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Around the Web: Cybercriminal or Ethical Hacker?

By: Tom Gurr, Executive Director, PacTech

Working with both policy and technology can sometimes be a double-edged sword. In working to create policy that encourages innovation and job creation, it’s easy to become overzealous. When this happens, policy (and policymakers) can have the opposite effect of what they’ve intended–hampering the innovation and curbing the job creation that they’ve tried to support.

Perhaps the most important piece of this puzzle is the patience and willingness to listen with which lawmakers enter the process of policy creation. Taking the time to listen to each side of a debate, acquiring industry expertise and being clear and transparent about the intention of any policy effort can go a long way with those who risk being adversely effected.

Take for example Washington State Rep. Chad Magendanz. A longtime employee of Microsoft and a member of the House Committee on Technology and Economic Development, Rep. Magendanz is being careful that his proposed bill on cybercrime gives prosecutors more ability to attack this rising criminal tide, without hamstringing hackers building the state’s next great company. Read more about the effort on MyNothwest.com

“Cybercrime is getting more and complicated. It’s also getting more and more difficult to prosecute. That’s why a Washington state lawmaker is introducing a bill that he hopes will address the problem. But, there are some in the tech world worried it might do more harm than good. State Representative Chad Magendanz said he understands such concerns and that’s why he is treading carefully.

‘Sometimes the best intentions can backfire on the industry, and the last thing we want to do is stifle innovation,’ said Magendanz.”..Read More

PacTech applauds Sen. Wyden’s leadership on ITFA renewal

By: Tom Gurr, Executive Director, PacTech

I think we entered the Age of the Internet a long time ago.
We live in the age of the Internet. It almost goes without saying that Internet is central to our daily lives. Connectivity is a seemingly seamless part of our existence. Today it would be hard to imagine a world where the Internet isn’t at the center of everything from healthcare and education to the business world. The Internet is at once a lifesaving technology, a gateway to business opportunity and a social network.

As this essential tool continues to permeate the American lifestyle—in terms of both access and adoption—we should think back to the early days of widespread Internet access and consider, for a moment, the policies that helped us build the vibrant innovation economy that we reap the benefits of today.

Way back in 1998, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden was leading the way as an advocate for smart policies that sped Internet adoption. In writing and championing the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), Sen. Wyden ensured that state (or even local) governments couldn’t create a laundry list of taxes on Internet access. These taxes, because they apply to the use of an essential commodity, are often thought of as “regressive,” disproportionately impacting those who can least afford it.

The ITFA has now been extended five times, and over the years, PacTech has stood with Sen. Wyden in support of efforts to ensure we don’t add extra layers of taxation to Internet services. (In fact, we wrote a post on a similar topic, the Wireless Tax Fairness Act, nearly two years ago.) But after five battles to extend what is now an assumption in the digital economy, that access itself can’t be taxed by every entity under the sun, isn’t it …


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In the news: Computer and technology use in education buildings continues to increase
February 9th

By: Tom Gurr

At PacTech, we often share stories of how the widespread use of technology – driven by access to broadband – is changing our world. It’s obvious that our educational system is included in that trend, but what might not be obvious is that education is outpacing other industries in the adoption of digital tools and its use of computers.

EducationGraph

A recent study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that educational buildings hold nearly twice as many computers per square foot as typical commercial buildings. The study also found that the number of computers in educational buildings has increased by 71% between 1999 and 2012. To delve deeper into these insights and see how the proliferation of computers and connectivity are changing education as we know it, read the full study here.

The effects of broadband don’t end here—industries from healthcare to veterans services are changing as a result of expanded access to online resources and communication. You can follow PacTech on Twitter (@PacTech) and Facebook to see more examples and commentary on how access to broadband is changing our world for the better.…


Around the Web: Cybercriminal or Ethical Hacker?
January 20th

By: Tom Gurr, Executive Director, PacTech

Working with both policy and technology can sometimes be a double-edged sword. In working to create policy that encourages innovation and job creation, it’s easy to become overzealous. When this happens, policy (and policymakers) can have the opposite effect of what they’ve intended–hampering the innovation and curbing the job creation that they’ve tried to support.

Perhaps the most important piece of this puzzle is the patience and willingness to listen with which lawmakers enter the process of policy creation. Taking the time to listen to each side of a debate, acquiring industry expertise and being clear and transparent about the intention of any policy effort can go a long way with those who risk being adversely effected.

Take for example Washington State Rep. Chad Magendanz. A longtime employee of Microsoft and a member of the House Committee on Technology and Economic Development, Rep. Magendanz is being careful that his proposed bill on cybercrime gives prosecutors more ability to attack this rising criminal tide, without hamstringing hackers building the state’s next great company. Read more about the effort on MyNothwest.com

“Cybercrime is getting more and complicated. It’s also getting more and more difficult to prosecute. That’s why a Washington state lawmaker is introducing a bill that he hopes will address the problem. But, there are some in the tech world worried it might do more harm than good. State Representative Chad Magendanz said he understands such concerns and that’s why he is treading carefully.

‘Sometimes the best intentions can backfire on the industry, and the last thing we want to do is stifle innovation,’ said Magendanz.”..Read More


PacTech hosts Rep. Greg Walden
November 3rd

In October, PacTech was proud to convene an exciting roundtable discussion with U.S. Representative Greg Walden (OR-2). Since 1999, Rep. Walden has served on behalf of the largest district in Oregon, which covers many of the rural areas of the state.

For many, it may seem an odd choice to hold a tech-centric event outside of a major urban area, but those people have never been to Prineville, OR. The St. Charles Health Center in Prineville hosted our event, which focused on rural broadband issues. This new, state-of-the-art medical facility is a regional leader in telehealth technology, helping people in Oregon’s most remote areas access world-class specialists and care.

We started the event with a tour of the facility where we saw what broadband is delivering to rural America including real time remote patient monitoring and mobile examines. According to the FCC, 53% of rural Americans are underserved when it comes to broadband access. However, this community of 9,200 is realizing some real world benefits high-speed connectivity, including telehealth at this state of the art facility.

After seeing first-hand the incredible technology and marveling at the possibilities that telehealth can bring, we sat down with a group of local civic and tech leaders to discuss the state of connectivity in rural Oregon. Almost immediately, the topic of our discussion turned to the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality ruling and its detrimental effect on the region. When asked to summarize the effect that this ruling has had on his district, Rep. Walden’s answer was simple: “It’s not good.” According to Rep. Walden, capital expenditures—essentially, the amount of money that private companies invest in expanding and improving telecommunications infrastructure—have sharply declined in the months since the …


A Day in the Life: PacTech and Mobile Future team up to criss-cross the Beaver State
October 27th

While our work at PacTech is always engaging, last month brought a particularly action-packed day. When we heard that Jonathan Spalter, Chair of Mobile Future, was planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, we jumped at the chance to bring mobile technology to the forefront of our regional tech discussions.

We started the day in Salem, meeting with State Representative Jessica Vega-Pederson. Rep. Vega-Pederson has been a consistent advocate for the tech industry across the state, which is why she was recently selected to chair the House’s Tech Caucus. After spending time discussing the state of our state’s networks with Vega-Pederson, it was on to our next stop.

Mid-morning brought us to the office of David Soloos, Oregon’s Strategic Technology Officer, where the state’s Telecom Strategist for Business Development, Chris Tamarin, joined us. While it’s always fun to get together with others that understand the ins-and-outs of the technology that powers innovation in Oregon, this discussion was particularly informative. We spent the hour delving into the technical details of broadband, particularly rural broadband and what that means for communities throughout Oregon. We look forward to working closely with Oregon leaders to tell the story of broadband and to find ways to deliver more of it.

By this time, we were more than ready for lunch! We joined the remaining members of the Tech Caucus and staff, as well as members of U.S. Sen Ron Wyden’s staff and representatives of the Technology Association of Oregon for our “Technology and Innovation Caucus Luncheon.” Rep. Vega-Pederson and Tech Caucus Co-Chair Rep. John Davis kicked off our luncheon and then Mr. Spalter made a splash among the attendees, sharing his insights on the recent Title II decision and how it could be expected to negatively impact private investment in our state’s infrastructure.

After lunch, …


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