Government & Communications

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

Senate Commerce Committee plans quick turnaround for FCC nominees

The Senate Commerce Committee is planning to pull together a wide-ranging confirmation hearing for the week of November 15 to hear from a bevy of President Joe Biden’s telecommunications nominees. The Federal Communications Commission nominees are Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, who’s up for another term, and new commissioner pick Gigi Sohn.

FCC Announces Equity Council Members and Working Group Chairs

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has appointed members to serve on the Communications Equity and Diversity Council (CEDC). Additionally, Rosenworcel has appointed chairs for the three working groups of the CEDC. Robert Brooks, Digital Solution Specialist, WHUR-FM, Howard University, will chair the Innovation and Access Working Group. Dominique Harrison, Ph.D., Director, Technology Policy, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, will chair the Digital Empowerment and Inclusion Working Group.

Infrastructure Bill’s Broadband Plan Shrouded From Scrutiny

Congress is poised to shield a $42 billion broadband grant program from federal transparency and privacy laws, hampering oversight of money expected to flow mostly to telecommunications companies. In a bid to cut through red tape and speed delivery of the broadband funds, the Senate-passed Infrastructure Investment and JOBS Act includes a provision that suspends certain rules the federal government ordinarily has to follow in administering programs.

FCC Announces Agenda for November 18, 2021 Open Meeting

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that the items below are tentatively on the agenda for the November 2021 Open Commission Meeting:

State Department to Form New Cyber Office to Face Proliferating Global Challenges

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced a new bureau of cyberspace and digital policy to be led by a Senate-confirmed ambassador-at-large and a new, separate special envoy for critical and emerging technology. Both positions will report directly to Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman for at least the first year, according to Secretary Blinken's speech at the Foreign Service Institute.

Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s Response to Members of Congress Regarding Broadband Data Collection

Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel wrote a response to US lawmakers' letter regarding the FCC's collection of broadband deployment data. The group of lawmakers wrote to Rosenworcel in July 2021 requesting an update on the FCC's broadband data collection progress.

Twitter admits bias in algorithm for rightwing politicians and news outlets

Twitter has admitted it amplifies more tweets from rightwing politicians and news outlets than content from leftwing sources. The company examined tweets from elected officials in seven countries – the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and Japan. It also studied whether political content from news organisations was amplified on Twitter, focusing primarily on US news sources such as Fox News, the New York Times and BuzzFeed.

House of Representatives Passes Four Bipartisan Bills to Strengthen US Telecom Infrastructure

The House of Representatives passed four bipartisan communications and technology bills on October 20:

FCC Announces $554 Million From Rural Digital Opportunity Fund for Broadband in 19 States

The Federal Communications Commission announced that it is ready to authorize $554,150,641 million in its third round of funding for new broadband deployments through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Together with two prior funding wave announcements, the FCC has now announced over $1 billion in funding to winning bidders for new deployments. In this funding wave, 11 broadband providers will bring fiber-to-the-home gigabit broadband service to over 180,000 locations in 19 states.

Sen Blumenthal asks Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify about Instagram's impact on kids

Sen Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to participate in a Congressional hearing on Instagram and its impact on kids in a letter October 20. The Chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security cited the testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen and the Wall Street Journal's reports on Facebook as cause for the CEO's appearance before his subcommittee.