Entries with tag government news.

Important Challenges Face New FCC Head

When US Federal Communications Commission chair Julius Genachowski leaves his post “in the coming weeks,” there will likely be a heap of expectations facing his successor. President Barack Obama has yet to name a replacement and no firm date for Genachowski’s last day at the agency has been released, but Capitol Hill and industry pundits are rife with opinions as to what direction the agency head should go. For example, Phil Weiser, dean of the University of Colorado law school and a former senior presidential adviser, claims this could be a time to redefine the FCC’s role, which could include improving its enforcement capabilities and allow it to be more responsive to emerging issues through self-regulation. He told the Washington Post that one of the main priorities will be “freeing up wireless spectrum not only for consumers but also for machine-to-machine communications.” He added, “A core challenge for the FCC and the government is to create more access to spectrum, which will enable more entrepreneurs, companies, and individuals to use it in interesting ways. In addition to freeing up licensed spectrum, the government could also make available additional unlicensed spectrum.” The leading candidates for the FCC post are reportedly Tom Wheeler, a venture capitalist who has led wireless and the cable trade groups; and Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC commissioner backed by US Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller and 37 other senators. (The Washington Post)(Reuters)

US Agency Monitors Social Media for Impending Pandemics

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as part of a year-long $3 million project, contracted with vendor Accenture to test technology designed to monitor open social networks for indications of possible pandemics. In announcing the project, Accenture said it wants to prove that social media can be analyzed for the early detection of public problems such as infectious-disease outbreaks or nuclear emergencies. Among the sites DHS will monitor include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and various blogs. The NextGov US-government news website reported that DHS has tracked social media previously “in the interest of public safety.” The discovery of this type of tracking has caused controversy and triggered legal action from the Electronic Privacy Information Center. (SlashDot)(NextGov)

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