Finally members of Congress have put forth serious DMCA reform legislation and rights groups are praising it right out of the gate. The new legislation is called the "Unlocking Technology Act of 2013," and is sponsored by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Jared Polis (D-CO). The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 legalizes unlocking cell phone unlocking and modifies the DMCA so that unlocking copy-protected content is only illegal if it's done in order to "facilitate the infringement of a copyright."
Democrats and Republicans in the Senate seem to agree that requiring online retailers to collect sales tax is a great idea. A bipartisan coalition from both parties easily passed the Marketplace Fairness Act by a vote of 69-to-27. The bill was sponsored by Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) who fast-tracked the bill and avoided any committee that might have had oversight over the bill.
Well, I guess we'll file this one under "better late than never." The White House has finally responded to a Petition signed by over 100,000 people asking the Administration to oppose the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. While the bill easily passed the House, the Senate has decided that it will not create a counterpart to the bill in this year's session.
Daniel Greenberg passed along this little gem that flew under the radar earlier in the year - a resolution introduced to the Pennsylvania General Assembly (Resolution 6) that would direct the Joint State Government Commission to study "the issue of violence prevention, to establish an advisory committee to conduct a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the underlying causes of violent crime, including mass shootings, and to report to the Senate with its findings and recommendations."
While the Senate is likely to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act being rammed through the Senate past the red tape of committees and onto the floor for a vote later today or by the end of this week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NEV.), House Republicans face a roadblock that they put in place themselves when it comes time to vote for their Internet tax bill: a pledge.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) announced yesterday plans to conduct a serious of hearings aimed at identifying problems with U.S. copyright laws and updating them for the modern digital age. Goodlatte was a key sponsor of the failed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last year alongside the bill's author, former chairman of the Judiciary Committee Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
The movement to bring State sales tax across the board to Internet retailers got an important endorsement this week as President Barack Obama "enthusiasticlly endorsed" the efforts by Senator Harry Reid (D-NEVADA) to push the Marketplace Fairness Act forward at a breakneck pace - according to The Hill. Senators advanced the bill in a 74-20 procedural vote on Monday evening, one vote less than it received in a test vote last month.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) this week began the process of pushing the Marketplace Fairness Act before the full Senate without making its way through the Senate Finance Committee (mostly because many of the leaders in the committee don't like the bill and would stall it), according to Politico.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI 3rd District) has increased his public critique of Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act in the last few days after an amendment that would have added more privacy protections to the bill were rejected in the House Rules Committee this week.
In an editorial penned for The Hill to convince members of congress to join him, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) says that the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) bill is a good thing. He extols the virtues of its commitment to the protection of Constitutional civil liberties and privacy because in Kansas protecting individual rights is in its citizens' "DNA."
Thirty-four civil liberties groups have signed onto a letter urging lawmakers in the House of Representatives to vote against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) when it comes up for a vote on the floor either today or tomorrow. The letter lays out the collective groups' continued opposition to the bill after a secret markup hearing last week was held and amendments put forward that would have added privacy protections for Americans were soundly rejected by hearing members.
Representatives Anna G. Eshoo (CA), Rush Holt (NJ), Janice Schakowsky (IL) and Adam B. Schiff (CA) have written a "Dear Colleague" letter coming out strongly against the current version of CISPA, saying that the bill "has major shortcomings and would undermine the interests of citizens and their privacy."
New Jersey State Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) plans to introduce legislation to ban violent video games in public places. The Assemblywoman has proposed a law that would ban all "M" rated and "Adults Only" games from public places such as amusement parks, movie theaters, bowling allies, retail stories and other public places. It is a move similar to what the Massachusetts Department of Transportation did on its thruways earlier this year.
While (most, not all) Republicans seems to largely embrace and support the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISP) sponsored by congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), Politico provides a ray of hope for those who oppose what rights groups are calling a slick "government surveillance" bill.
While Rep. Mike Roger rushes CISPA through a markup committee hearing this week, one Rep. is getting her own cybersecurity bill ready for a floor vote. While Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) called on the SEC to issue formal guidance on corporate disclosures related to cyber attacks, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) re-introduced the SECURE IT Act. Her bill is an alternative to the Senate's Cyber-Security Act of 2012 (S. 2105).
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) has made it out of its markup hearing in the House by a vote of 18-2. That means that the bill could be voted on by the full House on the floor as soon as next week. Worst still members of the committee overwhelmingly voted down an amendment that would have added some privacy provisions into the bill.
Episode 47 of the Super Podcast Action Committee is finally available after a rocky start to the week for Andrew and EZK, who both are apparently very sick. Nevertheless, they tough it out to catch up on the last two polls (one about dying Xbox 360s and another about punishing politicians for creating unconstitutional laws) and take some time to give EA kudos for winning the Worst Company in America award for a second year in a row. Will 2014 make the third time the charm? Stay tuned!
Even as Congress tackles the issue of crafting decent legislation to deal with cyberattacks (and no, CISPA is not decent legislation in its current form) in a secret "closed to the public" markup meeting, Techdirt has uncovered the fact that 27 companies have told the SEC that cyberattacks have had no impact. According to this Bloomberg report, 27 companies reported cyberattacks in SEC filings.
Last week we asked you "Should lawmakers be penalized for passing patently unconstitutional legislation?" And here are the results of that poll. Exactly 652 votes were cast, with the majority of voters saying that the cost of bad legislation should come out of lawmakers' pockets. 15 percent of votes went to giving lawmakers jail time for passing laws found not legal under the U.S. Constitution, 14 percent said they should be fired, and 13 percent think they should be voted out of office (or that people should vote against them if they don't like the laws they pass).
On March 20 a coalition of advocacy groups, concerned citizens, academics, and web sites sent a letter to the White House urging the President of the United States to veto CISPA in its current state if it is passed by the House and Senate.
Next week when the House Intelligence Committee takes up the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA - HR 624) it will hold its markup hearing behind closed doors and away from the prying eyes of the general public and critics of the bill. Not only will this hide the discussion lawmakers have about this bill, but it will also allow them to stealthily make any amendments to the bill they like without having to worry about immediate scrutiny from anyone.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said that the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun manufacturers are to blame for what she categorized as the "disconnect between the broad public support for gun control and the reluctance in Congress" to support legislation that would ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines." Feinstein made her comments at a gathering of about 500 people in San Francisco on Wednesday.
California state regulators want video games and other devices to be more energy efficient and are making some moves towards creating regulations, according to an LA Times report. The state has in the past put strict regulations in place for household appliances, furnaces, air conditioners and big-screen televisions to use less energy.
A letter signed by 33 organizations and nine individuals asks the top ranking lawmakers in the House of Representatives (Reps. Bob Goodlatte and John Conyers) and the United States Senate (Sens. Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley) to make an exception for unlocking electronic devices to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Recently a petition signed by over 110,000 Americans asked President Barack Obama's administration to make the same exception.