Government & Communications

Attempts by governmental bodies to improve or impede communications with or between the citizenry.

Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship

It is the policy of the United States to foster clear ground rules promoting free and open debate on the internet.  Prominent among the ground rules governing that debate is the immunity from liability created by section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act (section 230(c)).  47 U.S.C.

An Office of Rural Broadband: We’ve Heard This Before

On Feb 12, 2019 Sen Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced The Office of Rural Broadband Act in the Senate (S 454), which would establish an Office of Rural Broadband in the Federal Communications Commission. Sen Cramer’s Office of Rural Broadband Act is the latest effort to coordinate rural broadband planning and policy. As I recently wrote for the New York Times, this Office of Rural Broadband is best placed inside the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the US Dept of Agriculture, rather than the Federal Communications Commission, as S.454 proposes.

How an Investigation of Fake FCC Comments Snared a Prominent DC Media Firm

Millions of records that the Federal Communications Commission’s top lawyer once fought to hold back from state law enforcement officials now serve as key evidence in a year-long probe into cases of Americans being impersonated during the agency’s latest net neutrality proceeding.

Stop Fanning The Flames

The power of communication and the exchange of ideas were starkly brought home recently as news of bombs being delivered to Americans’ homes and businesses, and the murder of worshipers in Pittsburgh dominated headlines everywhere. President Donald Trump and some of his Republican allies appear to be actively engaged in a feedback loop with extremists who participate in the darkest online forums.

Inclusion and Civic Engagement in Public Technology Building and Planning

Whether they are Wi-Fi kiosks, urban sensors, fiber networks, or built-from-scratch “smart” neighborhoods, new urban technology deployments are under the microscope. Despite the potential of these projects to drive innovation and economic growth, they are often met with mixed reception and a myriad of justifiable questions. Take the Quayside project in Toronto led by Sidewalk Labs.

This is the moment all of Trump’s anti-media rhetoric has been working toward

Don’t believe your eyes and ears. Believe only me. That has been President Trump’s message to the public for the past two years, pounded in without a break: The press is the enemy. The news is fake. President Donald Trump has done his best to prepare the ground for a moment like Aug 21. In a divided, disbelieving nation, will this really turn out to be the epic moment it looks like? Or will Trump’s intense, years-long campaign to undermine the media — and truth itself — pay off now, in the clutch? 

The Press, The People, Are Not The Enemy

I trust that the people of this country have not so lost their love of truth that they would allow their leaders to vilify our brothers and sisters who seek out and report on the truth so that we can aptly practice our democracy.  Who can argue with the importance of a free press to our nation, our democracy, our liberty? And who would try to turn the people against our own tool for holding government accountable? That is the work of tyrants – and tyrants are the true enemy of the people.

Stand By Me: The Consumer Welfare Standard and the First Amendment

In America we want institutions that make our democracy strong—that seems like a no brainer. So as one line of thinking goes, antitrust enforcers should step beyond consumer welfare and think about what would be good or bad for our democracy, or for values like the free speech the First Amendment protects. The suggestion is that perhaps enforcers should broaden the consumer welfare lens to think about effects on democracy or expression. I’d like to focus my remarks today on two responses to that suggestion.

U.S. Supreme Court wrestles with Microsoft data privacy fight

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.

Democratic Reps Seek Documents From Attorney General on Decision to Challenge AT&T-Time Warner

A group of Democratic Reps are seeking documents from Attorney General Jeff Sessions relating to the Justice Department’s decision to file a lawsuit to block AT&T’s planned merger with Time Warner. They are interested in whether the decision was in any way impacted by President Donald Trump’s disdain for CNN, a unit of Time Warner. Makan Delrahim, the chief of the Antitrust Division, denies that the lawsuit was influenced by the White House.