Better Broadband Better Lives

Monthly archive

July 2019

Is or Isn’t Google Politically Neutral? Senators From the Left and the Right Ponder the Question

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2019 — With great power comes great responsibility. And now Google, which insists that it is not slanting search results based upon political leanings, is under attack from both the left and the right. At a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing last Tuesday – titled “Google and Censorship through Search Engines” – Sen.… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Maps Still Inaccurate, YouTube Privacy Breach, and Commerce Department Dysfunction

On Thursday, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging the agency to utilize public input to fix broadband coverage maps. “The FCC’s maps are still woefully inaccurate, and they are hurting the economy and the people of West Virginia,” said Manchin, adding that the lack of broadband… Keep Reading

Panelists, Including Facebook Executive, Call For Increased Content Moderation

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2019 — The primary responsibility of moderating online platforms lies with the platforms themselves, making Section 230 protections essential, said panelists at New America’s Open Technology Institute on Thursday. Although some policymakers are attempting to solve the problem of digital content moderation, Open Technology Institute Director Sarah Morris noted that the First… Keep Reading

Infrastructure/Privacy

Broadband Roundup: Venture Fund Investments, Prime Day Privacy, and Cable Growth

The Consumer Technology Association announced on Tuesday that it will invest in Harlem Capital Partners and SoGal Ventures as part of its $10 million commitment to venture firms and funds that invest in women, people of color, and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. Harlem Capital Partners is a minority-owned early-stage venture capital firm aiming to change the… Keep Reading

Pilot Program Will Target Child Mental Health and Maternal Mortality Rates, FCC Says

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2019 — Among the items passed unanimously at the Federal Communications Commission July 10 meeting was the creation of a three-year, $100 million pilot program to support the delivery of telehealth services to rural and low-income Americans. “From chronic disease management to pediatric cardiology, from PTSD to opioid dependency, this pilot has… Keep Reading

Facebook Continues to Face Intense Congressional Scrutiny at House Financial Service Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2019 - Facebook’s digital currency platform Calibra continues to be the focus of intense congressional scrutiny. On Wednesday, it was from the House Committee on Financial Services. Chairman Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., said the committee wanted to make sure that Libra isn’t just a “ploy” to send Facebook’s Twitter mentions “through the roof.”… Keep Reading

Democratic and Republican Representatives Agree on Need For Federal Privacy Law and Strengthening FTC

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2019 — The “honeymoon phase” of tech is definitely over. As a result, federal privacy legislation is essential. So said two prominent members of Congress – one Democrat and one Republican – at a Wednesday event hosted by Charter Communications and the Future of Privacy Forum on Wednesday. Indeed, Congress should quickly… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Electronic Frontier Foundation Lawsuit Against Mobile Data Collection, and Fort Collins Fiber Network

The Electronic Frontier Foundation announced Tuesday that it is filing a class action lawsuit on behalf of AT&T customers in California to stop the telecom giant and two data location aggregators from allowing third parties to access wireless customers’ real-time locations without authorization. The lawsuit alleges AT&T violated the Federal Communications Act and engaged in… Keep Reading

Democrats and Some Republicans at House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Take on Big Tech’s ‘GAFA’ Squad

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2019 – In the House Judiciary Committee’s second hearing putting tech giants under the microscope, both the Democratic majority and some members of the Republican minority attempted to squeeze the companies into greater political compliance. At a Tuesday hearing featured witnesses from the widely-feared “GAFA” companies -- Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple… Keep Reading

Some on Senate Banking Committee Concerned About Facebook’s Venture Into Cryptocurrency With Calibra

WASHINGTON, July 16,2019- Facebook’s venture into cryptocurrency raised a high degree of concern among some members of the Senate Banking Committee at a hearing on Tuesday. Committee Ranking Member Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio., said Facebook is “dangerous” and that it does “all it can” to manipulate billions of users and generate profit. Brown also accused… Keep Reading

On Spectrum Policy, Congress May Step Between the FCC and Commerce Department’s NTIA

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2019 — Differences between the Federal Communications Commission and the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration have gotten to the point that Congress may need to get more involved in the spectrum allocation process, legislators said Tuesday at a House subcommittee hearing. Coordination between federal agencies is an essential component of… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: FCC Spends $524 Million for Rural Area as House Subcommittee Highlights Problem, New Public Knowledge CEO

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday announced more than $524 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband access to 205,520 unserved rural homes and businesses in 23 states. Providers will begin receiving funding this month. “High-speed Internet provides access to opportunity in the 21st century, and the FCC’s top priority is closing… Keep Reading

Congress/FCC/FTC/Media/Privacy

Harold Feld Argues That Increased Regulation Will Be More Successful than Breaking Up Big Tech

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2019 — Rather than seeking to break up big technology giants, Congress should instead focus on ratcheting up regulation of the online platform players to curb their greatest abuses, public interest advocate Harold Feld argued on Monday. Feld, the author of the recent e-book, “The Case for the Digital Platform Act: Market… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: $5 Billion Facebook Fine, Tribal Broadband Suffering, and 5G Data Session

On Friday afternoon, the Federal Trade Commission has issued a fine of $5 billion to Facebook for privacy violations. Adam Satariano of the New York Times reported that regulators and lawmakers in the U.S. and abroad have begun conducting investigations and proposing new sanctions against the Silicon Valley company. President Trump called out Facebook and… Keep Reading

FTC/Privacy/Social Media

Senators Cruz and Hawley Demand Federal Trade Commission Investigation of Big Tech’s Content Moderation

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2019 -- Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley want the Federal Trade Commission to use its investigatory authority to demand internal documents and information pertaining to content moderation policies at major technology companies like Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and to release those documents to the public. In a Monday letter to… Keep Reading

BroadbandNow Publishes List of Top 10 Trailblazers for Digital Inclusion

Ten cities have been recognized this year as Digital Inclusion Trailblazers, Tyler Cooper from BroadbandNow reports. 21 million Americans still lack access to a broadband-level internet connection, and roughly 146 million people do not have access to a low-priced plan for residential wired broadband. These cities are leading the way in bringing unprecedented levels of broadband… Keep Reading

Tech Freedom and Other Advocacy Groups Push Back Against Growing Pressure to Modify Section 230

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2019 – Pushing back against a growing group of critics on the right and the left, the pro-free-market pro-free-speech group Tech Freedom on Thursday released a set of seven principles and online resources designed to “guide conversation about amending Section 230.” As the principles statement declares: “we value the balance between freely… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: FCC Overturns SF Broadband Ordinance, IBM Seeks Section 230 Changes, AT&T Blocks Robocalls

At Wednesday's Federal Communications Commission meeting, the agency voted to preempt part of a San Francisco ordinance that promotes broadband competition in apartment buildings and other multi-tenant structures. Ars Technica summarized how FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's plan partially overturns San Francisco's Article 52, which lets Internet service providers use the existing wiring inside multi-unit buildings even… Keep Reading

Legalities of Private Space Exploration and Settlement Probed at Future Tense Event

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2019- As world actors ponder about human expansion into outer space, the issue that most frequently comes up is how to foster innovation while avoiding history’s past mistakes with nation-building. Human settlement in space is not going to be a “do-over” of our colonial experience, said Andrés Martinez, editorial director at Future… Keep Reading

5G/China/Cybersecurity

The Tech Industry Needs Greater Specificity on 5G Wireless Security Issues Surrounding Huawei

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2019 - Going forward, technology innovators need to understand exactly what core technologies exist in the U.S, and which ones China both possesses and needs, said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, speaking at a Wednesday event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies event on 5G wireless… Keep Reading

FCC Blasted Over Party-Line Decision to Take Education Out of Educational Broadband Spectrum

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2019 — Ignoring recommendations from the Department of Education, several members of Congress, and various broadband advocates, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Wednesday to hold commercial auctions for unused portions of the 2.5 Gigahertz spectrum band. The decision removes the educational use requirement for the band and fails to provide… Keep Reading

Government Must Adapt to New Opportunities in Commercial Space Sector, Says FCC Chair Ajit Pai

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2019 - With changes in the space industry, the U.S. government needs to evolve to capitalize on the “unprecedented opportunity for the commercial space sector,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said Tuesday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Pai emphasized the FCC’s commitment to craft forward-looking rules that safeguard the public… Keep Reading

House Commerce Committee Leaders Question Amazon CEO Bezos Over Potentially Fraudulent Reviews

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2019 — Amazon may be profiting from the sale of products promoted by increasing numbers of fake ratings and reviews, raising concerns among lawmakers. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Tuesday… Keep Reading

Rep. Suzan DelBene Says Stronger Privacy Policies Are Needed to Deal With Internet of Things

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2019 - Privacy is a good place to start with public policy concerning the internet of things, said Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., in a keynote address at the AT&T Forum for Technology, Entertainment and Policy Tuesday. With more than 3.8 billion people around the world using the internet every day, technology has become a… Keep Reading

Big Tech and FTC Under Attack at Senate Hearing

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2019 — YouTube has been “inadequate and abysmally slow in responding” to recent allegations that its algorithms promote child sexualization, said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday. If big tech companies don’t take sufficient steps to protect children from exploitation on their platforms, they should be… Keep Reading

Social Media

Appeals Court Says Trump Can’t Block Twitter Critics

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2019 — A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has found that President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter’s “block” feature against his critics violates the First Amendment because he uses his private Twitter account for official government business. The unanimous decision upholds a prior district court ruling which rejected… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Amie Stepanovich at Silicon Flatirons, Amazon Stores Voice Recordings, and Dish Network’s Spectrum Assets

Silicon Flatirons announced Amie Stepanovich as the new executive director of the technology policy think tank based at the University of Colorado Law School. A noted cybersecurity and privacy law and policy expert, she plans to build upon Silicon Flatirons’ legacy of interdisciplinary conferences and programming. She begins on July 29, 2019, succeeding Flatirons’ founder Phil… Keep Reading

Social Media/White House

White House Social Media Summit Invite List Includes GOP Operative Who Questioned Kamala Harris’ Ethnicity, Cartoonist Who Depicted George Soros As Puppeteer

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2019 — The guest list for Thursday’s White House Social Media Summit includes a cartoonist known for anti-Semitic images and a pro-Trump activist whose claim that Sen. Kamala Harris is not an “American Black” was retweeted by President Trump’s son, but no representatives from the world’s largest social media platforms. Last week,… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Rural Facilities Still Not Using Telehealth, Court Decision on Amazon Liability, and Michigan Grant Program

Nearly a quarter of rural Americans have used some form of telehealth service within the past few years, according to a recent NPR report conducted with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. The most frequently used telehealth services include receiving diagnoses and treatments from health care… Keep Reading

For 5G, Panelists Favor Limiting Local Control over Rights-of-Way and Not Reinstating Net Neutrality Rules

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2019 — The successful growth of 5G networks will be best achieved through limiting municipalities’ control over wireless infrastructure and not reinstating rules that would require network neutrality, according to a Monday panel of the Digital Policy Institute, an organization affiliated with Ball State University. Although the government plays an important role,… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: Consumer Groups Oppose Project Libra, Comcast on Shapefile Mapping, Windstream Goes Wireless

The Hill reports that dozens of consumer advocacy groups have called for congressional committees and regulatory agencies to impose a moratorium on Facebook’s cryptocurrency project. Among the 33 groups include Public Citizen, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Digital Democracy. In their letter the groups wrote that the… Keep Reading

Broadband Roundup: World Broadband Speeds Released, Broadband Competition Questions, Social Media Algorithms

Taiwan has the world’s fastest broadband, while the United States comes in at 15th place, according to the annual Worldwide Broadband Speed League report released by Cable.co.uk on Tuesday. The report analyzes more than 276 million broadband speed tests collected by M-Lab, an open source project involving civil society organizations, educational institutions, and private sector… Keep Reading

Rural Telecommunications Congress Webcast Series Begins with Focus on Collaboration on Colorado’s Western Slopes

MONTROSE, Colorado, July 2, 2019- Policymakers and providers agree that collaboration is vital to sustaining high-quality broadband in rural communities. However, there is still work that needs to be done to deploy high-speed symmetrical broadband, panelists said Tuesday at a rural broadband webcast hosted by the Rural Telecommunications Congress. Not only Montrose but the entire… Keep Reading

Techies Tout Plan to Share the C-Band and Bring High-Speed Wireless Access to Millions

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2019 — About 80 million Americans in unserved or underserved locations could receive gigabit broadband access through spectrum sharing without harming existing operations, according to research conducted by Jeffrey Reed, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. Reed presented a summary of the study results at a press event on… Keep Reading

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