The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Department of Transportation has launched an investigation into the Federal Aviation Administration's approval of Boeing's 737 MAX jets. Two of the new airliners crashed in similar circumstances, killing hundreds of passengers, and American regulators were conspiciously slow to ground the jet even after flights were halted in other countries.
Read the rest “Report: U.S. Dept. of Transportation and Justice Department investigating FAA over Boeing 737 MAX”
Federal prosecutors and Department of Transportation officials are scrutinizing the development of Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX jetliners, according to people familiar with the matter, unusual inquiries that come amid probes of regulators’ safety approvals of the new plane. A grand jury in Washington, D.C., issued a broad subpoena dated March 11 to at least one person involved in the 737 MAX’s development, seeking related documents, including correspondence, emails and other messages, one of these people said. The subpoena, with a prosecutor from the Justice Department’s criminal division listed as a contact, sought documents to be handed over later this month.
When Motherboard broke the story of a thriving underground in bounty-hunters and other unsavory sorts buying realtime location data from America's cellular carriers, many were outraged that the carriers had not lived up to their year-old promises to fix that massive hole in our location data.
Read the rest “Data-broker implicated in bounty-hunters' access to mobile location data lobbied FCC to fight consent for sharing location data”
There have been several attempts to force the US telcoms industry to respect our privacy: to stop our ISPs from spying on us and selling our usage data to marketers, to stop the mobile carriers from spying on our location and selling the data to marketers (and, it turns out, stalkers and bounty hunters), and every attempt has fizzled, as telcoms lobbyists and telcoms-funded lawmakers have sold us out, saying that the privacy rules are unnecessary because the carriers wouldn't do anything too sketchy lest they suffer reputational damage.
Read the rest “Why the hell do we continue to believe the carriers' promises to respect our privacy?”
In their National Bureau of Economic Research working paper From Revolving Doors to Regulatory Capture? Evidence from Patent Examiners (Sci-Hub Mirror), Business School profs Haris Tabakovic (Harvard) and Thomas Wollmann (Chicago) show that patent examiners are more likely to grant patents for companies that they subequently go to work for; they also go easier on patents applied for by companies associated with their alma maters (where they have more connections and will find it easier to get a job after their turn in government service).
Read the rest “Research shows that patent examiners are more likely to grant patents to companies they later work for”
Consumer Reports' latest telcoms survey finds that people hate their cable company with the fire of a thousand suns, and that they hate them even more than they did the last time they were asked, which is remarkable, because everyone hated them the last time they were asked.
Read the rest “Everybody hates their cable company, unless the company is Google, or the city, or a tiny mom-and-pop”
If you're a dominant near-monopolist like Facebook, your first preference is to have no regulation at all -- but your close second choice is to have lots of regulation that you can afford, but that potential competitors can't, sparing you the tedious exercise of buying and killing any company that might grow up to compete with you some day.
Read the rest “EFF has published a detailed guide to regulating Facebook without destroying the internet”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is Elizabeth Warren's gift that keeps on giving -- one of the most effective US government agencies, handing out real punishment to banks that break the law, fighting loan-sharks that prey on poor people, and maintaining a database of vetted consumer complaints against banks that have ripped them off.
Read the rest “Trump's finance watchdog wants to make the taxpayer-funded database of crooked banks go dark”
It's been ten years since the financial crisis, when barely regulated banks destroyed the world's economy, kicked off wars, and directly and indirectly killed millions.
Read the rest “The Wall Street Journal on the decade since the crash: inequality, giant banks, regulatory failures, looming catastrophe”
When it comes to killing Net Neutrality, Big Telco's major talking point is that "government regulation" has no place in telcoms; but the reality is that the nation's telecommunications providers are the recipients of regulatory gifts that run to $5B/year, and are expected to do very little in return for this corporate welfare.
Read the rest “Big Telco hates "regulation," but they love their billions in government handouts”
Today at 10AM local time, students across America walked out of their classes for 17 minutes, in memoriam of the 17 students murdered in the Parkland massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, exactly one month ago.
Read the rest “Scenes from today's national gun control student walkout”
It's CPAC! The annual far-right hootenanny for preppers, false-flaggers, climate deniers, truthers, and the sort of person who closes their eyes and thinks of The Fountainhead, featuring Marion Maréchal-Le Pen of France, Nigel Farage, Sean Hannity, and mass-murder enthusiast Wayne LaPierre.
Read the rest “You know who hates Net Neutrality? The NRA.”
Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's tenure has been marked by a disregard for the rules under which his agency is legally bound to operate: his Net Neutrality killing order was made without satisfying the evidentiary burden required by law, on the basis of laughable lies (including more than a million fake anti-Neutrality comments from bots pretending to be dead people, nonexsitent people and people who support Net Neutrality) that even his own agency knew to be false, then stonewalling law enforcement attempts to identify the botmasters -- no surprise that Pai's Neutracide is going to be tied up in court for years.
Read the rest “FCC opens corruption investigation into Ajit Pai, who likes to joke about being a corporate puppet”
Brenda Fitzgerald was Donald Trump's Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, charged with reducing smoking among Americans and doing work that directly affected the financial fortunes of tobacco companies when she bought a stake in Japan Tobacco.
Read the rest “CDC chief Brenda Fitzgerald quits after outed for buying into a tobacco company”
Municipal networks are cheaper and faster than the ones that cable and telephone duopolists build after being given exclusive franchises to serve cities, which is why the FCC had to issue an order banning cities to stop building them -- in the absence of such an order, it seems likely that most of America would end up using municipal internet connections (unlike today, when 100,000,000 Americans are served by a single ISP).
Read the rest “Despite the FCC, more than 750 predominantly conservative US communities have built their own publicly owned ISPs”
Sears Canada has been in serious financial trouble since 2013, when workers wrote to the CEO and regulators and senior politicians to ask that their pensions be safeguarded. They were ignored, as they had been since 2009, when they first started asking for greater scrutiny of the pension fund.
Read the rest “Sears Canada execs paid hundreds of millions in dividends before declaring bankruptcy and leaving 16,000 workers' pensions unfunded”