State of the Union: In his State of the Union address last Tuesday, President Obama shared his vision on hot-topic issues in technology law and policy. In response to debates over US surveillance programs, President Obama promised a report next month on how the country’s intelligence agencies are keeping our country safe and strengthening privacy. Additionally, President Obama assured the country that the government is integrating intelligence to address cyber attacks, and urged Congress to pass legislation to better meet the evolving need of cybersecurity. Without expressly referencing the issue of net neutrality or municipal broadband, President Obama discussed the need for 21st century infrastructure including fast, free, and open Internet:
Twenty-first century businesses need twenty-first century infrastructure—modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest Internet. . . . I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.
Community Broadband Act: Two days after the President’s State of the Union Address, four Democrats introduced the Community Broadband Act in Congress. The Community Broadband Act aims to preserve the rights of cities and localities to build municipal broadband networks and ensure that their communities are connected and have access to reliable networks. Senator Edward Markey also continued to urge the FCC to act to use its authority to end any state restrictions that impede local communities from making these decisions for themselves.
(by Stephanie Vu, Colorado Law 3L, and Stefan Tschimben, Interdiscliplinary Telecom Program student)
On October 20th, the TLPC and the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado held a screening and panel discussion of the documentary The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. The documentary follows the life and death of Internet activist and programing prodigy Aaron Swartz. Aaron played a part in the creation of web feed format RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and was a co-founder of Reddit. Aaron was best known to some for his political activism against the Stop Online Piracy Act and his crusade for the open access to information. This crusade led to a two-year legal battle and ultimately his death at age 26. The documentary explores the relationship between civil liberties and technology and gives a heartfelt account of a young man whose life work has benefited almost everyone who has ever used the internet.
According to Professor Blake Reid, “Aaron’s life and death have left an indelible mark on public policy surrounding technology, digital civil liberties, and access to knowledge. The Internet’s Own Boy is a window into Aaron’s legacy through which anyone interested in the future of our democracy in an information age should take a careful and thoughtful look.”
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 CU Fall Technology Policy Challenge! The winning team consisted of four TLPC members. From left to right: Molly McClurg (Colorado Law 2L), Amber Williams (Colorado Law 3L), Stefan Tschimben (CU Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program student), and Vickie Stubbs (ATLAS Institute student).
Learning the craft of regulatory advocacy remains largely an apprenticeship experience. Few resources or formal courses focus on navigating the regulatory process as it relates to technology policy. The existing compilation document is a small contribution toward creation of a helpful “how to” resource concerning technology advocacy.
In January 2010, members of the Cybertelecom list were asked if they knew of “an excellent text or starter set of materials concerning the ‘how to’ advocacy aspects of technology law policy?” It took the group just a week and fifty two responses to collectively say, “no.” Happily, the collective answer went further. Members of the list set about helping fill what appears to be at least a partial literature gap. This resulted a set of ideas which makes progress toward creation of a document which provides guidance to newcomers concerning technology policy advocacy.
This document is an open source creature. Input and additions are welcome. As is, the document is a helpful checklist of considerations within a useful conceptual framework. It remains, however, two dimensional for those who have not done it before. Concrete stories and illustrations from technology policy would be particularly helpful and welcome. This document will be updated on a monthly basis through Colorado Law’s Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic.