Regulatory Fight Tees Up Over FCC Return to Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission has moved closer to reinstating net neutrality rules. The agency adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking and opened a call for comment on classifying fixed and mobile broadband Internet service as an essential telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. The Commission will also seek comment on proposals to ensure broadband services have effective oversight. If the proposals are adopted after public comments, the FCC will once again be charged with protecting Internet openness and competition, as well as guarding against broadband national security threats and other public safety issues. Continue reading Regulatory Fight Tees Up Over FCC Return to Net Neutrality

Supreme Court to Assess States’ Social Media Speech Laws

The Supreme Court will hear a case that will assess the constitutionality of controversial state laws governing social media in Texas and Florida. The states enacted their laws in 2021, ostensibly to assure “free speech” was guaranteed on platforms like Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter). Users who considered their views “conservative” filed suit alleging censorship. Protections offered by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act impact how government can regulate expression shared by online services and private media companies. Much like broadcast’s Fairness Doctrine, plaintiffs argue there are obligations that come with government warrantees. Continue reading Supreme Court to Assess States’ Social Media Speech Laws

FCC Preps Draft Proposal That Plans to Restore Net Neutrality

Championed by the Democratic members of the Federal Communications Commission, net neutrality rules are making a comeback now that the party again controls the FCC’s majority. Enacted when Barack Obama was president and repealed in 2017 during the Trump administration, the guidelines that once prohibited telecommunications and cable companies from blocking or throttling smaller content platforms, or those in which they had no ownership stake, could get a vote as early as next month. Speaking at the National Press Club, FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said she is “sharing with [her] colleagues a rule making that proposes to restore net neutrality.” Continue reading FCC Preps Draft Proposal That Plans to Restore Net Neutrality

DHS Moves to ‘Master’ AI While Keeping It Safe, Trustworthy

The Department of Homeland Security is harnessing artificial intelligence, according to a memo by Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas explaining the department will use AI to keep Americans safe while implementing safeguards to ensure civil rights, privacy rights and the U.S. Constitution are not violated. The DHS appointed Eric Hysen as chief AI officer, moving him into the role from his previous post as CIO. “DHS must master this technology, applying it effectively and building a world class workforce that can reap the benefits of Al, while meeting the threats posed by adversaries that wield Al,” Mayorkas wrote. Continue reading DHS Moves to ‘Master’ AI While Keeping It Safe, Trustworthy

Advertising Exec Linda Yaccarino Named New CEO of Twitter

Twitter 2.0 is ready for takeoff, now that former NBCUniversal advertising chief Linda Yaccarino has been appointed the social media giant’s new CEO. Yaccarino has extensive experience in advertising and has long been one of Madison Avenue’s major power brokers. Twitter, which relies primarily on ad revenue, is still trying to recover from stumbling after Elon Musk alienated sponsors in a series of erratic moves immediately after acquiring the company for $44 billion in October. Musk says he will now focus on product design and technology while Yaccarino concentrates on business development. Continue reading Advertising Exec Linda Yaccarino Named New CEO of Twitter

Montana Is First State to Send TikTok Ban to Governor’s Desk

Montana law may soon include a total ban on TikTok, as governor Greg Gianforte decides whether to sign a first-of-its-kind prohibition approved by the state’s House of Representatives on Friday. The legislation would also seek to prevent app stores doing business in the state from carrying TikTok. Gianforte will also have the option to veto the proposal, or take no action for 10 days after the bill hits his desk, in which case it becomes law without his signature. Such a ban would likely be challenging to enforce at the state level. Blocking users from TikTok has gained bipartisan support at the federal level, though efforts to pass nationwide legislation have failed. Continue reading Montana Is First State to Send TikTok Ban to Governor’s Desk

TikTok On the Offense in Battle to Protect Its U.S. Operations

TikTok is taking a proactive stance to quash U.S. government concerns that user data might be collected and exploited by China, where the viral video platform’s parent, ByteDance, is based. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew made the rounds in Washington last week, sharing with think tanks and public interest groups his plan to prevent data on Americans from being transmitted out of the country. The strategy marks a shift for TikTok, which kept a low profile during attacks by the Trump administration and continuing pressure under President Biden. Chew is now scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about security and privacy. Continue reading TikTok On the Offense in Battle to Protect Its U.S. Operations

TikTok Considers $1.5 Billion Plan to Quell Security Concerns

TikTok is in discussions with U.S. lawmakers about a $1.5 billion plan to reorganize its operations in order to provide more transparency and allay fears of Chinese spying and data manipulation. The talks have become more urgent in recent months as regulators at the federal and state level are threatening to ban the short-form video app on government-issued devices. TikTok parent ByteDance been negotiating with CFIUS, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. since 2019, when an investigation was opened following the Beijing-based media firm’s acquisition of Musical.ly, which it merged into TikTok. Continue reading TikTok Considers $1.5 Billion Plan to Quell Security Concerns

Meta $725M Cambridge Analytica Settlement Moves Forward

Meta Platforms has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a 2018 class action lawsuit initiated by Facebook users who said their personal data was breached in an incident involving UK-based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. The proposed amount would reportedly be the largest settlement in a U.S. data privacy class action. Although Meta is not admitting to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, the firm says it has over the past three years “revamped” its approach to privacy. Lawyers for the plaintiffs called the proposal a “historic settlement” that will provide meaningful relief in a “complex and novel” case. Continue reading Meta $725M Cambridge Analytica Settlement Moves Forward

Twitter Users Vote in Favor of Musk Stepping Down as CEO

Facing backlash against his executive leadership, Twitter’s new owner and CEO, billionaire Elon Musk, conducted an informal 12-hour poll over the weekend asking users of the popular social media platform whether he should keep his new position. “Should I step down as head of Twitter?” the controversial executive asked. “I will abide by the results of this poll.” After more than 17.5 million responses, the results indicate that a majority of users believe Musk should step down from his post (57.5 percent voted in the affirmative). As of press time, it remains unclear what action Musk may take in light of the poll results. Continue reading Twitter Users Vote in Favor of Musk Stepping Down as CEO

Congress Intros Bills to Ban TikTok Due to Security Concerns

The U.S. House and Senate have introduced companion bills to ban TikTok and other apps that censor news, pose threats to the personal data of U.S. citizens and entities or engage in other surreptitious behaviors. The Senate bill, advanced by Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is called the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act, an acronym for Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party. The related House bill has bipartisan support from Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois). Continue reading Congress Intros Bills to Ban TikTok Due to Security Concerns

U.S. States Rise Up Against TikTok Over Security Concerns

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s executive order banning TikTok from state agencies has added further fuel to Washington’s calls for an outright ban on the Chinese-owned short-form video platform. The South Dakota tourism department deleted its account and 60,000 followers, and the state’s public broadcasting service and six public universities are planning how to move forward. Nebraska in 2020 became the first U.S. state to implement a government agency TikTok ban. Now a movement seems to be gaining momentum, with South Carolina, Arkansas and Maryland at various stages of action in dealing with the perceived national security threat. Continue reading U.S. States Rise Up Against TikTok Over Security Concerns

FCC’s Carr Renews Call for a National Security Ban on TikTok

Brendan Carr, a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, is continuing his efforts to have TikTok banned, telling the Council on Foreign Investment in the U.S. in his strongest language to date that the viral short-form video app is, as a result of consumer adoption, becoming a part of the nation’s critical information infrastructure, and thus presents a national security risk due to Chinese ownership. TikTok is reportedly back in negotiations with the CFIUS, an interagency committee that reviews foreign investment, about a change of ownership that would smooth the path to ongoing U.S. operations. Continue reading FCC’s Carr Renews Call for a National Security Ban on TikTok

New Era Begins for Twitter as Elon Musk Acquires Company

Elon Musk took control of Twitter on Thursday, completing the historic $44 billion acquisition of the social micro-blogging platform. After some housekeeping — including carrying a sink into the company’s San Francisco headquarters for a cheeky video-op (“let that sink in!”) and firing top executives including CEO Parag Agrawal — the recalcitrant tech magnate began settling into his new role. Updating his bio to reflect his chosen title of “Chief Twit,” he tweeted off a letter assuring advertisers that Twitter will not “become a free-for-all hellscape” with no content moderation. Continue reading New Era Begins for Twitter as Elon Musk Acquires Company

U.S. Aims to Slow China Tech Progress with Chip Restrictions

The Biden administration is acting to limit China’s rapid military progress by banning shipments of advanced chips and the production tools needed to make them. This is in response to signs that China is using AI and supercomputing to develop hypersonic weapons and systems that may be able to crack highly encrypted messaging. The new rules, which extend to foreign companies using relevant U.S. technology, have already begun taking effect. But companies including Intel, Samsung, TSMC and SK Hynix have reportedly received limited exemptions allowing them to continue shipping to some factories there. Continue reading U.S. Aims to Slow China Tech Progress with Chip Restrictions