AT&T To Pay $25M To Settle FCC Investigation Into Call Center ID Theft

AT&T To Pay $25M To Settle FCC Investigation Into Call Center ID Theft

FCC investigators have found that AT&T call center employees in Mexico, Colombia, and the Philippines illegally accessed and sold personal data — including names and (mostly partial) Social Security numbers — for around 280,000 customers. Thus, the telecom giant has agreed to settle with the Federal Communications Commission for $25 million, the Commission’s largest privacy and data security enforcement ever (at least until the next mammoth, inevitable cock-up). [More]

FCC Proposes Treating Online TV Like Cable TV; Amazon Objects If It’ll Stop You From Binge-Watching ‘The Wire’

FCC Proposes Treating Online TV Like Cable TV; Amazon Objects If It’ll Stop You From Binge-Watching ‘The Wire’

There’s another internet-related firestorm a-brewing at the FCC. This one is not as broad or as contentious as the now infamous net neutrality ruling, but it is bringing all the big players out to have their say. And what, you might ask, has everyone worked up? It’s the big bandwidth bugaboo of the twenty-teens: online video. [More]

It’s Almost Lawsuit Season: Broadband Trade Groups Prepping Their Legal Arguments Against Net Neutrality

It’s Almost Lawsuit Season: Broadband Trade Groups Prepping Their Legal Arguments Against Net Neutrality

The FCC voted on the Open Internet Order — net neutrality — about six weeks ago. But nobody ever accused the wheels of bureaucracy of turning quickly and so it is only this week that the rule has been sent off to the fine folks at the Federal Register. That means we’re finally in the home stretch handoff; the rule will become the law of the land 60 days after the Federal Register publishes it. And that means we’re finally in the window for the big wave of down-and-dirty lawsuits and legal challenges we’ve been awaiting since basically forever. [More]

AT&T Fails At Getting FTC’s Throttling Lawsuit Dismissed

AT&T Fails At Getting FTC’s Throttling Lawsuit Dismissed

Back in October, the Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T’s wireless division for allegedly misleading customers by charging for “unlimited” plans but then reducing data speeds after users passed certain monthly thresholds. AT&T subsequently asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that the FTC lacks the authority to bring this type of lawsuit. Yesterday, a federal judge disagreed and sided against AT&T. [More]

FCC Chair: Net Neutrality Is “Right Choice” Because Big ISPs Want “Unfettered Power”

FCC Chair: Net Neutrality Is “Right Choice” Because Big ISPs Want “Unfettered Power”

The net neutrality rule hasn’t yet taken effect, but it’s been under heavy political fire for the past few weeks. Lawmakers hauled FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and other FCC commissioners in before a series of Congressional committees to justify (or, for dissenting commissioners, to vilify) the open internet rule. Those hearings, in large part, were heated and adversarial. But in a speech at Ohio State’s law school today, Wheeler took the chance to say everything that committee members cut him off from. [More]

House Committee Asks Same Net Neutrality Questions As The 4 Previous Committees

House Committee Asks Same Net Neutrality Questions As The 4 Previous Committees

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler was once again called before Congress today. His task: to justify the commission’s vote to protect consumers from the potential, likely harms of monopoly ISPs out to make a buck in any way they can. Or, in other words, to defend the agency’s recent vote on net neutrality. [More]

(alexkerhead)

Another 130,000 Consumers Tell FCC: Don’t Allow Robocalling To Our Cellphones

Federal law currently bars companies from making automated, pre-recorded calls to your cellphone without obtaining explicit prior consent, but banks want to kick down that legal barrier so they can robocall without fear of penalties. In February, 60,000 consumers asked the FCC to just say no to opening this loophole, and today another 130,000 Americans are adding their voices in opposition to robocalls. [More]

No Surprise Here. Telecom Industry Sues To Block Net Neutrality Rules

No Surprise Here. Telecom Industry Sues To Block Net Neutrality Rules

A little more than a week after the FCC released the full text of its recently passed Open Internet (aka net neutrality) rule, the telecom industry has done exactly what you’d expect, by filing lawsuits to block the Commission from enforcing the order. [More]

AT&T Might Hate Title II For Broadband, But Is Happy To Use It For Millions In Refunds

AT&T Might Hate Title II For Broadband, But Is Happy To Use It For Millions In Refunds

AT&T just won an FCC proceeding against two smaller companies that were illegally charging them fees they should not have been. And while the telecom giant is poised to pick up a few million in refunds, that’s not the interesting part. This is: the section of law that worked out in AT&T’s big giant favor? That’d be exact same Title II that they claim will ruin internet business for everyone. [More]

What Net Neutrality Opponents Are Saying Now — And Why It’s A Lot Of Hot Air

(Steve)

While supporters of an open internet are excited about the FCC’s recent net neutrality ruling, some folks in the telecom and ISP world are a whole lot less happy. Many of the big businesses affected by the rule had their say in February when the vote happened, but the recent release of the full rule (all 400 pages of it) this week has become an opportunity for many groups afraid of new regulation to once again put their concerns front and center in the limelight. [More]

Why Do Robocalls Continue In An Age Of “Do Not Call” And Strict Telemarketing Rules?

Why Do Robocalls Continue In An Age Of “Do Not Call” And Strict Telemarketing Rules?

Even though millions of Americans are on the federal Do Not Call list to limit unwanted telemarketing calls, and even though it’s illegal for anyone to make a commercial prerecorded robocall to a consumer who hasn’t given their express consent to receive such calls, the problem persists and is getting worse, with no cure-all solution in the offing. [More]

Apple CEO Tim Cook presents HBO Now at today's press conference to launch the Apple Watch.

The HBO Now Announcement Shows Why Net Neutrality Is So Important

This afternoon, HBO announced the details of its HBO Now streaming service that will finally allow consumers without cable TV to access the premium pay-TV network without having to be burdened with a cable bill for channels they don’t watch. But the fact that HBO has opted to go with Apple as its launch partner and not Comcast or any of the major pay-TV carriers is a reminder of just how important net neutrality is. [More]

Congresswoman Backed By AT&T, Comcast Introduces Bill To Kill Net Neutrality

Congresswoman Backed By AT&T, Comcast Introduces Bill To Kill Net Neutrality

While some members of Congress have argued that the best way to deal with net neutrality is to create a law that guides what broadband providers can and can’t do with regard to data, one legislator from Tennessee — who has received significant money from neutrality’s biggest opponents — has introduced a bill that would kill neutrality and strip the FCC of its authority to regulate broadband as a necessary piece of telecommunications infrastructure. [More]

Is Netflix Trying To Have Its Net Neutrality Cake And Eat It Too?

Is Netflix Trying To Have Its Net Neutrality Cake And Eat It Too?

Last week’s vote by the FCC to approve new net neutrality rules was seen as a big win for streaming services like Netflix, as it prevents ISPs from throttling or blocking access to online content and from prioritizing any data. And indeed, Netflix has been one of the more vocal corporate cheerleaders for neutrality. But that apparently hasn’t stopped the company from making deals that calls into question Netflix’s actual stance on the issue. [More]

What We Know About AT&T/DirecTV’s Proposed Wireless Broadband Service

(jetsetpress)

Last fall, an AT&T exec claimed that if his company was allowed to merge with DirecTV it could deploy some sort of wireless data service that delivered around 15Mbps to rural customers, but since then there has been very little talk of what this service would actually look like or how and where it would be deployed. But a dig through regulatory filings on the merger turns up a little more info. [More]

4 Things We Still Don’t Know About Net Neutrality

4 Things We Still Don’t Know About Net Neutrality

The FCC voted yesterday to reclassify broadband and protect the open internet. In other words, at long last, we have a net neutrality rule. And that’s great! But there is still a lot we don’t know, and there are a lot of questions left unanswered. Here are the major things we don’t know, and parts we’re waiting to better understand. [More]

(Steve)

FCC Officially Votes To Protect Net Neutrality, Reclassify Broadband

In a landmark decision today, the FCC voted 3-2 to create enforceable, bright-line rules protecting the open internet using their Title II authority to reclassify broadband internet as a telecommunications service. [More]

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler speaking at the FCC's Open Meeting on February 26, 2015.

FCC Votes To Allow Cities To Expand Broadband Networks

As expected, the FCC today has confirmed an order permitting two cities to expand their existing municipal fiber broadband networks despite state-level laws that block them from doing so. [More]