Friday, February 13, 2015

Obama's cyber push spurs privacy fears

Sen. Ted Cruz Tells the FCC, 'Don't Mess With The Internet' - MRCTV


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Be careful what you wish for. That is the message for companies such as Google and Facebook as US regulators move ahead with a plan to enshrine the idea of an open internet in regulation.

On the face of it, the big internet companies will have scored a significant victory if the Federal Communication Commission votes, as expected, for its new “net neutrality” rules this month. The regime is intended to make sure broadband and other network providers cannot block or otherwise hold internet services to ransom.

Who could take issue with such a noble purpose? Telecoms regulation is not usually the kind of thing to excite much public interest, but this is a cause that has reverberated widely. Populist campaigns like the one waged over net neutrality, however, do not allow for much in the way of nuance.

Deepening estrangement between Silicon Valley and govt - New York Times
President Obama will meet here on Friday with the nation’s top technologists on a host of cybersecurity issues and the threats posed by increasingly sophisticated hackers. But nowhere on the agenda is the real issue for the chief executives and tech company officials who will gather on the Stanford campus: the deepening estrangement between Silicon Valley and the government.

The long history of quiet cooperation between Washington and America’s top technology companies — first to win the Cold War, then to combat terrorism — was founded on the assumption of mutual interest. Edward J. Snowden’s revelations shattered that. Now, the Obama administration’s efforts to prevent companies from greatly strengthening encryption in commercial products like Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android phones has set off a new battle, as the companies resist government efforts to make sure police and intelligence agencies can crack the systems.
GOOGLEFACEBOOKYAHOO boycott conference - Reuters
Upset about the lack of reforms to surveillance programs, the CEOs of Google Inc, Facebook Inc and Yahoo Inc stayed away from Friday's conference.
'Homeland Security' to be put in charge of info spying - USA Today
Most importantly to Silicon Valley, the president's proposal is expected to cement the role of the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the National Security Agency, as the government lead for information-sharing with the private sector.

"Hopefully the rules will prohibit the use of the information shared being used for surveillance," said Greg Nojime, a senior counsel with the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington D.C.

Given the anger and anxiety that resulted from revelations by Edward Snowden about the extent of NSA surveillance, knowing that Homeland Security is in charge may calm concerns among Valley companies.

Many tech companies have dealt with extensive push back from their customers both in the United States and overseas over the issue of privacy and protection of the information they hold.