May 19, 2020

PIPA and SOPA Co-Sponsors Use Facebook to Abandon Bills

Google
Facebook
politics
Wikipedia
Bizclik Editor
3 min
PIPA and SOPA Co-Sponsors Use Facebook to Abandon Bills

 

Since you’re on the Internet right now, you’ve undoubtedly at least heard of the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) bills. SOPA and PIPA aim to curb online piracy of copyrighted material but have been widely criticized for their potential to negatively impact the Internet and American business through censorship.

On Wednesday, January 18, major websites, including Google, Reddit and Wikipedia decided to completely blackout or modify their homepages in protest of SOPA and PIPA, and it appears that members of the U.S. Congress have taken notice and been moved to abandon the bills.

Arizona Rep. and SOPA co-sponsor Ben Quayle abandoned the bill Tuesday, but two U.S. Senators actually announced their withdrawals by way of the Internet Wednesday morning.

Florida Senator and PIPA co-sponsor Marco Rubio was the first to announce on Wednesday that he wanted to pull his name from the bill.

In a Facebook post titled “A Better Way to Fight the Online Theft of American Ideas and Jobs,” Rubio wrote:

“As a senator from Florida, a state with a large presence of artists, creators and businesses connected to the creation of intellectual property, I have a strong interest in stopping online piracy that costs Florida jobs.

However, we must do this while simultaneously promoting an open, dynamic Internet environment that is ripe for innovation and promotes new technologies.”

Rubio was followed by Texas Senator John Cornyn, head of the campaign operation for the Republican party. Cornyn took to his Facebook page to say that it’s “better to get this done right rather than fast and wrong. Stealing content is theft, plain and simple, but concerns about unintended damage to the internet and innovation in the tech sector require a more thoughtful balance, which will take more time.”

According to the Omaha World-Herald, a spokesperson for Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry said that he is also planning to withdraw his support.

Both bills have gathered support from various bipartisan committees and media companies, but the Obama Administration has spoken out against SOPA and several Internet companies, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs have written to the U.S. Congress to express concern about SOPA and PIPA’s threat to innovation, creativity and American job creation.

For more information about PIPA and SOPA, take a look at the following links:

http://vimeo.com/31100268

https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/

 

UPDATE: As there seems to be some confusion about what the facts of this story mean for the future of SOPA and PIPA, we would like to clarify that as of the time of this update, 37 U.S. Senators support PIPA, 21 oppose it and six say they are leaning toward voting no. 27 U.S. House members support SOPA, 87 are in opposition and 34 are leaning toward no.

Both bills are still pending and the Senate is still scheduled to vote on PIPA on January 24.

SOPA's lead backer and House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), said that he will not back down from opponents.

"It's easy to engage in fear-mongering and it's easy to raise straw men and red herrings, but if they read the bill they will be reassured," Smith told the Wall Street Journal.

SOPA and PIPA backers, including the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), referred to yesterday's Internet blackouts and tech business protests as "dangerous" gimmicks designed to "punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns" as well as "punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals." 

For more information, visit: http://www.businesschief.com/technology/cloud/sopa-and-pipa-battle-rages-on-what-now

For detailed information and updates about where members of Congress stand on SOPA and PIPA, visit http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/

 

Photo via New York Times

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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