Big Brother Is Watching
CISPA, the cyber-privacy bill facing opposition from open Internet advocates, passed the House of Representatives today with a vote of 287 for, 127 against and 18 abstaining. The bill will now move on to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it may face a tougher fight. President Obama has also threatened to veto the bill in its current form.
If passed, CISPA would give the U.S. government the ability to obtain personal user data from Internet companies without a court-ordered warrant.
This morning a petition on the White House’s official petition portal, We the People, began circulating across the web that asked the government to consider assigning each state a Pokemon character to represent it. It received under 1,000 signatures, but delighted swaths of “’90s ubernerds” nostalgic for a time when trading Pokemon cards on the playground was the most emotionally-fraught adventure of the day.
But a few hours after news of the petition broke, the White House yanked it from We the People, claiming that it violated the site’s Terms of Participation. We have to assume recognizing a state Pokemon is not exactly high up on the administration’s lengthy list of priorities.
Though NASA has already gone to great lengths to assure adults everywhere that rumors of the world’s supposed impending demise are in fact false, the government has now turned its focus to precocious teens who have traded in anxiety about what to wear for class picture day for soul-crushing fear of the apocalypse.
The federal government spends money to fix the country’s infrastructure, help senior citizens get affordable access to health care and beef up national security, but did you know that it also pays for stuff like workshops on Star Trek musings?
The FTC has been examining Google’s business practices for a while and tonight the New York Times reports that the commission has prepared a memo recommending the United States file suit against the company for allegedly massaging search results to favor Google products, among other things.
It’s not a done deal that the government and Google will end up arguing the case in court, but a memo currently being prepared by the FTC is a big step in that direction:
Since Wired first covered the saga of Dajaz1′s November, 2010 seizure for alleged copyright infringement last week the site has responded to the government’s actions in a blog post heavy with quotes from their “super awesome attorney,” Andrew Bridges. Mr. Bridges states that the owner of the site is grateful the U.S. government finally found there wasn’t probable cause to seek forfeiture of the domain, but exoneration of Dajaz1.com isn’t enough. Some super awesome rhetoric aimed at R.I.A.A. and government collusion ensues:
It’s embarrassing enough to watch politicians who don’t know a server from a waiter debating the SOPA legislation that the architects of the internet say will make the web less effective and less safe. But yesterday the members of the Judiciary Committee decided to spend a good portion of the time they set aside to discuss these news laws insulting each other on Twitter and arguing over inane parliamentary procedures.