Harper Neidig

FCC will take public comments on Sinclair-Tribune merger until at least July 12

The Federal Communications Commission will be restarting the informal 180-day shot clock on its review of the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger after it reviews the latest and information from the most recent filing. It signaled it had been waiting to consolidate Sinclair's various re-filings and tweaks to the deal, and is doing that, but is also going to seek even more info on top-four market station ownership requests. That public notice signals the commission has what is expected to be essentially the final version of the deal, though still with questions about this latest iteration. 

Watchdog to conduct ethics training for FCC after CPAC controversy

The Office of Special Counsel has ruled that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai did not violate ethics laws by participating in a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February, but said that it will be conducting standards training with agency employees in the coming months. "After considering all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the event, OSC has concluded that you did not violate the Hatch Act by merely participating in the panel discussion in an official capacity," OSC official Ana Galindo-Marrone wrote in the letter to Ch

Rep. Keith Ellison questions FCC Chairman Pai over former adviser's wire fraud indictment

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai asking for details on the nature of Elizabeth Ann Pierce’s appointment as chairwoman of an FCC advisory committee. Law enforcement officials are alleging that Pierce, the former CEO of an Alaska telecommunications firm called Quintillion, used forged customer contracts to try to attract investors. “[If] the allegations are true, it appears that Ms.

Reps. Square Off at Hearing Over Online Censorship

House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep James Hines (D-CT) testified before the House Judiciary Committee about alleged online censorship of conservative speech. The hearing was on "Filtering Practices of Social Media Platforms" and stemmed in part from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before Congress recently.  The first two panelists were members of Congress, and as such only presented statements and were not questioned afterward.

Privacy group sues FTC for records on Facebook's privacy program

An advocacy group is suing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for records on Facebook’s privacy practices, arguing that there’s a “clear public interest” in learning details about the social media giant’s policies following revelations of a data scandal.  The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to push for the unredacted release of biennial privacy assessments that Facebook agreed to submit under a 2011 consent agreement with the FTC.

FCC defends GOP commissioners' appearance at CPAC

The Federal Communications Commission’s top lawyer says that Republican commissioners who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) earlier in 2018 did not violate any ethics rules. FCC General Counsel Thomas Johnson Jr. said that the appearance by the three GOP commissioners was in line with ethics requirements because even though CPAC is a conservative event, it’s nonpartisan.

Ex-DOJ officials raise concerns about possible Trump interference in AT&T lawsuit

A group of former Justice Department officials is raising concerns about whether President Donald Trump had any improper influence over the agency’s decision to sue to block the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger. In a federal court filing submitted late March 9, the group urged the judge to explore whether the White House had pressured the Justice Department to file the lawsuit as retaliation for critical coverage from CNN, an outlet that President Trump often criticizes and a subsidiary of Time Warner.

Washington state becomes first state to pass net neutrality law after FCC repeal

Washington became the first state in the country to pass its own network neutrality law in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of the popular Obama-era rules. Gov Jay Inslee (D-WA) signed a bill forbidding internet service providers from blocking or throttling web content, or from charging websites for higher delivery speeds. During a ceremony for the bill signing, he called the legislation a "free speech bill." “All Washingtonians should enjoy equal and unfettered access to the educational, social and economic power of the internet,” Gov Inslee said.

General Counsel for the Internet Association to Join White House as Adviser to President Trump

An executive at a top technology trade association will be joining the White House as a tech adviser to President Donald Trump. Abigail Slater, the general counsel for the Internet Association (IA), which represents tech giants like Google and Facebook, will replace Grace Koh as a special assistant to the president with the National Economic Council. 

House Commerce Committee Democratic Reps press FCC for answers on net neutrality comments

On Feb 13, all 24 Democratic Reps on the House Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commissioners over how it reviewed the docket of 24 million public comments submitted in response to the agency’s repeal of its network neutrality rules.