Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Congress

70 Public Interest Groups and Companies Urge Congress to Update Email Privacy Law

“EFF, along with more than sixty civil liberties organizations, public interest groups, and companies sent two letters to the House and Senate leadership today. One supported the upcoming bipartisan Email Privacy Act by Reps. Kevin Yoder and Jared Polis, and the other supported the upcoming Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act by Sens. Mike Lee and Patrick Leahy. The bills aim to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), an archaic law that’s been used by the government to obtain emails without getting a probable cause warrant. The bills are common sense bipartisan bills that help to codify current judicial decisions regarding the privacy of your personal online communications. The letters are part of a larger push from the Digital Due Process Coalition to pass the two bills. Last year, the Email Privacy Act in the House has over 270 cosponsors, while the Senate bill successfully made it past the Senate Judiciary Committee. Both bills will codify the precedent set by the Sixth Circuit, which ruled in US v. Warshak that users have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their email. The bills ensure the government must obtain a warrant in all contexts before it looks at your private online messages. The coalition letters urge congressional leaders to quickly move on both bills. The letters also encourage passing the bills since…

[s]uccessful passage of ECPA reform sends a powerful message–Congress can act swiftly on crucial, widely supported, bipartisan legislation. Failure to enact reform sends an equally powerful message–that privacy protections are lacking in law enforcement access to user information and that constitutional values are imperiled in a digital world.

Signers include the American Civil Liberties Union, Microsoft, Google, Apple, the Business Software Alliance, Dropbox, Freedomworks, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and others.”

SIGAR Report Documents 300 Million Dollar Waste on Afghan Police

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction – More than $300 Million in Annual, U.S.-funded Salary Payments to the Afghan National Police Is Based on Partially Verified or Reconciled Data. SIGAR 15-26 Audit Report, January 15, 2015. “Despite 13 years and several billions of dollars in salary assistance to the Afghan government for the ANP, thereContinue Reading

Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2015 to 2024

“Nuclear weapons have been a cornerstone of U.S. national security since they were developed during World War II. During the Cold War, nuclear forces were central to U.S. defense policy, resulting in the buildup of a large arsenal. Since that time, they have figured less prominently than conventional forces, and the United States has notContinue Reading

FCC – Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape

The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape. Patricia Moloney Figliola, Specialist in Internet and Telecommunications Policy. January 9, 2015. “The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent federal agency with its five members appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate. It was established by theContinue Reading

The Federal Minimum Wage: In Brief

The Federal Minimum Wage: In Brief. David H. Bradley, Specialist in Labor Economics. January 13, 2015. “The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), enacted in 1938, is the federal legislation that establishes the minimum hourly wage that must be paid to all covered workers. The minimum wage provisions of the FLSA have been amended numerous timesContinue Reading

NAP’s Guide to Science Issues and the State of the Union

“The 2015 State of the Union address focused on topics such as 21st century skills, climate change, and cybersecurity. The National Academies Press provides resources directly related to these national issues. A selection has been highlighted below. We’ve posted the full transcript of the President’s speech, annotated with lists of our related materials. Read our completeContinue Reading

FY2014 DOT&E Annual Report has been released to Congress

DOT&E FY2014 Annual Report. Michael Gilmore, Director – Operational Test & Evaluation Office of the Secretary of Defense: “Since my appointment as Director, I have required thorough operational tests that provide adequate information to characterize system performance across a variety of operational conditions. This information is essential to my evaluation of system operational effectiveness, suitability,Continue Reading

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Spending and Policy Options

CBO Report – “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federal program that provides cash assistance, work support, and other services to some low-income families. The cash assistance is generally limited to families with income well below the poverty threshold and few assets; it goes to roughly 2 million families per month, most ofContinue Reading

DoD Nuclear Weapon System Safety Program Manual

DoD Manual NUMBER 3150.02 January 31, 2014 Incorporating Change 1, Effective January 15, 2015 [snipped] “a. Nuclear weapon systems require special consideration because of their political and military importance, their destructive power, and the potential consequences of an accident or unauthorized act. Assured nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon systems safety, security, and control remains ofContinue Reading

Obama’s State of the Union address includes tax relief for middle class

White House FACT SHEET: A Simpler, Fairer Tax Code That Responsibly Invests in Middle Class Families “Middle class families today bear too much of the tax burden because of unfair loopholes that are only available to the wealthy and big corporations. In his State of the Union address, the President will outline his plan toContinue Reading

POGO to Launch Congressional Subpoena Rule Database

“The start of each new Congress marks the chance to adopt new rules, which cover a wide range of procedural matters, for the next two years. For example, committees and subcommittees may choose to lay out the procedures for issuing subpoenas and taking depositions. The Project On Government Oversight believes that oversight efforts, including investigations,Continue Reading

How Changes in Immigration Policy Would Affect the Federal Budget

“During the past two years, the Congress has considered proposals to modify the nation’s immigration system. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), passed by the Senate in June 2013, addresses multiple facets of immigration policy, including changes to the existing visa system, improvements in border security and law enforcement, andContinue Reading