California Governor's Busy Week in Technology

By Julie Griffin October 03, 2012

Hollywood might be the most famous part of California, but it’s not what sustains the rest of the state. According to CNBC, California lost its number-one ranking as the Top State for Technology to New York for 2012, dropping down to number three.

According to the report, despite housing tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook, Silicon Alley has surpassed the feats of Silicon Valley.

But if state legislature has any effect on this ranking system, it seems that California needs to catch up. Even though Google has been test-driving its fleet of autonomous cars, for example, Google was never granted licensing by the state.

But now it seems that new Governor is saying, “Hasta la vista, baby” to old Hollywood influences and addressing some of the technology deficiencies in California’s legislature.

Within a week, Governor Jerry Brown has approved permits for self-driving cars, passed legislation that protects employers from snooping bosses, and signed a couple of bills that will allow students affordable options with digital text books.

Not bad, but isn’t this what one should expect from the home state of the late Steve Jobs?

Image via Shutterstock

Google has been anticipating this moment for some time, and now, thanks to Governor Brown, Google can unleash its fleet of self-driving cars onto California’s highways. One can only imagine the pain Google must have felt when the first autonomous vehicle to be granted a permit, was not one of its own. That honor went to the Volkswagon Passat, licensed earlier this year in Nevada.

But after enduring exhaustive debates in Silicon Valley about licensing issues, Google’s self-driving Toyota Prius can make its way to the Las Vegas Strip and back home, legally.

Perhaps these cars were licensed just in time for Google to pursue its ambitions with same-day delivery service.

Also new in California is a policy that prohibits employers from snooping through the Facebook accounts of prospective hires. California will be the third state behind Maryland and Illinois that will forbid employers from requesting social media account information from workers. After a recent slew of social media-related cases, legislators found that in many cases, traditional law was too ambiguous to apply.

Governor Brown’s legislation follows SNOPA, a federal legislation proposed by New York Congressman, Elliot Engle, covering everything from e-mail to Twitter.

Lastly, California will push digital textbooks as an economic solution to pricy education. Governor Brown signed two bills last Friday that will provide funding for this project. The course material will be protected from copyright breaches, so there may still be a way for scholars to continue generating revenue for their work.

Edited by Braden Becker

Contributing Writer

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