The White House has nominated public interest advocate Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] to become the fifth commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, and acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel to remain as the agency’s permanent chair. The way lawmakers vote in their Senate confirmation hearings will reveal whether they really want to crack down on monopoly power and Big Tech abuses—or whether that’s just an empty slogan to stoke their fundraising efforts.
The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is on its deathbed. After international outcry and intense grassroots organizing, US lawmakers from both parties rejected the 12-country deal, including every leading presidential candidate. The president-elect has said he’ll withdraw from the pact on day one. The TPP’s demise is a huge blow to the hundreds of corporate lobbyists who worked closely with government officials to craft the agreement in secret. But it’s a major victory for free speech and civil liberties in the digital age. While many of the largest technology companies struck a deal with the White House and ended up supporting the TPP, it has long been condemned by tech experts, free speech advocates, startups, and civil society groups, along with some of the biggest websites on the Internet like reddit and Wikipedia, who have long championed the open web.