Sandy a wake up call for voting contingency planning

The complications of Hurricane Sandy should prompt state and federal governments to adopt contingency plans for general elections.

Officially, the Atlantic Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30. Every two years, Election Day occurs on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November and therefore takes place during hurricane season. Recent events have demonstrated how unpredictable and devastating weather patterns can be and will be in the future.


First lesson of Superstorm Sandy: Improve communication

As the recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy continues, questions are being raised about our nation’s preparedness for emergencies. On Friday, November 9, 2012, it was reported that two Congressmen, U.S. Representatives Peter King and Steve Israel, were requesting that the military assume control of Long Island Power Authority in an effort to restore electricity to more than 150,000 homes and businesses. I was one of the affected residents, who struggled to provide heat and some semblance of normality to my wife and four children.

In the aftermath of a hurricane, or other disaster, communications are a challenge but municipal executives are charged with contingency planning. Cellphone communications were often scant but information eventually flowed through and residents became aware about school closings and other community events because there was an alert system. To my knowledge, LIPA had no such system in place, which should be a requirement of all utility companies.


Public investments helped pave the information superhighway

In our national discourse, Americans often express concern over "big government" and offer a steady stream of admiration for "small business." As a small business owner, though, I often have to wonder if we're really thinking about what we're saying.


What consumers want in FTC v. Google

The press is on fire with dozens of stories that the FTC appears poised to sue Google for alleged anticompetitive conduct in search (and the possibility that any case may be settled). There certainly is no lack of well-paid advocates for aggrieved rivals ready to spin claims that Google is the next Microsoft and that FTC action is necessary to open the market to competition. But while these advocates are making a lot of noise, consumers are almost entirely silent. Indeed, unlike almost all of the recent antitrust wars such as the AT&T/T-Mobile and Ticketmaster/LiveNation mergers, or even the DOJ case against Microsoft, in which there was a groundswell of consumer opposition that spurred the antitrust cops, when it comes to search, consumers are entirely silent.

For good reason.


Google's data-collecting habits drawing more scrutiny

Earlier this month, European Union regulators informed Google that they’re unhappy with Google’s new privacy policy and that it will need to make changes to better protect the privacy of its users. The concern arises over how Google is collecting users' data and what they’re doing with it, and in turn how they’re informing their users on how they’re collecting and what they’re using it for. The EU would like clearer language, in a more understandable less legalese format, so that the average user can clearly understand what’s taking place when the use Google products.


Congress should pass Internet Radio Fairness Act

It’s like the riddle of the chicken and the egg – which comes first? New technology platforms or the programs that those platforms bring to the user, thereby driving new advancements in technology platforms? It’s a question that makes clear the cyclical nature of innovation.
Today, with innovation in mind and in conjunction with colleagues from across a variety of Internet and technology industries, I helped to launch the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition – a group of stakeholders voicing their enthusiastic support for the Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA).


The case for progressive communications policy

Toward the end of the last millennium, a federal agency sought to collapse its regulatory structure to speed government decision-making. It realized that rapidly developing technology was creating competition in the market it regulated, and its regulatory structures needed to change in response.
Then Republicans were voted into the White House, and the plan went into a drawer.
That agency was the Federal Communications Commission, which is responsible for promoting communications access and creating policies on broadband, spectrum, competition, media, and public safety. The author of the plan was then-Chairman William Kennard, now Ambassador to the European Union.
Kennard understood the communications industry was adapting to the greatest technological change of our time, the Internet.


Online privacy - We must protect our children

You get directions on your smartphone, buy a new shirt on your smart TV and connect with friends on your tablet — the Internet has opened up a whole new world of possibilities, but it can also put your privacy at risk.
The headlines these days are full of data breaches, cases of website operators not following existing law and examples of operators discovering creative and sometimes reckless ways to use your personal information.
To me, privacy is as important in the 21st century as it was in the 18th century, when our country was founded. If our forefathers knew what the Internet and modern technology would be like today, they would have put a right to privacy explicitly in the Constitution. 
People want their privacy protected — just ask them.


US must protect against cyber threats from China

America depends on functioning and secure telecommunications networks. These networks are our nation's backbone for essential communications, and support many aspects of the American marketplace - including the government, state and local entities, law enforcement, critical infrastructure partners, businesses, and private citizens.

These networks hold sensitive and private information, and they are proven targets for foreign governments or other entities attempting to commit economic espionage, steal trade secrets, or access government information in an attempt to gain a strategic advantage over the United States.


Investigative report on ZTE, Huawei is unprecedented in its accusations

The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s Investigative Report, which was released on Monday, October 8, 2012, is unprecedented in terms of its blatant accusations against ZTE and Huawei and labeling these companies a security threat to the United States. The report accuses these companies of flagrantly acting unlawful, being uncooperative with investigators, stating its close association with the Chinese government and noting its potential involvement in corporate espionage. Basically these two companies are being accused of breaking the law and a subsequent cover-up.