Proposed Legislation Drafted to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

With efforts to fill the vacant FCC seat and tilt the commission back to a Democratic majority, the Senate is poised to try an alternate path to realizing the party’s longtime goal of restoring net neutrality rules. Championed by Senators Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), the Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act proposes to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, which would open up companies including AT&T and Verizon to stricter FCC oversight. Internet service providers would be prevented from blocking or throttling content, while pricing and privacy would also receive scrutiny. Continue reading Proposed Legislation Drafted to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

Elon Musk Notifies Twitter of Plan to Cancel Acquisition Deal

Elon Musk is attempting to terminate his $44 billion deal to acquire social giant Twitter. Musk’s attorneys claimed in a regulatory filing that Twitter was in “material breach of multiple provisions” of the purchase agreement and “appears to have made false and misleading representations.” According to Twitter board chairman Bret Taylor, “The Twitter board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement.” The deal includes a $1 billion “breakup fee” and the company can hold the billionaire to his original agreement by taking him to court. Continue reading Elon Musk Notifies Twitter of Plan to Cancel Acquisition Deal

AI Laws Becoming Decentralized with Cities First to Regulate

With the federal government still in the early phase of regulating artificial intelligence, cities and states are stepping in as they begin to actively deploy AI. While managing traffic patterns is straightforward, when it comes to policing and hiring practices, precautions must be taken to guard against algorithmic bias inherited from training data. The challenges are formidable. As with human reasoning, it is often difficult to trace the logic behind a machine’s decisions, making it challenging to identify a fix. Municipalities are evaluating different solutions, the goal being to prevent programmatic marginalization. Continue reading AI Laws Becoming Decentralized with Cities First to Regulate

Clearview AI Courts Investors While Facing Privacy Pushback

Clearview AI is positioning itself for a major expansion that is already generating major controversy. At a December financial presentation, the New York-based firm reportedly predicted it will have 100 billion facial images in its database by the end of 2022 — or about 14 photos for each of the earth’s 7 billion people. And there is said to have been talk of surveilling gig economy workers, identifying people based on how they walk and remotely scanning fingerprints. While the company’s 34-year-old founder and chief exec Hoan Ton-That is careful to present the firm as a crime-fighting tool, its broader implications are chilling. Continue reading Clearview AI Courts Investors While Facing Privacy Pushback

FTC Develops New Antitrust Strategies for Taking on Big Tech

The Federal Trade Commission is taking an alternative approach to antitrust protections and Big Tech, focusing not on the ultimate harms of monopolies to consumers but rather the damage perpetrated by the giants inflicted on smaller companies that are often their partners. For an agency that since the mid-80s has focused its antitrust actions on the price-gouging or shoddy goods that usually result from consolidation, the new strategy may be an effective way to rein-in companies that offer their services free of charge, like Google and Facebook, or at what appears to be market rate, like Amazon. Continue reading FTC Develops New Antitrust Strategies for Taking on Big Tech

CES: Panel Reveals Surprising Statistics on Perceptions of AI

CES 2022 featured a compelling session that focused on “Artificial Intelligence: Expectations, Rules and Achievement,” which began with introductory remarks by Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) who questioned whether the federal government had AI experts who understood the innovations. “These are disruptive technologies,” she said. “What will it do to our healthcare system? With autonomous vehicles, do we have the relevant policies in place for government and insurance companies?” She also worried about competition in the space. This jump-started a panel discussion on the numerous opinions involving AI. Continue reading CES: Panel Reveals Surprising Statistics on Perceptions of AI

CES: Bipartisan Panel of Women Senators Weigh Tech Issues

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CES: Buttigieg Says Tech Calls for New Government Thinking

The U.S. “must reinvent the machinery of government itself, just as much as any piece of transportation equipment,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said Thursday in his CES speech on the Future of Transportation. “Innovation isn’t about the technologies themselves, but how we deliver transportation resources cost-effectively and quickly,” Buttigieg said, sharing his vision for an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Infrastructure, “ARPA-I, modeled after DARPA” (the Defense Department ARPA that invented the Internet) as required in an era in which mobile connectivity and transportation are becoming inextricably intertwined. Continue reading CES: Buttigieg Says Tech Calls for New Government Thinking

Lawmakers Troubled About Rampant Sale of Consumer Data

When it comes to vacuuming-up consumer data, there is no distinction between that which is “personally identifiable” and that which is not, according to recent media reports. Data collection firms are reportedly hiding behind a false notion of privacy in order to keep Congress on track to allow the industry to police itself. This would enable the companies to continue mining personal information and selling it, whether to those trying to influence election outcomes, pharmaceutical firms trying to boost sales or insurance companies sniffing around for preexisting conditions. Continue reading Lawmakers Troubled About Rampant Sale of Consumer Data

Court Lets Microsoft DCU Seize 42 Chinese Hacker Websites

The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit has seized 42 websites from China-based hacking group Nickel, in attempt to thwart the group’s intelligence-gathering operations. A Virginia federal court granted Microsoft’s request to take over the U.S.-based websites run by Nickel, also known as APT15. Microsoft had since 2016 been tracking the group’s activities, determining them “highly sophisticated,” with attacks designed to install malware that facilitated surveillance and data theft attacks. Nickel was used to attack organizations in the United States and 28 other countries around the world, DCU says. Continue reading Court Lets Microsoft DCU Seize 42 Chinese Hacker Websites

U.S. to Limit Exporting Surveillance Tech to Certain Countries

The U.S. government has announced its plans to work with other nations to put restrictions on the export of surveillance tools to authoritarian countries such as China. The Biden administration says it would gather allies and start an initiative to regulate the export of surveillance tools. The initiative is planned to be discussed during a virtual gathering, Summit for Democracy, on December 9-10. Representatives from more than 100 democratic nations will be participating. The primary objective of the summit is to crack down on authoritarian governments from using cyber tools to violate fundamental human rights. Continue reading U.S. to Limit Exporting Surveillance Tech to Certain Countries

Regulators Press Congress to Develop Cryptocurrency Rules

As cryptocurrencies undergo explosive growth with little federal oversight, the Treasury Department is asking Congress for more power to regulate stablecoins due to their perceived danger of triggering a run on funds, according to a report by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets. Treasury is asking that those issuing stablecoins be subject to the same requirements under which banks and other traditional financial institutions operate, which would require the crypto’s brokers to maintain sufficient reserves to compensate customers who want to cash out quickly. Continue reading Regulators Press Congress to Develop Cryptocurrency Rules

G20 Leaders Approve a Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate

President Biden and other world leaders who gathered for the Group of 20 summit in Rome formally endorsed a new global minimum business tax Saturday in what is presented as a historic achievement after months of negotiations, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The new global minimum tax rate of 15 percent is intended to reverse a decades-long reduction in corporate tax rates across the world. The agreement, which was previously endorsed by finance ministers from each country and would have an impact on Big Tech, now faces the formidable task of being turned into multinational legislation. Continue reading G20 Leaders Approve a Global Minimum Corporate Tax Rate

Australia Considers Reforming Regulations for Digital Wallets

The Australian government is mulling new laws intended to tighten the regulation of digital payment services. Despite rapid growth, digital wallet services from Apple Pay, Google Pay and China’s WeChat Pay are not designated “payment systems” in Australia, which means they are not as yet governed by the country’s regulatory system. The move comes on the heels of a government-commissioned report addressing whether the payments system had kept pace with advances in technology and changes in consumer demand. Continue reading Australia Considers Reforming Regulations for Digital Wallets

Biden to Issue Executive Order Upgrading U.S. Cybersecurity

President Joe Biden is working on a draft executive order to require companies doing business with the federal government to report hacks within a few days. Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated the order would also require the companies to use data encryption and two-factor authentication and would combat ransomware and improve protection for industrial control systems, transportation and election security. The SolarWinds hack has prompted the government to pay closer attention to cybersecurity. Continue reading Biden to Issue Executive Order Upgrading U.S. Cybersecurity