Everything you do online — on your phone, on your computer, with anything — leaves a digital wake. Put those trails together and you’ve got one massive big data industry that can (and does) track it all and sell it to the highest bidder. After decades of digital detritus building up, regulators and Congress both are contemplating some steps that would help protect consumers’ info.
Congress is just all up in the FCC’s business lately, it seems. Earlier this week, lawmakers in both houses proposed their own version of net neutrality, one that would also strip the FCC of its own authority to regulate broadband in the future. Today, there’s a bill looking to jump into one of the FCC’s other big issues right now: state laws that prohibit communities from developing municipal broadband.
It’s been a busy day for tech talk in Washington. Today, both the House and the Senate held hearings on net neutrality and a proposed bill to regulate it. A parade of former regulators, lobbyists, business representatives, lawyers, and consumer advocates sat on Capitol Hill and once again hashed through the debate, while elsewhere in the District, a current FCC commissioner was giving a lunchtime speech about why the FCC shouldn’t regulate at all.
Congress Lines Up FCC Commissioners-Turned-Lobbyists For Hearing To Say Why Congress’s Bad Net Neutrality Proposal Is Great
Depending on your point of view, Congress has been either promising or threatening to come up with a legislative solution to net neutrality, which would do an end-run around the current FCC debate. As of this afternoon, the first draft of the bill is out and the first hearings are on the schedule. So how does it look for fans of an open internet?
Large swaths of Congress are not pleased with the FCC’s moves towards regulating net neutrality, and they got even less pleased after the President threw his weight behind Title II and the FCC started to move in that direction. With the FCC set to vote in February, time for Congress to stick its oar in is running out. So now, in addition to the proposed bill that would bar the FCC outright from using Title II, there will soon be proposed new legislation afoot that seeks to do the FCC’s job for it, without letting the FCC in at all.
The new month and new year brought with them a new Congress, and with that comes an all-new legislative agenda. Lawmakers get to start over with the process of introducing bills and hopefully passing some laws, and consumer advocates are calling on the President and all the legislators on Capitol Hill to get moving on an agenda to help American consumers.
Lawmakers have been happy to opine about the net neutrality fight since the old rule got tossed out a year ago. Now that the FCC is not only set to vote on a new proposal next month, but also likely to take the Title II approach in that proposal, the window is closing for Congress to act, and lawmakers are feeling the urgency. And that is how we find ourselves once again with a bill on the floor seeking to remove the FCC’s authority to classify broadband how it sees fit.
For years, lawmakers have tossed around the idea of meaningful payday loan reform, from banning loans with annual percentage rates higher than 36% or looking to close loopholes that allow predatory lenders to claim tribal affiliation. This week, as Congress began its latest session, one lawmaker suggested a payday alternative that doesn’t involve another type of loan at all. [More]
Not unlike a mummy, the reanimated corpse of a bad bill that just doesn’t know when to stay dead is once again coming to the floor of a Congress near you this week. Tomorrow, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — better known as CISPA — is once again going to be introduced before the House of Representatives.
Congress passed a massive omnibus government spending bill over the weekend. And while most of the attention is on the fact that lawmakers have managed to avoid the mess of another government shutdown, the 1600-page, $1.1 trillion bill has a lot in it. Particularly of note? After many long years, the federal government has effectively lifted its prohibition on medical marijuana nationwide.
With less disposable income and difficulty meeting the ever rising cost of tuition, parents often have a tough time saving for their child’s future education. A law poised to make its way though Congress aims to give parents using certain college savings plans more flexibility in their investments. [More]
Congress’ deal to keep the federal government up and running may be coming at the expense of some of the nation’s poorest prospective college students. The spending package is poised to cut $303 million from the Pell Grant program. [More]
Back in January, at the dawn of the year, we gazed into our not-quite-crystal ball and took a look at some pieces of pending legislation that could help consumers this year. Now, in July, we’re at the halfway point of the year, and so it’s a good time to take a look at those bills and see how the wheels of government have turned in 2014.
The FCC is spending the summer considering their Open Internet Rule, the piece of cable company f*ckery with a giant loophole allowing companies to negotiate paid prioritization of their network traffic. Today, Democratic lawmakers are planning to introduce a bill that would outright ban those fast lanes.