Supreme Court justices wrestled with Microsoft’s dispute with the US Justice Department over whether prosecutors can force technology companies to hand over data stored overseas, with some signaling support for the government and others urging Congress to pass a law to resolve the issue. Microsoft argues that laws have not caught up to modern computing infrastructure and it should not hand over data stored internationally. The Justice Department argues that refusing to turn over easily accessible data impedes criminal investigations.
Winsome Sears (R-VA), Virginia's lieutenant governor-elect, expressed the importance of rural broadband access and her concerns over how funds allocated for broadband access in the newly signed infrastructure law would help Virginians, especially in the southwestern part of the state.
Many rural areas across the US lack access to high-speed, affordable internet largely because installing the infrastructure isn't worth the investment for internet service providers to take on. The unprecedented amount of federal funding for broadband included in the recently signed infrastructure law aims to fix the digital divide in a different way than the government has tried before. It will put money into the hands of communities that may know how to best address the issue.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch on said the Supreme Court should revisit the breadth of the landmark First Amendment decision in New York Times v. Sullivan and explore how it applies to social media and technology companies.
Congress is poised to move forward with a series of sweeping bills meant to rein in big tech companies. In the process, it's creating new questions about the future of the digital economy. That massive tech companies should be regulated more heavily is a rare point of bipartisan agreement in Washington; the push comes as existing antitrust laws are also being tested against several of the biggest companies in ongoing court battles.
Historically, the government has subsidized the building of broadband networks by offering incentives to private companies such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T. But in a break from the past, Biden's proposal calls for prioritizing funding, for the first time, to community-built networks. And the plan isn't just focused on building out broadband in rural or outlying areas. Some of the most persistent examples of the digital divide can be found in dense urban neighborhoods struggling with poverty or inequality.
Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T held events to update investors and analysts on spectrum auction results, and laid out plans for expanding their 5G networks. There is "no question" the carriers' new spectrum holdings will improve consumers' experience of using 5G, said Craig Moffett, founding partner and analyst at MoffettNathanson. But the carriers largely expect it will take several years to put the new spectrum to use. This spectrum auction helps the carriers, especially AT&T and Verizon, fill a key gap in their 5G networks.