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Broadband Roundup: Justice Department Seeks to Curb Section 230, iPhone Police Recordings, AT&T Layoffs

Elijah Labby



Photo of President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr after the signing of the May 28 Executive Order by The White House

The Justice Department will reportedly suggest rolling back protections on social media companies, CNET reported.

The move follows President Donald Trump’s May executive order, which sought to recategorize social media platforms as “publishers” rather than “platforms” and limit their protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

A formal legislation plan is expected Wednesday, and will likely be broad in scope. Fox Business reported Wednesday that “the department will propose to strike from federal law a provision that allows platforms to delete content that they merely deem to be ‘objectionable.’”

This would be a seismic shift in how the government oversees private social media companies — and could anger some conservatives who feel that the president’s moves are antithetical to their values.

iPhone shortcut automatically records police interactions

A shortcut on iPhones can make it easier for users to record police interactions, The Verge reported.

The free shortcut, created by Robert Peterson, will pause music, dim the phone’s display and begin video recording when users say, “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over.”

The feature, first released in 2018, has made a resurgence following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, who both died at the hands of police. The recording of Floyd being suffocated for eight minutes and 46 seconds under the knee of police officer Derek Chauvin ignited protests across the United States, and videos of other instances of police brutality have proven to be instrumental in holding officers accountable.

Users who want to enable this functionality can download it from the Shortcuts app.

AT&T will lay off thousands, close hundreds of stores

AT&T will cut 3,400 technician and clerical jobs, as well as 1,300 retail jobs and several managers and executive positions, Axios reported.

The company said that the job cuts were part of a reassessment of consumer behaviors amid the coronavirus.

“These actions align with our focus on growth areas along with lower customer demand for some legacy products,” AT&T said in a statement.

The company said that they would give workers severance and health insurance for up to six months. They will also offer retail workers alternate positions, many of them work-from-home.

Critics such as Joe Snyder, President of the Communications Workers of America installment in Akron, Ohio, say that the move is a devious one.

The company will give the jobs to “low-paid contractors who do not have the same training, experience, and commitment as CWA members,” Snyder said.


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