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Congress's Year in Technology

December 27, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

In case you missed it (like me), here’s an excerpt from CNet’s News.com overview of tech legislation in the first half of the 110th session of Congress:

>It was … a quiet year for an issue that so dominated the political debate in 2006: Net neutrality. Just after Congress opened its new session, two senators reintroduced a 2006 bill that would generally prohibit broadband operators from prioritizing Internet content, and House Democratic leaders predicted it would top their tech agenda this year. But no action has been taken on the Senate proposal; no counterpart bill has emerged in the House as of mid-December; and no congressional hearings were held, although thousands of comments on the topic poured into the Federal Communications Commission during the summer.
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>Still, the debate doesn’t appear to be over yet: Sen. Barack Obama has pledged to enact Net neutrality laws if elected president, and reports this fall about Comcast’s filtering of BitTorrent file-sharing traffic have spurred new calls for such legislation from the Hill. Rep. Edward Markey has said he plans to reintroduce a similar version of last year’s House proposal, with hearings to follow, when politicians reconvene in January.
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>As usual, Congress did a lot of spouting off about how to manage perceived Internet perils. Hot topics this time around included foreign cybersecurity threats to U.S. government systems, terrorist cells flourishing on the Web, inadvertent file sharing through peer-to-peer networks, and sexual predators ensnaring unsuspecting youth through online social sites. And for a third time, the House passed not just one, but two, different bills aimed at deterring spyware.
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>Digital copyright-related moves were minimal, although the entertainment industry saw some action on its frustration with piracy on university networks, with a House panel backing a bill that would require schools to take a series of new antipiracy steps.

The original article is full of links back to News.com’s stories from throughout the year; below are links to the pending tech bills on OpenCongress so you can read up and start tracking them before Congress comes back from vacation to begin the second half of their session:

If you care about these bills, you can grab RSS feeds for all kinds of information about them. Each bill has a feed for monitoring its status in the lawmaking process, one for news articles discussing it and another for tracking what’s being said about it in the blogosphere. Just look for the orange buttons on the bill pages. Plus, we have a bunch of tools to help you share information about the bills with others on the internet. Our Facebook app lets you post bills to your profile and announce your support or opposition to your friends, and our syndication panel widgets let you put all kinds of information about legislation on your blog or website. And, of course, all the information in your app or widget is automatically updated as it changes.

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