FCC chairman Ajit Pai, seen here at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, on Monday backed the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)
A coalition of nearly two dozen progressive advocacy groups launched a new campaign Thursday calling on President Joe Biden to fill the one remaining vacancy at the Federal Communications Commission with an official who is—at minimum—completely unconnected to the powerful telecom industry and fully dedicated to restoring net neutrality protections.
“The Biden administration has said getting people online during the pandemic is a top priority, and if that’s the case we need a real champ appointed to the FCC, ASAP—someone who isn’t beholden to big telecom companies because they used to work for them. The last thing we need is some Democratic version of Ajit Pai,” said Caitlin Seeley George of Fight for the Future, referring to the former Verizon attorney who served as Trump’s FCC chair. Continue reading →
Advocates for boosting access to high-speed internet on Friday welcomed a unanimous vote by the Federal Communications Commission establishing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help low-income households across the country get and stay online during the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the $3.2 billion program, for which Congress allocated funding in the December relief package, eligible households will get discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service. On tribal lands, the discount is $75 a month. Families will also be given a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or tablet. Continue reading →
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has vowed to reinterpret Section 230 of the Communications Act on President Trump’s orders in a move that threatens to curb what’s left of Americans’ first amendment rights online.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC
Citing “censorship outcry” from the three branches of government, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced yesterday via tweet the agency’s intention to move forward with regulation of social media by looking to modify Section 230 of the Communications Act, which protects the likes of Facebook and Twitter from the parts of the U.S. code that opens publishers to legal challenges over the content posted to their platforms, which inevitably puts content creators, themselves, in the cross hairs of the legal system without the benefit of their first amendment rights. Continue reading →
British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee gives a speech at MIT in 2018. (Photo: Belinda Lawley/Southbank Centre/Flickr/cc)
The inventor of the World Wide Web is warning that global inequality is being exacerbated by a lack of access to the internet for the poor and urging world leaders to act to close the gap and ensure equity of opportunity for those in developing countries.
“This inequality is a barrier to wider equality, and we know it most affects those who are already marginalized,” Tim Berners-Lee said during remarks at the launch of U.N. Secretary General António Guterres’ Roadmap for Digital Cooperation Thursday. Continue reading →
FCC chairman Ajit Pai, seen here at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)
Public interest groups celebrated Monday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit quashed an effort by the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission to relax local media ownership rules.
“Today’s ruling is a tremendous victory for the public,” Free Press vice president of strategy and senior counsel Jessica J. González said in a statement. “It admonishes the Trump FCC for its complete failure to consider the impact of its ownership policies on women and people of color.” Continue reading →
“It’s hard to put into words how mind bogglingly absurd this executive order is,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, following a leaked White House draft of what her group has dubbed the ‘Censor the Internet’ order. Image: Public domain
Civil liberties groups are warning of a major threat to online freedoms and First Amendment rights if a leaked draft of a Trump administration edict—dubbed by critics as a “Censor the Internet” executive order that would give powerful federal agencies far-reaching powers to pick and choose which kind of Internet material is and is not acceptable—is allowed to go into effect.
According to CNN, which obtained a copy of the draft, the new rule “calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the Trump administration’s draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies.” Continue reading →
The Pentagon is experimenting with the use of radars attached to high-altitude balloons this summer, sending up to 25 balloons across six Midwestern states to conduct surveillance on vehicles over a 25-mile swath under each balloon. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)
Millions of Americans across the Midwest this summer are being subjected to surveillance from above as the Pentagon experiments with the use of surveillance radars attached to high-altitude balloons.
As The Guardianreported Friday, the defense and aerospace contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation was authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to send up to 25 balloons across six states to track vehicles. Continue reading →
As the Justice Department struck a deal with Sprint and T-Mobile on Friday, consumer advocates vowed, “we’ll continue to fight to stop this dangerous merger from going through.” Photo: Isriya Paireepairit/flickr
Consumer advocates decried the Department of Justice’s decision Friday to sign off on T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed merger, warning that allowing the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers to join forces will drive up prices and negatively impact low-income and marginalized communities.
In a statement, the DOJ announced that it had reached an agreement with five state attorneys general and the companies that makes the merger contingent on the divestment of “Sprint’s prepaid business, including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint prepaid, to Dish Network Corp., a Colorado-based satellite television provider.” Continue reading →