An Open Internet vs. Internet Freedom: What's the Debate?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jun 20, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Are you following the net neutrality debate? Perhaps you've heard about it and sense the passion surrounding it, but are not quite sure what is at stake. Back in 2015, TECHPol alerted readers to the new rules being proposed by the Federal government to ensure an "open internet." This seemingly innocuous concept has been the subject of much controversy, and now the 2015 rules are in the process of being reversed. It's time for a review and an update on the issue.

Read More

Topics: Net Neutrality, regulations, federal policy, internet

Internet Privacy: What Has Changed?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

May 30, 2017 8:30:00 AM

While there's been a lot of activity around rules governing individuals' internet privacy, the answer to the question of "what has changed?" is "nothing yet." But a new bill introduced last week may shake things up. Here's where we stand:

Read More

Topics: internet, technology policy

Protecting Your Online Privacy

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Apr 4, 2017 8:30:00 AM

There's been a brouhaha of late about Congress's vote to repeal regulations that seek to protect the privacy of broadband customers. In October, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published rules that would require internet service providers (ISPs) to let their customers opt in or opt out of providing certain information about them and their online activity. The rules were set to take effect later this year. Congress used the Congressional Review Act to invalidate the rules claiming that they unfairly target only one type of internet company, but don't hold websites (e.g., Facebook or Twitter) or search engines like Google to the same standard. The rule's opponents also argue that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the appropriate agency to regulate internet privacy, not the FCC. Rationale aside, the bottom line is that since FCC's rules will not take effect, the status quo will remain for the time being. But, that does not leave consumers powerless. There are steps individuals can take to protect their privacy online.

Read More

Topics: internet, technology, online privacy

The Promise and Problems of the Internet of Things for Small Business

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jan 31, 2017 8:30:00 AM

The Internet of Things (IoT) offers exciting new technologies that provide solutions of efficiency, convenience, and cost savings to businesses of all sizes. These connected devices that utilize the internet to communicate represent another tech revolution. Whether it's smart security cameras, lights and thermostats or equipment sensors, credit card readers, and smart labels, small businesses are incorporating IoT devices into their day-to-day business. Yet, with each new device that's connected to the network comes new security risks that hackers can exploit. 

Read More

Topics: internet, cybersecurity

Social Media Use -- Does Your Company Need a Policy?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Aug 30, 2016 8:29:39 AM

Individuals and businesses are increasingly utilizing social media to present themselves to others, as well as to gather information.  According to Statista, 78% of the United States population has a social networking profile.  By 2020, an estimated 2.95 billion people will be using social media worldwide -- that's a third of the Earth's population. So, chances are most of your employees are using social media sites, and it's quite possible their activity may affect more than their personal life. Employee use of social media may consume company time, open doors to security breaches, and influence public opinion and reputations.  So, should businesses adopt social media policies to keep employees on task and in check?

Read More

Topics: labor, internet, social media

Staying Connected on Vacation -- Is Public Wi-Fi Safe?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jun 21, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Summer is here and hopefully you're planning to get away. Even though vacation is supposed to be your time to disconnect, we know you'll have moments when you want to check in -- email, Facebook, or maybe even paying bills.  But, will you have ready and secure access to the internet? Perhaps you'll be tempted to use the local coffee shop or hotel Wi-Fi to connect. If so, beware. Public Wi-Fi is a place where cybercriminals lurk to access your personal information. Still, you may not have a lot of options, so how can you protect yourself?

Read More

Topics: internet, technology, cybersecurity

Improve Your Tech Literacy -- 25 Basic Terms to Know

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jun 7, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Let's face it, some of us are technologically inclined and fascinated by the latest and greatest gadgets, apps, and social media fads.  Others among us are reluctant adopters, who only use the technology we need to get by in a modern world, keep our jobs, and communicate with a younger generation.  For those who identify with the latter category, it may be particularly painful to seek help when technology fails (which is probably more likely for the technologically adverse). Thank goodness others get paid to understand this stuff, like your friendly managed services provider, but you still need to talk to a computer expert to get issues resolved.  Perhaps you could use a tutorial to make tech communication a little less daunting.  We've defined 25 basic terms for you so you can feel more savvy and less intimidated when asking for IT (information technology) assistance.

Read More

Topics: internet, technology, managed services

Looking for a Better Deal on Internet Service? New Labels May Help

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Apr 12, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Have you been surprised by a large mobile service bill or do you wonder why you pay so much for slow Internet at home? New labels designed to give you straight-forward information about your mobile and fixed broadband services and associated charges may solve the mystery.  On April 4th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the approval of the new broadband labels to "allow consumers to easily compare the services of different providers." The new, easier-to-digest labels should look familiar as they mimic the nutrition labels you find on food packages.

Read More

Topics: Net Neutrality, broadband, internet, mobile data, fcc

More Tech, More Demand:  Is Wireless Policy Keeping Up?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Feb 23, 2016 8:30:00 AM


Some of us are early adopters of new technology and some of us are a few steps behind, but we are all living in a world where wireless communication is becoming more ingrained in our daily lives. TECHPol has discussed the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) (See Blog: The Internet of Things Explosion:  Will Policymakers Dampen or Fuel It?) and how device-to-device communications are becoming more prevalent both in business and personal life. The promise of this new technology seems limitless, but its lifeline (wireless spectrum) is not. Spectrum is a finite resource; so what is being done to make sure we can stay on the path of rapid technological innovation that is so important to our economy? 

Read More

Topics: internet, technology, spectrum, mobile data

Internet Speed and Access:  Chipping Away at FCC's Net Neutrality

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jan 19, 2016 8:30:00 AM

In June, amidst great controversy, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) finalized its rules to provide an "open Internet" or "net neutrality."  For anyone concerned with Internet access and speed (who isn't?),  this is an important policy debate.  (See blog:  Net Neutrality: The Big Event on June 12th for a summary of the issues). A lawsuit questioning FCC's authority to implement its new rules is pending, and Congress continues to push legislation that would limit the FCC's policy to prevent what it sees as potential government overreach. This week, two more bills that would curtail the FCC's plans got a boost at a congressional hearing.  

Read More

Topics: Net Neutrality, regulations, small business, internet

Leave A Comment

FocusData: TECHPol is a blog on technology and business policy issues affecting small and mid-sized companies.  TECHPol’s primary author, Lori Salley Ring, spent 20-plus years working on Capitol Hill, including as the top staffer on the House Committee on Small Business.  FDS is an IT consulting firm providing managed services, office tech relocation, network security, and IT support for businesses in the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area.

Technology Policy Small Business


About the Author

Lori Salley Ring

Lori Salley Ring

Lori serves as Policy Advisor and Communications Specialist for Focus Data Solutions.  Lori spent more than 20 years working for the U.S. Congress, including as Chief of Staff to a member of the House leadership and as the Staff Director for the Committee on Small Business.  Lori also ran a Washington-based non-profit organization between stints working for the Federal government. 

Follow Me



Focus Data Solutions

1020 N. Fairfax St., Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 836-0080
info@focusdatasolutions.com

We are your partner for IT outsourcing, cloud services, managed services, office relocation, backup solutions and network security.

Work with Focus Data Solutions