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Category Archives: Congress

Klobuchar, Kennedy Introduce Bipartisan Privacy Legislation to Protect Consumers’ Online Data

“U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA) [on April 24, 2018] announced privacy legislation that will protect consumers’ online data. Social media and other online platforms routinely capture users’ behavior and personal information, which is then used to help advertisers or other third parties target those users. The bipartisan legislation would require companies to make privacy disclosures clearer and more transparent, give consumers the right to control their own data by allowing people to opt-out of having their data collected, and require companies to notify consumers of a privacy violation within 72 hours.  Specifically, the legislation:

  • Requires terms of service agreements to be in plain language,
  • Ensures users have the ability to see what information about them has already been collected and shared,
  • Provides users greater access to and control over their data,
  • Gives consumers the right to opt-out and keep their information private by disabling data tracking and collection,
  • Mandates that users be notified of a privacy violation within 72 hours,
  • Offers remedies for users when a privacy violation occurs,
  • Requires that online platforms have a privacy program in place…”

Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act

News release: “US Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduc[ed] the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act. The new legislation merges two parallel efforts into one unified, bipartisan bill. In August of 2017, Senators Tillis and Coons introduced the Special Counsel Integrity Act, S. 1741, and Senators Graham… Continue Reading

New searchable database of historical state campaign finance laws

“The Campaign Finance Institute is pleased to release a groundbreaking new tool, “CFI’s Historical Database of State Campaign Finance Laws”. The database covers all of the states’ campaign finance laws every two years since 1996. It is designed for everything from interactive and visualized lookups to downloadable datasets. Anyone with a serious interest in politics… Continue Reading

Ban on CDC gun violence research persists

BuzzFeed: The Government’s Two-Decade Ban On Studying Gun Violence Was Supposed To End. It Hasn’t. “In March, Congress gave CDC the green light to study the causes of gun violence. One month later there is no sign of that work starting, and there is little research on what causes America’s high gun death rates…The federal… Continue Reading

TIME – 100 Most Influential People of 2018

The 100 Most Influential People of 2018 [Searchable List] – “TIME’s annual list of the world’s most influential people is a designation of individuals whose time, in our estimation, is happening right now.” Thoughts about each individual on the list are written by a wide range of iconic individuals who likewise have been pioneers in… Continue Reading

Visualizing the US congress – updated April 2018

Vicky Chuqiao Yang, Northwestern University: “This is a interactive visualization I made of the congress members’ ideology positions, reduced to 2 dimensions, using the DW-NOMINATE method. This visualiztaion is developed as part of the IDEAS Focus Summer School on Data Visualization at Northwestern University. How to use this visulaization: Each circle represents a congress member… Continue Reading

GAO: EPA Administrator Pruitt Broke Law in Buying $43K Private Phone Booth

Summary – “Section 710 of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2017 (section 710) prohibits an agency from obligating an amount in excess of $5,000 to furnish, redecorate, purchase furniture for, or make improvements for the office of a presidential appointee during the period of appointment without prior notification to the appropriations committees… Continue Reading

CRS – Regulatory Reform 10 Years After the Financial Crisis

Via FAS – Regulatory Reform 10 Years After the Financial Crisis: Systemic Risk Regulation of Non-Bank Financial Institutions. Jay B. Sykes, Legislative Attorney. April 12, 2018. “When large, interconnected financial institutions become distressed, policymakers have historically faced a choice between (1) a taxpayer-funded bailout, and (2) the destabilization of the financial system—a dilemma that commentators… Continue Reading

CRS – Data, Social Media, and Users: Can We All Get Along?

CRS INSIGHT – Data, Social Media, and Users: Can We All Get Along? April 4, 2018 (IN10879). “In March 2018, media reported that voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica had exceeded Facebook’s data use policies by collecting data on millions of Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica did this by working with a researcher to gain access to the… Continue Reading

The Smart Grid: Status and Outlook

CRS report via FAS – The Smart Grid: Status and Outlook. Richard J. Campbell, Specialist in Energy Policy. April 10, 2018. “The electrical grid in the United States comprises all of the power plants generating electricity, together with the transmission and distribution lines and systems that bring power to end-use customers. The “grid” also connects… Continue Reading

Nearly Two-Thirds of Young Americans Fearful About Future of Democracy in America

Harvard Institute of Politics – Youth Poll: “A new national poll of America’s 18-to 29-year-olds by Harvard’sInstitute of Politics (IOP), located at the Kennedy School of Government, finds that nearly two-thirds (64%) of young Americans have more fear than hope about the future of democracy in America. For the first time, the Harvard Public Opinion… Continue Reading

Keyword searchable transcript of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Hearing on Data Privacy and Protection

C-SPAN video and keyword searchable text – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Hearing on Data Privacy and Protection. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, testified before a joint hearing by the Senate Judiciary & Commerce Committees on access to user’s data, April 12,10, 2018. See also – Transcript via Bloomberg Government available on the Wasington Post… Continue Reading