Good morning tech: Biden chats with IT worker, Waters on Comcast-NBCU

Google morning!

Former IT worker tells Biden his story

On Tuesday in Nashua, N.H., Vice President Joe Biden sat down with a handpicked audience of 26 to discuss the Obama administration's economic policies. Among the audience members was former IT worker Mike Raymond, 61, who told Biden how he lost his job 10 years ago after his firm closed its doors. Raymond has worked as a bartender and as a snowmobile salesman since, and he's still seeking employment. Biden responded by touting the administration's $20 billion investment in health information technology, which he said will eliminate the duplication of medical records and save money in the long run. He also accused Republicans of thinking only in terms of economics.

Rep. Waters says Fox-Cablevision standoff raises concerns about NBC-Comcast

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on Monday pointed to the ongoing dispute between Cablevision and News Corp. over carriage rates for Fox as evidence of the potential harmful impact of Comcast's proposed acquisition of NBC Universal. Waters argued Comcast could use its ownership of NBC as leverage against competing content providers and ISPs seeking equal access to NBC content or Comcast subscribers. 

Waters also questioned the diversity commitments both companies have made, calling them vague and not specific enough on how they plan to increase diversity among staff and leadership. She urged the FCC and Justice Department to impose conditions on the merger that would foster greater diversity in the media and ensure localism and competition. Read more in The Hill: http://bit.ly/9A0R6Z

Feds embrace video chat

The General Services Administration is building video conferencing centers at federal buildings across the country in a bid to cut back on travel expenses and save taxpayer funds. Starting in early 2011, the centers will be available for federal agencies' use at a fixed hourly rate to allow for face-to-face meetings without travel. The centers will be built at federal buildings in 11 major cities and will be specially constructed for meetings with high-definition video chat and advanced audio equipment. Military families will also be able to use the centers to contact loved ones serving overseas. Read more in The Hill: http://bit.ly/9QYb64

Travel sites oppose Google ITA deal. The Wall Street Journal reports several popular online travel companies are joining forces to oppose Google Inc.'s proposed $700 million purchase of ITA Software, the leading provider of flight data, saying the deal would give the search giant too much sway over the travel sector. Expedia, Kayak.com, Sabre Holdings and Farelogix are forming a coalition called FairSearch.org to persuade the Justice Department to block Google's latest deal. The companies are also launching a lobbying blitz on Capitol Hill. http://bit.ly/aSeH4v

Stimulus transparency websites make users' computers vulnerable. Administration websites created to track stimulus spending are putting users at risk of cyber-attacks on their personal computers, according to an audit by the Transportation Department expected to be released this week. http://bit.ly/bUShyZ

Today: Heritage Foundation panel discussion at 10 a.m. on cybersecurity featuring experts from the Senate Homeland Security Committee, ACLU and Senate Intelligence Committee.

Hill notes

McCaskill criticizes NPR amid Dem silence. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) became one of the first Democrats to speak out against NPR after the outlet raised controversy for firing analyst Juan Williams last week. http://bit.ly/bp89TC

Stearns cuts $300k check to GOP. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) might be feeling extra-generous these days after House GOP leader John Boehner ribbed him last month for not giving more to Republican causes over the years. http://bit.ly/cocDgs

Obama administration forms online privacy committee. The Obama administration on Sunday announced the creation of a new group that will formulate policies on online privacy issues, according to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. http://bit.ly/cRjU74

Rule ambiguity could prompt GOP chairman squabble. Possible ambiguity in Republican Conference rules might prompt squabbling about who will run major committees if the GOP wins the House. At stake are the chairmanships of the House Energy and Commerce, Appropriations and Homeland Security committees. http://bit.ly/a4hvLD