Frontier receives $283.4m/year in taxpayer money, neglects network, rips off customers -- and Trump's FCC won't investigate

Frontier Communications is a telcoms company so naturally they're a terrible company (a telcoms company is just a collection of regulatory subsidies wrapped up in a layer of greed and malpractice); the company is one of the nation's leaders in the use of fraudulent accounting to evade taxes, and it takes in $283.4 million every year in tax-funded subsidies to provide services to rural Americans, while ripping them off like crazy and cutting corners by neglecting its network and allowing it to fall into dangerous disrepair. Read the rest

Vodafone sources claim Huawei created a "backdoor" for its home routers and network switching equipment and then lied about removing it

Vodafone discovered that the home routers that Huawei provided for its Italian residential broadband business had a "backdoor" -- an open telnet interface that could allow attackers to take over the router and surveil the user's network -- and after they complained to Huawei about it, Huawei released an update that they claimed removed the interface, but that this was a lie. Read the rest

Telcoms lobbyists oppose ban on throttling firefighters' internet during wildfires

The CTIA is America's top telcoms lobbying organization, and they're trying to kill AB1699, a proposed California law that would ban carriers from throttling firefighters' internet access, as Verizon did in 2018, then lied about, then launched a charm offensive to defend. Read the rest

Fool me twice: New York State commutes Charter's death sentence after Charter promises to stop breaking its promises

Back in September 2018, the state of New York ordered Charter to leave: the company had made a bunch of promises about investing in high-speed broadband for New Yorkers as a condition of approval for its acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and then it lied like crazy, defrauding the state and attracting a $172.4M penalty (the largest penalty ever paid by a US ISP); since then, the company has been begging New York state to commute its death sentence and give it another chance. Read the rest

America's best mobile carrier is also the first phone company to back Right to Repair legislation

As I've mentioned every Read the rest

Record companies sue Charter because providing high-speed internet contributes to piracy

A new complaint against Charter Communications filed on Friday by Sony, Universal and Warner asks for legal redress for Charter's alleged failure to disconnect people repeated accused of copyright infringement; the complaint specifically lists the provision of a higher-speed tier of internet service as evidence that Charter was profiting from infringement. Read the rest

Small business in Wisconsin cancels its unusably bad internet service from Frontier; Frontier demands $4,300 cancellation fee

Wisconsin's Pardeeville Area Shopper is a one-person family business run by Candace Lestina, whose mother founded the weekly paper; like all businesses, the Shopper needs internet service, and like most American businesses, the Shopper is at the mercy of a terrible, monopolistic ISP, in this case, Frontier. Read the rest

Appeals court to Donald Trump's FCC: "Drop dead."

The federal appeals court in the DC circuit has overturned the FCC's decision to make it effectively impossible for people on tribal lands to make use of the federal "Lifeline} program that provides cheap broadband access to poor communities. Read the rest

Google Fi to carriers: don't sell our customers' location data to third parties

In the wake of this week's Motherboard scoop that the major US carriers sell customers' location data to marketing companies that sell it on to bounty hunters and other unsavory characters, Google has disclosed that they have told the carriers that supply service for its Google Fi mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that they expect that Fi customers' data will not be sold this way. Read the rest

Why the hell do we continue to believe the carriers' promises to respect our privacy?

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

Bell Canada asks Canadians for permission to harvest and sell their browsing, location, viewing and other data

Bell Canada is the giant, diversified former national monopoly carrier that has been allowed to buy magazines, TV channels, and other users of its infrastructure, violating the cardinal separation of telcoms between services and carriers. Read the rest

Trump gave AT&T a $20B tax break and killed Net Neutrality, now they're prepping mass layoffs

The same year that Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai killed broadband privacy and cheated Network Neutrality to death, the Trump tax plan delivered a $20B windfall to AT&T -- both Trump and Pai claimed that the measures would stimulate the economy and trickle down to the rest of us. Read the rest

Bounty hunters track targets by buying realtime location data generated by T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T

If you want to follow someone in realtime, you don't need to shell out to shady data-brokers like Securus (which use a marketing company that exploits a privacy law loophole to obtain phone location data); there are a whole constellation of location data resellers who will do business with anyone, regardless of the notional privacy protections they promise the carriers they'll put in place. Read the rest

Ajit Pai killed Net Neutrality and Trump gave away a huge tax break; Verizon got billions and killed 10,000 jobs

When Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai killed Net Neutrality (by illegally ignoring legitimate comments in support of it in favor of millions of anti-Net Neutrality comments sent by identity-stealing bots), he promised that it would spur growth in the telcoms sector -- and of course, he should know, because he used to be a Verizon exec. Verizon agreed: they objected to Obama-era Neutrality orders by saying the measures would "severely curtail job growth." Read the rest

Americans pay some of the highest prices for wireless data in the world, and it's going to get worse

In The State of 4G Pricing, Finnish researchers Rewheel identify the US as having some of the most expensive wireless data (fifth highest prices) in the world, and they predict things will get worse thanks to looming mergers in the already super-concentrated wireless sector. Read the rest

Trump's FCC seems to have ended the practice of releasing its ISP speed-tests, leaving Americans in the dark about what they're paying for

When Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai killed Net Neutrality (by deliberately ignoring comments from actual humans in favor of comments left by obvious bots), he said that removing regulation from telcos would boost investment, finally ending the US's status as the worst broadband nation in the world. Read the rest

A leaky database of SMS messages is a reminder that SMS is really, really insecure

Berlin-based security researcher Sébastien Kaul discovered that Voxox (formerly Telcentris) -- a giant, San Diego-based SMS gateway company -- had left millions of SMSes exposed on an Amazon cloud server, with an easily queried search front end that would allow attackers to watch as SMSes with one-time login codes streamed through the service. Read the rest

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