Information that is published or distributed in a digital form, including text, data, sound recordings, photographs and images, motion pictures, and software.
According to a speed test analysis released by WhistleOut, the average US internet speed increased 40 percent during the pandemic to 118.4 Mbps, versus an average of 84.5 Mbps pre-pandemic. The report, which is based on more than 717,000 internet speed tests, doesn’t explain exactly why the fixed internet became so much swifter, but it cites the fact that many US households upgraded their plans with their internet service providers, presumably to accommodate all that video streaming, those Zoom meetings, and other lifestyle changes necessitated by working and living at home 24/7.
A Senate panel approved antitrust legislation forbidding the largest tech platforms from favoring their own products and services over competitors’, scoring a win for backers of stricter Big Tech regulation against fierce industry opposition. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act moves next to the Senate floor, where several senators said they wanted to see additional changes before backing the measure. The January 20, 16-6 vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee showed the bill had bipartisan support but also raised bipartisan concerns.
January marks the anniversary of a series of coordinated protests that led to the withdrawal of two proposed laws in the United States Congress: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). SOPA-PIPA showed the power of collective action, rooted in shared values, to shape the future of the internet. In the decade since the SOPA fight, new issues have risen based on the development of new innovations in technology and the challenges that they create.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai personally approved a secret deal that gave the social network a leg up in the search giant’s online advertising auctions, attorneys for Texas and other states alleged in newly unsealed court filings.
More time than ever before is spent in mobile apps, reaching 4.8 hours per day in the top mobile-first markets. Consumers are migrating their attention and wallets to mobile as over $320,000 flowed through the app stores every minute of 2021, an increase of nearly 20% from previous records in 2020. Mobile services from both early adopters and mobile-forced players remain in high demand — with global consumers downloading over 435,000 apps per minute.
Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel shared with her colleagues a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would begin the process of strengthening the FCC’s rules for notifying customers and federal law enforcement of breaches of customer proprietary network information (CPNI). The updates would better align the FCC’s rules with recent developments in federal and state data breach laws covering other sectors. The proposal outlines several updates to current FCC rules addressing telecommunications carriers’ breach notification requirements. These include:
Privacy advocacy groups Free Press Action and Fight for the Future are urging Senate Democrats to quickly confirm Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] to the Federal Communications Commission and Alvaro Bedoya to the Federal Trade Commission. President Joe Biden renominated both nominees on January 4 after the Senate failed to confirm them in December 2021. Both the FCC and the FTC currently have 2-2 partisan splits, making it difficult for their Democratic chairs to advance controversial items.
Lawmakers and lobbyists anticipate a major fight over antitrust bills meant to tame Big Tech before the midterms put an unofficial end to the legislative effort. The bills could remake how Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google operate and treat competitors — if they make it over the finish line.
New, independent digital outlets and nonprofits have begun to fill some of the gap left by fading local newspapers. Limited resources and the pandemic have driven many toward providing community news, information and services rather than traditional accountability journalism. There are now more than 700 independent local news startups in the US and Canada, according to Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), a trade organization. LION now has over 400 paying members, up from 177 at the start of the pandemic according to executive director Chris Krewson.
Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan submitted comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) concerning their inquiry into Big Tech payment platforms. Khan identified three areas of concern that she hopes can help to inform the CFPB's inquiry: