Eight GOP senators wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to voice concerns about the agency's efforts to boost muni-broadband. The senators pointed to the FCC's recent decision to trump state laws that restricted towns and cities from building their own networks. "We urge the FCC to proceed cautiously where its actions would impinge on the sovereignty of fundamental state decisions about economic and fiscal policy," the lawmakers said in their letter.
Appellate judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on Wednesday about whether the "forgotten social networking startup" Power Ventures violated an anti-spam and anti-hacking law by inviting Facebook members to join Power.com. A trial judge ruled against Power Ventures in 2013 and ordered the company to pay $3 million to Facebook.
Verizon plans to start testing "sponsored data" initiatives, which involve exempting certain content from consumers' data caps, Re/code reports. “The capabilities we’ve built allow us to break down any byte that is carried across our network and have all or a portion of that sponsored,” Verizon executive VP Marni Walden reportedly said. Verizon intends to roll out the offering on a wide basis next year.
Music piracy site Aurous has agreed to shut down and to pay $3 million to the Recording Industry Association of America in order to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit. "We hope this sends a strong signal that unlicensed services cannot expect to build unlawful businesses on the backs of music creators.""Aurous appropriately agreed to shut down," Cary Sherman, the RIAA chairman, said in a statement emailed to Ars Technica.
New York lawmaker Gary Pretlow, who chairs the Assembly's racing and wagering committee, said he expects the legislature to legalize sites like FanDuel and DraftKings if they lose their battle with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “I don’t see it as a really bad form of gambling,” Pretlow said, according to the New York Daily News.
The country's local cable monopolies are now employing data caps "not because they need to, but because they can get away with it," writes law professor Susan Crawford. "They are brash, unapologetic, and fearless -- they are feeling their power," Crawford writes about the cable companies. "Usage-based billing is the sledgehammer they’ve been patiently weighing in their hands for a long time."
A judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that the company Five Stars Loyalty violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending a customer a "welcome" text. The judge found that the message wasn't an ad and, therefore, didn't require the customers' explicit consent.
Law enforcement authorities in France want to ban the anonymous Tor network. French politicians also are mulling whether to prohibit public WiFi during emergencies. Karl Bode at DSLReports points out that the people responsible for the recent attacks in Paris used "traditional, unencrypted SMS to communicate." He adds: "Banning public Wi-Fi (helpful for traditional civilians trying to communicate during an emergency) and Tor (helpful for journalists, whistleblowers, and anybody desiring privacy) might do more harm than good, and overshadows the fact that the exiting, traditional surveillance and law enforcement system failed to detect the Paris attacks."
The Daily Mail Online recently sued Gawker for publishing the first-person piece “My Year Ripping Off the Web With the Daily Mail Online.’’ Gawker has now answered the allegations by stating in court papers that the Daily Mail Online's reputation was already so bad that the article couldn't have hurt the company. Gawker lawyer wrote that the site "has suffered no harm to its reputation, its goodwill, its business or otherwise . . . because [the Web site] is libel-proof as to the subject matter of the article," the New York Post reports.
Lawyers from the Federal Communications Commission and the broadband industry argued about the net neutrality rules for three hours at an appellate hearing before a three-judge panel on Friday, the National Journal reports. The panel appeared to indicate that the FCC has the power to regulate wireline Internet service like a utility, but the judges also had sharp questions for agency officials about whether they followed the proper procedures before passing the new rules.