May 11, 2007 12:00 PM PDT
Week in review: Controversy from Cupertino to Capitol Hill
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Real ID, enacted two years ago without hearings or debates by the then-Republican controlled Congress as part of an emergency military spending package, requires state governments to issue driver's licenses that adhere to the Department of Homeland Security's new standards. Eventually, Americans without the IDs will not be able to enter federal buildings, open bank accounts, or fly on commercial airlines. Opposition to the Real ID act has mounted on both sides of the political spectrum, from reasons ranging from privacy concerns to the cost of the initiative--$23.1 billion over the next decade. Seven states have already brought forth legislation opposing the act.
But hearings this week showed that while opposition is widespread, it's going to be tough to turn around a law that's already this far along in the enactment process. The deadline to file comments on the act was Tuesday afternoon. Real ID, essentially, is ready to go.
CNET News.com readers were divided on the issue. "What really bothers me is the feds basically taking over the state ID and license programs," one reader said. "There is a clear separation between state and federal in our constitution. Let's keep it that way." Others seemed to think that Real ID could improve an identification system that's often outdated and inefficient. "There needs to be a new identification system," a reader related. "I was once mistaken for a person with the same name by the police and ended up waiting in the back of a police car for about a half hour while they figured out what was going on. I happened to be on my way to work."In the boardroom
Meanwhile, at the same time that political junkies were wondering whether Congress would snub Real ID, the corporate world was watching the ongoing story of whether billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who owns nearly 3 percent of Motorola and has expressed that he believes the company is being mismanaged, would win a seat on the mobile handset manufacturer's board of directors. On Tuesday, it appeared that this battle had ended, at least for now, with Icahn failing to earn a spot on the board. Motorola, which had urged shareholders not to vote for Icahn, saw its stock dip a bit, but some analysts say it likely won't impact the company in the long run. Motorola has bigger issues than its management, they say.
"The principal issue for the company in the near term," said Scott Swanson, a senior analyst at Crowell Weedon & Co., "is getting new innovative products into the market that people are willing to pay a lot of money to buy."
The ban was later revoked, but it was a high-profile corporate spat that could easily have made MySpace seem like a bully, or Photobucket seem like a surreptitious marketer--depending on whose side you take.
Now that it's looking as if Photobucket will become a MySpace property, CNET News.com readers were somewhat cynical about the rumored buy. "Typical of 900-pound gorillas," one observed. Another said, "I'll bet this means all other types of photo-submission services will suddenly cease to work with MySpace."
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