2013 Consumer Electronics Show

Fast Chat: The Consumer Electronics Association's Gary Shapiro

The man who runs the biggest (technology) show on Earth

You are also launching a new magazine with this year's CES. What's that about?
The magazine is called i3 for "it is innovation," and it's a relaunch of CE Vision. Our first issue will debut Jan. 6 at 128 pages with 50 ads, 45 of them paid. A Web app will also be launched with the magazine.

Why is Washington policy an important part of the CES? How does that fit in with all the tech and gadgets?
For 95 percent of the people at the CES, it's irrelevant because they are there to do business. The reason we have policy sessions is because it's important in the big picture, and we want the policy people to see it firsthand, rather than ... in the vacuum of Washington.

Can CES policy discussions make a difference?
SOPA and PIPA had a defining moment last year; three weeks later both bills were dead. Our CES panel with Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Darrell Issa made all the difference in the world. This year we have more lawmakers than ever attending, about a dozen.

Any burning issues like SOPA on tap for this year?
The U.S. just lost the battle with the rest of the world on the Internet governance issue. Our position is absolutely correct, but it's less controversial than SOPA/PIPA because no one disagrees. But SOPA/PIPA last year highlighted the important role of an open Internet. Pandora's push for lower royalty rates is another issue. [Pandora founder] Tim Westergren will talk about that Wednesday night. Broadcasters pay zero royalties. Privacy is an issue.

Speaking of privacy, you also have a session on facial technology featuring Federal Trade Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen. Do you have a position on it?
I have a pro-technology bent. If you're in public, you can be photographed, so it depends on where the technology is. If it's in a hotel room, there is a problem; in a lobby, it isn't. It's a huge tool in terrorism.

What about the "no shows" like Apple? Microsoft has also cut back.
Apple has never exhibited, but their footprint is huge, with more than 440 companies part of the Apple ecosystem. That's bigger than most trade shows. It's a show within a show. Apple execs attend. Microsoft remains involved; they are sponsoring lots of events, and they have a meeting. 

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