PolitiHacks Digest – 17 June 2013 – What happens when a bill is debated in Congress?

These folks want your support:


  1. StopWatching.us—Oppose government surveillance of us?
  2. Support Sen. Moran’s startup visa amendment
  3. Lincoln Labs—Local to the Bay Area? Check out this politically-themed hackathon focusing on economic liberty this weekend

Got a cause you want to share? Tell me

Political issues affecting startups: 


Open Internet and Privacy

What we’re learning is that neither reporters nor Members of Congress have any clue about the technical details they’re talking about.

PRISM and related phone wiretapping is a huge story, still breaking, because sources are frequently, honestly wrong. Will PRISM be a bombshell or a yawn? Still too soon to tell.

What to know:

  1. More details about PRISM are coming out—the AP dives into the history, Protect America Act, and explains a wider set of data collection than previously known, while the Washington Post quietly wiped (updated) several of its more incendiary claims but continues to break new ground in its reporting.
  2. EFF, Mozilla, reddit, and many other groups (including PolitiHacks) launch StopWatching.us to mobilize the internet community to oppose these recently uncovered programs
  3. Congress continues to not get it—Majority of Senate skips Friday’s classified hearing on PRISM
  4. Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Justin Amash (R-MI) plan anti-PRISM bill to revise PATRIOT Act survaillance provisions: LIBERT-E
  5. Declan McCullough reports that the NSA has been directly wiretapping conversations; results in an unusual direct response refuting the claim from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  6. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others struggle to separate themselves from anti-government surveillance firestorm; Google rejects deal that Facebook and Microsoft strike to gain permission to disclose additional details about government data requests over insufficient openness

People to Watch:

  1. Gen. Keith Alexander—EFF fan, DEFCON regular, head of the NSA
  2. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper—head of all US intelligence programs (CIA, FBI, NSA, etc…)
Immigration
PolitiHacks Analysis:

  1. 84-15? 82-15? What the first two Senate votes on immigration mean

What to Know:

  1. Senate easily clears first procedural votes on immigration reform
  2. Amendments filed: 103 as of Friday
  3. Initial reports are that opposition remains muted in the key metric of phone calls into Congress
  4. March for Innovation goes to the states: Arkansas today; Tennessee on Thursday
  5. Sen. Grassley (R-IA) border security amendment quickly tabled, i.e. killed

People to Watch:

  1. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) emerges as key to 70 votes—makes border security amendment his stand
  2. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduce startup visa amendments
  3. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)—Senate Majority Leader, i.e. controls the calendar, so watch him for when the first successful amendments begin to get votes
Catch-all on Startup Politics
  1. Federal Trade Commission sides with Uber against DC regulations
  2. Patent reform rising on the agenda, nudged by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) and President Obama
  3. Woz is pissed at surveillance, puts tipping point in 2001 passage of PATRIOT Act
Elections and Campaigns
  1. VP Joe Biden came to town to support Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) in San Jose who is facing a tech-backed challenger in Ro Khanna
  2. NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg gave the commencement speech at Stanford to advocate passage of comprehensive immigration reform, meet with FWD.us staff
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