House Calls for Regulating Use of Facial Recognition Software

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security has determined that the use of facial recognition software by law enforcement should be regulated. Subcommittee chair Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and top Republican Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) agreed that there should be “some kind of meaningful regulation and oversight of facial recognition.” Last month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that federal law enforcement agencies should do more to prevent facial recognition bias and misuse. Continue reading House Calls for Regulating Use of Facial Recognition Software

Congress Grills Big Tech Executives on Accountability Issues

Prior to a House hearing on social media’s role in extremism and disinformation, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg submitted written testimony on Section 230, suggesting that “platforms should be required to demonstrate that they have systems in place for identifying unlawful content and removing it.” Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act holds that platforms are not liable for content posted by their users. In a bipartisan effort, lawmakers are pushing for change. “Our nation is drowning in disinformation driven by social media,” suggested Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pennsylvania). “We will legislate to stop this.” Continue reading Congress Grills Big Tech Executives on Accountability Issues

Bill Could Make Net Neutrality Law Under New Administration

Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) plans to introduce a bill in the next few weeks that would make net neutrality a law. “The coronavirus pandemic has proven that broadband is as essential as electricity and other utilities,” he said. “We need to restore net neutrality protections to ensure that our Internet remains open and free and that consumers can continue to benefit from this critical infrastructure.” Many Republicans still oppose net neutrality, and its existence has largely been subject to who chairs the FCC. Continue reading Bill Could Make Net Neutrality Law Under New Administration

Senate Confirms Trump Nominee for FCC Nathan Simington

The Senate confirmed Nathan Simington as a new Republican FCC member in a 49-to-46 vote. The confirmation comes as FCC chair Ajit Pai prepares to exit his post in January. In the run-up to the vote, Simington vowed “regulatory stability” and an openness to reexamining Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. With Simington, the five-member FCC could be deadlocked at the beginning of 2021, with two Democrats and two Republicans, possibly limiting its ability to carry out president-elect Joe Biden’s agenda. Continue reading Senate Confirms Trump Nominee for FCC Nathan Simington

International Agencies Arrest Members of Global Piracy Ring

Three members of the Sparks Group, a sophisticated global piracy ring, were arrested on federal charges of international piracy of movies and TV shows distributed online prior to their release dates, said acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss. British citizen George Bridi was arrested in Cyprus, American Jonatan Correa was arrested in Olathe, Kansas and a third man, Umar Ahmad of Norway, is still being sought. TorrentFreak founder Ernesto van der Sar said, “the charges are significant.” Continue reading International Agencies Arrest Members of Global Piracy Ring

Big Tech Companies Pull Back on Facial Recognition Products

After years of dissent from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Fight for the Future and groups of academics, Big Tech companies are finally taking another look at their facial recognition products. Microsoft president Brad Smith stated his company won’t sell facial recognition to the police until federal regulation is instituted. Amazon placed a one-year moratorium on police use of its Rekognition software, and IBM backed away entirely from facial recognition products, citing the potential for abuse. Yesterday we reported that Congress introduced a police reform bill that includes limits on the use of facial recognition software. Continue reading Big Tech Companies Pull Back on Facial Recognition Products

Millions of Net Neutrality Comments to FCC Judged for Fraud

Stanford University released the findings of a study on the comments received by the FCC on its plan to end net neutrality. The FCC received millions of comments from bots that used real identities, making it difficult to determine authenticity. The research analyzed 800,000+ unique comments that were not obviously produced by bots to conclude they were overwhelmingly in favor of net neutrality. The New York attorney general is seeking to determine if false comments swayed legislators in their decision to end net neutrality. Continue reading Millions of Net Neutrality Comments to FCC Judged for Fraud

New California Legislation Aims to Strengthen Net Neutrality

After California state senator Scott Wiener introduced a bill in May to the state assembly to ensure net neutrality, a committee voted to remove protections, an action that some said would allow broadband suppliers to throttle applications. Now those protections are being reinstated. Assembly member Miguel Santiago who proposed the changes to the bill passed last month, and Wiener came to an agreement on a new version of the bill that will make it the strongest net neutrality protection in the United States. Continue reading New California Legislation Aims to Strengthen Net Neutrality

FCC Votes 3-2 to Roll Back 2015 Net Neutrality Regulations

As anticipated, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 along party lines yesterday to repeal the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, which were originally introduced to help protect an open Internet. FCC chair Ajit Pai and two other Republicans backed the change. Net neutrality rules were created as a means of regulating how broadband providers treat Internet traffic in an effort to avoid slowing content delivery or providing fast lanes for specific services. Dismantling the rules is seen as a win for cable and wireless providers and will likely result in lawsuits. Continue reading FCC Votes 3-2 to Roll Back 2015 Net Neutrality Regulations

Internet Firms Rally Users to Oppose the End of Net Neutrality

Internet companies, large and small, will begin to rally their users to join a “day of action” online protest against the demise of net neutrality. Many of these same Internet companies fought hard for these same net neutrality rules, instituted in 2015. FCC chairman Ajit Pai has said he supports an open Internet but that the Obama-era rules are too “heavy handed.” Net neutrality prevents large service providers from slowing down the Internet offerings, including media such as movies and music, of their rivals. Continue reading Internet Firms Rally Users to Oppose the End of Net Neutrality

Battle for the Net: Internet Slowdown Generates Big Numbers

Public interest groups and tech companies participated in an Internet “slowdown” yesterday to raise awareness of the potential impact to net neutrality and an open Internet if slow lanes were to result from proposed FCC rules. It was not an actual throttling of Internet speeds, but a campaign in which sites featured messages about the issue and symbolic “loading” icons. Thousands of websites urged their users to take action. As a result, the FCC received a record 1,477,301 public comments. Continue reading Battle for the Net: Internet Slowdown Generates Big Numbers

CISPA Reintroduced: Activist Groups Fuel Online Response

After Congress reintroduced the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a collection of Internet freedom activists quickly jumped into action. “Among them have been Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, who this week helped 300,000 citizens send a petition against CISPA to the lawmakers behind it,” reports Mashable. Continue reading CISPA Reintroduced: Activist Groups Fuel Online Response