January 7, 2022 – The sister of a Department of Homeland Security officer who was shot and killed on duty is suing Facebook parent company Meta, alleging that the company radicalized her brother’s killer through its algorithm.
Angela Underwood Jacobs, sister of Officer Dave Patrick Underwood, filed the wrongful death lawsuit Thursday in California’s Alameda County state court.
The suit alleges that Facebook is aware of and knowingly fails to warn users about its algorithm’s promotion of extremist content, such as the antigovernment “boogaloo” movement authorities say Underwood’s shooter was linked to.
Underwood was shot in May 2020 providing security at an Oakland, California federal courthouse during a protest against the killing of George Floyd.
Steven Carillo was charged with murdering Underwood, and Robert Alvin Justus Jr. was charged with aiding and abetting the murder for allegedly driving the vehicle Carillo fired from.
A federal complaint links Carillo to the boogaloo movement alleges that Carillo and Justus connected on Facebook and used the platform to make plans to meet on the day Underwood was killed.
Jacobs’ lawyers argue that Facebook breached its “duty of care” to users by “aiding the growth of boogaloo groups.”
Typically, Facebook is able to defeat such legal challenges through Section 230’s liability shield for internet companies against content posted by third parties.
Nokia and Ligado partner on edge computing
On Tuesday, Nokia and mobile communications company Ligado announced a commercial agreement to advance Nokia’s Digital Automation Cloud, an application platform which provides edge computing capabilities, with Ligado’s Band 24 licensed spectrum.
Edge computing is a computing paradigm which attempts to somewhat centralize data and its computation.
Industry-leading Nokia DAC makes use of both unlicensed and licensed spectrum to deliver required bandwidth, network availability and security.
The two companies plan to roll out the partnership in the U.S. in early 2022.
Band 24 mid-band spectrum is licensed for terrestrial deployment across the U.S. and increasingly supported by vast network infrastructure such as Nokia 4G/LTE and 5G base station equipment.
Members of Congress hound Google CEO in antitrust fight
Progressive lawmakers Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., told CNBC on Wednesday that they want Google CEO Sundar Pichai to stop trying to “bully” Department of Justice antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter into recusal.
Following Kanter’s November confirmation by the Senate, Google inquired to the DOJ review on whether he should be recused from matters involving Google due to Kanter’s prior work for rivals like Yelp.
Kanter has not committed himself to a recusal but has said he would consult DOJ ethics officials on the issue.
The DOJ has an ongoing antitrust lawsuit against Google, and a recusal would bar Kanter’s involvement with it and any future investigations while responsibility would fall to Kanter’s deputies.
Warren and Jayapal wrote to CNBC that Kanter is not required to recuse himself as he has represented neither Google nor the U.S. federal government, and Google’s argument that he should “distorts federal ethics requirements.”
USDA Hires Lumen, Ligado Marketing Services, IRS Facial ID, New Public Knowledge Hire
The Department of Agriculture awarded Lumen a $1.2-billion, 11-year contract for data services.
January 20, 2022 – On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a $1.2-billion network services contract with telecom Lumen Technologies.
The 11-year contract will provide the department with data transport service with remote access and cloud connectivity, leveraging Lumen’s fiber network to connect 9,500 USDA locations across the country and abroad to better manage agriculture in the country, the press release said.
“Lumen is bringing modern technology solutions that will make it easier for the USDA to accomplish its mission of promoting the production of nutritious food that nourishes our people, providing economic opportunity to rural Americans, and preserving our nation’s natural resources through smart forest and watershed conservation,” said Zain Ahmed, Lumen’s public sector senior vice president.
The contract was granted under the General Services Administration’s $50-billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions program.
Ligado Networks and Select Spectrum to strengthen critical networks
Mobile communications company Ligado Networks and spectrum brokerage and advisory firm Select Spectrum announced an agreement on Tuesday that will market and sell Ligado’s mid-band spectrum services for critical infrastructure.
“We know the critical infrastructure sector has an urgent need for dedicated access to licensed spectrum, and our mid-band spectrum, with both satellite and terrestrial connectivity, is uniquely positioned to meet this need and empower companies to operate private networks on a long-term basis,” said Ligado Networks’ CEO Doug Smith in a press release.
According to the agreement, Select Spectrum will search for those seeking to use Ligado’s licensed spectrum in the 1.6 GHz band in order to provide 5G capabilities to projects like power grid modernization and advanced transportation initiatives.
IRS to require facial recognition for taxes access
According to a Wednesday Gizmodo article, starting this summer online tax filers will have to submit a selfie to a third-party verification company called ID.me in order to make payments or file taxes online. Along with facial identification, users will also have to submit government identification documents and copies of bills to confirm their identity.
ID.me will use the selfie and compare it to the government identification document to verify the user. If the system fails to match the two documents, the user can join a recorded video to provide verification to the user.
Gizmodo’s article claimed that both the IRS and ID.me could not provide a method to access user accounts without providing a face scan. This could be problematic for tax filers that don’t have access to certain technologies.
Public Knowledge hires new senior policy analyst
Non-profit public interest group Public Knowledge announced Tuesday that it has brought on Lisa Macpherson as senior policy analyst.
According to a press release, Macpherson’s “experience driving digital marketing transformation on behalf of brands led to concerns over the broader impacts of digital technology on individual well-being, civil society, journalism, and democracy.”
National Privacy Law, Digital Infrastructure Firm’s $8B Raise, Wicker Wants Spectrum Cooperation
Business groups are asking Congress to supersede state laws by passing privacy legislation that sets a national standard.
January 19, 2022 – As states begin to pass their own privacy laws, business groups are asking the federal government to pass legislation that would mitigate confusion by creating a national standard, reports MediaPost Communications.
The Association of National Advertisers, Interactive Advertising Bureau, and the U.S. Chamber of Congress are just a few of the business groups that are asking for a national privacy law.
“As the Federal Trade Commission considers a privacy rulemaking that would add a further layer of complexity to the state patchwork, it is critical that Congress pass one single national standard”, the groups stated in a letter that was signed by 15 national organizations and then by local business groups from across the country, the MediaPost report said.
California, Virginia, and Colorado are just a few of the states that have passed their own version of a privacy law, and while they all serve a similar purpose, they have various nuances that the business groups said they believe will be difficult to navigate for their businesses and for consumers across state lines, MediaPost reports.
In addition, there are members of Congress who are also asking for a national plan for consumer privacy.
Digital infrastructure firm DigitalBridge raises over $8 billion
DigitalBridge Investment Management, an investment firm in digital infrastructure, raised a higher-than-expected $8.3 billion, according to a Wednesday press release, illustrating interest in projects including fiber builds.
“The Fund has already invested in nine portfolio companies across towers, easements, hyperscale data centers, edge infrastructure, indoor DAS infrastructure and fiber, running reliable, mission-critical network infrastructure for many of the world’s leading hyperscale cloud providers and mobile network operators,” the release said.
The round comes as the federal government pushing billions of dollars into infrastructure, including broadband and as the pandemic has shown a need for remote capabilities driven by broadband.
Republican lawmaker calls for NTIA-FCC cooperation on spectrum
Senator Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, sent a letter earlier this month to the head of the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration asking them to consider a renewed agreement to work together on spectrum management.
The January 13 letter to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and new NTIA head Alan Davidson said their “relationship can be strengthened” on matters related to the shared use of radiowaves between federal and non-federal users by refreshing the memorandum of understanding that was last updated in 2003.
“In light of recent disputes over spectrum allocations, it is more important than ever that the [FCC and NTIA] work together to promote spectrum policy that best serves the dual goals of furthering commercial innovation and enabling the mission-critical operations of federal agencies,” the letter said.
Airlines’ 5G Warning, 3.45 GHz Winners, Bongino YouTube Suspension
Airlines claim the need to cancel a many flights because of interference between altimeters and 5G transmitters.
January 18, 2022 — Major American airlines are saying that they will need to cancel a significant number of flights from possible interference between aircraft altimeters and 5G signals this week, according to multiple news reports.
Verizon and AT&T, which are deploying 5G services around airports using the C-band spectrum, had already agreed to a deployment delay earlier this month at the behest of the airlines, but are planning of turning on service this week.
The signals that come from the 5G service risk “interfering with safety equipment pilots rely on to take off and land inclement weather,” said the CEOs of major American airlines in a letter to United States officials, according to NBC News.
“The nation’s commerce will grind to a halt” and leave “tens of thousands of Americans” stranded overseas, the letter said, adding “immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies.’”
Industry group Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association stated that “5G is safe and the spectrum is currently in use in nearly 40 other nations.”
FCC announces winning bidders in 3.45 GHz auction
The Federal Communications Commission announced Friday the winning bidders for the 3.45 GHz auction, frequencies important for 5G services.
The top five winners were AT&T with winning bids worth just over $9 billion; Weminuche won bids worth just over $7 billion; T-Mobile took nearly $3 billion worth; Three Forty-Five Spectrum nabbed $1.4 billion worth; and United States Cellular Corp took licenses valued at nearly $600 million.
According to a press release from the FCC, 13 of the 23 companies that won bids are “small businesses or as entities serving rural communities.”
Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that enabling “commercial use of this spectrum is important to America’s continuing economic recovery and 5G leadership.” The gross proceeds of this auction were over $22.5 billion.
Dan Bongino latest conservative voice ousted from tech platform
Alphabet’s YouTube temporarily suspended conservative commentator Dan Bongino‘s channel due to misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, making him the latest voice from the right to be removed for that purpose.
The Hill reported that Bongino declared masks “useless” in the fight against COVID-19, which was in direct violation of YouTube’s COVID-19 policy, which “specifically prohibits content denying the effectiveness of wearing masks, which the vast majority of the scientific community agrees reduces the risk of infection.”
The suspension, which includes him being removed from a program that allows him to get paid for his uploads, lasts a week with a second offense leading to a two-week suspension, and a third to a permanent ban.
The ban follows social media company Twitter’s removal of Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, which was followed by Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul removing himself from YouTube earlier this month.
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