President Barack Hussein Obama has signaled his intention to push through his Internet agenda via executive order. This, after last week’s failed attempt to bring the Democrat-supported Cybersecurity Act of 2012 to a full vote in the U.S. Senate.
The bill would have given federal regulatory agencies the ability to mandate cybersecurity recommendations on critical infrastructure power and utility companies. The cyber security legislation is expected to be revisited by Majority Leader Harry Reid when the Senate returns from its August recess.
As reported in The Hill’s Technology blog, responding to “a question about whether President Obama was considering advancing his party’s cyber-plan through an executive order, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney didn’t rule out the possibility.”
“In the wake of congressional inaction and Republican stall tactics, unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed,” Carney said via email.
“Moving forward, the president is determined to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyber threats and we will do that,” added Carney.
Read the op-ed Obama wrote that appeared in the Wall Street Journal in which he threw his support behind regulatory control.
As one blogger wrote, “Can you imagine the field day liberals will have with control of the Internet? Even if there is no guilt, having to defend oneself against government investigation could cripple or even bankrupt a company. Websites could be shut down until the government is ‘satisfied’ that there is no ‘cyber threat.’”
Another White House executive order would extend executive branch authority over a thus-far largely free and open Internet.
Twitter takes political pulse
We knew it was just a matter of time before one of the social network sites came up with a way to take the nation’s political pulse. Twitter is the first, measuring how Twitterers feel about the presidential candidates. According to this published report, Twitter is “drawing on the nearly 2 million weekly posts on the micro-blogging site about President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.”
Twitter and data analysis firm Topsy, along with campaign pollsters Democrat Mark Mellman and Republican Jon McHenry, have launched Twitter Political Index, a project that “evaluates and weighs the sentiment of tweets mentioning Obama or Romney relative to the more than 400 million tweets sent on all other topics” each day.
According to Topsy’s website, “Topsy calculates the daily Index for each of the presidential candidates taking into account both the mentions of the candidate’s last name (i.e. ‘Obama’ and ‘Romney’) and any direct mentions of the candidate’s official Twitter account (i.e. @barackobama and @mittromney).
“Topsy evaluates sentiment for all terms mentioned on Twitter each day, then compares how positively the candidates are talked about to calculate their sentiment score,” the site explains. “Think of it as a percentile score; if a candidate has a score of 80, tweets about that candidate were more positive than roughly 80 percent of all other terms mentioned on Twitter. This greatly increases the accuracy of Topsy’s sentiment analysis.”
Speaking of politics, the Obama campaign has a new mobile app that identifies the Democrats in your current location. The app includes a Google map for canvassers that marks the Dems’ households with a little blue flag.
Moving on to the Olympics, Twitter is partnered with the International Olympic Committee, Facebook, Google and YouTube along with others, to provide Olympics with social media capability. Twitter also is partnered with the Games broadcaster Comcast NBCUniversal.
As a side note, a kerfuffle erupted last week when Twitter banned a journalist who was critical of NBC’s Olympics coverage, causing the blogosphere to accuse Twitter of censorship. Twitter later reinstated the journalist and apologized for what it said were its missteps.
Twitter has its beak’s full, confronting ethics of commercial pressures.
In a separate incident, two Olympic athletes were eliminated from the Games for posting controversial statements on Twitter. And a man was arrested after posting several malicious tweets to British Olympic diver Tom Daley.
And finally, elsewhere in the Twittersphere, did you hear the one about the honeymooning couple who just couldn’t stop tweeting? They’re hooked on Twitter, in a kind of stream-of-conscious connection with the world. And they’re not alone.
Facebook under fire
Swiss banking giant UBS is pointing the finger at Nasdaq, accusing it of grossly mishandling Facebook’s May 18 listing. UBS says it will undertake legal proceedings to recoup its 2nd quarter losses of $356 million.
Adding to Facebook’s woes, the social media giant’s advertising methodology is under attack, with claims that its ad clicks are promulgated by “bots,” or web robots instead of human interaction. According to CNBC, the allegations “come from a company formerly called Limited Pressing, now called Limited Run, which on Monday took to Facebook to explain why it plans to delete its Facebook page.
“The company says that when it bought ads on Facebook, it could only verify about 20 percent of the clicks it was charged for, saying the other 80 percent were from bots.”
Should Google pay book authors for digitizing their work?
Authors suing Google over the digitizing of books have asked a judge to order the company to pay $750 a book for illegally copying and distributing their works. Google has been scanning millions of books from public and university libraries with the purpose of grabbing snippets of text for its Internet search engine.
Elsewhere, France’s data protection authority has ordered Google to hand over its Street View data collected from Internet users by its Street View mapping cars.
According to a published news report, “The request came just days after a similar demand by Britain’s privacy watchdog after the U.S. tech giant admitted it had not deleted some of the data, including passwords and emails, it sucked up from private wireless hotspots.”
Bits & Bytes
- Rep. Darrel Issa, R-Calif., to White House: Hand over the emails.
- In Russia, a new law now in place to protect minors from Internet sites with “dangerous content” considered censorship by some.
- A Russian opposition leader has tweeted photo evidence of a “bug” listening device found in his Moscow office.
- Oops! Apple gave away keys to candy store, handing iCloud account to hackers.
- Microsoft to phase out Hotmail, replaces with revamped Outlook. Will that make it better?
- Internet websites: A constellation of colored dots resembling stars in space.