Related link: http://www.politechbot.com
One very good test of an information resource is whether it tells you things you find frightening. The CBDTPA seems to be the current bogeyman for the technology community (and rightfully so), but it’s far from the first and won’t be the last. At this point in the 21st century, there are very few people in the technology industry who haven’t been living under a rock that would be willing to argue that it’s not vitally important for technologists to keep an eye on public policy. And frankly, if you’ve been living under a rock you’re probably not in the technology business. The gulf between Silicon Valley and Washington looks a lot smaller now than it did a few years ago, and it behooves everyone to try and stay on top of it.
The general media doesn’t do a very good job of covering important technology/politics issues while they’re still relevant. Instead, you have to look a little harder and find resources that are a little more raw. Sources like Declan McCullagh’s Politech mailing list are extremely valuable. McCullagh, a journalist and occasional programmer, has covered reactions to new technology in Washington and elsewhere for years, and the mailing list he founded is a clearing house for incident reports and commentary on legislation, lawsuits and politicians. All of the postings to the list itself filter through the moderator, which keeps the traffic level down and allows the casual reader to keep up.
And, yes, I occasionally find it frightening.
Where should we draw the line between thinking about technology and thinking about politics?