Posts tagged President

President Barack Obama Writes His First Line Of Code

President Barack Obama is being declared the first ever “Coder-in-Chief” on Monday after writing his first line of computer code. 

Using Code.org‘s Hour Of Code program and alongside 20 middle school students from Newark’s South Seventeenth Street School, the President successfully completed one line of JavaScript. This event kicks off Computer Science Education Week 2014. 

The Hour Of Code program gives students the ability to create their own games and apps, as well as use computer code to get familiar animated characters through levels of a computer game. 

See also: I Did #Hourofcode; Here’s What I Learned

Code.org has big plans in the works for the next few years, including a commitment to bring computer science to 25,000 new classrooms by September 2016. 

The organization also says it’s invested in diversity; promising to teach one million girls and one million African American and Hispanic students a full introductory course in computer science. 

View full post on ReadWrite

President Obama Supports Net Neutrality, For All The Good It Will Do

President Obama from Everett Collection / Shutterstock

The Internet exploded in empty rhetoric Monday over Barack Obama’s Congress-short, six years late endorsement of “net neutrality,” an issue that will likely continue to go nowhere fast despite the president’s full-throated tone.

In a statement posted on the official White House website Monday, just two years before he leaves office, Obama said:

I believe the [Federal Communications Commission] should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online.

Obama urged the FCC to reclassify broadband service as a public utility, making it legally possible for the commission to enforce the basic tenets of net neutrality. To date, the FCC’s attempts to enforce net-neutrality regulation based on other legal authority have faced a skeptical reception in the courts.

The basic idea would be to prevent cable and telecom Internet providers from blocking access to any website or service, throttling delivery speed or charging websites or services for faster delivery speed. The president’s scheme would also require those giants to be transparent with customers about how they’re handling traffic. 

Intentions, Meet Politics

Obama’s statement, coming less than a week after voters handed unified control of Congress to the Republicans, produced a depressingly predictable political reaction. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), for instance, called net neutrality “Obamacare for the Internet,” to much Internet hilarity:

Here, of course, “Obamacare” stands as shorthand for “things Republicans don’t like.” In fact, ISP regulation would ideally prevent throttling Internet speed, which the delivery of some websites and services really really slooooooowwwww. You know, like the government.

Neither the president nor Congress have direct oversight over the FCC, but presidential signaling to independent agencies can embolden appointees who are already leaning in that direction. Meanwhile, the Republican Congress may not be about to do much against Obama’s veto, but things could be different under the next president come 2017.

For now, though, the FCC might already be leaning Obama’s way.

According to an Oct. 30 Wall Street Journal story, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is considering a “hybrid” plan under which ISP service delivered to consumers would remain an information service, which, under the Title II of the Communications Act, gives the FCC very little power. On the other end, the services ISPs provide to content providers, such as websites and services, would be considered a utility, such as water or electricity, and under FCC regulation.  

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, cautiously optimistic on Monday following the president’s endorsement, reminds us that such a “hybrid proposal” is likely not legally sustainable. Consider that anyone  posts on Facebook is technically a content provider, and you get an idea of how complicated the legalities can get. 

Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Photo of President Obama courtesy of Shutterstock

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President Obama To Kick Off Drone Privacy Guidelines

The Federal Aviation Administration no longer be able to stall on privacy guidelines for private drone operation in the United States.

President Barack Obama is set to issue an executive order to create privacy guidelines for private drones operating in U.S. airspace, according to Politico. If executed, this order would put the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an arm of the Commerce Department, in charge of developing these guidelines.

Until now, privacy guidelines for drones were considered to be under the domain of the FAA, which is currently embroiled in the lengthy process of crafting regulations for operating commercial drones in U.S. airspace. However, the FAA has yet to address photos and other personal information potentially collected by private drones, a move that’s been criticized by both lawmakers and consumer groups.

See also: Why Commercial Drones Are Stuck In Regulatory Limbo

Brendan Schulman, a lawyer who specializes in litigation involving unmanned aircraft systems, told ReadWrite the measure lines up with the FAA’s earlier testimony.

“The FAA has never had a mandate concerning privacy, and in Congressional hearings has indicated that it would look to other agencies to develop any necessary privacy policies for commercial drones,” he said.

“There is no obvious agency to take this on, so it seems the President made a decision to specifically designate NTIA as the lead agency to study the issue. My understanding is that the result will be privacy best practices, not necessarily regulations.”

Congress has set a 2015 deadline for the FAA to develop its regulations. Internationally, drones are used for delivery purposes, crop surveying and maintenance, search and rescue, and more.

White House officials have not made it clear when the President will be issuing his order.

View full post on ReadWrite

PayPal President David Marcus Is Taking His Talents To Facebook

David Marcus is getting out of the payments business. PayPal’s president is leaving his post at the Web’s largest payments processor to join Facebook as its vice president of messaging products.

Marcus has been at PayPal since 2011. He was the founder and CEO of Zong, a mobile payments provider for gaming and social networking companies, before it was acquired by PayPal in July 2011. Marcus also founded Echovox and GTN Telecom, both of which were acquired.

After Zong bought PayPal, Marcus became VP and general manager of mobile at PayPal before being promoted to president of the eBay-owned payments platform in April 2012. 

At Facebook, Marcus will take charge of Facebook Messenger. The social giant recently rolled out Messenger into its own stand-alone app for smartphones and tablets outside of the standard Facebook app. 

Facebook said in a statement:

Every day around 12 billion messages are sent on Facebook, and in April we announced that Messenger, our standalone messaging app, is now used by more than 200 million people every month. We’re excited by the potential to continue developing great new messaging experiences that better serve the Facebook community and reach even more people, and David will be leading these efforts.

Marcus will definitely fit in with the ethos at Facebook. Marcus is a believer in social media and of company executives engaging with customers via social channels. In an onstage interview at a ReadWrite Mix event earlier this year, Marcus told ReadWrite Editor-in-Chief Owen Thomas his thoughts on being accessible to customers on social media.

“If you lead a company, you’re the master of your calendar,” Marcus said. “You need to know what’s important and what’s not. For me, my customers are my number one priority and that’s it. If someone has an issue, no matter who you are or how big or small you are, it’s our mission to solve it for them. And I’m fanatical about this.”

View full post on ReadWrite

Quora Kicks Off Verified Profiles With Spotlight On President Barack Obama

Quora announced new Verified Profiles today, now adding a checkmark to profile pictures of public figures and writers deemed worthy by the site. According to Quora, it doesn’t accept verification requests, but instead will determine who gets a verified profile based on whether a…



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