Barack Obama Stories January 12, 2016

As usual, President Obama’s State of the Union address will be broadcast live on YouTube this evening, followed on Friday by a live Q&A with three YouTube personalities.

This year, YouTube has announced that the three personalities will be Destin Sandlin, Ingrid Nilsen, and Adande Thorne. Sandlin presents the science channel Smarter Every Day, Nilson runs a lifestyle/tips channel, and Thorne is a professional gamer with a knack for story-telling.

YouTube is also offering you the opportunity to suggest questions for the interview …

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Barack Obama Stories May 19, 2015

Google among those asking Obama to reject calls for government access to encrypted data

Google and Apple have co-signed a letter calling on President Obama to reject any government proposal to allow the government backdoor access to encrypted data on smartphones and other devices. The Washington Post says the letter, due to be delivered today, is signed by more than 140 tech companies, prominent technologists and civil society groups.

The signatories urge Obama to follow the group’s unanimous recommendation that the government should “fully support and not undermine efforts to create encryption standards” and not “in any way subvert, undermine, weaken or make vulnerable” commercial software.

The FBI has been pushing increasingly hard to require tech companies to build in backdoor access to their encryption systems to allow access by law enforcement, even going so far as to say that Apple could be responsible for the death of a child. a NY District Attorney has also cited public safety as justification for demanding access to encrypted data.

The letter calling on Obama to reject this argument is also signed by five members of a presidential review group appointed by Obama in 2013 to assess technology policies in the wake of leaks by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

Many in the tech industry have pointed out that, aside from the obvious concerns over government intrusion into the private lives of its citizens, any backdoor used by the government could potentially be discovered and exploited by hackers and foreign governments.

Barack Obama Stories March 26, 2015

patriot-act-reform

Google is one of ten tech giants to once again call on the US Government not to reauthorize the Patriot Act in its current form. The Act expires on 1st June unless it is renewed by Congress. Google was joined by Apple, AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

In an open letter to President Obama, NSA Director Admiral Rogers and other prominent government figures, the companies urge Congress to end the bulk collection of communications metadata–the logs that determine how and when ordinary citizens contact each other.

The letter says that mass surveillance must end, and that a revised bill must contain mechanisms to ensure that future government surveillance is both transparent and accountable …  expand full story

Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

Barack Obama Stories January 21, 2015

Google has changed its mind and signed the student privacy pledge endorsed by President Obama last week, reports the WSJ. The pledge commits companies not to sell student data or use targeted ads on education products.

A total of 75 companies signed the pledge last week, including other tech giants like Apple and Microsoft, but Google declined, saying that it already had these commitments in place. Google’s change of heart may have been influenced by Obama’s statement that he would ensure parents were aware of companies that had not signed-up …  expand full story

Barack Obama Stories January 29, 2014

Blink and you missed the tech stuff in the State of the Union address

Technology got only the briefest and vaguest of mentions in last night’s State of the Union address, with little in the way of new commitments.

President Obama promised six more “hubs for hi-tech manufacturing,” adding to the two hardly anyone had heard of in Raleigh and Youngstown that “connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies.” The government apparently kicked in $100M in funding for research into 3D printing and energy-efficient chips. Nothing was said about where the new hubs would be or what they would do.

Aside from that, there was a pledge to connect 99 percent of schools to high-speed broadband over the next four years, which doesn’t seem an overly ambitious deadline for something so basic; generalised promises to reform the NSA; and a plea for Congress to reverse cuts to government research funding.

Nothing on patent reform. Nothing on net neutrality. ISP or carrier monopolies and collusion. Nothing on tightening rules on data security in the wake of large-scale credit card compromises. Not much on immigration reform, to help tech companies hire the people they need. And no specific pledges on limiting the powers of the NSA.

Is is just me, or is it odd to spend so much time talking about the economy and job-creation, but so little on steps to help the industry that is expected to drive much of that growth?

Barack Obama Stories January 23, 2014

Next Friday, January 31st, President Obama will embark on a Presidential Hangout Road Trip promoting his State of the Union address to Congress and responding to questions submitted via Google+ and YouTube.

The Presidential Hangout Road Trip is actually a Google+ Hangouts session allowing the President to respond online to user submitted questions and topics he addressed in Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech.

YouTube will be live streaming both the SOTU address and the Republican response starting at 9pm EST next Tuesday. Check below for how to submit a question to the President during the Hangout Road Trip: expand full story

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