Laura Ryan

National Journal Laura is a staff correspondent for National Journal covering technology. She is grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and attended Wellesley College, where she received a B.A. in American Studies.
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Meet FTC's Chief Geek

March 2, 2015 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Ashkan Soltani is used to being what he calls the "geek" in the room. After six years in Washington as a privacy and security researcher, he's accustomed to being the IT ambassador to the Land of Lawyers in the tech-policy world. Still, he says, he wouldn't mind a bit of...

What the GOP Takeover of the Senate Means for Tech

November 5, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The campaign is over, and now it's time to see how Republicans will actually govern with control of both chambers of Congress. Some elements of the party clearly still want to focus on battling the Obama administration at every turn. But if Republicans want to win a presidential election, they'll...

Tech Companies Spend Big on Midterm Elections

October 23, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Google's campaign spending has grown fortyfold in the past eight years. Google's political action committee, called NetPAC, hit a high-water mark this campaign cycle by giving nearly $1.6 million to date, according to campaign finance disclosures. That's up from $1 million spent on the 2012 cycle—a presidential-election year. And it's...

Fighting ISIS's Messaging Online Is Key to Victory

October 16, 2014 The front lines in the war against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are on the Internet, the leader of the international coalition against ISIS said Wednesday. Gen. John Allen, a retired four-star general and U.S. envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State, told reporters that "de-legitimizing ISIL and...

ISIS Is Better Than Al-Qaeda At Using the Internet

October 10, 2014 Al-Qaida has an Internet presence nearly two decades old, using various platforms and—more recently—social media to push its message. But it is ISIS, the relative newcomer, that has escalated its Internet efforts to the point that governments are beginning to see winning the Internet as central to the fight against...

New Encryption Measures from Google and Apple Could Endanger Children, Eric Holder Says

October 1, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is worried new data-encryption features on phones that claim to lock out law enforcement officials could place children's lives in danger. These kinds of measures could get in the way of a kidnapping or child-abuse investigation, according to Holder. "When a child is in danger,...

Report: The Federal Consumer Watchdog Has Data on Up to 600 Million Credit-Card Accounts

September 23, 2014 The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is collecting sensitive financial data on millions of Americans but lacks a plan to adequately protect it, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. In a report released Monday, the GAO found the consumer watchdog agency has access to credit-card information for...

FTC Investigates 'Discrimination by Algorithm'

September 16, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Federal Trade Commission has fired a warning shot against using big data to discriminate against low-income and minority groups. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said the consumer protection agency will crack down on businesses that use big data to unfairly target these groups. "Big data can have big consequences," Ramirez...

California Passes Law to Protect Yelpers’ Right to Post Bad Reviews

September 11, 2014 California has a new law to protect Californians' right to Yelp. Known as the "Yelp Bill," Assembly Bill 2365 makes it illegal for businesses to prohibit or fine customers from writing negative online reviews. Online reviews can make or break a business, and small businesses are especially vulnerable. Paranoia has...

Why One West Virginia Town Has Banned Cell Phones

September 2, 2014 Only four hours west of Washington, there is a town where cell phones and wireless Internet are outlawed. Commercial radios are banned, and microwaves aren't welcome either. Green Bank might sound like a Luddite's dreamscape, but the West Virginia hamlet's self-imposed blackout is being done all in the name of...

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