GOP Congressman Introduces Bill To Reinstate Net Neutrality Rules

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) today announced his support for a bill that would institute the basic outlines of the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet order, which banned the throttling and blocking of content as well as harmful paid prioritization practices. He is also the first Republican to sign on to the Democrat-led discharge petition, which aims to force a vote on the House floor to roll back the FCC’s December decision to repeal net neutrality. The Verge reports:
The 21st Century Internet Act aims to restructure the current framework by which the internet has been governed since the ’90s. Coffman’s bill moves past this argument by amending the 1934 Telecommunications Act and adding the new Title VIII. This new classification would “permanently codify into law the ‘four corners’ of net neutrality” by banning providers from controlling traffic quality and speed and forbidding them from participating in paid prioritization programs or charging access fees from edge providers. 

Microsoft Calls For Federal Regulation of Facial Recognition

In just the past few weeks, critics assailed Amazon for selling facial recognition technology to local police departments, and Facebook for how it gained consent from Europeans to identify people in their photos. In an effort to help society keep pace with the rampaging development of the technology, Microsoft President Brad Smith published a blog post calling for government regulation of facial recognition.

Details may be found at: https://www.wired.com/story/microsoft-calls-for-federal-regulation-of-facial-recognition/.

Russians Found One Use for Bitcoin: Hacking the 2016 US Election

Your analysis of the candidates and the issues may have been partially influenced by fake news spread online by Russian hackers. To facilitate all this, the hackers used many modern tools, including Bitcoins, to fund their operation. The hackers allegedly used the funds to purchase the domains, servers, and accounts involved in obtaining and disseminating the stolen materials.

You can read more about this news in an article by Gregory Barber in Wired at https://www.wired.com/story/russian-hackers-bitcoin/.

Comment: Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that Bitcoin is an evil invention. Some politicians are already spreading that bit of “fake news” misinformation in many places.

Many modern inventions, including the telephone, the automobile, social networks, credit cards, and much more can be used for legal and illegal purposes alike. Yet I don’t hear anyone suggesting that we abandon automobiles to go back to the horse and buggy days nor does anyone advocate banning the use of credit cards. Any suggestion of banning any modern invention reminds me about an old parable concerning babies and bathwater.

Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Opposes Net Neutrality

This is scary. Conservatives, liberals, and Libertarians alike will be disappointed that Kavanaugh not only rejects the FCC’s reclassification of ISPs under Title II, but seems to also support a broad First Amendment right to “editorial control,” allowing ISPs to selectively block, filter, or modify transmitted data.

A recent report “also mentions Kavanaugh’s support of NSA surveillance: ‘In November 2015, Kavanaugh was part of a unanimous decision when the DC Circuit denied a petition to rehear a challenge to the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone metadata. Kavanaugh was the only judge to issue a written statement, which said that ‘[t]he Government’s collection of telephony metadata from a third party such as a telecommunications service provider is not considered a search under the Fourth Amendment.’ Even if this form of surveillance constituted a search, it wouldn’t be an ‘unreasonable’ search and therefore it would be legal.”

The sad details may be found in an article by Jon Brodkin in the ArsTechnica web site at: http://bit.ly/2NKf96K.

New California Bill Restores Strong Net Neutrality Protections

A victory for consumers!

Last month, a California Assembly committee voted to remove key protections from a state-level net neutrality bill. Critics said the changes opened loopholes that would allow broadband providers to throttle some applications, or charge websites or services for “fast lane” access on their networks. Now those key protections are coming back.

At a press conference Thursday, California state Senator Scott Wiener, who introduced the original bill, and Assembly member Miguel Santiago, who proposed the changes last month, said they had agreed on a new version of the bill that restores provisions that would make the California bill the most robust net neutrality protections in the nation.

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Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Divison Subpoenas Twitter for Data Breach Finder’s Account

Homeland Security wants to shoot the messenger instead of fixing the real problems. The agency has served Twitter with a subpoena, demanding the account information of a data breach finder, credited with finding several large caches of exposed and leaking data.

Last year, the Twitter user found a trove of almost a million patients’ data leaking from a medical telemarketing firm. A recent find included an exposed cache of law enforcement data by ALERRT, a Texas State University-based organization, which trains police and civilians against active shooters. The database, secured in March but reported last week, revealed that several police departments were under-resourced and unable to respond to active shooter situations.

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