Al Franken and FCC commissioner Clyburn want limits on forced arbitration


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

After being outed for massive hack and installing an NSA "rootkit," Yahoo cancels earnings call


What do you do if your ailing internet giant has been outed for losing, and then keeping silent about, 500 million user accounts, then letting American spy agencies install a rootkit on its mail service, possibly scuttling its impending, hail-mary acquisition by a risk-averse, old economy phone company? Just cancel your investor call and with it, any chance of awkward, on-the-record questions. (via /.) Read the rest

I have found a secret tunnel that runs underneath the phone companies and emerges in paradise


Calyx is a famous, heroic, radical ISP that has been involved in groundbreaking litigation -- they were the first company to ever get a secret Patriot Act warrant unsealed, fighting for 11 years to overturn the gag order. Read the rest

Autocratic regimes systematically deny internet access to opposition ethnic groups

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In Digital discrimination: Political bias in Internet service provision across ethnic groups (Sci-hub mirror), a new paper in Science, political scientists from the University of Konstanz and elsewhere document the practice of "ethnic favoritism" in internet provision, through which autocratic regimes use telcoms policies to discriminate against opposition groups. Read the rest

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


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

Mexican indigenous groups form co-op phone company to serve 356 municipalities


Telecomunicaciones Indígenas Comunitarias A.C. -- a nonprofit telcoms company operated by and for indigenous groups in Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Veracruz -- has received a license to operate cellular services in at least 356 municipalities. It's the first time the Mexican telcoms regulator has given a operations license to an indigenous social group. Read the rest

Time is running out for Net Neutrality in Europe: here's what you can do about it


The Net Neutrality fight in Europe epitomises everything wrong with the EU: a decision that will adversely effect the lives of hundreds of millions of people being taken by unelected bureaucrats, working in obscurity, attended by the well-paid lobbyists of the telcoms industry, which will only make continental headlines when it is a fair accompli. Read the rest

EU ISPs will slow parts of the Internet to a crawl if we don't stop bad net neutrality rules

The European Union is in the final stage of deciding on net neutrality, and as it stands their proposal contains major loopholes that threaten the open Internet in Europe and around the world. BEREC, the EU regulator, is holding a final public comment period that will end on July 18.

Unnamed Canadian telco sabotages' library's low-income internet service


Toronto's public libraries have followed New York and Chicago's lead in offering wifi hotspot lending to low-income families, allowing them to "check out the internet" and take it home with them. Read the rest

Google Fiber now forces subscribers into binding arbitration; days left to opt out


Borrowing a trick from the Comcast/AT&T playbook, Google Fiber now forces customers who are unhappy with the service to surrender their right to sue and to join class actions in favor of binding arbitration, a one-sided system of shadow courts that overwhelmingly delivers rulings in favor of the big companies that pay for it. 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

New York Attorney General to Time Warner: your Internet is "abysmal" and "troubling"

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Crusading law prof Tim Wu -- who coined the term "Network Neutrality" and literally wrote the book on telcoms, corruption, and networks as a force for corruption or liberation -- has a new gig: he's "Senior Enforcement Counsel and Special Advisor" to the New York Attorney General, and he's on the warpath. Read the rest

Cable One used customers' credit scores to decide how good their Internet would be


Cable One CEO Thomas Might boasted to investors that his company pulled down prospective customers' FICO scores and used them to determine the kind of service they'd extend to them, with "hollow value" customers (those with poor credit) getting less service. Read the rest

Internet economics 101: "bandwidth hogs" considered harmless


Big telcos and cable operators demand the right to impose data caps that punish their most enthusiastic customers for using too much Internet (with exceptions to the caps made for services that have paid bribes for "preferred carriage" of course), and they say that it's simple economics: if you use up more of a service, you should pay more for it. Read the rest

Telcoms companies try to rescue TV by imposing Internet usage caps on cord-cutters


What do you do if you're a giant corporation devoted to selling people huge, $100/month bundles of TV channels they don't want anymore, but you also have a monopoly on selling high-speed Internet access, which they want very badly? Read the rest

America's prisons are replacing vital in-person visits with expensive, nonfunctional video calling


A new documentary, "(In)Securus Technologies: An Assault on Prisoner Rights", tracks the rise of for-profit video "visitation" programs, which are being rolled out across America's unimaginably huge prison system, replacing the in-person visits that have been shown to be vital for prisoners' successful rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Read the rest

Tiny South Pacific island to lose free/universal Internet lifeline


The way most of the world knows about Niue, a 100 square mile island in the south Pacific with a population of about 1,100, is because of its country-code top-level domain (CCTLD), which is the ubiquitous .nu. Read the rest

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