Digital Policy Roundup: Judiciary Presses Forward with SOPA; White House Unveils IT Reforms

December continues to be anything but a slow month in Washington. Yesterday, House Judiciary Cmte. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) confirmed his plans to markup the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA, H.R. 3261). In addition to scheduling the markup, Smith released a revised version of the bill that reflects weeks of working closely with stakeholders and other members “to strengthen the bill and address legitimate concerns from groups who are interested in working with Congress to combat foreign rogue websites.” Changes to the revised bill as highlighted by Committee staff include: elimination of the redirection clause for infringing websites, orders for an interagency report on the domain name system, addition of a new clause to relieve Web firms of monitoring sites, and clarification of the definitions re: which sites and companies are covered.

Last week, Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel made several important announcements regarding ongoing efforts to reform federal IT and embrace cloud computing. In what he characterized as a “year of change in Federal IT,” VanRoekel declared that “cloud computing has become an integral part of the government’s IT DNA,” and made the following announcements:

1. Released a memo to formally establish FedRAMP (the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program), a long-anticipated program intended to reduce the duplicative efforts, inconsistencies and cost inefficiencies when assessing and authorizing cloud systems.
2. Released the Shared Strategy Memo to provide the roadmap for agencies to increase use of shared solutions through leveraging tools to do more with less, in accordance with the cloud-first policy and cloud migrations under the IT Reform plan.
3. Released the TechStat Report highlighting tools and practices for agencies to turn around or terminate failing projects at the agency-level.

And tomorrow, the House Energy and Commerce Sbcmte. on Communications and Technology has scheduled a hearing to air concerns by the growing list of U.S. lawmakers regarding the pending roll-out of ICANN’s Top-Level Domain Name Program. This hearing follows a similar one by the Senate Commerce Committee last week where Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and other Cmte. members warned ICANN officials to proceed with caution and head their voices of concern.


David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy.

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