OMNIBUS INCLUDES CYBER BILL: Privacy advocates are expressing dismay after a major piece of cybersecurity legislation was incorporated into the omnibus spending bill. According to the Washington Examiner:
“Now is when we’ll find out whether President Obama really cares about the Internet and freedom of speech, or whether he’s happy to roll over and allow technologically illiterate members of Congress break the Internet in the name of cybersecurity,” Evan Greer, campaign director of the “Fight for the Future” coalition, said in a statement. The 19-member coalition, which is comprised of companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft, also launched a petition calling on President Obama to veto the legislation if it makes it to his desk.
SEATTLE MAKES HISTORY: The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Monday to allow drivers for ride-hailing apps to form unions. The New York Times reports:
Council members voted 9-0 in favor of the ordinance, the first legislation of its kind in the country. The decision was greeted with cheers in a City Council chamber packed with supporters holding placards that read ‘Driver Unity.’ The measure is likely to be challenged in court. The vote is a victory for the App-Based Drivers Association, or ABDA, of Seattle, an organization of on-demand contract workers that lobbied with the local Teamsters union for the legislation. It is a fight that other drivers around the country have watched closely; union organizers in California have said that the outcome of the Seattle vote could influence actions taken in their own cities.
HERE COMES THE DRONE DATABASE: Members of the public will be able to search through a new registration database of recreational drones. The Hill reports:
An industry task force had previously called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to keep the database sealed off from the public by exempting it from the Freedom of Information Act. Similarly, the Electronic Privacy Information Center had recommended that a commercial drone database be public but that the recreational database only be accessible in limited cases … The publicly accessible database was announced alongside the FAA’s broader drone registration rules, which require registration for all drones of 55 pounds or less. There will be a $5 registration fee, but that will be waived until Jan. 20.