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Joseph Lieberman on Technology

Democratic Jr Senator (CT, retiring 2012), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


$90M grant for Children and Media Research

One of the roles that government is uniquely capable of playing is providing parents with research on the pop culture industry. I am a strong advocate of federal investment in research regarding the impact on media content on children in particular. I stood with Sens. Brownback, Lieberman and Clinton to introduce a $90 million federal grant program to support research into the effects of viewing and using all types of media--including TV, computer games, and the Internet--on children's physical and psychological development, The Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act would establish research into the role of media on the development of children from infancy through adolescence.

There have been thousands of studies investigating the impact of media violence on kids, but little in the area of sexually explicit me

Source: It Takes A Family, by Sen. Rick Santorum, p. 341-342 , Apr 30, 2006

Sponsored V-chip; TV ratings; and FCC reviews

Lieberman was a lead sponsor of the V-chip legislation, which supplied parents with news tools to screen out violent and offensive programs, in the form of the V-chip blocking technology now installed in all new televisions and a rating system designed to work with it. He has also been a vocal advocate for higher television standards [including] “family hour” as a safe haven for young viewers, and asking the FCC to determine if broadcasters are meeting the ‘public interest’ standard prescribed by law.
Source: Senate web site, “Issues Focus: Media, Culture, & Values” , Aug 7, 2000

Overcome organizational barriers to e-Government

    Progress of electronic government at the federal level has been inconsistent; some agencies are well ahead of the game, but many are lagging. What are the key impediments to progress?
  1. Organizational Leadership: I support a Federal Chief Information Officer, or “IT Czar”.
  2. Integrated Service Delivery: “One-Stop Shopping” for delivering services to the customer, without regard to where the jurisdiction of one agency stops and another begins.
  3. Standards for Interoperability: we need to become more effective in adopting and implementing electronic compatibility.
  4. Interagency Funding Mechanisms: e-Government requires collaboration in funding-at the very least, collaboration in interagency pilot projects.
  5. A Sense of Urgency: Finally, a gulf in perception seems to exist between the e-Government “insiders” and the government decision-makers. The insiders [should] educate the policy-makers on the necessary sense of urgency regarding e-Government.
Source: Speech on “E-Gov 2000” in Washington DC , Jul 12, 2000

Zoning, ratings, & code of conduct to keep Internet safe

How [can we] make the Internet both open and safe for surfers of all ages? This is a question that [includes a] constitutional tension of freedom and community. Self-government demands a free exchange of ideas [but] we need a common set of standards to guide us in places where the state can’t and shouldn’t reach.

I would urge you to step back and take a fresh look at what is happening on-line. The balance of rights and responsibilities is essentially non-existent in the new. There are no recognizable boundaries, no common norms, no shared sense of accountability.

    Ratings and icons and blocking software, all of which are helpful tools, are not enough. Technology is not a substitute for responsibility. [My suggestions]:
  1. Adopt a common, self-enforcing code of conduct.
  2. Create a special domain to accommodate X-rated content and segregate it from kids, like a virtual red-light district.
  3. Establish an independent rating system that would warn parents about game content.
Source: Senate testimony, “Children’s Online Protection Act” , Jun 8, 2000

Common-sense rules for limiting e-mail spam

Spam is a tremendous nuisance. It is costly, destructive, and an invasion of our privacy. Congressional action is needed because state laws [against spam] can only reach violators located within state lines.

Our objective is not to strangle the Internet with government regulation or to ban spam outright. Rather, we simply set out to give individuals control of their own e-mail accounts and to address the cost-shifting problems wrought by the proliferation of spam. The CAN-SPAM Act would impose common-sense boundaries. Our bill calls for all spam messages to contain valid return addresses and requires all spam senders to honor “opt-out” requests from individuals who wish not to receive spam in the future. It prohibits header forgery and misleading routing information, so consumers can discern the origins of these E-mails. It authorizes the FTC to pursue violations of the law and empowers Internet Service Providers to post legally enforceable policies regulating spam.

Source: Senate statement, “Anti-Spamming Legislation” , May 11, 2000

Equip schools & police to reduce Internet risk to kids

Lieberman said. “In cyberspace, our children can easily come across predators, pornographers, and deviants that they would have the good sense to avoid in person. And while the Web offers access to a world of information, it also puts violent and sexually explicit material just a mouse click away.” The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force “acknowledges these dangers and helps equip our schools and police officers with the training to reduce the risks to our kids.”
Source: Press release, “Internet crimes” , Dec 16, 1999

Silver Sewer Award: Fox leads the race to the bottom

Starting a dozen years ago with the family raunch of “Married with Children,” which seems tasteless but tame today, and continuing with the soft-porn soap of “Melrose Place” and the lurid voyeurism of “When Animals Attack,” Fox Television Network has consistently set the pace for television’s race to the bottom, and in the process done more than any other programmer in television to foul the public airwaves and define down our cultural norms.

This week Fox builds on that ignoble tradition with the rollout of its new fall lineup. Viewers will see plenty of crass displays of nudity, much of it in the traditional family hour. Orgasmic moans, incestuous leering, urinating for revenge - nothing seems too cheap or degrading to be played for a laugh.

What does this mean for television and the other networks? Are we sitting back like couch potatoes and watching the systematic elimination of all the lines that separate the acceptable from the unacceptable in our culture?

Source: Press statement regarding Fox “Silver Sewer” , Sep 14, 1999

Voted YES on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.

Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: Veto override on Water Resources Development Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 1495 ; vote number 2007-406 on Nov 8, 2007

Voted YES on restoring $550M in funding for Amtrak for 2007.

An amendment to provide an additional $550,000,000 for Amtrak for fiscal year 2007. Voting YEA would increase Amtrak funding from $900 million to $1.45 billion. Voting NAY would keep Amtrak funding at $900 million.
Reference: Santorum amendment to Transportation funding bill; Bill S.Amdt.3015 to S.Con.Res.83 ; vote number 2006-052 on Mar 15, 2006

Voted YES on disallowing FCC approval of larger media conglomerates.

Vote to pass a joint resolution expressing congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission. The rule would therefore have no force or effect. The rule in question deals with broadcast media ownership and would allow media conglomerates to own more television stations and newspapers.
Reference: FCC Media Ownership bill; Bill S J Res 17/H.J.RES.72 ; vote number 2003-348 on Sep 16, 2003

Voted YES on Internet sales tax moratorium.

Vote against allowing states to require companies who do business in their state solely by phone, mail, or the Internet to collect state sales taxes. [Current law does not require companies to collect sales taxes where the customer is out of state]
Reference: Bill S.442 ; vote number 1998-296 on Oct 2, 1998

Voted YES on telecomm deregulation.

Deregulation of the telecommunications industry.
Status: Telecommunications Competition and Deregulation Act of 1995 Y)91; N)5; NV)3
Reference: Conference Report on S. 625, the; Bill S. 652 ; vote number 1996-8 on Feb 1, 1996

Chief information officer to digitize federal government.

Lieberman signed the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Performance-Based Government
The strong anti-government sentiments of the early 1990s have subsided, but most Americans still think government is too bureaucratic, too centralized, and too inefficient.

In Washington and around the country, a second round of “reinventing government” initiatives should be launched to transform public agencies into performance-based organizations focused on bottom-line results. Many public services can be delivered on a competitive basis among public and private entities with accountability for results. Public-private partnerships should become the rule, not the exception, in delivering services. Civic and voluntary groups, including faith-based organizations, should play a larger role in addressing America’s social problems.

When the federal government provides grants to states and localities to perform public services, it should give the broadest possible administrative flexibility while demanding and rewarding specific results. Government information and services at every level should be thoroughly “digitized,” enabling citizens to conduct business with public agencies online.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC8 on Aug 1, 2000

Promote internet via Congressional Internet Caucus.

Lieberman is a member of the Congressional Internet Caucus:

Founded in the spring of 1996, the Congressional Internet Caucus is a bipartisan group of over 150 members of the House and Senate working to educate their colleagues about the promise and potential of the Internet. The Caucus also encourages Members to utilize the Internet in communications with constituents and supports efforts to put more government documents online. The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee and the Internet Education Foundation host regular events and forums for policymakers, the press, and the public to discuss important Internet-related policy issues.

Source: Congressional Internet Caucus web site, NetCaucus.org 01-CIC1 on Jan 1, 2001

Fund nanotechnology research & development.

Lieberman co-sponsored the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act

    Requires the President to implement a National Nanotechnology Program to:
  1. establish the goals, priorities, and metrics for evaluation for Federal nanotechnology research, development, and other activities;
  2. invest in Federal research and development programs in nanotechnology and related sciences to achieve those goals; and
  3. provide for interagency coordination of Federal nanotechnology activities undertaken pursuant to the Program.
H.R.766 is the corresponding House bill. Became Public Law No: 108-153.
Source: Bill sponsored by 18 Senators and 27 Reps 03-S189 on Jan 16, 2003

Facilitate nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services.

Lieberman co-sponsored facilitating nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services

A bill to facilitate nationwide availability of 2-1-1 telephone service for information and referral on human services & volunteer services. Congress makes the following findings:

  1. The FCC has assigned 2-1-1 as the national telephone number for information and referral on human services.
  2. 2-1-1 facilitates critical connections between families seeking services, including community-based and faith-based organizations.
  3. There are approximately 1,500,000 nonprofit organizations in the US [which would be listed in the 2-1-1 service].
  4. Government funding supports well-intentioned programs that are not fully utilized because of a lack of access to such programs.
  5. A national cost-benefit analysis estimates a net value to society of a national 2-1-1 system approaching $130,000,000 in the first year alone.
  6. While 69% of the population has access to 2-1-1 telephone service from a land line in 41 States, inadequate funding prevents access to that telephone service throughout each of the States.
  7. 2-1-1 telephone service facilitates the availability of a single repository where comprehensive data on all community services is collected & maintained.

Introductory statement by Sponsor:

Sen. CLINTON: In the immediate aftermath of the devastation of September 11, most people did not know where to turn for information about their loved ones. Fortunately for those who knew about it, 2-1-1 was already operating in Connecticut, and it was critical in helping identify the whereabouts of victims, connecting frightened children with their parents, providing information on terrorist suspects, and linking ready volunteers with victims.

Every single American should have a number they can call to cut through the chaos of an emergency. That number is 2-1-1. It's time to make our citizens and our country safer by making this resource available nationwide.

Source: Calling for 2-1-1 Act (S.211 and H.R.211) 07-HR211 on Jan 9, 2007

Require websites to police for copyrighted materials.

Lieberman co-sponsored PIPA: PROTECT IP Act

Congressional Summary:Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or the PROTECT IP Act, or PIPA (in the House, Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA) :

OnTheIssues Notes: SOPA and PIPA, proponents claim, would better protect electronic copyright ("IP", or Intellectual Property). Opponents argue that SOPA and PIPA would censor the Internet. Internet users and entrepreneurs oppose the two bills; google.com and wikipedia.com held a "blackout" on Jan. 18, 2012 in protest. An alternative bill, the OPEN Act was proposed on Jan. 18 to protect intellectual property without censorship; internet businesses prefer the OPEN Act while the music and movie industries prefer SOPA and PIPA.

Source: HR3261/S968 11-S968 on May 12, 2011

Create online database of science & math scholarships.

Lieberman co-sponsored creating online database of science & math scholarships

Directs the Secretary of Education to establish and maintain, on the public website of the Department of Education, a database of information on public and private programs of financial assistance for the study of postsecondary and graduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

    Requires that such database:
  1. provide separate information for each field of study;
  2. be searchable by category and combinations of categories;
  3. indicate programs targeted toward specific demographic groups;
  4. provide searchers with program sponsor contact information and hyperlinks; and
  5. include a recommendation that students and families carefully review application requirements and a disclaimer that scholarships presented in the database are not provided or endorsed by the Department or the federal government.
Requires the Secretary and the entity contracted to furnish and regularly update information to consult with public and private sources of scholarships and make easily available a process for the sources to provide regular and updated information.
Source: National STEM Scholarship Database Act (S.2428/H.R.1051) 2007-S2428 on Dec 6, 2007

No performance royalties for radio music.

Lieberman signed Local Radio Freedom Act

Source: SCR.14&HCR.49 2009-SCR14 on Mar 30, 2009

Other candidates on Technology: Joseph Lieberman on other issues:
CT Gubernatorial:
Dan Malloy
CT Senatorial:
Richard Blumenthal

CT politicians

Retiring as of Jan. 2013:
AZ:Kyl(R)
CT:Lieberman(D)
HI:Akaka(D)
ND:Conrad(D)
NE:Nelson(D)
NM:Bingaman(D)
TX:Hutchison(R)
VA:Webb(D)
WI:Kohl(D)


Senate elections Nov. 2012:
AZ:Flake(R) vs.Hackbarth(R)
CA:Feinstein(D) vs.Emken(R) vs.Taitz(R)
CT:Bysiewicz(R) vs.Murphy(R) vs.Shays(R)
DE:Carper(D) vs.O`Donnell(R)
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Page last updated: Feb 23, 2012