Attempts by governmental bodies to improve or impede communications with or between the citizenry.
Government & Communications
The Senate on May 11 voted to confirm law professor Alvaro Bedoya to serve on the Federal Trade Commission, solidifying a Democratic majority at the agency that will enable FTC Chair Lina Khan to move on her ambitious agenda to rein in Big Tech’s power. Fifty senators voted in favor while 50 voted against. Vice President Harris cast the tiebreaking vote in her role as president of the Senate.
When the late Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow penned his “Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace” in 1996, proclaiming “our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty,” he railed against “the great invertebrate in the White House” and the “Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel.” So what would Barlow have thought when, on April 28, 2022, 60 governments, mostly from the industrial world, met (in person or in their virtual selves) at the White House to sign a “ Declaration on the Future of the Internet,” initiated by the United States along with Au
At the [Federal Communications Commission], we are determined to make progress. We are pursuing a 5G agenda that I believe can move the country forward, expand infrastructure investment, and pry open the doors of opportunity for all. And thanks to our work over the last year, we are making real strides toward building that 5G future. So here it goes—five things we are doing right now to support the future of 5G. First, we are investing in broadband and wireless coverage data. Second, we are making wireless service more affordable.
Senators Introduce Legislation to Restore FTC Authority to Return Billions to Consumers Ripped off by Scams, Fraud, Deception
Sens Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Rev Raphael Warnock (D-GA) introduced legislation to restore the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) decades-long authority to return money to consumers victimized by illegal scams, fraud and other unfair or deceptive practices. In April 2021, the Supreme Court slashed the FTC’s “Section 13(b)” authority which the commission utilized to return $11.2 billion dollars to consumers in the five years prior to the decision.
The Federal Communications Commission is proposing a forfeiture of $100,000 against LTD Broadband for repeatedly engaging in prohibited communications of its bidding and bidding strategies during the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I Auction (Auction 904), and its failure to timely report such prohibited communications. The FCC has long-standing rules that bar communications between and among auction applicants during an auction that could detract from a fair and competitive auction process.
Federal Communications Commissioner Nathan Simington released a statement regarding Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter. "Some have recently called on the FCC to stop Elon Musk from acquiring Twitter," he said. "But nothing in the United States Code or our regulations gives us the right to interfere with this transaction. Our competition review authority does not and has never extended to internet platforms like Twitter. But even if this deal were within our purview, it would be inappropriate and contrary to the public interest to block it. Mr.
Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced the 21st Century FREE Speech Act (H.R.7613) on April 28, 2022. Greene is partnering with Sen Bill Hagerty (R-TN) to pass the bill in both the House and Senate. The 21st Century Free Speech Act centers on the following policy objectives:
Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS) participated in a hearing to consider the Department of Commerce budget for Fiscal Year 2023, which featured testimony from Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. "Last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law placed the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the center of our efforts to expand broadband access and close the digital divide," said Wicker.
A political commitment by the United States and 60 partners from around the globe to advance a positive vision for the Internet and digital technologies. It reclaims the promise of the Internet in the face of the global opportunities and challenges presented by the 21st century. It also reaffirms and recommits its partners to a single global Internet—one that is truly open and fosters competition, privacy, and respect for human rights. The Declaration’s principles include commitments to:
Protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people;
Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks announced several changes to his team. William Davenport, Starks’s Chief of Staff and Senior Legal Advisor, will be leaving the FCC at the end of April 2022. Austin Bonner, Starks’s legal advisor for media and consumer protection issues, will serve as Acting Chief of Staff. Commissioner Starks said, “For over three years, Bill has led my office’s efforts to improve the equity, security, and sustainability of our nation’s communications sector.