Election years beget a compressed Congressional schedule. The House and Senate just got back to work in D.C. after a six-week break, and will be taking another six-week break as soon as we hit October 1 (picking up again after the election), so everything the committees want to do has to get done now. Like bringing in all five FCC commissioners for another episode of everyone’s favorite series, The FCC Explains And Defends Literally Everything It’s Doing. [More]
A few months back, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed new rules that would limit how banks, credit card companies, and other financial services could shield themselves from legitimate lawsuits by forcing customers to sign away their constitutional rights. Now, the House of Representatives has passed an appropriations bill that, if signed, would stop the CFPB from enforcing these rules and give banks back their “get out of jail free” cards. [More]
SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is what has replaced what were once called food stamps with debit cards. Not all stores are authorized to accept food stamps, and proposed new regulations would change the requirements to accept them. While the foods that recipients can use their balance on wouldn’t change, the food that retailers are required to stock before they can accept SNAP would. [More]
Do digitally enhanced models in ads for fashion brands and other products hurt consumers? A bill that was introduced in Cogress in 2014 would require the FTC to look into the prevalence of advertisements that show digitally altered humans, and the potential harm that they could cause to consumers, especially to the mental health of children and teens. Now the bill’s sponsors are engaging in a new push to get it passed. [More]
This week’s episode of “Congress Tries To Cope With The 21st Century” is all about e-mail, and how much privacy yours gets.
A group of Senators has announced today that they are introducing a new bill into the Senate designed to prevent mass hacking of Americans’ digital devices. But the lawmakers aren’t targeting shadowy collectives or foreign nationals with their proposed legislation; they’re seeking to limit the scope of actual Federal agencies’ powers.
The House of Representatives passed a bill this morning that seeks to limit the FCC’s net neutrality authority and could limit the commission’s ability to investigate consumer complaints about unreasonable charges from and behavior by their ISPs.
Usually, D.C. moves slowly. There’s a kind of plodding, methodical rhythm to Congress and the federal agencies, and very little turns on a dime. So it stands out that less than 48 hours after introducing a bill into the Senate, over 42,000 people have already objected to basically everything about it.
It may seem like Congress never gets anything done, but sometimes they really do! Case in point: a bill, sponsored by lawmakers who are still angry about the FCC’s net neutrality ruling last year, has managed to come out of committee and is scheduled for a House vote. And should the House and Senate both vote on that bill, it will go to the White House… where the president’s top advisors recommend it promptly be vetoed.
Report: New Bill Would Let Judges Order Tech Companies To Break Encryption; White House Not Thrilled
The public fight Apple and the FBI recently had over one particular phone may have resolved itself, but the national discussion over encryption is just warming up. Now there’s a bipartisan effort to make a decision wandering through Congress… but the politics of it say that this particular bill is going to go nowhere fast.
Agencies like the FCC operate under the auspices of Congress, which has oversight authority. And when an agency like the FCC touches a political third rail — in their case, regulation of powerful communications companies — they can expect to have to answer to Congress. Sometimes repeatedly. And so the FCC found itself on Capitol Hill today, being grilled by a panel of passionate Representatives.
The angriest battle in tech right now is taking place between Apple and the FBI. Two weeks in to a very public fight, the argument is only heating up. Today, the debate went over to Capitol Hill.
Since June, 2015, net neutrality — or specifically, the FCC’s Open Internet Rule — has been the law of the land. While the rule is a win for consumers, plenty of businesses and politicians still don’t care for it, to say the least. So while the court challenge against it takes its own sweet time to mosey through the judicial system, opponents are taking another approach. What’s the best way to undo a law you hate? Get a new law.
Hey, remember how the Food and Drug Administration gave restaurants a yearlong extension on the deadline for getting their act together regarding calorie counts on menus nationwide? They were supposed to get their acts together and post that information on menus nationwide by December of this year. Now, though, a new bill passed in the House of Representatives seeks to change that before eateries are forced to comply. Which wouldn’t be for another few years. [More]
That feeling you get on an airplane, the one where it feels like the whole thing is a tin of sardines ad you are just one little fish packed up tightly against all the others? You’re clearly not alone, says everyone who has ever been seated in economy on a flight, which is why one lawmaker is trying to establish minimum seat size standards for all airlines to abide by. [More]
The U.S. Postal Service has adapted to a future where we send and receive fewer first-class letters, but need many more packages delivered to our doorsteps. In testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs this week, Postmaster General Megan Brennan told the assembled senators that the postal service is still looking for new things to deliver to make more money, but hopes that the Senate can pass legislation meant to make it less broke. [More]