Surveillance-limiting USA Freedom Act fails to clear Senate

The flawed bill fell two votes short of what was needed, creating an odd situation where the bulk collection of communications records and other metadata can continue for now, but some of the underpinning legislation becomes likely to expire in mid-2015.

Congress answers White House cell phone call

There are many in Washington itching for a shot at the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions generally who may try to seize on the bi-partisan support for cell phone unlocking as a vehicle to re-open the law.

5 things I learned at AngelHack

If you’ve never been to a hackathon, give it a shot even if you can’t stick it out for the full ride. AngelHack Boston entrants started coding at noon on Saturday and finished 30 hours later. I was there for 10. Here’s what I learned.

Today in Connected Consumer

Anti-piracy legislation has traditionally been one of the few areas of genuinely bi-partisan action on Capitol Hill. Insofar as the issue was controversial, the conflicts were either generational (see: “series of tubes”) or regional (Northern vs. Southern California). SOPA, after all, was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a deeply conservative Republican from a very red district. PIPA, on the other hand, was drafted by Sen. Patrick Leahy, the liberal senator from Vermont and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the wake of The Great Blackout, however, there are signs of increasingly partisanship on the issue. During the Republican primary debate last night, the candidates were asked (via Twitter) about SOPA and three of the four denounced it in unusually partisan terms. Newt Gingrich blamed it on “Hollywood liberals” (no doubt news to Lamar Smith), Ron Paul called it big government and Mitt Romney said he opposed it because “I’m standing for freedom,” whatever that meant. Only Rick Santorum expressed support for “the goals” of SOPA and PIPA, if not for the bills themselves. Meanwhile, as the Wall Street Journal points out this morning, most of the remaining supporters of SOPA are now Democrats.

SOPA and PIPA for newbies

If you’re just hearing about SOPA and PIPA, the complexity of these controversial bills can seem daunting. Here’s your quick guide to the proposed pieces of legislation and a one-stop shop of resources that can help you learn much, much more.