Daily Digest 1/10/2019 (5G; Roger Wicker)

Benton Foundation
Table of Contents


5G will be the next revolution in global communications, but the US may be left behind  |  Read below  |  Michael Hiltzik  |  Los Angeles Times, Vox
Chairman Wicker Readies 5G Hearing  |  Read below  |  John Hendel  |  Politico
Beware the 5G Hype: Wireless Rivals Fuel Confusion  |  Wall Street Journal
Enabling opportunities: 5G, the internet of things, and communities of color  |  Nicol Turner Lee
Verizon Wireless says current spectrum holdings are sufficient for 5G buildout  |  Fierce
CES 2019: Verizon CEO Vestberg Takes 5G Hype to 11  |  Multichannel News
Verizon Adds Subscribers as Device Makers Struggle  |  Wall Street Journal
Samsung Phone Users Perturbed to Find They Can't Delete Facebook  |  Bloomberg


Free to Prosper: Technology and Telecommunications  |  Read below  |  Analysis  |  Competitive Enterprise Institute
Saratoga Springs Advances Fiber Network Project  |  Albany Times Union


Sixth Annual School Networking Infrastructure Survey  |  Read below  |  Paula Maylahn  |  Research  |  Consortium for School Networking


US telcos caught selling your location data again: Senator demands new laws  |  Read below  |  Liam Tung  |  ZDNet
Editorial: Congress should make it harder for cellphone carriers to sell your location data  |  Washington Post
How Russian firm Kaspersky Lab helped catch an alleged NSA data thief  |  Politico
Neiman Marcus reaches a $1.5 million data breach settlement with more than 40 state attorneys general  |  Associated Press
Apple recruits prominent Facebook critic for privacy team  |  Financial Times
Roslyn Layton's 7 deadly sins of the privacy and data protection policy debate  |  American Enterprise Institute


Do Democrats really want to regulate Facebook?  |  Vox


Smart cities could be lousy to live in if you have a disability  |  Read below  |  Elizabeth Woyke  |  Technology Review

Emergency Communications

Trump Airwaves Takeover?  |  Read below  |  Cristiano Lima  |  Politico
More Than 50,000 Square Miles of LTE Coverage Added Nationwide to Support AT&T and FirstNet Users  |  First Responder Network Authority


Analysis: Should the major networks have aired Trump’s immigration speech? Many on the left say absolutely not.  |  Washington Post
AP Dinged for ‘Takes Two to Tango’ Tweet Blaming Congressional Democrats and President Trump for Shutdown  |  Wrap, The
Why Fighting Fake News With the Facts Might Not Be Enough  |  New York Times
Here's What Happens When News Comes With a Nutrition Label  |  Wired
Researchers: People older than 65 share the most fake news  |  Vox
Jack Shafer: Why Horse-Race Political Journalism Is Awesome  |  Politico


The data casualties of the federal government shutdown  |  Pew Research Center

Government & Communications

The Peaceful Transition of Government Twitter Accounts  |  Read below  |  Alex Madrigal  |  Atlantic, The
President Trump Thinks He’s His Own Best Messenger. Where Does That Leave Bill Shine?  |  New York Times
President Trump dubs media the 'Opposition Party,' accuses press of working with Democrats  |  Hill, The
40 Million Watched Trump’s Prime-Time Address on TV  |  New York Times


Sen Roger Wicker Named Chairman of the Commerce Committee  |  Read below  |  Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS)  |  Press Release  |  Senate Commerce Committee
President Trump picked Kansas Republicans’ governor candidate. Will he do it again for Senate? Is FCC Chairman Pai on the list?  |  Charlotte Observer

Stories From Abroad

Google Nears Win in Europe Over ‘Right to Be Forgotten’  |  Read below  |  Sam Schechner  |  Wall Street Journal
Companies that collect consumer information have operated in the shadows. But calls are growing for tougher rules  |  Financial Times

Company News

Google Activity Cards let you pick up where you left off on Search  |  Google
How will Disney-Fox Deal impact Hulu?  |  Variety
Publisher Dotdash, owns The Spruce and Verywell and is buying two beauty websites as annual revenue passes $100 million  |  Wall Street Journal
Today's Top Stories


5G will be the next revolution in global communications, but the US may be left behind

Michael Hiltzik  |  Los Angeles Times, Vox

Harvard Law School's Susan Crawford has written a new book,  “Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution — and Why America Might Miss It.” She's assembled her concerns about US connectivity, along with her suggestions how to alleviate them. The data-carrying capacity of the next generation of fiber-optics, known as “5G” (as the fifth generation of wireless telecommunications technology), will give countries that invest in those advanced networks a huge advantage over those that don’t. It’s 100 times faster than the existing 4G technology and far more capacious, allowing simultaneous connections of billions of devices. Which countries are investing in the technology? For one, China, which is planning to cover 80% of its residences and businesses with 5G connectivity by 2025. While the leaders of the USA and China rant and rave at one another, Western companies continue to work closely with those in China, aware that 5G will be a global platform. “In the run-up to 5G, it has been China’s operators, especially China Mobile, which have been a driving force.” But America’s experience with trying to bring fiber to its homes and businesses isn’t auspicious. 

Chairman Wicker Readies 5G Hearing

John Hendel  |  Politico

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) is eyeing a potential hearing on 5G wireless deployment and said bipartisan legislation from the previous Congress from Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) — the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act — could be a good starting point for the panel’s examination. “I would expect 5G and privacy to be among the first issues,” said Chairman Wicker. “I would hope that [5G] would be one of our first hearings.”


Free to Prosper: Technology and Telecommunications

As technology evolves, new challenges invariably arise, including for policymakers. Establishing ill-conceived rules could stifle the high-tech economy, especially if lawmakers bow to pressure from influential business interests or self-proclaimed consumer advocates to saddle emerging technology markets with arbitrary regulations or draconian liability regimes. That does not mean that government officials should simply ignore disruptive innovations. To the contrary, newcomers who redefine existing markets—or create new markets—often merit a re-evaluation of existing rules to eliminate governmental obstacles to innovation. As history shows, most concerns about novel technologies eventually prove unfounded or overblown, especially given our capacity to adapt to a changing world without help from central planners. As lawmakers consider how to govern the technology and telecommunications sectors, new mandates or prohibitions should be avoided in all but the most exceptional circumstances. When new services or tools raise legitimate concerns about public health, consumer protection, or competition, lawmakers should resist the urge to act until they first observe how voluntary institutions—the marketplace and civil society—react to supposed market failures, if and when they arise. In the unlikely event that legislative intervention is necessary, Congress should change the law using a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. At the same time, lawmakers should break out the sledgehammer when it comes to tearing down convoluted statutory and regulatory schemes devised in earlier eras— especially schemes administered by independent agencies, which in recent years have pulled out all the stops to remain relevant in a world in which they may no longer have a useful role to play.


Sixth Annual School Networking Infrastructure Survey

Paula Maylahn  |  Research  |  Consortium for School Networking

Increased investment from the E-rate program’s modernization is helping to improve school Wi-Fi and broadband connectivity. 69 percent of school system leaders are “very confident” in their wireless network’s ability to support one device per student. Ninety-two percent of school systems are meeting the Federal Communications Commission’s short-term goal of broadband connectivity (100 Mbps per 1,000 students in a district), as well as making strides in the FCC’s long-term goals. School districts are still facing significant infrastructure challenges. Due to minimal broadband competition, many rural school districts do not have affordable broadband access. Fewer than 10 percent of districts nationwide report that every student has access to non-shared devices at home, limiting their ability to complete homework assignments outside of school – i.e., the “homework gap.” Furthermore, cybersecurity is a top challenge for technology leaders, and only 12 percent of districts have a dedicated network security employee to address cyber-threats. Additional findings:

  • Broadband Momentum – Complementing the short-term gains, this year, more than one-third of districts achieved the FCC’s long-term goal of 1 Gbps per 1,000 students for all schools – up nearly 100 percent from last year.
  • The Cost Barrier – Costs of monthly-recurring, ongoing expenses continue to top the list of barriers to increased district connectivity. However, just 50 percent of respondents cited recurring cost as a top barrier, making 2018 the first year in the survey’s history that ongoing connectivity costs did not get named by a majority of respondents as a major hurdle. What’s more: Three-quarters of districts report paying less than $5 per Mbps for their internet – compared to 60 percent in 2017.
  • Omnipresence of Cybersecurity – More than one-third of districts allocates 10 percent or more of their technology budget to network security. A majority of districts (52 percent) indicated that they are proactive or very proactive in maintaining their network security. Meanwhile, 23 percent of respondents report their districts are reactive or very reactive.


US telcos caught selling your location data again: Senator demands new laws

Liam Tung  |  ZDNet

Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) has blasted US wireless carriers for continuing to sell their users' location data after they promised to end the practice in June 2018. Sen Wyden renewed calls for Senate to adopt his legislation to ban carriers from selling mobile subscribers' location after a Motherboard report revealed that T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint continue to sell location data to third-party aggregators that are allowing the data to be resold on the black market to anyone willing to pay. 


Smart cities could be lousy to live in if you have a disability

Elizabeth Woyke  |  Technology Review

People with disabilities affecting mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive function often move to cities to take advantage of their comprehensive transit systems and social services. But US law doesn’t specify how municipalities should design and implement digital services for disabled people. As a result, cities sometimes adopt new technologies that can end up causing, rather than resolving, problems of accessibility.

Emergency Communications

Trump Airwaves Takeover?

Cristiano Lima  |  Politico

As reports emerged that President Donald Trump considered declaring a national emergency to fund a wall on the Southern border, Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wrote on Twitter such a move permits the president to “shut down or take over communications in war or emergency.” It's not clear just how expansive that little-tested power is — if, for instance, a president could use it to hijack TV broadcasts or disrupt Americans' internet service. The section of the Communications Act on “war powers of president” is “striking in its breadth,” Commissioner Rosenworcel said, adding that it’s important to understand what powers become available to the president across the board. “We should be asking the administration what authorities they intend to exercise if they make that declaration,” she said. During his prime time address Jan 8, the president declined to make a national emergency declaration.

Government & Communications

The Peaceful Transition of Government Twitter Accounts

Alex Madrigal  |  Atlantic, The

The various committees of the House of Representatives are strange, human institutions. They are staffed by whoever holds the majority, which, since January of 2011, had been the Republicans, but is now the Democrats. And with that change, the committees must deal with important business, such as establishing new chairpeople, deciding on organizing principles, and … handling the committee Twitter account. A look at what happened to the @HouseScience account.


Sen Roger Wicker Named Chairman of the Commerce Committee

Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS)  |  Press Release  |  Senate Commerce Committee

I thank my colleagues for their support in electing me chairman of the Commerce Committee. I would also like to thank Sen. John Thune, the committee’s former chairman, for his exemplary leadership these past four years. The chairmanship is a great responsibility given the committee’s broad jurisdiction across diverse sectors of our economy. I look forward to serving alongside our new ranking member, Sen. Maria Cantwell, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to build on the committee’s successes and continue moving our economy forward.

Stories From Abroad

Google Nears Win in Europe Over ‘Right to Be Forgotten’

Sam Schechner  |  Wall Street Journal

Google and other search engines shouldn’t be forced to apply the European Union’s “right to be forgotten” beyond the bloc’s borders, an adviser to the EU’s top court argued. The recommendation—if followed by the EU’s Court of Justice—would be a major victory for Google, which has for three years been fighting an order from France’s privacy regulator to apply the EU principle globally.  Maciej Szpunar, an advocate general for the court, argued in a nonbinding opinion that if the EU ordered removal of content from websites accessed outside the EU, there was a danger that other jurisdictions would use their laws to block information from being accessible within the EU. “There is a real risk of reducing freedom of expression to the lowest common denominator across Europe and the world,” Szpunar wrote.

A final decision is expected in coming months from the court, which isn’t obliged to follow an advocate general’s opinion, but often does. No further appeal is possible within the EU.

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Benton (www.benton.org) provides the only free, reliable, and non-partisan daily digest that curates and distributes news related to universal broadband, while connecting communications, democracy, and public interest issues. 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 sometimes informal tone may not always represent the tone of the original articles. Headlines are compiled by Kevin Taglang (headlines AT benton DOT org) and Robbie McBeath (rmcbeath AT benton DOT org) — we welcome your comments.

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