Tony Romm

Biden, top Democrats lay groundwork for multibillion dollar push to boost US broadband

President-elect Joe Biden and top congressional Democrats are laying the groundwork to seek a massive increase in federal broadband spending in 2021, hoping they can secure billions of dollars in new government aid to improve Internet access and affordability — and help people stay online during the pandemic. Party leaders are mulling a wide array of proposals that would extend the availability of broadband in hard-to-reach rural areas, raise Internet speeds for American households, assist families who are struggling to pay their Internet bills and provide more funding to schools for comput

Senate Democrats call on power, water, telecom giants to halt all utility shutoffs

Top Senate Democrats are calling on electric, gas, water and telecommunications giants to voluntarily halt all utility shutoffs for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. The request - sent in a letter to 21 of the largest utility companies including AT&T and Verizon - illustrates the country’s lingering economic needs even as Washington fails to coalesce around a new coronavirus relief package, which congressional Democrats say should include a disconnection ban and other aid to help fa

Zuckerberg once wanted to sanction Trump. Then Facebook wrote rules that accommodated him.

Hours after President Trump’s incendiary post about sending the military to the Minnesota protests, he called Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The post put the company in a difficult position, Zuckerberg told President Donald Trump. The same message was hidden by Twitter, the strongest action ever taken against a presidential post.

Facebook is quietly helping to set up a new pro-tech advocacy group to battle Washington

Facebook is working behind the scenes to help launch a new political advocacy group that would combat US lawmakers and regulators trying to rein in the tech industry, escalating Silicon Valley’s war with Washington at a moment when government officials are threatening to break up large companies. The organization is called American Edge, and it aims through a barrage of advertising and other political spending to convince policymakers that Silicon Valley is essential to the US economy and the future of free speech, apparently.

‘It shouldn’t take a pandemic’: Coronavirus exposes Internet inequality among US students as schools close their doors

In states like Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington, educators say they are feeling firsthand the sting of the digital divide — the historically hard-to-erase gap between those who have speedy, modern-day Web connections and those who do not.

Attorney General Barr blasts big tech, raising prospect that companies could be held liable for dangerous, viral content online

US Attorney General William Barr blasted big tech, raising the specter that Silicon Valley might soon be held accountable for a wide array of dangerous, harmful content that critics say has flourished on their sites and services. At an event that laid bare tech’s broad troubles — including the spread of terrorism, illicit drug sales and child sexual exploitation online — AG Barr said it may be time for the government to seek sweeping changes to a key portion of federal law, known as Section 230, that long has spared tech companies from liability for content posted by their users.

FTC will review past mergers by Facebook, Google and other big tech companies

The Federal Trade Commission said it would probe past mergers by Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft, seeking to study the ways that tech giants gobbled up their rivals — and if their acquisitions may have skirted federal antitrust laws. The new effort by the FTC will require all five companies to provide information about the smaller players they've purchased over the past 10 years, including documents for deals that may not have been large enough to warrant deep, closer inspection by government watchdogs at the time.

Sen Warren Warren issues new disinformation pledge, promising to hold Facebook, Google and Twitter responsible

Democratic presidential candidate Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) pledged that her campaign would not share falsehoods or promote fraudulent accounts on social media, part of a new plan to battle back disinformation and hold Facebook, Google and Twitter “responsible” for its spread.

Facebook is ordered to hand over data about thousands of apps that may have violated user privacy

A Massachusetts judge has ordered Facebook to turn over data about thousands of apps that may have mishandled its users’ personal information, rejecting the tech company’s earlier attempts to withhold the key details from state investigators.

Companies burned by Big Tech plead for Congress to regulate Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google

Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google took a public lashing at a congressional hearing at the University of Colorado in Boulder (CO), where some of their smaller rivals, including Sonos and Tile, pleaded with federal lawmakers to take swift action against Big Tech. Democratic and Republican lawmakers at times appeared stunned as they heard tales of technology giants wielding their massive footprints as weapons, allegedly copying smaller competitors’ features or tweaking their algorithms in ways that put new companies at a costly disadvantage.