An independent analyst who looked at the Rhode Island 38 Studios loan repayment plan said that defaulting on the debt related to the $75 million loan plus other penalties and interest would damage Rhode Island's bond rating to junk status and could harm the state's overall business climate.
The report from Minnesota-based SJ Advisors said that defaulting on the loan would bring increased borrowing costs and harm to the state's reputation, and could lead to a "contagion effect impacting other Rhode Island issuers and even taint the business environment."
This week a key House committee approved a package of NSA reforms that would end the spy agency's practice of collecting Americans' phone records. It took lawmakers nearly a year after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the program's existence to do something about it.
The House Judiciary Committee voted 32-0 on Wednesday to rein in the NSA with the USA FREEDOM Act. The bill would place new requirements on the government when it comes to gathering, targeting and searching telephone metadata for intelligence purposes.
As expected the failed 38 Studios loan deal is a major issue in Rhode Island's election campaigns and primary challenges. Even as the Secretary of State is making headlines this week for launching an investigation into possible lobbying violations by 38 Studios, critics of Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin on Tuesday jumped on the news by pointing out that both politicians dropped the ball during the loan deal approval timeframe.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is calling on the Internet community to support the USA Freedom Act and oppose other "supposed reform bills." The rights group is calling on the Internet community to strongly oppose reform bills like the FISA Improvements Act, which pretends to fix the problems with the NSA's mass surveillance spying programs but instead gives the agency and the government more power to continue spying (like bills from lawmakers like Representatives Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, and Senator Dianne Feinstein).
Here's a bizarre bit of polling reported on by the Wall Street Journal about the correlation between tattoos and video gamers. Apparently those who have a tattoo are also more inclined to be video gamers, though the folks responsible for the polling don't really understand why.
Pollsters also found that "Tattooed Americans" are more likely to be uninsured, live in a Republican congressional district, and voted for President Barack Obama in the past. The polling data also showed that there are far more tattooed people than there were 15 years ago.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) issued a joint statement announcing their new plans to push for a revamped cybersecurity bill. While details on the bill have not be released because it is still in "draft form" at the moment, the bill sounds like it has the same language that CISPA did.
On this week's show hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight discuss how Facebook buying Oculus VR could affect the technology's future development, if politicians who commit crimes should suffer stiffer punishments (including the death penalty), and Amazon's foray into the set-top box/ micro-console space with Fire TV. Download Episode 94 now: SuperPAC Episode 94 (1 hour, 2 minutes) 71.2 MB.
The new chairwoman of the Rhode Island House Oversight Committee said that she wants to issue subpoenas to key figures in the 38 Studios deal including former House Speaker Gordon Fox. Rep. Karen MacBeth (D-Cumberland) said the committee could also seek to subpoena former House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino, as well as current and former employees of the Economic Development Corp.
MacBeth has been a vocal critic of the deal for quite some time and pushed hard to avoid paying back money owed on bonds related to the 38 Studios loan.
It will soon be legal to rips CDs, DVDs, and other media in the United Kingdom, according to this TorrentFreak report. The UK government has released a guide informing its citizenry that an upcoming revision of copyright laws in the country which will make it perfectly legal to make backup copies of CD and DVDs for personal use. Those changes will be in effect this summer.
Lawmakers in Sacramento voted today to suspend three Democratic Senators who are facing criminal charges. By a vote of 28-1, the California Senate passed a resolution to prevent Senators Leland Yee, Ron Calderon, and Rod Wright from using the power of their respective offices until criminal proceedings against them are concluded.
Senator Yee was indicted on seven different counts related to corruption, gun running, and taking money for political favors. Shortly after his indictment was unsealed, Yee's attorney announced that he had given up his bid for Secretary of State.
Today President Obama issued a statement announcing plans to push for an adjustment to the National Security Agency's collection of phone metadata, but opponents say his suggestions may not go far enough. The White House offered support for legislation to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection, instead putting the data into the care of phone companies.
While California State Senator Leland Yee (outspoken anti-video game crusader and author of the 2005 California video game law that was inevitability struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010) is getting a lot of press at the moment for being arrested by the FBI for alleged bribery and corruption, he is not the only state senator connected loosely with the video game industry in trouble this week.
President Barack Obama is expected to put forward a proposal that would end the National Security Agency’s collection of a huge amount of data on U.S. mobile calls, according to what an unnamed Obama administration official told Politico. The proposal is a familiar one: the NSA would eliminate the database of phone data it stores, instead relying on accessing the data from carriers who would be required to store it for up to 18 months.
In a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), 25 tech companies urged him to oppose what they consider overly broad international trade policy proposals in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Wyden has been a strong and vocal opponent of previous trade agreements like SOPA and PIPA in the past, so he likely won't need to be prodded into opposing TPP.
Top executives from tech companies including Facebook, Google and more are meeting with President Obama today to talk about “issues of privacy, technology, and intelligence,” according to what one White House official tells Politico. The administration declined to provide a list of those attending the meeting.
The Australian government is tweaking its National Classification Scheme, by putting forth new legislation that makes the process of classifying content such as mobile and online games faster and more cost effective. For example, new proposals will make it so that films released in multiple formats (for example, 3D versions) won't have to go through the classification process twice. The legislation will also remove the need for reclassification when minor changes are made to video games such as software updates or bug fixes, or when new but minor content is added.
The House Intelligence Committee’s Republican and Democratic leaders are "close to" agreeing on legislation that would end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. citizens’ telephone data, according to what top lawmakers are telling Politico.
In a statement to NBC News former NSA contractor (currently in exile in Russia after leaking classified NSA documents about domestic and international spying programs) called Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA.) hypocritical for complaining about the CIA allegedly spying on the Senate while strongly supporting the NSA's spying programs and bills like CISPA.
At the end of February we reported that Rhode Island State Senator James C. Sheehan planned to seek access to depositions and documents related to the state's court case against Curt Schilling's 38 Studios.
Rhode Island State Senator James C. Sheehan released a statement announcing that, as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Oversight, he has formally requested that the committee be provided with copies of all documents (depositions and exhibits) relating to the civil lawsuit against 38 Studios.
Speaking on NBC's "Press:Here" show over the weekend, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) said that it's a good thing that the Federal Communications Commission has decided to tackle the thorny task of tweaking the Open Internet Order (commonly referred to as "net neutrality") because it will empower consumers.
Kongregate CEO and co-founder Jim Greer will step down to focus on a political career of sorts, the executive announced via a blog post on Kongregate.com. Kongregate co-founder and current COO Emily Greer will be taking over as CEO of the casual and indie games website owned by games retailer GameStop.
The Rhode Island House has approved a bill that will make it easier for the state to settle its lawsuit with Curt Schilling, other executives from 38 Studios, and others involved in the deal that could end up costing the state upwards of $100 - $110 million in the long-term. The RI Senate approved its own version of the bill earlier this month. With both houses of the State Assembly passing the bill, there's no doubt that Governor Lincoln Chafee will sign it into law the minute it crosses his desk (his administration pushed the legislature to pass the bill as quickly as possible).
The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has issued an action alert urging members and the internet-community-at-large to contact their elected officials in Washington D.C. and urge them to support two stop-gap measures that would restore net neutrality rules until a more permanent solution can be worked out by lawmakers. You can check out the appeal from the ECA below:
In an excellent editorial concerning video games and the moral panic that ensued after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012, Christopher Ferguson Ph.D. (and an associate professor and chair of the department of psychology at Stetson University) said that he would be willing to work with Massachusetts state Sen. William Brownsberger, the sponsor of Senate Bill 168.
The lead author of the Patriot Act said on Tuesday that he will spearhead an effort to reject reauthorization of the law (which is set to expire next year) if the White House doesn't make some serious changes to Section 215 of the law, which has led to the NSA and other government agencies collecting and storing all kinds of information on American citizens.
California US Reps. Henry Waxman and Anna Eshoo (both Democrats) submitted legislation this week that would reinstate the net neutrality rules recently struck down by a D.C Federal Appeals Court decision. Rules that were part of the Open Internet Order preventing Internet service providers from blocking or discriminating against content were vacated last month after a Federal Judge said that the Federal Communications Commission failed to properly justify its authority to implement them.