The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Technology

OMB Tackles Some Low-Hanging Fruit

On January 20, 2016, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) weighed in on a request for comments from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the requirements that should be included in its guidance to federal departments and agencies for improving the management and purchasing of software assets. 

Digital Creativity on World IP Day

As the theme for World IP Day 2016 is “Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined,” it is a good time to remind everyone who loves music, particularly those who access songs online, that the royalty structure in the United States is out of balance with today’s distribution methods.

The FCC Should Keep Its Hands Out of Our Wallets

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seems to be taking a fast and furious ride through America’s pockets lately.  The FCC, under the helm of Chairman Tom Wheeler, announced plans to expand the Lifeline program to give away broadband Internet subsidies to low-income individuals.  What this means for the average consumer is an increase in their telephone bills, by requiring the payment of higher contributions to the Universal Service Fund (USF).

Broadband Fiction versus Fact

Every year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is required to report to Congress the progress being made in deploying advanced communications services in the U.S. On January 29, 2016, the FCC released its latest review of broadband deployment in the U.S.

Broadband as a Moving Target

On January 29, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) redefined what constitutes minimum standards for broadband access, raising the bar from the original standard of 4 Megabytes per second (Mbps) for download speeds, and 1 Mbps for upload speeds, to 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload speeds.

Gadgets, Gizmos, Spectrum and IP

On January 6, the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off in Las Vegas, Nevada. This annual event showcases a multitude of devices and inventions, demonstrating the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of inventors across a wide range of fields.

Running Down the Clock on Internet Taxes

Nothing like waiting until the last minute to do something important. That is exactly what is happening on the Hill this week. The Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) is set once again to expire at midnight on December 11, 2015.

Clarity Needed in Taxation of Digital Goods

With technology changing the way consumers listen and view music and videos, state and local governments are now looking toward taxation of digital goods and services to increase their tax revenues. Currently, 17 states require by statute that taxes be paid on digital goods and services, and another eight states plus the District of Columbia draw this authority from their departments of revenue regulations or case law.

Modernizing the Copyright Office

The digital economy is continuing to grow, and copyright works, including books, movies, music and other creative works, play a large role in that growth. According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance, copyright contributes more than $1 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product, and copyright industries employ nearly 5.5 million workers.

The Need for More Spectrum Auctions

A May 11, 2015 report from the Brattle Group estimates the value of the 645.5 MHz of licensed spectrum currently in use at almost $500 billion. Beyond the monetary value of this spectrum are the services provided to consumers using licensed spectrum through their mobile devices. According to the report, economists have estimated that the total social benefits achieved from using licensed spectrum are at least 10 to 20 times the direct economic value of the spectrum itself.

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