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Commentary: The Diminishing Returns of Big-Data Campaigning

May 8, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow What if we were all wrong about the Obama campaign’s vaunted technological advantage? That’s what two Harvard researchers are suggesting. In a new head-to-head comparison of voter turnout in battleground states, what many believe gave President Obama an edge—his data-driven efforts at getting out the vote—might not have mattered much...

Meet Nicole Wong, Obama's New Internet Privacy Czar

May 8, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow President Obama has tapped a former Googler nicknamed "the Decider" to handle the administration's approach to Internet privacy. Nicole Wong, who's spent the last six months as Twitter's legal director, will report to White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, according to CNET. While she won't be the nation's chief...

If the Internet Sales Tax Fails, Expect Higher Gas Prices

May 7, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Legislation allowing states to collect sales taxes on purchases made over the Internet—approved by the Senate in a 69-27 vote Monday evening—faces an uncertain future in the House. What would happen if the push for Internet sales taxes falls apart? In at least a couple of states—Maryland and Virginia—it could...

Obama's FCC Pick Has Some Surprising Allies

May 2, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow It's official: Obama has just nominated Tom Wheeler to be America's next top telecom regulator. Wheeler, a former wireless and cable lobbyist, might on paper be seen as a boon to industry and a blow to public-interest groups. The fear among critics is that Wheeler's ties to big business could...

Six Revealing Quotes From Obama's New FCC Nominee, Tom Wheeler

April 30, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow President Obama is said to be preparing to nominate Tom Wheeler to chair the Federal Communications Commission. According to The Wall Street Journal's Danny Yadron, the nod could come by as early as tomorrow afternoon. Wheeler's a noted venture capitalist and a top former lobbyist for both the wireless industry...

Somebody Is Fixing Twitter's Misinformation Problem

April 30, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Even worse than the pornbots and trolls, one of Twitter's enduring drawbacks is that there's no reliable way to issue corrections with the service. The flaw drew a truckload of attention in the wake of the Boston bombings as self-appointed detectives -- fueled by Reddit -- made all kinds of...

What Gifts Do Foreign Leaders Give The United States?

April 26, 2013 Visiting a friend? It's only polite to bring a little something with you. Heads of state aren't exempt from this unspoken rule, except that every present the White House accepts from other foreign dignitaries must be logged, tagged, and stored in official archives. (For the unfamiliar, there's an excellent "West...

What an Internet Sales Tax Could Mean for Your Bitcoin Stash

April 26, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow If it passes the Senate in the next couple of days, as it’s expected to, a bill that would let states tax your online transactions will be one step closer to becoming law. The proposal’s been subject to an unusual battle that’s united liberals and conservatives while dividing big Internet...

Why NASA Is Firing Cell Phones Into Space

April 24, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Today, in NASA Is the Best: The space agency this week took a handful of cheap but powerful smartphones, slapped them to a gigantic rocket and blasted them into low-earth orbit to see how they'd fare. The project, called PhoneSat, is one of those wacky experiments that seems at first...

How CISPA Opponents Were Outspent by Industry Lobbyists, 38 to 1

April 22, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Last week, the House approved CISPA, the House cybersecurity bill that’s long rankled privacy advocates -- not to mention the White House, which issued a presidential veto threat in response to the action. The Obama administration’s warning is a sign that CISPA may already be dead. But for now, at...

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