Harold Feld

Public Knowledge Cautions FCC Robocall Order Could Create New Service Fee

The Federal Communications Commission published a draft Order in the “Advanced Methods to Target and Eliminate Unlawful Robocalls” proceeding. On June 6, the FCC will vote on a Declaratory Ruling and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from this proceeding to enable carriers to block robocalls.

The Case for the Digital Platform Act

To the challenges posed by the power of digital platforms, we need a “Digital Platform Act” to create an agency specifically charged to regulate digital platforms on an ongoing basis. An expert agency over digital platforms can analyze and study the market to determine when regulation or enforcement are needed, including if:

Public Knowledge Urges Congress to Question FCC’s 5G Plan

On April 12, the Federal Communications Commission announced a plan for promoting 5G which includes the nation’s largest spectrum auction in Dec 2019 and the promised future creation of a $20.4 billion rural broadband investment fund, “The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund,” to help close the digital divide. Harold Feld said, "April 12’s announcement raises many questions. Most importantly, where will this money come from and over how many years?

How Not To Train Your Agency, Or Why The FTC Is Toothless.

It was quite noteworthy to see Freshman Sen Josh Hawley (R-MO) tear the Federal Trade Commission a new one for its failure to do anything about how tech companies generally (and Google and Facebook specifically) vacuum up everyone’s personal information. I’m not going to argue with Sen Hawley, but since he is new in town I think it is important for him to understand why the FTC (and other federal agencies charged with consumer protection) have generally gone from fearsome watchdog to timorous toothless Chihuahua with laryngitis.

What Makes Sen Warren’s Platform Proposal So Potentially Important.

March 8, the Presidential campaign of Elizabeth Warren, not to be confused with the actual office of Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), announced Warren’s plan for addressing the tech giants. What makes Warren’s contribution a potential game changer is that she goes well beyond the standard “break ’em up” rhetoric that has dominated most of the conversation to date, and focuses on sustainable sector specific regulation. What makes it so important and smart structurally is that the proposal: 

The Market for Privacy Lemons. Why “The Market” Can’t Solve The Privacy Problem Without Regulation.

For the last 25 years, the official policy of the United States with regard to digital privacy has been to rely on "market mechanisms," primarily policed by the Federal Trade Commission's Section 5 authority to prosecute "unfair and deceptive" practices.

Net Neutrality Oral Argument Highlights Problem For Pai: You Can’t Hide The Policy Implications Of Your Actions From Judges.

On Feb 1, we had approximately 4.5 hours of oral argument on the network neutrality case. I want to just highlight one theme: the refusal of the Federal Communications Commission to be honest about the expected policy consequences of its actions. I highlight this for several reasons. First, people need to understand that while the agency can always change its mind, it has to follow the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which includes addressing the factual record, acknowledging the change in policy from the previous FCC, and explaining why it makes a different decision this time around.

Fun Arguments To Watch At Net Neutrality Oral Argument

I thought I would point out some of the more fun arguments that may come up on Feb 1 in the oral argument in Mozilla v. FCC, the challenge to the Restoring Internet Freedom Order (RIFO). As always, keep in mind that oral argument is a perilous guide to the final order, and the judges on the panel have a reputation for peppering both sides with tough questions. 

Public Knowledge Demands FTC, FCC Get Off Privacy Sidelines and Enforce Existing Law

Jan 15, reports surfaced that Voipo, a California voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) provider, exposed millions of consumer call logs and text messages stored on an “improperly secured” ElasticSearch database for several months before security researcher Justin Paine located them. Public Knowledge demands that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai enforce existing Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) rules that protect the privacy of information related to telephone calls.

Why “Wi-Fi 6” Tells You Exactly What You’re Buying, But “5G” Doesn’t Tell You Anything.

Welcome to 2019, where you will find aggressively marketed to you a new upgrade in Wi-Fi called “Wi-Fi 6” and just about every mobile provider will try to sell you some “new, exciting, 5G service!” But funny thing. If you buy a new “Wi-Fi 6” wireless router you know exactly what you’re getting. It supports the latest IEEE 802.11ax protocol, operating on existing Wi-Fi frequencies of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, and any other frequencies listed on the package.