• Muni-Broadband Providers Wary Of 'Collateral Effects' Of FCC's Net Neutrality Plan
    Municipal broadband proponents have made clear they're happy with news that the Federal Communications Commission appears poised to invalidate laws that prevent towns from creating their own networks. But another expected FCC move isn't sitting well with dozens of muni-broadband providers. This week, 43 muni-broadband providers wrote to the agency to weigh in against Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to treat broadband as a utility by reclassifying it as a telecommunications service. The municipal Internet service providers say they don't have any intention of blocking or degrading traffic -- and they don't intend to offer pay-for-play fast lanes -- and,in fact, …
  • Samsung's Smart TV Privacy Policy Draws Questions On Capitol Hill
    Today, Sen. Al Franken told Samsung that its policies regarding voice recognition technology remain cause for concern. "This relatively new technology has major implications for people's privacy, and I am concerned about the extent to which Samsung may be collecting and sharing SmartTV users' voice data," Franken said in a letter to Samsung Electronics North America CEO Gregory Lee. Franken asked Lee to answer a host of questions, including whether Samsung ever shares or sells users' information, including their searches, and asked whether Samsung restricts third parties' use of data about consumers.
  • Samsung Reworks Privacy Policy For Smart TVs
    Faced with a growing public relations debacle, Samsung today edited its privacy policy to clarify that its TV sets don't actually listen in on viewers' conversations with each other. The privacy policy indicated that Samsung's voice-recognition technology could capture people's conversations and then transmit them to third parties -- a scenario that didn't sit well with the public. Now, Samsung has issued a clarification. The company says that the voice recognition feature -- which is opt-in -- transmits people's spoken commands, as well as device identifiers, to a service provider that converts the commands to text.
  • GOP Questions Wheeler On Net Neutrality Turnaround
    Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled plans to declare broadband service a utility, in order to enact "the strongest open internet protections" in the agency's history. The news left many net neutrality proponents declaring victory. But opponents of new regulations, including some GOP lawmakers, aren't happy about Wheeler's decision. In the last few days, two separate panels in the House and Senate have launched investigations into Wheeler's new position -- which marks a turnaround from a proposal he issued last May.
  • Watchdogs Seek FTC Scrutiny Of 'Big Data' Consolidation
    Despite advocates' concerns, after Oracle announced it had reached a deal to purchase Datalogix -- a targeting shop known for connecting offline purchases to online ads -- the Department of Justice approved the $1.2 billion-plus deal in mid-January. Now, the Center for Digital Democracy and other organizations -- Public Citizen, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Consumer Watchdog -- say the FTC should investigate the growth in "data-oriented mergers."
  • States' Rights Advocates, Broadband Providers Prepare For Battle On Muni-Broadband
    On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission signaled that it will vacate muni-broadband restrictions in around 20 states. "Many communities have found that existing private-sector broadband deployment or investment fails to meet their needs," Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement issued on Monday. "They should be able to make their own decisions about building the networks they need to thrive." Wheeler specifically proposed that the FCC grant requests made by two cities -- Wilson, N.C. and Chattanooga, Tenn. -- that want to see state laws vacated.
  • Wireless Carriers Condemn New Net Neutrality Plan
    Net neutrality advocates spent much of the day celebrating the news that the Federal Communications Commission is poised to declare broadband a utility service. "The open Internet that has served as a true equalizer was strengthened today with the FCC's proposed rules," Nuala O'Connor, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology, said today in a statement. "This is an important day for everyone who enjoys the benefits of a fair and open Internet." '
  • FCC Lacks Basis To Declare Broadband A Utility Service, AT&T Argues
    On Monday, news broke that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler appears poised to propose that the agency declare broadband a utility service. Predictably, the development was cheered by net neutrality advocates like the Free Press, who have long argued in favor of reclassification. "If the FCC votes to reclassify under Title II, it will be one of the greatest public policy victories in decades," Free Press said today. Internet service providers, on the other hand, aren't celebrating the news.
  • FCC Chairman To Propose Banning Paid Fast Lanes Online
    Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler intends to recommend that the agency reclassify broadband as a utility, according to a report in today's "New York Times." That move would allow the FCC to impose the kinds of net neutrality rules that would prohibit providers from charging companies higher fees for faster delivery of their material. News of Wheeler's position marks a significant victory for net neutrality advocates, who have long urged the FCC to treat broadband as a telecommunications service.
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