Daily Digest 6/8/2018 (News from FCC Meeting)

Benton Foundation

FCC's Consumer Advisory Committee meets today -- hear you there https://www.benton.org/events

News from FCC Meeting

FCC Eliminates Consumer Protections for Carriers Promising Network Upgrades

The Federal Communications Commission eliminated regulations for carriers seeking to move from the networks of yesterday to the networks of tomorrow. The Order:

  • Streamlines grandfathering of lower-speed data services where the carrier already provides fixed replacement data services at download speeds of 25 Megabits per second and 3 Mbps for uploads. The streamlined process provides 10 days for public comment, and grandfathering is allowed automatically in 25 days, barring substantive objections.
  • Streamlines permanent discontinuance of services already grandfathered by the Commission for 180 days. The process will now provide 10 days for comment and 31 days for an automatic grant.
  • Relieves carriers of discontinuance approval obligations for services with no customers and no reasonable requests for service for at least the preceding 30 days.
  • Eliminates burdensome, inflexible, and unnecessary education and outreach requirements for carriers discontinuing legacy voice services in the transition to nextgeneration IP services.
  • Allows carriers to seek streamlined discontinuance of legacy voice services when a carrier provides stand-alone interconnected VoIP throughout its affected service area, and at least one other stand-alone, facilities-based voice service is available from another provider.
  • Eliminates unnecessary and burdensome or redundant notifications for changes that may impact compatibility of customer premises equipment.
  • Facilitates rapid restoration of communications networks in the face of natural disasters and other unforeseen events by eliminating advance notice and waiting period requirements for network changes in exigent circumstances.

FCC Exempts Rural Carriers from Universal Service Fund Contributions

The Federal Communications Commission set aside enforcement of rules, granting a petition for forbearance that will, in effect, waive the requirement for small, rural carriers to contribute to the Universal Service Fund on their broadband Internet access transmission service revenues.

FCC Takes Next Steps to Open Spectrum Frontiers for 5G Connectivity

The Federal Communications Commission took steps to make additional high-band spectrum available for advanced wireless services. These actions are building blocks of the nation’s 5G future and critical to continued US wireless leadership. Pushing more spectrum into the marketplace for the next generation of wireless connectivity will contribute to economic growth, job creation, public safety, and our nation’s global competitiveness. Specifically, the item adopted sets forth additional rules for previously identified millimeter wave spectrum bands designated for flexible use. These include adopting an operability requirement for the entire 24 GHz band, a sharing framework to allow use of a portion of the 24 GHz band for terrestrial wireless operations and Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) earth stations, a band plan for the Lower 37 GHz band, and spectrum aggregation rules applicable to certain bands. In addition, the Commission denies petitions for reconsideration asking for geographic area licensing in the Lower 37 GHz band and asking to allocate the 42 GHz band for satellite use in order to provide additional certainty in moving forward with other innovative uses for these bands. Finally, the item seeks comment on making 2.75 GHz of additional spectrum in the 26 GHz and 42 GHz bands available for next-generation wireless services, tees up coordination mechanisms to facilitate shared use of the Lower 37 GHz band between Federal and nonFederal users, and among non-Federal users, and solicits feedback on potential rules for FSS use of the 50 GHz band for a limited number of earth stations. 

FCC Acts to Reform Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service

The Federal Communications Commission today approved an item to reform Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS), a form of telecommunications relay service (TRS) that allows individuals with hearing loss to both read captions and use their residual hearing to understand a telephone conversation.

The item approved by the FCC:

  • Takes steps and explores others to preserve the viability of IP CTS for people with hearing loss who need it,
  • Set interim IP CTS provider compensation rates to bring those rates closer to actual average provider costs. (This move will save the TRS Fund nearly $400 million over the next two years.)
  • Adopts rules to limit unnecessary IP CTS use and waste of the TRS Fund, including a general prohibition on providing IP CTS to ineligible users.
  • Allows service providers to use fully-automated speech recognition (ASR) to produce captions.

The FCC is also seeking comment on measures to improve the compensation plan, funding, and structure of the IP CTS program and to curb provider practices that could be incenting use of IP CTS by people who may not need it. And to ensure service quality for users, the FCC is seeking comment on IP CTS performance goals and metrics.

FCC Proposes to Modernize Leased Access Rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking to update its leased access rules, which require cable operators to set aside channel capacity for commercial use by unaffiliated video programmers. The FCC tentatively concludes that it should vacate its 2008 Leased Access Order, which the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has stayed for a decade in conjunction with several judicial appeals, and which the Office of Management and Budget had separately rejected under the Paperwork Reduction Act. Due to these roadblocks, the 2008 order never went into effect, and the pre-2008 order rules adopted nearly a quarter-century ago remain in effect. Vacating the 2008 order as proposed would provide the FCC with a fresh starting point from which to consider specific proposals to modernize the leased access rules to fit the modern marketplace. The FCC also seeks input on the state of the leased access marketplace generally and invites comment on ways to modernize its existing leased access rules. It proposes to require cable operators to respond only to bona fide requests from prospective leased access programmers. The FCC seeks comment on whether it should extend the timeframe for providing responses to leased access requests, and permit cable operators to require leased access programmers to pay a nominal application fee and/or a deposit. The Further Notice also proposes to modify the FCC’s procedures for addressing leased access disputes.

FCC Bans Misrepresentation in Sales Calls & Unauthorized Charges

The Federal Communications Commission approved new rules to help protect consumers from the illegal and harmful practices of slamming, which is the unauthorized change of a consumer’s preferred telephone company, and cramming, which is the placement of unauthorized charges on a consumer’s phone bill.  With the action, the Commission’s rules now include a clear ban on misrepresentations made during sales calls and provide that such material misrepresentations invalidate any authorization given by a consumer to switch telephone companies. The Commission’s rules also now include an explicit prohibition against placing unauthorized charges on consumers’ phone bills. Under the new slamming rules, phone companies that abuse the third-party verification process will be suspended from using that process for five years. The Commission also took action to improve the efficiency of the third-party verification process by eliminating the requirement that a phone company must obtain the authorization of a consumer for each service being sold—a time-consuming step that the Commission found can confuse consumers.

FCC Proposes Reforms to Toll Free Calling Access Charge Regime

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking comment on reforms to increase efficiency and fairness in the system governing intercarrier payments for toll free calling, and to eliminate the financial incentive for abusive calling practices, including fraudulent or otherwise unnecessary robocalling to toll free numbers. The FCC is seeking comment on transitioning the toll free intercarrier compensation system to a “bill-and-keep” regime. Under bill-and-keep, each carrier recovers revenues from its own subscribers rather than other carriers. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted by the FCC proposes a three-year transition to bill-and-keep. The Notice also seeks comment on how such a change would affect consumers, and on concerns that the reforms could discourage legitimate toll free calls.

FCC Takes Steps to Prevent Fraud in Toll Free Texting

The Federal Communications Commission took steps to establish clear, strong, and consistent safeguards to prevent the fraudulent use of toll free numbers in text messaging. In a Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC:

  • Clarified that a text messaging provider may not text-enable a toll free number without first obtaining authorization from the subscriber for that number
  • Clarified that a messaging provider may not text-enable a toll free number that is not yet assigned to a subscriber
  • Clarified that messaging providers must disable toll free texting upon request by the subscriber
  • Seeks comment on a proposal to require a toll free subscriber to inform the company that manages the assignment and routing of the toll free number, known as a Responsible Organization or RespOrg, that the subscriber has authorized its toll free number for text messages
  • Seeks comment on a proposal that the RespOrg must reflect the subscriber’s authorization to text-enable its toll free number in the toll free Service Management System (SMS) Database
  • Seeks comment on a proposal requiring that a messaging provider obtain the subscriber’s authorization for text-enabling a number through the RespOrg
  • Seeks comment on what other information, if any, needs to be captured and centrally managed to protect the integrity of the toll free numbering system. 

ISPs Have Asked the Senate to Limit Funds for Rural Internet

The Senate agriculture committee is considering Farm Bill proposals that would make it harder for rural communities to get funding for internet and favors Big Telecom. Big Telecom lobbyists have urged the committee to block funding for any community where more than 10 percent of the population has internet access, and any area that has received funding through the Federal Communication Commission’s Universal Service Fund, even if people in those area still have poor access. Though we don’t know yet if these limitations are in the Senate’s draft of the Farm Bill, a bipartisan bill introduced in May would bring about similar limits. These measures are promoted as a way to ensure that the communities most in need get funding first, which is not a bad idea, but it also gives incumbent ISPs an advantage because even their subpar networks in rural areas won’t be challenged by competition armed with government grants. “Some of these [existing] systems were designed to provide speeds of only 10/1 Mbps, 4/1 or less, and that’s when they’re operating at full capacity,” Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, said in a letter to the ag committee. “We don’t believe that’s fast enough to sustain a household, much less attract and run a modern business.”

via Vice

Worst Connected Cities 2016

Using data from the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS), released in September 2017 by the US Census Bureau, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance ranked all 185 US cities with more than 50,000 households by the total percentage of each city’s households lacking fixed broadband internet subscriptions. Note that this data is not an indication of the availability of home broadband service, but rather of the extent to which households are actually connected to it. The term “Fixed broadband Internet” as used by the Census includes wireline broadband technologies (cable Internet, DSL, fiber to the premises) as well as satellite and “fixed wireless” technologies. It does not include 3G and 4G mobile service such as one purchases for a smartphone, or non-broadband connections like dial-up modems.  NDIA focused on fixed broadband subscriptions in this comparison of household connection rates, because the strict data caps common to mobile Internet services make mobile much less useful for general household Internet access. Topping the list of Worst Connected Cities: Brownsville (TX), Detroit (MI), and Hialeah (FL). 

Senators Press Speaker Ryan to Hold Net Neutrality Vote

Democratic senators are urging Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) to hold a vote on a resolution that would restore the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality rules.  All 49 Democratic senators signed a letter to Speaker Ryan asking him to schedule a vote for the resolution, which passed the Senate in May. “Now that the Senate has taken this critical step, it is incumbent on the House of Representatives to listen to the voices of consumers, including the millions of Americans who supported the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality order, and keep the internet free and open for all,” they wrote. Democratic representatives will need the support of at least 25 Republican representatives in order to force a vote and pass the resolution.

Former FCC Chairman Wheeler Challenges Chairman Pai to Push for a House Net Neutrality Vote

Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has challenged current Chairman Ajit Pai to push for a House vote on the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to nullify Pai's Restoring Internet Freedom order rolling back network neutrality rules. Wheeler, who focused his regulatory attention on Internet service providers as the gatekeepers of the internet, also signaled that had been because of the FCC's limited authority, and that he felt it was time that the "peoples representative" had oversight and made the rules for the edge and access providers. His answer was essentially an endorsement of the kind of new scrutiny of the edge being advocated by ISPs, Chairman Pai and legislators from both parties. "I am a proponent of openness, nondiscrimination and privacy in all venues," Wheeler said. "It just happened that while I was at the FCC, we only had jurisdiction over networks. But there comes a time when we have to say, 'Wait a minute, what are the rules that are going to govern this new environment. And, most important, who's going to make those rules.?' Right now, whether you are a platform company, like Google of Facebook, or whether you are networks like AT&T and Comcast, you make the rules. There ought to be oversight by the people's representatives so that the people's representatives make the rules, not just those who benefit from what those rules might be."


Apparently, DOJ probes T-Mobile-Sprint merger effect on smaller wireless companies

Apparently, the US Department of Justice is examining how the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint could affect prices for smaller wireless operators.  A T-Mobile and Sprint merger would eliminate competition between the two carriers that have been the dominant players in selling network access to wireless companies that often serve pre-paid or price-conscious consumers, and could lead to higher prices for those users. The Justice Department, which is evaluating T-Mobile’s $26 billion deal to buy Sprint, has been speaking with small wireless operators that buy access to the major wireless networks at wholesale rates, and is seeking their opinions about the merger. 

Media and Elections

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is requesting that witnesses turn in their personal phones to inspect their encrypted messaging programs

Apparently, special counsel Robert Mueller's team is requesting that witnesses turn in their personal phones to inspect their encrypted messaging programs and potentially view conversations between associates linked to President Donald Trump. Since as early as April, Mueller's team has been asking witnesses in the Russia probe to turn over phones for agents to examine private conversations on WhatsApp, Confide, Signal and Dust, apparently.  Fearing a subpoena, the witnesses have complied with the request and have given over their phones. While it's unclear what Mueller has discovered, if anything, through this new request, investigators seem to be convinced that the apps could be a key to exposing conversations that weren't previously disclosed to them.

via CNBC

New law forces Google to suspend political ads in Washington state

A strict new real-time disclosure law has forced Google to suspend political advertising in the Washington state. "Ads related to ballot measures and state and local elections in the state of Washington, U.S.A., will not be accepted," a new Google policy says. The new rules were enacted by Washington state's Public Disclosure Commission to implement provisions of new campaign finance legislation that was passed in March. The rules require ad brokers like Google to provide information to the public about who is funding political ads and how those ads are being targeted. The rules also require this information to be made available as soon as ads start to run. Google says that it intends to comply with the law, but it doesn't yet have the infrastructure to provide the required information so quickly.

Congress roasted Facebook on TV, but won’t hear any bills to regulate it

On October 19th of 2017, a just-barely bipartisan group of senators held a press conference to announce a new piece of legislation. The Honest Ads Act, as the bill is called, would require Facebook, Google, and other tech platforms to retain copies of the political ads they host and make them available for public inspection. Platforms would have to release information about who bought the ads, how much they cost, and to whom the ads were targeted. Anyone who spent more than $500 on political ads would be subject to public scrutiny. Revelations from Facebook, Google, and other social media platforms of Russia-linked groups sparked a flurry of activity in the capital last fall, prompting the tech companies to spend more on lobbyists and crisis public-relations firms than they ever had. But, the opposition to the Honest Ads Act has come not from tech companies, who have been increasingly supportive of the legislation, but instead from the Republican majority in Congress. The multiple new pieces of legislation aimed at regulating tech platforms, including a new consumer privacy protection act, have attracted few Republican cosponsors, and the bills have yet to receive a single hearing. And while the bills’ sponsors remain publicly supportive, it appears increasingly unlikely that Congress will take action on either bill before the midterms.

via Vox

Commerce Sec Ross Announces $1.4 Billion ZTE Settlement

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation, of Shenzhen, China (“ZTE Corporation”) and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. of Hi-New Shenzhen, China (“ZTE Kangxun”) (collectively, “ZTE”) has agreed to severe additional penalties and compliance measures to replace the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) denial order imposed as a result of ZTE’s violations of its March 2017 settlement agreement.  Under the new agreement, ZTE must pay $1 billion and place an additional $400 million in suspended penalty money in escrow before BIS will remove ZTE from the Denied Persons List. These penalties are in addition to the $892 million in penalties ZTE has already paid to the U.S government under the March 2017 settlement agreement. ZTE will also be required by the new agreement to retain a team of special compliance coordinators selected by and answerable to BIS for a period of 10 years. Their function will be to monitor on a real-time basis ZTE’s compliance with US export control laws. This is the first time BIS has achieved such stringent compliance measures in any case.  ZTE is also required under the new agreement to replace the entire board of directors and senior leadership for both entities.  Finally, the new agreement once again imposes a denial order that is suspended, this time for 10 years, which BIS can activate in the event of additional violations during the ten-year probationary period. These collectively are the most severe penalty BIS has ever imposed on a company.  

Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Ban on ZTE Tech Funding

Even as the Commerce Department was confirming a deal to remove an export ban affecting ZTE, Congress was moving to prevent government money to be used to buy ZTE equipment. According to Sen Marco Rubio (R-FL), who proposed the restriction, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved the FY19 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill, which includes his provision to prevent those government funds to be used to buy telecom equipment from ZTE and fellow Chinese telecom Huawei "other high risk information systems." Government intelligence officials are virtually unanimous in their view that both ZTE and Huawei tech poses a national security risk, a view shared by Sen Rubio. 

After Scrutinizing Facebook, Congress Turns to Google Deal With Huawei

Apparently, Members of Congress have begun scrutinizing Google’s relationship with China’s Huawei Technologies—roping another Silicon Valley giant into Washington’s escalating digital cold war with Beijing. The review—of a facet of Google’s Android operating system partnership with Huawei—comes after lawmakers questioned Facebook about its data partnerships with Huawei and three other Chinese electronics makers. Facebook said it would wind down the Huawei deal by the week’s end. Some members of Congress also plan to voice displeasure over Google’s continued partnership with Huawei in light of its more recent decision not to renew a Department of Defense contract, apparently. The group of lawmakers taking a closer look at the Google-Huawei ties include Sen Tom Cotton (R-AR), Rep Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Rep Robert Pittenger (R-NC)

Appellate Court Decision Raises Issues With FTC Data Security Enforcement

A decision by the three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit could make it harder for the Federal Trade Commission to enforce online data security, or that is certainly the conclusion of Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Though, it is narrowly tailored to apply to a specific FTC enforcement tool. The court ruled that the FTC could not issue a cease and desist order directing a medical lab to take a variety of actions to protect sensitive medical information online. It concluded that such orders must identify a specific harm the order is prohibiting, and the FTC failed to do so. "Rather, [the cease and desist order] commands LabMD to overhaul and replace its data-security program to meet an indeterminable standard of reasonableness," the court panel concluded. "This command is unenforceable." That is the case even if the lab's alleged negligence in "[failing] to implement and maintain a reasonable data-security program" does constitute an unfair or deceptive practice. While the decision was narrow, it troubled Sen Blumenthal, the author of the Data Breach Accountability and Enforcement Act, which would give the FTC new power to enforce data security. Sen Blumenthal suggested the decision should fire up Congress to pass his bill. "Until this damaging ruling, the FTC could at least set expectations and require data security programs to prevent future breaches after finding a failure to adequately protect consumers’ data,” he said. “In undermining the FTC’s ability to impose data security standards, the Court of Appeals has hamstrung our sole cop on the beat protecting consumer privacy." 

Rep Lieu Introduces Bill to Standardize National Encryption Policy

Reps Ted Lieu (D-CA), Mike Bishop (R-MI), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), and Jim Jordan (R-OH) reintroduced the Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications (ENCRYPT) Act. The legislation would preempt state and local government encryption laws to ensure a uniform, national policy for the interstate issue of encryption technology.

Atlanta officials reveal worsening effects of cyber attack

The Atlanta (GA) cyber attack has had a more serious impact on the city’s ability to deliver basic services than previously understood, a city official said at a public meeting as she proposed an additional $9.5 million to help pay for recovery costs.  Atlanta’s administration has disclosed little about the financial impact or scope of the March 22 ransomware hack, but information released at the budget briefings confirms concerns that it may be the worst cyber assault on any U.S. city. More than a third of the 424 software programs used by the city have been thrown offline or partially disabled in the incident, Atlanta Information Management head Daphne Rackley said. Nearly 30 percent of the affected applications are considered “mission critical,” affecting core city services, including police and courts. Initially, officials believed the reaches of the cyber assault on city software was close to 20 percent and that no critical applications were compromised, Rackley said.


Facebook controversies could spark support for privacy bills in Congress

Legislation to rein in Facebook’s practices — and even stiff penalties from the Federal Trade Commission — are starting to look like a real possibility, even in a Congress typically slow to move on tech issues.  Lawmakers are pointing to two main vehicles emerging in Congress.  One is the Consent Act, a bill sponsored by Sen Ed Markey (D-MA) that would require Facebook and other tech companies such as Google to get explicit permission from users before doing anything with their personal information. It would also require those companies to notify users about all collection, use and sharing of their data. The second bill,  the Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act, introduced by Sens Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Neely Kennedy (R-LA), proposes similar rules allowing users to opt out of data collection. Additionally, it would allow users to prevent companies from tracking their data, require privacy policies to be written in "plain language" and guarantee users the ability to see what companies have already collected on them. The FTC — which is already investigating Facebook's data practices — also has options. Facebook is bound by a 2011 consent decree with the agency over a different privacy matter to be more transparent about the data it collects about its users. 

Facebook says millions of users who thought they were sharing privately with their friends may have shared with everyone because of a software bug

As many as 14 million Facebook users who thought they were posting items that only their friends or smaller groups could see may have been posting that content publicly, the company said. According to Facebook, a software bug, which was live for 10 days in May, updated the audience for some user’s posts to “public” without any warning. Facebook typically lets users set the audiences who get to see posts; that setting is “sticky,” which means it remains the default setting until manually updated. Facebook was unclear about how many of the 14 million people may have posted to friends without realizing they were sharing that information publicly. The company said it will begin on June 7 to alert people who were impacted.

via Vox

China’s Huawei says it hasn’t collected Facebook user data

Chinese phone maker Huawei said it has never collected or stored Facebook user data, after the social media giant acknowledged it shared such data with Huawei and other manufacturers. Huawei, a company flagged by US intelligence officials as a national security threat, was the latest device maker at the center of a fresh wave of allegations over Facebook’s handling of private data. Chinese firms Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL were among numerous handset makers that were given access to Facebook data in a “controlled” way approved by Facebook, according to Facebook.


Sen Blumenthal's Antitrust Blues

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is arguing that regulators should deal with an explosion of merger and acquisition activity by applying “greater vigilance and vigor” to the exercise of antitrust law. “I have a longstanding and growing doubt about the effectiveness of our current antitrust laws as applied to a rapidly advancing and changing world, particularly one that is increasingly dominated by new technology,” said Sen Blumenthal, a member of the Commerce and Judiciary panels,  during a Public Knowledge briefing on a push to extend conditions applied in 2011 to the Comcast/NBCUniversal merger. Comcast has pushed back against extending these conditions, set to expire this fall, and defended its compliance record, even sending representatives to Wednesday’s briefing to defend the cable company. Blumenthal doubted Congress would take up any major review of antitrust law but said applying and sustaining merger conditions is “more important than ever.” He told the crowd, “I think we are at kind of a moment of reckoning for our antitrust laws.”

Chairman Pai Response to Members of Congress Regarding Broadcast Ownership Rules

On May 14, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai responded to several Members of Congress over recent reforms of the FCC's broadcast ownership rules.  "I must respectfully decline your request not to implement any changes made to the media ownership rules in our 2017 Order on Reconsideration," he wrote. "The FCC has a statutory duty to ensure that our broadcast ownership rules keep up with changes in the media marketplace, and there is no reason to further delay the implementation of 2017 reforms that were themselves unreasonably delayed. Moreover, I would point out that the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit was asked to stop the FCC from implementing these changes and earlier this year declined to do so." Chairman Pai also denied the request to stop working on the review of the national ownership cap, as well as the request that the FCC stop approving any broadcast mergers or acquisitions on a blanket basis. 

Government Performance

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says there was no net neutrality cyberattack in 2014

Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler says that there was no 2014 cyberattack meant to overwhelm the agency's comment system during the net neutrality debate, as claimed by a former agency IT official in emails recently published by Gizmodo. The Gizmodo story says that in 2017, after the agency claimed to have experienced a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) taking down its comment system, agency IT chief David Bray told the media that there had been a similar attack in 2014 — and that Wheeler had decided to keep the matter quiet for fear of copycat attacks. On June 6, Wheeler said, "When I was in the greenroom waiting to come in here, I got an email from David Bray, who said 'I never said that you told us not to talk about this and to cover up,' which was the term that got used. Which of course is logical, because as the Gizmodo article that you referenced pointed out, A) FCC officials who were there at the time said it didn’t happen, [and] B) the independent IT contractors that were hired said it didn’t happen. So if it didn’t happen it’s hard to have a cover up for something that didn’t happen." Brays claim to Wheeler is contradicted by a 2017 email from Bray published by Gizmodo where he says that in 2014 “the Chairman did not want to say there was a DDoS attack out of concern of copycats.” Bray said June 6 that his reference “the Chairman” in the published email was actually shorthand for the agency’s media relations office. He also maintained in an earlier Medium post that there had been suspicious activity related to the comment system. "I go with the email that I literally just received from David Bray saying I didn’t say it," Wheeler said when pressed on the discrepancy. Asked why the FCC might have suggested in 2017 that there had been an attack three years prior, Wheeler replied: "I am the last person in the world to interpret the decision making of the Trump FCC.”

via Axios

Jon Berroya Joins Internet Association as General Counsel

Internet Association announced that [former Benton Foundation Headlines writer!] Jon Berroya joined the organization as Senior Vice President and General Counsel to lead IA’s legal and regulatory efforts. Berroya joins IA from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), where he was Vice President, Legal Affairs. At ESA, Berroya was responsible for managing all aspects of the organization’s efforts to enforce its members’ intellectual property rights and counseled the association on cybersecurity and privacy issues. Berroya will lead all aspects of IA’s amicus brief program, domestic and international regulatory efforts, ethics, and compliance. Berroya will also work with members and industry stakeholders on legal strategy to ensure regulatory and legal frameworks allow internet companies to thrive worldwide. Previously, Berroya was Senior Director, Internet Enforcement at BSA | The Software Alliance. He also served as in-house counsel to Yahoo! Inc., and he represented many prominent social networking sites, internet portals, and ISPs in connection with their online practices as a private practitioner. He began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, prosecuting crimes ranging from online stalking to drug trafficking.

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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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