Privacy Role Sparks Debate at FTC Hearing
The debate over the right approach to privacy took center stage during the Federal Trade Commission’s inaugural hearing on competition. David Vladeck and Howard Beales, both former directors of the agency’s consumer protection bureau, clashed over whether the FTC requires a bigger stick when it comes to privacy enforcement. Vladeck argued the agency needs the power to impose civil penalties from the get-go. “I think that a civil penalty, for example, against Google or Facebook initially would have had a deterrent value,” Vladeck said. “Facebook is currently under investigation again.
Who's In, Who's Out for DOJ Meeting on Tech
The Justice Department has received “an increased level of interest from state attorneys general” for its Sept. 25 meeting on “tech companies, competition, and free exchange of ideas.” The DOJ said it invited a bipartisan group of 24 state AGs to the meeting, which comes amid an avalanche of conservative allegations of tech company bias (which the companies firmly deny). According to a Justice Department official, that group includes Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson (R), California’s Xavier Becerra (D), Washington’s Bob Ferguson (D) and Texas’ Ken Paxton (R).
2018 hopefuls set their sights on tech
Progressive candidates have laid out a series of sweeping policy proposals in their 2018 campaigns, including plans for the tech sector. With breakout Democratic candidates like New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez coming out in favor of aggressive measures to curb tech, we surveyed the landscape to gauge where other progressives stand on key issues like data privacy and antitrust.
Several potential presidential candidates for the 2020 election have expressed an interest in policies that would battle monopolies in the US, including in the tech industry, said Barry Lynn, the executive director of the Open Markets Institute. “Well more than six of the likely presidential candidates this next time around, we’ve had extensive conservations with about these issues,” he said.
Local Officials Mull Suing the FCC
National organizations representing municipalities are rebelling against Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr’s plan to streamline the deployment of the 5G wireless infrastructure known as small cells. The proposal, set for a Sept. 26 vote, would preempt local government authority, a measure of run-around that wireless giants like AT&T and Verizon say may be necessary for 5G deployment given delays they face at the local level.
FCC Chairman Pai Sketches Out Timeline for Fighting Fake Comments
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai provided details to Congress on the commission’s effort to overhaul its much-maligned online commenting system. “The Commission is moving forward with the procurement steps for this project,” Chairman Pai wrote in an Aug. 31 letter responding to lawmaker questions.
Net Neutrality Looms at Kavanaugh Hearing
The Senate formally kicks off the confirmation battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with lawmakers poised to grill the judge for several days on a host of issues. Key among them for the tech and telecom crowd: Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion in a 2017 ruling that upheld the Obama-era net neutrality rules.
The Stark Limbo of Geoffrey Starks
It's been about two months of stall on the Senate floor for the nomination of Geoffrey Starks, the preferred choice of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to fill the vacant seat at the Federal Communications Commission. But the Senate is still spinning its wheels on the nominee, despite bipartisan support for moving Starks alongside fellow-Commissioner Brendan Carr’s nomination for a second term. The delay comes as Republicans have sought to assemble a bigger package of Trump administration nominees that could advance by unanimous consent.
Net Neutrality Query
National advocacy groups including the ACLU, CREDO Action, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Free Press Action Fund are sending a questionnaire to 38 members of Congress — and those challenging them in the upcoming midterm elections — about the vote to restore net neutrality via the Congressional Review Act in the House, which needs a simple majority to pass. For incumbents: “Have you signed, or do you firmly commit within the next 30 calendar days to sign, the discharge petition for the House net neutrality CRA, and will you vote in favor of the net neutrality CRA if it comes up fo
Merger Concerns in Brief
Opponents of the AT&T-Time Warner merger are taking aim at District Judge Richard Leon’s June decision to allow the deal to go forward. Here’s a rundown of some of their legal briefs as an appeals court prepares to take up the case: