government

The 21st Century Internet Act aims to enshrine net neutrality in law

Congress may soon vote on a new bill that would set net neutrality down as a matter of law rather than a set of rules to be changed every few years by the FCC. The “21st Century Internet Act,” introduced by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), would ban blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, and eliminates all questions of jurisdiction. The bill, announced online and at an event in Washington, DC today, would modify the Communications Act of 1934 (greatly built upon by the 1996 Telecommunications Act) and add a new “Title VIII” full of stipulations specific to internet providers. This would settle the decades-long dispute over whether internet access is an “information service” or a “telecommunications service,” a legal distinction that either reins in (the former) or unleashes (the latter) the F...

Putin proposes a joint cybersecurity group with the US to investigate Russian election meddling

Over the course of Monday’s controversial Helsinki summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin pushed an agenda that would ostensibly see the U.S. and Russia working side by side as allies. The two countries make stranger bedfellows than ever as just days prior, Trump’s own Department of Justice indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials for the infamous 2016 Democratic National Committee hack. Nonetheless, the Russian president revived talks of a joint group between the U.S. and Russia dedicated to cybersecurity matters. For anyone with the security interests of the U.S. at heart, such a proposal, which Trump endorsed in a tweet one year ago, would truly be a worst-case scenario outcome of the puzzlingly cozy relationship between the two world leaders. “Once again, President Trump mentioned ...

‘Serious concerns’ at FCC threaten to halt Sinclair-Tribune merger

The FCC has been under serious scrutiny by citizens, advocates and politicians alike due to its laissez-faire attitude toward, in particular, the proposed Sinclair Broadcasting merger with Tribune. But the agency is showing some backbone today with a no-nonsense declaration that the merger can’t go through unless a few “serious concerns” are addressed. It’s not the outright disapproval many have recommended, but it’s better than an unconditional green light. In a short memo posted to the agency’s site, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai explained that even under his notoriously (or blessedly, depending on your politics) deregulatory regime, the proposed deal is not acceptable as is. Here it is in full: Based on a thorough review of the record, I have serious concerns about the Sinclair/Tribune transact...

Russian hackers used bitcoin to fund election interference, so prepare for FUD

The indictment filed today against 12 Russians accused of, among other things, hacking the DNC and undermining Hillary Clinton’s campaign also notes that the alleged hackers paid for their nefarious deeds with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This unsavory application of one of tech’s current darlings will almost certainly be wielded against it by opportunists of all stripes. It is perhaps the most popular and realistic argument against cryptocurrency that it enables anonymous transactions globally and at scale, no exception made for Russian intelligence or ISIS. So the news that a prominent and controversial technology was used to fund state-sponsored cyber attacks will not be passed over by its critics. You can expect bluster on cable news and some sharp words from lawmakers, who will...

As facial recognition technology becomes pervasive, Microsoft (yes, Microsoft) issues a call for regulation

Technology companies have a privacy problem. They’re terribly good at invading ours and terribly negligent at protecting their own. And with the push by technologists to map, identify and index our physical as well as virtual presence with biometrics like face and fingerprint scanning, the increasing digital surveillance of our physical world is causing some of the companies that stand to benefit the most to call out to government to provide some guidelines on how they can use the incredibly powerful tools they’ve created. That’s what’s behind today’s call from Microsoft President Brad Smith for government to start thinking about how to oversee the facial recognition technology that’s now at the disposal of companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple and government security and surveillance se...

Facebook would make a martyr by banning Infowars

Alex Jones’ Infowars is a fake news-peddler. But Facebook deleting its Page could ignite a fire that consumes the network. Still, some critics are asking why it hasn’t done so already. This week Facebook held an event with journalists to discuss how it combats fake news. The company’s recently appointed head of News Feed John Hegeman explained that, “I guess just for being false, that doesn’t violate the community standards. I think part of the fundamental thing here is that we created Facebook to be a place where different people can have a voice.” In response, CNN’s Oliver Darcy tweeted: “I asked them why InfoWars is still allowed on the platform. I didn’t get a good answer.” BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel meanwhile wrote that allowing the Infowars Page to exist shows that “Facebook simply is...

FCC looks to revamp children’s media rules, but advocates cry foul

One of the FCC’s many jobs as a media regulator is to make sure that there is adequate time being dedicated by broadcasters to educational content for kids. As the media landscape changes, however, so too should the regulations — and the FCC is looking to update its “Kid Vid” rules for the 21st century. But the agency’s proposal is half-baked, warn some advocates. This latest move, one of several in the FCC’s so-called “modernizing media regulation” efforts, got its start back in January, when Commissioner Michael O’Rielly wrote a blog post explaining why he felt it was high time children’s television regulations were revisited. The chief reason for this was essentially that with the plethora of different avenues by which kids can reach educational media these days, it doesn’t make sense t...

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s brutal education in net neutrality

DC Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been nominated for the position of Supreme Court Justice, and on this occasion I think it warranted that we revisit in detail the sound intellectual thrashing this man suffered at the hands of his colleagues just last year on the topic of the internet and net neutrality. Because Kavanaugh was very, very wrong then and gives every indication that he will take his ignorance unapologetically to the highest court in the land. To set the scene: In 2015 the United States Telecom Association sued the FCC, alleging the Open Internet Order that passed earlier that year, establishing net neutrality as we know it — or rather, knew it — was illegal. This highly watched case was heard late in 2015 and the decision was issued six months later, in June of 2016. ...

Shooting At Ekiti Government House In Ado Ekiti, A Propaganda Video By PDP

     Tweet     Here is a viral video of a shooting that happened at Ekiti state Government house today. [embedded content] [embedded content] Though it is unconfirmed, APC sources have accused the PDP party of circulating the propaganda video to instill fear in the heart of the people. According to those spreading the rumour, the shooting was carried out by some pro-APC policemen stationed in Ado Ekiti today??. For now this remains a propaganda video to prevent Nigerians from voting for Buhari and Ekiti indigenes from voting Fayemi in for his second term. The video was allegedly set up by Fayose and his people to prevent Ekiti indigenes from voting Fayemi in on Saturday. Politicians and their dirty games. Don’t believe everything you see online. Related Posts

Court victory legalizes 3D-printable gun blueprints

A multi-year legal battle over the ability to distribute computer models of gun parts and replicate them in 3D printers has ended in defeat for government authorities who sought to prevent the practice. Cody Wilson, the gunmaker and free speech advocate behind the lawsuit, now intends to expand his operations, providing printable gun blueprints to all who desire them. The longer story of the lawsuit is well told by Andy Greenberg over at Wired, but the decision is eloquent on its own. The fundamental question is whether making 3D models of gun components available online is covered by the free speech rights granted by the First Amendment. This is a timely but complex conflict because it touches on two themes that happen to be, for many, ethically contradictory. Arguments for tighter restri...

California malls are sharing license plate tracking data with ICE

A chain of California shopping centers is sharing its license plate reader data with a well-known U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contractor, giving that agency the ability to track license plate numbers it captures in near real-time. A report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed that real estate group Irvine Company shares that data with Vigilant Solutions, a private surveillance tech company that sells automated license plate recognition (ALPR) equipment to law enforcement and government agencies. Irvine Company owns nearly 50 shopping centers across California with locations in Irvine, La Jolla, Newport Beach, Redwood City, San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. ICE finalized its contract with Vigilant Solutions in January of this year. EFF investigative researc...

Trump’s Supreme Court nominee opposes net neutrality, supports NSA bulk collection

President Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee will face more scrutiny for his ideological leanings around issues like abortion than his thoughts on tech, but we do know a bit about the latter. On Monday, Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat that opened when Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in late June. A list of Trump’s potential picks circulated previously and Kavanaugh was believed to be a frontrunner. Kavanaugh, who previously clerked for Kennedy, was appointed to the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003 by former president George W. Bush and eventually confirmed in 2006. As future digital privacy cases wend their way toward the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh’s stated views on the NSA’s spying program could prove relevant. In 2015, Kavanaugh sided in fav...