Benton's Headlines

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Communications-related Headlines is a free online news summary service provided by the Benton Foundation (www.benton.org). Posted Monday through Friday, this service provides updates on important industry developments, policy issues, and other related news events. While the summaries are factually accurate, their often informal tone does not always represent the tone of the original articles. Headlines are compiled byKevin Taglang (headlines AT benton DOT org) and Robbie McBeath (rmcbeath AT benton DOT org) -- we welcome your comments.
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(c)Benton Foundation 2016. Redistribution of this email publication -- both internally and externally -- is encouraged if it includes this message. For subscribe/unsubscribe info email: headlines AT benton DOT org
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The Benton Foundation works to ensure that media and telecommunications serve the public interest and enhance our democracy. We pursue this mission by: 1) seeking policy solutions that support the values of access, diversity and equity; 2) demonstrating the value of media and telecommunications for improving the quality of life for all; and 3) providing information resources to policymakers and advocates to inform communications policy debates.
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Kevin Taglang
Executive Editor, Communications-related Headlines
Benton Foundation
727 Chicago Avenue
Evanston, IL 60202
847-328-3049
Fax: 847-328-3046
headlines AT benton DOT org

October 28, 2017 (Special Weekend Edition)

BENTON'S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES for SATURDAY, OCTOBER 38, 2017 (Weekend Edition)

You are receiving this special weekend edition of Headlines today because we’ll, sadly, not be in your In Box on Monday. We’re getting to launch a new version of benton.org and will be back on Tuesday, October 31 with 101 reasons why telecommunications policy is really spooky.


ELECTIONS AND MEDIA
   Facebook is taking a stricter stance on political advertising ahead of its testimony to Congress
   Sen Feinstein is demanding more information from Facebook and Twitter about Russian users on their sites
   Facebook scrubbed potentially damning Russia data before researchers could analyze it further
   Twitter's decision to ban ads from a Russian broadcaster could backfire [links to Verge, The]

JOURNALISM
   ‘When these guys leave, we’re still here’: A four-man local newspaper braces for white nationalists and the national media [links to Washington Post]
   Don’t confuse volume of news with importance - analysis [links to Benton summary]
   Political ignorance and the future of political misinformation online - WaPo op-ed [links to Benton summary]
   Political journalism has been profoundly shaped by men like Leon Wieseltier and Mark Halperin [links to Vox]

INTERNET/BROADBAND/TELECOMMUNICATIONS
   Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Statement on FCC Majority's Lifeline Proposal - press release
   Mobile Broadband Service Is Not an Adequate Substitute for Wireline - research
   CenturyLink agrees with Verizon, AT&T to realign the copper retirement process
   Op-ed: Net neutrality good for small business, low-income people, consumers [links to Des Moines Register]

OWNERSHIP
   FCC Announces Plan to Scrap Ownership Limits [links to Benton summary]
   Consumer Protection in the 21st Century - House Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden
   FCC Chairman Pai Delivering Big For Broadcast On Nov 16 - Harry Jessell editorial [links to Benton summary]
   Modernizing the Mother of All Media Regulations - National Association of Broadcasters press release [links to Benton summary]
   Fake News Alert: Media Conglomerates Convince FCC that Facebook can Replace Local News Stations - analysis [links to Benton summary]
   President Trump’s FCC Chair Moves to Undermine Journalism and Democracy - John Nichols [links to Benton summary]

CONTENT
   In 2017, the Web Series May be the New TV Pilot [links to Verge, The]
   Google no longer lets you change domains to search different countries [links to Verge, The]

ADVERTISING
   On NFL Thanksgiving Menu: Six-Second Ads [links to New York Times]

PRIVACY/SECURITY
   Supreme Court's Cell Phone Tracking Case Could Hurt Privacy - op-ed [links to Benton summary]
   Your Data Is Being Manipulated - speech [links to Benton summary]
   New Cyber Shield Act Would Create IoT Cybersecurity Seal of Approval [links to Benton summary]
   Department of Commerce: Remaining Safe in a “Smart” World [links to Department of Commerce]
   T-Mobile Alerted 'A Few Hundred Customers' Targeted By Hackers [links to Vice]

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
   FirstNet Facts: Ensuring States, Territories & Public Safety Have the Information They Need [links to First Responder Network Authority]
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 27 [links to Federal Communications Commission]

HEALTH
   How can broadband help with the opioid crisis? [links to Blandin Foundation]

PATENTS
   Comcast Settles Sprint Patent Spat for $250M [links to Multichannel News]

POLICYMAKERS
   FCC Commissioner Carr picked to lead small cell deployment reform [links to Benton summary]
   Politicians Are Bad at Podcasting - analysis [links to Benton summary]

COMPANY NEWS
   Amazon's Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in the world with $90 billion [links to USAToday]
   The New York Times is now on Tor as its own Onion Service [links to Fast Company]

STORIES FROM ABROAD
   Facebook Allowed Questionable Ads in German Election Despite Warnings [links to Benton summary]

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ELECTIONS AND MEDIA

FACEBOOK STANCE ON POLITICAL ADVERTISING
[SOURCE: Vox, AUTHOR: Tony Romm, Kurt Wagner]
Facebook is trying to make it easier to identify political ads in your News Feed. The company announced it will soon require advertisers — especially political candidates — to disclose more information about their advertising efforts on the platform as the company seeks to temper concerns from the US Congress about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Facebook’s new policies include labeling political ads so they’re easier to identify, and creating a catalogue of these and other ads so users can see how much advertisers are paying and who they are targeting. But many of the changes intended to create more transparency don’t appear to address the most problematic ads purchased in 2016 by Kremlin-backed, online trolls. These ads, referred to as "issue ads," sought to stir social and political unrest in the United States around issues like Black Lives Matter, not necessarily to promote candidates like Donald Trump. Still, the announcements come as Facebook prepares for what could be a brutal grilling before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. The panels are investigating Russia’s suspected interference in the 2016 presidential election, and they’ll also hear from senior executives at Google and Twitter during back-to-back hearings on Nov. 1.
benton.org/headlines/facebook-taking-stricter-stance-political-advertising-ahead-its-testimony-us-congress-next | Vox | The Hill
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SEN FEINSTEIN DEMANDING MORE INFO FROM FACEBOOK AND TWITTER
[SOURCE: Vox, AUTHOR: Tony Romm]
Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is demanding that Facebook and Twitter turn over reams of new data about Russian disinformation spread on their platforms during the 2016 US presidential election. Her requests — detailed in exhaustive letters to the two tech giants’ chief executives — are part of her broader probe into the Kremlin’s potential coordination with President Donald Trump’s campaign. Specifically, Sen Feinstein seeks information about any Russian-connected user accounts, pages, organic content and ads that targeted their efforts at the United States. And with Twitter, in particular, she asks the company to share some direct messages sent and received by Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. In both cases, though, Sen Feinstein demands answers by Nov 6. That’s five days after Facebook and Twitter are set to send their senior legal advisers to Capitol Hill for back-to-back hearings before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, which have spearheaded lawmakers’ Russia investigations.
benton.org/headlines/sen-feinstein-demanding-more-information-facebook-and-twitter-about-russian-users-their | Vox
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FACEBOOK SCRUBBED POTENTIALLY DAMNING RUSSIA DATA
[SOURCE: Business Insider, AUTHOR: Natasha Bertrand]
Facebook removed thousands of posts shared during the 2016 election by accounts linked to Russia after a Columbia University social-media researcher, Jonathan Albright, used the company's data-analytics tool to examine the reach of the Russian accounts. Albright, who discovered the content had reached a far broader audience than Facebook had initially acknowledged, said that the data had allowed him "to at least reconstruct some of the pieces of the puzzle" of Russia's election interference. "Not everything, but it allowed us to make sense of some of this thing," he said. Facebook confirmed that the posts had been removed. But a spokesman said it was because the company had fixed a glitch in the analytics tool — called CrowdTangle — that Albright had used which provided "an unintended way to access information about deleted content." "Facebook is cooperating fully with federal investigations and are providing info to the relevant authorities," the spokesman said.
benton.org/headlines/facebook-scrubbed-potentially-damning-russia-data-researchers-could-analyze-it-further | Business Insider
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INTERNET/BROADBAND/TELECOMMUNICATIONS

CLYBURN STATEMENT ON LIFELINE PROPOSAL
[SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission, AUTHOR: FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn]
As I participate today in Silicon Harlem's annual conference, I'm reminded of the 929,000 New Yorkers, including those who live and work in the heart of Harlem, that depend on the Federal Communications Commission's Lifeline program for affordable telecommunications services. I am saddened to affirm, during a conference that seeks to find solutions to narrow technology divides and create enhanced opportunities for the disconnected, that the FCC majority has issued a so-called proposal for the Lifeline program which promises to jeopardize our efforts at ubiquitous and affordable services for the citizens of New York and the rest of the country. If the goal of the current FCC majority is to widen existing divides, and ensure that our nation's most vulnerable are less likely to be connected, this item sets us on that path. It will harm those less fortunate, those who need to dial 911, stay in touch with their children's educators, keep a job, and stay healthy. The day we head down such a path, is a sad one indeed. I commit to doing everything in my power to ensure that the only universal service program designed to close the affordability gap, remains a shining and successful means for economically-strapped citizens to have voice and broadband services.
benton.org/headlines/commissioner-mignon-clyburn-statement-fcc-majoritys-lifeline-proposal | Federal Communications Commission
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MOBILE IS NOT AN ADEQUATE SUBSTITUTE
[SOURCE: Columbia Telecommunications Corporation Technology and Energy, AUTHOR: ]
This report analyzes the current and emerging generation of mobile wireless technologies and Compares those technologies to wireline technologies such as fiber‐to‐the‐premises (FTTP), cable broadband, and copper DSL across a range of technical parameters, including reliability, resilience, scalability, capacity, and latency. The report also evaluates wireless carriers’ mobile pricing and usage structures—including so‐called “unlimited” data plans—because those policies play a significant role in whether consumers can substitute mobile for wireline service. The report concludes that, for both technical and business reasons, wireless technologies are not now, and will not be in the near to medium future, adequate alternatives or substitutes for wireline broadband.
benton.org/headlines/mobile-broadband-service-not-adequate-substitute-wireline | Columbia Telecommunications Corporation Technology and Energy
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CENTURYLINK AGREES WITH VERIZON, ATT TO REALIGN THE COPPER RETIREMENT PROCESS
[SOURCE: Fierce, AUTHOR: Sean Buckley]
CenturyLink is joining the chorus of incumbent telecommunication companies that want the copper retirement and legacy service discontinuance process to be simplified to facilitate the build out and expansion of next-gen fiber and IP-based services. In an Federal Communications Commission filing, CenturyLink has asked the regulator to streamline the Section 214 and copper retirement processes. “CenturyLink expressed wholehearted support for the Commission’s proposals to expedite and streamline the Section 214 and copper retirement processes,” Century wrote. “The migration to next-generation facilities and services is both natural and desirable. The Commission therefore should eliminate prior approval requirements where possible and streamline those that remain.”
benton.org/headlines/centurylink-agrees-verizon-att-realign-copper-retirement-process | Fierce
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OWNERSHIP

CONSUMER PROTECTION IN THE 21ST CENTURY
[SOURCE: Medium, AUTHOR: House Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR)]
[Commentary] It is this committee’s mission to protect consumers, and in the coming months, we will be taking a more expansive look at the online experience to ensure safety, security, and an unfiltered flow of information. Recently, the Equifax data breach compromised the personal information of 145 million Americans, including social security numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, and more. This committee held a hearing on the breach and will continue to deeply scrutinize the staggering amount of personal information changing hands online and the business practices surrounding those transactions. My colleagues and I will hold a separate hearing to assess identity verification practices, and determine whether they can be improved to protect personal data on the web even after a consumer’s information has been breached. These hearings are just the start of a long-term, thoughtful, and research-focused approach to better illuminate how Americans’ data is being used online, how to ensure that data is safe, and how information is being filtered to consumers over the web. While technology is responsible for a lot of positive change in our world, malignant behavior online can have consequences that are not fully disclosed to the American people.
benton.org/headlines/consumer-protection-21st-century | Medium | The Hill
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October 27, 2017 (FCC's November Agenda)

BENTON'S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES for FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2017

A peak at next week’s agenda https://www.benton.org/calendar/2017-10-29--P1W

NOVEMBER FCC MEETING AGENDA
   An Energetic November - FCC Chairman Pai press release
   Pai Lifeline Proposal is Sad for Anyone Who Believes in Truly Universal Service - Benton press release
   Benton Asks FCC to Walk the First Amendment Talk When Considering Broadcast Ownership Rules - press release

ELECTIONS & MEDIA
   GAO to investigate Trump's voter fraud commission [links to Hill, The]
   Twitter Overstated Number of Users for Three Years
   Russia threatens retaliation after Twitter bans adverts from RT and Sputnik news outlets [links to Benton summary]
   How Facebook, Google and Twitter 'embeds' helped Trump in 2016
   Cambridge Analytica used data from Facebook and Politico to help Trump
   What Did Cambridge Analytica Really Do for Trump's Campaign? [links to Wired]

COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY
   Fix this democracy — now - WaPo op-eds
   House Speaker Ryan: FBI will hand over documents related to Trump-Russia dossier [links to Benton summary]

JOURNALISM
   Can the media survive on this path? - op-ed
   Op-Ed: Why We Need ‘Pull-No-Punches Reporting’ That Holds Big Corporations And Moneyed Interests Accountable [links to Huffington Post]
   Press Groups Seek Investigation of St Louis Police Treatment of Journalists [links to Benton summary]
   No network has interviewed President Trump more than Fox. Here’s what they’ve asked him. [links to Benton summary]
   CNN Anchor Don Lemon Files Police Report Over ‘Threatening and Anti-Black Messages’ [links to Wrap, The]

INTERNET/BROADBAND
   House Judiciary Committee to hold Nov 1 hearing on net neutrality, antitrust issues [links to Benton summary]

SECURITY/PRIVACY
   McAfee says it no longer will permit government source code reviews [links to Reuters]

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
   FirstNet faces pushback from some states as deadline looms [links to Benton summary]
   House Communications Subcommittee Has Rescheduled FirstNet Oversight hearing for Nov 1 [links to Broadcasting&Cable]
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 26 [links to Federal Communications Commission]

CONTENT
   Rep Maxine Waters demands info on Russia-linked Twitter accounts she says targeted her [links to Benton summary]
   Reddit Bans Nazi Groups and Others in Crackdown on Violent Content [links to New York Times]

WIRELESS/SPECTRUM
   Remarks Of FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr At Competitive Carriers Association's 25th Annual Convention - speech [links to Benton summary]

OWNERSHIP
   Public Knowledge Joins Conservative Groups Against AT&T-Time Warner Merger in DOJ Letter [links to Benton summary]

COMMUNITY MEDIA
   Larry Magid: libraries remain a vital part of our communities [links to San Jose Mercury News]

GOVERNMENT & COMMUNICATIONS
   Op-Ed: Technology Is Key to Local Citizen Engagement [links to Government Technology]

LOBBYING
   Facebook Steps Up Efforts to Sway Lawmakers [links to Benton summary]

COMPANY NEWS
   Google Parent Alphabet’s Revenue Climbs to $27.77 Billion in Third Quarter; Profit to $6.73 Billion [links to Wall Street Journal]
   Amazon Revenue Rises to $43.74 billion in Third Quarter [links to Wall Street Journal]
   Microsoft’s cloud-computing operations Azure and Office 365 saw revenue soar in fiscal first quarter [links to Wall Street Journal]
   Comcast: Loss of cable television subscribers accelerates [links to USAToday]
   NBC's Mark Halperin accused of sexual harassment by five women [links to Benton summary]

STORIES FROM ABROAD
   How Europe fights fake news - CJR op-ed [links to Benton summary]
   WhatsApp faces EU taskforce over sharing user data with Facebook [links to Guardian, The]
   Spain Looks to Seize Catalonia Radio and TV as Crisis Mounts [links to New York Times]
   Mexican TV Mogul Steps Down as CEO Amid Programming Struggles [links to Wall Street Journal]
   Opinion: The Question More Indians Ask — ‘Is My Phone Tapped?’ [links to New York Times]

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NOVEMBER FCC MEETING AGENDA

AN ENERGETIC NOVEMBER
[SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission, AUTHOR: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai]
At our November open meeting, we'll be tackling top priorities: curtailing unlawful robocalls, unleashing 5G wireless connectivity, enabling the next generation of broadcast television, speeding infrastructure deployment, and modernizing our media ownership rules.
Lifeline: Speaking of bridging the digital divide, the Lifeline program is an important component of the Commission's efforts to bring digital opportunity to low-income Americans. But when I testified on Capitol Hill last month, I heard loud and clear from Democratic and Republican Senators alike that the program is in need of serious reform. For starters, we need to crack down on waste, fraud, and abuse. And we will. For instance, right now, Lifeline recipients in cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Reno, Nevada receive an enhanced Tribal subsidy, intended for rural Tribal lands, of $34.25 a month, while those in other cities receive the standard $9.25 subsidy. Giving residents of Tulsa and Reno an extra $25 per month subsidy is a waste of money given that the cost of providing service in those cities is far lower there than it is in poorer, rural areas. Therefore, at our November meeting, the Commission will aim to close this loophole and limit the enhanced Tribal subsidy to those actually living on Tribal lands in rural areas. We'll also vote to solicit public input on how to effectively and efficiently direct Lifeline funds to the areas where they are most needed and to do so consistent with the FCC's legal authority. And we'll give Lifeline recipients better service and more choices–such as by eliminating a current prohibition on Lifeline broadband beneficiaries changing service providers for an entire year.
Media Ownership: We will be voting on modernizing our media ownership rules to reflect the marketplace of the present, not the past. President Clinton's first FCC Chairman stated, "Under current conditions, the FCC's [newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership] rule is perverse." In 2017, the FCC is poised to finally bring our media ownership rules into the digital age. If this proposed Order is adopted, the FCC would make five significant nods to reality. First, we would once and for all eliminate the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule. In this day and age, if you want to buy a newspaper, you deserve a roadmap, not a roadblock. Second, we would eliminate the radio/television cross-ownership rule, which is unnecessary in today's marketplace given the Commission's separate local radio and local television ownership rules. Third, we would revise the local television ownership rule to eliminate the eight-voices test and incorporate a case-by-case review into the top-four restriction. This would better reflect the competitive conditions in local markets. Fourth, we would eliminate the attribution rule for television joint sales agreements, finding that JSAs serve the public interest by allowing broadcasters to better serve their local markets. And fifth, we would finally establish an incubator program to encourage greater diversity in and new entry into the media business and seek comment on what the details of that program should be.
benton.org/headlines/energetic-november | Federal Communications Commission
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PAI LIFELINE PROPOSAL IS SAD FOR ANYONE WHO BELIEVES IN TRULY UNIVERSAL SERVICE
[SOURCE: Benton Foundation, AUTHOR: Adrianne Furniss]
Intended initially as a mechanism to reduce the cost of phone service for low-income customers, the bipartisan Lifeline program has worked in lockstep with telephone providers and consumers to increase the uptake in phone service throughout the country and has kept pace with changes in technology as the U.S. moved from a wireline world to one where the number of mobile devices and services now exceeds the population to a recognition that broadband internet is an essential communications service. Unfortunately, Chairman Pai’s proposal turns America’s back on our commitment, enshrined in law, to make sure world-class telecommunications are available and affordable for all. By nick and hack, Pai is gutting the only Universal Service Fund program that directly benefits consumers instead of carriers. His changes will mean fewer low-income households are served by fewer competitive options. At the very least, we hope that the FCC will take the time to do an economic analysis around the impact of the proposed changes. Many, many Lifeline recipients are U.S. veterans who fought for our flag. Chairman Pai appears to be waiving the white flag of surrender for their connected future. This is a sad day for anyone who believes in truly universal service.
benton.org/headlines/pai-lifeline-proposal-sad-anyone-who-believes-truly-universal-service | Benton Foundation
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BENTON AKS FCC TO WALK THE FIRST AMENDMENT TALK
[SOURCE: Benton Foundation, AUTHOR: Adrianne Furniss]
From the earliest days of broadcasting, federal regulation has sought to foster the provision of programming that meets local communities' needs and interests. The FCC’s rules have been rooted in the core values of localism, competition, and diversity. Any changes in FCC rules should be aimed at expanding the multiplicity of voices and choices that support our marketplace of ideas and that sustain American democracy and creativity. Instead of the proposal before us now, the FCC should be considering policies that encourage:
Viewpoint diversity to ensure that the public has access to “a wide range of diverse and antagonistic opinions and interpretations.” FCC rules should facilitate opportunities for varied groups, entities, and individuals to participate in the different phases of the broadcast industry;
Outlet diversity, opening control of media outlets to a variety of independent owners;
Source diversity so the public has access to information and programming from multiple content providers; and
Program diversity so broadcasting delivers a variety of programming formats and content.
benton.org/headlines/benton-asks-fcc-walk-first-amendment-talk-when-considering-broadcast-ownership-rules | Benton Foundation
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ELECTIONS & MEDIA

TWITTER OVERSTATED NUMBER OF USERS FOR THREE YEARS
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, AUTHOR: Georgia Wells]
Twitter said it overstated its number of users for the past three years and committed to take advertising off its site from two Russian media outlets, even as it reported modest user growth for the third quarter. Twitter said it will no longer accept advertising from all accounts owned by Russian-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik. Federal intelligence officials say RT is “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet.“ Twitter’s decision marks a stark change to its previous stance of accepting advertising from these groups. The RT editor in chief said in a tweet on Oct 26 that Twitter approached RT ahead of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election to pitch ways RT could advertise on Twitter during this period.
benton.org/headlines/twitter-overstated-number-users-three-years | Wall Street Journal
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HOW FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, AND TWITTER 'EMBEDS' HELPED TRUMP IN 2016
[SOURCE: Politico, AUTHOR: Nancy Scola]
Facebook, Twitter and Google played a far deeper role in Donald Trump's presidential campaign than has previously been disclosed, with company employees taking on the kind of political strategizing that campaigns typically entrust to their own staff or paid consultants, according to a new study released Oct 26. The peer-reviewed paper, based on more than a dozen interviews with both tech company staffers who worked inside several 2016 presidential campaigns and campaign officials, sheds new light on Silicon Valley's assistance to Trump before his surprise win last November. While the companies call it standard practice to work hand-in-hand with high-spending advertisers like political campaigns, the new research details how the staffers assigned to the 2016 candidates frequently acted more like political operatives, doing things like suggesting methods to target difficult-to-reach voters online, helping to tee up responses to likely lines of attack during debates, and scanning candidate calendars to recommend ad pushes around upcoming speeches. Such support was critical for the Trump campaign, which didn’t invest heavily in its own digital operations during the primary season and made extensive use of Facebook, Twitter and Google "embeds" for the general election, says the study, conducted by communications professors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Utah.
benton.org/headlines/how-facebook-google-and-twitter-embeds-helped-trump-2016 | Politico | read the study
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CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA USED DATA FROM FACEBOOK AND POLITICO TO HELP TRUMP
[SOURCE: The Guardian, AUTHOR:Stephanie Kirchgaessner]
Cambridge Analytica used its own database and voter information collected from Facebook and news publishers in its effort to help elect Donald Trump, despite a claim by a top campaign official who has downplayed the company’s role in the election. The data analysis company, which uses a massive database of consumer and demographic information to profile and target voters, has come under the scrutiny of congressional investigators who are examining the Trump campaign. This week, the group became the focus of a new controversy after the Daily Beast reported that the company’s chief executive, Alexander Nix, had contacted Julian Assange in 2016. Nix allegedly asked the WikiLeaks founder whether he could assist in releasing thousands of e-mails that had gone missing on a private server that had been used by Hillary Clinton. Assange confirmed the contact but said the offer was rejected. The news prompted a top former campaign official, Michael Glassner, who was executive director of the Trump election campaign, to minimise the role Cambridge Analytica played in electing Trump, despite the fact that it paid Cambridge Analytica millions of dollars in fees. In a statement on Oct 25, Glassner said that the Trump campaign relied on voter data owned by the Republican National Committee to help elect the president. “Any claims that voter data from any other source played a key role in the victory are false,” he said. But that claim is contradicted by a detailed description of the company’s role in the 2016 election given in May by a senior Cambridge Analytica executive.
benton.org/headlines/cambridge-analytica-used-data-facebook-and-politico-help-trump | Guardian, The
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COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY

FIX THIS DEMOCRACY -- NOW
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: ]
In so many ways, the underlying conditions of US democracy need repair. Among American citizens, ideological and philosophical divisions seem insurmountably sharp; among their representatives in Washington, compromise appears impossible. Whatever side you were on in last year’s election, it’s clear that the campaign brought these problems dramatically to the surface of our national life; it’s also clear that these challenges would have been with us, in equal measure, no matter who won. And so, as we approach the one-year anniversary of the election, we asked dozens of writers and artists to look beyond the day-to-day upheavals of the news cycle and propose one idea that could help fix the long-term problems bedeviling American democracy. The result: 38 conservative, liberal, practical, creative, broad, specific, technocratic, provocative solutions for an unsettled country.
benton.org/headlines/fix-democracy-now | Washington Post
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JOURNALISM

CAN THE MEDIA SURVIVE ON THIS PATH?
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Gary Abernathy]
[Commentary] It struck me after a number of casual conversations with local Republicans over the past few weeks that they seldom mentioned the Democrats when discussing President Trump’s adversaries. Almost all conversations about roadblocks President Trump faces or opposition to his initiatives centered on what was perceived as the media’s biased portrayal of him and his administration. Republicans and conservatives have grumbled about unfair coverage from the “mainstream media” for decades. But the Trump era has brought us to a new plateau, one where the media has moved from adversarial to oppositional. Many observers, on both right and left, have come to see the media as the leader of the resistance. If you care about journalism, it’s a disturbing trend. Many in the media would undoubtedly lay much of the blame on Trump’s “fake news” attacks. But peruse the pages or websites of most of our nation’s leading news providers, and it’s easy to understand why such a perception has taken hold, apart from Trump’s claims. We are at a dangerous precipice in how Americans receive and digest information and, ultimately, form opinions. The influence of social-media feeds, which — through user choice or outside meddling — provide only a narrow flow of information, makes the credibility of news organizations more imperative than ever. President Trump and the Republicans will survive the media’s resistance, and perhaps even flourish. The bigger question is, can the media survive on this path? Perhaps, but not in its traditional role. Instead, it will be viewed as just another partisan special interest.
[Gary Abernathy is publisher and editor of the (Hillsboro, Ohio) Times-Gazette.]
benton.org/headlines/can-media-survive-path | Washington Post
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October 26, 2017 (Fats Domino, Rita Henley Jensen)

Fats Domino, Rock and Roll Pioneer

Rita Henley Jensen, Founder of Women’s eNews

BENTON'S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES for THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2017

Today's Event -- Antitrust and Innovation: What the Alarmists Get Wrong, ITIF -- https://www.benton.org/node/265681

OWNERSHIP
   The FCC plans to roll back some of its biggest rules against media consolidation
   FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel: Pro-Sinclair FCC Policies Deserve Investigating
   Trump’s FCC Chair Announces Plan to Scrap Ownership Limits Standing in Way of Sinclair Mega-Merger - Free Press press release [links to Benton summary]
   Can Washington Stop Big Tech Companies? Don’t Bet on It [links to Benton summary]
    See also:Big Tech’s Rivals Pounce at Chances to Win in Washington [links to Benton summary]
   Google’s Government Influence Nixed Competition for Winner-Take All Results [links to Scott Cleland]
   Sprint, T-Mobile Merger Talks Edge Closer but Still Drag On [links to Wall Street Journal]
    See also:Sprint Merger With T-Mobile Would Kill 20,000 Jobs, Union Says [links to Bloomberg]
   Facebook's Aggressive Moves on Startups Threaten Innovation [links to Wired]

COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY
   FCC Chairman Pai Commits to No Retribution, Period, Over News Content
   There is no 1st Amendment right to speak on a college campus - Vox op-ed [links to Benton summary]
   Hate speech is protected free speech, even on college campuses - Vox op-ed [links to Benton summary]

NET NEUTRALITY
   Verizon will stop throttling video on unlimited plans if you pay an extra $10 per month [links to Verge, The]
   ISPs Have Throttled, Blocked Content - Tech Dirt op-ed
   A Public Focused Approach To Network Neutrality - Tech Dirt op-ed [links to Benton summary]
   National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce: Legislation can guarantee the neutrality our internet economy deserves [links to Hill, The]
   Ending Net Neutrality Can Help Puerto Rico Recover, Proposes Verizon-Funded National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce [links to Intercept, The]

MORE INTERNET/BROADBAND
   Big Telecom Spent $200,000 to Try to Prevent a Colorado Town From Even Talking About a City-Run Internet [links to Benton summary]
   Misconceptions about KentuckyWired - Insider Louisville op-ed [links to Benton summary]
   Digital Inclusion Showcase: #MNBroadband Conference 2017 [links to Blandin Foundation]

SECURITY/PRIVACY
   New DHS Social Media Retention Practices Threaten Privacy, Freedom of Expression - New America press release [links to Benton summary]
   Right-leaning groups back international data privacy bill [links to Benton summary]
   3 Ways to Fight the Cybertalent War [links to Government Technology]

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
   FCC Chairman Pai Proposes Order Aiding Hurricane-Affected Schools, Libraries - press release
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 25 [links to Federal Communications Commission]
   A ‘How-To’ Guide for Governors Considering Opting Out of FirstNet [links to National Telecommunications and Information Administration]
   Verizon: First Responders don’t have to change providers just because their state opts-in to FirstNet [links to Verizon]

WIRELESS/SPECTRUM
   The FCC Rethinks Citizens Broadband at the Eleventh Hour - CommLawBlog analysis [links to Benton summary]
   Smartphones Ring Big With Hispanic Women [links to Multichannel News]

TELEVISION
   Senate Democrats Want FCC to Mediate Verizon/Univision Impasse [links to Benton summary]
   National Association of Broadcasters Slams Verizon at FCC Over ATSC 3.0 [links to Broadcasting&Cable]

JOURNALISM
   'Downright Orwellian': journalists count cost of Facebook's impact on democracy
   CBS Names Jeff Glor Its Evening News Anchor [links to New York Times]
   The man who saved his local news site in two days [links to Columbia Journalism Review]

CONTENT
   Musicians group launches ad campaign against Google, YouTube [links to Benton summary]
   Why is YouTube undercutting anti-ISIS efforts? [links to American Enterprise Institute]
   Reddit bans Nazi chat pages [links to Hill, The]

LABOR
   Sprint Merger With T-Mobile Would Kill 20,000 Jobs, Union Says [links to Bloomberg]

PHILANTHROPY
   Gates Foundation Announces New $1.7 Billion for K-12 Public Education [links to Education Week]

FCC REFORM
   Chairman Pai: It's Official Policy to Release Meeting Items in Advance

LOBBYING
   How lobbyists convinced lawmakers to kill a broadband privacy bill
   Silicon Valley Gets Behind Initiative to Challenge Trump’s Agenda in Court [links to Benton summary]
   Telecom Lobbyists Fund MI Lawmaker Who Sponsors Bill To Ban Municipal Broadband [links to Benton summary]

POLICYMAKERS
   Progress Report on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai - New America press release [links to Benton summary]

COMPANY NEWS
   AT&T gains 125K IP broadband subscriptions in Q3, but DSL losses remain a drag [links to Fierce]
   Bill O’Reilly May Wind Up at Sinclair Broadcasting

STORIES FROM ABROAD
   Kenyans need more than fact-checking tips to resist misinformation - CJR op-ed [links to Benton summary]

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OWNERSHIP

FCC PLANS TO ROLL BACK SOME OF ITS BIGGEST RULES AGAINST MEDIA CONSOLIDATION
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Brian Fung]
The Federal Communications Commission will vote in Nov to eliminate a decades-old rule designed to preserve media diversity in local markets, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Oct 25. The move is aimed at supporting economically struggling media outlets in an age of digital consumption. But critics say it will lead to greater media consolidation and the loss of independent voices. The regulations, passed in 1975, prevent any single company from owning both a full-power TV station in a given market and a daily newspaper at the same time. “The marketplace is nothing like it was in 1975,” Chairman Pai told House Communications Subcommittee members at a hearing, arguing that the restriction on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership was outdated. “The FCC's rules still presume the market is defined by pulp and rabbit ears.” The FCC vote, expected Nov 16, could also eliminate a rule that prevents TV stations in the same market from merging if the outcome leads to fewer than eight independent stations operating in that market. “If the federal government has no business intervening in news, then we must stop the government from intervening in the news business,” he said.
benton.org/headlines/fcc-plans-roll-back-some-its-biggest-rules-against-media-consolidation | Washington Post | B&C
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ROSENWORCEL: PRO-SINCLAIR FCC POLICIES DESERVE INVESTIGATING
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel of the Federal Communications Commission told Congress that the FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai has been taking actions that appear to favor Sinclair Broadcasting, and suggested that needs investigating. Commissioner Rosenworcel was asked to weigh in during an FCC oversight hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee Oct 25, and she did not hesitate. She said she was concerned that the FCC's recent policy decisions, from restoring the UHF discount to "foisting" on American households a new broadcast standard (ATSC 3.0) for which Sinclair has patents, seemed to serve Sinclair's business plans. "I think it has reached a point where all our media policy decisions seem to be custom built for this one company, and I think it merits investigation," she said. "That is a pretty strong statement," responded Rep Jerry McNerney (D-CA), who clearly shared her concern.
benton.org/headlines/fcc-commissioner-rosenworcel-pro-sinclair-fcc-policies-deserve-investigating | Broadcasting&Cable
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BILL O'REILLY MAY WIND UP AT SINCLAIR
[SOURCE: NBC, AUTHOR: Claire Atkinson]
Apparently, Bill O'Reilly, the former Fox News anchor, has been negotiating for a position with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation's largest television-station owner. Sinclair, known for its conservative commentary, is continuing with the talks despite the sexual harassment cases that cost O'Reilly his job at Fox earlier this year, the sources said. Last week, The New York Times reported that O’Reilly settled a $32 million sex harassment claim against him by a former legal analyst, Lis Wiehl. Apparently, the news does not appear to have sidelined the talks. "They took a pause but it didn't really change anything for them," one of the sources said. O’Reilly has said the Times article was designed to hurt him in the marketplace. He told The Times that the report was “politically and financially motivated.”
benton.org/headlines/bill-oreilly-may-wind-sinclair-broadcasting | NBC
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COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY

PAI COMMITS TO NO RETRIBUTION, PERIOD, OVER NEWS CONTENT
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai got a grilling from Democratic members of the House Communications Subcommittee, who were unhappy with his deregulatory thrust and his perceived failure to sufficiently parry the President's threats against TV licenses. Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) was among a host of Democrats who upbraided the chairman for what they said was a delayed, and "tepid," as Rep Anna Eshoo (D-CA) put it, response to the President's tweeted threats against TV licenses and NBC over a news story he called fake. Chairman Pai said he had repeated "again and again and again" that the First Amendment must be and would be at the heart of the FCC's work, including journalists reporting as they see fit without government interference. He said that was why he opposed a news diversity study under his predecessor. Chairman Pai said his record is clear, but that presidential attacks on the press were not new. But it was not as clear to Democrats that the chairman was not leaving room in his past statements for actions beyond just not pulling licenses. Pressed for more clarity from Pallone, Pai committed to not affecting license transfers in other ways due to the content of newscasts, not to launch investigations based on the content of newscasts, and that the FCC would not retaliate against companies based on the content of newscasts.
benton.org/headlines/fcc-chairman-pai-commits-no-retribution-period-over-news-content | Broadcasting&Cable
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NET NEUTRALITY

ISPS HAVE BLOCKED, THROTTLED CONTENT
[SOURCE: Tech Dirt, AUTHOR: John Ottman]
[Commentary] Here are just a few ways internet service providers (ISPs) have throttled or blocked content in the past:
Packet forgery: In 2007 Comcast was caught interfering with their customers’ use of BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer file sharing
Discriminatory traffic shaping that prioritizes some protocols over others: a Canadian ISP slowed down all encrypted file transfers for five years
Prohibitions on tethering: the Federal Communications Commission fined Verizon for charging consumers for using their phone as a mobile hotspot
Overreaching clauses in ISP terms of service, such as prohibitions on sharing your home Wi-Fi network
Hindering innovation with "fast lane" discrimination that allows wireless customers without data plans to access certain sites but not the whole Internet
Hijacking and interference with DNS, search engines, HTTP transmission, and other basic Internet functionality to inject ads and raise revenue from affiliate marketing schemes, from companies like Paxfire, FairEagle, and others
Individually and collectively, these practices pose a dire threat to this purely democratic engine of innovation that has allowed hackers, startups, and kids in their college dorm rooms to create the free Internet that we know and love today.
[John Ottman is Chairman and co-founder of Minds, Inc. a social media network.]
benton.org/headlines/isps-have-throttled-blocked-content | Tech Dirt
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EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS

PAI PROPOSES ORDER AIDING HURRICANE-AFFECTED SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES
[SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission, AUTHOR: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai]
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai issued the following statement on his proposal to help schools and libraries affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria restore connectivity through the FCC’s E-rate program:
“[Oct 24], I shared with my colleagues an emergency order that would help schools and libraries recover from the devastation of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. This order would provide targeted financial support to these institutions through the FCC’s E-rate program and give them maximum flexibility as they try to restore connectivity. It would also make available additional funds to schools that are serving a substantial number of students displaced by this season’s hurricanes. Once my fellow commissioners have had the opportunity to review this proposed order, I hope they will be able to quickly vote to support this relief.”
benton.org/headlines/fcc-chairman-pai-proposes-order-aiding-hurricane-affected-schools-libraries | Federal Communications Commission
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JOURNALISM

JOURNALISTS COUNT COST OF FACEBOOK IMPACT ON DEMOCRACY
[SOURCE: The Guardian, AUTHOR: Alex Hern]
Facebook has been criticised for the worrying impact on democracy of its “downright Orwellian” decision to run an experiment seeing professional media removed from the main news feed in six countries. The experiment, which began 19 Oct and is still ongoing, involves limiting the core element of Facebook’s social network to only personal posts and paid adverts. So-called public posts, such as those from media organisation Facebook pages, are being moved to a separate “explore” feed timeline. As a result, media organisations in the six countries containing 1% of the world’s population – Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Bolivia, Cambodia, Serbia and Slovakia – have had one of their most important publishing platforms removed overnight. “The Facebook explore tab killed 66% of our traffic. Just destroyed it … years of really hard work were just swept away,” says Dina Fernandez, a journalist and member of the editorial board at Guatemalan news site Soy502. “It has been catastrophic, and I am very, very worried.” For those who rely on Facebook to campaign politically, share breaking news, or keep up to date with the world, that might be a concerning thought. “I’m worried about the impact of Facebook on democracy,” said Fernandez. “One company in particular has a gigantic control on the flow of information worldwide. This alone should be worrisome. It’s downright Orwellian.”
benton.org/headlines/downright-orwellian-journalists-count-cost-facebooks-impact-democracy | Guardian, The
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FCC REFORM

PAI: ITS OFFICIAL POLICY TO RELEASE MEETING ITEMS IN ADVANCE
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has officially declared an end to the pilot project of publishing the text of meeting items three weeks before they are voted, but only to declare it his policy going forward. That came at a press conference following the FCC's public meeting Oct 24. The chairman early on instituted the test as part of his transparency agenda. Asked at the meeting about the status of the test, he first said it had been a success and making it permanent was certainly something he was willing to discuss with his colleagues and "working with the commission staff to determine the feasibility and benefits of doing so. But after a pause, he continued: "In fact, you know what, let's just go ahead and declare the pilot over. It is not the official policy of the FCC to release these at least three weeks in advance of the monthly meeting." As leader of the loyal opposition under former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Ajit Pai was a frequent critic of FCC process, saying it lacked transparency—he has long argued for letting the public know what is being voted on at public meetings—and said it was the kind of regulatory certainty that a competitive marketplace needs.
benton.org/headlines/chairman-pai-its-official-policy-release-meeting-items-advance | Broadcasting&Cable
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LOBBYING

HOW LOBBYISTS CONVINCED LAWMAKERS TO KILL A BROADBAND PRIVACY BILL
[SOURCE: ars technica, AUTHOR: Jon Brodkin]
When a California state legislator proposed new broadband privacy rules that would mirror the federal rules previously killed by Congress, broadband industry lobbyists got to work. The lobbyists were successful in convincing the state legislature to let the bill die without passage in Sept, leaving Internet users without stronger rules protecting the privacy of their Web browsing histories. The week of Oct 23, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released documents that lobbyists distributed to lawmakers before the vote. The EFF described one as "an anonymous and fact-free document the industry put directly into the hands of state senators to stall the bill" and the other as "a second document that attempted to play off fears emerging from the recent Charlottesville attack by white supremacists." The California bill, introduced by Assembly-member Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), was modeled on now-defunct Federal Communications Commission rules and would have required Internet service providers to obtain customers' permission before they use, share, or sell the customers' Web browsing and application usage histories.
benton.org/headlines/how-lobbyists-convinced-lawmakers-kill-broadband-privacy-bill | Ars Technica
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October 25, 2017 (Robert Guillaume)

'Benson' star Robert Guillaume

BENTON'S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES for TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2017

Today's busy agenda https://www.benton.org/calendar/2017-10-25


NEWS FROM THE FCC MEETING
   FCC Chairman Pai: No Talks With White House About License Challenges
   FCC Moves to Promote Investment in 3.5 GHz Band - press release
   FCC Undermines Rules Designed to Promote Rural Deployment - Public Knowledge
   FCC 3.5 GHZ Vote Gets Divided Reaction [links to Broadcasting&Cable]
   Public Knowledge Responds to Flawed FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on 3.5GHz Band [links to Public Knowledge]
   AT&T Statement on FCC Proposal to Promote Investment in the 3.5 GHz Spectrum Band [links to AT&T]
   FCC Eliminates Main Studio Rule - press release
   FCC Minority Laments Loss of Studio Rule [links to TVNewsCheck]
   FCC Approves New Rules To Aid in Tracking Threatening Phone Calls - press release [links to Benton summary]
   FCC Seeks Comment on Moving Toward Nationwide Number Portability - press release [links to Benton summary]
   FCC Improves Phone Accessibility for People with Hearing Loss - press release [links to Benton summary]
   FCC Streamlines Part 43 International Reporting Requirements - press release [links to Benton summary]
   FCC Proposes to Reduce Broadcaster Reporting Requirements - press release [links to Benton summary]

COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY
   Press Sec Sanders cites ‘real facts’ to show media ‘hostility’ toward President Trump
   Department of Justice Backs Challenge to Free Speech Zone [links to Benton summary]

ELECTIONS & MEDIA
   Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier
   GOP, industry skeptical of new rules for online political ads
   Twitter will reveal who's paying for its political ads [links to Benton summary]
   News Media Alliance: Google, Facebook Business Models Fuel Fake News [links to Benton summary]
   Political Typology Reveals Deep Fissures on the Right and Left - Pew research [links to Benton summary]

INTERNET/BROADBAND
   FCC Likely To Use Thanksgiving Holiday To Hide Its Unpopular Plan To Kill Net Neutrality [links to Tech Dirt]
   Ad Group Recommends That AT&T Tweak Fiber Claims [links to Multichannel News]

SECURITY/PRIVACY
   Sens introduce surveillance reform bill [links to Benton summary]
   Trump Administration Plans a New Cybersecurity Strategy [links to Benton summary]
   SEC ignored years of warnings about cybersecurity before massive breach [links to Washington Post]
   Microsoft drops lawsuit after DOJ move to limit gag orders on tech companies [links to Hill, The]
   The entire global financial system depends on GPS, and it’s shockingly vulnerable to attack [links to Quartz]
   Anyone can track you with $1,000 of online ads [links to Benton summary]

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 24 [links to Federal Communications Commission]

CONTENT
   Most Netflix customers don’t pay for other streaming services. But Hulu and HBO Now subscribers do. [links to Vox]
   PragerU sues Google, YouTube for 'censoring' conservative videos [links to Hill, The]
   Facebook has no plans to make newsfeed changes worldwide [links to Hill, The]
   Information Technology Industry Council: AI Policy Principles [links to Information Technology Industry Council]

TELECOM
   Jails pocket up to 60 percent of what inmates pay for phone calls [links to Benton summary]

WIRELESS/SPECTRUM
   T-Mobile/Sprint would be ‘dominant spectrum holder’ in much of US: Mosaik [links to Fierce]
   Smartphones are getting more expensive around the world [links to Benton summary]

OWNERSHIP
   Amazon could be responsible for nearly half of U.S. e-commerce sales in 2017 [links to Vox]
   The 21st-century Hollywood: how Silicon Valley became the world’s trend capital [links to Guardian, The]

JOURNALISM
   ‘They were just following me and giving me sugar’: Results from focus groups in four US cities - Tow Center research
   Tech attempts to heal local scars [links to Columbia Journalism Review]
   Study: Readers are hungry for news feed transparency [links to Columbia Journalism Review]
   What do ordinary people think fake news is? Poor journalism and political propaganda. [links to Columbia Journalism Review]
   A new project will keep stories alive when journalists are killed [links to Columbia Journalism Review]
   Jezebel, Leading Voice on Feminist Issues, Names New Top Editor [links to New York Times]
   The Trace, a gun-focused news outlet on what it takes to cover firearms credibly [links to Columbia Journalism Review]

EDUCATION
   When classroom technology impedes student learning [links to American Enterprise Institute]

LABOR
   Bridging the ‘information gap’ to boost economic opportunity - AEI op-ed [links to Benton summary]

GOVERNMENT & COMMUNICATIONS
   Congress opens probe into FBI’s handling of Clinton e-mail investigation
   President Trump set for 14th Fox interview since taking office [links to Hill, The]

POLICYMAKERS
   Sen Jeff Flake (R-AZ) Will Not Seek Re-Election in 2018
   Rep Jeff Duncan (R-SC) Joins House Commerce Committee [links to House of Representatives Commerce Committee]

COMPANY NEWS
   AT&T Profit Falls on Shrinking TV Subscription, Wireless Phone Businesses [links to Wall Street Journal]

STORIES FROM ABROAD
   UK lawmakers ask Facebook about Russia-linked Brexit activity [links to Hill, The]

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FCC MEETING

PAI: NO TALKS WITH WHITE HOUSE ABOUT LICENSE CHALLENGES
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he has not talked to the White House about his response to the President's tweets about challenging broadcast licenses. President Donald Trump, unhappy with an NBC News story be branded fake and fiction, had tweeted that someone ought to challenge the licenses and they should be revoked, "if necessary." Chairman Pai was asked repeatedly about the issue in a press conference following the FCC meeting Oct 24. Asked if the President or White House had reached out to him on the license challenge issue, Pai said no. The chairman was asked about why it took him so long to respond to the President's tweets. Chairman Pai countered that he responded the first time he was asked, which response had been to reiterate that he supports the First Amendment, that the FCC is an independent agency, and to say that the FCC can't pull a license over the content of a newscast, no matter who asked it to. Chairman Pai said that his independence as a regulator was clear and suggested that the focus on his response was politically motivated. "I understand that those who oppose my agenda would like me to be distracted by the controversy of the day," he said. The chairman would not say whether he thought the President's threats had had a chilling effect on the First Amendment, sticking with a regulator's answer that he was going to apply the facts and the law and make the appropriate decision. The FCC can actually pull a license over content in specific circumstances, but those don't include what news stories are covered or how they are covered.
benton.org/headlines/fcc-chairman-pai-no-talks-white-house-about-license-challenges | Broadcasting&Cable
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FCC MOVES TO PROMOTE INVESTMENT IN 3.5 GHZ BAND
[SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission, AUTHOR: Press release]
The Federal Communications Commission proposed revisions to its rules in the 3.5 GHz band to promote investment, keep up with technological advancements, and maintain US leadership in the deployment of next-generation services. In particular, the FCC seeks comment on changes to the rules governing the second service tier, known as Priority Access Licenses, of the band’s novel three-tier framework. These changes include longer license terms with the possibility of renewal; larger geographic license areas; and modifications to the rules governing license auctions, secondary market transactions, and certain technical criteria. These changes to the licensing and technical rules in the band could help increase incentives for investment, encourage more efficient spectrum use, and promote robust network deployments in both urban and rural communities. Additionally, over the past few years, it has become clear that the 3.5 GHz band will be a core component of 5G network deployments, with several countries moving forward with policies that will make this band available for such services. These rule changes will facilitate the implementation of 5G networks in this band and accelerate deployment of a promising new generation of wireless technologies for all Americans
benton.org/headlines/fcc-moves-promote-investment-35-ghz-band | Federal Communications Commission | Multichannel News | telecompetitor
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FCC UNDERMINES RULES ON RURAL DEPLOYMENT
[SOURCE: Public Knowledge, AUTHOR: Phillip Berenbroick]
Oct 24, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that will undo years of the FCC’s work to improve wireless deployments in rural areas, close the digital divide, and promote spectrum use by a wide range of users with diverse and innovative business models in the 150 megahertz between 3550-3700 MHz (the 3.5 GHz Band or Band). Adopting the NPRM is the first step to undermining the FCC’s work in the 3.5 GHz Band, and represents a rare lose-lose-lose scenario in spectrum policy making. The draft NPRM explores expanding the geographic size of 3.5 GHz Band Priority Access Licenses (PALs) from the size of census tracts to Partial Economic Areas (PEAs), extending the license term from three years to 10 years, and to making PALs renewable. Currently, it appears the Commission (thanks to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn) may have resisted its worst impulses and walked back its draft proposal to license all PALs by PEA. However, If eventually adopted as the licensing scheme for the 3.5 GHz Band, the NPRM’s proposals would make licenses unaffordable for rural broadband providers seeking to serve targeted, unserved communities, and other innovative wireless uses (e.g., an Internet of Things network on a corporate campus or distribution warehouse, or a wireless network to serve an airport, shopping center, arena, or stadium), and make it unlikely that the 3.5 GHz Band is actually put to use closing the digital divide in rural America.
benton.org/headlines/fcc-approves-35-ghz-nprm-undermines-rules-designed-promote-rural-deployment | Public Knowledge
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FCC ELIMINATES MAIN STUDIO RULE
[SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission, AUTHOR: Press release]
The Federal Communications Commission eliminated the broadcast main studio rule. The Order retains the requirement that stations maintain a local or toll-free telephone number to ensure consumers have ready access to their local stations. The main studio rule, adopted nearly 80 years ago, currently requires each AM radio, FM radio, and television broadcast station to have a main studio located in or near its local community. The rule was implemented to facilitate input from community members and the station’s participation in community activities. The Commission recognizes that today the public can access information via broadcasters’ online public file, and stations and community members can interact directly through alternative means such as e-mail, social media, and the telephone. Given this, the Commission found that requiring broadcasters to maintain a main studio is outdated and unnecessarily burdensome. Elimination of the main studio rule should produce substantial cost-saving benefits for broadcasters that can be directed toward such things as programming, equipment upgrades, newsgathering, and other services that benefit consumers. It will also make it easier for broadcasters to prevent stations in small towns from going dark and to launch new stations in rural areas.
benton.org/headlines/fcc-eliminates-main-studio-rule | Federal Communications Commission | B&C | Washington Post | The Hill
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COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY

PRES SEC SANDERS ON MEDIA HOSTILITY TOWARD TRUMP
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Erik Wemple]
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders doesn’t like the media’s tone these days. “I’ve never been attacked more, questioned more. I was called a liar by a major network in an official statement, I’ve been called outrageous things on air, and it goes unquestioned, no pushback,” said Sanders. “I do think that there is a greater sense of hostility that I’ve seen in this administration than in previous, and I think that you see that reflected in the numbers, in the coverage,” said Sanders, who cited a study showing that 93 percent of the coverage was negative and 7 percent positive. Indeed, studies have shown overwhelmingly negative coverage of President Donald Trump in the mainstream media. “If you compare that to the first nine months of the the Obama administration, it was 40-60, so for people to pretend like there isn’t a greater sense of hostility toward this administration, I think, would be to ignore real facts.”
benton.org/headlines/press-sec-sanders-cites-real-facts-show-media-hostility-toward-president-trump | Washington Post
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ELECTIONS & MEDIA

CLINTON CAMPAIGN, DNC PAID FOR RESEARCH THAT LED TO RUSSIA DOSSIER
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Adam Entous, Devlin Barret, Rosalind Helderman]
The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, apparently. Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research. After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the US intelligence community, apparently. Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the firm in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Prior to that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by a still unknown Republican client during the GOP primary. The Clinton campaign and the DNC through the law firm continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.
benton.org/headlines/clinton-campaign-dnc-paid-research-led-russia-dossier | Washington Post
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GOP, INDUSTRY SKEPTICAL OF NEW RULES FOR ONLINE POLITICAL ADS
[SOURCE: The Hill, AUTHOR: Ali Breland]
Republicans and the advertising industry at a hearing Oct 24 criticized proposals to expand disclosure rules on online political ads amid revelations Russian actors used social media platforms to influence the 2016 election. Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, told lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology that new rules would unduly burden digital publishers. “One of the problems I have with the Honest Ads Act is its placing the burden on smaller publishers that don’t have the financial wherewithal to shoulder that burden,” he said, referring to legislation offered in the Senate that would impose new regulations on web companies. Rep Paul Mitchell (R-MI) blasted the idea of holding companies like Facebook and Google to the same rules as other media over political ads. “On the internet post, the provider, the intermediary is not responsible for it. They didn’t write it. They didn’t hire them, they didn’t determine who they are, yet you want to hold them to the same standard as your newspaper, which is an entirely different format,” he said. Rep Mitchell said new rules would infringe on free speech.
benton.org/headlines/gop-industry-skeptical-new-rules-online-political-ads | Hill, The
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JOURNALISM

RESULTS FROM FOCUS GROUPS IN FOUR US CITIES
[SOURCE: Columbia Journalism Review, AUTHOR: Pete Brown, Andrea Wenzel, Meritxell Roca-Sales]
As more and more people get at least some of their news from social platforms, this study showcases perspectives on what the increasingly distributed environment looks like in day-to-day media lives. Drawing from thirteen focus groups conducted in four cities across the United States, we sample voices of residents who reflect on their news habits, the influence of algorithms, local news, brands, privacy concerns, and what all this means for journalistic business models. While our overall study complicates any notion of a singular audience with singular wants, it offered insights from varied perspectives that may be of value for both publishers and platforms:
Publishers and platforms interested in rebuilding and maintaining relationships of trust with audiences should invest in media literacy that includes a) skills for verifying brands, b) algorithm literacy, and c) privacy literacy. Effectively tackling these areas will require a shift in attitude and strategy for platform companies—reluctant companies should note the risk of losing users alienated by the opacity of their operations. However, it must be noted that algorithmic transparency is required before algorithmic literacy can be achieved.
Platforms should note that strategies to prolong engagement by exposing users to perspectives only with which they agree may backfire as some people turn away from platforms due to perceived echo chambers.
Additional research is needed to monitor existing efforts to increase the visibility of local news on social platforms, though there is likely a need for platform companies to do more in addressing this critical element of the news ecosystem.
Platforms and other stakeholders committed to verification should take note of public skepticism regarding quick fixes to the challenge of fake news and the nuance required to not only address “imposter content” and “fabricated content,” but also the absence or presence of partisan content.
Publishers should approach business models such as native advertising and sponsored links with caution given their potential to jeopardize relationships of trust with readers. However, additional research and a dedicated study of audience attitudes toward journalistic business models would be valuable.
benton.org/headlines/they-were-just-following-me-and-giving-me-sugar-results-focus-groups-four-us-cities | Columbia Journalism Review
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GOVERNMENT & COMMUNICATIONS

CONGRESS OPENS PROBE INTO FBI’S HANDLING OF CLINTON E-MAIL INVESTIGATION
[SOURCE: ars technica, AUTHOR: David Kravets]
Two House committees announced that they would conduct a joint probe into the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. The Clinton investigation concluded with no charges being levied against the former secretary of state who was running for president under the Democratic ticket. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said in a joint statement that they are unsatisfied with how the probe into Clinton's private e-mail server concluded. Among other things, the chairmen want to know why the bureau publicly said it was investigating Clinton while keeping silent that it was looking into President Donald Trump's campaign associates and their connections to Russia. "Our justice system is represented by a blind-folded woman holding a set of scales. Those scales do not tip to the right or the left; they do not recognize wealth, power, or social status," Chairmen Goodlatte and Gowdy said in a joint statement. "The impartiality of our justice system is the bedrock of our republic, and our fellow citizens must have confidence in its objectivity, independence, and evenhandedness. The law is the most equalizing force in this country. No entity or individual is exempt from oversight."
benton.org/headlines/congress-opens-probe-fbis-handling-clinton-e-mail-investigation | Ars Technica | Press release
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POLICYMAKERS

SEN FLAKE WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION
[SOURCE: NPR, AUTHOR:
Sen Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said that he will not seek re-election in 2018. He said, "there may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party." Sen Flake decried the current coarse tone of American politics in a speech on the Senate floor. "We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country — the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve," Flake said. Sen Flake introduced a resolution to invalidate the Federal Communications Commission's broadband privacy rules back in March, which was ultimately passed.
benton.org/headlines/sen-jeff-flake-r-az-trump-critic-will-not-seek-re-election-2018 | NPR | Washington Post | The Hill | Vox
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October 24 (Fake News Poll)

BENTON'S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES for TUESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2017

Today's Events


COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY
   President Trump says poll about fake news, published by ‘dishonest’ Politico, is real news [links to Benton summary]
   Hopes Dim for Congressional Russia Inquiries as Parties Clash [links to New York Times]
   Eugene Volokh: Freedom of expression on campus: An overview of some recent surveys [links to Washington Post]
   Tightening Political Ad Disclosure Rules May Not Curb 'Fake News,' Interactive Advertising Bureau Says [links to Benton summary]

CONTENT
   Rep Pallone: Google, Facebook, Twitter Content Treatment Not 'Neutral'
   Facebook moving non-promoted posts out of news feed in trial
   Margaret Sullivan: When Facebook and Google are ‘weaponized,’ the victim is reality [links to Washington Post]
   Why the Fact-Checking at Facebook Needs to Be Checked [links to New York Times]
   Russia’s Favored Outlet Is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped. [links to New York Times]
   Social media site favored by 'alt-right' drops Google lawsuit [links to Benton summary]

INTERNET/BROADBAND
   California rural broadband bill signed by Gov Brown
   A Legislative Solution For Net Neutrality May Be Close - Forbes op-ed
   Craig Settles: Bill Would Prevent Public Networks in Michigan [links to Daily Yonder]

OWNERSHIP
   President Trump’s FCC could make ‘fake news’ harder to combat - Newsmax Media op-ed
   How Big Tech Became A Bipartisan Whipping Boy [links to Wired]
   AT&T, Time Warner extend merger deadline amid pending DOJ approval [links to Benton summary]
   T-Mobile, Sprint show signs of impending merger [links to Benton summary]
   Can Alphabet’s Jigsaw Solve Google’s Most Vexing Problems? [links to Benton summary]
   Cisco to Buy BroadSoft for $1.7 Billion [links to Wall Street Journal]

SECURITY/PRIVACY
   Justice Department moves to end routine gag orders on tech firms [links to Washington Post]
   FTC Provides Additional Guidance on COPPA and Voice Recordings - press release [links to Benton summary]
   FBI Couldn't Access Nearly 7,000 Devices Because of Encryption [links to Benton summary]
   Op-ed: When It Comes to Surveillance, Watch the Watchmen [links to New York Times]
   Kaspersky Lab to open antivirus software to outside review [links to Associated Press]
   The Reaper IoT Botnet has already Infected a Million Networks [links to Wired]

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
   FirstNet Will Deal Directly With Tribal Nations [links to Benton summary]
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 23 [links to Federal Communications Commission]
   Ranking global cities on public safety innovation [links to Brookings]

ACCESSIBILITY
   Remarks of Commissioner Clyburn, Accessibility Innovations Expo - speech [links to Benton summary]

WIRELESS/SPECTRUM
   With Smart Farm Technology, Individual Plants Now Generate Data, Requiring Good Rural Broadband Coverage [links to telecompetitor]
   Verizon CFO: Mobile 5G ‘not a 2018 activity’ [links to Fierce]

JOURNALISM
   Journalism’s Broken Business Model Won’t Be Solved by Billionaires [links to Benton summary]
   New Investigative Website Fights Rich And Powerful ‘Who Call the Shots’ [links to Huffington Post]
   CNN mocks President Trump with 'facts first' ads [links to Hill, The]

COMMUNITY MEDIA
   Bringing the ‘Public’ Back to Public Media - Media Shift op-ed

LABOR
   In Camden, Bridging the Skills Gap Means More than Tech Training [links to Benton summary]

GOVERNMENT & COMMUNICATIONS
   Police turn body cams into tools for public relations, not accountability [links to Columbia Journalism Review]

LOBBYING
   Amazon, Facebook and Google beef up lobbying spending [links to Benton summary]

COMPANY NEWS
   T-Mobile Skirts Merger Issue as Customer Base Grows [links to Wall Street Journal]

POLICYMAKERS
   NAACP Elects New President, Will Assume More Political Non-Profit Tax Status [links to National Public Radio]

STORIES FROM ABROAD
   Russian Radio Journalist Is Stabbed, Renewing Fears of Attacks on News Media [links to New York Times]
   In Joke Few Find Funny, Czech President Waves Fake Gun Marked ‘For Journalists’ [links to Huffington Post]
   Russian Journalist Stabbed, Renewing Fears of Attacks on Media [links to New York Times]
   Is China building a voice database to identify its citizens? [links to Fast Company]

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CONTENT

PALLONE: GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, TWITTER CONTENT TREATMENT NOT 'NEUTRAL'
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
House Commerce Committing Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) says top edge player online content management policies are not "neutral," a charge that comes as the network neutrality debate continues to rage on. “With a goal of ad clicks or driving page views, these companies’ policies are not neutral; they actively shape content on the web," said Ranking Member Pallone. That came in a request for a meeting with representatives of those edge giants about how they police content on their sites as social media's role in fake news and Russian election meddling becomes grows as a focus of Hill attention. It also is a response to reports of vague, confusing, and inconsistently applied content guidelines. Usually, ISPs have been targeted for net neutrality criticisms, but increasingly edge providers are at least at the edges of the conversation on Capitol Hill, and Pallone, along with the committee Democrats of which he is the leader, is clearly trying to include tech companies in conversations about their role in net neutrality and the First Amendment going forward.
benton.org/headlines/rep-pallone-google-facebook-twitter-content-treatment-not-neutral | Broadcasting&Cable | The Hill
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FACEBOOK MOVING NON-PROMOTED POSTS OUT OF NEWS FEED IN TRIAL
[SOURCE: The Guardian, AUTHOR: Alex Hern]
Facebook is testing a major change that would shift non-promoted posts out of its news feed, a move that could be catastrophic for publishers relying on the social network for their audience. A new system being trialled in six countries including Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka sees almost all non-promoted posts shifted over to a secondary feed, leaving the main feed focused entirely on original content from friends, and advertisements. The change has seen users’ engagement with Facebook pages drop precipitously, by 60% to 80% . If replicated more broadly, such a change would destroy many smaller publishers, as well as larger ones with an outsized reliance on social media referrals for visitors.
benton.org/headlines/facebook-moving-non-promoted-posts-out-news-feed-trial | Guardian, The | Adweek | Vox | The Hill
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INTERNET/BROADBAND

CALIFORNIA RURAL BROADBAND LAW
[SOURCE: Record-Bee, AUTHOR: ]
Among hundreds of bills signed into law on Oct 22 by Gov Jerry Brown (D-CA) was the rural broadband measure championed by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D — Winters), Several past efforts to increase funding to close the Digital Divide were intensely opposed by the largest telecommunications and cable companies. After a three-year stalemate, this bill represents a cooperative effort between legislators of both houses and both parties, consumer advocates, and representatives from the telecommunications and cable industries to invest in broadband access and rural development. The California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) is a state program aimed at closing the Digital Divide. The CASF does not depend upon General Fund dollars, but instead is funded by a small, existing surcharge on in-state phone bills. The current goal of this program is to incentivize the expansion of broadband infrastructure to 98% of California households. AB 1665 expands this goal to 98% of households in every geographic region of the state. This new goal creates a target that cannot be achieved by serving urban and suburban areas alone; it will ensure broadband infrastructure projects funded by AB 1665 are focused in rural California. The law will take effect beginning January 1, 2018.
benton.org/headlines/california-rural-broadband-bill-signed-gov-brown | Record-Bee
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A LEGISLATIVE SOLUTION FOR NET NEUTRALITY MAY BE CLOSE
[SOURCE: Forbes, AUTHOR: Larry Downes]
[Commentary] It might seem that the prospects for a return to strong bi-partisan Internet policy, which began during the Clinton Administration, are no better now. There’s been no visible movement, for example, on a simple but effective compromise bill offered by senior Republicans in 2015. According to its sponsors, it remains on the table. But the stakes are about to get higher. The Federal Communications Commission is likely to vote before year-end to undo much of the Commission’s 2015 order reclassifying broadband Internet service providers as public utilities, an order which, almost as an after-thought, included the agency’s third attempt at network neutrality rules that could pass legal muster. Added urgency may help the stars align for serious negotiations in Congress. For one thing, an inevitable legal challenge to the upcoming order will go nowhere. Though it may take a year or more to work its way through the courts, the FCC’s undo of its earlier order will almost certainly be upheld. The time for a straightforward, uncontroversial legislative solution is now—not after the pro-utility advocates lose in court in another year or more, and not after another few turns of FCC Chairmen flipping the switch again and again. The net neutrality bill introduced in 2015--before the FCC needlessly reversed twenty years of bi-partisan policy--remains the best starting point we have. Assuming, that is, that Congress really wants to solve this problem once and for all.
[Larry Downes is the Project Director at Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy.]
benton.org/headlines/legislative-solution-net-neutrality-may-be-close | Forbes
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OWNERSHIP

TRUMPS FCC COULD MAKE 'FAKE NEWS' HARDER TO COMBAT
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Christopher Ruddy]
[Commentary] Many Democrats have decried this Federal Communications Commission decision benefiting Sinclair, a conservative broadcaster with ties to Breitbart News. And while some conservatives are cheering the deal, the implications of FCC actions are troubling for most. The nonsensical decision to reinstitute the UHF discount will also open the door for NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox to buy local TV stations reaching more than 70 percent of US homes. Anyone who understands how these big media companies operate can see the danger. By owning local stations, the New York-based media networks could dictate local news coverage. With the planned elimination of the local studio rule, they will have a green light to do so. Before approving the Sinclair merger, the FCC has a duty to engage in a comprehensive and open media-ownership proceeding — one that seeks public comment and input from Congress. Anything less raises questions about impartiality and jeopardizes the integrity of the commission. Eliminating ownership rules that have served us well for more than 30 years is a momentous change. The American people must play a role in that decision.
[Christopher Ruddy is chief executive of Newsmax Media.]
benton.org/headlines/president-trumps-fcc-could-make-fake-news-harder-combat | Washington Post
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COMMUNITY MEDIA

BRINGING THE 'PUBLIC' BACK TO PUBLIC MEDIA
[SOURCE: Media Shift, AUTHOR: Sarah Alvarez]
[Commentary] In Nov it will be 50 years since the Public Broadcasting Act, steeped in the Great Society idealism of President Lyndon Johnson’s administration, became law. The act turned programming like “Sesame Street,” “Reading Rainbow” and “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” into true public goods. Now, on the silver anniversary of the act, it’s completely plausible that the Trump Administration might celebrate by making good on their threats to defund as much of the public broadcasting apparatus as they can. While it’s unlikely NPR and PBS want this to happen, they have been preparing for a future without government money for a long time. The biggest stations have figured out how to bring in money without sacrificing quality. Still, the shift away from public money in public broadcasting has caused significant collateral damage: Public media, maybe unintentionally, now strives to serve an elite audience instead of an expansive and inclusive vision of the “public.” The hope is that more affluent audiences can be counted on to add to their closet full of pledge drive tote bags when the time comes. This is the same audience commercial news organizations look for so they can buy things advertisers sell. These target consumers have more news than they need. Perversely, that means even the most thought-provoking public media is used more for entertainment that anything else. I worry if we continue to ignore the information needs of news consumers representing a wide swath of economic and demographic realities, we will deserve any loss of relevance we experience.
[Sarah Alvarez is the founder of Outlier Media, a data journalism service delivering high value information to low income news consumers in Detroit via SMS.]
benton.org/headlines/bringing-public-back-public-media | Media Shift
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October 23, 2017 (Trump’s already won his war against the media)

BENTON'S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES for MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017

Today's Event -- Accessibility Innovations Expo, FCC -- https://www.benton.org/node/265584


COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY
   Free speech or hate speech? Campus debates over universities in a bind over First Amendment
   Commissioners Rosenworcel and Clyburn Need to Thump Trump - TVNewsCheck editorial [links to Benton summary]
   President Trump’s already largely won his war against the media [links to Benton summary]
   Scott Adams: The Power of the Presidential Tweet [links to Wall Street Journal]
   Homegrown ‘fake news’ is a bigger problem than Russian propaganda. Here’s a way to make falsehoods more costly for politicians. - op-ed [links to Benton summary]
   Chris Wallace Blasts His Own Fox News Colleagues: ‘I Don’t Like Them Bashing the Media’ [links to Wrap, The]

ELECTIONS & MEDIA
   The movement to regulate Facebook is attracting powerful new allies [links to Benton summary]
   A Tale Of Two Efforts To Improve Confidence In US Elections [links to National Public Radio]
   How social media brought political propaganda into the 21st century [links to Marketplace]

INTERNET/BROADBAND
   Sens Wicker, Cortez Masto Introduce ‘SPEED Act’ - press release
   AT&T Statement on SPEED Act, Legislation to Facilitate Broadband Deployment [links to AT&T]
   The Cable Industry's Ingenious 'Solution' To TV Cord Cutting? Raise Broadband Rates [links to Tech Dirt]
   Kevin Hassett Got it Wrong about “Title II” & Net Neutrality: The Proposed Tax Cuts Must be Worse. [links to Huffington Post]
   Shane Tews: The politics of internet domain names and the case of .amazon [links to American Enterprise Institute]

WIRELESS
   You can't wish away hard truths. One is we must fix Lifeline phone plan abuse. - Sen Claire McCaskill (D-MO) op-ed

CONTENT
   How Fiction Becomes Fact on Social Media
   Google plans to share revenues with news publishers [links to Financial Times]

OWNERSHIP
   Thoughtfully Modernizing the FCC’s Media Ownership Rules - FCC Commissioner O'Rielly blog
   Sinclair’s Vision for a TV Network to Rival Fox Draws Critics on the Right
   Washington takes aim at Big Tech: Proposed legislation for online political ads is one step towards a tougher regime [links to Financial Times]

SECURITY/PRIVACY
   Searching the Communications of Americans Should Require a Warrant - Peter Swire, Dick Clarke op-ed [links to Benton summary]
   Report: 1 in 4 Emails That Appear to be Dot-Gov Addresses Are Phishing Attempts [links to Benton summary]

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 22 [links to Federal Communications Commission]
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 21 [links to Federal Communications Commission]
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 20 [links to Federal Communications Commission]
   Google parent company sends up solar-powered balloons to bring internet service to Puerto Rico [links to Los Angeles Times]
   How FirstNet Will Make Mobile Officer Programs a Reality [links to FirstNet]

TELEVISION
   NHMC warns Verizon of possible protest over Univision blackout
   Verizon Gives FCC Its Side of Univision Impasse [links to Benton summary]

ADVERTISING
   Verizon's Longshot Digital Ad Bet to Disrupt Google and Facebook [links to Wired]

JOURNALISM
   Social media crackdowns at the Times and Journal will backfire [links to Columbia Journalism Review]
   Fox’s Wallace doesn’t like colleagues echoing press attacks [links to Associated Press]
   The Newseum Is Increasingly Relevant, but Can It Survive? [links to New York Times]

LABOR
   FCC Issues EEO Audit Letters to Pay-TV Providers [links to Broadcasting&Cable]
   Tech companies to lobby for immigrant 'Dreamers' to remain in US [links to Benton summary]
   Where Internet Orders Mean Real Jobs, and New Life for Communities [links to New York Times]

GOVERNMENT & COMMUNICATIONS
   DC Court Allows Live Streaming [links to Benton summary]
   House Oversight Ranking Member presses White House for info on staffers' use of personal e-mails [links to Benton summary]
   OpenGov Acquires Peak Democracy, Aims for Citizen Feedback Across Product Lines [links to Government Technology]

GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE
   Tracking deregulation in the Trump era [links to Brookings]

LOBBYING
   The super-secret Google X lab has hired its own lobbyists in the nation’s capital [links to Vox]
   Amazon spends $3.4 Million on lobbying in record quarter [links to Hill, The]
   Facebook and Google are spending big money to lobby on Russia, sex trafficking and immigration [links to Vox]

COMPANY NEWS
   How Facebook’s Master Algorithm Powers the Social Network - analysis
   O’Reilly Settled New, $32 Million Harassment Claim, Then Fox Renewed His Contract [links to New York Times]
   How to quit Facebook [links to Vox]

STORIES FROM ABROAD
   The unintended consequences of Europe’s net neutrality law after one year - AEI op-ed [links to Benton summary]

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COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY

FREE SPEECH OR HATE SPEECH?
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Abigail Hauslohner, Susan Svrluga]
The nation’s college campuses are facing growing pressure to redefine the limits of the First Amendment in an age of resurgent white supremacists: rallies featuring clashes between far-right and far-left groups; pleas for inclusiveness and equality and against racism; and a desire for so-called safe spaces. Demands for free speech often become secondary to concerns about safety and hate and victimhood, even as those terms are increasingly difficult to define. That conflict was on display Oct 19 when hundreds of protesters at the University of Florida drowned out a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, prompting him to leave the stage early.
benton.org/headlines/free-speech-or-hate-speech-campus-debates-over-universities-bind-over-first-amendment | Washington Post
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INTERNET/BROADBAND

SPEED ACT
[SOURCE: US Senate, AUTHOR: Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sen Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)]
Sens Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) have introduced the “Streamlining Permitting to Enable Efficient Deployment of Broadband Infrastructure Act of 2017” (SPEED Act) (S 1988). Specifically, the SPEED Act would streamline federal permitting processes that impede the quick and efficient deployment of next-generation broadband technologies, including 5G. Currently, new and replacement telecommunications infrastructure is subject to numerous, sometimes duplicative federal approvals, including environmental and historical reviews. These duplicative approvals extend to areas that have already been established as a public right-of-way (ROW), and where telecommunications infrastructure already exists. The SPEED Act would not preempt the authority of a State or local government to apply and enforce all applicable zoning and other land use regulations on communications providers.
benton.org/headlines/sens-wicker-cortez-masto-introduce-speed-act | US Senate | Broadcasting&Cable
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WIRELESS

WE MUST FIX LIFELINE PHONE PLAN ABUSE
[SOURCE: USAToday, AUTHOR: Sen Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
[Commentary] No matter how valuable the Lifeline program is in theory, it’s wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. It allows the telecommunications carriers who profit from the program to verify eligibility for their participants — and too many are turning a blind eye. Lifeline was poorly structured and badly executed from the start. The goal of providing low-income Americans help regaining their economic footing with phone and broadband service is worthwhile and admirable — but that doesn’t mean that any plan doing that is worthy of unequivocal support. Sidestepping the problems in this terribly run program is a disservice to all participants as well as those footing the bill, and will endanger the program’s existence if we allow it to continue. I’ll remain engaged on this issue and committed to serious changes. In the meantime, I encourage my party, as well as my friends from across the aisle, to join me in pushing for oversight and accountability regardless of its political convenience.
benton.org/headlines/you-cant-wish-away-hard-truths-one-we-must-fix-lifeline-phone-plan-abuse | USAToday
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CONTENT

HOW FICTION BECOMES FACT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
[SOURCE: New York Times, AUTHOR: Benedict Carey]
At a time when political misinformation is in ready supply, and in demand, “Facebook, Google, and Twitter function as a distribution mechanism, a platform for circulating false information and helping find receptive audiences,” said Brendan Nyhan, a professor of government at Dartmouth College. For starters, said Colleen Seifert, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, “People have a benevolent view of Facebook, for instance, as a curator, but in fact it does have a motive of its own. What it’s actually doing is keeping your eyes on the site. It’s curating news and information that will keep you watching.” That kind of curating acts as a fertile host for falsehoods by simultaneously engaging two predigital social-science standbys: the urban myth as “meme,” or viral idea; and individual biases, the automatic, subconscious presumptions that color belief. Stopping to drill down and determine the true source of a foul-smelling story can be tricky, even for the motivated skeptic, and mentally it’s hard work. Ideological leanings and viewing choices are conscious, downstream factors that come into play only after automatic cognitive biases have already had their way, abetted by the algorithms and social nature of digital interactions.
benton.org/headlines/how-fiction-becomes-fact-social-media | New York Times
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OWNERSHIP

THOUGHTFULLY MODERNIZING THE FCCS MEDIA OWNERSHIP RULES
[SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission, AUTHOR: FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly]
I think it is important to address the elephant in the room. There is currently a merger pending before the Commission that some argue will benefit from, and is the reason for, any changes to our media ownership rules. While I make no comments regarding this, or any, merger application, let me be clear: this transaction is in no way the catalyst for FCC action on these issues. First, the statute requires the FCC review its media rules. Having failed that, we now have pending petitions before us to reconsider the past shoddy effort. Second, I have been calling for media ownership reform since joining the Commission and as a staffer in the U.S. Senate before that. It’s not a new position or reaction to a pending application. Instead, for the first time, we finally have a Chairman receptive to these ideas.
benton.org/headlines/thoughtfully-modernizing-commissions-media-ownership-rules | Federal Communications Commission | B&C
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SINCLAIR DRAWS CRITICS ON THE RIGHT
[SOURCE: Bloomberg, AUTHOR: Todd Shields, Anousha Sakoui]
The fiery editorials of Sinclair Broadcast Group chief political analyst Boris Epshteyn will be beamed into seven in 10 American living rooms if the company is allowed to complete a merger that would transform it into a nationwide conservative TV juggernaut. But Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media Co. is encountering opposition from unlikely foes: media stalwarts of the right. Newsmax Media, headed by friend-of-President Trump Chris Ruddy, One America News Network and TheBlaze, founded by former Fox News host Glenn Beck, are joining liberals in criticizing the merger. The Coalition to Save Local Media -- an alliance that includes One America, TheBlaze, the Common Cause policy group and Dish Network, which worries about Sinclair demanding higher fee -- said it was commencing an advertising campaign against the deal. Charles Herring, president of One America Network parent Herring Networks, said Sinclair will have leverage to force cable providers that most viewers rely upon to pay high fees for its TV stations’ signals, draining the pool of money available for independent programmers such as his news channel. “Small, large, left, right -- everybody has spoken out against this merger,” Herring said. “I’m unaware of anybody who isn’t directly or very closely associated with Sinclair speaking out in favor of the merger,” he added.
benton.org/headlines/sinclairs-vision-tv-network-rival-fox-draws-critics-right | Bloomberg
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TELEVISION

NHMC AND VERIZON
[SOURCE: USAToday, AUTHOR: Mike Snider]
The National Hispanic Media Coalition is threatening to rally Latino leaders against Verizon for its removal of Univision from the Verizon Fios service. Verizon's blackout comes as the country recovers from Hurricane Katia and a pair of earthquakes, all of which hit in September. In a letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, the group's president and CEO Alex Nogales said the NHMC "is outraged that at a time when catastrophic events have occurred in Mexico and Puerto Rico, Verizon has chosen to blackout Univision, the primary source of news for millions of Spanish-speaking and bilingual Latinos residing in the United States." Verizon removed Univision from its network Oct 16 when the two could not reach an agreement. Univision President and CEO Randy Falco charged Verizon with not acting in good faith in a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai.
benton.org/headlines/nhmc-warns-verizon-possible-protest-over-univision-blackout | USAToday
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COMPANY NEWS
   How Facebook’s Master Algorithm Powers the Social Network - analysis

FACEBOOK ALGORITHM
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, AUTHOR: Christopher Mims]
[Commentary] Artificial intelligence permeates everything at Facebook, the social network’s head of applied machine learning says—and humans are bound to understand Facebook less than ever. The algorithm behind Facebook’s News Feed, a “modular layered cake,” extracts meaning from every post and photo.
benton.org/headlines/how-facebooks-master-algorithm-powers-social-network | Wall Street Journal
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October 20, 2017 (Chairman Pai's Silence)

BENTON'S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES for FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2017


COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY
   Chairman Pai's Silence -- Was It Good For You?
   Former-President Bush: The only way to pass along civic values is to live up to them. [links to Washington Post]
   Charles Blow: President Trump Isn’t Hitler. But the Lying … [links to New York Times]

ELECTIONS & MEDIA
   CIA director distorts intelligence community’s findings on Russian interference [links to Benton summary]
   President Trump suggests FBI may have ‘paid for’ dossier alleging Russia ties [links to Washington Post]
   Google will testify before Intelligence Committees Nov 1 [links to Hill, The]

INTERNET/BROADBAND
   Innovators in Digital Inclusion: Axiom - research
   Connecting every San Francisco resident, business to fiber-optic internet would cost up to $1.9 billion
   Google Fiber is now in Louisville thanks to new fiber deployment strategy
   Lacking Broadband Service to Blame for North Carolina County’s Business Woes [links to Mountaineer, The]

SECURITY/PRIVACY
   Op-ed: No Good Decision to Come from Microsoft Case at Supreme Court [links to New York Times]
   Book excerpt: why governments should protect us from big tech [links to Guardian, The]
   Tech companies are hindering criminal investigations, under outdated Stored Communications Act of 1986 [links to CNN]
   The Guardian view on internet security: complexity is vulnerable [links to Guardian, The]
   FCC Announces The Second Meeting Of The Communications Security, Reliability, And Interoperability Council Scheduled For October 26, 2017 At FCC Headquarters [links to Federal Communications Commission]

SURVEILLANCE
   Senate Intelligence Committee to debate in secret a bill that would renew a powerful spy tool

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 19 [links to Federal Communications Commission]

CONTENT
   Smartphones Are Weapons of Mass Manipulation, and Tristan Harris Is Declaring War on Them
   Senators press Apple to explain removal of apps in China [links to Hill, The]
   Verizon’s streaming TV service reportedly delayed until spring 2018 at the earliest [links to Verge, The]
   YouTube’s messy fight with its most extreme creators [links to Vox]
   The Incredibly Technical History of Digital Rights Management [links to Vice]

TELECOM
   FCC Shouldn’t Give Up on Reforming Inmate Phone Services - FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny op-ed

TELEVISION
   FCC will soon lift a freeze on making major modifications to TV stations' coverage areas [links to Broadcasting&Cable]
   Verizon sees more signs of pay-TV cord cutting [links to USAToday]

WIRELESS/SPECTRUM
   FCC Seeks Public Comment on Mobility Fund Phase II Challenge Process Procedure and Technical Implementation [links to Federal Communications Commission]

OWNERSHIP
   With consent from Brazil, AT&T has only one regulatory hurdle left before it can gobble Time Warner
   Tribune Media Shareholders Approve Sinclair Deal [links to Broadcasting&Cable]
   Sinclair-Tribune Critics Launch Ad Campaign [links to Broadcasting&Cable]
   Silicon Valley’s Tech Giants Are Headed for a Reckoning: How Facebook and Google became mercenaries—and now casualties—in the information war. [links to Vanity Fair]
   James Pethokoukis: Uncle Sam is not going to smash Silicon Valley [links to American Enterprise Institute]
   Bronwyn Howell: Are three mobile networks necessarily less competitive than four? [links to American Enterprise Institute]

JOURNALISM
   Todd Gitlin: The News Media’s Challenge in Our Constant State of Emergency [links to Moyers and Company]
   Journalists, your local librarian is a powerful ally [links to Local News Lab]

ADVERTISING
   The ad industry is changing—here’s what publishers can expect [links to Columbia Journalism Review]

CHILDREN & MEDIA
   The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight 2017 - research [links to Benton summary]

TRANSPORTATION
   Amid a historic spike in US traffic fatalities, federal data on the danger of distracted driving are getting worse. [links to Bloomberg]

POLICYMAKERS
   President Trump Nominates Simons, Chopra for FTC - press release
   Chairman Pai Names Johnson the New FCC General Counsel - press release [links to Benton summary]

COMPANY NEWS
   Verizon’s Ellis: Fiber is a key growth component for our wireline business [links to Fierce]
   In lawsuit, Charter accuses its employees of cutting cables 125 times during strike [links to Ars Technica]

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COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY

CHAIRMAN PAI’S SILENCE
[SOURCE: Benton Foundation, AUTHOR: Robbie McBeath]
Last week we shared A New Salvo in President Trump’s Offensive on the Free Press, to tell you about how President Donald Trump took to twitter to threaten to revoke the broadcast licenses of NBC. After six days of silence, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai this week finally made a statement on the matter. But his response was inadequate for many and demonstrated a troubling pattern with Pai’s views on freedom of the press.
benton.org/headlines/chairman-pais-silence-was-it-good-you | Benton Foundation
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INTERNET/BROADBAND

AXIOM
[SOURCE: Benton Foundation, AUTHOR: Matthew Kopel]
Axiom is more than just a technology and broadband services provider. The company -- along with AETC -- is leading a digital equity movement in Maine which it plans to take national in the years ahead. The key to its national push is the recently-announced National Digital Equity Center (NDEC). NDEC, as a part of the AETC nonprofit arm, will seek to engage communities all over the country to provide the expertise needed to mobilize broadband technologies through digital inclusion, literacy efforts, education, resource planning, funding research, and infrastructure leveraging and stakeholder engagement.
benton.org/headlines/innovators-digital-inclusion-axiom | Benton Foundation
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CONNECTING SAN FRANCISCO
[SOURCE: San Francisco Examiner, AUTHOR: Joshua Sabatini]
San Francisco is on the verge of becoming an internet connectivity leader by asking the marketplace to help create a fast network on a scale never before achieved by a major U.S. city. The cost to create a fiber-optic network connecting every home and business in San Francisco to the internet would cost up to $1.9 billion, according to a new city-hired consultant report released today. And the best way to get there is through a public-private partnership. “The opportunity The City is about to present to the private sector is unprecedented,” reads the report by Maryland-based consultant Columbia Telecommunications Corporation in partnership with financial advisory firm IMG Rebel. “There has never before existed in any American community an opportunity for a private entity to lease fiber or broadband infrastructure to reach 100 percent of the homes and businesses in the community,” the report says.
benton.org/headlines/connecting-every-san-francisco-resident-business-fiber-optic-internet-would-cost-19 | San Francisco Examiner | read the report
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GOOGLE FIBER IN LOUISVILLE
[SOURCE: ars technica, AUTHOR: Jon Brodkin]
Google Fiber has begun taking signups in Louisville, Kentucky, after a tumultuous process involving lawsuits filed against the local government by incumbent broadband providers. AT&T and Charter both sued the metro government in Louisville and Jefferson County in an attempt to stop a new ordinance designed to give Google Fiber easier access to utility poles. The lawsuits haven't stopped the new ordinance, as AT&T's was thrown out of court and Charter's is still pending. But instead of hanging wires on utility poles, Google Fiber ended up burying the cables with a "microtrenching" strategy that is quicker than traditional underground fiber deployment. While it has been more than two years since Google Fiber announced that it would build in Louisville, it has only been a few months since construction began. "Louisville is the fastest we’ve ever moved from construction announcement, which happened in May, to signing up customers," a Google Fiber executive said. Residents in the Portland, Strathmoor and Newburg neighborhoods of Louisville can now sign up for service. Google Fiber is also providing a gigabit connection at the Neighborhood House, a community center for children and families living in poverty.
benton.org/headlines/google-fiber-now-louisville-thanks-new-fiber-deployment-strategy | Ars Technica
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SURVEILLANCE

FISA LEGISLATION
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Ellen Nakashima]
The Senate Intelligence Committee is planning on Oct 24 to debate in secret a bill that would reauthorize a powerful surveillance authority without imposing any new restraints on the FBI’s ability to search and use the communications of Americans gathered under that law in national security and criminal prosecutions. The bill, drafted by Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC), would enshrine the FBI’s right to use emails and other data collected from US tech companies without individualized warrants in cases­ related to terrorism, espionage and serious crimes such as murder and kidnapping. The legislation is aimed at revising a law often referred to as Section 702, a portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amended in 2008. It authorizes the government to gather the communications of foreign targets located overseas, a process that may incidentally sweep up the emails, phone calls and texts of Americans. The law is due to expire at the end of 2017.
benton.org/headlines/senate-intelligence-committee-debate-secret-bill-would-renew-powerful-spy-tool | Washington Post
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CONTENT

SMARTPHONE MANIPULATION
[SOURCE: Technology Review, AUTHOR: Rachel Metz]
If, like an ever-growing majority of people in the U.S., you own a smartphone, you might have the sense that apps in the age of the pocket-sized computer are designed to keep your attention as long as possible. You might not have the sense that they’re manipulating you one tap, swipe, or notification at a time. But Tristan Harris thinks that’s just what’s happening to the billions of us who use social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, and he’s on a mission to steer us toward potential solutions—or at least to get us to acknowledge that this manipulation is, in fact, going on. Harris, formerly a product manager turned design ethicist at Google, runs a nonprofit called Time Well Spent, which focuses on the addictive nature of technology and how apps could be better designed; it pursues public advocacy and supports design standards that take into account what’s good for people’s lives, rather than just seeking to maximize screen time. He says he’s moving away from Time Well Spent these days (his new effort is as yet unnamed), trying to hold the tech industry accountable for the way it persuades us to spend as much time as possible online, with tactics ranging from Snapchat’s snapstreaks to auto-playing videos on sites like YouTube and Facebook.
benton.org/headlines/smartphones-are-weapons-mass-manipulation-and-tristan-harris-declaring-war-them | Technology Review
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TELECOM

FCC SHOULDN'T GIVE UP ON REFORMING INMATE PHONE SERVICES
[SOURCE: Wired, AUTHOR: FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny]
[Commentary] There is one aspect of criminal justice reform that the current administration has tragically ignored: the broken market for inmate calling services. Inmate calling is a horribly malfunctioning system that not only adversely impacts inmates and their families, but our society as a whole. Providers of inmate calling services compete and win business not based on being the lowest-cost bidder, as is customary for most requests for proposals to governmental agencies. Rather, they win contracts based on which of them is willing to pay the most in kickbacks (they call them “commissions”) to those correctional facilities. The result is not the lowest cost service for inmates and their families, but instead, rates for phone calls that have been as high as $14 per minute. The FCC should end the practice of picking and choosing, ignoring and punting, while an unarguably dysfunctional market regime preys on the most vulnerable. The FCC can and should adopt targeted rules to address the costs of interstate calls. States and localities can and should reform their practices to cap rates and eliminate kickbacks. And Congress can and should enact a legislative solution that provides a firm legal foundation for further inmate calling reforms. Private litigation could also attack these practices, and some lawsuits have already been filed. But policymakers should also work to help new services and technologies enter the marketplace, to increase competition and lower prices. There is no good policy reason why an inmate’s family should have to use the most antiquated and expensive systems to communicate with loved ones when viable alternatives exist. The time to act is now.
benton.org/headlines/fcc-shouldnt-give-reforming-inmate-phone-services | Wired
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OWNERSHIP

ATT/TIME WARNER DEAL
[SOURCE: Los Angeles Times, AUTHOR: Meg James]
AT&T has secured the blessing of Brazilian regulators for its $85-billion takeover of Time Warner, moving the blockbuster deal closer to the finish line. The company said Brazil’s antitrust authority, the Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica, had signed off on AT&T’s application to acquire the media company which owns CNN, HBO, TBS, Cartoon Network and Hollywood’s biggest film and television studio, Warner Bros. Now, AT&T must win approval from the US Department of Justice before it can finalize the merger. The government’s review slowed over the summer because the Senate’s approval of President Trump’s appointment of Makan Delrahim as chief of the Justice Department’s anti-trust division was made in late September. The Justice Department and AT&T continue to negotiate conditions for the merger, according to knowledgeable people who do not want to be identified discussing the sensitive process. AT&T earlier had received approval from regulators in Chile and Mexico. Brazilian regulators concluded that AT&T would not be required to divest any assets.
benton.org/headlines/consent-brazil-att-has-only-one-regulatory-hurdle-left-it-can-gobble-time-warner | Los Angeles Times
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POLICYMAKERS

FTC NOMINEES
[SOURCE: The White House, AUTHOR: Press release]
President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Rohit Chopra and Joseph Simons to the Federal Trade Commission. After confirmation, Simons would serve as FTC chairman.
Rohit Chopra of New York is nominated for the remainder of a seven-year term expiring September 25, 2019. Mr. Chopra is currently a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, where he focuses on consumer protection issues facing young people and military families. From 2010-2015, he served at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as Assistant Director, where he oversaw the agency’s work on student financial services issues. The Secretary of the Treasury also appointed him as the agency’s student loan ombudsman. In 2016, Mr. Chopra served as Special Adviser to the Secretary of Education. Prior to his government service, he was an associate at McKinsey & Company, where he served clients in the financial services and consumer technology sectors. Mr. Chopra holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master’s in business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He was also the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship. He resides in New York.
Joseph Simons of Virginia, for a seven-year term beginning September 26, 2017, and upon confirmation designate chair. Mr. Simons is currently a partner and co-chair of the Antitrust Group at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. His previous clients include many tech or tech-related firms, such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Sharp and Sony, the Washington Post reports. He has also represented companies in the defense, music, software, telecom and transportation industries. He was previously in charge of antitrust enforcement at the Federal Trade Commission, serving as Director of the Bureau of Competition from 2001 until 2003. Among his accomplishments, Mr. Simons was responsible for overseeing the re-invigoration of the FTC’s non-merger enforcement program. Under his leadership, the Bureau initiated over 100 investigations and produced more non-merger enforcement actions in one year than in any other year in the prior two decades or since. Mr. Simons is also a co-developer of “Critical Loss Analysis,” a technique for market definition that has been incorporated into the Department of Justice and FTC Merger Guidelines, as well as applied in numerous court decisions. Mr. Simons received his A.B. in Economics and History from Cornell University in 1980 and his J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center in 1983.
benton.org/headlines/president-trump-nominates-simons-chopra-ftc | White House, The | Washington Post | LA Times
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October 19, 2017 (Trump: Mainstream Media Out to 'Bring Down' Administration)

BENTON'S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES for THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2017 (7)

Understanding Demand for Broadband: Willingness to Pay for Bandwidth and Latency https://www.benton.org/calendar/2017-10-19

COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY
   Attorney General Sessions declines 'blanket' assurance to not jail journalists
   Democratic Senators want hearing on Pai's Response to President Trump's NBC threat
   President Trump: Mainstream Media Out to 'Bring Down' Administration
   Poll: Republicans Back Power to Pull News Media 'Licenses' [links to Benton summary]

ELECTIONS & MEDIA
   Sens Klobuchar, Warner Announce Legislation to Prevent Foreign Interference in Future Elections, Improve Transparency of Online Political Ads - press release
   Facebook admits Russia agents used Messenger to disrupt US presidential election [links to Benton summary]
   Facebook and Google Helped Anti-Refugee Campaign in Swing States [links to Bloomberg]
   Despite backlash over political ads, Facebook's role in elections will only grow

INTERNET/BROADBAND
   Network Neutrality and Beyond: The Long Road Ahead - op-ed
   Why Community Anchor Institutions Should Care About the Connect America Fund - op-ed
   Republican fight against municipal broadband heats up in Michigan
   Google Fiber launches signups in Louisville [links to Google]

OWNERSHIP
   Sinclair May Sell TV Stations for Up to $1 Billion to Satisfy FCC
   FCC Pauses 180-Day Transaction Shot Clock In The Tribune-Sinclair Proceeding To Allow For Additional Comment - public notice [links to Benton summary]
   MMTC Pitches FCC Commissioners Rosenworcel, Clyburn on Backing Main Studio Rule Sunset [links to Broadcasting&Cable]

DIVERSITY
   Square and Pinterest's newly released employment data reveals a lack of diversity in top ranks [links to Vox]

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
   California Senators Press FCC on Wireless Alert Geotargeting
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 18 [links to Federal Communications Commission]

SECURITY/PRIVACY
   It’s surprisingly easy for anyone to buy ads that track location and app usage, study says
   How these librarians are changing how we think about digital privacy
   Child advocacy and privacy groups to FTC: smartwatches can endanger kids [links to Benton summary]
   The Equifax data breach is the national wake-up moment we expected [links to Brookings]
   Pentagon chief asks Congress to not hinder cyber defense [links to Reuters]
   Microsoft Cloud Can Now Host Classified Pentagon Data [links to nextgov]

CONTENT
   The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online - research
   Twitter's Latest Rules for Fighting Hate and Abuse [links to Wired]

WIRELESS/SPECTRUM
   Remarks of Commissioner O'Rielly Before the New Jersey Wireless Association - speech [links to Benton summary]

JOURNALISM
   In President Trump’s first 100 days, news stories citing his tweets were more likely to be negative - Pew research [links to Benton summary]
   ‘Cease and desist’: Journalism’s strained relationship with police [links to Columbia Journalism Review]
   NYT: Pioneering Virtual Reality and New Video Technologies in Journalism [links to New York Times]

TELEVISION
   At Long Last, Nielsen Will Publicly Share Ratings for Netflix Shows [links to AdWeek]

KIDS AND MEDIA
   10 reasons why your kid isn't ready for a smartphone [links to USAToday]

GOVERNMENT & COMMUNICATIONS
   AI Experts Want to End 'Black Box' algorithms in Government [links to Wired]

STORIES FROM ABROAD
   European Union Says Privacy Shield is Working [links to Benton summary]
   Community radio faces dangerous hazards in Mexico [links to Columbia Journalism Review]

MORE ONLINE
   The federal lawmakers who regulate Amazon are begging the company to move to their home states [links to Benton summary]

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COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY

AG SESSIONS DECLINES 'BLANKET' ASSURANCE TO NOT JAIL JOURNALISTS
[SOURCE: The Hill, AUTHOR: Mallory Shelbourne]
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Oct 18 said he could not make a “blanket commitment” to not putting journalists in jail. During testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) asked AG Sessions if he could pledge to not place “reporters in jail for doing their jobs.” “Well, I don’t know that I can make a blanket commitment to that effect. But I will say this, we have not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point,” Sessions replied. “But we have matters that involve the most serious national security issues that put our country at risk and we will utilize the authorities that we have legally and constitutionally if we have to.” “We always try to find an alternative way, as you probably know, Sen. Klobuchar, to directly confronting media persons, but that’s not a total blanket protection,” Sessions said.
benton.org/headlines/attorney-general-sessions-declines-blanket-assurance-not-jail-journalists | Hill, The | B&C
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DEMOCRATIC SENS WANT HEARING ON PAI RESPONSE TO TRUMP NBC THREAT
[SOURCE: The Hill, AUTHOR: Harper Neidig]
Democratic members of the Senate Commerce Committee are calling for an oversight hearing for the Federal Communications Commission following President Donald Trump’s threats against media outlets' broadcast licenses recently. The Sens sent a letter to the committee’s top members, calling out FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for waiting so long to address the president’s statements. “The FCC Chairman’s failure to quickly respond and denounce these threats is shocking and raises questions about the ability of the FCC to truly act independently under Chairman Pai’s leadership,” the letter reads. The group was led by Sens Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH). “It is imperative that FCC Chairman Pai and his fellow Commissioners address this Committee and respond to the President’s stated desire for regulatory abuse of his perceived critics through the FCC."
benton.org/headlines/democratic-sens-want-hearing-pais-response-president-trumps-nbc-threat | Hill, The | read the letter | B&C
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PRESIDENT TRUMP ON MAINSTREAM MEDIA
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
President Donald Trump has, if possible, ratcheted up his media attacks, making it crystal clear Oct 18 he thinks the mainstream media are indeed enemies of the people, bent on destroying him and willing to stop at nothing. That came in an e-mail circulating a new "Mainstream Media Accountability Survey" on the news media, one of several the Trump Pence campaign fundraising committee has conducted in concert with the Republican National Committee. "I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the Mainstream Media is out to bring down my Administration," the President said in the e-mail. "It’s a 24/7 barrage of hit jobs, fake stories, and absolute hatred for everything we stand for as a movement. They don’t care about the truth. They don’t care about what’s right. They only care about propping up the liberal Democrats they worship and destroying anyone who wants to put America First. There is nothing they won’t do to stop us." The new survey focuses on four specific news outlets, CNN, NBC, co-owned MSNBC and Fox News, asking whether each can be trusted to report fairly on his presidency. The President has been highly critical of CNN and NBC News, and generally positive toward Fox.
benton.org/headlines/president-trump-mainstream-media-out-bring-down-administration | Broadcasting&Cable
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ELECTIONS & MEDIA

KLOBUCHAR, WARNER ONLINE POLITICAL AD BILL
[SOURCE: US Senate, AUTHOR: Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)]
In 2016 Russians bought online political ads designed to influence our election and divide Americans. The content and purchaser(s) of those online advertisements are a mystery to the public because of outdated laws that have failed to keep up with evolving technology. The Honest Ads Act would help prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as ads sold on TV, radio, and satellite. On Oct 19, Sens Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mark Waner (D-VA) will announce the introduction of bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Sen John McCain (R-AZ) to prevent foreign interference in future elections and improve transparency of online political ads.
benton.org/headlines/sens-klobuchar-warner-announce-legislation-prevent-foreign-interference-future-elections | US Senate | The Hill
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FACEBOOK AND ELECTIONS
[SOURCE: Los Angeles Times, AUTHOR: David Pierson]
As the political world looks to apply the lessons of Donald Trump’s victory to future campaigns, one of the few clear conclusions is that Facebook played an outsized role in propelling the candidate to his improbable win. The company’s ability to affordably target hyper-specific audiences with little to no transparency gives it a distinct advantage over other forms of media, researchers and political operatives believe. Political ads on Facebook have fueled controversy. They spread Russian propaganda and reportedly helped the Trump team suppress black support for Hillary Clinton and aided a conservative political action committee in targeting swing voters with scaremongering anti-refugee ads. Yet the backlash is unlikely to dissuade future campaigns from deploying one of Facebook’s most potent tools. Even the threat of new regulation governing the disclosure rules for political ads on social media can’t stunt the company’s stock price, which continues to reach new heights. If anything, the controversies appear to be functioning like a giant advertisement for the effectiveness of Facebook’s political advertising business. “I don’t lose sleep over Facebook’s business. I lose sleep over the future of democracy,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia.
benton.org/headlines/despite-backlash-over-political-ads-facebooks-role-elections-will-only-grow | Los Angeles Times
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INTERNET/BROADBAND

NET NEUTRALITY AND BEYOND
[SOURCE: Benton Foundation, AUTHOR: Michael Copps]
[Commentary] If we cannot get net neutrality right, we can forget about the transformative democratic potential of the net. Network neutrality is the necessary, but not the sufficient, foundation of an open internet. And anything less than a truly open internet would be a tragic denial of the awesome potential of digital technology to transform our lives. We should be in a golden age of media. We might have gotten to such a golden age had we not allowed the consolidators to kill independent media, not encouraged Wall Street expectations to smother Main Street needs, not permitted commercialization to supersede real news and information, and not let our US government default on its public interest responsibilities. I believe more and more people in your country and mine, regardless of party persuasions, are becoming concerned about this. You and I in both our great nations must harness this concern and turn it into policy. No one is going to do this for us. We can have that golden age, we need that golden age, and we will get there not separately, but together. It will be a tough climb, but a climb worth making. Let’s put on our mountain-climbing boots and get on with it.
[Former-FCC Commissioner Michael Copps joined Common Cause to lead its Media and Democracy Reform Initiative.]
https://www.benton.org/blog/network-neutrality-and-beyond-long-road-ahead
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ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS AND THE CONNECT AMERICA FUND
[SOURCE: Schools Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition, AUTHOR: Carol Mattey]
[Commentary] Anchor institutions like schools, libraries and health care providers play an important role in bringing connectivity to their local communities. But advances in telemedicine and education will not be fully realized if rural consumers do not have adequate broadband service at home. School aged children will struggle if they cannot do their homework. Individuals with medical conditions that require active monitoring – diabetes, congestive heart failure and more – need broadband at home to transmit critical medical data in real time to medical professionals. That is why local government officials and anchor institutions should be paying attention to the implementation of the Connect America Fund, now and in the years ahead. The FCC is working to hold an auction in 2018 to award nearly $2 billion in funding over the next decade from Phase II of the Connect America Fund to service providers to extend fixed broadband to unserved residential and small business locations, and a separate auction to award $4.53 billion in funding over a decade from Phase II of the Mobility Fund to mobile wireless providers to extend LTE service to rural America. Any entity willing to provide the requisite level of service set by the FCC and meet other requirements can bid in those auctions for the subsidy. Local leaders should ask: is it possible to utilize funding in a more coordinated way from E-rate, the Rural Healthcare program, and the Connect America Fund to build a business case to serve the entire community? What efficiencies might be gained from building an integrated broadband network for the entire community? Are the service providers that currently participate in any of these FCC’s universal service programs planning to bid in these upcoming Connect America Fund auctions? Who else might bid?
[Carol Mattey is the principal of Mattey Consulting LLC, which provides strategic and public policy advisory services to broadband providers, governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and other entities active in the telecommunications arena]
benton.org/headlines/why-community-anchor-institutions-should-care-about-connect-america-fund | Schools Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition
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GOP FIGHT AGAINST MUNI BROADBAND HEATS UP IN MI
[SOURCE: ars technica, AUTHOR: Jon Brodkin]
A state lawmaker in Michigan wants to prevent cities and towns from using any government funding to provide Internet service. Michigan state Rep Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton) submitted a bill that says cities and towns "shall not use any federal, state, or local funds or loans to pay for the cost of providing qualified Internet service." State Rep Hoitenga's bill does say that a city or town "may enter into an agreement with one or more private parties to provide qualified Internet service," as long as no government funds are used. Even with that exception, the bill could discourage cities and towns from pursuing public-private partnerships, according to an analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Community Broadband Networks project.
benton.org/headlines/republican-fight-against-municipal-broadband-heats-michigan | Ars Technica
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OWNERSHIP

SINCLAIR MAY SELL TV STATIONS FOR UP TO $1B TO SATISFY FCC
[SOURCE: Bloomberg, AUTHOR: Alex Sherman, Todd Shields, Anousha Sakoui]
Apparently, Sinclair Broadcast Group received bids for as many as 10 television stations that could fetch up to $1 billion as it takes steps to win approval of its proposed merger with Tribune Media. Preliminary bids for the stations were submitted the week of Oct 9. Sinclair may sell some or all of the outlets, all in different markets, apparently. The process could be delayed by uncertainty over whether President Donald Trump’s appointees will change rules limiting media ownership and how the administration will enforce antitrust laws. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has told an opponent of the Sinclair-Tribune deal that the agency may review media ownership rules before ruling on the $3.9 billion transaction.
benton.org/headlines/sinclair-may-sell-tv-stations-1-billion-satisfy-fcc | Bloomberg
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CONTENT
   The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online - research

TRUTH AND MISINFORMATION ONLINE
[SOURCE: Pew Research Center, AUTHOR: Janna Anderson, Lee Raine]
Experts are evenly split on whether the coming decade will see a reduction in false and misleading narratives online. Those forecasting improvement place their hopes in technological fixes and in societal solutions. Others think the dark side of human nature is aided more than stifled by technology.
benton.org/headlines/future-truth-and-misinformation-online | Pew Research Center
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PRIVACY

TRACKING LOCATION AND APP USAGE
[SOURCE: Vox, AUTHOR: Shannon Liao]
Researchers at the University of Washington have found a way to track a person’s location and app use through serving ads on mobile apps. The result opens the door for significant privacy invasions through the app-based advertising system. The researchers obtained the information by purchasing a series of ads targeted to specific locations and apps, then checking which mobile subscribers fit the targeting. In experiments conducted on Android devices, the team was able to pinpoint a person’s location within eight meters through a targeted ad. They tested ads on 10 different apps, including Grindr, Imgur, Words with Friends, and Talkatone, all using widely available ad networks. By serving ad content to a user’s apps, the ad buyers could learn what apps the user has installed. That information could be sensitive, revealing a user’s sexual orientation or religious affiliation. Researchers could also find out when a user went to a specific place. After targeting ads to a specific location, the ad network would notify them within 10 minutes of when the user arrived.
benton.org/headlines/its-surprisingly-easy-anyone-buy-ads-track-location-and-app-usage-study-says | Vox
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LIBRARIES AND PRIVACY
[SOURCE: Christian Science Monitor, AUTHOR: Eoin O’Carroll]
A group of privacy advocates want to help you protect your digital privacy using a public institution built for the analog age: your local public library. In August, New York University and the Library Freedom Project – an organization that trains librarians on using privacy tools to protect intellectual freedom – received a $250,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency. Its purpose: to train librarians to implement secure protocols on their own web services, and to teach members of the community to evade the prying eyes of governments, corporations, and criminal hackers. According to the Library Freedom Project’s website, the group aims to create what it calls “a privacy-centric paradigm shift in libraries and the communities they serve.” As society’s sole public space dedicated to collecting and sharing information, public libraries have long been a flashpoint for conflicts over censorship, surveillance, and secrecy. The digital age has accelerated these conflicts, placing librarians squarely between the government’s and corporations’ desire to pursue their interests and the public’s desire to learn how to seek information in private.
benton.org/headlines/how-these-librarians-are-changing-how-we-think-about-digital-privacy | Christian Science Monitor
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EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS

CA SENS PRESS FCC ON WIRELESS ALERT GEOTARGETING
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
In the wake of the devastating and deadly California wildfires, Sens Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) have written the Federal Communications Commission with their concerns that wireless emergency alerts (WEAs) lack potentially lifesaving precise geotargeting, and are urging the FCC to implement that requirement ASAP. The FCC in 2016 proposed rules, which FCC Chairman Ajit Pai voted for as a commissioner, that would require wireless carriers to provide precise geotargeting of WEA warnings, but Sens Feinstein and Harris wrote Pai that they were disappointed the FCC has never voted a final order, and that it provided "a temporary waiver of the existing, imprecise geotargeting requirements for certain carriers." They ask if the chairman intends to proceed with the rulemaking and if so, will he do it expeditiously, and if not, why not. They also want to know whether the FCC has gotten feedback from emergency services in Northern California about whether the WEA system is meeting their needs, referring to news stories that suggested it was not, and whether it has sought the same info from hurricane-it areas.
benton.org/headlines/california-sens-press-fcc-wireless-alert-geotargeting | Broadcasting&Cable
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October 18, 2017 (FCC's O'Rielly: President Trump “rightfully venting” anger at press)

BENTON'S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES for WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2017

Today's Events

  1. Feasibility Studies for Municipal Broadband: The Good, The Bad, and the Best Practices, Vantage Point Solutions -- https://www.benton.org/node/265424
  2. Anne-Marie Slaughter: Technology for the People, New America -- https://www.benton.org/node/265453


COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY
   FCC Chairman Pai Says He Supports Free Speech But Does Not Condemn President Trump
   Democratic Lawmakers: Chairman Pai Response to President Trump Tweets Falls Short
   FCC Commissioner O'Rielly says President Trump is “rightfully venting” anger at the press
   Sec of State Tillerson: Our strategies 'are resilient enough' for President Trump's tweets [links to Benton summary]

INTERNET/BROADBAND
   Remarks of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at The Media Institute - speech
   FCC Settles New York City E-Rate Investigation With Verizon - press release
   Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs strikes deal to turn 800 acres of Toronto into an ‘internet city’ [links to Benton summary]
   CEO: Unite Private Networks Small Cell Expansion is Latest Example of Success Based Fiber Build Strategy [links to telecompetitor]

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
   Court Won't Force Broadcasters to Translate Emergency Alerts
   New Hampshire considers opting out of FirstNet [links to Benton summary]
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 17 [links to Federal Communications Commission]

SECURITY/PRIVACY
   Google introduces Advanced Protection for those at high risk of targeted online attacks [links to Benton summary]
   Microsoft responded quietly after detecting secret database hack in 2013 [links to Benton summary]
   Microsoft Cloud Can Now Host Classified Pentagon Data [links to nextgov]
   FTC: The dark web: What your business needs to know [links to Federal Trade Commission]

SURVEILLANCE
   FISA Section 702 renewal: The battle is joined [links to American Enterprise Institute]

ADVERTISING
   Google Serves Fake News Ads in an Unlikely Place: Fact-Checking Sites [links to Benton summary]
   U.S. Publishers: $15.8B Annual Revenue Lost To Ad Blocking [links to MediaPost]
   Google Serves Fake News Ads in an Unlikely Place: Fact-Checking Sites [links to New York Times]

CONTENT
   Wikipedia's Fate Shows How Social Media Endangers Knowledge - Wired op-ed [links to Benton summary]
   Netflix, Amazon, movie studios sue over TickBox streaming device [links to Ars Technica]

TELEVISION
   Why Dynamic Channels Will Be Transformative to TV As We Know It [links to Mutlichannel News]

WIRELESS/SPECTRUM
   Astronomers Are 'Racing Against Time' as Humanity Clogs the Air With Radio Signals [links to Vice]
   SoftBank Venture Seeks 8,000 Cellular Sites Across US [links to Wall Street Journal]

OWNERSHIP
   FCC Weighs Revamping Ownership Rules Before Sinclair Deal [links to Benton summary]
   President Trump hates fake news, loves big media [links to Benton summary]
   A deeper look at Silicon Valley’s long-term politics [links to Brookings]

JOURNALISM
   Our Gutenberg Moment: It’s Time To Grapple With The Internet’s Effect On Democracy - HuffPo op-ed [links to Benton summary]
   The Most Powerful Journalist In Hollywood Protected Harvey Weinstein For Years [links to Wrap, The]
   Media reporting on campus protests plays into culture war narrative [links to Columbia Journalism Review]
   Behind the digital curve, Philadelphia Media Network tries to straighten out its brand [links to Columbia Journalism Review]

EDUCATION
   A Survey of Programs Using Digital-Age Approaches to Family Engagement & Early Learning [links to New America]

GOVERNMENT & COMMUNICATIONS
   Op-Ed: How Data Can Save Us From The Trumpocalypse [links to Fast Company]

PHILANTHROPY
   George Soros pumps $18 billion into Open Society Foundations, making it a philanthropic giant [links to Los Angeles Times]

STORIES FROM ABROAD
   Mexico tech industry benefits from US anti-immigration stance [links to Reuters]

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COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY

PAI SAYS HE SUPPORTS FREE SPEECH BUT DOES NOT CONDEMN TRUMP
[SOURCE: Fortune, AUTHOR: Aaron Pressman]
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai declined to criticize President Donald Trump’s attacks on broadcasters. In his first public appearance since President Trump tweeted that Comcast’s NBC and other broadcasters should lose their licenses for reporting “fake news,” Chairman Pai instead noted that his agency could not do what the president wanted. “Look, I will reiterate what I have said for many years at the FCC up to and including last month,” Chairman Pai said in an appearance at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. “I believe in the First Amendment. The FCC under my leadership will stand for the First Amendment. And under the law, the FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on the content of a particular newscast.” Asked a second time more directly if he would block a broadcaster’s license application based on content, Pai said he would “stand with exactly what I’ve said last month and for years at the FCC.” Pai did not mention the president by name. "Commissioner Pai's statement is a profile in cowardice," said Andrew Schwartzman, Benton Senior Counselor at the Institute for Public Representation, Georgetown Law Center. "Unlike his predecessors, who have forthrightly stood up to Presidential interference, he continues to equivocate. He needs to say that President Trump has no right to interfere in the FCC's licensing process and he will ignore the President's pressure."
benton.org/headlines/fcc-chairman-pai-says-he-supports-free-speech-does-not-condemn-president-trump | Fortune | Broadcasting&Cable
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DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS: PAI RESPONSE TO TRUMP TWEETS FALLS SHORT
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
The first returns from Capitol Hill on Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's response to President Trump's tweeted attacks on the press were not promising. Senate Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Schatz (D-HI) said, “This statement is better than nothing, but it is merely a reiteration of the FCC’s authorities under the law. What we needed is a full-throated defense of the independence of the FCC against political interference. When the president announced his intent to retaliate against a broadcaster based on content, the FCC should have rejected it.” House Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said, "Chairman Pai was right to assure the public that the FCC cannot revoke any broadcast licenses based on the content of a specific newscast, but I am disappointed that the Chairman continues to remain silent on the President’s ongoing efforts to intimidate and threaten news outlets. The Chairman should therefore be prepared to commit—under oath, if necessary—that he will take no actions whatsoever to retaliate against news outlets in response to the President’s pressure.”
benton.org/headlines/democratic-lawmakers-chairman-pai-response-president-trump-tweets-falls-short | Broadcasting&Cable | The Hill
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O'RIELLY SAYS PRESIDENT TRUMP IS RIGHTFULLY VENTING ANGER AT THE PRESS
[SOURCE: ars technica, AUTHOR: Jon Brodkin]
Commissioner Michael O'Rielly of the Federal Communications Commission has now said that "politics" should not interfere with FCC decision-making, and that the agency should remain independent. Still, O'Rielly defended President Donald Trump's attacks on the media, saying the president has been treated poorly by journalists. Commissioner O'Rielly was asked about President Trump's tweets during an appearance at a conference on spectrum management on Oct 13. "I'm pretty consistent on licensing and would not want politics to influence our decision-making," O'Rielly said. "I believe in the independence of the agency." But O'Rielly also said that Trump is "rightfully venting" about the media. "I think that the president is rightfully venting his experiences and disappointment with how the coverage has been occurring regarding his administration. I've been surprised how vitriolic that the coverage has been," O'Rielly said. "I think that President Clinton got better coverage during the middle of impeachment than President Trump is getting these days."
benton.org/headlines/fcc-commissioner-orielly-says-president-trump-rightfully-venting-anger-press | Ars Technica
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INTERNET/BROADBAND

COMMISSIONER CLYBURN REMARKS AT MEDIA INSTITUTE
[SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission, AUTHOR: FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn]
What is unsettling is that many of the changes we are currently making at the Federal Communications Commission have a one-sided benefit, and the impact on consumers, competition, and the public interest are mere afterthoughts The FCC is a regulatory agency, with a charge that requires us to protect the public interest. This means we should strike and maintain the proper balance, when it comes to consumer and industry interests. Yet, when it comes to the future of our media landscape, the FCC majority is embarking on a path, toward a regulatory-free zone....In just about every other context and every other Universal Service program, we have acted with haste, to remove existing barriers to entry. But when it comes to the Lifeline program, that provides millions the chance to maintain a dial tone or should be providing millions more the opportunity to afford broadband at home, we erect insurmountable barriers to entry for Lifeline providers wishing to do business.
benton.org/headlines/remarks-commissioner-mignon-clyburn-media-institute | Federal Communications Commission
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FCC SETTLES NYC ERATE INVESTIGATION
[SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission, AUTHOR: Press release]
The Federal Communications Commission announced a settlement with Verizon for possible violations of the FCC’s competitive bidding rules for the E-rate program. Verizon agreed to pay $17.68 million to resolve parallel investigations by the FCC and the Department of Justice, $17.325 million of which will be repaid to the Universal Service Fund (USF). Verizon has further agreed to withdraw any rights it may have to hundreds of millions of dollars in requested and undisbursed E-rate support.
benton.org/headlines/fcc-settles-new-york-city-e-rate-investigation-verizon | Federal Communications Commission | order/consent decree
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EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS

COURT WONT FORCE BROADCASTERS TO TRANSLATE EMERGENCY ALERTS
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has said the Federal Communications Commission was within its authority to seek more input before deciding whether or not to require broadcasters to simulcast emergency alert information in other languages than English. The Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council and the League of United Latin American Citizens and League of Latin American Citizens had challenged that FCC decision, both on statutory grounds and as arbitrary and capricious. The three-judge panel, with one partial dissent, rejected the appeal, concluding that the FCC's decision not to mandate bilingual simulcasts and instead gather more information was consistent with statute, "reasonable and reasonably explained." "Alert originators can (and sometimes do) compose and transmit alerts in languages in addition to English. And broadcasters in those circumstances then automatically broadcast the alerts in those other languages as well," wrote Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the opinion. "But as petitioners concede, the FCC lacks authority over alert originators and therefore cannot compel alert originators to transmit alerts in languages in addition to English."
benton.org/headlines/court-wont-force-broadcasters-translate-emergency-alerts | Broadcasting&Cable
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October 17, 2017 (Pai's Bind)

BENTON'S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES for TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2017

See All of Today's Events -- https://www.benton.org/calendar/2017-10-17


COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY
   FCC Chairman Pai's bind: Defend President Trump or free speech
   Sen Blumenthal urges Chairman Pai to disavow President Trump tweet
   FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel on President Trump Tweets: History Won't Be Kind to Silence [links to Benton summary]
   President Trump’s threats against the press may be toothless. But they’re far from harmless. - Margaret Sullivan analysis [links to Benton summary]
   The 140-character president - CJR op-ed
   The Fox News president
   Firm behind Trump dossier won't comply with House Intel subpoena [links to Hill, The]
   President Trump joked Vice President Pence 'wants to hang' all gay people [links to Benton summary]
   President Trump calls past sexual assault allegations against him 'fake news' [links to Benton summary]
   Gov Scott (R-FL) declares state of emergency for Richard Spencer speech [links to Hill, The]
   President Trump: 'I'm all in favor of people protesting' except during anthem [links to Hill, The]

ELECTIONS & MEDIA
   Cambridge Analytica, the shady data firm that might be a key Trump-Russia link, explained
   Google, Facebook putting an early mark on political advertising bills
   What Facebook Did to American Democracy
   Twitter turns over ‘handles’ of 201 Russia-linked accounts [links to Associated Press]
   Russian Trolls Studied ‘House of Cards’ to Spread Fake News During 2016 Campaign [links to Wrap, The]
   Donald Trump campaign ramps up 2020 re-election fundraising [links to Benton summary]
   Roy Moore’s Senate campaign blames Democrats for fake Twitter followers [links to Washington Post]
   President Trump beat Silicon Valley at its own game. Now it must prove itself. - Rep Ro Khanna (D-CA) op-ed [links to Benton summary]

INTERNET/BROADBAND
   New America Submits Reply Comments to the FCC on Broadband Deployment - press release [links to Benton summary]

SECURITY/PRIVACY
   Supreme Court to consider major digital privacy case on Microsoft e-mail storage
   Every modern, protected Wi-Fi network is vulnerable, warns government cyber watchdog
   DHS to Order Agencies Implement E-mail, Website Encryption Tools [links to Benton summary]
   Cyberattack Captures Data on US Weapons in Four-Month Assault [links to Wall Street Journal]

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
   FirstNet's fight for customers will continue long past opt-in deadline [links to Benton summary]
   Hurricane Maria Communications Status Report for Oct. 16 [links to Federal Communications Commission]
   Bringing the internet back to Puerto Rico [links to Benton summary]

ACCESSIBILITY
   Remarks By FCC Chairman Ajit Pai At The Disability Advisory Committee Meeting - speech

OWNESRHIP
   T-Mobile and Sprint may be getting close to a merger. Here’s what you need to know. - WaPo analysis
   T-Mobile, Sprint plan merger without selling assets [links to Benton summary]
   Facebook acquired TBH, the anonymous app popular with high school kids [links to Vox]
   Silicon Valley Vs. Wall Street: Can the New Long-Term Stock Exchange Disrupt Capitalism? [links to Benton summary]

WIRELESS/SPECTRUM
   Congressional Lawmakers Push Chairman Pai to Hold to TV Station Repack Timeline
   Initial Allocation of Broadcast Reimbursement Funds Announced - public notice
   Wireless Carriers suffer major blow as small-cell bill vetoed in California
   Repurposing Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Is Great, But Interference Issues Must Be Resolved First - Bloomberg op-ed [links to Benton summary]
   Qualcomm claims victory in 5G ultrafast wireless race [links to Financial Times]

JOURNALISM
   Op-Ed: Why does the public hate the news media? [links to Los Angeles Times]
   Three ways Hispanic media has changed in the Trump era [links to Media Matters for America]

LABOR
   Facebook Is Looking for Employees With National Security Clearances [links to Benton summary]

CONTENT
   Twitter's Harassment Problem Is Baked Into Its Design [links to Atlantic, The]
   The ‘Me too’ movement against sexual harassment and assault is sweeping social media [links to Vox]
   Netflix plans to spend $8 billion to make its library 50 percent original by 2018 [links to Vox]

DIVERSITY
   Op-ed: Tech’s Troubling New Trend: Diversity Is in Your Head [links to New York Times]

GOVERNMENT & COMMUNICATIONS
   House Communications Are Now Available in Congress.gov! - press release [links to Benton summary]

POLICYMAKERS
   The Kirstjen Nielsen backstory [links to Axios]

STORIES FROM ABROAD
   As US Confronts Internet’s Disruptions, China Feels Vindicated
   UK media warn data rules used to stifle journalism [links to Financial Times]
   Public Knowledge Urges UN Agency to Avoid Limiting Free Speech, Open Internet in Privacy Discussions [links to Public Knowledge]

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COMMUNICATIONS & DEMOCRACY

PAI’S BIND
[SOURCE: Politico, AUTHOR: Margaret Harding McGill]
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is facing increasing pressure to distance himself from President Donald Trump’s threats against NBC — a course of action that would risk provoking the president’s Twitter-fueled wrath. Democrats have refused to let the issue die in recent days, with FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel warning that “history won't be kind to silence" on Trump's threats to the First Amendment. Chairman Pai could confront public questions about the issue as soon as Oct 17 at a telecom law event in Washington, forcing him to choose between his longstanding defense of freedom of speech and the man who made him chairman. If Chairman Pai weighs in, he risks repeating the pattern of other Trump appointees whose words and actions have drawn the president's ire and imperiled their positions in the government. “Ajit is in a really very awkward situation, but I assure you he is on our side — we being the people who generally believe in free speech,” said Berin Szóka, president of libertarian group TechFreedom, which supports Pai's FCC agenda. “I think it’s unfair to jump up and down and insist that if he doesn’t pick a fight with the president, he doesn’t really care about the First Amendment.” Szóka outlined several scenarios in which President Trump could act to retaliate if he doesn't like what the FCC chairman has to say. President Trump could demote Chairman Pai to commissioner and elevate another FCC Republican, Mike O’Rielly or Brendan Carr, to chairman, although Szóka noted that both are probably similar to Chairman Pai when it comes to their positions on the First Amendment. President Trump could also replace Commissioner O'Rielly with a "loyalist" and name that person chairman when the term is up in 2019.
benton.org/headlines/fcc-chairman-pais-bind-defend-president-trump-or-free-speech | Politico
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BLUMENTHAL URGES PAI TO DISAVOW TRUMP TWEET
[SOURCE: The Hill, AUTHOR: Harper Nedig]
Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) joined the growing number of Democratic lawmakers who are calling on Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to disavow President Donald Trump’s calls to challenge certain media outlets’ broadcast licenses. Sen Blumenthal sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asking him to commit to not infringing on media outlets’ First Amendment rights. “As FCC Chairman, sworn to uphold both the Constitution and the Communications Act, you have a duty to condemn this attack and reassure our nation and our journalists that you will stand up for them and protect and defend their fundamental freedoms," Sen Blumenthal wrote in a letter. “I ask for your unwavering commitment that you will ensure the First Amendment remains a cornerstone of our democracy and that you will not follow through on this direction from the President."
benton.org/headlines/sen-blumenthal-urges-chairman-pai-disavow-president-trump-tweet | Hill, The | read the letter | B&C
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THE 140-CHARACTER PRESIDENT
[SOURCE: Columbia Journalism Review, AUTHOR: Matthew Ingram]
[Commentary] The president’s use of a public platform like Twitter to talk directly with the American people is unprecedented for the presidency, and it raises legal, ethical, and cultural issues that have never been tackled in American politics. The more outrageous President Donald Trump’s online comments have become, the more coverage they’ve received, creating a symbiotic relationship that has come to define Trump’s relationship with the media that covers him. But it has also boxed in a press corps that has come to simultaneously depend on and benefit from Trump’s Twitter torrent. Just because it’s being tweeted by the president, is it news? In effect, Twitter has given Trump the illusion of transparency and accessibility without his having to actually provide them—or the accountability that usually comes with a two-way conversation with the press. It allows him to state untruths with impunity, knowing that his tweets will be widely redistributed by his followers and the media, and to dodge follow-up questions or criticism.
[Mathew Ingram is a former senior writer with Fortune magazine]
benton.org/headlines/140-character-president | Columbia Journalism Review
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THE FOX NEWS PRESIDENT
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Philip Bump]
Since his election as president, Donald Trump has tweeted to or about Fox News nearly 130 times. The most recent example was early Oct 16, when Trump shared a comment from economist Art Laffer that had just been made on a Fox network. How do we know that was the origin of the quote? President Trump made sure to tag Fox News in the tweets. He might also have tagged Fox Business, the network he was watching. Which is unusual: He’s usually watching “Fox and Friends” on weekday mornings, a show he’s mentioned or retweeted 79 times as president — once every three days or so. What’s critical to remember, though, is that President Trump’s interest in Fox News predates his presidency substantially. Since 2010, he’s tweeted about Fox News more than 1,200 times, most heavily in 2015 as he enjoyed the network’s coverage as he tried to woo Republican voters — and most often between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., when “Fox and Friends” is on.
benton.org/headlines/fox-news-president | Washington Post
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ELECTIONS & MEDIA

CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA EXPLAINED
[SOURCE: Vox, AUTHOR: Sean Illing]
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is looking into a data analytics company called Cambridge Analytica as part of its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. Cambridge Analytica specializes in what’s called “psychographic” profiling, meaning they use data collected online to create personality profiles for voters. They then take that information and target individuals with specifically tailored content. Congressional investigators believe that Russian hackers might have received help in their efforts to distribute “fake news” and other forms of misinformation during the 2016 campaign. Hence the focus on Cambridge Analytica. So far there’s been a lot of speculation about the potential links between the Trump campaign and Russia, and most of the stories have orbited around the financial dealings of the Trump family and people like Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager. But this story is specifically about how team Trump might have facilitated Russia’s meddling in the US presidential election. The stakes, in other words, are high.
benton.org/headlines/cambridge-analytica-shady-data-firm-might-be-key-trump-russia-link-explained | Vox
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GOOGLE, FB PUTTING EARLY MARK ON POLITICAL AD BILLS
[SOURCE: Politico, AUTHOR: Steven Overly, Ashley Gold]
Google and Facebook are looking to make an early imprint on legislation being drafted in the House and Senate that would force them and other online networks to disclose information about the buyers of political ads. Lobbyists from the Silicon Valley behemoths have met with the staffs of Sens Mark Warner (D-VA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), all of whom are drawing up bills that would impose new regulations on the industry. The Senate bill is expected to be formally introduced next week. It is not clear when the House legislation, which has not been previously reported, will be introduced. The companies are keen to show steps they've taken to police themselves when it comes to monitoring and disclosing the ads on their sites, efforts that could be used to fend off heavy-handed regulation as investigations into Russian interference in the election bring unprecedented scrutiny on their businesses.
benton.org/headlines/google-facebook-putting-early-mark-political-advertising-bills | Politico
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WHAT FB DID TO AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
[SOURCE: The Atlantic, AUTHOR: Alexis Madrigal]
Tech journalists covering Facebook had a duty to cover what was happening before, during, and after the election. Reporters tried to see past their often liberal political orientations and the unprecedented actions of Donald Trump to see how 2016 was playing out on the internet. Every component of the chaotic digital campaign has been reported on, here at The Atlantic, and elsewhere: Facebook’s enormous distribution power for political information, rapacious partisanship reinforced by distinct media information spheres, the increasing scourge of “viral” hoaxes and other kinds of misinformation that could propagate through those networks, and the Russian information ops agency. But no one delivered the synthesis that could have tied together all these disparate threads. It’s not that this hypothetical perfect story would have changed the outcome of the election. The real problem—for all political stripes—is understanding the set of conditions that led to Trump’s victory. The informational underpinnings of democracy have eroded, and no one has explained precisely how.
benton.org/headlines/what-facebook-did-american-democracy | Atlantic, The
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SECURITY/PRIVACY

SUPREME COURT TO CONSIDER MAJOR DIGITAL PRIVACY CASE ON MICROSOFT E-MAIL STORAGE
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Robert Barnes]
The Supreme Court accepted a second important case on digital privacy, agreeing to hear a dispute between the federal government and Microsoft about e-mails stored overseas. The case began in 2013, when U.S. prosecutors got a warrant to access e-mails in a drug trafficking investigation. The data was stored on Microsoft servers in Ireland. Microsoft turned over information it had stored domestically but contended U.S. law enforcement couldn’t seize evidence held in another country. It said if forced to do so, it would lead to claims from other countries about data stored here. A judge upheld the warrant, but a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturned the ruling. The full circuit then split evenly on whether that decision was correct. The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to reverse the lower courts. It said the decision conflicts with past decisions in lower courts that “a domestic recipient of a subpoena is required to produce specified materials within the recipient’s control, even if the recipient stores the materials abroad.”
benton.org/headlines/supreme-court-consider-major-digital-privacy-case-microsoft-e-mail-storage | Washington Post | Broadcasting&Cable | USAToday
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EVERY MODERN, PROTECTED WI-FI NETWORK IS VULNERABLE
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Hamza Shaban]
A top federal government cybersecurity watchdog issued an advisory on Oct 16, warning users to update their devices to protect against a newly discovered vulnerability that affects nearly every modern, protected Wi-Fi network. The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team's announcement comes after a security expert at the University of Leuven in Belgium published findings that showed that a widely used encryption system for wireless networks could give attackers an opening to steal sensitive information such as e-mails, chat histories and credit card numbers. The exploit would allow hackers to eavesdrop on Internet traffic between computers and wireless access points. The findings are significant because of the wide range of devices that could be affected. "The attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks,” Mathy Vanhoef said on a website he created to share his research. “Depending on the network configuration, it is also possible to inject and manipulate data. For example, an attacker might be able to inject ransomware or other malware into websites.”
benton.org/headlines/every-modern-protected-wi-fi-network-vulnerable-warns-government-cyber-watchdog | Washington Post | DHS warning
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ACCESSIBILITY

PAI REMARKS AT DISABILITY ADVISORY CMTE MEETING
[SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission, AUTHOR: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai]
When I spoke to you in March, I noted that the Commission was about to vote on an order to improve VRS interoperability, quality, and efficiency. I am happy to say that this order has since been released, and we have made several other important strides since then. And at our upcoming Commission meeting on October 24, we will vote on an order to apply hearing aid compatibility requirements to wireline phones using Voice over Internet Protocol. The order also would require volume control on cell phones – something the community has requested for over a decade. This would help ensure that people using hearing aids—as well as those without such aids – are better able to select cell phones that meet their communication needs. In particular, this is sure to benefit our growing population of seniors. In order to expand direct communications for deaf callers, we also are continuing our efforts to educate government agencies on the federal, state and local levels about Direct Video Calling. Finally, people who are blind or visually impaired are gaining better access to television, program guides, and menus because of the Commission’s accessible user interface rules, which went into effect just this past December.
benton.org/headlines/remarks-fcc-chairman-ajit-pai-disability-advisory-committee-meeting | Federal Communications Commission
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WIRELESS/SPECTRUM

LAWMAKERS PUSH PAI TO HOLD TV STATION REPACK TIMELINE
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
A letter from almost five dozen members of Congress, including from both parties, calls on Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai not to move off the FCC's current timeline for repacking TV stations after the incentive auction and freeing up spectrum for wireless broadband. "We write to urge you to ensure the 600 MHz spectrum...is cleared no later than July 3, 2020, as currently scheduled" they wrote Oct 16. They said clearing the band of broadcasters as quickly as possible was a critical component of deploying high-speed broadband, including to rural areas, a particular concern of the FCC's, as well as many of the letter signatories, including Rep Anna Eshoo (D-CA). They said freeing up that spectrum and connecting homes across the country to broadband is not just about jobs or economic growth, but is a necessity in a connected world. They praised Pai's work to date to boost broadband deployment in underserved communities and said they supported a "robust" waiver process for stations who need flexibility in making their channel moves, and want stakeholders to work together to find creative solutions. But the bottom line is: Wrap it up by that 2020 date.
benton.org/headlines/congressional-lawmakers-push-chairman-pai-hold-tv-station-repack-timeline | Broadcasting&Cable
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INITIAL ALLOCATION OF BROADCAST REIMBURSEMENT FUNDS ANNOUNCED
[SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission, AUTHOR: Public notice]
The Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau announce the issuance of an initial allocation of the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund in the total amount of $1 billion to begin to reimburse eligible full power and Class A broadcasters and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), for expenses related to the construction of station facilities on reassigned channels. The Bureau will continue to monitor closely the draw-down of Fund amounts and allocate additional amounts later in the transition period.
benton.org/headlines/initial-allocation-broadcast-reimbursement-funds-announced | Federal Communications Commission | Broadcasting&Cable
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SMALL CELL BILL VETOED IN CA
[SOURCE: Fierce, AUTHOR: Colin Gibbs]
Gov Jerry Brown (D-CA) vetoed a bill that would have streamlined policies for small-cell deployments, handing CTIA - The Wireless Association and major wireless carriers a significant defeat in the nation’s most populous state. The bill, SB 649, essentially would have given wireless companies the same rights as public utilities. It would have enabled carriers and infrastructure vendors to place transmitters in public rights-of-way and capped fees cities could charge to install their devices. The bill had become a top priority for CTIA, which claimed it would boost California’s economy and pave the way for faster network speeds, better coverage and increased capacity. But it was opposed by some 300 California cities, dozens of counties more than 100 local organizations. “There is something of real value in having a process that results in extending this innovative technology rapidly and efficiently,” Gov Brown said. “Nevertheless, I believe that the interest which localities have in managing rights of way requires a more balanced solution than the one achieved in this bill.”
benton.org/headlines/wireless-carriers-suffer-major-blow-small-cell-bill-vetoed-california | Fierce
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OWNESRHIP

T-MOBILE AND SPRINT MERGER
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Brian Fung]
In 2014, Sprint tried to buy T-Mobile in a deal that ultimately fell apart under scrutiny by the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission. Regulators at the time concluded that having four major competitors in the cellular space, not three, would do the most to preserve competition and help consumers. Analysts say that a new agreement between the two companies would likely hand the reins to T-Mobile, which overtook Sprint in 2015 as the nation's third-biggest carrier. Given that T-Mobile was behind the push for many of the industry changes we've seen in recent years, it's possible that T-Mobile could do a lot with Sprint if it led the company. But many of the underlying issues — such as what happens to competition in a world of three national providers — remain. As recently as last week, staff members at the Justice Department were said to be skeptical of a Sprint/T-Mobile deal. One argument you can expect to hear, analysts say, is that building out the next generation of wireless data — known as "5G” — will be fairly expensive and that it would be cheaper for everyone involved if T-Mobile and Sprint could join forces and build a single 5G network rather than build two of them separately. Another argument you might hear is that Sprint, whose business is weakening, simply can't survive alone and that by teaming up with T-Mobile, the combined company could more effectively compete with AT&T and Verizon.
benton.org/headlines/t-mobile-and-sprint-may-be-getting-close-merger-heres-what-you-need-know | Washington Post
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STORIES FROM ABROAD

CHINA’S INTERNET
[SOURCE: New York Times, AUTHOR: Steven Lee Myers, Sui-Lee Wee]
For years, the United States and others saw China’s heavy-handed censorship as a sign of political vulnerability and a barrier to China’s economic development. But as countries in the West discuss potential internet restrictions and wring their hands over fake news, hacking and foreign meddling, some in China see a powerful affirmation of the country’s vision for the internet. Few would argue that China’s internet control serves as a model for democratic societies. China squelches online dissent and imprisons many of those who practice it. It blocks foreign news and information, including the website of The New York Times, and promotes homegrown technology companies while banning global services like Facebook and Twitter. At the same time, China anticipated many of the questions now flummoxing governments from the United States to Germany to Indonesia. Where the Russians have turned the internet into a political weapon, China has used it as a shield. In fact, when it comes to technology, China has prospered. It has a booming technology culture. Its internet companies rival Facebook and Amazon in heft. To other countries, China may offer an enticing top-down model that suggests that technology can thrive even under the government’s thumb.
benton.org/headlines/us-confronts-internets-disruptions-china-feels-vindicated | New York Times
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