A watershed day for high-tech policy

A last-minute avalanche of deal-cutting and arm twisting Thursday produced a watershed day for high-tech policy.Multiple high-tech bills that had languished for months were given a near-certain seal of approval when they were tacked onto the larger budgetary deal brokered by Congressional and administration leaders.

A last-minute avalanche of deal-cutting and arm twisting Thursday produced a watershed day for high-tech policy.Multiple high-tech bills that had languished for months were given a near-certain seal of approval when they were tacked onto the larger budgetary deal brokered by Congressional and administration leaders.

In quick succession today, the White House and law makers signed off on a $500 billion budget deal that included bills to:

Double the number of temporary visas granted high-tech workers.

Restrict children's access to online pornography.

Place a time-out on further taxation of the Internet.

Require the federal government to post all its forms to the Internet, as well as accept electronic, online signatures in lieu of the old-fashioned pen-and-paper kind.

The action follows by only days other landmark legislation, including passage of a bill that for the first time codifies the extent and limit of copyright online.The day, in short, marked a watershed in technology policy.