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Could the FCC Regulate Social Media Under Section 230? No.

August 14, 2019 Content Liability , Content Moderation , FCC , Platform Regulation , Section 230

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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Protecting Privacy Requires Private Rights of Action, Not Forced Arbitration

August 6, 2019 Data Protection , FCC , Forced Arbitration , Mandatory Arbitration , Privacy

Over the past few years, the major U.S. mobile carriers have been in the spotlight over allegations that they have been selling their subscribers’ real-time geolocation data, including highly precise assisted GPS (A-GPS) information designed for use with “Enhanced 911” (E911). The Federal Communications Commission requires mobile carriers to offer E911, a service that provides 911 operators with a wireless caller’s location information, generally accurate within 50 to 300 meters.

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The Strategic Exclusion of Puerto Rico’s Data From the Broadband Deployment Report

July 16, 2019 Broadband Deployment , disaster recovery , FCC , infrastructure , Puerto Rico

We are in the second month of the 2019 hurricane season and to many, especially those living in Puerto Rico, there are fears about what this season may bring to the island that was devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria almost two years ago. Those working in disaster management cite the importance of preparedness in advance of extreme weather; however, in order for a community to be prepared, there must be data that helps the community understand the full scope of their vulnerabilities.

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Net Neutrality: Not New, But More Important Than Ever

June 11, 2019 FCC , Legislation , Net Neutrality , Title II

Today marks the one year anniversary that the repeal of net neutrality, led by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, went into effect. We’re reflecting on what has happened in the past year, and urging the U.S. Senate to step up and pass the Save the Internet Act to restore strong net neutrality consumer protections and enshrined them in statute.

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The Consequences of a Broadband Deployment Report With Flawed Data

April 25, 2019 Broadband Access , Broadband Deployment , Digital Divide , FCC

The Federal Communications Commission is required by law (under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996) to initiate a notice of inquiry and report annually on whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion. This annual broadband report is incredibly important because the findings and conclusions are designed to help Congress and the FCC develop policies that ensure all Americans have robust broadband access. Reports with inaccurate data on broadband availability can skew the findings and prevent unserved and underserved areas from gaining access to broadband. The public has not yet seen the draft 2019 Broadband Deployment Report, but the FCC published a news release about the key findings.

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