[Commentary] Our current privacy framework no longer works. While the hearings this month offered little in terms of solutions, they did put a spotlight on a problem that’s been glaringly obvious for years: Consumers have little control over their data online. We need a privacy framework that gives consumers control over their own data. Companies across the board must be required to get express consent from their users prior to sharing their data. At the outset, consumers should be asked to respond to a simple statement that they do or do not want their personal data shared.
To make the most of technology’s future, the United States again needs a bold infrastructure plan that will create a springboard for new jobs, sustained competitiveness, and broader prosperity. While many details and the need for compromise lie ahead, we believe President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, or AJP, points in the right direction. Broadband has become the electricity of the 21st century, providing the lifeblood for jobs, healthcare, and education. But like electricity in the 1930s, it hasn’t reached tens of millions of people.
At the web sites of the five largest cable operators, upload speeds almost never get the same billing as download speeds; at worst, you may need to look up a technical-support document. Comcast, the nation’s largest internet provider with 27.8 million residential broadband customers, doesn’t list upload speeds if you check for its Xfinity service at an address or start ordering service at its site. Spectrum, the second-largest provider, also doesn’t list upload speeds if you check for or order service.
On Oct. 1, AT&T stopped selling digital-subscriber-line (DSL) connections, stranding many existing subscribers on those low-speed links and leaving new residents of DSL-only areas without any wired broadband. “We’re beginning to phase out outdated services like DSL and new orders for the service will no longer be supported after October 1,” a corporate statement sent beforehand read. “Current DSL customers will be able to continue their existing service or where possible upgrade to our 100% fiber network.”