Last updated: December 22, 2011 - 8:25pm
The hottest tech policy issue to start the year will continue to be online piracy legislation, which has touched off a fierce debate between supporters of the content industries and the Internet community, which is skeptical of the bill's attempts to enforce copyright laws online by demanding search engines and other Web firms delete links to foreign infringing websites.
The pressure on Congress to take some action to improve the country's network protections will also increase as every new major cyber breach has become a reminder of just how vulnerable we are to cyberattacks in this digital age.
Lawmakers will continue to debate the issue of consumer privacy legislation, but there remains strong resistance to new regulation of Web firms, particularly in the House. Instead, the Federal Trade Commission will likely continue to set the standard through its agreements with Web firms like Google and Facebook, both now bound by settlements to clearly present and abide by their privacy policies. 2012 will likely see more firms come under scrutiny for how they use consumer information, including smartphone and mobile app makers, online marketers and location-based service providers like Foursquare and Yelp. More congressional scrutiny can also be expected, with public opinion often serving as de facto regulation in the fast-changing policy area.
AT&T and T-Mobile will have to decide by Jan. 12 whether to abandon their blockbuster $39 billion merger following a series of setbacks that have left the deal on life support.
- House postpones action on Internet piracy bill
- Spectrum Legislation Tops List of Tech Leftovers Awaiting Congress This Fall
- Mobile tech’s future isn’t in the phone, it’s in your car
- Dodd says online piracy debate is ‘breakthrough’
- With SOPA gone, setting Internet advocacy’s next stop
- Rep Issa pushes alternative anti-piracy bill
- Tim O’Reilly: Why I’m fighting SOPA
- Congress’s top 5 tech questions for 2012
- Web giants' consumer privacy strategy faces hard sell
- Spectrum Auction Authority Passes in House
- Court Ruling Wants Google to Weigh Privacy, Public Interest
- Privacy advocates: Cybersecurity bill faces tough odds in Congress this year
- Sen. Leahy will look at anti-piracy alternative
- Recording industry dismisses alternate online piracy bill
- What You Need To Know About The Senate Cybersecurity Bill