Technology

Broadcasters should man up and compete

Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, now Mayor of Chicago, once famously said: “You never want a serious crisis go to waste.” This is a dictum the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has followed time and again in its effort to force cell phone manufacturers to include radio chips in all of our phones. The latest crisis that elicited yet another NAB lobbying effort were the recent storms that tore through the Washington area on June 29-30.

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Online privacy: Do we need 'Do-Not-Track'?

Can “self-regulation” adequately protect privacy online? That question was posed during a recent Senate Commerce Committee hearing focused on the current self-regulatory effort to develop a “Do-Not-Track” (DNT) mechanism—and answered in the negative by the committee’s senior Democrats, who believe privacy legislation is long overdue. Commerce Committee Chairman Rockefeller emphasized that he was speaking for consumers. But despite years of such hearings, the benefits to consumers of privacy regulation of any kind—let alone net benefits (i.e., benefits minus costs)—have yet to be demonstrated.

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Sen. McCain's cyber bill will still leave us vulnerable

On Tuesday, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) reintroduced legislation that would establish a boxing commission to centralize authority and enforce “basic uniform standards.” The timing of the bill is largely in response to the recent fight in which Timothy Bradley defeated Manny Pacquiao—regarded by many as the world’s best fighter— in a highly-controversial split decision. While McCain hems and haws over American sports, he refuses to act on an essential matter of national security: protecting critical infrastructure from a cyber attack.

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Toward a partisan-free innovation policy

From the latest polls to kitchen tables across America, it is clear that our nation is deeply divided over which presidential candidate is best equipped to lead our economy forward. Yet precious little public conversation has focused on the most promising catalyst of America’s economic revival —Internet-fueled innovation.

As the euro zone descends into an existential debate between austerity and growth, U.S. Democrats and Republicans alike need to coalesce around a vision of what growth looks like—and how we get there.

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Out of tune antitrust: Why concerns over music merger fall flat

This week the Senate Judiciary Committee will pay attention to Universal’s proposed acquisition of EMI. Certain groups have taken to advocating against the deal, arguing that the combined firm would be too big and could harm consumers. Although it is easy to paint a picture of a music giant, any claims of potential harm are simply inconsistent with the simple facts of the market, decades of antitrust law, and commonsense economic policy.
 
Let’s start with the simple undeniable facts. The music industry bears little resemblance to that of a decade ago. Because of the emergence of digital music the forms of distribution have skyrocketed. Consumers have almost limitless opportunities to acquire or listen to music.

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When bigger is in fact better

When Mark Zuckerberg had just a few friends, Facebook wasn’t worth all that much. With nearly 900 million users, the social media startup is now worth more than all the major airlines combined.
 
A single electronic medical record is a helpful personal organizer. A database with all Americans’ electronic medical records will advance medical research, reduce health care costs and save lives.

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India's problematic protectionist plan

Smart policy and the removal of economic barriers have driven the amazing development of the Indian economy over the past few decades. Yet, today, that progress is threatened by new obstacles being erected by the Indian government – obstacles that could, ironically, isolate India from the benefits of participating in the global market. If left unchecked, other nations could mimic the Indian approach, injecting even more uncertainty into the fragile calculus of the global economy.

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Google ate my homework

When a corporate CEO characterizes a competitor as having “a massive IPO, dominance in the marketplace, and a blank slate from policy makers to do practically anything they please,” you can bet on two things: first, the CEO is losing the race for consumer loyalty and support; and second, the CEO is hoping the government will knee-cap his competitor to make the race more “fair.”
 
That’s what Nextag CEO Jeffrey Katz says about Google in today’s Wall Street Journal. You can almost hear him say, Google ate my homework.

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Seeking answers on Facebook IPO calamity

It’s hard to tell who will be the biggest loser in the aftermath of possibly the most disastrous Internet Initial Public Offering (IPO) in history – Facebook or Morgan Stanley.

With an IPO price of $38, the stock rose to $45 before plummeting as low as $26.44. Wall Street's rejection of Facebook's valuation continued this week as the renowned sell-side firm of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. initiated coverage with an "underperform" rating and a $25 price target.

One thing is for sure, Facebook’s problems are only just beginning. There are now multiple shareholder lawsuits against Facebook and their investment bank. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating NASDAQ’s problems with reliably executing trades for investors and now the Senate Banking Committee has launched its own probe.

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Mobile innovations for persons with disabilities require increased spectrum

Technology has transformed many aspects of modern life, including how many people communicate, learn, work, and play. From distance learning to telecommuting, technology affords people increased convenience and productivity. But for persons with disabilities, technology offers much more than that—it also allows for a greater degree of independence and new ways to communicate.

The development of mobile accessibility (m-enabling) technologies has “cut the cord” on many of these life-changing benefits, allowing people to enjoy them on the move. Tools such as assistive mobile apps, handsets, web services and other cutting-edge wireless technologies provide access to numerous opportunities that were once considered unattainable for those with disabilities. These m-enabling technologies empower users in unprecedented ways, enhancing the lives of 54 million Americans who live with disabilities.

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