Developments in telecommunications policy being made in the legal system.
Judge Richard Leon issued a stinging rebuke to the Justice Department's attempt to block AT&T's $85 billion bid to acquire Time Warner. But that doesn't mean the case is over. The Justice Department can appeal the ruling, and the department's antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, is considering that option. "I think the constitution and the statues allow for due process for all litigants and we will take a look at what the next steps are," Delrahim said.
[Commentary] The government's insistence on bringing such a weak lawsuit [AT&T/Time Warner] does not bode well for the immediate future of antitrust. There are going to be plenty of mergers over the next few years that will have far more serious consequences than the AT&T-Time Warner deal. Having been slapped down in this lawsuit, the Justice Department is unlikely to be willing to go after those worthier targets, even when they raise important issues of innovation and consumer choice.
Two pivotal developments this week could dramatically expand the power and footprint of major telecom companies, altering how Americans access everything from political news to “Game of Thrones” on the Internet.
Disney’s offer to buy 21st Century Fox. CVS’s bid for Aetna. T-Mobile’s proposed merger with Sprint. The path for these blockbuster deals and others could be transformed in an instant on June 12, when a federal judge is expected to issue his opinion on the government’s effort to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner. It is one of the most influential antitrust cases in decades, enthralling Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue. If the merger is blocked, some executives are likely to slim down their deal aspirations.
A decision by the three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit could make it harder for the Federal Trade Commission to enforce online data security, or that is certainly the conclusion of Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Though, it is narrowly tailored to apply to a specific FTC enforcement tool.
Court strikes down lawsuit over Twitter ban of person who asked for help to “take out” DeRay Mckesson
A court struck down far-right figure Charles C. Johnson’s lawsuit against Twitter which banned him in 2015 after he sent a tweet asking for help to “take out” high-profile Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson. The California Superior Court in Fresno granted Twitter’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, finding that it was a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) action.
AT&T has given up its years-long quest to cripple the Federal Trade Commission's authority to regulate broadband providers. Just weeks ago, AT&T said it intended to appeal its loss in the case to the US Supreme Court before a deadline of May 29. But May 31, AT&T informed court officials that it has decided not to file a petition to the Supreme Court and did not ask for a deadline extension.
You might not be hearing much from big tech on net neutrality lately. But the likes of Google and Facebook are still invested in the fight behind the scenes. The Internet Association joined a legal battle to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's decision to revoke the Obama-era rules, as did the industry group Incompas, which includes smaller telecommunications companies as well as tech companies including Facebook, Netflix, Microsoft, and Twitter.
[Analysis] The ruling that President Trump violated the constitutional rights of Americans when he blocked some of his Twitter followers after they criticized him politically raises many more questions about the extent of those First Amendment obligations. President Trump cannot legally block his Twitter followers for political reasons, the judge ruled, because that would amount to “viewpoint discrimination” by a government official in a public forum.
President Donald Trump's decision to block his Twitter followers for their political views is a violation of the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled May 23, saying that President Trump's effort to silence his critics is not permissible under the US Constitution because the digital space in which he engages with constituents is a public forum. The ruling rejects administration arguments that the First Amendment does not apply to President Trump in this case because he was acting as a private individual.