Government & Communications

Attempts by governmental bodies to improve or impede communications with or between the citizenry.

Public Knowledge Joins Letter Opposing Act Limiting Independent Agencies

Location:
Public Knowledge, 1818 N Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
1

Public Knowledge joined more than 50 other consumer, small business, community, health, environmental and civil rights groups in a letter to the Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee urging members to oppose the Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act of 2015.

Direct Video Calling Increases Access for Deaf Citizens

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
2

We are pleased to announce that two agencies that routinely interface with the disabilities community -- the US Census Bureau and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) -- will soon be taking up direct video calling technology to allow Deaf citizens to communicate directly with American Sign Language (ASL)-fluent call operators there.

New Features Added to Congress.gov Based On Your Feedback

Location:
Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave, SE, Washington, DC, 20540, United States
Recommendation:
1

Since the unveiling of Congress.gov in September of 2012, we have been constantly adding new features with each release, and many of the features in this release are based directly on your feedback.

China Pushes to Rewrite Rules of Global Internet

Location:
China, China
Recommendation:
2

As social media helped topple regimes in the Middle East and northern Africa, a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army publicly warned that an Internet dominated by the US threatened to overthrow China’s Communist Party. Ye Zheng and a Chinese researcher, writing in the state-run China Youth Daily, said the Internet represented a new form of global control, and the US was a “shadow” present during some of those popular uprisings. Beijing had better pay attention. Four years after they sounded that alarm, China is paying a lot of attention.

Lawmakers could be violating robocall restrictions

Location:
House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and Internet, Independence Avenue and South Capitol Street, Washington, DC, 20003, United States
Recommendation:
2

Some members of Congress might be inappropriately robocalling their constituents' mobile phones. House members in both parties were a tizzy July 28 after confirming their telephone town halls could violate Federal Communications Commission robocall restrictions.

Revamping Predictive Judgments & Interim Rules

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

In addition to setting overall timelines for Federal Communications Commission review of agency rules, as I previously recommended, there are two agency practices that warrant re-evaluation: where the agency relies on a “predictive judgment” to establish a policy or rule; and where the agency adopts an “interim” rule.

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Taking Care of America: Whose Job Is It?

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
2

We live in an exceptional country, we like to tell ourselves. If that’s really so, why are we letting it crumble around us? Regular readers of this column are familiar with my thoughts about the sad state of our communications ecosystem in both telecom and media. We lag in broadband compared to many other nations—in its deployment, adoption, speed, and price. We have allowed a few huge telecom and media companies to control the content and distribution of the broadband Internet and the exciting new technologies that should be making this a golden age of communications. The communications sector has grown to one-sixth of the U.S. economy, yet the majority party in Congress treats it as a side-show.

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Recap: FCC Oversight Hearing

Location:
House Commerce Committee, 45 Independence Ave SW 2123 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC, 20515, United States
Recommendation:
2

The House Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a Federal Communications Commission oversight hearing on July 28, 2015. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and fellow Commissioner Ajit Pai testified. The issues on the agenda were the Broadcast Incentive Auction, the FCC’s revision of competitive bidding rules governing the Designated Entity (DE) program, Privacy, and FCC Process Reform. Generally, the Republicans at the hearing talked about their concerns with FCC policies, while Democrats generally defended the commission under Chairman Wheeler as furthering competition and protecting consumers.

FCC Chairman Wheeler's Response to Members of Congress Regarding GAO Report Additional Actions Could Help FCC Evaluate Its Efforts to Inform Consumers

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

In a response to several members of Congress on July 15, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler discussed a May 15 Government Accountability Office report recommending the FCC conduct or commission research on the effectiveness of the FCC's efforts to provide consumers with broadband performance information.

How We’re Changing the Way We Respond to Petitions

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
2

In 2011 (years before I arrived at the White House) the team here developed a petitions platform called We the People. It provided a clear and easy way for the American people to petition their government  --  along with a threshold for action. Namely  -- once a petition gains 100,000 signatures. We’re going to be changing a few things about We the People.

Disruptive Technology that Could Transform Government-Citizen Relationships

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
2

William Gibson, the science fiction writer who coined the term “cyberspace,” once said: “The future is already here -- it’s just not very evenly distributed.” That may be exactly the way to look at the selection of disruptive technologies we have chosen to highlight in eight critical areas of government, ranging from public safety to health to transportation.

Political Campaigns Go Social, But E-mail Is Still King

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
1

While the campaigns are using newer social media to drive home their message, old-fashioned e-mail addresses are still crucial to fundraising.

Remarks of FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly on Implementing Regulatory Reform at the FCC

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

The Free State foundation has been a leading advocate for improving the Federal Communications Commission's process. That is what makes the focus of today's event on implementing regulatory reform at the FCC both timely and pertinent.

What’s Inside the Justice Department’s Secret Cybersecurity Memo?

Location:
Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20530-0001, United States
Recommendation:
3

Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) has many problems with the cybersecurity bill that the Senate may take up before the August recess. But he can only talk about some of them publicly.

NIST to Host First App Challenge to Improve Data Access

Location:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, MD, 20899-1070, United States

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) plays an essential role in developing and distributing Standard Reference Data, or SRD. The NIST SRD collection contains some of the world’s most accurate and comprehensive datasets of physical, materials science, chemical, and biological data.

The White House’s Alpha Geeks

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Office of Science and Technology Policy, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
1

A Q&A with United State chief technical officer Megan Smith and Deputy CTO Alex Macgillivray.

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Taking Care of America: Whose Job Is It?

We live in an exceptional country, we like to tell ourselves. If that’s really so, why are we letting it crumble around us? Let’s take a quick and random look around.

Four reasons the FCC is ill-suited to handle spectrum allocation

Location:
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), 1150 Seventeenth Street, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
1

Today, only 16 percent of US spectrum resources are allocated to fuel the mobile boom in the private sector. Meanwhile, government sits on as much as 70 percent of valuable beachfront spectrum, either leaving it fallow or wasting it with inefficient technologies.

For Smartphone Users, Spectrum Is Speed

Location:
Precursor, 7925 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA, 22102, United States
Recommendation:
1

Why is the federal government against faster smartphone Internet access? Your smartphone surfing is only as fast as the spectrum (wireless frequencies) available for it to use.

Wired to Fail

Location:
Rural Utilities Service (RUS), 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC, 20250, United States
Recommendation:
3

When it came to funding broadband projects, the Rural Utilities Service never found its footing in the digital age.

NSA promises to delete old records

Location:
National Security Agency (NSA), MD, 20755-6000, United States
Recommendation:
2

Federal intelligence officials are promising to delete old records picked up under a controversial National Security Agency (NSA) program that was overhauled earlier in 2015.

New Court Evidence Reveals Hollywood’s Plan to Smear Google

Location:
Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), 1600 Eye St., NW, Washington, DC, 20006, United States
Recommendation:
2

Over the years, Google and Hollywood have fought bitterly over the Stop Online Piracy Act, an anti-piracy bill that would have granted the US government and private corporations extraordinary power to battle copyright infringement on the web. It failed to pass in 2012. But it lives on.

The Secret Agents Who Stake Out the Ugliest Corners of the Internet

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
1

When President Barack Obama launched his Twitter account in May, people noticed his rapid accumulation of followers, a silly back-and-forth with President Clinton, but also something more serious: the number of hostile and threatening messages directed at the President.

What Tech Giants Are Spending Millions Lobbying For

Location:
Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
2

Tech companies already own Silicon Valley, but new lobbying disclosure documents reveal just how much weight they throw around Washington as well. While their policy concerns are not altogether surprising, they do tell a cohesive story about what the tech giants driving the industry consider to be its most pressing issues.

State Department Seeks Russian-speaking Social Media Maven

Location:
Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC, 20520, United States
Recommendation:
1

The State Department wants to be able to communicate directly with hundreds of millions of Russian-language speakers, and could soon be taking to Twitter. The

Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton E-mail Account

Location:
Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20530-0001, United States
Recommendation:
2

Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal e-mail account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state.

What’s at risk with digital town halls?

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
2

Are digital town halls valuable new tools for journalists who can’t otherwise reach politicians? The short answer? No.

FirstNet developing base stations for police cars, but deployment still several years away

Location:
First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), 1401 Constitution Ave, Washington, DC, 20230, United States
Recommendation:
2

FirstNet, which has been tasked with building a nationwide LTE network for emergency workers, is working to create portable cellular base stations that can ride inside police cars and other vehicles, thereby allowing emergency workers to quickly and easily deploy wireless networks in remote areas.

NIST on the Search for Innovative Mobile Apps

Location:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, MD, 20899-1070, United States
Recommendation:
1

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is looking for apps to showcase its wealth of data, so it's turned to the public for help.

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The Next Generation Network Connectivity Handbook: Top Ten Overall Lessons

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1560 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201, United States
Recommendation:
5

On July 21, 2015, Gig. U and the Benton Foundation published a comprehensive guide for communities who want better broadband for their residents and businesses. The Next Generation Connectivity Handbook: a Guide for Community Leaders Seeking Affordable Abundant Bandwidth is an indispensable tool in lowering the initial, daunting information barrier for cities just beginning to navigate critical Internet infrastructure issues. Today, we share the Handbook’s Top Ten Overall Lessons drawing on the experiences of 25 Gig.U communities who have worked on this issue for many years.

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