FCC Adds Rules Blocking the Sale of Devices Made in China

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted new rules prohibiting the U.S. sale of certain telecommunications and surveillance devices manufactured by Chinese companies. In a move to shore up national security, the move blocks equipment deemed to pose an unacceptable risk from receiving import authorization. In recent years, the government has taken various actions to secure the U.S. supply chain for communications equipment and services. “These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications,” FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said. Continue reading FCC Adds Rules Blocking the Sale of Devices Made in China

FCC’s Latest Broadband Maps Aim to Turn Up Heat on ISPs

The Federal Communications Commission has unveiled a draft of its long-awaited broadband maps, which detail broadband availability across the country. “The maps will only get better from here,” FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said, emphasizing that even in this early form they are a lot better than what had been available. The new maps integrate information from broadband providers with hundreds of location-specific data sources, providing an accurate-to-the-home picture of fixed and mobile broadband availability. Users now have “a one-stop-shop” to search their address and find the Internet service providers available to that location. Continue reading FCC’s Latest Broadband Maps Aim to Turn Up Heat on ISPs

FCC Rules Require ISPs Provide Broadband Nutrition Labels

The Federal Communications Commission has unveiled specifics for new labels that clarify hidden fees and surprise rate hikes on consumer broadband services. Broadband providers will be required to display, at the point of sale, labels that show key information about prices, speeds, fees, data allowances, and other key information using a format that resembles the familiar “nutrition labels” that appear on food products. Emphasizing broadband as “an essential service, for everyone, everywhere,” FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said the labeling rules apply to both wired and wireless services. Continue reading FCC Rules Require ISPs Provide Broadband Nutrition Labels

Twitter Roiled by Layoff Talk as Deadline for Musk Deal Looms

Employees at Twitter are reeling following revelations that the workforce may face massive cuts in the year ahead regardless of who owns the company. According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, Twitter’s current management plans to trim the payroll by about $800 million, representing nearly 25 percent of the company’s staff. However, Twitter denies that report. Meanwhile, Elon Musk, who is being sued to force consummation of his $44 billion Twitter purchase, is said to be contemplating elimination of three times as many jobs. Continue reading Twitter Roiled by Layoff Talk as Deadline for Musk Deal Looms

Cybersecurity Labeling System Coming to IoT Devices in 2023

The Biden administration is implementing a cybersecurity labeling program designed to protect consumers using Internet of Things devices from “significant national security risks.” Beginning in the spring of 2023, IoT smart hardware will begin carrying a “label for products that meet U.S. government standards and are tested by vetted and approved entities,” according to the White House. The program will start with high-risk devices like routers and cameras. To jump-start the initiative, the White House hosted an IoT Cybersecurity Summit attended by national security officials, hardware manufacturers and representatives from consumer product associations. Continue reading Cybersecurity Labeling System Coming to IoT Devices in 2023

Twitter Fate Still Vague After Musk Reaffirms Intent to Acquire

Delaware Chancery Court judge Kathaleen McCormick says she expects the trial in Twitter’s lawsuit against Elon Musk to continue as scheduled, beginning October 17, despite a letter his attorneys sent Twitter management saying the mercurial Tesla chief intends to go through with his proposed $44 billion acquisition if the social media company drops its lawsuit against him. In a Wednesday filing, McCormick said the court expects Twitter’s delayed deposition of Musk, scheduled for today, to proceed as planned. However, as of last night it was reported that Musk and Twitter agreed to postpone the billionaire’s deposition. Continue reading Twitter Fate Still Vague After Musk Reaffirms Intent to Acquire

Biden Calls on Congress to Cease Immunity for Social Media

President Biden welcomed guests to the White House last week for the inaugural United We Stand Summit, an event to combat hate speech and violence. “There are core values that should bring us together as Americans, and one of them is standing together against hate, racism, bigotry, and violence that have long haunted and plagued our nation,” Biden told the bipartisan group. Participants gave the president a standing ovation when he specified that he will work to “hold social media companies accountable for spreading hate.” “I’m calling on Congress to get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much stronger transparency requirements,” Biden said. Continue reading Biden Calls on Congress to Cease Immunity for Social Media

FAA Rule Upheld: Most Drones Will Be Remote ID Compliant

A federal court upheld Federal Aviation Administration rules ensuring drones use Remote Identification technology to transmit a “digital license plate” with unique identifiers while in flight. The rule was challenged by Tyler Brennan, owner of the drone e-tailer RaceDayQuads, who argued the FAA’s Remote ID rules amount to “constant, warrantless governmental surveillance,” in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. The rules are widely supported by the drone industry, which sees them as a path to expanded drone use by addressing concerns about safety and security. Continue reading FAA Rule Upheld: Most Drones Will Be Remote ID Compliant

How the DOJ Antitrust Publishing Lawsuit Relates to Amazon

The nation’s largest publisher, Penguin Random House, was in federal court this week to defend itself against the Justice Department, which filed an antitrust lawsuit to block its acquisition of Simon & Schuster. The DOJ has been increasingly focused on antitrust and is hiring more trial lawyers in preparation for an action against Alphabet’s Google for its dominance in search and digital advertising. Although ostensibly on trial for threatening to shrink the number of American mass-market publishers from five to four, the Penguin suit also involves examination of the retail power of Amazon. Continue reading How the DOJ Antitrust Publishing Lawsuit Relates to Amazon

U.S. Lawmakers Target Stablecoin in Cryptocurrency Debate

Washington policymakers have identified stablecoins as the initial target for stricter cryptocurrency regulation. Stablecoins — which are backed by a reserve asset — are booming due to investors using them to trade among other cryptocurrencies. The stablecoin sector grew by about 500 percent in the 12-month period ending October 31, according to a report issued by the Biden administration. While there are four basic types of stablecoin, the ones collateralized by fiat currency — and specifically the U.S. dollar — is by far the most popular. A bipartisan effort exists to create safeguards ensuring one stablecoin is expeditiously redeemable for one dollar. Continue reading U.S. Lawmakers Target Stablecoin in Cryptocurrency Debate

Amazon NY Workers Spark Reevaluation of Union Organizing

The stunning victory by an independent union at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse has organized labor reassessing its strategies for the future. The efforts of what were essentially amateur organizers — current and former facility employees relying on tools like GoFundMe — succeeded where Big Labor has in recent times often failed. Amazon on Friday objected to the results in a filing with the National Labor Relations Board and has until April 22 to provide proof that the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) broke the rules to achieve its win. At that point, the NLRB will hold a hearing to consider Amazon’s claims. Continue reading Amazon NY Workers Spark Reevaluation of Union Organizing

Pew Research Finds Americans Suspicious of AI and Biotech

A Pew Research study finds the public has a cautionary attitude toward artificial intelligence and human enhancements, with concerns about potentially unintended consequences of autonomous machines, and fear of what accelerated change in these areas might mean for society. The survey of more than 10,250 U.S. adults in November 2021 examined opinions of six technologies broken down into two categories: AI and bioengineering, with crossover in the area of AI-enhanced exoskeletons. Across all categories, a majority believe that federal government and “end users” should be involved — along with the creators or inventors — in setting standards. Continue reading Pew Research Finds Americans Suspicious of AI and Biotech

Europe and U.S. Data-Sharing Pact to Replace Privacy Shield

The Supreme Court’s recent FBI v. Fazaga decision regarding surveillance has been interpreted by some as an obstacle to Biden administration efforts to secure an effective replacement for the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. Originally implemented in 2016, thousands of U.S. companies had been relying on the Privacy Shield to centralize customer data. In 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) nullified the framework after finding U.S. surveillance laws provide a loophole for unauthorized access to data belonging to EU citizens. Earlier today however, the U.S. and European Union agreed “in principle” to a revamped framework for data transfers. Continue reading Europe and U.S. Data-Sharing Pact to Replace Privacy Shield

Automated News Feed May Be Good for Facebook and Users

Facebook’s internal experiments with turning off its News Feed algorithm revealed that users benefit from the often-controversial ranking system. Documents recently parsed by the news media indicate Facebook’s digital formula knows more about what users want than the users themselves when it comes to deciding which posts people see and in what order. The news comes as both the House of Representatives and Senate consider bills that would require social media platforms to offer users the option of disabling what’s known as “automated content recommendations.” The bills follow whistleblower allegations that Facebook’s News Feed is damaging to users. Continue reading Automated News Feed May Be Good for Facebook and Users

FB Whistleblower Testimony Accelerates EU Regulatory Push

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s meetings with European Union officials have accelerated the lawmakers’ plans to tamp down Big Tech. Officials are calling for quick action to strengthen and enact measures of a 2020 bill that would impose strict obligations on social media companies. As currently drafted the bill would require technology platforms to monitor and mitigate risks from illegal content or suffer stiff fines. Likening Europe to “a digital Wild West,” EU digital commissioner Thierry Breton said, “Speed is everything” and EU members must pass the new tech legislation in the first half of 2022. Continue reading FB Whistleblower Testimony Accelerates EU Regulatory Push