For years, Silicon Valley has bemoaned a shortage of skilled domestic labor, the complaint being that the pool of quality technical talent in the U.S. has atrophied to the point where a failing educational system has left companies with no other choice except to import more skilled IT help from abroad. Recently, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman came … Read more
Senior Obama administration officials have secretly authorized the interception of communications carried on portions of networks operated by AT&T and other Internet service providers, a practice that might otherwise be illegal under federal wiretapping laws.
The secret legal authorization from the Justice Department originally applied to a cybersecurity pilot project in which the military monitored defense contractors' Internet links. Since then, however, the program has been expanded by President Obama to cover all critical infrastructure sectors including energy, healthcare, and finance starting June 12.
"The Justice Department is helping private companies evade federal wiretap laws," said … Read more
Consumers unhappy about the prospect of paying more to shop online aren't alone.
Online retailers are objecting to a proposed federal law to levy sales taxes on Internet shoppers, saying it's unreasonable to expect small businesses to comply with the detailed -- and sometimes conflicting -- regulations of nearly 10,000 government tax collectors.
The U.S. Senate began debate on the tax measure, S.743, Monday afternoon, capping years of lobbying by the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represent big box stores including including Walmart, Target, AutoZone, Best Buy, Home Depot, OfficeMax, … Read more
From Aaron Swartz's struggles with an antihacking law to Hollywood's lobbying to a raft of surveillance proposals, the Internet and its users' rights are under attack as never before, according to the creators of a forthcoming documentary film.
The film, titled "War for the Web," traces the physical infrastructure of the Internet, from fat underwater cables to living room routers, as a way to explain the story of what's behind the high-volume politicking over proposals like CISPA, Net neutrality, and the Stop Online Piracy Act.
"People talk about security, people talk about privacy, they … Read more
The head of the Internal Revenue Service said today the agency would abandon its controversial policy that claimed the right to read taxpayers' e-mail without first obtaining a search warrant.
Steven Miller, the IRS' acting commissioner, said at a U.S. Senate hearing that the no-warrant-required policy would be ditched within 30 days for e-mail, but he did not make the same commitment for other private electronic communications.
The Department of Justice said today that Sprint and T-Mobile should be given a fair chance at acquiring wireless spectrum in the Federal Communication Commission's upcoming incentive spectrum auction.
The antitrust division of the Justice Department laid out its argument in a filing to the FCC.
"The Department concludes that rules that ensure the smaller nationwide networks, which currently lack substantial low-frequency spectrum, have an opportunity to acquire such spectrum could improve the competitive dynamic among nationwide carriers and benefit consumers," the Justice Department said.
The FCC is currently drafting rules for an upcoming auction that will … Read more
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has launched a new political action group, FWD.us, to focus on immigration reform.
Zuckerberg, who announced the move through an editorial in The Washington Post, called U.S. immigration policy "strange" for a nation of immigrants and "unfit for today's world."
As a result, a deep roster of tech executives have banded to together to push a bipartisan policy agenda to change how the U.S. approaches immigration. The group has vowed to work with members of Congress from both parties, the administration, and state and local officials. It plans … Read more
STANFORD, Calif. -- Self-driving cars are expected to save lives: a vehicle driven by a human will experience, on average, a crash every 160,000 miles or so. It's only a matter of time, advocates say, before robots become better drivers than us.
That is, if the lawyers let them. Industry insiders are already fretting about a host of legal problems that could bedevil robotmakers once a sufficient number of their creations take to the roads. Product liability, tort law, negligence, foreseeable harm, patent encumbrance, and design defects are only some of the concerns.
"The longer … Read more
Encryption used in Apple's iMessage chat service has stymied attempts by federal drug enforcement agents to eavesdrop on suspects' conversations, an internal government document reveals.
An internal Drug Enforcement Administration document seen by CNET discusses a February 2013 criminal investigation and warns that because of the use of encryption, "it is impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices" even with a court order approved by a federal judge.
The European Union has long championed its citizens' right to submit requests for data that companies hold on them in order to ensure the information is up to date and correct. In recent years, an Austrian law student brought this "habeas data" right into the public spotlight by demanding his Facebook data from the social network.
Americans don't have this right -- and generally, relative to the EU, they have little legal protection from the state or federal government against data theft, unauthorized disclosures, and other privacy-related matters.
Though the EU and the U.S. have never … Read more