Benton Foundation

Benton Welcomes New Senior Fellow and Public Advocate Gigi Sohn

Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss named Gigi Sohn Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate. Furniss said, “The Benton Foundation is honored to support the ongoing work of one of the nation’s leading public advocates for open, affordable, and democratic communications networks.

From Availability to Accessibility: Why the Detroit Public Library Began Partnering with Coin Laundromats

How do you Google a question you do not know the specific vocabulary to phrase? How do you sort through all the answers that come up, and avoid the ads that provide false or misleading information? Many people that we work with do not find high-quality, web-based resources to be accessible, even though the resources are technically available. While accessibility is near impossible without availability, availability without accessibility is perhaps even more disappointing.

AT&T-Time Warner and a Sea Change for the Internet

This has been, perhaps, one of the most important weeks in the history of the Internet. On June 11, the repeal of net neutrality consumer protections went into effect, laying the regulatory groundwork for large Internet service providers to (transparently) favor some (their own) content. On June 12, a court approved a huge combination of content with a major internet service provider. We can do the math.

An Open Letter to My Daughters on Net Neutrality

There has always been a challenge to ensure all Americans can get the news and information they seek -- a challenge that has been a personal one for our family. I hope you and your peers will take a stand. In your own artistic self-interest, you need to think about how you will connect with and grow your audience in the digital age. (You have bills to pay, after all!) But in the greater public interest, we need you to act as stewards to ensure a handful of big companies don’t impede innovation, block information, or stifle culture and free speech. Be energized and help us right the ship.

Mignon Clyburn, Speaking Up For You

[Editorial] May 9 marks the end of a chapter. But this book is still being written. Today, we celebrate the many accomplishments of Mignon Clyburn, Federal Communications Commissioner. Few public servants have worked as hard for people whose voices are too seldom heard.

T-Mobile/Sprint: When 3 + 4 = 3

On April 29, 2018, T-Mobile US and Sprint announced that the boards of the two companies had agreed to enter into an agreement to merge. The companies said they hope to close the deal in the first half of 2019. The most obvious argument in favor the deal?

The BDAC, 5G and Cities: The Power and Perils of Asymmetry

[Speech] On of the two historic accomplishments of the current Federal Communications Commission is that it is the first FCC to interpret its statutory mandate to say it doesn’t have much legal authority or policy rights to regulate broadcasters, telephone companies, cable companies, or wireless companies. Instead, its principal regulatory mandate is to regulate another set of enterprises: local governments.

The Future Openness of the Internet Should Not Turn on the Decision of a Particular Company

On Tuesday, April 17, the House Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing –  entitled “From Core to Edge: Perspective on Internet Prioritization” – to  better understanding of how network operators manage data flows over the Internet and how data is prioritized from the network core to the edge.

Is Facebook a 'Bug' in Our Democracy? Part 3

[Commentary] We are in a brave new world. Facebook and 'Big Tech' have contributed to the erosion of our democratic discourse. We need to have these new titans assume responsibilities on par to the influence they have over our information ecosystem. We need to address this bug in our democracy. Short-term policy solutions can help curb some of Facebook’s harmful effects, but the larger task before policymakers -- and all of us -- is to critically examine the long-term health of our democratic discourse.

Is Facebook a 'Bug' in Our Democracy? Part 2

[Commentary] Is it time to recognize that Facebook, and ‘Big Tech’ at large, may be a bug in our democracy? In Part 1, I examined how the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica story illustrates the harmful effects of “Surveillance Capitalism.” The erosion of our privacy is contributing to the declining health of our democratic discourse.  Moreover though, Facebook has facilitated the proliferation of hate speech, fake news, and international electoral interference.