The Federal Communications Commission has been stewing over a proposal that would shake up the cable set-top box market for months. They’ve got a vote on the final proposal coming up this week, but in the face of partisan bickering and opposition from the cable industry, the matter has become controversial. So today, a whole passel of folks called on the FCC to approve the measure ASAP, for consumers’ sake.
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 lot of musicians find out after the fact that one of their songs is being used, without permission, by a politician at rallies and other events, but many of those artists don’t go so far as to actually sue the candidate. However, recently released election records show that the campaign for former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a lawsuit over its use of Survivor’s 1982 fist-pumper “Eye of the Tiger.” [More]
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.
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.
You hate getting robocalls. The FCC knows you hate getting robocalls. And so today the Commission voted to move forward with a proposal that would allow consumers to block all those annoying calls and texts.
The FCC voted 3-2 today to expand the Lifeline program for low-income consumers to include an optional credit for broadband access.
By itself, your license plate doesn’t say much except in what state, month, and year you registered your car. But start tracking where and when that license plate goes, and you’ve suddenly got a whole huge pile of personal data about all the comings and goings in someone’s life. We’ve reported before that license plate scanning by public and private entities is both widespread and unregulated. Now, the ACLU is suing police in one state to get them to stop.
It’s been two years since we found out that the NSA has been quietly scooping up basically everyone’s phone records, willy-nilly, without warrants. The revelations of widespread surveillance freaked plenty of people out, but under existing law, the agency has acted legally. To get change, then, you’d need to change the law… and Congress has 33 days remaining in which to do exactly that.
In the wake of the FCC’s vote to adopt the new net neutrality rule, Americans of every stripe have bombarded their lawmakers with feedback. Some applaud the rule; others condemn the action. And that is all well and good: it’s the American system of democracy at work, exactly as designed.