U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Industry Challenge of 2015 Net Neutrality Rules

This is a win for consumers! The US Supreme Court has declined to hear the broadband industry’s challenge of Obama-era net neutrality rules.

The Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 order to impose net neutrality rules and strictly regulate broadband was already reversed by Trump’s pick for FCC chairman, Ajit Pai. But AT&T and broadband industry lobby groups were still trying to overturn court decisions that upheld the FCC order.

Continue reading

Senator Introduces Bill That Would Send CEOs To Jail For Violating Consumer Privacy

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has introduced the Consumer Data Protection Act that “would dramatically beef up Federal Trade Commission authority and funding to crack down on privacy violations, let consumers opt out of having their sensitive personal data collected and sold, and impose harsh new penalties on a massive data monetization industry that has for years claims that self-regulation is all that’s necessary to protect consumer privacy,” reports Motherboard.

“Today’s economy is a giant vacuum for your personal information—everything you read, everywhere you go, everything you buy and everyone you talk to is sucked up in a corporation’s database,” Wyden said in a statement. “But individual Americans know far too little about how their data is collected, how it’s used and how it’s shared.”

From the report:

Continue reading

California Agrees to Delay Enforcing Net-Neutrality Law

California won’t enforce the nation’s toughest state-level net-neutrality law when it takes effect in January, agreeing Friday with the Trump administration and internet companies who sued that the state law should wait for the outcome of a separate lawsuit pending in Washington.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra made a joint filing with lawyers looking to block the law asking a federal judge in Sacramento to put the California case on hold for now.

Continue reading

Facebook Fined Maximum Legal Amount For Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Facebook has been fined $645,000 (US dollars) by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which affected over 80 million users.

Given Facebook’s profits, the company probably can pay the fine out of their petty cash account. In other words, a fine of $645,000 is trivial for Facebook.

You can read more about this fine at https://tinyurl.com/ydhkyen3.

Apple CEO Tim Cook makes a Blistering Attack on Today’s Privacy Intrusions by the “Data Industrial Complex”

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has joined the chorus of voices warning that data itself is being weaponized again people and societies — arguing that the trade in digital data has exploded into a “data industrial complex”.

Cook did not namecheck the adtech elephants in the room: Google, Facebook and other background data brokers that profit from privacy-hostile business models. But his target was clear.

“Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency,” warned Cook. “These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold.

“Taken to the extreme this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is a bunch of algorithms that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm.”

Continue reading

99.7 Percent of Unique FCC Comments Favored Net Neutrality, Independent Analysis Finds

When a Stanford researcher removed all the duplicate and fake comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission last year, he found that 99.7 percent of public comments — about 800,000 in all — were pro-net neutrality.

Details may be found in an article in the Motherboard web site at: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3kmedj/997-percent-of-unique-fcc-comments-favored-net-neutrality.

So why did the FCC repeal its net neutrality guidelines? Could it have been because of industry lobbyists who paid (gasp) lots of money to politicians and others to influence the FCC’s policies in favor of multi-billion dollar corporations and against overwhelming public opinion?