Bailout type Cost to taxpayers (Source: Reuters) Financial bailout package approved this week up to or more than $700 billion Bear Stearns financing $29 billion Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac nationalization $200 billion AIG loan and nationalization $85 billion Federal Housing Administration housing rescue bill $300 billion Mortgage community grants $4 billion JPMorgan Chase repayments $87 billion Loans to banks via Fed's Term Auction Facility $200 billion+ Loans from Depression-era Exchange Stabilization Fund $50 billion Purchases of mortgage securities by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac $144 billion POSSIBLE TOTAL $1.8 trillion+ NUMBER OF HOUSEHOLDS PER U.S. CENSUS … Read more
The Senate on Wednesday unanimously voted in favor of providing parents with more control over the content their children receive through various technologies.
The Child Safe Viewing Act, introduced last year by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., requires the Federal Communications Commission to issue a notice of inquiry to examine what advanced content-blocking technologies are available for various communication devices and platforms. It also calls for the FCC to consider how to develop and deploy such technologies without affecting content providers' pricing or packaging.
The bill defines "advanced blocking technologies" as technology that enables parents to protect their children … Read more
Two senators known for their support of stringent intellectual property enforcement expressed concern on Thursday that an anti-counterfeiting treaty currently being drafted may be too far-reaching.
Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) sent a letter on Thursday to U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab saying that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement currently under negotiation "could limit Congress's ability to make appropriate refinements to intellectual property law in the future."
The speed of the negotiations and their lack of transparency compound the risk that the treaty will unnecessarily constrain Congress, the letter says.
Leahy and Specter authored … Read more
As the federal government makes efforts to protect citizens online, it is encouraging people to look out for themselves as well.
To kick off its fifth annual "National Cyber Security Month," the National Cyber Security Alliance, an organization of government, academic, and industry representatives, paired with Symantec to release the results of a national poll on Thursday showing Americans do not feel very safe online, yet they believe they are more protected than they actually are.
Just 26 percent of respondents said they felt their computers were "very safe" from viruses, and 21 percent felt their … Read more
A new authorization bill would give the White House more oversight of the Homeland Security Department's much-beleaguered cybersecurity efforts.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday introduced its DHS authorization bill (PDF) for fiscal years 2008 and 2009, which calls for the director of the National Cyber Security Center to be appointed by and, in some circumstances, to report directly to the president.
DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff in March announced the appointment of Silicon Valley entrepreneur Rod Beckström as the NCSC director. Beckström reports directly to Chertoff, though Under Secretary Robert Jamison … Read more
WASHINGTON--Government needs better engagement with the private sector to develop a stronger homeland security strategy for emergency response, government and industry representatives said Wednesday--and may even turn to companies like eBay for inspiration on how to respond to domestic emergencies, suggested a representative for John McCain.
The remarks were made during a panel discussion Wednesday focused on a report by the nonpartisan, not-for-profit Reform Institute. The report suggests the federal government create a homeland security policy that focuses not only on offensive measures to protect the country, but also reactive measures to keep the country resilient in the face of … Read more
The Homeland Security Department has declared its right to seize laptops at the U.S. border indefinitely, but legislation introduced Thursday is intended to curb that power.
U.S. Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Rep. Adam Smith, (D-Wash.), introduced the Travelers Privacy Protection Act in response to the DHS policy allowing customs agents to detain a traveler's laptop for an unspecified period of time to review its contents, even absent of individualized suspicion.
"Most Americans would be shocked to learn that upon their return to the U.S. from traveling abroad, the government could demand … Read more
Legislators over the weekend introduced new legislation requiring satellite radio receivers to pick up digital signals, even though federal regulators are still seeking public comment on the issue.
House Representative Ed Markey, D-Mass., on Saturday introduced the Radio All Digital Channel Receiver Act, which requires equipment designed to receive both satellite digital audio radio and terrestrial AM/FM radio to be equipped to receive digital radio signals transmitted by terrestrial AM/FM stations.
Providing universal broadband may very well start with simply finding out who has broadband access and who doesn't. The House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill that could help answer that question by improving broadband data collection.
Passed unanimously in the Senate on Thursday, the Broadband Data Improvement Act now awaits the president's signature. The legislation, introduced by Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, in 2007, calls for the Federal Communications Commission to collect a broader swath of information regarding who has broadband access.
"We cannot manage what we do not measure," Inouye said. "This bill … Read more
The intellectual property enforcement bill Congress passed over the weekend has won strong bipartisan support and wide-ranging approval from the business community. It remains to be seen, however, whether the president will sign into law the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act, or Pro-IP Act.
The bill is likely to be sent to the White House within a week, giving the president 10 days to sign or veto it. It would likely survive a veto, unless the president vetoed or ignored the bill while Congress is out of session. Congress intended to adjourn this week ahead of the November elections, but the financial bailout bill has kept it in session.
The bill's major stumbling block is a provision calling for the president to appoint a Senate-confirmed Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. The creation of a new cabinet position is a significant--and perhaps most controversial--part of the bill. What exactly would the IP coordinator do, and why does it matter? Here's a look at some of those concerns.
What exactly would the IP enforcement coordinator do? The IPEC would provide guidance to other federal departments and agencies in their efforts to combat IP infringement. The IPEC would mainly achieve this by chairing an IP enforcement advisory committee, made up of the Office of Management and Budget, the Justice Department, the Commerce Department, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the State Department, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, the Agriculture Department, and the U.S. Copyright Office.
The IPEC cannot control how these agencies investigate or prosecute IP infringement cases--but he or she will guide the development of a "Joint Strategic Plan" the advisory committee is charged to create to combat counterfeiting and infringement. The aim of the strategic plan is to disrupt counterfeiting and IP infringement both in the U.S. and abroad, ensure that enforcement efforts aren't duplicated by the various agencies, establish a protocol for consulting with private industry, establish international standards for IP enforcement, and help other countries improve their IP enforcement efforts.
The chances of President Bush appointing an IPEC seem slim. The bill calls for the advisory committee to submit its strategic plan to Congress no later than 12 months after its enactment, so filling the cabinet position and putting the committee together could be left for the next administration.
The creation of the IPEC and the advisory committee would essentially replace the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council, an interagency group that implemented the Strategy for Targeting Organized Piracy Initiative.
Is there opposition to the creation of this position? In a letter from the Commerce Department and the Justice Department, the Bush administration voiced its opposition to two components of the Pro-IP bill, one being the creation of the IPEC. Requiring the president to appoint an IPEC, the letter said, was objectionable on constitutional separation of powers grounds. It would "improperly micro-manage the internal organization of the executive branch" and create "unnecessary bureaucracy."
The added bureaucracy could create an undue burden for taxpayers, others argue. Julie Jennings, a trademark attorney with the St. Louis law firm Senniger Powers, said it might be premature to create the IPEC position.
"I'm wondering if the same thing could take place by revising copyright laws without creating this entirely new cabinet position and all of the secondary positions that are going to fall underneath that," she said.… Read more