind, interfering and regulating without understanding even the basics. Second, we have a rare opportunity to give government marching orders on how to treat the Internet, those who use it and the innovation it supports. And third, we must get to work immediately because our opponents are not giving up.’ Given the value of taking an active approach agains prospective laws such as SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA, I think it’s very important to try to spread awareness, participation, and encourage elected officials to support such things.”

Source: A Digital Citizen’s Bill of Rights

How the Tech Industry’s Anti-SOPA Tactics Changed Politics

June 8th, 2012 06:02 admin View Comments

The tactics used in the massive online protests that helped convince Congress to axe the controversial SOPA and PIPA bills earlier this year brought new weight to Internet-based activism. Observers say the changes are already reshaping the political process in significant ways.

Netizens who joined the groundswell against the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act and the Senate’s Protect IP Act were part of the first successful Internet campaign to kill legislation. The Internet-delivered knockout punch left many lawmakers scrambling to understand this sudden disruption of the political process, according to Internet leaders on a panel at the two-day Tech Policy Summit in Napa, Calif, this week.

“This is kind of the day that Silicon Valley realizes that Washington exists, and this is also the day that Washington realizes that Silicon Valley is important,” said Jonathan Nelson, founder of Hacker & Founders, an Internet community of early Silicon Valley startups.

Online protests have “really disrupted the whole process of tech policy, advocacy in Washington,” said panelist Larry Downes, author of the “The Laws of Disruption.” “Congress is very confused. They don’t know what to make of it. They know it’s scary and it’s fast and it had an effect.”

Web Mobs

One reason for the politicians confusion is the unruly nature of many Web protests. Outrage over Internet controvesiues like the censorship and privacy issues many saw in SOPA and PIPA can often spark mob-like behavior. Many netizens join movements through word of mouth on Facebook, Twitter and other online forums without a full understanding of the issues, panelists noted.

“I’ve noticed this in online communities for years,” Nelson said. “There are lynch mobs that happen when this rumor passes and all of a sudden this person is being lambasted online.”

Unfortunately, people using the Web for activism will have to accept mobs as a fact of Internet life, Nelson warned. “We’re going to actually start seeing a lot more of that emergence sort of mob behavior around these political issues.”

The Politicians Come

Trying to make sense of the protests, politicians have been flying into Silicon Valley more often to meet with tech startups and get a reading on where the industry stands on political issues, noted Nnena Ukuku, co-founder and chief executive of Black Founders Startup Ventures,. Black Founders provides startup financing with a focus on African-American entrepreneurs.

To take advantage of this attention, though, younger generations in the tech industry will have to get over their bad attitudes about working with government. Tech leaders often complain that government moves too slowly and has no bearing on their lives anyway. “Because of that, they’re not engaging with government, which I think continues to create a problem,” Ukuku said.

“There’s a machine and there’s rules and I think that it’s just a matter of time before enough people say, ‘Hey, may be I can tweak this machine a little bit,’” added Nelson. “I actually think that those geeks and those companies that do [engage with government] are probably going to have an immense amount of leverage.”

Now What?

So what’s the next flashpoint? Unresolved issues that could bring the tech industry into conflict with lawmakers include consumer privacy, immigration reform and copyright protection.

Those conflicts are likely to continue, as many tech leaders still don’t trust government to solve problems effectively. Downes echoed the familiar refrain that government should let the industry regulate itself. “Let us work out issues like privacy, like security, like anti-trust,” he said. “Let us work out these competitive things ourselves. We won’t do a perfect job, but we’re going to do a better job.”

It’s far from clear if government agrees with that assessment. But in the wake of the successful SOPA/PIPA protests, it’s no longer safe for the government to ignore the wishes of the tech community.

Photo by Antone Gonsalves: Pictured, left to right:

Michelle Quinn, tech reporter, Politico PRO (Moderator)

Larry Downes, author of “The Laws of Disruption”

Nnena Ukuku, co-founder and CEO of Black Founders Startup Ventures

Jonathan Nelson, founder of Hackers & Founders

Source: How the Tech Industry’s Anti-SOPA Tactics Changed Politics

Samsung Sues Aussie Patent Office In Apple Suit, Apple Sues Back

June 8th, 2012 06:29 admin View Comments


schliz writes “Samsung has sued the Australian patent commissioner — and by extension the Australian Government — in an attempt to force a review of patents key to its global battle with smartphone rival Apple. The Korean manufacturer claims that the commissioner should not have been able to grant four patents used by Apple in its case against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. The Government solicitor will face Samsung in court on June 25.” Not to be outdone, niftydude points out that Apple has filed a motion in a California court to prevent Samsung selling its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S III in the US.

Source: Samsung Sues Aussie Patent Office In Apple Suit, Apple Sues Back

Could Insurance Coverage Hobble Commercial Space Flights?

June 7th, 2012 06:21 admin View Comments


coondoggie writes “Should the government continue to share the monetary risk of a catastrophic spacecraft accident even as the United States depends ever-more on commercial space technology? The question is one currently up for debate as the program that currently insures space launches, the Federal Aviation Administration’s ‘indemnification’ risk-sharing authority, which can provide a maximum of $2.7 billion of insurance per launch, expires at the end of the year. According to the Government Accountability Office a catastrophic commercial launch accident could result in injuries or property damage to the uninvolved public, or ‘third parties.’ In anticipation of such an event, a launch company must purchase a fixed amount of insurance for each launch, per calculation by FAA; the federal government is potentially liable for claims above that amount up about $2.7 billion.”

Source: Could Insurance Coverage Hobble Commercial Space Flights?