FCC Blasted For “Shameful” Ruling Against Cities And Fire Department

from ars technica The Federal Communications Commission is in another dispute with the fire department that fought for net neutrality rules after being throttled by Verizon during a wildfire response. The Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District, along with the cities of Los Angeles and New York, last week asked the FCC to extend a deadline for filing comments on the last remaining piece of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s net neutrality repeal. Pai had to seek another round of public comments on the net neutrality repeal and related deregulation of the broadband industry because federal judges who upheld the […]

Continue reading

During the Pandemic, the FCC Must Provide Internet for All

from Wired IF ANYONE BELIEVED access to the internet was not essential prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, nobody is saying that today. With ongoing stay-at-home orders in most states, high-speed broadband internet access has become a necessity to learn, work, engage in commerce and culture, keep abreast of news about the virus, and stay connected to neighbors, friends, and family. Yet nearly a third of American households do not have this critical service, either because it is not available to them, or, as is more often the case, they cannot afford it. Lifeline is a government program that seeks to […]

Continue reading

FCC To Vote On July 2021 Deadline Mandating Carriers Provide Robocall Blocking Services

from 9to5 Mac The Federal Communications Commission has announced that it will vote later this month on rules that would require all carrier and cable companies provide call blocking technology to customers. This comes after Congress passed the Traced Act, and President Trump signed it into law. The law requires the FCC to come up with rules to require voice providers implement the Shaken/Stir protocol to authenticate calls. CNET details the backstory: In June, the FCC proposed and sought public comment on whether it should require providers to use the Shaken/Stir protocol that carriers can implement to authenticate the origin […]

Continue reading

FCC Accuses Carriers Of Being “Gateways” For Foreign Robocallers

from ars technica The Federal Communications Commission is asking phone carriers for help blocking robocalls made from outside the US and is implementing a congressionally mandated system to trace the origin of illegal robocalls. The FCC yesterday sent letters to seven US-based voice providers “that accept foreign call traffic and terminate it to US consumers.” Tracebacks conducted by the USTelecom trade group and the FCC found that each of these companies’ services is “being used as a gateway into the United States for many apparently illegal robocalls that originate overseas,” the FCC’s letters to the companies say. The FCC letters […]

Continue reading

Internet Freedom Continues To Decline Around The World, A New Report Says

from The Verge Digital authoritarianism is on the rise, according to a new report from a group that monitors internet freedoms. Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank, said today that governments are seeking more control over users’ data while also using laws nominally intended to address “fake news” to suppress dissent. It marked the eighth consecutive year that Freedom House found a decline in online freedoms around the world. “The clear emergent theme in this report is the growing recognition that the internet, once seen as a liberating technology, is increasingly being used to disrupt democracies as opposed to destabilizing […]

Continue reading

Calif. Senate Approves Net Neutrality Rules, Sends Bill To Governor

from ars technica The California Senate today voted to approve the toughest state-level net neutrality bill in the US, one day after the California Assembly took the same action. With both legislative houses having approved the bill, California Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30 to sign it into law. The final vote was 27-12, with all 26 Democratic senators and Republican Senator Ling Ling Chang voting in favor. All 12 no votes came from Republican senators. In the Assembly yesterday, six Republicans joined 55 Democrats to pass the bill in a 61-18 vote. More here.

Continue reading

FCC Plans To Gut Net Neutrality, Allow Internet ‘Fast Lanes’

from Wired THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS Commission will publish on Wednesday its plan to reverse Obama-era net neutrality rules that banned internet service providers from blocking or slowing down content, or creating so-called “fast lanes” for companies willing to pay extra to deliver their content more quickly. The new FCC order will throw out almost all of the agency’s 2015 net-neutrality rules, including the prohibitions on blocking and throttling content, senior FCC staff said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. The order will also ban states from imposing their own net-neutrality rules to replace the federal regulations. The order also […]

Continue reading

Handcuffing Cities to Help Telecom Giants

from Backchannel It’s good to be one of the handful of companies controlling data transmission in America. It’s even better?—?from their perspective?—?to avoid oversight. And it’s best of all to be a carrier that gets government to actually stop existing oversight. The stagnant telecommunications industry in America has long pursued the second of those goals?—?avoiding oversight, or even long-range thinking that would favor the interests of all other businesses and all other Americans over those of AT&T, Verizon, Charter, and Comcast?—?by proclaiming that there is something really magnificent coming any day now from the industry that will make anything regulators […]

Continue reading

How To Set Up A VPN In 10 Minutes For Free (And Why You Urgently Need One)

from freeCodeCamp Soon every mistake you’ve ever made online will not only be available to your internet service provider (ISP) — it will be available to any corporation or foreign government who wants to see those mistakes. Thanks to last week’s US Senate decision (update March 28: and today’s House decision), ISPs can sell your entire web browsing history to literally anyone without your permission. The only rules that prevented this are all being repealed, and won’t be reinstated any time soon (it would take an act of congress). ISPs can also sell any information they want from your online […]

Continue reading

Republicans Voted To Roll Back Landmark FCC Privacy Rules. Here’s What You Need To Know.

from WaPo House Republicans voted Tuesday to repeal a set of landmark privacy protections for Web users, in a sharp pivot away from the Internet policies of the Obama administration. President Trump is expected to sign the measure. Tuesday’s vote is likely to lend momentum to a broader rollback of Obama-era policies, particularly in the technology sector. And it empowers Internet providers to enter the $83 billion market for online advertising, where the ability to collect, store, share and sell consumers’ behavioral information is directly linked to companies’ bottom line. Proponents of the repeal argue the regulations stifle innovation by forcing Internet providers to abide by unreasonably strict guidelines. But defenders […]

Continue reading

The 265 Members Of Congress Who Sold You Out To ISPs, And How Much It Cost To Buy Them

from The Verge Republicans in Congress just voted to reverse a landmark FCC privacy rule that opens the door for ISPs to sell customer data. Lawmakers provided no credible reason for this being in the interest of Americans, except for vague platitudes about “consumer choice” and “free markets,” as if consumers at the mercy of their local internet monopoly are craving to have their web history quietly sold to marketers and any other third party willing to pay. The only people who seem to want this are the people who are going to make lots of money from it. (Hint: […]

Continue reading

The FCC Just Made It Easier For Companies To Sell Your Information

from TNW The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is trying to block a privacy rule which would protect your internet data. The FCC ruled last year that internet service providers (ISPs) would be required to adopt “reasonable” security measures to protect their customers’ data by March 2. Now Pai is seeking a stay on that rule. One of the security measures companies will no longer have to abide by is getting consumer consent before sharing sensitive information. According to TechCrunch, the information includes browsing history, children’s information, location, and Social Security numbers. In a statement, a spokesman says Chairman Pai requested the […]

Continue reading

What’s The Next Step For Media (And For Us)?

from Seth’s Blog Perhaps the biggest cultural change of my lifetime has been the growing influence and ubiquity of commercial media in our lives. Commercial media companies exist to make a profit, and they’ve grown that profit faster than just about any industry you can name. At first, it was the scarcity created by the FCC (a few channels) and mass markets that led the industry. Now, though, it’s a chaotic system with different rules. A system that rewards certain outputs, relentlessly, generating ever more of those outputs. The participants all believe that the ends will justify the means, all […]

Continue reading

Telecoms’ Ambitions on Targeted Ads Seen Curbed by F.C.C.’s New Privacy Rules

from NYTimes In recent years, companies like Verizon and AT&T have made no secret of their ambitions to build online advertising businesses that can take on the behemoths of Silicon Valley. But those plans, and the billions of dollars that have been invested in them, are in peril after federal officials approved broad new privacy rules that will limit the extent to which companies can collect and use digital information about individuals. The Federal Communications Commission’s ruling on Thursday that internet service providers must get permission to gather and share consumers’ private data, including web browsing, app use and location, threw a wrench in the plans of several telecommunications […]

Continue reading

Obama Supports Cable Box Competition And—Surprise—Cable Lobby Is Angry

from ars technica President Obama today pledged support for the Federal Communications Commission effort to give cable TV customers a greater choice of set-top boxes. Shortly after, the top cable lobby group expressed its displeasure, saying the White House’s statement “may be good politics, but it’s bad government.” The White House published a blog post this morning saying that cable TV subscribers shouldn’t have to spend “nearly $1,000 over four years to lease a set of behind-the-times boxes.” Americans should “have options to own a device for much less money that will integrate everything they want—including their cable or satellite content, as well as […]

Continue reading

Comcast and Charter May Soon Control 70% of 25Mbps Internet Subscriptions

from ars technica If Charter Communications is allowed to buy cable rivals Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Bright House Networks (BHN), just two Internet service providers could control about 70 percent of the nation’s 25Mbps-and-up broadband subscriptions. Comcast would remain the country’s largest ISP with 22.87 million Internet subscribers, while Charter’s merger will push it into second place with at least 20.56 million. (AT&T has 15.83 million.) Combined, Comcast and Charter would account for less than half of home Internet connections. But under the Federal Communications Commission definition of “broadband,” which requires download speeds of at least 25Mbps, Comcast and Charter would reign supreme in the US. The […]

Continue reading

Ignoring Cable Industry Protest, FCC Says It Will “Unlock the Set-top Box”

from ars technica Pay-TV providers would have to make video programming available to the makers of third-party devices and software under a proposal by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler. The FCC is planning for a software-based, cardless replacement for CableCard. Without needing a physical card that plugs into a third-party set-top box, consumers would be able to get TV channels on tablets, smart TVs, or set-top boxes that they can buy from other companies instead of renting a box from a cable company. “Consumers should be able to choose how they access the Multichannel Video Programming Distributor’s (MVPDs)—cable, satellite, or […]

Continue reading

FCC Chair: New Internet Service Rules Not Even Close To Utility Regulation

from ars technica Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler today defended the FCC’s new rules for Internet service providers, saying they are “about as far from the old-style monopoly regulation as you can get.” While cable companies and telecommunications providers have threatened lawsuits, claiming the “utility” rules will hurt consumers and impede investment, Wheeler talked about how lenient the regulations are in a public Q&A session at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Led by Wheeler, the FCC last week reclassified fixed and mobile broadband providers in the US as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, allowing the commission to enforce network neutrality […]

Continue reading

The National Broadband Plan

from Susan Crawford In “Why Obama is In the Lead on High-Speed Internet Access Policy,” I implied that things had dramatically changed in national telecommunications policy since the release of the National Broadband Plan in March 2010. I don’t want to leave the impression that the National Broadband Plan was anything other than extraordinary. It represented the culmination of an extraordinary effort in an extraordinarily compressed period of time carried out by an extraordinary team that was ably led by Blair Levin, the well-known telecommunications expert who is now spearheading the important Gig.U initiative in cities across the U.S. Blair’s team always said […]

Continue reading

Net Neutrality Activists Score Landmark Victory In Fight To Govern The Internet

from the guardian Internet activists scored a landmark victory on Thursday as the top US telecommunications regulator approved a plan to govern broadband internet like a public utility. Following one of the most intense – and bizarre – lobbying battles in the history of modern Washington politics, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed strict new rules that give the body its greatest power over the cable industry since the internet went mainstream. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler – a former telecom lobbyist turned surprise hero of net neutrality supporters – thanked the 4 million people who submitted comments on the new rules. “Your participation […]

Continue reading