The world is rapidly sorting itself into two camps: Glassholes, and people who want you to take that damn thing off your face. The latest concerned parties, according to the Wall Street Journal: the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus.
Imagine that: A bunch of politicians worried about a world where everyone wears a camera on his face, ready to snap a picture of any shenanigans by public figures.
Yesterday the group wrote an open letter to Larry Page, expressing their concerns:
Be prepared to have whatever nominal notions of privacy you entertained about your cell phone usage shattered: A report produced by cell phone carriers in response to a congressional inquiry shows an alarming uptick in data requests by law enforcement over the last five years.
The New York Times obtained a copy of the report, stating that this is the first time data about cell surveillance has been collected on this scale, and that carriers are responding to thousands of requests daily.
Privacy is Dead
So maybe the House passed CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) and all our private online data is imperiled, mewling before the greedy claws of the the government, but hey–some in congress apparently think giving your password to your boss is a step too far. To that end, New York representative Eliot Engel and Illinois congresswoman Jan Schakowsky have introduced a bill in the House that would ban employers from seeking your Facebook password! They’ve got that going for them, which is nice.
The inelegantly named Social Networking Protection Act is a response to multiple reports indicating prospective and current employers are demanding full access to employees’ Facebook accounts. Ars Technica has more:
The Equity of the Crowds
Ready your startups, the early stage investing climate is about to go into overdrive. This afternoon, the JOBS Act (or Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act) passed in the House with an overwhelming vote of 380-41. Next, the bill moves to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.
It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride. The JOBS Act originally passed in the House a few weeks ago with a 390-23 vote a couple weeks ago. The Senate’s version of the bill, called the CROWDFUND Act (or Capital Raising Online While Deterring Fraud and Unethical Non-Disclosure Act), added a number of safeguards for investors and passed last week 73-26. The JOBS Act was then revised to reconcile with the Senate’s bill, which is why the final version had to move back to the House for another vote.
The recent congressional hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) generated a tidal wave of protest online, with startups censoring their homepages, drafting petitions and Tumblr sending an astonishing 87,000 phone calls to elected officials. But the hearing itself was less of a success. Many of the members of the House Judiciary Committee seemed amused, annoyed and downright dismissive of the anger emanating from the tech community. We gathered together some of their statements, both for and against, to give a flavor of how our lawmakers view online piracy.
Can the Internet Save the Internet
For the last couple of weeks venture capitalists and startup founders have been raising the alarm over new anti-piracy legislation making its way through Congress that would fundamentally endanger the functioning of a free internet.
Betabeat chatted with Fred Wilson yesterday, who said that this fight is part of a broader attempt to protect the innovation economy. “I hope that that big tech companies see that and join us in making our voice heard on this issue.”
Mr. Wilson and his partner Brad Burnham went down to D.C. to put in facetime with politicians. “We’re at a disadvantage here. The entertainment industry is a lot older, more mature, with deeper influence in Washington.”
The best chance for the tech industry? Getting the word out through those powerful online networks. “We’re hoping the internet can save the internet,” Mr. Wilson said.
Well, consider the call answered. Today, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla Corp, Twitter, Yahoo! and Zynga all signed on to a letter to Congress opposing SOPA: