Welcome to our weekly series, highlighting the most newsworthy events under the Open Technology Initiative’s three key areas: Privacy and Security, Freedom of Expression, and Telecom Policy. Contact us with story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freedom of Expression: Twitter Stirs Up Olympics Controversy
Twitter created a firestorm of controversy earlier this week when it suspended the account of Guy Adams, a British reporter who criticized NBC for its delayed coverage of the London Olympics. Adams, a reporter for The Independent, posted Tweets that included address of NBC executive Gary Zenkel. Adams’ account was suspended after Twitter notified NBC, which subsequently filed a complaint against him.
Monday’s suspension prompted supporters of Adams to begin tweeting with the hashtags #guyadams and #NBCfail, with some even posting Zenkel’s email address in solidarity. Eventually, Twitter reversed its course and reinstated Adams’s account on Tuesday evening, apologizing for the confusion. Even so, critics have speculated as to whether this will be a turning point in opinion about the microblogging site, which has generally enjoyed favorable reviews because of its efforts around free speech and transparency.
Read more about the Twitter controversy.
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Privacy and Security: Cybersecurity Legislation Killed by Senate Filibuster
Senator Joe Lieberman’s cyber security bill failed to achieve the 60 votes it needed to overcome a Republican filibuster in the Senate on Thursday. The news comes in spite of the Obama Administration’s argument in favor of the legislation to defend the Internet against attacks. The Hill predicted the 52-46 failure on Wednesday after a number of different groups objected to the bill.
The bill would have established optional standards for the computer systems that oversee the country’s critical infrastructure, such as transportation, dams, and power grids. Senator John McCain led the opposition and one of the major disagreements was over which agency would lead the initiative: the Department of Homeland Security or the military. The defeat is seen as a blow to the Obama Administration, which expressed its disappointment after the vote.
Read more about the cybersecurity legislation failure.
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Telecom Policy: Nearly 40 “Fiberhoods” in Kansas City Qualify for Google Fiber
In the week since Google officially announced the debut of Google Fiber, nearly 40 “fiberhoods” in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri have already met their pre-registration thresholds, guaranteeing that they will be connected in the first build. The tech company has received a tremendous amount of attention for its unconventional process for building out the last mile connectivity and its pricing plan--customers can purchase a gigabit Internet connection for $70 per month, or choose a free tier of 5 Mbps for only the $300 connection fee.
By earlier this week, 20% of Kansas City, MO neighborhoods had already met their signup goals. However, things are not moving quite as quickly on the Kansas side of the border, where only a handful of “fiberhoods” have qualified. Some have speculated that the significantly lower median household income in Kansas City, Kansas will impact the process. For its part, Google has determined the threshold number based on the cost of construction in each neighborhood, not potential subscribers’ ability to pay for the service. The pre-registration deadline for the first build is September 9.
Read more about who is rallying for Google fiber.
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