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Big Media Meets Law Enforcement at White House; Biden Announces Focus on Intellectual Property Theft

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2009 – The U.S. is committed to an inter-agency process for combating piracy of American intellectual property, Vice President Joseph Biden said Tuesday during a press availability with top law enforcement officials.

Appearing at the White House complex with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the directors of the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, and the United States Secret Service, as well as the chief executives of the nation’s largest entertainment companies.

The meeting was followed by a closed-door, roundtable discussion on international intellectual property theft.

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By Andrew Feinberg, Deputy Editor, BroadbandBreakfast.com; and Eli Evans, Reporter-Researcher, BroadbandBreakfast.com

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2009 – The U.S. is committed to an inter-agency process for combating piracy of American intellectual property, Vice President Joseph Biden said Tuesday during a press availability with top law enforcement officials.

Appearing at the White House complex with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the directors of the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, and the United States Secret Service, as well as the chief executives of the nation’s largest entertainment companies.

The meeting was followed by a closed-door, roundtable discussion on international intellectual property theft.

That second meeting brought together more than 20 high-ranking government officials and entertainment industry leaders in seeking solutions to the problem of piracy.

While Biden acknowledged the efforts of past administrations and programs, “The truth of the matter is that the problem has gotten worse,” he said. “Intellectual piracy is costing this country…billions of dollars and thousands of jobs,” Biden told the assembled executives.

The problem is likely to worsen without better inter-agency coordination and a sharp federal focus on the problem, he said, referring back to his days as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee: “It offends me that we … treat it as if it’s a mild irritant,” Biden said. “It’s theft – Flat unadulterated theft.”

The issue is no longer a minor one, said Attorney General Eric Holder. American industries “depend on intellectual property rights” and the enforcement of them, Holder said. The Obama administration will not tolerate [intellectual property] theft of any kind, Holder said.

And both Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke promised the full weight of their departmentss behind Biden’s initiative, with Napolitano bringing the power of Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the United States Secret Service to bear on copyright infringers to supplement the investigative and enforcement efforts of the FBI.

Intellectual property crime is going to get the same kind of focus at the Justice Department as the closing of Guantanamo Bay and ordinary street crime, said Holder.

But “this is not a problem the United States can by itself solve,” Holder conceded. “We need to work with international partners, who also need to confront… those nations where to0 much of this [piracy] occurs,” he declared.

The U.S. will place emphasis on shoring up international enforcement efforts with existing relationships, and by new commitments like the forthcoming Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, Holder said. By working with other nations, the U.S. can better target the large scale operations that are often the most serious – operations often based from within the borders of other nations.

Holder cited as a recent success of this new strategy the fruits of a series of raids around the U.S. and in Mexico. Relying on cooperation from the Mexican government, U.S. law enforcement seized 780,000 items, including 54,000 CDs and DVDs valued at more than $26 million.

This cooperative effort is not only admirable, but effective. Biden said, adding that such thinking motivated Tuesday’s meeting. It was an opportunity to have “all the major players in one place, in one room, with one overall, overarching strategy how to better deal with what is a serious, serious problem facing our country.”

But not all players were at the meeting, according to some consumer groups, who noted the absence of technology companies and representation of artists – the creators of intellectual property itself.

Such an omission speaks to a bias in favor of “big media,” critics said in numerous statements released Tuesday. “No consumer or public-interest groups, technology companies, technology associations or Internet service providers are on the guest list,” said Public Knowledge founder and president Gigi Sohn.

“No one who questions the need for draconian governmental policies on behalf of the privileged special interest group for whom this meeting is being held is on the guest list,” Sohn pointed out.

“If Vice President Biden is truly interested in learning more about intellectual property, we hope he will continue his consultations with a group of people who share a wider range of views than those with whom he will meet today.”

Editor’s Note: Broadband Census News is planning to hold a special event, “Net Neutrality, Copyright Protection, and the National Broadband Plan Town Hall Meeting,” on January 19, 2010, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. (program from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.), at Clyde’s of Gallery Place. To register for the event, which includes breakfast from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. To register, click here.

Health

Digital Literacy Training Needed for Optimal Telehealth Outcomes, Healthcare Reps Say

Digital literacy should be a priority to unlock telehealth’s potential, a telehealth event heard.

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Photo of telehealth consultation from Healthcare IT News

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2022 – Digital literacy training should be a priority for providers and consumers to improve telehealth outcomes, experts said at a conference Tuesday.

Digital literacy training will unlock telehealth’s potential to improve health outcomes, according to the event’s experts, including improving treatment for chronic diseases, improving patient-doctor relationships, and providing easier medical access for those without access to transportation.

Julia Skapik of the National Association of Community Health Centers said at the National Telehealth Conference on Tuesday that both patients and clinicians need to be trained on how to use tools that allow both parties to communicate remotely.

Skapik said her association has plans to implement training for providers to utilize tech opportunities, such as patient portals to best engage patients.

Ann Mond Johnson from the American Telemedicine Association agreed that telehealth will improve health outcomes by giving proper training to utilize the technology to offer the services.

The Federal Communications Commission announced its telehealth program in April 2021, which set aside $200 million for health institutions to provide remote care for patients.

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Digital Inclusion

W. Antoni Sinkfield: To Succeed in 21st Century, Communities Need to Get Connected Now

One of the primary responsibilities of being a faith leader is to listen to your community and understand its problems.

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Reverend W. Antoni Sinkfield, Associate Dean for Community Life at Wesley Theological Seminary.

One of the primary responsibilities of being a faith leader is to listen to your community, understand its problems, and provide support in challenging times. Particularly during the pandemic, it has been hard not to notice that my parishioners, and folks across the country, are divided into two groups: those with access to the internet, and those without.

In 2022, digital inclusion is still something we strive for in poor and rural areas throughout America. The lack of reliable internet access is an enormous disadvantage to so many people in all facets of their lives.

To fully participate in today’s society, all people, no matter who they are and no matter where they live, must have access to the internet. Think of the remote learning every child had to experience when schools were closed, and the challenges that families faced when they didn’t have access to a quality connection.

It’s a question of plain fairness.

Politicians have been talking for decades about bringing high-speed internet access to everyone, however many families continue to be left behind. More than 42 million people across the country lack affordable, reliable broadband connections, and as many as 120 million people who cannot get online are stuck with slow service that does not allow them to take advantage of everything the internet has to offer.

People of color are disproportionately affected by lack of broadband access

Lack of broadband disproportionately affects communities of color, as well: 35 percent of Americans of Latino descent and 29 percent of African-Americans do not have a broadband connection at home.

Every person in rural towns, urban neighborhoods, and tribal communities needs and deserves equal and full economic and educational opportunities. Studies show that students without home access to the internet are less likely to attend college and face a digital skills gap equivalent to three years’ worth of schooling. Small businesses, which are the cornerstone of rural and urban communities alike, need broadband to reach their customers and provide the service they expect.

Simply put, having access to the internet in every community is vital to its ability to succeed in the 21st century.

Fortunately, we have an opportunity to take major steps toward a solution. Last year, Congress passed President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provides $65 billion to expand broadband access and affordability. It is essential that we use this money to connect as many unserved and underserved communities as we can – and as quickly as we can.

Different places need different options to bridge the digital divide

As we bridge the digital divide, we must listen to those who have been left behind and make sure that we deploy solutions that fit their needs. Different places need different options – so it’s important that all voices are heard, and the technology that works best for the community is made readily available.

All people need access to broadband to learn, work, shop, pay bills, and get efficient healthcare.

When I talk to my parishioners, they speak about how much of their lives have transitioned online and are frustrated about not having reliable access. They do not care about the nuances of how we bring broadband to everyone. They just want to have it now – and understandably so.

This means that we must explore all solutions possible to provide high-speed broadband with the connection and support they need, when they need it, regardless of where they live.

Now is the time to meet those struggling where they are, stop dreaming about bridging the divide, and just get it done. Our government has a rare opportunity to fix an enormous problem, using money already approved for the purpose. Let’s make sure they do so in a manner that works for the communities they’re trying to help.

Rev. W. Antoni Sinkfield, Ph.D., serves as Associate Dean for Community Life at Wesley Theological Seminary, and is an ordained Itinerate Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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Broadband's Impact

Biden Delivers Remarks on Free Broadband to Qualified Households

Biden compared the value of broadband to telephone service, and drew parallels to the historic effort to connect the country.

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Screenshot of President Joe Biden delivering remarks at the White Hose Rose Garden

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2022 – President Joe Biden emphasized the essential nature of broadband during a public appearance on Monday.

Biden delivered remarks at the White House Rose Garden on the day’s earlier announcement that the federal government would work with both regional and national broadband providers to provide essentially free broadband to qualified households.

“Too many Americans simply cannot afford to get connected even if there is access to get connected. So, they go without high-speed internet, or they sacrifice other necessities in order to make it work,” Biden said.

“High-speed internet is not a luxury any longer – it is a necessity,” Biden said. “That is why the bipartisan infrastructure law included $65 billion to make sure we expand access to broadband internet in every region of the country.”

Biden also laid out the criteria for eligible households to take advantage of Affordable Connectivity Program, which when paired with the effort by ISPs to keep 100 Mbps download services under $30, provides free internet to consumers.

“If your household income is twice the federal poverty level or less – that is that’s about $55,000 per year for a family of four – or $27,000 for an individual – or a member of your household is on Medicaid or supplementary [social] security income or a number of other programs – you are eligible.”

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