Rules of the road for Space

Satellites are crucial for national, economic and personal security. They permit quick and secure long-distance financial transactions. First responders, disaster relief workers and lost motorists can find their way using GPS devices. Satellites provide warnings of devastating storms in enough time to take precautionary measures. We depend on satellites for intelligence collection. They help U.S. soldiers in harm’s way and minimize civilian casualties.  Satellites monitor the health of the planet. No country benefits more from satellites than the United States.
These satellites are now at risk – mostly from space debris, but also from a growing competition with China and the absence of rules of the road for what constitutes responsible behavior in space. A Code of Conduct can backstop satellite operations, preserve the space environment, and prevent dangerous clashes of interest in outer space.
Satellites are as vulnerable as they are valuable. They are far easier to damage than to defend. Because satellites orbit the earth in predictable paths, potential adversaries can find and target them. Missiles designed to launch satellites, attack distant targets, or intercept incoming missiles can also be used to destroy satellites.


E-Fairness needs federal online fix

The announcement recently that the nation’s largest electronics retailer will close 50 stores highlights the need to close a gaping tax loophole and restore fairness to the retail industry. The issue cuts to the very heart of foundational principles of free markets, level playing fields and fairness.
Most brick-and-mortar retailers – from the well-known giants all the way down to the smallest mom-and-pops – find themselves at a government-induced competitive disadvantage because of sales taxes. Most states require physical stores to collect sales taxes on the items they sell. Online retailers, however, don’t have to collect those taxes, giving them an automatic pricing advantage.
Last December, online retailer Amazon inadvertently drew attention to the issue when it offered customers an extra $5 off if they went to a local retailer, scanned product info for Amazon’s database, and bought the product directly from Amazon. The stunt drew attention to Amazon, but it also helped many in government to see how unfair the situation has become for brick-and-mortar retailers.


In the world of innovation, the future is now

Today is 12th annual World Intellectual Property Day, when we celebrate the creators, innovators, and dreamers who dazzle us with their products and ideas and make our lives richer. Smart phones, lifesaving medicines, and drought resistant crops all started as the germ of an idea in someone's imagination. These ideas and the products they spawn are what's called intellectual property.

Fundamentally, intellectual property rights—embodied in patents, trademarks, and copyrights—are designed to promote innovation by incentivizing businesses and creators with the guarantee of legal protection for their creations. When a strong IP rights system is in place, innovators and creators can secure the resources needed for the research, production, and distribution processes. When the enforcement of IPR is considered unreliable, however, their ability to bring new products and creations to the market is threatened.


Secure infrastructure networks now

Two years after the 9/11 attacks, the Northeast and parts of the Midwest experienced one of the largest, most widespread blackouts in U.S. history.


Status quo a danger to US infrastructure

Just over two months ago, the House Homeland Security subcommittee that oversees cybersecurity unanimously approved the Precise Act, legislation requiring the relatively few companies that run our nation’s critical infrastructure, such as the electric grid and water systems, to ensure their computer networks meet minimum safety standards. Just as the airline industry must follow Federal Aviation Administration safety standards, the companies that own and operate the infrastructure on which the public most relies should be accountable for protecting their consumers when confronted with a significant risk.


America’s cyber threat: Why we need to act now

We have been fortunate that up until this point, cyberattacks in our country have not caused a cataclysmic event that has brought physical harm to Americans. But that is not for a lack of effort on the part of those who mean to destroy our way of life — every day nations and “hacktivist” groups penetrate our public and private computer networks.


A united technology sector: Improving our nation’s cybersecurity posture while ensuring individual privacy protection

The House of Representatives is set to vote on landmark cybersecurity legislation to protect the nation’s computer systems. This may be Congress’s best hope for a significant, bipartisan achievement in 2012 — and it is certainly necessary if we are to achieve the true potential of the internet and an empowered digital society.

Our associations and the companies we represent have been at the forefront of critical policy discussions that have fostered the internet’s growth into the world’s most important economic and social platform. We are proud to be part of a U.S. technology industry that is leading the world in innovation and advancing our nation’s economic competitiveness.

As such, we are particularly concerned with doing everything we can to secure the Internet against a rising tide of cybersecurity threats that pose serious harm to citizens, businesses, and government institutions. FBI Director, Robert Mueller, recently warned that very soon the “cyber threat will pose the number-one threat to our country.”