Benton Foundation

A New National Spectrum Strategy

On October 25, 2018, President Donald Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum ordering federal agencies to review their existing spectrum usage, forecast future demands, and prepare a plan for research and development that will enable better use of spectrum in the future.

Time to Change the Terms

The Benton Foundation is joining 40 civil and human rights organizations that believe that online companies need to do more to combat hateful conduct on their platforms. We are asking that these companies adopt corporate policies to prohibit hateful activities on their platforms. They should make it clear what type of conduct is and is not permitted on their platform and remove any U.S. clients that violate those corporate policies. Although Benton has always championed free speech, today we draw a line.

We Must Let Our Minds Be Bold

With publication of Louis Brandeis: A Man for This Season by the Colorado Technology Law JournalJon Sallet and the Benton Foundation are offering this new series adapted from that article to demonstrate that progressive competition policy incorporated both the goals and the means that Brandeis believed would provide the strongest tools to fight against the trusts and the monopolies of his day.

The Latest Round of FTC Competition and Consumer Protection Hearings

The Federal Trade Commission this week held another set of hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century. The hearings and public comment process this Fall and Winter will provide opportunities for FTC staff and leadership to listen to experts and the public on key privacy and antitrust issues facing the modern economy. The hearings are intended to stimulate thoughtful internal and external evaluation of the FTC’s near- and long-term law enforcement and policy agenda.

Bending the Arc Towards Media and Social Justice

I’ve spent just over 30 years working to ensure that all Americans benefit from accessible, affordable, and open communications networks that promote democratic values. But none of that would have been possible without Everett Parker’s accomplishments. As this audience knows well, Everett worked hand-in-hand with the Rev. Martin Luther King and the civil rights community to challenge the broadcast license of WLBT-TV, a Jackson, Mississippi, station that broadcast racist propaganda and refused to cover the civil rights movement.

Inclusion and Civic Engagement in Public Technology Building and Planning

Whether they are Wi-Fi kiosks, urban sensors, fiber networks, or built-from-scratch “smart” neighborhoods, new urban technology deployments are under the microscope. Despite the potential of these projects to drive innovation and economic growth, they are often met with mixed reception and a myriad of justifiable questions. Take the Quayside project in Toronto led by Sidewalk Labs.

Reactions to California Net Neutrality Law

After Gov Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed California's net neutrality legislation into law AND the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state of California, a number of policymakers and advocates responded:

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA): “The enactment of California’s net neutrality law is a huge victory for the free and open internet. California has shown Washington and the rest of the country that the internet warriors fighting to save net neutrality will not be stopped."

Touch, Trust, and Tech

Addressing community challenges – education, a strong economy, race, and social equity – means that every community institution needs to be part of the solution. And mayors and elected county officials are wise to understand one institution – the public library – brings a unique mix of assets to the table:

Touch:  Pew Research data shows that 80 percent of Americans have been to a public library at some point in a given year – either in-person or online.

You must be the change you want to see in the world

Among the hundreds of people waiting to visit Mahatma Gandhi one day was a mother who sought help in battling her son’s obsession with eating sugar. When it was their turn in line, instead of immediately counseling the boy, Gandhi asked the pair to come back in two weeks. Following a two-hour wait on the day of their return, the anxious mother repeated her request. Gandhi promptly spoke with her son and the boy agreed to work on breaking his sugar fixation.

Bringing the FCC to the People and the People to the FCC

"Our media is precious. It’s how, outside of our strictly personal spheres, we speak to each other, inform each other, learn from each other, entertain each other, increasingly how we govern ourselves." With these words, Michael Copps opened a public hearing on media ownership rules. The hearing was not in Washington, DC, but Chicago, Illinois. Copps was not a local official, but a commissioner at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).