United States Congress Stories September 11, 2015

Siri causes laughter when it interrupts White House press briefing with the perfect commentary [Video]

We’ve all accidentally activated Siri at one time or other, but one journalist managed to do so at a particularly embarrassing time: while a question was being asked during a White House press briefing.

Siri did, though, manage a rather apt response to the question, which was about President Obama’s failure to persuade Republicans in Congress to sign an agreement about Iran.

I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you want me to change.

Via Business Insider

United States Congress Stories March 26, 2015

Apple is one of ten tech giants to once again call on the US Government not to reauthorize the Patriot Act in its current form. The Act expires on 1st June unless it is renewed by Congress. Apple was joined by AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

In an open letter to President Obama, NSA Director Admiral Rogers and other prominent government figures, the companies urge Congress to end the bulk collection of communications metadata–the logs that determine how and when ordinary citizens contact each other.

The letter says that mass surveillance must end, and that a revised bill must contain mechanisms to ensure that future government surveillance is both transparent and accountable …  expand full story

United States Congress Stories January 21, 2015

State of the Union press gallery “looks like a damn Apple ad,” observes political reporter

We’re used to seeing row upon row of Macbooks at tech press events, but the popularity of Apple’s laptop seems equally strong among mainstream journalists. The Huffington Post’s senior congressional reporter Michael McAuliff tweeted that the press gallery at last night’s State of the Union address “looks like a damn Apple ad.”

By far the majority of the laptops visible in the photo of the press gallery above the House floor have the familiar glowing Apple logo.

[tweet https://twitter.com/mmcauliff/status/557715212858839040]

The White House also embraced technology by posting the full text of the speech as a blog post on Medium before the President got up to speak. As last year, though, there were few references to technology in the address, the main one urging Congress “to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information.”

Microsoft also had to look out at a sea of glowing Apple logos when launching Windows 10 …

[tweet https://twitter.com/AustenAllred/status/558029756277743616/]

United States Congress Stories January 29, 2014

Blink and you missed the tech stuff in the State of the Union address

Technology got only the briefest and vaguest of mentions in last night’s State of the Union address, with little in the way of new commitments.

President Obama promised six more “hubs for hi-tech manufacturing,” adding to the two hardly anyone had heard of in Raleigh and Youngstown that “connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies.” The government apparently kicked in $100M in funding for research into 3D printing and energy-efficient chips. Nothing was said about where the new hubs would be or what they would do.

Aside from that, there was a pledge to connect 99 percent of schools to high-speed broadband over the next four years, which doesn’t seem an overly ambitious deadline for something so basic; generalised promises to reform the NSA; and a plea for Congress to reverse cuts to government research funding.

A one-line mention of possible patent reform, with no firm pledge. Nothing on net neutrality. ISP or carrier monopolies and collusion. Nothing on tightening rules on data security in the wake of large-scale credit card compromises. Not much on immigration reform, to help tech companies hire the people they need. And no specific pledges on limiting the powers of the NSA.

Is is just me, or is it odd to spend so much time talking about the economy and job-creation, but so little on steps to help the industry that is expected to drive much of that growth?

Apple did get a brief name-check, as one of the companies supporting the high-speed broadband initiative.

Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.

In a statement to The Loop, Apple said that it was contributing hardware, software and expertise to the project.

We are proud to join President Obama in this historic initiative to transform America’s schools. Apple has a long history in education, and we have pledged to contribute MacBooks, iPads, software and our expertise to support the ConnectED project. We look forward to announcing more details with the White House soon.

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