• U.S. cybersecurity law to give feds unprecedented Internet control

    Lawmakers draft legislation giving the U.S. government unprecedented authority over the U.S. critical infrastructure, including the power to shut down or limit traffic on private networks during emergencies; the legislation is intended to protect a broad range of the U.S. infrastructure — including networks for the country’s banking industry, utilities, transportation, and telecommunications — from cyber attacks

  • Chemical company wants to limit disclosure on plant explosion

    An explosion in a chemical plant in West Virginia plant killed two employees and raised fears about the safety of chemical plants located near residential areas; the plant owner, citing a terrorism-related federal law, is trying to limit what the federal chemical safety agency can disclose to the public

  • GAO: TSA lax on U.S. security of commercial trucking, buses

    Billions of dollars have been invested in improving air travel security; critics charge that ground transportation security has been treated as an after thought; there are more than a million U.S. companies which help transport 65 percent of the daily freight across the United States; busing companies carry 775 million passengers a year, more than the airline industry; GAO says both trucks and buses operate virtually free of security restrictions

  • Administration urged to end exclusion of foreign scholars

    A coalition of academic groups says the federal government’s practice of denying visas to foreign scholars critical of U.S. foreign policy harms the national interest

  • Some in U.K. government wanted compulsory DNA cards

    In 2003 and 2004, some civil servants considered — and wrote detailed reports about — including DNA or iris biometrics as well as digital photographs in the ID card scheme and the police wanted carrying the cards to be compulsory

  • GAO: TSA may not meet deadline for cargo checks

    Passenger planes carry about 7.6 billion pounds of cargo a year; all suitcases have been screened since 2002, but cargo has been subject to much looser inspection requirements, raising concerns that terrorists could slip a bomb into a package; TSA was given an August 2010 deadline or guarantee that all cargo carried on passenger planes is being screened

  • European Commission calls for single EU patent

    EC says that the absence of a single Europe-wide patent law is hindering the growth of technology companies in the European Union

  • Obama to bolster food safety

    Each year, about 76 million people in the United States are sickened by contaminated food, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and about 5,000 die; thirty-five years ago, the FDA. did annual inspections of about half of the nation’s food-processing facilities; last year, the agency inspected just 7,000 of the nearly 150,000 domestic food facilities; its oversight of foreign plants was even spottier

  • Inventors: Reforming U.S. patent bill will have a chilling effect on innovation

    There are those who argue that the current U.S. patent and copyright laws have a chilling effect on innovation and creativity; then there are those who argue that effort to reform these laws and limit damages U.S. inventors can claim from infringing companies will stifle innovation and creativity; the debate continues

  • Project allowing Mexican long-haul trucks into U.S. ends

    Two years ago the Department of Transportation launched a pilot project allowing Mexican long-haul trucks to carry their cargo from the Mexican origin all the way to the U.S. destination, without transferring the cargo to an American carrier; Congress removed funding for the project from the omnibus spending bill

  • EC court: Airlines must publicize banned-items list

    The EC Court of Justice ruled that airlines cannot remove items from passengers’ baggage unless these items have been included in a publicly available banned-items list; rule comes as a result of a passenger suing an Austrian airline for removing his tennis rackets from his baggage

  • Regulate armed robots before it's too late

    Unmanned machines now carry out more and more military and police missions; soon these robots will be allowed to make autonomous life-and-death decisions: when to shoot — and at whom; a philosopher argues that we should be more mindful of the ethical implications of this trend

  • Economists: Markets outperform patents in promoting intellectual discovery

    Researchers say that the problem with patents is that they give the prize to the winner only; whoever comes in second or third walks away empty-handed; allowing people to benefit even if they only tackle a part of a problem might well lead to more collaboration, and to the faster development of an ultimate solution to the whole problem

  • Economists: copyright and patent laws killing innovation, hurting economy

    Two Washington University researchers argue that innovation is key to reviving the economy; trouble is, the current patent/copyright system discourages and prevents inventions from entering the marketplace

  • Food safety is in farm worker's hands -- literally

    Food safety experts says that the health and hygienic habits of migrant farms workers are an often-overlooked source of food borne illness