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Obama Follows Up State Of The Union Speech with Silicon Valley Powwow


SAN FRANCISCO, February 17, 2011 — President Obama checked in with the U.S.’ titans of tech on Thursday in a brief swing through Silicon Valley before heading north to Oregon to visit Intel.

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SAN FRANCISCO, February 17, 2011 — President Obama checked in with the U.S.’ titans of tech on Thursday in a brief swing through Silicon Valley before heading north to Oregon to visit Intel.

Obama’s visit wasn’t open to the press or the public apart from his arrival and departure.

But in a statement issued after the dinner at Silicon Valley legend John Doerr’s house in Woodside, White House spokesman Jay Carney said:

“This evening, the President joined twelve leaders from technology companies to discuss ways to work together to invest in American innovation and promote private sector job growth.

In the President’s State of the Union Address, he called on us to win the future by out-innovating and out-educating the rest of the world and increasing American competitiveness.

The President believes that American companies like these have been leading by investing in the creativity and ingenuity of the American people, creating cutting-edge new technologies and promoting new ways to communicate.

The President specifically discussed his proposals to invest in research and development and expand incentives for companies to grow and hire, along with his goal of doubling exports over five years to support millions of American jobs.

The group also discussed the importance of new investments in education and the new White House initiative Startup America, a partnership with the private sector aimed at supporting new startups and small businesses.

The President expressed his desire to continue a dialogue with the group to share new ideas so we can work as partners to promote growth and create good jobs in the United States

As a prime funder of oh, just a few little internet companies such as Google, Amazon, Intuit, Sun Microsystems, Compaq, Macromedia and Symantec, Doerr estimates that he has created 150,000 new jobs.

He’s also on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and is a passionate advocate of most of the items on Obama’s tech and climate change policy agenda.

Convened at the Doerr’s high level “revenge of the nerds” dinner party Thursday were the CEOs of Apple, CISCO, Genentech, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Oracle, Twitter and Yahoo, reports The New York Times‘ Miguel Helft.

Also there for the power chow-down were Stanford University President John Hennessy and politico Steve Westly of the Westly Group.

But POLITICO reports that the dinner wouldn’t have been a “love-in,” given that many of the titans are disappointed with Obama’s perceived slow progress on the promised policy items on their agenda, such as making the R&D credit permanent, and boosting the number of visas for highly-skilled foreign workers.

Still, Democratic consultants say that the visit is a “grand slam” for the president.

“First, this is a part of the country that’s still creating high-paid jobs. Next, Jobs being there buys you a national audience… Next, you get to talk about the role Facebook is playing [in the Mideast liberation movements]. And it’s touching base with a group of donors who are going to be very important in next year’s election,” Chris Lehane told POLITICO’s Glenn Thrush.

No word on whether patent reform was on the menu of discussion, even most of the CEOs in attendance have a big stake in the outcome of what emerges from Capitol Hill during this session of Congress.

Several of the companies’ policy teams are against a patent bill currently under consideration in Congress that has the support of the Obama administration, Microsoft and IBM.

Those companies include Apple, CISCO, Google, and Oracle.

Still, Obama has at least a couple of tech-related agenda items he can tell the CEOs that he’s recently ticked off on the national policy to-do list.

His administration earlier this week released a budget request for a boost in funding to speed up patent applications, and it published a new report and broadband map that for the first time tracks broadband internet penetration across the United States.

Blockchain

Government Needs to Enact Cryptocurrency Policy to Get Ahead on Global Competition, Experts Say

China is believed to be creating a central digital currency soon, as the U.S. lacks policy governing cryptocurrency.

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Melanie Teplinsky and Patrick McCarty

WASHINGTON, December 1, 2021 – Cryptocurrency experts say the federal government needs to implement more policy governing cryptocurrency to get in front of international competition in the space, as ransomware threats in the country continue to rise.

Patrick McCarty, professor at Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, said at an event at the American University School of Law on November 23 that China’s central bank may create a central digital currency in the near future, and other nations’ central banks are likely to create their own digital currencies in response.

If the U.S. is to remain competitive on the international cryptocurrency scene, they say, the government must take key steps to solidify its digital currency systems.

Meanwhile, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law last month, establishes tax reporting requirements for cryptocurrencies.

McCarty said it is unclear whether Congress will take such steps, including clarifying whether cryptocurrencies are securities or commodities, and the Securities and Exchange Commission identifying which assets are considered securities to help with building digital currency systems in the U.S.

Melanie Teplinsky, professor at American University Washington College of Law, pointed out that even the major cryptocurrency players are asking for government regulations to be imposed on the industry.

Need better ransomware security

Teplinsky also said the U.S. must work to improve cybersecurity for cryptocurrency exchange.

With a four-times increase in the ransom that ransomware hackers received last year compared to 2019, she said shortages of available cybersecurity workers pose a very large problem.

She predicted there will be efforts to strengthen cybersecurity as the private sector seeks to work more collaboratively with government, and that active cyber defense through threat hunting will become more prevalent.

Teplinsky also stated that coordinated domestic and international policy responses to ransomware threats are specifically necessary, such as through diplomatic efforts to shut down foreign safe havens for hackers and common exchange regulations to ensure adherence to anti-money laundering rules.

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FCC

FCC Requires Telecom Companies to Let Subscribers Text to Suicide Prevention Hotline

The measure would increase access for those seeking emergency mental health assistance.

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WASHINGTON, November 18, 2021 – The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to require providers of telecommunications to permit individuals to text directly to a three digit number, 988, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The suicide prevention lifeline is a national network that offers free and confidential support in Americans in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The move increases access for individuals in crisis by  routing text messages sent to 988 to the group’s 10-digit number, 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

The vote to establish text-to-988 comes after Americans spent months isolated under stay-at-home orders in 2020. The CDC reported that last year, 44,834 individuals died by suicide in the United States. Experts have suggested that the pandemic has increased mental health struggles for Americans.  The FCC has repeatedly recognized suicide’s impact on at-risk communities, including youth, the Black community, the LGBT community, Veterans, and the deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, and people who have speech disabilities that affect communication.

The FCC required text providers to support three digit dialing and text messages to 988 by July 16, 2022. “This uniform deadline will help to prevent confusion and facilitate unified outreach campaigns,” said Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, who described 988 as “life-saving work.” “I am pleased to approve today’s decision because Text-to-988 will save lives in vulnerable and underserved communities by taking advantage of this vital communications channel,” he said.

Commenting on her vote to approve the measure, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel noted that LGBT youth are almost five times as likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. “These young people deserve a future,” she said. “They deserve support. And that support should be simple to access. Today we help make that possible.”

Americans sent an estimated 2.2 trillion text messages in 2020. Texting to 988 may be an especially important option for young people, who may prefer the anonymity and convenience of texting a crisis counselor instead of engaging in a phone conversation, said the FCC.

The agency urged Americans who need help during the transition to 988 should contact the Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) and through online chats.

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Blockchain

Facebook Lobbying Congress on Blockchain Policy

The registration comes after the company rebranded to Meta, taking it beyond its social media origins.

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Photo from PX Fuel used with permission

WASHINGTON, November 18, 2021 – Facebook has registered this month to lobby Congress on blockchain policy, following a rebranding of the company that is intended to take the company beyond its social media roots.

The lobby registration was filed on November 4 and it comes after the infrastructure bill, signed into law this week, established tax reporting requirements for cryptocurrencies, which require the decentralized transaction ledger known as the blockchain to function.

The registration, which does not provide specifics on what the company hopes to discuss, also comes just days after the company rebranded as Meta, which is intended to broaden the company’s scope into new technologies that allow people to be together in the virtual space.

When the rebranding launched in late October, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote a letter that indicated that this new metaverse would require open standards and interoperability, including supporting crypto projects.

Meta also has a number of jobs that require knowledge of crypto and blockchain.

Facebook has set its sights on initiatives involving the blockchain for years. In 2018, head of Facebook Messenger David Marcus announced on Facebook that he would set up a small group to “best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.”

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of House representatives introduced a bill – the Keep Innovation in America Act – that would better define who are crypto brokers for tax reporting purposes.

In a separate lobby registration, Facebook also specified that it would like to discuss specific funding for computer science education in legislation.

The company has previously registered to lobby Congress on Section 230, the law that shields tech platforms from legal repercussions for what their users post.

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