February 11, 2022 – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously advanced the controversial Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act, aimed at holding tech platforms liable for child sexual abuse material’s spread.
The bill would carve out an exception to Section 230, revoking protection for companies from prosecution when they are believed to be responsible for abuse content on their sites.
Privacy and civil liberties groups are opposing the bill, in part saying it disincentivizes strong encryption of websites.
Under the bill, prosecutors would be permitted to use the existence of an encrypted chat option as evidence that a company fails to protect children.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., sponsored the bill, while it has faced some hesitancy to its provisions from Sens. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Chinese Olympic star defends country’s internet restrictions
U.S.-born Chinese Olympic skier and 2022 gold medalist Eileen Gu is facing criticism for comments she has made defending China’s restrictions on citizens’ internet activities.
In response to Instagram users questioning her ability to use the platform while mainland Chinese are not permitted to do so, Gu stated that anyone can download a VPN free from the App Store and use the social media platform.
In the past few years, many VPN services have been blocked by Chinese authorities and individual Chinese citizens who have circumvented the Great Firewall with VPNs or spoken outside of China’s internet have been punished and criminalized.
However, a post displaying Gu’s defense of China was censored on Chinese social media.
In her birthplace United States, Gu has been criticized for refusing to speak about politics throughout her rise to fame.
Nationals bring crypto into the stadium
The Washington Nationals baseball team on Wednesday announced it would partner with a cryptocurrency community that starting next year may allow fans to pay for tickets and concessions with digital tokens.
The community, Terra, runs on a technology created by Singapore-based Terraform Labs.
Terraform Labs and its CEO Do Kwon were subpoenaed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in November for information on tokens created with Terra network which mirror the price of U.S.-traded securities.
The SEC said it was investigating whether federal law was violated by selling securities in the U.S. without registering with the agency, prompting a suit against the SEC from Kwon and Terraform in response.
The Terra network controls more than $2.7 billion through a decentralized autonomous organization, allowing members to govern the operation of the entire community.
AT&T and DISH Agreement, FCC Adds More States in Robocall Fight, $50M from Emergency Connectivity Fund
Dish said its customers will now have access to AT&T’s gigabit fiber services.
May 19, 2022 – On Wednesday, AT&T and Dish Network announced an internet distribution agreement in which Dish customers will have access to AT&T internet services, including its gigabit fiber services.
“Adding AT&T Internet to our robust lineup of TV and home integration services enhances our ability to provide better overall service, technology and value to our customers,” Amir Ahmed, executive vice president of DISH TV, said in a press release.
“At AT&T, we’re constantly thinking of ways we can better serve and provide for our customers. Through this new arrangement with DISH, we’re able to do just that by seamlessly offering our super-fast broadband services to more customers across the nation,” said Jenifer Robertson, executive vice president and general manager of mass markets at AT&T Communications.
“This is another step towards our goal of becoming the best broadband provider in America,” said Robertson.
FCC adds more state partners to tackle illegal robocalls
The Federal Communications Commission announced Thursday new partnerships with nine additional state attorneys general to combat illegal robocalls.
The agency said Iowa, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina have all signed on to help with robocall investigations.
That raises the number of states that have signed a memoranda of understanding with the FCC to 36, after the agency last month signed on a handful more states for the initiative. The agency has already credited at least one state with helping it nail one suspected robocall violator.
As part of the agreement, the parties will “share evidence, coordinate investigations, pool enforcement resources, and work together to combat illegal robocall campaigns and protect American consumers from scams,” according to the FCC.
“We are better positioned to help protect consumers from scammers than ever before,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Together we are stronger. Together we will continue our work to protect American consumers.”
The FCC already has robocall investigation agreements with Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
FCC commits additional $50 million from Emergency Connectivity Fund
The FCC announced on Wednesday that it has approved an additional $50 million from the Emergency Connectivity Fund program that is intended to help students with virtual learning.
The FCC said this funding will go to help 46 schools, seven libraries and two consortia across the country for students in American Samoa, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The FCC estimates that, so far, nearly $4.9 billion has been committed to connect over 12.6 million students across the country.
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel added in a press release that “this program is providing funding for nearly 11 million connected devices and 5 million broadband connections throughout the country and moving us closer toward closing the Homework Gap.
“With help from the Emergency Connectivity Fund, millions of students across the country now have online tools to support their education,” added Rosenworcel.
FCC June Meeting, Ookla Speeds at Airports, FCC Cautioned About Overstepping on Digital Discrimination
The FCC laid out its agenda for the June open meeting.
May 18, 2022 – In a press release Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission announced the agenda for its June 2022 open meeting.
The FCC will explore ideas for wireless innovation at sea following increasing demand for spectrum to support offshore operations. The FCC will consider offshore spectrum policies to ensure efficient use of scarce spectrum resources.
In 2018, the FCC launched an inquiry to explain why some wireless 911 calls were misrouted to the wrong call center. The past four years showed a decrease in the frequency of this error but not its elimination. The FCC will seek comment on improvements that would reduce misrouted 911 calls and improve emergency response time.
During the June open meeting, the FCC will also consider preserving established local radio programming on FM6 radio service, if they meet certain conditions.
Ookla speedtest shows divide on speeds for Wi-Fi at airports
Analytics company Ooka analyzed airport Wi-Fi speeds at some of the busiest airports in the world and found that all surveyed airports met the recommended speed for streaming on mobile, but found a large divide between them.
The four fastest free airport Wi-Fis were all located in the United States: San Francisco International, Seattle-Tacoma International, Dallas/Fort Worth International, and Chicago O’Hare International. Following that came Dubai International, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and Los Angeles International.
According to Speedtest Intelligence data, there is a wide gap between median speeds of the first 8 airports and the other airports on the list with the fasted being 176.25 Mbps. Airport lounges were found to have faster Wi-Fi on average than the airport itself.
Ookla, a sponsor of Broadband Breakfast, used its Speedtest Intelligence, which provides global insights into fixed broadband and mobile performance data using billions of consumer-initiated tests.
Tech lobbyists says FCC must not overstep authority to prevent digital discrimination
Tech lobbyist TechFreedom filed comments on Monday claiming that the Federal Communication Commission is overstepping its authority to regulate digital discrimination, following the FCC’s inquiry on how to prevent such a practice.
“If Congress had wanted the FCC to implement a new civil right law for broadband, it would have legislated a clear prohibition on discrimination – the essential element in all civil rights laws,” TechFreedom President Berin Szóka said in a release. “Instead, Congress wrote a law entirely about ‘facilitation.’”
The FCC’s inquiry follows an order under the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act to make rules to “facilitate” equal access to broadband and “prevent digital discrimination.”
“It is simply not plausible that Congress could have intended to change how broadband deployment is regulated in an obscure amendment tacked onto a spending bill on the Senate floor with no discussion or legislative history,” Szóka argued.
He concluded that there are other routes the FCC can take to prevent digital discrimination and facilitate equal access. Szóka called on the commission to “focus on directing funding towards remedying unequal access to broadband and preventing potential digital discrimination- not only under the infrastructure act but also the FCC’s various other broadband programs.”
Judge Opinion on Crypto Transfer, Internet Society Joins Partner2Connect, Cable One Invests $950 Million for 10G
The opinion stated that the Department of Justice can prosecute someone who sent millions in crypto to a sanctioned state.
May 17, 2022 – A federal judge has released an opinion stating that an American citizen who transferred millions in cryptocurrency to a country blacklisted by the U.S. can be prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
“The Department of Justice can and will criminally prosecute individuals and entities for failure to comply with the [Office of Foreign Assets Control] regulations, including as to virtual currency,” Federal Judge Zia Faruqui said.
The American citizen allegedly sent more than $10 million in bitcoin to a country blacklisted by the U.S. government. It was not reported which, but some of these sanctioned countries include Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Russia.
The judge debunked two crypto myths present in the case: “Issue one: virtual currency is untraceable? WRONG… Issue two: sanctions do not apply to virtual currency? WRONG.”
Internet Society joins Partner2Connect coalition to expand internet access
The non-profit Internet Society announced Tuesday it has partnered with the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, an alliance led by the International Telecommunications Union that aims to increase connectivity and digital transformation in underserved communities around the world.
“In joining the coalition, the Internet Society is making pledges to support 100 complementary solutions to connect the unconnected, and to train 10,000 people to build and maintain Internet infrastructure, all by 2025,” according to a press release.
“We thank the Internet Society for its contributions to the Partner2Connect Coalition,” Doreen Bogdan-Martin, director of the ITU telecommunication development bureau, said in the release.
“We need more creative connectivity solutions if we are going to connect the unconnected, and the Internet Society’s proven success in growing user communities and skills training makes it a great partner in advancing the Coalition’s goals and empowering communities around the world,” Bogdan-Martin added.
Cable One invests $950 million in network for future 10G
Cable One, a broadband communications provider, said Tuesday it has invested more than $950 million over the past three years to support future connections of 10 Gigabits per second and to extend broadband to underserved areas.
“We are implementing the upgrades needed to our networks in order to deliver multi-Gig symmetrical speeds to our residential customers over the next few years,” Cable One president and CEO Julie Laulis said in a press release. “Our investment strategy ensures our customers have access to a state-of-the-art network designed to handle future technological advances and reflects our deep commitment to addressing digital equity across our footprint.”
Cable One is made up of brands including Sparklight, Fidelity, Hargray, and ValueNet that provide service to more than 1.1 million residential and business customers in 24 states, the release said.
- AT&T and DISH Agreement, FCC Adds More States in Robocall Fight, $50M from Emergency Connectivity Fund
- FCC Seeks Comment on Higher Broadband Speeds and Increased Security Measures for Certain Carriers
- Finance Experts Weigh Merging Regulatory Agencies to Tackle Cryptocurrencies
- 34 States Submit Letters of Intent to Participate in NTIA’s Main Broadband Program
- Red States May Oppose Affordability, Labor and Climate Policies Provided for in NTIA Broadband Rules
- States Should Use Treasury Department’s Broadband Funds to Compliment Infrastructure Bill
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