Open Internet Is the Solution to Net Neutrality Woes

Net neutrality vs the Open Internet

The terms “net neutrality” and “open Internet” have been used loosely and interchangeably over the years, leaving many people confused and using the wrong terminology to express what they want from Internet providers and the agencies that govern them. Network neutrality, or net neutrality, is essentially an Internet that does not give preference to one application or type of content over others. In other words, (Internet Service Providers) ISPs should not give preference to one type of content over another on their networks, and they should not control or influence which devices or applications people use to access it. An open Internet is a means of obtaining and maintaining net neutrality, as well as ensuring everyone has fair access to Internet services.

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Senate Bill 532 Pushes Cloud Computing for State Agencies

Texas Policy Spotlight

Texas Senate bill 532 requires state agencies to compile a report on the state of their IT infrastructure, including an inventory of servers, mainframes and other IT equipment, as well an evaluation of security and operational risks. While we think it’s practical and necessary that our government agencies evaluate the state of their infrastructure and its costs, we believe the author unnecessarily, and perhaps unwittingly, pushes public cloud services and dismisses other options for IT infrastructure.

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State of the Tech State in Texas

Texas state capitol, 85th legislature

A mid-term review of tech policy in the Texas legislature

As we near the end of the 85th legislative session, Data Foundry is reviewing all of the technology and innovation related bills filed, and how they are rated. Our first session rating bills with the Texas Policy Scorecards has been eye opening. We feel encouraged that legislative offices have reached out to us for technical knowledge and advice. We are also pleased to see some pro-innovation and cybersecurity bills this session. However, given the importance of the technology industry to the state, the lack of technical understanding and institutional knowledge available to legislators and their staff is a bit disheartening.

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Texas Legislature Seeks to Prohibit Local Governments from Banning Ride-Sharing

Texas Policy Spotlight

According to Reuters, more than 40 states have considered ride sharing legislation that would offer clarity on their policy. However, no consistent and predictable statewide regulation of this industry exists in Texas. This has resulted in an inefficient and confusing patchwork of rules across local jurisdictions. These myriad regulations are often arbitrary and onerous, and can negatively impact innovation. Thankfully, the Texas legislature has stepped up this session and proposed three bills related to the regulation of ride-sharing companies: SB 176, SB 113 and HB 3931. We commend the authors for making an effort to prohibit local governments from banning innovative technology that enables ride-sharing in cities. SB 113 and HB 3931 would specifically limit all local governments’ ability to ban ride-sharing companies, while SB 176 is over-regulatory in nature, and in turn would stifle the evolution of this industry.

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HB 2622 Ignores Definitions & Procedures Already in Place for Online Service Providers

Texas Policy Spotlight

Texas House Bill 2622 attempts to replace “Internet service provider” with “online service provider” in Chapter 24 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP). It defines an online service provider as a “web browsing company, manufacturer of devices providing online application platforms, or company providing online social media platforms,” among others. These definitions are vague at best, and they differ greatly from definitions used in current legislation.

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Cybersecurity Bill Will Protect Sensitive Information & Mandate Cybersecurity Audits

Texas Policy Spotlight

We are thrilled to see a bill like H.B. 8 this legislative session, and with such a low bill number indicating a high commitment from leadership on this issue. H.B. 8 mandates a number of important cybersecurity measures to protect state agencies and personally identifiable information (PII). This kind of digital housekeeping is long overdue, and we hope to see it easily passed before the end of the session. In this spotlight, we’ll highlight some of the main action points of the bill and what we like about them.

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Texas Proposes 4 Cyberbullying Bills This Legislative Session

Texas Policy Spotlight

Texas legislators have proposed four bills related to cyberbullying this session. Bills contain slight variations in language, with two of the four containing language that establishes harmful cyberbullying as a criminal offense  a Class A misdemeanor to be exact. The bill is to be referred to as “David’s Law,” which is named after David Molak, a 16-year old boy from San Antonio who took his life last January after being bullied and threatened repeatedly by fellow students online.

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Data Foundry Launches Technology Policy Microsite

texas state capitol ceiling

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new microsite, Data Foundry’s Advocacy Hub. As a company, we’ve been involved in technology-related policy and legislation since our establishment. Because we started as one of the first 50 ISPs back in 1994, protecting the open Internet and online privacy is near and dear to us. Over the years, we’ve participated in conferences, panels and other events to show our support of an open Internet and online privacy. Our CEOs and executive team have received recognition and awards for their support. Our microsite is the ideal place to provide updates on our policy and advocacy efforts as well as encourage engagement on technology issues at the state level.

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Data Foundry Signs Coalition Letter in Support of the Email Privacy Act

Email Privacy Act 2017

Yesterday, Data Foundry signed a coalition letter addressed to the U.S. House of Representatives in support of the Email Privacy Act along with tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, IBM, Cisco Systems and other tech firms. Non-profit organizations also signed on, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU. The Email Privacy Act is a revision to ECPA, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. ECPA currently allows federal law enforcement agencies to access any electronic communications that are more than 180 days old without a warrant. This particular piece of legislation has not been updated since 1986 – eons in the world of technology — and it is in desperate need of reform.

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Data Privacy Day: 5 Things Your Business Can Do to Promote Data Privacy

data privacy day 2017 banner

Data Privacy Day is an international effort focused on promoting data privacy awareness that takes place on January 28 every year. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) leads promotional efforts for the U.S. This non-profit organization is dedicated to promoting a safer, more secure and more trusted Internet. In addition to educating consumers on how to protect their online privacy, the organization dedicates itself to showing companies how privacy is good for business. Here are 5 of their recommendations for promoting data privacy within your company:

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