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Technology & Science Archive

Lawmakers Voice Concerns as NTIA Looks to Relinquish Internet Domain Administration

Could authoritarian governments gain power over the Web if the U.S. steps out of its role in the Internet domain name system?

It's Time to Reboot Cyber-Debate, Renew Security Push | Commentary

As members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, we are keenly aware — thanks to our nation’s law enforcement and intelligence communities — of the potential damage a cyberattack on our nation’s critical infrastructure could cause.

Pediatric Research Bill Offers Guidance, No Clear Funding Guarantees

A pediatric research bill Congress cleared this week is winning praise for boosting efforts to combat childhood diseases, but the measure will not change any spending levels unless appropriators allocate money for the work to the National Institutes of Health.

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Tax Treaties at Standstill in Senate Over Privacy Issues

Approving tax treaties with other nations used to be relatively routine business on Capitol Hill, but that’s no longer the case.

Rogers Is Right --Time for the Senate to Move On Cybersecurity | Commentary

Recently, U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., prodded his Senate colleagues to move forward with a piece of legislation that has vital implications for the security of individuals, businesses and our nation as a whole. Speaking at George Washington University, Rogers addressed the need for the Senate to pass a comprehensive cybersecurity bill. The House has already passed their own bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which facilitates increased information sharing about cyber-threats between government and the private sector. The Senate, however, must produce its version so that the two can go to conference committee and produce meaningful legislation that can be signed into law.

Legislation to Allow Third Party Decryption of Cable Signals Met With Hostility by Some in Congress

Lawmakers from both parties regard with something close to hostility a congressionally mandated ban affecting the contents of the cable boxes that sit atop millions of Americans’ television sets. Texas Democratic Rep. Gene Green said the ban has “cost consumers and business over a billion dollars since 2007 in impeding innovation and efficiency,” and he has already tried to kill it with stand-alone legislation.

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CableCARD Integration Bill Would Have a Chilling Effect on Third-Party Devices, Interest Groups Say

Most of the language in a complex satellite and cable broadcast bill working its way through Congress deals with issues the average pay-TV viewer won’t see up close, ranging from retransmission negotiations to media ownership. But one section of the measure would affect a piece of hardware that sits in the TV tuner of every viewer’s cable box — and the makers of third-party units like TiVo say the bill is about to make those consumers’ lives much harder.

A Regulatory Step Backward: FCC Should Not Treat Broadband as a Common Carrier | Commentary

The artist and author Julia Cameron once wrote, “Nothing dies harder than a bad idea.” When Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler testifies in Congress next week, one of those stubborn bad ideas he will be asked about is the call by some online critics to reclassify broadband Internet access as a Title II “telecommunications service” instead of an “information service” as it is today. This bad idea would effectively treat broadband providers and a wide range of Internet firms as public-utility style “common carriers,” along the lines of railroads and canal boats of centuries past. Applying a 19th century regulatory solution to a 21st century problem simply does not make sense.

The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act | Commentary

On Thursday, May 8 at 2 p.m., in Cannon 311, my expert colleagues and I testified in an open hearing on the threat of electromagnetic pulse to critical infrastructures. The hearing will prepare members of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies to consider a vitally important bill, arguably the most important bill before this Congress — the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (HR 3410) — that would prepare the nation for a natural or nuclear EMP catastrophe.

Interconnection Confusion | Commentary

Arguments over net neutrality and how companies connect on the Internet’s back end are usually the province of academics and engineers — but in recent weeks, these complex issues have exploded into the public sphere. Congress is preparing numerous hearing that will touch on these subjects, from Thursday’s House Judiciary hearing on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger to the May 20 House Energy and Commerce oversight hearing on the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC itself will also soon consider new net neutrality regulations.

Republican Online Gambling Ban Sets a Dangerous Precedent for States' Rights | Commentary

Should lawmakers in Washington override state laws and impose their values on the states? Some members of Congress seem to think so, and they are trying to impose a retroactive federal ban on Internet gambling, including in three states that have already legalized the activity. Not only does the proposal trample states’ rights, it will fail to eliminate illegal online gambling while making consumers less safe online, eliminating millions of dollars in tax revenue for states, and favoring a special interest. It is also based on a blatant misrepresentation of existing law.

America Can't Afford to Ignore Science | Commentary

Americans love science, but if its practice and outcomes challenge their deeply held beliefs in any significant way, their love can easily turn to rejection. That dichotomy is nothing new, but today it’s a problem not only for science but also for our nation’s 21st century economy, which depends so heavily on research and development for its growth.

Bringing Mobile Broadband to Rural Americans | Commentary

In 2012, Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. One of its key goals was to ensure that American consumers get access to the spectrum they need. As the Federal Communications Commission finalizes its design for the Incentive Auction that will buy back 600 megahertz spectrum from broadcasters in order to sell it to providers of mobile broadband, members of Congress continue to express intense interest in the auction. Recent letters from both sides of the aisle encourage the FCC to conduct an auction equally open to all participants.

C-J-S Bill Advances After Democratic Gun Provisions Turned Aside

House appropriators advanced a measure Thursday to fund the Justice and Commerce departments, along with science agencies, after endorsing a GOP gun proposal and sidelining a series of Democratic firearm policy amendments.

It's Time for Washington to Stand with Songwriters | Commentary

In 1914, a small, but visionary group of America’s leading songwriters and composers — among them, musical greats like Irving Berlin and John Philip Sousa — realized they could protect their rights as music creators more effectively through collective licensing, rather than going it alone. So they came together to form the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, or ASCAP for short.

DATA Act Is a Victory for Open Government | Commentary

Recently, in a victory for open data, both chambers of Congress passed with bipartisan support the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act. The bill now heads to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature. The DATA Act would drastically improve the public’s access to federal spending data by expanding the universe of information the government is required to post online and creating government-wide financial data standards.

Combing Your Hair for a Phone Call and Other Obsolete Ideas | Commentary

When I was a kid, about 60 years ago, talking to our relatives in Cleveland on Sunday nights was such a momentous event that my mother would make my brother and I dress neatly and comb our hair for it — for a phone call! Such was the phone system in the 1950s.

Chemical Bill Has Potential for Bipartisan Success | Commentary

Politics on Capitol Hill can often be as fickle as a Washington, D.C., weather forecast. However, once every blood-red moon, we see members of Congress work carefully and deliberately to introduce true bipartisan legislation — which is precisely what U.S. Representative John Shimkus, R-Ill., is doing with the draft Chemicals in Commerce Act, proposed legislation to reform the decades-old Toxic Substances Control Act.

NASA Space Exploration Architect: 'We Need to Learn How to Land a House' for Mars Mission

NASA wants to go to Mars in the 2030s, but there are some technical challenges it’ll have to address. Such as landing.

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NASA's Proposal to Lasso an Asteroid Snares Skepticism

Sometime in the next decade, NASA envisions being able to send a spacecraft to snag a small asteroid passing nearby and guide it into orbit around the moon, where astronauts could fly up to study it and return samples to Earth. Agency officials say it’s a way to gain experience and develop some of the technologies it would need to send humans to Mars in the 2030s.

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