Updating you on the battle being waged to control access to certain websites on the Internet, the players involved were engaged in more debate last week.

First, Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel (brother of Rahm), after being asked by Internet giant Marc Andreessen (Netscape) and investor Ron Conway if the entertainment industry “wanted to turn the United States into China?” with the Stop Online Privacy Act, or SOPA, said that he would help fight the bill. Observers wonder what the entertainment industry agent’s clients think of that?

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Larry Strickling recently told an audience at the Brookings Institution that increasing the role of governments in cyberspace could spell disaster for the free nature of the Internet.

“Each challenge,” he said, “no matter how well-intentioned the request, they are providing ammunition to other countries who would like to see governments take control of the Internet. … An Internet constrained by an international treaty will stifle the innovators and entrepreneurs who are responsible for its awesome growth.”

Mark Cooper, research director at the Consumer Federation of America, issued caution: “Governments can really break the Internet, companies not so much. We have to know who the bad guys really are.”

Speaking for the Obama Administration, Victoria Espinel, White House copyright czar; Aneesh Chopra, U.S. chief technology officer; and Howard Schmidt, special assistant to the president for cybersecurity, backed away from proposed legislation to mandate changes to Internet infrastructure to fight online copyright and trademark infringement. Surprising, given the Administration’s penchant for mandating other things, like the individual mandate included in the so-called “Affordable” Healthcare Act.

“Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security,” the Obama administration said in a statement.

And the author of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act has apparently buckled somewhat under intense pressure.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the chief sponsor of SOPA, said he will remove a major provision that would have forced Internet Service Providers to redirect users to different DNS sites..

The announcement followed one from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the main sponsor of the Senate’s PIPA, that the Senate would drop the same provision.

But both Leahy and Smith, in what appears to be face-saving measures, warned that redirecting DNS sites could be brought back in at a later time, despite the fact that security experts say the plan would sabotage U.S. government-approved efforts to secure DNS against hackers and break the Internet’s unified naming system by introducing lies into infrastructure.

Following that, Tech Dirt reported that Rep. Darryl Issa, R-Calif., postponed a “nerd” hearing that had been scheduled in the House Oversight Committee. Why? Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., promised him that he wouldn’t bring the bill to the floor unless there’s real consensus on the bill.

Polling shows that American voters believe free market competition will protect Internet users more than government regulation, and they fear that regulation will be used to push a political agenda.

We’re keeping a close eye on SOPA/PIPA. You should be too. Tell these elected do-gooder busybodies what you think in an email to their personal inboxes via GradeGov.com

More voters relying on Internet for election results.

According to a poll conducted by Rasmussen, the Internet will provide election coverage for a quarter of the nation.

Most voters (32 percent) will continue to rely on either cable or traditional television news. Twenty-four percent will primarily rely on the Internet for coverage of Election 2012. Nine percent still rely on print newspapers, and seven percent count on radio. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Bits & Bytes




iNotebook combines penmanship with technology

Like to write? Are you a list creator, jotting down honey-dos, things to get at the supermarket? Or maybe you just like the traditional feel of pen and paper? Now you can marry your scribbles to your iPad. Targus, a maker of computer accessories, has come up with a remarkable device that instantly transmits your handwritten notes to your digital device.

Targus plans to release the iNotebook this summer. It’s expected to cost $150. Here’s how it works.

“Google Plus your World” raises concerns

Google’s new feature called “Google Plus Your World” pulls results from your content and Google’s social accounts, as well as people connected to you through those accounts.

But the company is reportedly fighting off calls on Capitol Hill over antitrust claims and last September testified before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. Senators wanted to gauge the power the Mountain View, Calif., company has over the search industry.

The Hill reported that lawmakers, including Sens. Herb Kohl, D-Wisc., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, questioned whether Google is using its dominant position in online searches to give it an unfair advantage in other markets by ranking its own services – such as Google Maps, Google Travel or YouTube – higher in search results.

Twitter is slamming Google’s search changes.

Twitter spokesman Matt Graves: “For years, people have relied on Google to deliver the most relevant results anytime they wanted to find something on the Internet. … Often, they want to know more about world events and breaking news. Twitter has emerged as a vital source of this real-time information, with more than 100 million users sending 250 million Tweets every day on virtually every topic. As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant results.

“We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone,” Graves continues. “We think that’s bad for people, publishers, news organizations and Twitter users.”

Big Sis at Homeland Security monitoring journalists

Now the Feds in D.C. have the green light to grab all your online writings and keep them in perpetuity. Forever. Until the end of time.

Under the National Operations Center’s Media Monitoring Initiative that came out of the Orwellian-named Department of Homeland Security headquarters last November, Washington is authorized to “retain data on users of social media and online networking platforms.”

In a published report that will no doubt find its way into the DHS vaults, “Homeland Security” announced the NOC and its Office of Operations Coordination and Planning can collect personal information from news anchors, journalists, reporters or anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real-time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”

“According to the Department of Homeland Security’s own definition of personal identifiable information, or PII, such data could consist of any intellect ‘that permits the identity of an individual to be directly or indirectly inferred, including any information which is linked or linkable to that individual.'”

Wonderful. Now, don’t you feel safer?

Pay me or I’ll jump!

Would you jump off a ledge for lost wages? Apparently some 300 Chinese Foxconn employees who manufacture X-box 360 machines said they would. They were on the edge, literally, of their Wuhan, China, plant, where they threatened to commit suicide if their demands for lost wages were not met.

Foxconn is reported to be the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer and a crucial link in the supply chains of Apple, Dell, Nintendo and Song. Its management gave the workers an ultimatum: Quit with one month’s compensation awarded for each year with the plant or go back to working. Many quit, but Foxconn allegedly reneged on its promise and awarded former employees nothing. So some 300 workers returned to the plant in an uproar and staged their protest on the plant’s roof.

After several hours of negotiation, Wuhan’s mayor convinced them to step away from the edge and return to work. No word on what happened next.

Wired magazine was granted access to the factories, which installed nets that would catch anyone attempting to jump after several committed suicide in 2010 in a Foxconn plant that manufactured components for Apple.

In a word, TEBOW

Tim Tebow is one of the most popular athletes worldwide, in part because of the Internet. The expression “GB2” could be seen all over Twitter during Saturday night’s game: “God Bless and Go Broncos.”

After the Broncos beat the Steelers a week ago Sunday, Tebow fans generated a record peak of 9,420 tweets per second, the second most tweets-per-second in history.

Last week’s overtime touchdown against the Steelers earned him a record-setting 9,420 Tweets per second – the most tweets ever about a U.S. event. His name, long with his favorite Bible verse John 3:16 zoomed to Google’s top trending searches, along with the top trend “Tebowing”, named for his prayerful genuflection on the sidelines.

In soliciting $1 donations, the Tebow Foundation mobilized fans to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars online.

And at the end of Saturday night’s game, what did Tebow do? He went to his Twitter account and tweeted “Praise the Lord!

Google, news outlets OK attack on Santorum

The top search engine Google refused to remove hate speech attack against presidential candidate. Read commentary here.

The Time Capsule

1950 – Author George Orwell dies

1961 – Eisenhower warns of Military Industrial Complex

1961 – John F. Kennedy sworn in as 35th and youngest president

1967 – Albert DeSalvo, “The Boston Strangler,” receives life sentence

1970 – Colonel Gaddafi takes control in Libya

1977 – Gary Gilmore faces Utah firing squad

1979 – Shah of Iran asked to leave, enters exile

1981 – Iran frees U.S. hostages after 444 days

1994 – 6.6 earthquake rocks Los Angeles

Now playing at the Princess Theater, Urbana, Ill.

Congratulations to WND readers Suzanne Rothburg of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Don Kelleher of Nashville, Tenn., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Ava Gardner who portrayed the character Eleanor “Ellie” Holbrook in the movie “Seven Days in May”. The selection was tied to last week’s item about the 1942 creation of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The quote was: “I’ll make you two promises: a very good steak, medium rare, and the truth, which is very rare.”

This week’s quote: “Look, I hate purity. Hate goodness. I don’t want virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone corrupt.”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me through the email link above. Please be sure to add your town and state. Good luck!

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.