Previewing the Tech and IP Agendas in the 109th Congress
Cameron Wilson, Director of the ACM Public Policy Office in Washington, makes some predictions concerning technology legislation in the 109th Congress: Congress organizes (mostly): IT policy implications, and looks at how orgazational shifts in the new Congress will affect legislation concerning Intellectual Property, Privacy and Cyber-Security.
Two Senate committees that make policy on IP and tech issues have new chairmen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) will head the Judiciary Committee, while former Judiciary Committee chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) will chair a new subcommittee on Intellectual Property. Wilson expects the Intellectual Property Subcommittee to wait on major IP legislation until after the Supreme Court releases its decision in Grokster.
Ted Stevens (R-AK) will become chair of the Commerce Committee and focus on reforming the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In a Keynote Address to the Internet Caucus at the State of the Net Conference in early February, Stevens noted that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 no longer reflects the current state of telecommunications and internet technology and that "it’s necessary to rewrite it or to amend it," but has no set agenda for reform. Before writing legislation, Stevens wants to find out:
What can we do to remove barriers to entry for new technologies?
What can we do to provide certainty and promote capital investment in new technology?
How can we enable the Internet to improve lives and keep America competitive in the global marketplace?
Are our anti-spam laws working, or is there more we could do and should do?
Should states be permitted to tax phone service that is provided over the Internet, or should we make the tax moratorium that the last Congress approved permanent?
When it comes to spyware, how can we satisfy Americans’ need for privacy with the need for innovation and growth in the e-business community?
Should Voice-Over IP be free of regulation, or should it pay into the Universal Service Fund?
In this age of global terrorism, how can we best address law enforcement’s needs in the new VOIP environment?
Should telephone companies be required to acquire a cable franchise if they provide video movies and shows that compete with cable?
Should we protect movie producers, musicians, and other artists from piracy, or should we allow all material to be exchanged freely over the Internet even if some of it was stolen?
Additionally a new Commerce subcommittee will focus on "Technology, Innovation, and Competitiveness."
(via Freedom to Tinker)