New tax requirements would be burden for e-tailers

The Internet has given anyone with the power of an idea the opportunity to launch a small business that can reach customers from coast to coast – driving growth, creating jobs, and empowering small business owners. Consumers have reaped the benefits of greater choice, lower prices, and more convenience.
But where some see progress, tax collectors see opportunity.
Officials in cash-strapped states across the country are looking for new ways to plug budget holes – and they’re asking Washington for help. They see online businesses as an irresistible source of new tax revenue – and they want to cross state lines to get it.


In tech sector optimism is good, tangible progress is better

For several years, the prevailing narrative across the country is that our nation’s Capital has gone from bad to impossible, with each side willing to cut off its nose to spite the other’s face. But after spending time recently with congressional leaders and the president, the tech sector sees reason for cautious optimism that progress is possible. In our discussions last week, there were encouraging signs that both parties recognize the magnitude of the challenges facing the country and are willing to take the first tentative steps toward solutions that advance our national interest.


We must bridge rural digital divide in America

It’s often said that success has a thousand parents, but that failure is an orphan. But in today’s strange political climate, it seems failure also has plenty of paternity.  
The political right wants to ape European-style fiscal austerity to cure our national debt – a policy that has been disastrous in Europe – while some on the very far left want to adopt the European Union’s (EU) policies on the broadband Internet.  And while both are wrong, the dangers of the EU broadband Internet approach are slightly less obvious.


A short and long-term solution to America's STEM crisis

During the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, Intel founder and CEO Andrew Grove used to say that a green card should come stapled to every science Ph.D. awarded in the United States. Grove, an immigrant from Hungary, was hardly joking. At a time when companies were scrambling for talent, foreign-born scientists and engineers were a key to filling the gap and helping companies in America compete globally and create good U.S. jobs. Fifteen years later they still are.


Understanding motives of recent cyber attacks against US

The political and economic forces at work both in China and Iran help explain their motives for conducting offensive [and effective] hacking raids on public and private assets in the U.S.

Iran, despite sitting atop the 4th largest proven oil and 2nd largest proven natural gas reserves in the world, has devolved into a pariah nation with a cash-starved population and flailing political economy. According to January’s CRS Report for Congress, that nation saw its crude exports – which supply 70 percent of Iran’s shrinking government revenues - halve from 2011 to 2012.


Reforming patents for innovation

Despite the reforms passed by Congress two years ago, it's no secret that our software patent framework remains out-of-step with the realities of innovation in the modern technology sector.

Patents are too easy to acquire, particularly for vague, low-quality features that the Patent & Trademark Office’s founders – luminaries like Thomas Jefferson – would never have considered “inventions” at all. It is now a fact of life that companies have to spend their resources litigating - offensively and defensively - over patents instead of on research and development.


When content theft is hate

For Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere of New Jersey, the photo was a beautiful reminder of the day they were engaged. Instead, the iconic photo of the two men kissing was stolen by an anti-gay group and used in a political mailer to attack a Colorado state Senate’s support for gay marriage. While there is no doubt that their likeness was misappropriated and the photographer’s work was stolen, really something more happened here: Brian and Tom were the victims of hate.
It’s a teenager’s worst nightmare: provocative photos are stolen and posted online by classmates who want to ruin your life. Or an ex-boyfriend lets the world see a sex-video that you thought was just for you and him. It’s called “slut-shaming,” and it’s the latest and most vicious form of cyber bullying.


We must remain steadfast on space flight safety

Ten years ago, the U.S. space program and the Nation suffered a tragedy that was a stark reminder of the challenges and risks involved in human spaceflight. On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart over Texas on its way home. Commander Rick Husband, pilot William McCool, mission specialists Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, and David Brown, payload commander Michael Anderson, and Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut, were all lost when part of Columbia’s heat-resistant surface failed to protect the Shuttle orbiter as it re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere.


SHIELD Act will help address patent system abuses

As the country continues to endure tough economic times, policy makers play a role in aiding in America’s recovery. This begins with creating an environment for start-up companies and established businesses to grow and thrive. In an ever-growing global market, it has never been more important that companies have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. Our economy is driven by innovation and therefore, the government is tasked with finding ways to ensure intellectual property protection incentivizes development of new and improved products, and isn’t used as an impediment, stifling competition.


The real privacy issue

It is Data Privacy Day, a day organized by privacy advocates to call attention to the risks to us all from the use of personal information. The advocates don’t lack for outlets for their fears: whether it is a company developing new features based on social network data or scientists identifying anonymous individuals based on genomic data, privacy issues continue to make headlines. And accompanying these news stories are grumblings and misgivings from privacy advocates lamenting technological progress and the inevitable demise of our culture and commerce should we continue down this path unabated.