Government & Communications

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

Tech Leaders Call for Anti-Discrimination Laws to Protect Gays in all 50 States

Location:
Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, CA, United States
Recommendation:
1

Technology leaders are looking beyond an Indiana battle over gay rights that united them, and are calling on all states to enact anti-discrimination protections for lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Commerce Department: Tell Us What You Want From Our Data

Location:
Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20230, United States
Recommendation:
1

Under the leadership of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the Commerce Department isn’t content with just dropping massive data sets into the abyss of the Internet. The agency, which is composed of 12 bureaus, is “embracing crowdsourcing” on a small scale to improve the quality of the data it releases to the public, said Steve Cooper, the agency’s chief information officer.

Sens Booker and McCaskill urge a more tech-savvy Senate

Location:
Capitol Building, E Capitol St NE & 1st St NE, Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
2

Sens Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) sent a letter to the Senate Rules Committee, pressing to make it easier to approve new vendors, adopt cloud-based technology and publish legislative information in simple, universal formatting, among other things.

The Mobile Election: How smartphones will change the 2016 presidential race

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
1

The new mobile reality is changing the state of news and advertising, and it will also change the dynamic of American politics -- especially during the 2016 campaign season, journalists and political operatives said.

A New Tool Against Cyber Threats

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
3

Starting April 1st, we’re giving notice to those who pose significant threats to our security or economy by damaging our critical infrastructure, disrupting or hijacking our computer networks, or stealing the trade secrets of American companies or the personal information of American citizens for profit.

Europe’s Digital Single Mistake

Location:
Wall Street Journal, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10036, United States
Recommendation:
1

Brussels has long used antitrust cases to achieve policy outcomes it can’t achieve otherwise, and so it is with the European Commission’s new plan to create a “digital single market,” or DSM.

YouTube 3, Mainstream Media 0. Welcome to President Obama’s new media reality.

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

So far in 2015, President Barack Obama has sat down for interviews with three YouTube stars, Vox, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Vice News and Jimmy Kimmel. President Obama has not granted interviews to (among others) The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press or USA Today.

FCC Explains Decisions on Broadband, Net Neutrality

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

The Federal Communications Commission explained its recent rulings on municipal broadband and network neutrality in a specialized briefing for state and local governments on Monday, March 30.

Clinton also used iPad for e-mail; mixed personal, work chats

Location:
Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC, 20520, United States
Recommendation:
2

Hillary Rodham Clinton e-mailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal e-mail address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device.

Tech investors help start new DC think tank

Location:
Economic Innovation Group, 711 D Street NW, Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
1

A group of venture capitalists and other big names in the technology world are putting their weight behind the Economic Innovation Group, a new economic policy shop.

Copyright Office Needs To Develop Plans that Address Technical and Organizational Challenges

Location:
Government Accountability Office (GAO), 441 G St., NW, Washington, DC, 20548, United States
Recommendation:
1

Strong Leadership Needed to Address Serious Information Technology Management Weaknesses at Library of Congress

Location:
Government Accountability Office, 441 G St., NW, Washington, DC, 20548, United States
Recommendation:
1

GAO is recommending that the Library expeditiously hire a permanent Chief Information Officer. GAO is also making 30 other recommendations to the Library aimed at establishing and implementing key IT management practices. The Library generally agreed with GAO's recommendations and described planned and ongoing actions to address them.

Latest Assault on Net Neutrality Launched at Telecommunications Industry-Funded Think Tank

Location:
Free State Foundation, 6259 Executive Blvd, Rockville, MD, 20852, United States
Recommendation:
1

House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) addressed the Free State Foundation to announce his new plan to undermine recently enacted network neutrality rules by going after the funding of the Federal Communications Commission, the agency behind the decision.

Access denied: Reporters say federal officials, data increasingly off limits

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
1

The stories aren’t always as consequential or as dramatic as a TB outbreak, but Singer’s experience is shared by virtually every journalist on the government beat, from the White House on down. They can recite tales with similar outlines: An agency spokesman -- frequently a political appointee -- rejects the reporter’s request for interviews, offers partial or nonresponsive replies, or delays responding at all until after the journalist’s deadline has passed.

Jeb Bush ‘nervous’ about NSA attacks

Location:
National Security Agency (NSA), MD, 20755-6000, United States
Recommendation:
1

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that he’s “nervous” about excess criticism of the nation’s intelligence agencies. Shortly after news broke that two people had tried to ram the gates of the National Security Agency’s headquarters in suburban Maryland, Bush rose to the defense of the agency and its mission.

Why the House information-sharing bill could actually deter information sharing

Location:
US Capitol, East Capitol Street, NE and 1st Street, NE, DC, 20515, United States
Recommendation:
2

The House Intelligence Committee has now adopted a manager’s amendment to what it’s now calling the “Protecting Cyber Networks Act.” Predictably, privacy groups are already inveighing against it.

Pentagon Personnel Now Talking on 'NSA-Proof' Smartphones

Location:
Department of Defense, Army Navy Dr & Fern St, Arlington, VA, 22202, United States
Recommendation:
1

The Defense Department has rolled out supersecret smartphones for work and maybe play, made by anti-government-surveillance firm Silent Circle, according to company officials.

Google likely to prevail against Mississippi Attorney General's enormous subpoena, court says

Location:
Jackson, MS, United States
Recommendation:
1

A federal court in Mississippi is convinced so far that Google will prevail against the state's attorney general in a lawsuit over an allegedly burdensome and over-broad subpoena. Google filed the suit after a report was published tying Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to a secret Hollywood campaign to fight Google, pinning blame on it for piracy.

Before Edward Snowden Leaks, NSA Mulled Ending Phone Program

Location:
National Security Agency (NSA), MD, 20755-6000, United States
Recommendation:
3

The National Security Agency considered abandoning its secret program to collect and store American calling records in the months before leaker Edward Snowden revealed the practice, current and former intelligence officials say, because some officials believed the costs outweighed the meager counterterrorism benefits.

GOP House Members Seek FCC Server Move Info

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

House Commerce Committee Republican leaders want the Federal Communications Commission to better explain why it is moving servers off-site to a multi-agency facility in West Virginia.

Defanging a Paper Tiger

Location:
National Association of Broadcasters, 1771 N Street NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
1

Every broadcaster dreads a visit by a Federal Communications Commission inspector, but broadcasters also know that the presence of the “Highway Patrol of the Airwaves” helps keep the playing field level and the participants honest. Violators of the FCC’s rules risk detection and know that a fine (or worse) may result.

Regulators fret over FOIA reform bill

Location:
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Independence Avenue and South Capitol Street 2157 House Rayburn Building, Washington, DC, 20515, United States
Recommendation:
1

Financial regulators and the banking industry are raising concerns about bipartisan legislation that would expand the public's access to government documents, according to lawmakers. Members of Congress have sought to clarify that their proposals to update the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) would not erode protections that prevent the public from obtaining sensitive banking information that regulators see as part of their supervision of the financial sector.

RNC chair: Clinton e-mail actions may be 'criminal'

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

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that the decision of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to wipe many e-mails from her in-home server might be "criminal in nature."

Senate to Investigate White House Role in Google's Antitrust Victory

Location:
Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 224 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
1

A Senate panel plans to investigate whether the White House inappropriately derailed a federal investigation into accusations that Google was stifling online competition. Senate Judiciary's Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Mike Lee (R-UT) plans to contact the Federal Trade Commission, Google, and other online companies to discuss the issue, said Emily Long, a spokeswoman for Chairman Lee.

Why Google Was Spared

Location:
Wall Street Journal, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10036, United States
Recommendation:
1

A federal agency recently apologized for disclosing too much information. But it was a public service. The document the Federal Trade Commission accidentally released helpfully details how regulators sometimes opt not to regulate. This is refreshing when another agency, the Federal Communications Commission, is guilty of unprecedented regulatory excess in deciding to micromanage the Internet like a monopoly utility.

Rep Johnson seeks ouster of Commerce Department inspector general

Location:
Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20230, United States
Recommendation:
1

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) -- the ranking Democrat on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee -- called for President Barack Obama to fire Todd Zinser, the Commerce Department’s inspector general, after a congressional probe uncovered a pattern of alleged misconduct, including retaliation against whistleblowers and the hiring of a suspected girlfriend.

The White House’s first chief data scientist is no stranger to Washington

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

DJ Patil, who was named the nation’s first chief data scientist l, shares credit for coining the term “data science.” He is the latest Silicon Valley transplant to join the Obama administration, working under former Google executive Megan Smith, the White House’s chief technology officer.

Sec Kerry orders probe of US State Department e-mail procedures

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

US Secretary of State John Kerry has asked the department's inspector general to look into procedures for handling e-mails by State Department employees, the department said. ...

Someone hijacked the Google of China to attack anti-censorship tools

Location:
Beijing, China
Recommendation:
2

An unknown party hijacked widely used tools developed by Baidu, the largest search engine in China, in an apparent attempt to target online software used to get around Chinese censorship.

Iowa’s governor doesn’t seem to understand what a smartphone is or how e-mail works

Location:
Des Moines, IA, United States
Recommendation:
1

Gov Terry Branstad (R-IA) has insisted for years that doesn’t own a smartphone or use e-mail. That’s what he has staff for -- to e-mail, to tweet, to Instagram, to Facebook on his behalf. But in what local papers are portraying as a gotcha moment, it was discovered that Gov Branstad indeed gets e-mails on his personal BlackBerry.

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