OVERNIGHT TECH: Activists celebrate SOPA blackout anniversary

Swartz faced federal hacking charges for allegedly stealing academic articles from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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In the wake of his death, Demand Progress said it's enlisting the help of lawmakers to "rein in a criminal justice system run amok" in a letter to supporters posted to its website on Thursday. The group called on its members to join the cause and rally support for Congress to update a computer hacking law that was used to indict Swartz.

"We're sad, we're tired, we're frustrated — and we're angry at a system that let this happen to Aaron," the letter reads. "Now we want to set upon honoring his life's work and helping to make sure that such a travesty is never repeated."

FCC looks to woo broadcasters with website: The Federal Communications Commission launched a new website on Thursday aimed at educating television broadcasters about the upcoming spectrum auctions.

For the auction to be successful, the FCC needs enough TV stations to agree to sell their broadcast licenses. The FCC plans to auction those licenses to mobile carriers, which have been struggling in recent years to meet the booming data demands of smartphones and tablet computers.

The website explains how the auction will work, includes frequently asked questions and features videos and commission documents.

Johnson floats app privacy bill: Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) released a draft of a mobile app privacy bill on Thursday.

The APPS Act would require that app developers disclose their privacy practices, take reasonable steps to protect personal data and allow users to opt out of data collection.

Johnson posted the draft bill on appsrights.us, his website dedicated to mobile privacy issues.

“Because the majority of the feedback that we received on AppRights expressed strong support for user control, transparency, and security, we incorporated these principles into the bill,” Johnson said in a statement.

Amb. Kramer: US eliminated '80 to 90 percent' of objectionable proposals for UN treaty: Ambassador Terry Kramer on Thursday said the U.S. delegation succeeded in eliminating around "80 to 90 percent of the objectionable" proposals for a United Nations telecommunications treaty that was negotiated last month.

"We don't think right now there's a lot of huge looming issues," Kramer said in an interview.

House to investigate wasteful technology spending: The House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing next Tuesday to investigate wasteful spending by the federal government on technology systems and services, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced Thursday.

Steven VanRoekel, the White House chief information officer; Chris Niehaus, Microsoft's director of civic innovation; and Tom Davis, the former chairman of the Oversight Committee, are scheduled to testify.

Dem lawmaker introduces bill to ban sales of violent video games to minors: Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) introduced a bill this week that would ban the sale of violent video games to minors.

The Supreme Court struck down a similar California law in 2011, ruling that the restriction violated the constitutional right to free speech.

Matheson's Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act, H.R. 287, would make it illegal for anyone to ship, distribute, sell or rent a video game that does not bear a label from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board on the age-appropriateness of the game.

Demand Progress rallies for reforms in the wake of Swartz's death: The advocacy group founded by Internet activist Aaron Swartz is calling on Congress to push for reforms to the criminal justice system and amend a computer hacking law in the wake of his death.

Demand Progress said it's enlisting the help of lawmakers to "rein in a criminal justice system run amok" in a letter posted to its website on Thursday. The group asked for supporters to sign on to the letter, which is co-authored by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig. 

Justice defends prosecution of Swartz: U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz is defending her office's prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who killed himself last week.

Critics, including Swartz's family and members of Congress, have accused prosecutors of seeking excessive penalties against Swartz, who allegedly stole articles from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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