U.S. Senator Calls Video Game History Museum Grant Wasteful Spending

December 22, 2011 -

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is taking a bit of heat this week for saying that a $113,277 grant given to Rochester's International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) is wasteful spending. He named it as one of a hundred "unnecessary, duplicative and low-priority projects" that the federal government spent money on in 2011. He released his annual report on wasteful spending in this report.

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Why SOPA is a Futile Effort for Lawmakers, Special Interest Groups

December 21, 2011 -

A software developer who goes by the nickname of "T Rizk," who thinks Congress will make the wrong decision on the SOPA anti-piracy bill, has decided to create a work-around before the bill ever becomes law. That work-around is a Firefox plug-in that he has named "DeSOPA." It basically unblocks sites like The Pirate Bay by reverting the blocked site back to its raw IP address.

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Senator Wyden Promises Fight to 'The Bitter End' Against Protect IP

December 19, 2011 -

While the battle over SOPA rages in the House (to resume with another markup hearing on Wednesday), the Senate's version of the bill, Protect IP, will not have an easy path to passage either. Today Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) renewed his vow to block the bill "to the bitter end." Because the rules are different in the Senate Wyden has a whole toolbox of tactics he could employ to keep the bill from ever coming to a vote.

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Internet Pioneers Send Letter to Congress Opposing SOPA and PIPA

December 15, 2011 -

Today, a group of 83 Internet inventors and engineers sent an open letter to members of the United States Congress, voicing their opposition to the SOPA and PIPA bills that are under consideration in the House and Senate. Vint Cerf, co-designer of TCP/IP; Jim Gettys, editor of the HTTP/1.1 protocol standards; Paul Vixie, author of BIND, the most widely-used DNS server software; and Elizabeth Feinler, director of the Network Information Center (NIC) at SRI International are just some of the names that have signed this letter.

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SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

December 14, 2011 -

House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) fired back strongly at critics of SOPA Wednesday, accusing various tech companies and their executives of not understanding the bill. He made a point of singling out Google for its opposition, calling it "self-serving."

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Writers Guild of America West Expresses Concerns About SOPA to Lawmakers

December 14, 2011 -

It looks like the Writers Guild of America West has some concerns about SOPA. In a recent post on the trade group’s site, they wrote about a recent visit to Washington D.C., where they met with various lawmakers and other trade groups about SOPA and other legislation they think is important such as Net Neutrality and the ATT/T-Mobile merger. From the paragraph about their visit to the House of Representatives (I’ve highlighted the important stuff for emphasis):

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Sponsors of the OPEN Act Seek Input from the Public

December 8, 2011 -

As we mentioned last week Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Darrell Issa introduced an alternative bill to SOPA and Protect IP that would put the power of fighting so-called rogue web sites into the hands of the International Trade Commission. The OPEN Act (which stands for Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act) focuses on interrupting the flow of funds to web sites that are proven to be trafficking in counterfeit goods or copyright materials.

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Lawmakers Offer Alternative to SOPA, Protect IP

December 2, 2011 -

While some in the U.S. House and Senate would love to jam SOPA and Protect IP through the legislative process, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have drafted an alternative proposal that would make use of existing trade laws and the International Trade Commission to deal with counterfeit goods, piracy and the "rogue web sites" that deal in those things explicitly. A bipartisan group of lawmakers is circulating a proposal that would use trade laws to battle online piracy as an alternative to the controversial bills currently pending in both chambers of Congress.

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Following The Money: SOPA, Protect IP

December 1, 2011 -

If you want to know why your favorite senator or congressional representative is supporting Protect IP and SOPA, all you need to do is follow the money. First where is the money coming from? Big media, of course. The Sunlight Foundation does an excellent job of gathering all the info on this topic in one easy post.

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EFF Issues Appeal for Help to Fight Against SOPA and Protect IP

November 23, 2011 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is taking up arms against the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and they want your help to do it. The advocacy that supports internet rights and freedom of speech online says that these new bills are "a threatening sequel to last year's COICA Internet censorship bill" and that this legislation "invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers Internet innovation."

Ron Paul, Nancy Pelosi Voice Opposition to SOPA, Protect IP

November 18, 2011 -

In a strange twist of fate or because of some sort of cosmic alignment of certain planets, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul actually agree on something: they both think that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act, are bad ideas. The latest SOPA opponent is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), but Paul has been against it from the start.

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ECA: 'SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video Gamers'

November 16, 2011 -

A new article over at TechDirt penned by the Entertainment Consumer Association's Vice President and General Counsel, Jennifer Mercurio, explains why the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP are bad for everyone - especially gamers. Mercurio lays out what this means to everyday internet users when it comes to video performance and fair use in the first paragraph:

Republican Senate Resolution to Kill FCC Net Neutrality Rules Fails

November 11, 2011 -

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's (R-Texas) effort in the Senate to kill the FCC's net neutrality rules has failed. The Senate voted, 46-52, against moving forward with a resolution that would have overturned federal regulations enacted in 2010 that govern anti-competitive behavior online.

"It's time to push back" against federal agencies that are overreaching their authority and enacting burdensome regulations, she argued before the Senate voted on a motion to proceed.

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Lone Senator Promises to Fight Against PROTECT IP Act

November 10, 2011 -

While he seems to be all alone in Washington, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) says that he will fight to the bitter end against the PROTECT IP Act, a controversial online copyright bill backed by Hollywood movie studios, the Chamber of Commerce, pharmaceutical makers and a group of 40 senators. Wyden feels so strongly that the bill is bad news for Americans that he has promised to filibuster the PROTECT IP Act if it reaches the Senate floor without serious changes by the end of the year.

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Sen. Jay Rockefeller Defends FCC's Net Neutrality Rules

September 26, 2011 -

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller is taking aim at critics of the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality rules that were published on Friday afternoon in the Federal Register.

"Americans want the Internet to stay free and open," Rockefeller said. "After a long, deliberative process, the FCC came up with balanced rules that promote transparency and prohibit discrimination. I am disappointed that my colleagues want to use a legislative short cut to unravel these rules."

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White House Hosts Digital Promise Initiative This Week

September 14, 2011 -

This week the White House will launch what it calls the "Digital Promise Initiative," a gathering to promote breakthroughs in education and learning technologies. The event revolves around the national center created by Congress to advance breakthrough technologies that will improve America's education system will be launched on Friday, September 16, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at 10 a.m.

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Senate Cybersecurity, Privacy Hearing Scheduled for June 29

June 23, 2011 -

The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing on privacy and data security for June 29, but has not revealed the witness list at this time. Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) has held several hearings this year on privacy issues, cybersecurity, and do-not-track legislation. He has also pressed the Federal Trade Commission and App store owners such as Google and Apple to do more about protecting the privacy of children when it comes to mobile apps.

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Illegal Streaming Bill Clears Senate Judiciary Committee

June 16, 2011 -

A bill that proposes a felony charge to anyone that "illegally streams copyrighted content online" has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today and will head to the full Senate for a vote. The bill, S. 978 (or "Commercial Felony Streaming Act"), brings the penalties for illegal streaming in line with the penalties for illegal downloading. What used to be a misdemeanor will now become a serious crime if the law gets passed. In other words, illegal streaming could get you a five year sentence in jail. Websites that offer illegally streams of copyrighted content 10 or more times during an 180-day period can be prosecuted if the bill becomes law, although it is unclear how the bill deals with individual streamers.

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Rep. Matsui Introduces 'The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011'

June 15, 2011 -

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced a bill yesterday called "The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011." The bill would deliver high speed Internet access to lower income households to close what she calls the "the digital divide." Matsui introduced an identical bill in 2009. She is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Matsui said that low-income Americans need access to affordable high-speed internet as much as anyone else, to succeed in our modern and connected society:

"Income should not hinder the ability of hard-working American families to attain broadband services that have become a necessity, not a luxury in our technologically driven economy. If you don't have it, you are simply at a competitive disadvantage," Matsui said in a statement.

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Senators Successfully Bully Apple on DUI Apps

June 10, 2011 -

In late March four United States Senators voiced outrage over iPhone and Android apps that alerted users to local DUI stops being conducted by the police. It bothered them so much that the four got together and penned strongly worded letters to the CEO's of both Apple and Google asking them to ban these apps from their respective marketplaces.

Three months later and one company has complied with the wishes of Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.). According to revised app developer guidelines uncovered by Mac Rumors, section 22.8 offers an addendum:

"Apps which contain DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies, or encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected."

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Republicans Unveil 2011 Tech Agenda

June 3, 2011 -

Yesterday House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) detailed the Republican tech agenda, a one-page list of priorities for Republican lawmakers in 2011 and beyond. While Republicans loathe regulations that stymie productivity and put a burden on businesses, they don't seem to have a problem with regulations on consumers' lives when it comes to flying, purchasing goods, legislating morality, or doing things on the Internet. In other words, regulations that punish the everyday citizen are cool, but regulations that keep corporations in check - like net neutrality - are bad.

The bullet points of the Republican tech agenda  are mostly conceptual and non-specific at this point, but here they are:

 

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AT&T's Generous Contributions to Lawmaker-Linked Charities

June 1, 2011 -

How do you give money to politicians without actually giving them a big fat check directly? Write a check to a charity they are closely associated with. That is just what AT&T has been doing, and it is getting the attention of the public and media outlets.

AT&T has given a substantial amount of money to charities connected to several lawmakers including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia), who just happens to be the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has direct jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission. A charity associated with Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), who just happens to be on the Senate Appropriations Committee. AT&T also gave a generous contribution to a charity associated with Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina), the No. 3 House Democrat. His daughter, Mignon Clyburn also happens to be a member of the Federal Communications Commission.

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U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden Puts Hold on PROTECT IP Act

May 27, 2011 -

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has placed a hold on the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968), ensuring that the bill will not make it to the floor of the Senate for a full vote. This news comes from Ars Technica, who also received a lengthy statement from Wyden's staff on the particulars of the Senator's action this week. The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved in committee by both political parties, gives the U.S. government the power to blacklist and isolate web sites allegedly trading in counterfeit or pirated materials.

A similar bill was put on hold by Wyden last year because he said it went too far in dealing with copyright and patent infringement on the Internet. The new bill gives the government the ability to blacklist or shut down a web site it believes is engaging in illegal activity, compel advertisers to sever relationships with accused sites and tell search engines to remove sites from their index.

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Rep. Darrell Issa Wants Answers From FCC's Baker

May 23, 2011 -

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has decided that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a key investigative body of Congress which he chairs, will investigate FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker's jump from the FCC to Comcast-NBC Universal.

In a letter sent to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Friday, Issa said that Baker's departure has “generated questions” because of her recent vote to approve the Comcast and NBC merger.

Issa said that Baker's own statements about the process which led to the job offer leads him to believe that "it does not appear [Baker] violated any of her legal or ethical obligations in accepting a position with Comcast.”

Still, he thinks an investigation is still warranted “because only a short time has passed since the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, it is imperative that the public can trust the integrity of the process."

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Google Executive Slams New 'PROTECT IP Act' Bill

May 19, 2011 -

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt on Wednesday proclaimed the company's strong opposition to new legislation that calls for shutting down access to file-sharing websites that offer allegedly copyrighted material. The new law proposes that the government blacklist these sites, take them offline, and demand that search providers such as Google delist them from their search indexes.

Schmidt argued that laws such as these set a very “disastrous precedent” for destroying free speech all over the world.

"If there is a law that requires DNSs [domain name systems] to do X, and it's passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president of the United States and we disagree with it, then we would still fight it," Schmidt told reporters at a London conference. "If it's a request, the answer is we wouldn't do it. If it's a discussion, we wouldn't do it."

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Richard Blumenthal Sends Letter to Sony Over PSN Data Theft

April 26, 2011 -

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is not happy with Sony's revelation today that user data and credit card information may have been stolen from PlayStation Network users (thanks to gellymatos). He is so unhappy that he has sent a letter to Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America. In his letter to SCEA, Blumenthal noted that SCEA failed its customers by not informing them sooner.

"When a data breach occurs, it is essential that customers be immediately notified about whether and to what extent their personal and financial information has been compromised… I am concerned that PlayStation Network users’ personal and financial information may have been inappropriately accessed by a third party,"

The full letter can be found below:

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Sens. Kerry and McCain Team Up For Privacy Bill

April 13, 2011 -

Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) this week introduced the "Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011," which they claim will establish a "baseline code of conduct" for how personal information is used, stored and distributed online.

"Americans have a right to decide how their information is collected, used, and distributed and businesses deserve the certainty that comes with clear guidelines," said Sen. Kerry in a statement about the new bill. "Our bill makes fair information practices the rules of the road, gives Americans the assurance that their personal information is secure, and allows our information driven economy to continue to thrive in today's global market."

The bill gives consumers notice of data collection and opt-out capabilities, while requiring companies collecting the information to provide adequate security and set limits on distribution.

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Report: Broadband Industry Contributes Heavily to Republicans

April 7, 2011 -

According to Public Integrity, the broadband and wireless industries contributed $81,500 to members of a key House subcommittee after the Federal Communications Commission approved new net neutrality rules in December of last year. Since 2009, large U.S. broadband and wireless companies have donated nearly $1.3 million to members of the subcommittee.

Almost two months later the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s communications and technology subcommittee passed a "resolution of disapproval" of the FCC’s pro-consumer rules. In theory, net neutrality rules block telecommunications companies from charging a higher fee to move certain data faster on the Internet or discriminating against high-bandwidth sites.

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Senator Al Franken & The Guild's Felicia Day Talk Net Neutrality at SXSW

April 5, 2011 -

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and The Guild's Felicia Day kicked off a Monday SXSW session schedule by getting straight to the point about internet freedom. Like a wet blanket on a camp fire, Franken warned attendees that the days of unfettered internet access may soon be over.

"The party may almost be over. There's nothing more motivated than a corporation that thinks it's leaving money on the table," said Franken. "An Open Internet: The Last, Best Hope for Independent Producers." Franken continued, "They're coming after our freedom and openness on the Internet. Net neutrality is the First Amendment issue of our time."

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U.S. Senators Rail Against Drunk Driving Checkpoint Avoidance App

March 23, 2011 -

Four United States Senators are not happy with an application that they say helps drunk drivers avoid checkpoints and they are demanding that a number of app stores yank it immediately. Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Tom Udall (D-NM) have asked Apple iPhone head Scott Forstall, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt and Research in Motion's (RIM) co-CEOs, James Balsillie and Michael Lazaridis to pull an undisclosed number of apps.

"Giving drunk drivers a free tool to evade checkpoints, putting innocent families and children at risk, is a matter of public concern," the senators said in a letter to the executives of the three companies. "We hope that you will give our request to remove these applications from your store immediate consideration."

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Matthew Wilsonthey know if they dont, someone will.11/25/2014 - 8:40pm
Sora-ChanIt's a HBO show, which to be honest, considering it's HBO, it's actually surprising they even put any up on youtube.11/25/2014 - 8:36pm
Andrew EisenI imagine they hope the clips they do host (some of which are rather long) are enough to entice viewers to watch the show on whatever channel it airs on.11/25/2014 - 5:54pm
MaskedPixelanteIt's odd that these videos are missing from the official Last Week Tonight page.11/25/2014 - 5:51pm
Andrew EisenRelevant or not, the guy's pretty darn entertaining.11/25/2014 - 4:58pm
WonderkarpJohn Oliver : Corporations On Twitter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG_7xur1iRc I feel like this is relevent11/25/2014 - 4:53pm
WonderkarpBurt Macklin, Anthropologist. I look forward to Jurassic Parks and Recreation.11/25/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenYep.11/25/2014 - 4:16pm
E. Zachary KnightDid Jaws 3 take place in a theme park?11/25/2014 - 4:14pm
Andrew EisenHey, they're remaking Jaws 3. Sweet! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFinNxS5KN411/25/2014 - 3:22pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/11/25/sony-to-refund-vita-customers-in-ftc-settlement-over-false-ads/ Sony is offering a refund to Vita owners who fell for their false advertising during the Vita launch.11/25/2014 - 2:49pm
Matthew Wilsondoes not shock me. people have been representing this as right vs left, but in truth its more like left vs even more left. better put is social libertarianism vs liberal moralism.11/25/2014 - 2:36pm
WonderkarpOfficial Occupy WallStreet Twitter Supports GamerGate https://twitter.com/OccupyWallSt/status/536928387869474818 heh11/25/2014 - 2:11pm
Matthew WilsonI saw that given that the gc adapters have been sold out everywhere, I thought it was higher.11/25/2014 - 11:49am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/11/25/smash-bros-sells-over-490k-on-wii-u-in-three-days/ Some good Nintendo news for a change.11/25/2014 - 11:48am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.865821-Irrational-Games-Rises-From-The-Dead-is-Hiring-Again11/25/2014 - 10:20am
Neeneko@james - yeah, the bar is low, but it still requires a DA that wants you to indict. This grand jury was so oddly handled I would not be surprised if the feds get involved.11/25/2014 - 10:19am
WonderkarpETSY find of the Day. http://tinyurl.com/pa7ymqb I want that on my wall.11/25/2014 - 9:31am
Michael ChandraThe Grand Jury isn't supposed to go "but there is reasonable doubt of their guilt, so no trial", right? I thought the whole idea was "there is reasonable doubt of their innocence, so let a full trial+jury decide."11/25/2014 - 8:41am
Michael ChandraExcept for when cops are involved. Which I never understood. In cases where police officers shot unarmed fleeing people in the back, how can you not assume there is a reasonable chance it was out of line?11/25/2014 - 8:40am
 

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