Today, June 11, marks the end of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules. The agency created the rules in its landmark 2015 Open Internet Order, which prevented internet service providers from blocking websites, throttling connection speeds, or engaging in paid prioritization schemes to charge for “fast lane” access. The FCC, led by Chairman Ajit Pai, voted to repeal the rules in December 2017, ignoring millions of Americans who urged the agency to put people first by keeping the rules.
Liberal democracies and professional journalism face two intertwined challenges: Internet platforms have become gatekeepers of information, and it is increasingly hard for consumers to distinguish information from disinformation. So far, there have been two sets of prevalent policy responses to these challenges. The first set of solutions envisions the news business as competing with both social media platforms and news aggregators and seeks to “level the playing field” by either granting news publishers antitrust immunity, enabling them to engage in collective bargaining to extract higher compensation from digital platforms, or expanding copyright law to require licensing fees for linking to news articles. Alternatively, others demand that internet companies find ways to monitor and censor the content shared in their platforms.
Last week the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came in to force. We previously shared the view that while the GDPR is not quite right for the United States, there are important aspects that should be incorporated into the ongoing discussion about privacy legislation. This post addresses other aspects of GDPR, which have created some uncertainty around ongoing efforts to improve cybersecurity and support public safety. Two such efforts are cybersecurity information sharing and access to WHOIS data.
Today, Public Knowledge released a paper, “Even Under Kind Masters,” that recommends that dominant internet platforms provide users with due process. It is just one component of our plan to increase the work we do relating to internet platforms.