Daily Digest 1/22/2019 (Shutdown is hurting rural internet expansion)

Benton Foundation
Table of Contents


Broadband expert says USDA shutdown is hurting rural internet expansion  |  Read below  |  Ryan Johnston  |  StateScoop
Oregon Communities Continue Slow-Speed Pursuit of High-Speed Internet  |  Oregonian, The
Washington Governor proposes Broadband Office and investment of $25 million to get broadband into “every nook and cranny"  |  Whidbey News-Times
Internet service for rural Georgia could come from power companies  |  Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Stevens Point (WI) could soon offer fiber optic internet service to the entire city  |  WSAW


Reps Cárdenas, Kinzinger Ask FCC to Protect C-Band Incumbents  |  Read below  |  John Eggerton  |  Multichannel News
T-Mobile and Verizon adopt FCC standards to block robocalls  |  Fierce
Verizon will offer free spam protection to all of its customers  |  Vox
BTIG Research: T-Mobile should be first to market with ‘real 5G’  |  Fierce
Smart Cities Should Use Public/Private Partnerships to Deploy Smart Cities  |  RCR Wireless News


The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: Shoshana Zuboff’s new book is a chilling exposé of the business model that underpins the digital world  |  Read below  |  John Naughton  |  Guardian, The
FTC considering a record-setting fine against Facebook for some of its privacy violations  |  Washington Post
Editorial: There’s hope for federal online privacy legislation  |  Washington Post
Sen. Marco Rubio wants to ban states from protecting consumer privacy  |  Ars Technica
Analysis: Sen Schatz calls on technology industry to share cyber threats  |  Washington Post
Analysis: How does a country spy on its citizens? A cybersecurity company got an inside look  |  Washington Post
Apple’s former security chief explains why he took a job with the ACLU: Policy solutions are required to curb surveillance  |  Foreign Policy


Cohen Threatened CNBC That Trump Would Sue After 2014 Poll Disappointment  |  Wall Street Journal
Lawmakers fear new disinformation threat from 'deepfake' videos  |  Hill, The


Media reliability questioned over report President Trump directed lies to Congress  |  Read below  |  Brett Samuels  |  Hill, The
Opinion: BuzzFeed’s travails highlight the self-destructive habits of modern journalism  |  Washington Post
Journalists Press for Shield Law  |  Read below  |  John Eggerton  |  Broadcasting&Cable
Nearly three-quarters of Republicans say the news media don’t understand people like them  |  Read below  |  Jeffrey Gottfried, Elizabeth Grieco  |  Research  |  Pew Research Center
Mistaken Fox News graphic suggested Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead  |  Washington Post
Fox News stops TV recording service that let journalists search for clips  |  Vox


Twitter suspends account that helped ignite controversy over encounter that went viral  |  CNN
Facebook Launches 'Community Actions', a Way to Create Petitions and Communicate with Public Officials  |  Read below  |  Josh Constine  |  TechCrunch
WhatsApp limits message forwarding in fight against misinformation  |  Vox

Government Performance

FCC Reactivates Equipment Authorization System Despite Shutdown  |  Federal Communications Commission

Rep. Clarke Sends Letter to FCC on Employment Discrimination Protection  |  House of Representatives


Elections Matter: Who’s Who in Telecommunications Policy in the 116th Congress  |  Read below  |  Robbie McBeath  |  Analysis  |  Benton Foundation
Robert Doar selected to be president of AEI  |  American Enterprise Institute

Company News

Tribune parent's CEO leaves  |  Crain's Chicago Business
Netflix says it now accounts for 10 percent of TV screen time in the US  |  Vox
AT&T to Advertise on YouTube Again After a Nearly 2-Year Holdout  |  New York Times

Stories From Abroad

Max Schrems: Amazon, Spotify, and other streaming companies are breaking EU privacy law  |  Vox
Russia Accuses Facebook, Twitter of Failing to Comply With Data Laws  |  Wall Street Journal
French watchdog slaps Google with $57-million fine under new EU data privacy law  |  Associated Press
Facebook, Germany to Collaborate Against Election Interference  |  Wall Street Journal
Indians Are So Crazy About Mobile Video, They Use YouTube Like Google  |  Wall Street Journal
Today's Top Stories


Broadband expert says USDA shutdown is hurting rural internet expansion

Ryan Johnston  |  StateScoop

For municipalities looking to start their own broadband services, 2019 hasn’t gotten off to a great start. While there is more technical assistance available than ever before, the federal government’s partial shutdown has been a hindrance, said Chris Mitchell, the director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self Reliance. Through its Rural Utilities Service program, the US Department of Agriculture provides rural development grants to municipalities and local governments applying to expand or construct broadband infrastructure, and the agency invested $228 million across 22 states in 2018. But until the federal government emerges from a shutdown that has so far lasted 27 days, the “provision of new rural development loans and grants” under the program will remain unfunded in 2019. And communities without broadband will remain cut off from assistance provided through the USDA.


Reps Cárdenas, Kinzinger Ask FCC to Protect C-Band Incumbents

John Eggerton  |  Multichannel News

Reps Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) have called on the Federal Communications Commission to protect incumbents in the C-Band. The C-band is currently used for satellite delivery of cable and broadcast network programming to TV and radio stations, satellite radio services, and cable head-ends. The FCC wants to open it up to wireless broadband to help close the digital divide and promote 5G, both prime directives for the commission. In a letter to the currently mostly shuttered FCC, the Reps said they had concerns about the proposed rulemaking to expand operations in the band, part of the FCC's overall mission to free up lots more spectrum, either through sharing or reclamation or both, for next-gen wireless broadband. They said they were all for expanding that high-speed broadband and closing the digital divide, including looking for new uses for the C-Band, but not at the expense of important existing services. 


The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: Shoshana Zuboff’s new book is a chilling exposé of the business model that underpins the digital world

John Naughton  |  Guardian, The

A Q&A with Shoshana Zuboff, author of "The Age of Surveillance Capital".

Zuboff's new book is not so much about the nature of digital technology as about a new mutant form of capitalism that has found a way to use tech for its purposes. The name Zuboff has given to the new variant is “surveillance capitalism”. It works by providing free services that billions of people cheerfully use, enabling the providers of those services to monitor the behaviour of those users in astonishing detail – often without their explicit consent. “Surveillance capitalism,” she writes, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvement, the rest are declared as a proprietary behavioural surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence’, and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon, and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioural futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behaviour.” Regarding the future of regulating surveillance capitlaism, Zuboff said, "Despite existing economic, legal and collective-action models such as antitrust, privacy laws and trade unions, surveillance capitalism has had a relatively unimpeded two decades to root and flourish. We need new paradigms born of a close understanding of surveillance capitalism’s economic imperatives and foundational mechanisms.”


Media reliability questioned over report President Trump directed lies to Congress

Brett Samuels  |  Hill, The

Democrats raised fresh questions and Republicans pushed back Jan 20, after a BuzzFeed report alleging President Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress exploded in the media over the weekend. Republicans swiped at BuzzFeed News and the media after special counsel Robert Mueller's office issued a rare statement that the story was not accurate. Vice President Mike Pence pointed to the reaction to the report as evidence that some are out to “get” President Trump. The president’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, suggested BuzzFeed should be sued. But Democrats appeared undeterred by the special counsel contesting the report, citing the claims in the BuzzFeed story as further proof that President Trump may have obstructed justice and requires investigation. BuzzFeed continues to stand behind its reporting in the story, even claiming "further confirmation" of its accuracy on Jan 20.

Journalists Press for Shield Law

John Eggerton  |  Broadcasting&Cable

The National Association of Broadcasters has joined with other groups in the News Media for Open Government (NMOG) coalition to press the new Congress to better protect journalists, including the long-sought federal shield law that has been introduced in numerous Congresses over the past couple of decades. In its priority statement for the 116th Congress, NMOG says its agenda includes compliance with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reforms, reducing "unnecessary and costly" litigation over FOIA requests, and "ensuring that journalists are not impeded in their newsgathering practices through policies that chill the daily communications between government officials and the press." “Journalists take seriously their duty to investigate wrongdoing and hold government institutions and elected officials accountable without fear or favor,” said NAB president Gordon Smith. "The Founding Fathers’ guarantee of a free press safeguards the media's important role in a democratic society and provides for a more informed American citizenry. We strongly urge lawmakers to make protection of the First Amendment a priority in the 116th Congress."

Nearly three-quarters of Republicans say the news media don’t understand people like them

Jeffrey Gottfried, Elizabeth Grieco  |  Research  |  Pew Research Center

A majority of Americans believe the news media do not understand people like them, and this feeling is especially common among Republicans. Overall, 58% of US adults feel the news media do not understand people like them, while 40% feel they are understood. Republicans, however, are nearly three times as likely to feel that news organizations don’t understand them (73%) as they are to say they feel understood (25%). By comparison, most Democrats (58%) say they feel understood by the news media, while four-in-ten say they do not. About three-quarters of Republicans who are very interested in the news (74%) say news organizations do not understand people like them – about the same share as among those who are somewhat interested (70%) and not interested in the news (78%).


Facebook Launches 'Community Actions', a Way to Create Petitions and Communicate with Public Officials

Josh Constine  |  TechCrunch

Facebook launched Community Actions, a News Feed petition feature. Users can add a title, description, and image to their Community Action, and tag relevant government agencies and officials who’ll be notified. The goal is to make the Community Action go viral and get people to hit the “Support” button. Community Actions have their own discussion feed where people can leave comments, create fundraisers, and organize Facebook Events or Call Your Rep campaigns. Facebook displays the numbers of supporters behind a Community Action, but you’ll only be able to see the names of those you’re friends with or that are Pages or public figures.


Elections Matter: Who’s Who in Telecommunications Policy in the 116th Congress

Robbie McBeath  |  Analysis  |  Benton Foundation

The 116th Congress is underway. In the background of a partial government shutdown, lawmakers are getting their committee assignments. At Benton, we keep a close eye on two key Congressional panels because of their jurisdiction over many telecommunications issues and oversight of the Federal Communications Commission: 1) the House Commerce Committee's Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and 2) the Senate Commerce Committee. Here's a look at some key telecom policymakers -- and their priorities -- in the 116th Congress. 

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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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