Earlier this month, Sony lawyer David Boies sent a letter to various news outlets demanding that they stop reporting on hacked emails. Boies told news organizations to destroy the "stolen information" that was hacked, and said that Sony didn't consent to any publication of the material. Many observers quickly dismissed the threats on the grounds that news organizations have a free-speech right to publish newsworthy material, as long as they didn't break any laws to obtain the information.
The Federal Trade Commission today accused a data broker of selling information about consumers to a company that used the data to steal from them. The data broker allegedly sold sensitive material about payday loan applicants to a company it knew had no "legitimate" use for the information, according to the FTC.
Comcast's proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner, which will transform the company into the biggest home broadband provider in the country, will also enable it to put the squeeze on online content providers. That's according to advocacy group Public Knowledge, which today filed new arguments against the merger.
Republican lawmakers reportedly are readying a bill that would require broadband providers to follow some net neutrality principles, but would stop short of classifying them as utilities. The proposal, which reportedly is backed by the cable and telecom industry, would establish "Title X" -- a new broadband-focused section of the Telecommunications Law.
Lest there was any doubt, competition among broadband providers remains lacking -- at least at speeds of more than 10 Mbps. That's according to the Commerce Department, which this week released a new report regarding the state of broadband availability. Researchers found that people who want service of at least 10 Mbps -- which Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler says should be the new definition of broadband -- typically have a choice of just two wireline providers.
The Federal Communications Commission said in October that its proposed net neutrality regulations drew a record-breaking 3.9 million comments. Many people seemed to assume that a good portion of those comments, if not most of them, came from net neutrality supporters. But a large number of commenters actually opposed new restrictions on broadband providers, the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation says in a new report.
Attorneys for Google and actress Cindy Lee Garcia faced off this week at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where they argued about whether Garcia is entitled to an injunction forcing Google to remove the clip "Innocence of Muslims" from YouTube. The hearing marked the latest twist in a legal dispute dating to late 2012, when Garcia sued Google for copyright infringement.
Broadband providers have "disappointed" Sen. Patrick Leahy by refusing to promise to avoid creating paid online fast lanes. "An Internet that is split into the 'haves' and 'have-nots' is unacceptable," Leahy said in a statement issued late last week. "That is why the FCC should enact clear and enforceable rules to prevent 'paid prioritization' agreements that would allow some content providers to out-bid smaller competitors to gain fast-lane service to customers online." The statement marks a continuation of Leahy's efforts to extract no-fast-lane promises from Internet service providers.
Earlier this week, Panasonic, Ericsson, Sandvine and other tech companies warned that a move to classify broadband service as a utility could harm themselves as well as the overall economy. The companies argued that reclassifying broadband service would curb network investment by Internet service providers. That slowdown in spending would "flow downstream," eventually affecting the entire U.S. economy, the tech companies said in a letter to lawmakers and the Federal Communications Commission.
Gannett's PointRoll has agreed to pay $750,000 to settle an investigation by six attorneys general into whether the company circumvented Safari users' no-tracking settings. The deal, announced today by the New Jersey Attorney General, also requires PointRoll to refrain from overriding users' cookie-blocking settings -- including default settings -- and to implement a privacy program, among other terms. Other states joining the settlement are Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland and New York.