This afternoon, the White House unveiled a discussion draft of its long-awaited privacy "bill of rights," which aims to give consumers more control over data that is collected about them. The bill clearly disappointed many privacy advocates, who say it is filled with loopholes.
The FCC voted 3-2 to invalidate state laws that restrict towns from building their own fiber-optic networks. As with net neutrality, the muni-broadband vote broke down along partisan lines, with the three Democrats voting to preempt state laws and the two Republicans opposing the measure.
Several weeks ago, several Republican lawmakers publicly questioned whether FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal for the "strongest open Internet protections" in U.S. history was the product of undue influence by the White House. Rep. Jason Chaffetz went so far as to schedule a House Oversight Committee hearing on the matter for today. This morning, however, he canceled the hearing after Wheeler refused to testify.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to retreat from plans to lift state laws that restrict towns from building their own broadband networks. "I strongly urge the FCC not to interfere with state solutions to state problems," Haley said in a letter sent to the agency late last week. Her letter comes as the FCC is considering whether to vacate restrictions on muni-broadband in at least 20 states, including South Carolina.
The two Republicans on the Federal Communications Commission today asked Chairman Tom Wheeler to delay voting on planned net neutrality regulations for at least one month. "With the future of the entire Internet at stake, it is imperative that the FCC get this right," they said in a statement. "And to do that, we must live up to the highest standards of transparency. Transparency is particularly important here because the plan in front of us right now is so drastically different than the proposal the FCC adopted and put out for public comment in May."
It's probably safe to say that Lenovo's decision to bundle notebooks with an adware program hasn't gone according to plan. Starting last September, Lenovo has shipped notebooks with the adware program Superfish pre-installed. The program reportedly injects ads into Google search results. Last night, it emerged that the adware has some unintended consequences. Superfish -- "a horrifically dangerous piece of software," according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation -- also leaves users vulnerable to hackers, because the program tinkers with Windows' cryptographic security, in order to inject ads into secure HTTPS pages.
Like Amazon, Etsy and numerous other Web companies, Yelp today said that it supports the Federal Communications Commission's anticipated net neutrality rules. Yelp said in a blog post that it was "incredibly pleased" with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's recent proposal that the agency reclassify broadband as a utility service. The review site said that it isn't "directly opposed" to new legislation by Congress, but adds that any new law should "at the very least meet the threshold of net neutrality protections set by the FCC."
In December of 2013, when AT&T rolled out its high-speed U-verse network in Austin, Texas, the company said it would offer a cheaper plan to people who were willing to receive ads targeted based on their Web activity. AT&T liked that idea so much that it's now rolling out a similar plan in Kansas City -- where it's launching a new 1 GB fiber network that will compete with Google.The telecom said on Monday that the price of subscriptions to its network will depend on consumers' willingness to be tracked for ad-targeting purposes.
Writer Salman Rushdie became one of the best-known victims of Facebook's infamous "real name" policy in 2011, when the social networking service took down his profile due to doubts that it was genuine. Rushdie reported on Twitter that he had to send a photo of his passport page to get back his profile page. Most recently, it came to light last week that Facebook is challenging some Native Americans about their names. The company continues to run into problems with its policies. It came to light last week that Facebook is challenging some Native Americans about their names.
With the Federal Communications Commission expected to vote in less than two weeks on broadband regulations, the cable and telecom lobby already is floating the arguments it will raise against the expected rules. Former agency chairman Michael Powell, now the head of the industry lobbying group NCTA, said on C-Span's "The Communicators" that the new rules will mark such a "dramatic" shift in policy, that the group is likely to mount a legal challenge.