Bipartisan Hotspot Bill, EU Agrees to Regulate AI, FCC Warns on Cybersecurity

A bipartisan bill that would give rural households a $300 tax credit to purchase a mobile hotspot

Bipartisan Hotspot Bill, EU Agrees to Regulate AI, FCC Warns on Cybersecurity
Photo of Congressman Jimmy Panetta, taken 2017.

December 11, 2023 – A bipartisan bill that would give rural households a $300 tax credit to purchase a mobile hotspot or internet booster was introduced earlier this month.

The Broadening Online Opportunities Through Simple Technologies, or BOOST, Act is spearheaded by Congressmen John Moolenaar, R-Michigan, Sanford Bishop, D-Georgia, Bill Huizenga, R-Michigan, and Jimmy Panetta, D-California.

“This tax credit is a straightforward step towards ensuring that families and businesses have access to internet services as we get closer to bridging the digital divide,” said Panetta.

“Dependable access to high-speed internet is vital for a whole range of day-to-day activities including individuals teleworking, children doing homework, and families accessing telemedicine,” said Bishop.

European Union Parliament proposes AI rules

Members of the European Parliament announced Friday that they have reached an agreement to regulate artificial intelligence, which will safeguard against the negative elements of its use.

The proposed rules will target problematic practices such as the collection of biometric information, scraping images from the internet or CCTV footage to generate facial databases, and uses related to social scoring based on social behavior.

Members of Parliament agreed that a narrow set of uses for biometric information in public spaces would be allowed, such as identifying someone who committed a crime following a judicial authorization.

The rules also require transparency measures, including providing documentation as to what was used to train the AI.

Fines for failing to comply with the rules will range from 1.5 million to 35 million euros, or 1.5 per cent to 7 per cent of global revenues.

The proposed rules will now be voted on by the full Parliament and council in an upcoming meeting, a press release said.

FCC issues warning about cybersecurity obligations

The Federal Communications Commission issued a warning Monday reminding mobile service providers about their obligation to protect users against cyber scams and cybercriminals commandeering phone accounts.

The warning builds off of findings from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Safe Review Board published in August, which shone light on a hacker group that was fraudulently swapping out SIM’s to carry out extortion schemes.

The FCC’s Privacy and Data Protection Task Force warning reminds providers that they are required to protect user information and work to prevent SIM swapping schemes while failure to do so could result in fines.

Providers are also required to notify users about changes to their account which may include when passwords or backup questions and answers are changed.

“Cell phone service providers are high-value targets for cybercriminals and scammers because in many instances they serve as the primary means consumers use today to access their most important and valuable financial and personal information,” said FCC enforcement bureau chief Loyaan A. Egal.

At their November meeting the FCC voted to set up a framework that would additionally work to prevent SIM fraud by alerting users when SIM changes or port-out requests are made.

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