Trump's anti-net-neutrality FCC: filling the swamp with his own alligators

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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

When the FCC asked about unlocking set-top boxes, the Copyright Office ran to the MPAA

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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

Al Franken and FCC commissioner Clyburn want limits on forced arbitration

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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

The FCC helped create the Stingray problem, now it needs to fix it

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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

Court rules that FCC can't force states to repeal laws banning municipal ISPs

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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

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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