Your cable operator is spying on you and selling the data from your set-top box

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As the fight over the FCC's Unlock the Box plan heats up, the cable and satellite TV companies have pulled out all the stops in a bid to force you to continue spending more than $200/year to rent an insecure, power-hungry, badly designed set-top box, rather than introducing competition by letting you buy your cable-box on the open market. Read the rest

Cable industry wants you to know that competition is bad for its customers

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Charter is trying to buy Time-Warner for $79B, and the FCC says the merger is conditional on Charter expanding its service to compete with existing cable operators in various markets around America. Read the rest

Appeals court: FCC has jurisdiction to impose net neutrality on ISPs

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The Federal District Appeals Court has upheld the FCC's jurisdiction to impose net neutrality rules on telcos, leaving intact last year's landmark FCC ruling prohibiting carriers from downgrading the connections to networked services that didn't pay for "premium carriage." Read the rest

List of things the FCC refused to reveal to Freedom Of Information Act requesters

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Gizmodo's Matt Novak filed a clever request to the FCC under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): what are all the FOIA requests you've "withheld in full"? So they sent him the list. Read the rest

FCC approves broadband internet subsidy for low-income Americans

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The Federal Communications Commission today approved a $9.25 monthly broadband subsidy to help millions of low-income U.S. households get online. The long-fought expansion of the FCC's Lifeline program is intended to help bridge the digital divide.

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From dingo babysitter to net neutrality hero: Tom Wheeler's legacy

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When Obama appointed Tom Wheeler, formerly the top lobbyist for both the cable industry and the mobile phone industry to run the FCC, many people (including me) were outraged at the idea of putting such an insider in charge of keeping his own former employers honest (it didn't help that AT&T and Comcast both issued triumphant press releases at the news). Read the rest

The FCC wants to unlock your cable box, and Silicon Valley agrees

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Silicon Valley has managed to break apart the long-locked cable TV bundle. On Thursday, The Federal Communications Commission okayed a proposal to let cable TV customers swap out their Comcast or TWC cable boxes for third-party boxes and applications.

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T-Mobile's "Binge On" is just throttling for all video

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T-Mobile claims that its Binge On service (video that doesn't count against subscribers' data-caps) is a bit of pre-processing magic that makes the videos you watch load with less jitter and buffering, but that's not what's going on under the hood. Read the rest

Spy at will! FCC won't force companies to honor Do Not Track

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The FCC has rejected Consumer Watchdog's petition to force Internet companies like "Google, Facebook, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, and LinkedIn") to honor the "Do Not Track" flag that browsers can send to web-servers, informing them that users do not want their Internet activity to be tracked and shared with third parties. Read the rest

Sons of Anarchy FCC complaints: ”The most sadistic program on TV," also #butts

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"I hate to think that people are watching this and we walk among them." Read the rest

FCC trying to stop phone companies that rip off prisoners' families

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The private phone companies that charge prisoners' families up to up to $12.95 for 15 minutes' conversation are not the worst prison profiteers, but they're pretty high up in the rogues' gallery of greedy, immoral predators who view the poorest and most vulnerable Americans as penned-up wallets. Read the rest

Subliminal penises and other bizarre FCC complaints about TV's MythBusters

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MuckRock spotlights some of the complaints -- some utterly bizarre, others downright stupid -- filed with the FCC by viewers upset with MythBusters. My favorites are the one about the subliminal penis spotted in an explosion and a "near hate crime" against the Catholic Church:

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Christ, What an Asshole

"Internet access is not a necessity or human right" -Michael O’Rielly, Republican FCC Commissioner Read the rest

Cable bills cut after FCC complaints

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Christopher Ferguson's Comcast bill was bullshit. When he complained, the company offered him alternatives that cost more. So he turned them in to the FCC and got relief.

Two customers, one of Comcast and one of Time Warner Cable, told Ars that the cable providers gave them price breaks last week shortly after they complained to the FCC about what they claim are unfair billing practices. These two complaints weren’t about net neutrality violations, but both customers we talked to seemed to be spurred into action by the FCC expanding its complaint system. Moreover, the FCC’s net neutrality order also reclassified broadband providers as common carriers, allowing for penalties if their billing practices are “unjust” or “unreasonable." The FCC has not said exactly what constitutes unjust or unreasonable pricing.

Photo: Comcast Center, Philadelphia, Mordor. Courtesy @funruly. Read the rest

FCC fines AT&T $100M for throttling "unlimited" customers

The company advertised an "unlimited data" plan on its 5-12Mbps LTE network, but customers who hit a cap were throttled to 1/60th of that. Read the rest

FCC tells Paypal to knock it off with the robocalls

Although Paypal's new take-it-or-leave-it terms-of-service give it the right to give robocallers your phone number for endless harassment, the FCC has warned the company that this idea isn't just stupid and evil, it's also illegal. Read the rest

Comcast ghost-wrote politicians' letters in support of Time Warner Cable merger

Letters sent to the FCC in favor of Comcast's proposed Time Warner Cable merger came from Mayor Jere Wood of Roswell, GA; Councilor Todd Wodraska of Jupiter, FL; Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown and many other politicians -- all written in whole or part by Comcast's staffers and lobbyists. Read the rest

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