Developments in telecommunications policy being made in the legal system.
The House of Representatives passed the Consumer Protection and Recovery Act, largely along party lines, to revive the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to return money to constituents harmed by companies found to engage in deceptive practices. The bill passed with widespread support from Democrats, yet Republicans opposed to the bill argued on the floor that the legislation was incomplete at the time of the vote. The passage of the bill comes after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in early 2021 that the FTC did not have authority under a provision known as Section 13(b) to obta
Social media has become as central to free speech as town meeting halls, newspapers and television networks were in prior generations. The internet is the new public square. In recent years, however, Big Tech platforms have become increasingly brazen and shameless in censoring and discriminating against ideas, information and people on social media—banning users, deplatforming organizations, and aggressively blocking the free flow of information on which our democracy depends. This flagrant attack on free speech is doing terrible damage to our country.
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.
US District Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida blocked a Florida law that would penalize social media companies for blocking a politician’s posts, a blow to conservatives’ efforts to respond to Facebook and other websites’ suspension of former president Donald Trump. The law was due to go into effect July 1, but in issuing a preliminary injunction, the judge suggested that the law would be found unconstitutional. “The plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits of their claim that these statutes violate the First Amendment,” Judge Hinkle wrote.
A district court in DC dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust complaint against Facebook, saying the agency had failed to offer enough facts to prove Facebook has monopoly power in the social media industry. The court said the FTC could file an amended complaint with more details to bolster its case, but the judge voiced outright skepticism that Facebook is a monopoly. “It is almost as if the agency expects the Court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist,” District Judge James E.
The broadband industry says that a New York state ruling against requiring broadband providers to offer $15-a-month service to low-income households supports its quest to block California's net neutrality law. The California law prohibits broadband providers from blocking or throttling content, charging higher fees for prioritized delivery, and exempting certain data from customers' monthly caps.
The National Association of Broadcasters said a recent appeals court decision has established the precedent for commission authority to levy regulatory fees on Big Tech.
A federal appeals court ruled that Huawei can’t subsidize the sale of its 5G technology with federal funds earmarked for US broadband development because the Federal Communications Commission determined the company is a national security threat. The 5th Circuit Court agreed that the FCC was fully within its power and competence to issue the rule barring “Universal Service Fund” subsidies recipients from buying equipment or services from companies deemed national security risks.
Recent revelations about Trump-era data grabs by federal authorities have put the US in a tricky spot as it competes with China to lead the digital age. As the Trump Justice Department pursued leaks and critics in Congress, the media and the White House itself, it obtained court orders to scoop up data from Apple, Microsoft and other tech providers. Then courts put the companies under gag orders that blocked them from warning their customers they'd been targeted, or even revealing the existence of the gag orders themselves.