Daily Digest 1/24/2019 (Remember When ...?)

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Table of Contents


New House Judiciary Subcommittee Chair Johnson (D-GA) Eyes Net Neutrality Action  |  Read below  |  John Eggerton  |  Multichannel News
Remember When Chairman Pai Said Killing Net Neutrality Would Boost Network Investment? About That...  |  Read below  |  Karl Bode  |  Op-Ed  |  TechDirt
Terabyte-using cable customers double, increasing risk of data cap fees  |  Ars Technica
Op-Ed: Rural broadband in Minnesota: Evidence is in; government should butt out  |  Minneapolis Star Tribune
Readers Write: Broadband projects, population growth, assisted suicide, youth sports and concussions  |  Minneapolis Star Tribune


FCC Commissioner Carr talks infrastructure, spectrum and jobs needed for 5G  |  Read below  |  Matt Kapko  |  Fierce
Commissioner Rosenworcel: 2.5 GHz spectrum key for 5G in rural areas  |  Read below  |  Monica Alleven  |  Fierce
NCTA: Government Spectrum Strategy Should be Balanced  |  Read below  |  John Eggerton  |  Broadcasting&Cable
Comcast Lost $743 Million on Xfinity Mobile in 2018  |  Multichannel News


Social media won't regulate itself. How should we?  |  Read below  |  Natasha Tusikov, Blayne Haggart  |  Op-Ed  |  Fast Company
Facebook cracks down on fake news publishers with harsher punishments for bad pages  |  Read below  |  Nick Statt  |  Vox


Data Broker That Sold Phone Locations Used by Bounty Hunters Lobbied FCC to Scrap User Consent  |  Read below  |  Joseph Cox, Jason Koebler  |  Vice
On Facebook And Twitter Your Privacy Is At Risk—Even If You Don't Have An Account  |  University of Vermont
Federal Court in Seattle Will Begin Disclosing Surveillance Records  |  Electronic Frontier Foundation
How Apple CEO Tim Cook's Data Broker Registry Might Actually Work  |  Wired
Analysis: FBI cyber investigations hit hard by shutdown  |  Washington Post
Inside Google’s Team Fighting to Keep Your Data Safe From Hackers  |  Wall Street Journal


Verizon To Lay Off 7% of Media Group Staff  |  Read below  |  Sarah Krouse  |  Wall Street Journal
BuzzFeed is laying off more than 200 people, its second round of cuts in 14 months  |  Vox


Parks: OTT Video Households Forecast to Exceed 310 Million by 2024  |  telecompetitor
Amdocs survey: 53% of Adults Watch a Subscription Video Service They Don’t Pay For  |  Multichannel News
Comcast’s new streaming service, rivaling Netflix, is all about the ads  |  Washington Post


Issue One: 2018 midterms marked the first time since 2010 that liberal nonprofits outspent conservative ones  |  Wall Street Journal


An interview with former Guardian editor Alan Rushbridger on how journalism can win back public trust  |  Vox
He Reported on Facebook. Now He Approaches It With Caution.  |  New York Times
Sinclair Broadcast, Known for Rightward Tilt, Hires Liberal Commentator  |  Wall Street Journal
NYU’s Jay Rosen says 2020’s political journalism will be even worse than 2016’s  |  Vox


FCC To Hold Open Commission Meeting on January 30  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission
House Oversight Committee IT subpanel to be absorbed into Government Operations Subcommittee  |  nextgov

Stories From Abroad

World Leaders at Davos Call for Global Rules on Tech  |  Read below  |  Keith Bradsher, Katrin Bennhold  |  New York Times
Europe's internet just got even messier: negotiations over the controversial Copyright Directive have hit a deadlock  |  Vox
Google to appeal $57M fine over EU privacy rules  |  Hill, The
China Appears to Block Microsoft’s Bing as Censorship Intensifies  |  Wall Street Journal
Microsoft says its search engine Bing is blocked in China  |  Los Angeles Times
China’s Internet Watchdog Closes Hundreds of Websites, Criticizes Tencent App, Targets Harmful and Vulgar Content  |  Wall Street Journal
US Believes It Doesn’t Need to Show ‘Proof’ Huawei Is a Spy Threat  |  Wall Street Journal
China’s Vice President Decries Technological Hegemony  |  Wall Street Journal
Canada’s China Envoy: US Extradition Case for Huawei CFO Isn’t a Sure Thing  |  Wall Street Journal
Iranian journalist Marzieh Hashemi released from US custody, completes testimony to grand jury  |  Washington Post
Australia Probes China’s Detention of Australian-Chinese Writer  |  Wall Street Journal
Today's Top Stories


New House Judiciary Subcommittee Chair Johnson (D-GA) Eyes Net Neutrality Action

John Eggerton  |  Multichannel News

Look for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet to be active on the network neutrality front now that it is in Democratic hands, according to Subcommittee Chairman Hank Johnson (D-GA). "The internet is a ubiquitous tool in our lives, and as the Trump Administration tries to kill net neutrality, I am eager to take on the challenge of ensuring that the internet remains open to all content regardless of source," he said following his election to the post. "Content must be available without discrimination and accessible to all."

Remember When Chairman Pai Said Killing Net Neutrality Would Boost Network Investment? About That...

Karl Bode  |  Op-Ed  |  TechDirt

You'll recall that one of the top reasons for killing popular network neutrality rules was that they had somehow supposedly crushed broadband industry network investment.  You'll be shocked to learn this purported boon in investment isn't happening. A few months ago, Verizon made it clear its capital expenditure (CAPEX) would be declining, and the company's deployment would see no impact despite billions in tax cuts and regulatory favors from the Trump Federal Communications Commission. Both AT&T and Verizon have similarly announced massive workforce reductions as well. Some investment growth is happening in wireless as carriers prepare for fifth-generation (5G) wireless service (which they would have deployed regardless of the attacks on net neutrality). But even that's a bit lower than Wall Street and sector analysis expected. And according to the latest analysis from MoffettNathanson, both fixed-line telcos and cablecos are expected to see notable declines in CAPEX and investment:

[Karl Bode is a freelance journalist]


FCC Commissioner Carr talks infrastructure, spectrum and jobs needed for 5G

Matt Kapko  |  Fierce

For most consumers and businesses, 5G is still an intangible technology that appears to be driven more by marketing than actual results, but Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr tried to synthesize the opportunity in remarks at the European 5G Conference in Brussels. Carr was unable to travel to the event due to the ongoing partial government shutdown, so he recorded a video to share his vision for 5G and the actions regulators need to take to make it a reality. From his perspective, the opportunity presented by 5G will come in three parts: better and faster performance on smartphones, more competitive home broadband and a new wave of innovation and entrepreneurship. “With 5G networks, consumers will be able to see fiber-like speeds at their home delivered wirelessly. That’s going to make it a lot easier and lower the regulatory barriers and the costs for multiple operators to compete for your home broadband dollars, and that’s going to be a very good thing for consumers.”

Commissioner Rosenworcel: 2.5 GHz spectrum key for 5G in rural areas

Monica Alleven  |  Fierce

Wireless carriers would benefit if the Federal Communications Commission were to conduct an incentive auction for the 2.5 GHz airwaves that were allocated years ago for educational purposes, according to FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. The FCC in 2018 adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking to consider updating the framework for licensing Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band. Even though Sprint touts a boatload of 2.5 GHz spectrum, there’s a lot of EBS spectrum that lies fallow across about half of the U.S., mostly in rural areas. Rosenworcel is most interested in closing what she calls the “homework gap,” where many students don’t have access to broadband to do their homework, a problem she hopes the 2.5 GHz band will help fix. “It is the largest contiguous swath of spectrum below 3 GHz,” she said. “It’s ideal for new 5G uses, so let’s make the way that we distribute it across this country transparent. Right now, it’s anything but, and if we were to develop an incentive auction here, we could make these airwaves available on a more uniform basis for lots of carriers. I think that’s a good thing.”

NCTA: Government Spectrum Strategy Should be Balanced

John Eggerton  |  Broadcasting&Cable

In comments to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association said the Trump Administration's National Spectrum Strategy should recognize that Wi-Fi is the primary delivery mechanism for broadband and promote additional unlicensed spectrum and critical to any spectrum strategy. It also says the framework should acknowledge that a "balanced" approach recognizes both fixed and mobile technologies and that incumbent users of C-band spectrum--notably cable operators--are important to hundreds of millions of Americans. NCTA has a three-point plan for insuring the strategy accounts for the above "realities": "(1) put unused spectrum to work; (2) increase efficiency and intensity of use of underutilized spectrum; and (3) create careful solutions to enable additional uses, while protecting consumers’ use of existing services in bands where there are intensive incumbent operations."


Social media won't regulate itself. How should we?

Natasha Tusikov, Blayne Haggart  |  Op-Ed  |  Fast Company

2019 is likely to see many debates on possible regulatory strategies for social media platforms. We offer several ideas to help shape those debates. First, it’s necessary to prohibit the data-intensive, micro-targeted advertising-dependent business model that is at the heart of the problem. Second, it’s vital that countries craft rules that are appropriate to their particular domestic social, legal, and political contexts. Third, and most provocatively, it’s time to consider non-commercial ownership of social media entities–including nonprofit or some form of public ownership.

[Natasha Tusikov is assistant professor, criminology, Department of Social Science at York University in Toronto. Blayne Haggart is associate professor of political science at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.]

Facebook cracks down on fake news publishers with harsher punishments for bad pages

Nick Statt  |  Vox

Facebook has announced changes to how it handles and communicates violations of its policies around the publishing of fake news and misinformation, with the goal of preventing publishers that operate large networks of pages and groups from skirting bans. Starting Jan 23, Facebook says it will reserve the right to take down pages and groups that are simply affiliated with those that have violated the company’s community standards, even if those pages or groups haven’t technically broken any rules. Facebook says this is specifically to prevent users from using an adjacent or other existing page and group as a replacement once another has been flagged and taken down. While it appears the change is focused on preventing people from continuing to peddle fake or purposefully inflammatory content, it also applies to violations of Facebook’s rules on spam and clickbait, copyright-infringing material, hate speech, graphic violence, harassment and bullying, and nudity.


Data Broker That Sold Phone Locations Used by Bounty Hunters Lobbied FCC to Scrap User Consent

Joseph Cox, Jason Koebler  |  Vice

Earlier in Jan it was reported how T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint were selling cell phone users’ location data that ultimately ended up in the hands of bounty hunters and people unauthorized to handle it. That data trickled down from the telecommunications giants through a complex network of middlemen and data brokers. One of those third parties was Zumigo, a company that gets location data access directly from the telecom companies and then sells it for a profit. A presentation that Zumigo gave to the Federal Communications Commission in late 2017 shows it asked the agency to place even fewer restrictions on how some of the data it sells can be used, and specifically asked for the agency to loosen user consent requirements for data sharing. “As breaches become more prevalent and as consumers rely more on mobile phones, there is a tipping point where financial and personal protections begin to equal, or outweigh, privacy concerns,” one of the slides reads. Another slide titled “solutions” suggests that the FCC loosen current consent requirements that are included in cell phone providers’ terms of service, allowing carriers to use vaguer, “more flexible” language.


Verizon To Lay Off 7% of Media Group Staff

Sarah Krouse  |  Wall Street Journal

Apparently, Verizon's beleaguered media group is laying off 800 employees -- 7 percent of its staff -- and is focusing on fewer areas to revive its fortunes. Verizon CEO K Guru Gowrappan said in an email to staff that the business would focus on mobile and video-focused products. Yahoo-branded entertainment and news platforms are particularly important to the unit’s strategy. 



FCC To Hold Open Commission Meeting on January 30

Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission will hold an Open Meeting regarding Commission announcements on Jan 30. Due to the current partial lapse in appropriations, the items previously set forth in the Jan 3 Tentative Agenda will not be considered at the meeting. If the lapse in appropriations continues through Jan 29, the Open Meeting will be conducted via a conference call.  If the lapse in appropriations ends prior to Jan 29 and the Commission resumes normal operations, the Open Meeting will commence at the FCC. As stated above, the meeting will consist of announcements only, and the items set forth in the Jan 3 Tentative Agenda will not be considered. 

Stories From Abroad

World Leaders at Davos Call for Global Rules on Tech

Keith Bradsher, Katrin Bennhold  |  New York Times

Leaders of Japan, South Africa, China and Germany issued a series of calls for global oversight of the tech sector, in a clear signal of growing international interest in seizing greater regulatory supervision of an industry led by the United States. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan said his country would use its chairmanship of the Group of 20 nations to push forward a new international system for the oversight of how data is used. Data governance will be the theme when the group’s presidents and prime ministers gather in June 2019 in Osaka for their annual summit meeting. The emphasis will be on expanding World Trade Organization rules to encompass trade in data as well as goods and services, he said.

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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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