Sep 30, 2016

H.R. 2205, Data Security Act to protect personal information

H.R. 2205 would establish a new law to require businesses to take reasonable steps to protect personal information they maintain in electronic form. Further, H.R. 2205 would require those entities, in the event of a breach in their security systems, to notify individuals whose personal information has been accessed and acquired as a result of the breach. Forty-seven states have laws that govern data security; H.R. 2205 would pre-empt many of those statutes. Finally, H.R. 2205 would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and many of the financial regulatory agencies to enforce the requirements of the bill.

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Sep 7, 2016

You Should Care...U.S. Internet Surrender Happens October 1st.

Washington will give up its power fully to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization located in Los Angeles.

"We informed ICANN today that based on that review and barring any significant impediment, NTIA [National Telecommunications & Information Administration] intends to allow the [Internet Assigned Numbers Authority] IANA functions contract to expire as of October 1," Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator, said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Created in 1998, ICANN has been tasked with assigning global IP addresses and overseeing the internet domain name system (DNS). Along with the US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the California-based non-profit has been managing IANA functions. This is the part that is going to change in less than two months.

"ICANN is uniquely positioned, as both the current IANA functions contractor and the global coordinator for the DNS, as the appropriate party to convene the multistakeholder process to develop the transition plan," the NTIA said in a March statement, announcing its intent to cede its powers over DNS. 

.....The initiative to transfer internet regulation to the non-US government company has been met with a strong opposition from many American officials. Republicans have been especially fierce, insisting that by the giving up its oversight of the internet, the US would open a way for countries like Russia and China to control and censor the Web that has always been "protected" by Washington.

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Sep 6, 2016

Oita Japan pushes the town's self-sufficiency to more than 2,000%.

(Japan for Sustainability) A group of researchers from Chiba University and the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP), a Japanese non-profit organization, has been conducting a joint research project called "Sustainable Zone Study" since 2007. The study measures the amount of renewable energy supplied and food produced by each municipality and, as a measure of local sustainability, calculates their self-sufficiency in energy and food, two resources essential to daily living.

When calculating the self-sufficiency of electricity based on the total electricity output from renewable sources (solar, wind, micro-hydro, geothermal, and biomass), Oita had the highest share of renewable electricity supply among all prefectures, at 38.6%. Oita is known to have a number of large geothermal plants, the output of which accounts for nearly half of the electricity supplied from renewable sources.

As for output by municipality, Kokonoe Town in Oita prefecture overwhelmingly topped the list. The town hosts the nation's largest geothermal plant, Hacchobaru Geothermal Power Plant, and three other large geothermal plants in operation, the supply from which pushes the town's self-sufficiency to more than 2,000%.

In second and third places were two villages in the southern part of Nagano prefecture. In these areas, hydropower is a common source of renewable electricity, as it takes advantage of water running down from high mountains in the South Japan Alps. In fourth and fifth came two villages in the southern area of Kumamoto prefecture. These villages are also capable of supplying a large amount of power from hydropower. The electricity self-sufficiency rates in the above four villages all exceeded 1,000%.

The 100 municipalities that are more than self-sufficient in renewable electricity represent an increase of five municipalities from a year ago. Most of these are small towns and villages, but nine are cities.

Renewable energy can also be used to generate heat. The Sustainable Zone research also calculates by prefecture the share of renewable energy supply, combining that of electricity and heat (solar, geothermal and biomass heat).

The renewable energy supply accounted for 10% or more of regional energy demand in 21 prefectures, an increase of seven prefectures from the previous survey (ended March 31, 2014). The Kyushu area contributed the most, with five prefectures including Oita at the top, followed by four each from the Tohoku and Kanto/Koshin-etsu areas, and three from the Chubu area.

The prefectures in Kyushu showed particularly remarkable increases in their renewable energy ratios. In Miyazaki, biomass power generation expanded three-fold and solar power doubled, which led to an increase in its renewable energy ratio of more than 6 percentage points from the previous year's survey, from 9.5% to 15.8%.

Solar was a major contributor to the increase in energy self-sufficiency in other prefectures. A typical example is Ibaraki prefecture, where the amount of electricity and heat supplied from renewable sources increased by 83% in a year, the highest growth rate among all 47 prefectures. The solar power supply increased 2.6-fold, with biomass generation rising 1.6-fold. Such expansion in its renewable energy supply put Ibaraki in second place in solar power supply and third place in biomass power supply. This also boosted its energy self-sufficiency from 5.2% to 9.4%.

The increase in renewable energy supply was observed in all prefectures. Ten prefectures saw an increase of more than 50%. And metropolitan areas are no exception: Tokyo saw a 30% rise and Osaka 47%, showing steady growth in renewables development across the country.