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The FCC Can — and Should — Update Its Rules to Combat Rising Cross-Ownership

February 25, 2019 Competition , FCC , Litigation , Media Ownership , Mergers

The Federal Communications Commission is required by law to review its media ownership rules every four years to determine whether they remain “necessary in the public interest.” If they do not, the FCC is to “repeal or modify” the regulations. Contrary to the apparent belief of the FCC, the Quadrennial Review is not simply about eliminating or relaxing rules. Rather, the purpose of the review is to serve the public interest. Therefore, when the FCC decides whether to keep, repeal, or modify current rules, some rules may need to be enhanced.

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Telecom Giants Broke the Law By Selling Detailed Location Data. Will They Face Consequences?

February 8, 2019 Consumer Privacy , Data Protection , E911 , FCC , Privacy

More details have emerged from the Motherboard investigation into carriers selling their customers’ real-time location data, including assisted GPS (“A-GPS”) data intended only for emergency services. The reports are shocking and illustrate both a brazen disregard for consumer privacy on the part of the companies involved and the disturbing, unregulated behavior of the data brokerage industry. The Federal Communications Commission, led by Chairman Ajit Pai, needs to act immediately to enforce what appears to be a clear violation of the FCC’s rules against the selling of A-GPS data with third parties. In addition, Congress must pass comprehensive privacy legislation that forces the data broker industry out of the shadows and stops the persistent misuse of data at the expense of consumer privacy.

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Advocates Showed Friday Why Court Must Restore Net Neutrality

February 4, 2019 FCC , Litigation , Net Neutrality , Title II

On Friday, Petitioners (including Public Knowledge) finally got to make their case in court that the Federal Communications Commission’s reckless abdication of responsibility over broadband was also illegal. For about five hours, in the ceremonial courtroom of the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, in front of D.C. Circuit Judges Millett, Williams, and Wilkins, attorneys for Petitioners, for the FCC, and for intervenors on both sides got a grilling in a court that has become a regular forum for disputes over the status of broadband and the lawfulness of net neutrality rules.

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Broadband Providers Are Quietly Taking Advantage of an Internet Without Net Neutrality Protections

January 29, 2019 FCC , Net Neutrality , Open Internet , Title II

In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission under Chairman Ajit Pai voted to repeal net neutrality rules enacted two years earlier. While 83 percent of Americans support net neutrality and opposed the reversal, broadband providers unsurprisingly supported it. Many said they would not use the repeal as an opportunity to discriminate among internet content — but now there are no rules stopping them from doing exactly that.

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Application of the “Diversity Principle” in Content Moderation

January 15, 2019 Content Moderation , Facebook , FCC , Free Expression , Platform Regulation Series

The promotion of diverse viewpoints has been the cornerstone of United States media policy over the last 100 years. In November 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published an article that delineated the algorithm that Facebook will use to disincentivize hate speech. Although Zuckerberg’s proposal is a laudable step for content moderation, it may be neglecting the value of exposing people to diverse views and competing sources of news. As we debate moderation issues, platforms should consider not only the prohibition of hate speech, but also the affirmative exposure to broader ideas and perspectives. The Federal Communications Commission’s implementation of the diversity principle on radio and TV, explored below, offers some valuable lessons here.

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