Zuckerberg calls for immigration reform: Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that he is launching a group, Fwd.us, to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.
The group, which has backing from tech heavyweights such as John Doerr and Ron Conway, is calling for Congress to pass reforms that would increase the number of visas for highly-skilled workers issued each year, among other changes to the immigration system.
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Zuckerberg said that keeping top science, technology, engineering and mathematics students in the country is crucial to the future of the “knowledge economy.”
CISPA: The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to send the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) to the House floor as soon as next week.
The bill, which has drawn criticism from privacy advocates, is meant to make it easier for private companies to share cyberthreat information with the public sector. But privacy advocates worry that the bill allows for companies to share consumers’ sensitive personal data with the government without consumer consent.
ACLU criticizes IRS policy on e-mail: The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday criticized the Internal Revenue Service, raising concern that documents it obtained from the agency through a Freedom of Information Act request indicates the IRS can read Americans’ e-mails without a warrant.
In a blog post, ACLU attorney Nathan Freed Wessler said that these actions are in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure, and called for the agency to change its policies to require warrants when agents seek the contents of e-mails.
Online sales tax: At a news conference Thursday, Reps. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said that a recent Senate vote that expressed support for having states collect sales taxes from Internet sales was a vote of confidence for their bill, the Marketplace Fairness Act. The non-binding Senate vote, made last month, had the support of 75 senators.
As the Hill reported, the representatives said that it’s time for the House to act on the issue. The Marketplace Fairness Act would allow states to collect tax on Internet purchases, though it provides an exemption for small businesses that make less than $1 million annually from out-of-state sales.
The bill has the support of several major companies, including Amazon. But it has also drawn criticism from eBay — which says that the $1 million standard for exemption is not high enough.