Senate Republicans have introduced a bill to ensure that the FCC won't be able to prevent your ISP from spying on your internet usage and selling your private information. What does that mean in practice? Read the rest
As the Republican Congress and Donald Trump's FCC move to dismantle the most basic protections for American internet users, no target is juicier than Net Neutrality, the simple idea that your ISP should send you the bits you ask for, rather than accepting bribes from big companies to slow down your net connection when you try to connect to their competitors. Read the rest
Donald Trump's new FCC boss, Ajit Pai, has nuked an Obama-era rule that banned ISPs from selling off your browsing data, location, financial and health information, children's information, Social Security Number and contents of your messages, without your permission. The now-defunct rule also required ISPs to notify you when they got hacked and your sensitive personal information got out into the wild. Read the rest
Robbo writes, "Lloyd Kaufman is best known as the uber super epic producer/director who runs Troma Films, creators of such cinema icons as 'The Toxic Avenger' and 'Surf Nazis Must Die.' Lloyd is also a die-hard advocate for Net Neutrality and he has posted an article to the Huffington Post entitled: Innovation And Our Better Future Depend On Preserving Net Neutrality - and it's a good read by a passionate and intelligent individual - who also happens to make movies like 'Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead.'" Read the rest
Trump campaigned on "draining the swamp" of the industry insiders who enjoy a revolving door relationship with the regulatory branch, moving from industry to government and back again. But his actions speak louder than his words. Read the rest
It's been more than 20 years since Congress told the FCC that it should do something about the cable and satellite companies' monopolies over set-top boxes (American households spend more than $200/year to rent these cheap, power-hungry, insecure, badly designed, trailing edge, feature-starved boxes), but it wasn't until this year that the FCC announced its Unlock the Box order and asked for comments. Read the rest
Arbitration was conceived of as a way to allow giant corporations to avoid costly court battles by meeting with a mediator and talking things out: but since the Supreme Court ruled (in a series of mid-1980s cases) that companies could force their customers and employees into arbitration by adding "binding arbitration" clauses to the fine print in take-it-or-leave contracts, the US justice system has gone dark, which an ever-larger proportion of legal action disappearing into the opaque bowels of the arbitration system, where the richest participant usually wins. Read the rest
An outstanding post on the EFF's Deeplinks blog by my colleague Ernesto Falcon explains the negligent chain of events that led us into the Stingray disaster, where whole cities are being blanketed in continuous location surveillance, without warrants, public consultation, or due process, thanks to the prevalence of "IMSI catchers" ("Stingrays," "Dirtboxes," "cell-site simulators," etc) that spy indiscriminately on anyone carrying a cellular phone -- something the FCC had a duty to prevent. Read the rest
Tea Party-dominated states across America passed laws banning cities from providing high-speed internet access to their residents, even in places where the cable/telco duopoly had decided not to sell broadband; last year, the FCC issued an order stating that these laws were null and void. Read the rest
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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