U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel is seeking public comment on the administration's future policy related to intellectual property law and the enforcement of it in the future. Espinel is smart to avoid using any language that would likely get her thousands of emails filled with disdain and anger such as SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, etc.
The White House announced this morning that President Obama will sign an Executive Order tomorrow that makes building out broadband in the United States faster and cheaper as it relates to Federal land and highways. The White House also announced the US Ignite broadband initiative with the help of one-hundred "partners."
Appearing on the C-SPAN program "The Communicators," White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt reiterated the Administration’s concerns with the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) that was recently passed in the house and promised the President would veto it if it crossed his desk in its current form. The Administration's concerns with the bill relate to how loosely worded it is, its lack of provisions to ensure privacy, as well as its amnesty provisions for companies that turn over user data to government agencies.
The White House Council on Women and Girls will host a Girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) event tomorrow (April 24) moderated by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The panelists will share their experiences and encourage young women to follow in their footsteps or blaze a trail of their own. The event will also include the first public screening of "Girls in STEM," a video featuring girls who participated in the 2012 White House Science Fair.
Stardock announced that it will release its latest election year strategy simulation game, Political Machine 2012, this summer. The game will let you pick from various candidates including President Barack Obama, Republican candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich, or a politician that you create from scratch. The game can be played in a one-on-one election year match up against the game's AI or against a human opponent via the Internet.
The White House passed along an advisory that the next meeting of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will take place on March 9 at 10:00 a.m. EST. The meeting will run until 3:00 p.m. at the "Root Room" of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington D.C. While the focus of this meeting is not necessarily exciting, it is interesting to see how policy makers, academics, and government officials approach science and technology.
While a petition asking the White House to dump ACTA is well intentioned, as TechDirt points out, it misses the mark for a number of reasons. The real question Americans should be asking is did the President follow the Constitution when he unilaterally had his administration negotiate this international treaty and did he have the authority to do it without involving lawmakers?
The White House has finally responded to a petition submitted by citizens expressing everything from concern to outright opposition to both SOPA and PIPA. Today the official web site for the White House has a rather lengthy post on these bills. The short story is that it seems like good news for those who oppose these bills in their current forms. From the Whitehouse.gov site:
An interesting story on The Hill points out that U.S. President Barack Obama faces a tough choice if the Stop Online Piracy or Protect IP Acts are passed by lawmakers because he has a vested interest in both Silicon Valley and the entertainment industry - two segments of the business community that heavily contributed to his 2008 campaign and continue to support him in 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama recently visited a Washington D.C. Best Buy to pick up a video game for his daughters. No doubt Ubisoft will be delighted to know the game he chose was one of theirs.
When asked what he was buying:
“In case you all are wondering, Just Dance for the Wii. The girls beat me every time on these various dance games. And you'll never get a picture of me [playing] because I get graded F every time," said President Obama.
Leah Kauffman, who wrote and sang the popular song "I Got a Crush on Obama" (lip-synched by a woman who would later became known as Obama Girl), has released a new video about SOPA called "Firewall." In the video Kaufman dances with a man dressed as the "Internet" and begs him not to "put up a firewall."
Environmental groups and open Internet activists are not happy with President Barack Obama's pick to lead his 2012 political campaign. That is probably because the president has picked a lobbyist that represented the NBC Universal / Comcast merger and the Keystone XL pipeline. The lobbyist in question is Broderick Johnson of the lobbying firm Bryan Cave LLP. According to U.S. House of Representatives records, Johnson lobbied our elected officials to “support submission of a presidential permit for Keystone XL pipeline” in the final quarter of 2010.
An amusing post on the Huffington Post from senior political reporter Amanda Terkel posits that Republican presidential candidate and former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain's 9.9.9 tax plan draws was inspired by a video game. According to HuffPo, Cain's plan is identical to the default settings in SimCity 4.
During his Father's Day national address yesterday, United States President Barack Obama encouraged parents to tell their kids to "turn off the video games and pick up a book." The President also talked about growing up without a father and why having a father figure in a child's life is important.
"We know that every father has a personal responsibility to do right by their kids - to encourage them to turn off the video games and pick up a book; to teach them the difference between right and wrong; to show them through our own example the value in treating one another as we wish to be treated. And most of all, to play an active and engaged role in their lives," he said.
TechBoston Academy garnered nation attentional this week when the President of the United States made a stop at the small Dorchester, Massachusetts school to give a 20 minute speech on technology and education. The school serves 800 students in grades 6 - 12 from a neighborhood known for crime, poverty and violence.
The point of the president's visit was to highlight TechBoston Academy's accomplishments and to say good schools can thrive in tough neighborhoods.
"Students here come from some tough neighborhoods, am I right? Yet the graduation rate is some 20 points higher than the rest of the city. Twenty points higher," President Obama said.
The President continued talking about investing in education that uses technology that can capture the imaginations of students:
A Saudi national who was arrested for plotting to "blow up" former President George W. Bush's Texas home and other targets in America has been connected ever so slightly to violent video games - particularly the Resident Evil series from Capcom. The 20-year-old chemical engineering student at Lubbock's South Plains College, described by authorities as a "jihadist" plead not guilty to charges last Wednesday in a Texas federal court. The charge was attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. According to an affidavit in the Northern District of Texas, Aldawarsi, who was came to the US in 2008 on a student visa, had allegedly researched how to make a chemical-based, improvised explosive device (IED) online.
The New York Post reports that enjoyed watching game videos from five titles in the Resident Evil series on YouTube - information the paper found while sifting through his blog.
According to a C|Net report, the Obama administration has drafted a new set of proposals to deal with intellectual property infringement online that it plans to send to the U.S. Congress very soon. The administration is also applauding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which it says will "aid right-holders and the U.S. government to combat infringement" once it enters into effect.
As the C|Net report notes, the 92-page report penned by intellectual property enforcement coordinator Victoria Espinel reads as if it was ghost-written by lobbyists groups. There is some interesting data in there like the fact that the number of FBI and Homeland Security infringement investigations jumped 40 percent from 2009 to 2010, praise for ACTA, and details on various law enforcement operations.
President Barack Obama on Monday announced that former RIAA lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr., currently serving as White House deputy counsel, will be taking over the vacancy left by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. As the new solicitor general, Verrilli's job is to defend the government before the Supreme Court, and to file friend-of-the court briefs when the government feels it has a vested interest in a case.
According to the Ars Technica report, Verrilli is best known as the guy who lead the legal charge against music and movie file-sharing site Grokster. That site has gone the way of the dodo thanks in part to his efforts against it. He also had a considerable part in the Viacom legal battle with YouTube, which ended up going wrong for the media giant. Viacom is appealing that decision.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff William Daley's history in the telecom industry has some supporters of the FCC’s net neutrality rules concerned, according to a report in The Hill. Dailey served as president of SBC Communications before it acquired AT&T and took the “smaller” company's name. Saying that AT&T was a smaller company tells you just how big SBC really was.
One of those supporters is Free Press:
"With Daley at his side, how long will it be before Obama caves?" Tim Karr, Free Press campaign director, wrote in the Huffington Post on Saturday.
Opponents of net neutrality, including Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), think that Dailey’s influence in the White House on this particular issue is a good thing:
Correction: The U.S. Commerce Department contacted us to let us know that the national I.D. program is completely voluntary. In our earlier report we erroneously reported that it was not a voluntary program. Our original wording was "The Internet I.D. would give every American a unique online identity overseen by the Commerce Department."
According to the public affairs officer for the Commerce Department, "Every American will not need an ID and private organizations or others that conduct online transactions would opt in to a system that is led by private industry in partnership with federal agencies like DOC."
Details on what the program consist of can be found at www.nist.gov/nstic.
President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that outlaws the creation and distribution of so-called animal crush videos, a response to an April 20 Supreme Court decision (United States v. Stevens) that struck down an earlier federal law that banned a more broadly defined description of animal cruelty. The court was concerned that the law could be applied to hunting and fishing videos. The new law specifically addresses creating and distributing videos and ties it to obscenity - saying that these kinds of videos - involving burning, crushing and mutilating animals appeal to a particular sexual fetish. Why would the law say that? To tie the act to obscenity and make it an exception to the first amendment.
"This [new] law protects both animals and free speech by focusing specifically on crush videos, which clearly have no place in our society,” said Randall Lockwood of ASPCA.
This week the White House debuted an online virtual tour, giving visitors of this web site a look at the most important address in America. This virtual tour lets visitors watch exclusive "Inside the White House" videos, and check out the most popular areas of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, such as the West Wing, residence, East Wing, and South Lawn.
"You're invited to do everything from cook with the New Orleans Saints in the White House kitchen, to peek inside the Situation Room, to watch the Jonas Brothers perform in the East Room and tour the first ever beehive on White House grounds with beekeeper Charlie Brandt," writes White House deputy director of digital content, Kori Schulman.
Check it out at www.whitehouse.gov.
In a recent Fox News piece on the hidden political characters in NBA Jam, co-host Jenna Lee (Thanks Joystiq) asked EA Sports head Peter Moore if giving President Obama’s character special abilities in the game was “bi-partisan,” an ironic question perhaps, given the network that the question was posed on.
Moore remained nonplussed, answering, “We try and be non-partisan in what we do.” He continued, “But at the same time, the President, who as you know is a pretty good hoops player himself… ah, we try to represent his skills there.”
While President Obama pops up in championship celebrations in NBA 2K11 and Madden NFL 11, he’s joined by a whole slew of friends and foes alike in the just-released NBA Jam.
The series has a history of hidden characters and this new Wii entry is no different, as an ESPN story discloses that whole teams of Democrats and republicans are unlockable in the game.
On the Democrat side, gamers can unlock Obama, Joe Biden, Al Gore and Bill and Hillary Clinton, while the Republican side is represented by George W. Bush, Sara Palin, John McCain and Dick Cheney.
The game’s Creative Director Troy Smith, discussed the appearance of politicians in the game:
In order to combat the decreasing use of archaic telephones, the Obama administration is preparing a bill that would allow law enforcement and national security officials greater access to online communications.
As reported by the New York Times, such a bill would require online services such as Blackberry’s encrypted email system, or social sites like Facebook, to be “technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order.”
Some, like Columbia University’s Steven Bellovin, a Computer Science Professor, see a problem with the mandate, because hackers could figure out how to gain access through the new backdoors. Bellovin called it, “… a disaster waiting to happen.”