Cash-strapped states are targeting Internet merchants. Several are considering bills that would require merchants to collect sales taxes on digital downloads. Under a Supreme Court ruling, states can only require the merchants to collect the taxes online if they have a bricks-and-mortar presence in the state. In Minnesota, for example, a bill being considered by the Legislature would add a sales tax to downloads from iTunes and WalMart.

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While President Obama has been widely praised for his use of the Internet to communicate with the public, not all are happy. For example privacy groups have raised a stink over President Obama’s use of Google’s YouTube as the primary distributor of weekly video addresses on the WhiteHouse.gov Website. Groups such as the Electronic Frontier Read more

President Obama is promising to use the Web site Recovery.gov to track spending under the economic stimulus bill passed by the U.S. House and being considered by the Senate. But that site hasn’t been built yet. Until then, you can follow requests for stimulus money coming from local governments on StimulusWatch. The new site relies on public contributions – a process sometimes called “crowdsourcing” – to help monitor stimulus spending.

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A panel of government and industry experts is urging President-elect Barack Obama to create a new White House office to protect the country from malicious hackers and Internet attacks from foreign governments.

Because cyber attacks are so frequent the government should give them the same level of attention as threats from weapons of mass destruction and global jihad, said James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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