Open government

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.

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.

Allegations of improprieties related to the Commission's review of the merger between Sinclair and Tribune

In response to requests from Congress made on November 13 and November 15. 20! 7, the Federal Communications Commission Oflice of Inspector General (OlG) conducted an investigation into whether FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Chairman Pai "has taken actions to improperly benefit Sinclair Broadcast Group and "is executing his leadership of the FCC free from influences that compromise his objectivity and impartiality," especially with regard to the proposed merger of Sinclair and Tribune Media." 

NTIA Recommends Improvements to the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection

Broadband providers--including both wired and wireless providers--complete Form 477 to report where they offer service, as well as what speeds they offer and the technologies they use, among other information. The data collected through Form 477 constitute a critical resource for the National Telecommunication & Information Administration, as well as other policymakers and researchers who are interested in understanding Internet access in the United States.

Public Comments to the Federal Communications Commission About Net Neutrality Contain Many Inaccuracies and Duplicates

Network neutrality regulations underpin the digital lives of many Americans, yet it is challenging to survey the public on such an inherently complex and technical subject. For this reason, Pew Research Center set out to analyze the opinions of those who had taken the time to submit their thoughts to the Federal Communications Commission.  Among the most notable findings:

House Commerce Leaders Request Public Transparency for FCC's COVID-19 Telehealth Program

House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai requesting that the FCC provide additional transparency on the distribution of public funds through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, which Congress created in the CARES Act. As of June 10, the FCC has announced it has awarded more than $104 million of the total $200 million in appropriated funds through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.

FCC Ordered To Disclose Data About Net Neutrality Commenters

Siding with The New York Times, a federal judge has ordered that the Federal Communications Commission must disclose information about users who submitted comments during the 2017 net neutrality proceeding, despite the agency's objections that doing so could compromise people's privacy. US District Court Judge Lorna Schofield in the Southern District of New York ruled that disclosure of the data -- including commenters' IP addresses, time stamps, and user-agent headers -- is in the public interest, particularly given concerns that many comments were fraudulent.

Crisis requires co-ordinated digital response

The challenges we face demand an unprecedented alliance between business and government. Broadband is needed everywhere to support vulnerable populations. What’s happening in Seattle (WA), the first US city affected by the coronavirus outbreak, provides a glimpse. A public-private alliance of the region’s largest employers, Challenge Seattle, became the town square for sharing data and best practices, managing the crisis and planning our return to work.

FCC Made Significant Progress, but Needs to Address Remaining Control Deficiencies and Improve Its Program

The Federal Communications Commission uses the Electronic Comment Filing System to receive public comments about proposed regulation changes. In May 2017, a surge of more than 22 million comments disrupted the system making it unavailable. We issued a Sept 2019 report with 136 recommendations for improvements in this and other FCC systems. The report was not publically released because it contains security information. This is the public version of that report—with the sensitive information removed.

Governments must promote and protect access to and free flow of information during pandemic – International experts

In light of the growing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the monitors for freedom of expression and freedom of the media for the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, and the Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe issued the following joint statement: