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Alex Brown

Alex Brown Alex Brown is a Technology reporter for National Journal.
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Rep. Eshoo Calls for ‘Re-brand’ of Net Neutrality

August 21, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Rep. Anna Eshoo has a plan to save net neutrality: Call it something else. Americans, says the California Democrat, know what they want on the Internet, but the confusing terminology of the debate has left them confused about which plan matches their ideals. "The American people are left with a ...

Uber Snags Former Obama Campaign Guru

August 19, 2014 Former Obama administration adviser David Plouffe, who headed the president's 2008 campaign, is joining Uber to lead the company's policy and political efforts. Plouffe, who left the White House in early 2013, said in a Tuesday company announcementthat he "could not be more excited to join such a vibrant company ...

DOT Plan to Make Skies No-Call Zone Might Cost Fliers a Pretty Penny

August 7, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Passengers have publicly pined for a ban on in-flight cell-phone calls, and they may soon get their wish: The Transportation Department announced last week it plans to make the skies a no-call zone. But the airline industry is pushing back, with carriers saying they deserve the right to set their ...

Ready for Hologram: Could Virtual Campaigners Shake Up Elections?

August 1, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Will voters turn out to watch a hologram deliver a stump speech? Well, of course—who would turn down the chance to see something out of Star Trek? But once the initial novelty wears off, perhaps especially after the novelty wears off, some think the technology could become an essential part ...

'Let Me Google That for You'—Now a Congressional Bill

July 24, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow A little-known branch of the Commerce Department faces elimination, thanks to advances in technology and a snarkily named bill from Sens. Tom Coburn and Claire McCaskill. The National Technical Information Service compiles federal reports, serving as a clearinghouse for the government's scientific, technical, and business documents. The NTIS then sells ...

One Congressman’s Crusade to Save the World From Killer Robots

July 18, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow If a robot soldier commits a war crime, who is held accountable? You can't punish a collection of parts and coding algorithms. But can you blame a human commander, who gave a legal order only to see the robot carry it out incorrectly? And what about the defense manufacturers, which ...

Here's How NASA Thinks We'll Find Aliens

July 16, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow When earthlings finally discover their alien neighbors, it probably won't be aboard a warp-speed spaceship or via intergalactic Morse code. The more likely—and decidedly less sexy—scenario, scientists said at a Monday NASA panel, is a giant space-based telescope finding a planet with gases in the atmosphere that indicate life. "We ...

Amazon Wants Early Permission to Launch its Delivery Drones

July 11, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Amazon says its much-hyped delivery drones are ready to hit the skies, and the company's asking the FAA for permission to begin testing outdoors with flights near Seattle. But it's still too soon to expect the flying robots to replace delivery trucks for a while. At present, all commercial drone ...

NASA Astronauts Lose World Cup Bet–and Their Hair

June 27, 2014 A pair of NASA astronauts on board the International Space Station parted with their hair Thursday after coming up on the losing end of a World Cup bet. Americans Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman, confident after a strong early "Group of Death" showing from their team, agreed to get their ...

Safer Roads or Stronger Wi-Fi?

June 20, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Talking cars will one day be mandatory, but in the meantime, some think they're holding back the airwaves for much-needed Wi-Fi. As Internet access grows, more and more frequency is needed to support Wi-Fi devices. Some of that frequency—the 5.9 GHz band—has been set aside for talking cars. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, ...