Archive for the ‘darrell issa’ tag
The Internet Defense League (IDL), an organization dedicated to keeping the internet open, officially kicked off its efforts today with a conference call that included several members of the tech industry and a handful of U.S. congressmen.
The group said it has set up its own version of Batman’s bat signal.
IDL members (you can sign up on the organization’s official website) will have access to tools for automatically alerting people to issues that may hinder the web’s freedom. Members can put a piece of code on their website that will contain updates on issues, send out automated messages on Twitter or Facebook, and receive e-mails. The group calls this effort the “Cat Signal,” appropriately named for the Internet’s nearly universal fascination with kitties.
“This is a call to arms for all the people who are creating something online,” said Reddit and Breadpig founder Alexis Ohanian during today’s call, adding that the Internet needs a watchful protector like DC super-hero Batman. “Whether they’ve got a Twitter account with 20 followers or a website with 30 million visitors, they all have a Gotham, so to speak, to protect.”
“The Internet, from the time it was commercialized, has proven to be a place where innovators come together, or innovate on their own,” said Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) during the call. “Had the government intervened through regulation … the Internet today would look much more like a telephone system and much less like a communications system (that is) an economic engine that has driven so many new and innovative products.”
The IDL — whose members include companies like Reddit, WordPress, Cheezburger Network, Fark, and others — was formed in the wake of successful protests by a number of groups to thwart such now-dead pieces of legislation as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). The group is attempting to bring together regular Internet users, companies that build their business around the Internet, and others into a permanent coalition able to alert the community to threats to net freedoms in the future. And as VentureBeat previously reported, many IDL members have already come together to sign a Declaration of Internet Freedom.
The IDL wants to be the caped crusader for the Internet. And in keeping with the Batman metaphor, not only is the group scheduling its launch to coincide with the release of the latest Batman movie, but it’s also creating a digital version of the bat signal with its Cat Signal.
Oh, and its also got real-life Cat Signals.
Seriously. The organization started a crowdfunding campaign to get real life Cat Signals beaming the IDL’s “cat-signal” icon onto clouds in the sky or neighboring buildings. The group has raised almost its entire $19,000 target to have these spotlights used in five different cities across the globe. Depending on how much you donate, you can even receive IDL trinkets and gear, such as a personal cat signal torch-light key chain, IDL t-shirt, stickers, and more.
Additionally, members have the option of donating money to the organization’s future efforts.
Logistics of flipping on the Cat Signal
During the call there was some discussion about how the IDL would identify each threat, as every member will likely not agree with everything the new organization deems hurtful to the web.
For instance, issues regarding net neutrality would end up being put on a case-by-case basis.
“Net neutrality is a tricky question, because a lot of people really love the idea in theory, but finding a legislative way to do it without attaching a lot of power to a group or (government) agency is incredibly difficult” said EFF’s Rainey Reitman on the call. “It would just depend on the legislation.”
The group will, however, monitor websites, including a IDL subreddit devoted to threats against a free Internet. Based on the limited discussion on the conference call, it didn’t sound like there was any standard procedure for identifying threats that would be fed through the Cat Signal, at least not for the moment.
Some IDL members, like Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), don’t foresee this as a huge problem. “Once there is an issue brought up by either the (IDL) community or through mainstream media, the public is going to drive it,” Wyden said, adding that any issue that needs to be addressed won’t be hard to identify for the organization.
Representative Darrell Issa (CA-49) signed the Declaration of Internet Freedom, a broad online document that aims to keep the internet free and open. Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is the first elected official to sign it.
Issa has been an outspoken opponent of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Last month, he drafted “A Digital Citizen’s Bill of Rights.”
A Digital Citizen’s Bill of Rights
I believe that individuals possess certain fundamental rights. Government should exist to protect those rights against those who would violate them. That is the revolutionary principle at the heart of the American Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. No one should trample our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s why the Bill of Rights is an American citizen’s first line of defense against all forms of tyranny.
But where can a digital citizen turn for protection against the powerful? This question lay at the heart of the fight to stop SOPA and PIPA and keep the web open. While I do not have all the answers, the remarkable cooperation we witnessed in defense of an open Internet showed me three things. First, government is flying blind, interfering and regulating without understanding even the basics. Second, we have a rare opportunity to give government marching orders on how to treat the Internet, those who use it and the innovation it supports. And third, we must get to work immediately because our opponents are not giving up.
We need to frame a digital Bill of Rights. This is my first draft. I need your help to get this right, so I published it here in Madison for everyone to comment, criticize and collaborate. I look forward to hearing from you and continuing to work together to keep the web open.
Representative Issa makes his stand for Internet freedom.
SOPA did not reach a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) did not pass the U.S. Senate and the European Parliament rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). However, this does not mean these initiatives, or some future version of them, are dead. That’s where the Declaration comes in.
We stand for a free and open Internet.
We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:
Expression: Don’t censor the Internet.
Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.
Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.
Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions.
Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.
With backers from the ACLU, Mozilla, Y Combinator and reddit to Cheezburger, Inc. and the Harry Potter Alliance, the Declaration boasts an eclectic but impressive group of signatures. The document is very broad and vague, most likely by design. As the Atlantic Wire points out, this language makes it very difficult for the government and citizens behind the Declaration to reach a solution. Perhaps having a government official cross sides and sign the Declaration will help move things along.
(Image via Deviant Art/Jason Heuser)
“We can draft anything, but will we go to the masses?” said Congressman Darrell Issa, creator of Congress’s little-known online crowdsourcing legislative platform, Project Madison. Today, at the open-government forum, the Personal Democracy Conference, Issa launched a foundation to expand the ability of citizens to suggest changes to all legislation, and to fund more experiments in digital participation. Issa, commonly known as the firebrand conservative critic of President Obama, is also the former chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association, and has used his engineering background to experiment with other digital tools, such as a interactive polling game and livestreams of otherwise secretive committee hearings.
“We intend to focus on problems where technology can strengthen democratic participation, while lowering the real barriers that exist between the citizens and their government,” reads the press release for the OpenGov Foundation.
The initial step will be to expand Madison. Originally launched at a joint Congress-Facebook hackathon to advance his alternative to SOPA, Madison received over 188,000 views. Make no mistake, Project Madison is not hollow pandering (like a previous Republican platform, America Speaking Out): suggestions actually make it into law.
And, boy are the legal suggestions offered on Project Madison wonky. One participant noticed that the wording in Issa’s alternative SOPA law could leave website registrants legally responsible for actions of the website administrator, “The improvement acknowledges that a website owner may not necessarily be the registrant. Steve’s suggestion ensures that notice could be served to either. Thank you, Steve,” states the website (for more suggestions that made it into the proposed law, click here).
The technology isn’t built yet, and Issa will be looking for savvy developers who know how to parse legislative text into a readable format, as well as build out user experience.
Perhaps most importantly, many of Issa’s experiments, including Madison, are aggressively transparent. The identity of every group or person who makes a suggestion is made public. This is, in part, to get around one of the original problems with SOPA, when congress convened a hearing with proponents outnumbering critics 5-1 (with one lonely Googler trying to save the Internet). “Ultimately, the people who don’t want to go on to our site and want to lobby behind the scenes, they will be diminished,” Issa said of Madison. “It increases the power of those who, in a transparent way, are willing to make input.”
Senator Ron Wyden, who joined Issa on stage, warned the audience of a “cyber industrial complex,” which can restrict the universe of knowledge around capitol hill and pass bills that are potentially harmful to a free Internet.
If developers or members of the public are interested in learning more and getting involved, visit opengovfoundation.org
An evening conversation with CIS Executive Director of the Fair Use Project Anthony Falzone and Congressman Darrell Issa where they will discuss topics about SOPA, PIPA and internet freedom. Read more » about SOPA, PIPA and Internet Freedom – Where Do We Go From Here? Video
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) engaged in a public conversation Monday evening with Anthony Falzone, director of the Fair Use Project at the Center for Internet and Society (CIS), on the broad subject of Internet freedoms and intellectual property. The event, entitled “SOPA, PIPA and Internet Freedom: Where Do We Go From Here?” was held at the Law School in front of a crowd of mostly graduate students and faculty. Read more » about Rep. Issa Discusses SOPA/PIPA
U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) tackled questions about technology and anti-piracy legislation from users of community news sharing site Reddit yesterday.
Having Issa participate in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) is a big deal because the site generates over two billion monthly page views and regularly conducts discussions that are entirely policed by its own users.
As for Issa, he’s head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, strong opponent of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) as well as the senate’s Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), and a vocal critic of the European “trade agreement” ACTA. Issa recently published the entire ACTA text online, as VentureBeat previously reported. He’s also a self-proclaimed “Internet defender” with 37 patents to his name. Basically, that makes Issa one of the most qualified members of congress when it comes to issues involving patent and copyright legislation.
Some of the most popular questions involved Reddit users asking Issa about the government’s involvement in curbing piracy through legislation.
“Any solution needs to be inclusive of everyone involved or impacted — content producers, copyright holders, individual Internet users, digital job creators, etc.,” Issa wrote in response to a question about a valid approach to prevent piracy without having the government infringe on a citizen’s basic privacy rights. He also explained why the OPEN Act, which he authored, is a better alternative than SOPA. “I think the OPEN Act is a good balance of increasing protections for our inventors and artists without giving government new, invasive and Internet-destabilizing powers.”
When asked why so many publishing companies are trying to limit our freedoms on the internet, Issa replied saying: “Publishers and all intellectual property owners will always take the most strident position, in an attempt to maximize their return on their investment. The Internet will always have those who will seek less restrictions on intellectual property, regardless for the need for a return on the investment of the IP creator.
“I fought to defeat SOPA and PIPA because they were bad pieces of legislation and went too far in harming the Internet,” he added.
SOPA and PIPA were criticized because it gave federal authorities the right to shut down any foreign-based website accused of infringing on copyrights and committing acts of piracy. Those pieces of legislation were far too vague in regards to how “foreign website” was defined and didn’t offer enough protection to those that were being falsely accused of piracy by copyright holders trying to eliminate competition or negative criticism.
Despite Issa’s attempts to appeal to Reddit’s masses by mentioning his love of gadgets and Battlestar Galactica, the site’s users also drilled the congressman with some hardball questions. For instance, one Redditor asked how Issa could claim to be a defender of the Internet while supporting legislation in 2008 that allowed the government to conduct warrentless wiretapping.
“After 9/11, an extraordinary amount of cooperation by our communications industry was necessary to find out who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans, and who continued to pose an active threat to Americans in our country and around the world,” wrote Issa. “Americans in the telecom industry were called into classified sessions and asked to help in this effort and were asked to tell no one, not even their own coworkers. Some would say Bush had no right to do that, but that’s a fight (with) the Executive Branch and Congress.”
While not everyone was pleased with Issa’s responses, the majority of people who had their question answered seemed appreciative. The congressman said he’d attempt to answer more questions from the Reddit post later today.
Photo of Rep. Darrell Issa browsing Reddit via Issa/Flickr
While Americans were busy fighting the SOPA and PIPA bills at home, nations around the globe, including the United States, were signing on to ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which many in the world of technology feel is as bad or worse than the home grown piracy legislation. “ACTA represents as great a threat to an open Internet as SOPA and PIPA and wasdrafted with even less transparency and input from digital citizens,” said California Congressman Darrell Issa. That’s why Rep. Issa is opening up ACTA to the public using an online platform called Madison, part of the #OPEN act introduced in January.
“This agreement was negotiated in secret and many of its vague provisions would clearly increase economic uncertainty, while imposing onerous new regulations on job creators, Internet service providers, innovators and individual Americans,” Rep. Issa said in a statement emailed to VentureBeat this morning. “Opening ACTA to taxpayers and stakeholder in Madison will help gather crucial input, while delivering the transparency they deserve.”
Negotiations around ACTA actually began four years ago, but the Obama administration only signed on in October of 2011, joined by nations like Canada, Japan, Korea and Australia. As Rep. Issa sees it, this is both an issue of intellectual property and legislative process:
No Transparency: ACTA is a multilateral intellectual property agreement that was negotiated in secret, excluding American taxpayers and key stakeholders who would be impacted by it. Despite the fact that ACTA has huge implications for the public, until now few steps have been taken to give the public input into this process.
Circumvents Congress & the Constitution: While ACTA carries several provisions that directly affect U.S. trade and intellectual property law, the Bush and Obama Administrations appear to have violated Congress’ constitutional authority over policymaking in these areas. Adding insult to constitutional injury, the Administration refuses to even classify ACTA as a treaty, which would then require ratification by the U.S. Senate. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) raised these troubling issues in an October 12, 2011 letter to President Obama.
Vague & Far-Reaching: Like it’s domestic counterparts SOPA and PIPA, much of ACTA is vague, with consequences for individuals and stakeholders that could reach far beyond the agreement’s original intent. ACTA also contains no safeguards against wrongful cases of intellectual property rights infringement.
We’ve embedded the document below so that you can go over the fine print yourself. Section 5 beginning on page 15 covers enforcement of intellectual property rights in the digital environment. A few highlights we came across:
- Each Party shall provide that, in civil judicial proceedings concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights, its judicial authorities have the authority to issue an order against a party to desist from an infringementEach Party shall provide that, in civil judicial proceedings concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights, its judicial authorities have the authority to order the infringer who, knowingly or with reasonable grounds to know, engaged in infringing activity to pay the right holder damages adequate to compensate for the injury the right holder has suffered as a result of the infringement. In determining the amount of damages for infringement of intellectual property rights, a Party’s judicial authorities shall have the authority to consider, inter alia, any legitimate measure of value the right holder submits, which may include lost profits, the value of the infringed goods or services measured by the market price, or the suggested retail price.
Filed under: VentureBeat
Het Amerikaanse Huis van Afgevaardigden hoort op 18 januari enkele veiligheids- en techexperts over de omstreden antipiraterijwet SOPA.
Uitgenodigd zijn onder meer medeoprichter Alexis Ohanian van sociale nieuwssite Reddit, Rackspace-directeur Lanham Napier, Union Square Ventures-partner Brad Burnham en beveiligingsexpert Daniel Kaminsky.
SOPA geeft de Amerikaanse regering en auteursrechthouders het recht om via DNS-blokkades complete domeinen af te sluiten als zij vermoeden dat er auteursrechtelijk beschermd materiaal wordt aangeboden.
Sinds er een lijst is gepubliceerd van bedrijven die de SOPA-wet steunen, lijkt de kritiek steeds verder aan te zwellen. Domeinregistratiebedrijf GoDaddy verloor naar schatting een half miljoen dollar doordat klanten hun registraties bij andere aanbieders onderbrachten. De onderneming is nu verklaard tegenstander van de wet.
Voorzitter Darrell Issa van het House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wil inventariseren wat precies de voor- en nadelen zijn. Vandaar niet alleen tegenstanders zijn uitgenodigd.
The U.S. House of Representatives has invited a small group of security experts and tech industry leaders to testify about potential risks associated with passing legislation like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced today.
The list of people asked to address Congress includes Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier, Union Square Ventures Partner Brad Burnham, security researcher Daniel Kaminsky and others. The committee has scheduled a full hearing for January 18.
For anyone who’s still in the dark about the proposed legislation, here’s a quick rundown: SOPA gives both the U.S. government and copyright holders the authority to seek court orders against websites associated with infringing, pirating and/or counterfeiting intellectual property. The implication of having the act pass is that it could drastically change the way the Internet operates. For example, if a website is accused of containing copyright-infringing content (such as a song, picture or video clip), the site could be blocked by ISPs, de-indexed from search engines and even prevented from doing business with companies like PayPal. [For more information about the proposed SOPA legislation, check out this infographic about the bill's negative effect on business and innovation as well as VentureBeat’s ongoing SOPA coverage.]
“The public deserves a full discussion about the consequences of changing the way Americans access information and communicate on the Internet today,” said committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) in a statement.
The hearing will also explore federal government strategies to protect American intellectual property without adversely affecting economic growth.
As for who will deliver the testimony, it’s a pretty competent group of people who (arguably) aren’t just a bunch of SOPA protesters. For instance, Kaminsky is regarded highly by many computer security experts for his work exploring DNS Cache Poisoning, while Ohanian is the spokesperson for one of the largest and most active online communities in the world.
We’re reaching out to a few of the people on the list below for additional comment and will update the post with any new information.
Full statement from the House Committee:
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) today announced that the Full Committee will hold a hearing on January 18 to examine the potential impact of Domain Name Service (DNS) and search engine blocking on American cyber-security, jobs and the Internet community. In light of policy proposals affecting the way taxpayers access the Internet, the hearing will also explore federal government strategies to protect American intellectual property without adversely affecting economic growth. The Committee will hear testimony from top cyber-security experts and technology job creators.
“An open Internet is crucial to American job creation, government operations, and the daily routines of Americans from all walks of life,” said Issa. “The public deserves a full discussion about the consequences of changing the way Americans access information and communicate on the Internet today.”
- Mr. Stewart Baker: Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
- Mr. Brad Burnham: Partner, Union Square Ventures
- Mr. Daniel Kaminsky: Security Researcher and Fortune 500 Advisor
- Mr. Michael Macleod-Ball: Chief of Staff/First Amendment Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union
- Mr. Lanham Napier: Chief Executive Officer, Rackspace Hosting
- Dr. Leonard Napolitano: Director, Center for Computer Sciences & Information Technology Sandia National Laboratories
- Mr. Alexis Ohanian: Co-Founder, Reddit.com, and Web Entrepreneur