“Competition is critical to a strong economy—among the four largest cell phone carriers, that competition has led to lower prices, better service, and more innovation. That’s why, when this merger was first reported, I raised serious antitrust concerns about combining two of the four remaining nationwide wireless carriers, and I have since urged the Justice Department to reject the deal as anticompetitive," said Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
On July 24, 2019 the Federal Trade Commission, together with the Department of Justice, announced a record-breaking $5 billion penalty for Facebook, alleging the company had repeatedly misled its users about the way advertisers and app developers could obtain their personal data. What did Facebook do wrong? What are the components of the settlement? What does it all mean for Big Tech? Let's dive in.
The Federal Trade Commission released details of its settlement with Facebook over violations to a 2012 consent decree. Under the settlement, Facebook has agreed to pay $5 billion, create a privacy committee on Facebook’s board, and conduct a privacy review. The FTC alleges that Facebook repeatedly violated the 2012 order, and that the improper data collection and misuse by Cambridge Analytica was just a part of a larger problem. Some reactions:
Nearly drowned out by all the Big Tech hearings and unPresidential tweets this week were developments in broadband deployment. We learned of more funding for rural broadband and a proposal to improve broadband deployment data collection. But we were also reminded of the problems and challenges that still exist in reaching the most disconnected areas.
The Federal Communications Commission held its monthly open meeting on July 10. We gave a preview of the meeting a few weeks back. There were eight items in total in the action-packed agenda, but we’re going to unpack a few of the actions that are especially relevant to open, affordable, high-capacity broadband in the U.S.
At last it’s happening—a growing national discussion about how America’s news and information “industry” is failing to nourish our civic dialogue. It should be something we expect the candidates to discuss—and take a stand on—as the 2020 election campaigns ramp up.
On July 1, 2019, the Benton Foundation urged the Federal Communications Commission to dismiss a proposal that would require E-Rate program participants to pay more than is required by mandating less competition than is available. The FCC's E-Rate program makes broadband and telecommunications services more affordable for schools and libraries around the country.
On June 26, the US House of Representatives passed the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 3351) -- an appropriations bill that provides fiscal year 2020 funding for a variety of departments and independent agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission. The massive bill passed with many amendments.
Everyone who’s concerned about community broadband needs to contact your economic development agency, department, whoever spearheads your community’s economic development. I’m surveying these professionals about broadband’s impact on local economies. Community broadband is advancing in many places nationwide. But it’s also taking a beating in some areas. The only way we can fight back, capture opportunities, and win challenges is to start with reliable data from those in the trenches. This is insanely important!!
The Senate Commerce Committee held an oversight hearing of the Federal Communications Commission. Some highlights: