Posts by Harold Feld:

hyperlink symbol France and Australia have moved forward with plans to force Google (and, in Australia, also Facebook) to pay existing media companies for linking to news content. In theory, the laws adopted in France and Australia are designed to compensate these news organizations for the benefit Google and Facebook derive from linking to news. But both […]
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This week was the T-Mobile/Sprint merger trial’s second week, and it focused on the Department of Justice’s proposed remedy: having the combined TMO/Sprint spin off a number of assets to DISH and provide DISH with a bunch of other spectrum and network access rights to enable DISH to enter the market as a competing fourth […]
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warren and zuckerberg speaking at separate events The last few days have highlighted the complete inadequacy of our political advertising rules in an era when even the President of the United States has no hesitation in blasting the world with unproven conspiracy theories about political rivals using both traditional broadcast media and social media. We cannot ignore the urgency of this for […]
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You can watch Harold Feld and Lindsay Stern present oral arguments for the case discussed below tomorrow at 9 a.m. PDT here. Across the nation, surprised Americans are waking to discover that their copper line — this landmark technology once used to connect America to the telephone system — doesn’t work. These unfortunate Americans are no longer […]
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Last week, Politico reported that the White House was considering a potential “Executive Order” (EO) to address the ongoing-yet-unproven allegations of pro-liberal, anti-conservative bias by giant Silicon Valley companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. (To the extent that there is rigorous research by AI experts, it shows that social media sites are more likely to flag posts by self-identified African Americans as “hate speech” than identical wording used by whites.) Subsequent reports by CNN and The Verge have provided more detail. Putting the two together, it appears that the Executive Order would require the Federal Communications Commission to create regulations designed to create rules limiting the ability of digital platforms to “remove or suppress content” as well as prohibit “anticompetitive, unfair or deceptive” practices around content moderation. The EO would also require the Federal Trade Commission to somehow open a docket and take complaints (something it does not, at present, do, or have capacity to do – but I will save that hobby horse for another time) about supposed political bias claims.
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Over the last three months, Motherboard’s Joseph Cox has produced an excellent series of articles on how the major mobile carriers have sold sensitive geolocation data to bounty hunters and others, including highly precise information designed for use with “Enhanced 911” (E911). As we pointed out last month when this news came to light, turning over this E911 data (called assisted GPS or A-GPS), exposing E911 data to third parties — whether by accident or intentionally, or using it in any way except for 911 or other purposes required by law violates the rules the Federal Communications Commission adopted in 2015 to protect E911 data.
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In my last post, I addressed how Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai isn’t really preventing robocalls with his new draft Order to classify both SMS text messaging and short codes as Title I “information services.” Now I will discuss the potential consequences for such a maneuver, and why doing so could send consumer protections tumbling down.
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In December 2007, Public Knowledge filed a Petition For Declaratory Ruling asking the Federal Communications Commission to clarify that both SMS text messaging and short codes are “Title II” telecommunications services. Put another way, we asked the FCC to reaffirm the basic statutory language that if you use telephones and the telephone network to send information from one telephone number to another, it meets the definition of “telecommunications service” (47 U.S.C. 153(53)).
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The FCC is about to take spectrum away from rural providers and we are making a last minute effort to stop it. Today we sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and we are calling on you to contact Congress. Here’s why:
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Focusing blame Google and Facebook for the decline of in-depth news reporting and print journalism ignores the real and long-standing problems that lie at the heart of our troubled relationship with corporate media. Insisting that these companies should fund existing corporate media, or that we should solve the problem by allowing even more consolidation, would be a disaster for democracy.
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