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Tag: CONGRESS

U.S. Not Adequately Prepared To Meet Cyber Attacks, Says General

Despite improvements made in recent years, the U.S. is still highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks, the head of the military's cyber-forces warned yesterday. "To put it bluntly, we are very thin, and a crisis would quickly stress our cyber forces," General Keith Alexander told the House Armed Services Committee. Alexander noted that the Pentagon is working on building up its network defenses,...

Obama Administration Urges Congress to Adopt 'Privacy Bill of Rights'

The Obama administration is pushing Congress to adopt a so-called "privacy bill of rights," in order to offer greater protection for Americans concerned about online data gathering and targeted advertising. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence E. Strickling is expected to propose the legislation today during a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee. A source familiar with the matter told...

New Jersey Democrat Beats IBM's Watson in Trivia Challenge

Share Last night, five members of Congress thought it would be fun to stage a trivia challenge against Watson -- the IBM supercomputer that made the world feel stupid last month on 'Jeopardy!'. As it did brainiacs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, Watson absolutely bulldozed its Congressional competition -- with one notable exception. Rep. Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat, actually defeated the...

White House to Propose New Digital Copyright Laws to Congress

The Obama administration has put together a new set of digital copyright laws aimed at cracking down on illegal downloads and other forms of online piracy. Yesterday, intellectual property enforcement coordinator Victoria Espinel released a 92-page report (PDF), outlining the White House's copyright proposals, which will be submitted to Congress "in the very near future." Although the report...

Congressmen Press Zuckerberg on Facebook's Data Sharing Practices

Last month, Facebook temporarily suspended a controversial new feature that would have allowed third-party app developers to access sensitive user information, including home addresses and telephone numbers. At the time, the company said it would relaunch the service at a later date, but two U.S. congressmen think Facebook should tread carefully. Yesterday, Representatives Edward Markey and...

The Internet 'Kill Switch' Bill: What It Is, and Why It Won't Die

On the very day that the Egyptian government shut down an overwhelming majority of the country's Internet servers, Republican Senator Susan Collins began floating a piece of legislation which, if passed, would grant the President the power to do essentially the same thing in the U.S. The so-called 'kill switch' bill was approved by the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs...

Advocacy Group Calls for Investigation of Google's 'Secret' NSA Relationships

A consumer-advocacy group is urging Congress to investigate what it calls a suspiciously "cozy" relationship between Google and the Obama administration. In a letter (PDF) sent to Representative Darrell Issa, Consumer Watchdog asked the Republican to hold a congressional investigation into contracts that governmental agencies have signed with Google, as well as the NSA's "secretive"...

Nancy Pelosi Ditches the 'Speaker' Title on Twitter

Surely to the delight of Tea Partiers and the ambivalence of many others, Nancy Pelosi has changed her Twitter account from @SpeakerPelosi to the more humble @NancyPelosi, as she abdicated her House throne yesterday. The Minority Leader announced the change in a tweet, choking back tears as she opted for a handle "two characters shorter." Be on the lookout for a similar change from @JohnBoehner...

John Boehner to Stream First Day of New Congress on Facebook

Tomorrow, a new Congress will surf to power in Washington on a wave of Tea Party-infused populism. With that spirit in mind, incoming House Speaker John Boehner will livestream the entire event on Facebook. Beginning at noon on Wednesday, users will be able to watch all the proceedings of the new Congress on the 'Pledge to America' Facebook page. People who tune in will also be able to comment...

G.O.P. House Becomes First to Allow Personal Gadgets on Floor

You'd think that the tech-savvy Dems would've thought of this -- especially after the social networking-powered election of President Obama -- but it actually took the incoming class of Republicans to propose rule changes that now allow electronic devices on the House floor. Until now, cell phones and tablets have been banned from the floors of the House and Senate, although the rules have not...

Obama Administration Pushes for Online 'Privacy Bill of Rights'

The Obama administration is pushing for the creation of a new 'Privacy Policy Office,' which would be charged with the task of putting together an online "privacy bill of rights" for all Americans. The proposals were outlined in a report from the Department of Commerce, which called for the development of a new "framework" to protect consumers from data-gathering, third-party companies. The...

Congress Passes CALM Act, Puts Limits on Commercial Volume Levels

Don't adjust your TV sets. Democrats and Republicans really did just find a solution to one of the world's biggest problems: commercial decibel levels. After having already breezed through the Senate in October, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act received a final stamp of approval yesterday from the House of Representatives. It's now headed to the White House, where it...

FBI Goes to Facebook, Google to Talk Expanding Gov't Wiretapping

We already knew that the FBI was pushing to expand its online wiretapping capacities. Now, the agency has apparently taken its campaign to Silicon Valley. As the New York Times reports, FBI Director Robert Mueller met Tuesday with several tech companies -- including Facebook and Google -- to discuss a possible expansion to current legislation that would make it easier for federal agencies to...

'Congress' App Brings Voting Records and Political Tweets to Android

There is more than one political junkie on the Switched staff, and the lot of us get pretty excited whenever we see a cool app that makes it easier to keep on top of the happenings in Washington. iPhone owners already have a host of options for tracking Congress, but, until now, Android users have been largely left in a lurch. Thanks to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to...

Online Gambling Ban Gets Reconsidered by Congress

In the midst of our cash-strapped economy, the federal government is now looking into legalizing online gambling. The New York Times reports that the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill that would allow "online poker and other nonsports betting, overturning a 2006 federal ban," which was mostly ineffective in the first place. The Times notes that the bill would have the Treasury...