Congress Could Sneak a Bill Threatening Global Privacy Into Law

“As Congress scrambles to agree on a spending bill, a dangerous piece of legislation that would redefine how law enforcement collects data is being snuck in at the last minute. Through convoluted provisions, the CLOUD Act would give the Executive Branch broad power in deciding how data is exchanged between countries and could severely compromise Americans’ privacy.”

Details may be found in an article by Rhett Jones in the Gizmodo web site at:

23 Attorneys General Refile Challenge To FCC Net Neutrality Repeal

Despite overwhelming opposition from Congress, technical experts, advocacy organizations, and the American people, the FCC has voted by a 3 to 2 margin of the commissioners to eliminate 2015’s Open Internet Order and the net neutrality protections it established. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave a huge gift to his former employer, Verizon Communications, and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) when he proposed to allow the the ISPs to spy on their customers’ online activities and then either use that information themselves or sell the information to the highest bidders. He managed to convince three of the five FCC commissioners to go along with the proposal and it became a fact this week. The new rules repeal the consumer protections put in place a few years ago that prohibited the online spying.

Consumers, privacy advocates, and many others have objected to the new rollback of consumer protection. Several states have recently enacted their own rules prohibiting prohibiting the online spying by ISPs within their own states. Now the Attorneys General from 22 states and the District of Columbia on Thursday refiled legal challenges intended to block the Trump administration’s repeal of landmark rules designed to ensure a free and open internet from taking effect.

Continue reading

How to Fight Mass Surveillance even though Congress just Reauthorized It

Bruce Schneier is a security technologist and a lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is also the Chief Technical Officer at IBM Resilient, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, and a board member of EFF. Indeed, he is one of the leading experts in the field of computer security. He recently published an article in The Washington Post that describes the problems and the risks recently created when President Trump signed the renewal of Section 702, making domestic mass surveillance a permanent part of U.S. law. You can read his article at:

German Court Rules Facebook Settings Violate Data Protection Laws

The Berlin state court ruled in a suit brought by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations that Facebook’s “real name” clause violated the country’s regulation that providers of online services must allow users to remain anonymous.

The dpa news agency reported Monday that the court also ruled some clauses in Facebook’s terms of service were framed too broadly, and that several settings that are activated by default shouldn’t be. Those include a Facebook smartphone app feature, which reveals the location a person is chatting from unless it’s turned off.

New Jersey Governor Signs Net Neutrality Order

The states are stepping in to do what the lobbyists and Washington bureaucrats won’t do: protect the consumer. New Jersey on Monday became the latest state to implement its own net neutrality rules following the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the Obama-era consumer protections. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order prohibiting all internet service providers that do business with the state from blocking, throttling, or favoring web content.

“We may not agree with everything we see online, but that does not give us a justifiable reason to block the free, uninterrupted, and indiscriminate flow of information,” Murphy said in a statement. “And, it certainly doesn’t give certain companies or individuals a right to pay their way to the front of the line.

Details may be found in an article by Harper Neidig in The Hill at:

Florida State Panel Defeats a Proposal to Narrow the Right to Privacy in the State Constitution

All Florida residents who believe in the right to privacy won a significant battle in the state legislature recently.

In a 4-2 vote, the Judicial Committee of the state Constitution Revision Commission rejected a measure (Proposal 22) from Commissioner John Stemberger of Orlando that would have changed the Constitution to say people have a right to be free from governmental intrusion “with respect to privacy of information and the disclosure thereof.” That wording was an example of legislative double-talk. The measure would have increased government intrusion, not reduce it.

Continue reading

California Senate Defies FCC, Approves Net Neutrality Law

The California State Senate yesterday approved a bill to impose net neutrality restrictions on Internet service providers, challenging the Federal Communications Commission attempt to preempt such rules.

California joins Montana and New York in implementing orders to enforce net neutrality, and several states are considering net neutrality legislation. The FCC is already being sued by 21 states and the District of Columbia, which are trying to reverse the net neutrality repeal and the preemption of state laws.

Details may be found at: