PolitiHacks Digest 3/25

These folks want your support:


  1. #iMarch—Fix immigration for startups with Mayor Bloomberg and Brad Feld
  2. Fix the DMCA—Own your electronics, legalize cellphone unlocking
  3. More privacy protections in CISPA—Protecting against black hat network intrusions shouldn’t mean trashing privacy protections

Got a cause I should share? Tell me.

Reading List:


  1. Economist: Own Goal—What’s wrong with the US immigration system when it comes to incentivizing economic growth (h/t Luis Perez)
  2. Forbes: Coming to America-Startup Visa—Scott Allison (Teamly) tells his personal story dealing with immigration as a founder, calls for startup visa
  3. Wired: Fix CISPA, Because It It Needed—Argues that the threats CISPA targets are real, but the solution to be implemented is flawed
  4. NYT: Microsoft Transparency Report—Joining Google, Microsoft discloses top-level information about its cooperation with law enforcement
  5. HuffPo: Right and Left Say Fix Data Privacy—Grover Norquist and the ACLU explain what’s wrong with the 1986 law establishing data privacy rights (full disclosure: PolitiHacks is contracted to the Center for Democracy and Technology on this issue)
  6. USA Today: Unlocking Cellphones—Editorial board comes out in support of legalizing cell phone unlocking

Political issues affecting startups: 


The opposition makes its move on cybersecurity

CISPA is the proposed law to allow information sharing to improve response time to emerging network threats. Opponents worry that the bill shreds privacy protections to achieve this goal.

Last week, the opposition, led by EFFCDT, and the Internet Defense League (and including PolitiHacks), launched a week of action detailing their privacy concerns.

Weeks of action seek to improve an issue’s visibility and break through the noise of DC. Think Foursquare at SXSW in 2009.


Cybersecurity’s PR problem

Most opponents to CISPA acknowledge the real threats the bill seeks to address. Proponents argue that the vague language causing concerns over privacy are needed to protect against evolving threats, prevent the legislation from being obsolete upon passage.

Startups don’t trust individuals within the government not to abuse the fuzzy authorizations.

PolitiHacks organized a call with one of the CISPA supporters. We’re thinking the bills’ supporters have a PR problem.


Zuck to launch political group, starting with immigration reform

Up until now, Zuck’s been involved with political outcomes: fixing education in Newark or funding the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to have an impact on health and education issues. DC would call this policy work, even if he’s solving problems through politics.

For the first time, Zuck is putting money into affecting politics. DC is paying very, very close attention to who is getting involved with the group.


Bills introduced to fix digital privacy, but what’s the path forward?

Sens. Leahy (D-VT) and Lee (R-UT) introduced a bill to reform digital privacy rights, currently established by a 1986 law that assumes anything online for more than 6 months is abandoned.

Next step: Congressional hearings ( Glossary)

How do these specific Senators affect the chances of the bill to advance?

(full disclosure: PolitiHacks is contracted to the Center for Democracy and Technology on this issue)

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