It is likely that Comcast will have no problems getting the support of U.S. lawmakers for its proposed $45.2 billion merger with Time Warner Cable. Why, you ask? Well according to several campaign finance watchdog groups (as reported by Ars Technica), the majority of lawmakers reviewing the merger in hearings have taken campaign contributions from the cable operator directly or indirectly.
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.
Did the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) spy on Senate staffers in an effort to stymie an investigation into illegal torture tactics being used by the agency during the Bush Administration? CIA Director John Brennan said that the agency does not spy on Congress and that such an allegation is beyond the scope of reason and simply not true.
Today the United States Senate announced that it plans to hold hearings on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. The hearing is scheduled to take place March 26 before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing is to figure out how the merger might affect market competition, television services, internet pricing and more. No doubt the FCC's Open Internet Order will be talked about during this hearing as well.
The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee has attached his cybersecurity bill (S.1353) as an amendment to next year’s National Defense Authorization Act. If the amendment manages to survive the approval process Sen. Rockefeller’s Cybersecurity Act of 2013 may finally become law. S.1353, was unanimously approved by the Commerce Committee in July but has been stalled since then.
According to The Hill, one of the demands that Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives have put forth calls for a repeal of the FCC's rules on net neutrality.
According to the publication, a memo was circulated late last week amongst Republican lawmakers detailing some of the demands that they have put forth as a condition of passing a budget and raising the debt ceiling.
While the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) failed to win support from the US Senate earlier this year, not every Senator has given up on passing some sort of legislation related to cybersecurity. This week Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, introduced a bill that is meant to "complement" CISPA and aims to encourage information-sharing between private companies and the government in the name of cybersecurity.
From the "we-could-have-told-you-that-without-a-poll department" comes this story from Politico about the public's opposition to Internet taxes. The polls - conducted for two separate conservative groups - found that most voters oppose federal Internet sales tax legislation and suggested that lawmakers who voted for it could face serious challenges in the 2014 mid-term elections.
While the U.S. Senate debates on whether to give President Barack Obama the authority to bomb Syria (which some in the Administration say the President doesn't need anyway), one Senator was caught by a New York Daily News reporter finding a little distraction on his iPhone.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and 50 organizations have sent a letter to U.S. lawmakers in both houses of Congress urging them to reform the patent system. The appeal urges Congress to deal with "abuses of the legal system by certain patent assertion entities, commonly referred to as patent trolls."
The Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee released a draft bill today that attempts to tackle the thorny issue of cybersecurity. The draft bill is backed by Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and ranking Republican member John Thune (R-S.D.). Its creators claim that the draft is an attempt to create a compromise on the issue of cybersecurity after repeated (and failed) attempts to pass legislation through the Senate last term.
While lawmakers would like to get back to pushing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) and other cyber security proposals, it looks like Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's spying has put the brakes on any legislation moving forward, according to Verge.
Earlier in the week while the National Governors Association and proponents of the Marketplace Fairness Act were hosting an event to encourage House members to approve the bill already passed the Senate, Republicans from the House and Senate joined Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform to rally against it. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined House Republicans and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday to rally against the bill.
The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and 85 other civil liberties groups and Internet organizations to U.S. lawmakers that it must put a stop to the National Security Agency and other U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies spying on American citizens. The letter is in response to two stories that leaked information about several NSA information gathering programs that target the internet and mobile phone activities of Americans.
In April the House of Representatives managed to push the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) through the chamber, but shortly thereafter it stalled in the Senate. Leaders there said they weren't planning on taking the issue up, instead planning to focus on a number of separate bills to address issues related to cybersecurity concerns by the government and corporations.
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.
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.
As pointed out by RT, even while the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) may have passed by a 288 to 127 margin in the House (and garnered more votes from Democrats this time around than it did in 2012 when it passed), the bill faces an unknown future in the Senate where other issues like Internet taxes, immigration and more are the causes getting priority right now..
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.
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.
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.
Taking aim at Lamar Alexander's (R-Tenn.) seat in the United States Senate in the 2014 election, U.S. Senatorial candidate (D-Tenn.) Larry Crim says that the Senators recent comments about video games are just a political game to avoid tough questions. Crim, who filed federal papers this morning to oppose Alexander in 2014, was referring to the Senator's recent comments on MSNBC when he told Chuck Todd that "video games are a bigger problem than guns because video games affect people."
The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) went to Washington D.C last week to talk to members of Congress and their staff about the connection between video games and violence, and their conclusion was that Congress does not have the best interests of the millions of gamers in America in mind. The ECA says that when they tried to talk to lawmakers about the connection between video games and real-world violence they came away from those meetings feeling like lawmakers were not interested in the facts and instead were relying on their own biases and preferences about the video games.
Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) gave a speech (which you can watch for yourself to your left) during Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D- CA) press conference introducing a new bill that would ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Murphy said that if Feinstein's bill had been law many of the children that died during the December 14 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut might still be alive. Senator Murphy also blamed video games for their part in influencing the shooter, though proof that video games had anything to do with influencing him has yet to be produced.