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Lawmakers want to make it easier for voters to track online applications

Happy Friday! Sorry to disappoint you all Swifties, but today’s newsletter features a different Taylor. (I’m sure you will shake.)

A quick programming note: The Technology 202 will be off on Monday but back on Tuesday.

Below: A US candidate is elected to head ITU, and Facebook’s parent company Meta announces its first major budget cuts since the company was founded in 2004. First:

Lawmakers want to make it easier for voters to track online applications

If you’ve ever requested a visit from Congress or have a flag flown over the Capitol and haven’t been heard from for months, you’re probably not alone.

According to the former house helper Taylor SwiftCongress has long lacked a systematic way to notify members of the public of their demands, which has often frustrated voters.

“There hasn’t been a transparent digital process for voters to know where their application is on the application portal,” said Swift, a political adviser to the left-leaning advocacy group Demand Progress who worked for the House Democratic Caucus. .

It’s one of the hurdles lawmakers on the panel leading congressional modernization efforts hope to knock down.

The House Select Committee on Congressional Modernization on Thursday approved its final set of recommendations, with a focus on voter engagement. Among them, he called for the creation of a “more efficient process for tracking and managing voter flag requests”, which lawmakers can grant to individuals to commemorate events, holidays or anniversaries. The result, Swift said, might sound familiar to consumers.

“Basically the idea is to create something similar to a Domino’s or Pizza Hut pizza tracker so that a voter can go online or call the office and know exactly where that flag is in the delivery process,” said Swift, who worked with the panel. as an aid.

According to Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), who chairs the panel.

“Some of the recommendations we passed today were about providing more information to our constituents, and some of them were about…enabling our constituents to provide us with more information,” I was told. he says.

But the fact that Congress catches up with what a publication describe in 2008 as a “breakthrough technology” for the restaurant industry is telling.

“The flag issue is a microcosm of how Congress for decades has been stuck in the 20th century, even though we’re well into 21st century technology,” Swift said.

Many of these technological shortcomings were laid bare at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, when lawmakers and staff had to navigate remotely for long periods of time. But the issue was not new to Washington lawmakers.

To that end, the House created the Modernization Committee in 2019 with the express mandate to technically bring Congress up to speed on several fronts, from streamlining administrative processes to improving human resources functions for staff. by strengthening public transparency.

Some of the panel’s recent recommendations have been more forward-looking, including ensuring that tools developed on Capitol Hill are open-source by default.

It could help local, state and foreign governments develop tools created in Congress and vice versa, said a senior committee official, who was not authorized to speak officially.

The panel also proposed developing a system to make it easier for offices to share anonymized data on issues voters face. That could make Congress more responsive to their needs, Kilmer said. “I think it’s a big deal because our constituents depend on the federal government working for them,” he said.

The question remains open as to how many of the panel’s recommendations, which are non-binding, will be taken up, or how long it might take.

According to the panel’s own tracker, only 37 of its 195 recommendations have been fully implemented to date, while another 87 have been partially implemented.

“It’s going to be a decade before we can really take stock and see the success of this work just because of the nature of the recommendations they’re making,” Swift said.

“I think the institution is improving, and a lot of the recommendations we’ve made have been in the service of trying to make things better,” Kilmer said.

After having functioned for four years, the select committee will put an end to this congress. This means that lawmakers will have to determine who, if anyone, will take over.

The committee’s senior aide said the group would likely recommend before the end of the year that the House establish a permanent subcommittee to lead modernization efforts, which could be supplemented periodically by a separate core group.

US candidate wins election to head UN telecommunications agency

Doreen Bogdan-Martin received more than 80% of the votes for the post of Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union. She will be the first woman to lead the ITU, which works on global telecommunications standards. US officials said the election was key to setting emerging technical standards, which will have far-reaching implications for economic development and internet access around the world.

Bogdan-Martin ran against Rashid Ismailov, a former Russian deputy minister of telecommunications and mass communications who worked at Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. US officials fear that China and Russia have sought to expand the scope of the ITU’s work.

A European civil servant has been elected to another management position at the ITU. Tomas Lamanauskas, a Lithuanian diplomat, was elected Deputy Secretary-General of the ITU. Lamanauskas, who was backed by the 27-member European Union, beat candidates from South Korea and Samoa.

Tech industry groups ask appeals court to stay ruling on Texas social media law

NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association want the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to ‘preserve the status quo’ until the Supreme Court reviews Texas social media law, Protocol’s Issie Lapowski reports. The unopposed motion comes about two weeks after the 5th Circuit upheld Texas law that prohibits companies from cutting positions based on a person’s political ideology.

The 5th Circuit’s ruling diverged from a ruling by the 11th Circuit, which blocked a social media bill in Florida this year. Last week, Florida’s attorney general asked the Supreme Court to take up the case and determine whether the First Amendment prohibits states from requiring platforms to host speech they do not wish to host.

Meta announces hiring freeze and budget cuts

CEO of Meta Mark Zuckerberg told employees that the company would cut most of its teams’ budgets, freeze hiring, reorganize its teams and reduce its workforce, Bloomberg News’s Kurt Wagner reports. The changes mark the first major budget cut since Facebook was founded in 2004. They come as the tech industry sees signs of an economic downturn.

“I had hoped the economy would have stabilized more clearly now,” Zuckerberg said. “But from what we’re seeing, it doesn’t appear to be the case yet, so we want to plan somewhat conservatively.” The company will be “a bit smaller” by the end of next year, Zuckerberg said. A spokesperson for Meta declined to comment on Bloomberg News.

Journalists discussed a batch of Tesla CEOs Elon MuskText messages from that were filed in Delaware court. Writer Mathieu Ingram:

Some other texts attracted the journalist kate clarkattention of:

This is how the journalist Cecilia Kang abstract:

Who could run Twitter? Musk’s friends had some ideas (The Information)

House passes antitrust bill that raises M&A fees as larger efforts targeting tech stall (CNBC)

Top Apple executive leaves after making rude remarks in TikTok video (Bloomberg News)

Uber fights bill that would override #MeToo non-disclosure pacts (Bloomberg Law)

People-finding websites are creating nightmares for abortion rights advocates (CyberScoop)

Former eBay executives go to jail for harassing a couple behind a newsletter (Reuters)

  • Tarun ChhabraNational Security Council Senior Director for Technology and National Security, discuss the Chips and Science Act at a Brookings Institution event today at 9 a.m.

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