Tony Romm

Here’s how the FCC plans to defend its net neutrality repeal in federal court (updated)

The Federal Communications Commission told the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that it acted properly when it repealed the US government’s net neutrality rules in 2017, marking its first legal salvo in a campaign to battle back 22 states and tech companies including Mozilla, Facebook, and Google that contend the agency’s move was illegal. The FCC said it was perfectly within its right to rethink how it regulated those internet service providers, citing a landmark Supreme Court decision outlining the agency’s powers from 2005.

Tribune withdraws from Sinclair merger, saying it will sue for ‘breach of contract’

Tribune Media will withdraw from its $3.9 billion merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group, saying it would sue Sinclair for “breach of contract” over its failed negotiations with regulators over the deal. “In light of the FCC’s unanimous decision, referring the issue of Sinclair’s conduct for a hearing before an administrative law judge, our merger cannot be completed within an acceptable time frame, if ever,” said Peter Kern, Tribune’s chief executive officer. “This uncertainty and delay would be detrimental to our company and our shareholders.

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.

YouTube overhauls advertising, data collection on kids content to satisfy federal regulators

YouTube said it is rolling out new protections for children viewing videos on its site, an effort to satisfy federal regulators who in 2019 fined the company tens of millions of dollars over alleged privacy violations. The changes, which include limitations on data collection and advertising, are a step toward addressing concerns from advocacy groups who have complained the Google-owned company has run afoul of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which forbids tracking and targeting users 12 and under.