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From The Stupid To The Bizarre: Trump Demands That His Government Should Take A 'Substantial' Cut Of TikTok's Purchase Fee

From The Stupid To The Bizarre: Trump Demands That His Government Should Take A 'Substantial' Cut Of TikTok's Purchase Fee

Techdirt—The whole TikTok story keeps getting dumber. While we still believe that the weird moral panic about TikTok is and Trump's threat to ban the company from the US over the weekend , people are still taking things seriously. On Friday evening Trump said that he planned to issue an executive order banning the company (which is not quite how any of this works). He didn't actually do this. He also said he was against an American company like Microsoft buying TikTok, which apparently put the ongoing acquisition talks on hold.Instead, Microsoft had to call up the President and grovel...

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3d ago
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Twitter About To Be Hit With A ~$250 Million Fine For Using Your Two Factor Authentication Phone Numbers/Emails For Marketing

Twitter About To Be Hit With A ~$250 Million Fine For Using Your Two Factor Authentication Phone Numbers/Emails For Marketing

Techdirt—There are many things that big internet companies do that the media have made out to be scandals that aren't -- but one misuse of data that I think received too little attention was how both and later were caught using the phone numbers people gave it for two factor authentication, and later used them for notification/marketing purposes.In case you're somehow unaware, two-factor authentication is how you should protect your most important accounts. I know many people are too lazy to set it up, but please do so. It's not perfect (Twitter's recent routed around 2FA protections), but...

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3d ago
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DHS Obtained Protesters' Encrypted Messages, Used Them To Craft 'Intelligence' Reports

DHS Obtained Protesters' Encrypted Messages, Used Them To Craft 'Intelligence' Reports

Techdirt—The more the DHS inserts itself into the , the more unrestful it gets. President Trump sent his federal forces to Portland, Oregon -- the first of the president feels are too violent/unrestful -- to protect federal buildings from violent graffiti outbursts or whatever. When the DHS arrived -- represented by the CBP, ICE, US Marshals, and other federal law enforcement -- it announced its arrival with secret police tactics straight out of .Since that wasn't martial state enough, the federal officers turned things up, opening fire on journalists and legal observers. Literally. Local...

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3d ago
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Tennessee Court Strikes Down Law Criminalizing Calling Political Candidates 'Literally Hitler'

Tennessee Court Strikes Down Law Criminalizing Calling Political Candidates 'Literally Hitler'

Free Speech —Free speech keeps getting freer in Tennessee. The state was once home to a host of -- including one where someone subjected to mild criticism over things someone else said. Thanks to the state's new , litigation is slightly less vexatious these days.But there are still state laws posing threats to free speech by criminalizing stuff the First Amendment says is perfectly acceptable. (represented by Daniel Horwitz, has made here at Techdirt) sued the state over a campaign law that made it a misdemeanor to publish false information about candidates.The statute says this:It is a...

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3d ago
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AT&T Loses Another 1 Million TV Customers As Cord Cutting (And Greed) Take A Toll

AT&T Loses Another 1 Million TV Customers As Cord Cutting (And Greed) Take A Toll

Techdirt—2019 saw a record number of consumers ditch traditional cable television. 2020 was already poised to be even worse, and that was before a pandemic came to town. The pandemic not only sidelined live sports (one of the last reasons many subscribe to traditional cable in the first place), it put an additional strain on many folks' wallets, resulting cord cutting spiking even higher.Among the hardest hit continues to be AT&T, whose customers have been fleeing hand over fist even with AT&T's attempt to pivot to streaming video. According to AT&T's , the company lost yet another 954,000...

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7d ago
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Study: Community Broadband Drives Competition, Lowering Costs

Study: Community Broadband Drives Competition, Lowering Costs

Techdirt—For all of the talk about being #1, America's broadband networks are routinely mediocre. The U.S. consistently ranks among the middle of the pack in speeds and overall availability, while Americans continue to pay some of the highest prices in the developed world for both fixed and mobile broadband. The reasons aren't mysterious: we've let a bunch of telecom giants monopolize the sector, in exchange for campaign contributions, and with a relentless focus on hamstringing competition.We then stand around with a dumb look on our collective faces, wondering what went wrong. Rinse,...

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Jul 22
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Charter Spectrum's Bullshit 'Broadcast TV' Fee Soars To $16.45 Per Month

Charter Spectrum's Bullshit 'Broadcast TV' Fee Soars To $16.45 Per Month

Techdirt—Like countless other American business sectors, U.S. cable and broadband providers have been using hidden fees to covertly jack up their advertised rates for much of the last decade. These fees, which utilize a rotating crop of bullshit names, help these companies falsely advertise one rate, then sock the consumer with a significantly higher rate post sale (often when locked into a long-term contract). They also let them falsely try and claim that prices haven't increased, when they pretty clearly have.Back in 2014, Comcast introduced a new $1.50 per month surcharge on cable bills...

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Jul 22
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Court Shoots Down AT&T, Comcast Attempt To Crush Maine Privacy Law

Court Shoots Down AT&T, Comcast Attempt To Crush Maine Privacy Law

Techdirt—Over at our Tech Policy Greenhouse, former FCC official and consumer advocate Gigi Sohn a landmark privacy case in Maine that hasn't been getting enough attention. The short version: back in 2017, the GOP at the telecom lobby's behest. Despite a lot of whining from telecom giants, those rules weren't particularly onerous -- simply requiring that ISPs be transparent about what data they're collecting and who they're selling access to, while requiring that users opt in to the sharing of more sensitive financial data.Much like net neutrality, federal lobbying by telecom giants had an...

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Jul 9
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House Passes Massive Broadband Bill That Surprisingly Doesn't Suck

House Passes Massive Broadband Bill That Surprisingly Doesn't Suck

Techdirt—The majority of broadband bills that wind their way through Congress don't actually address the most pressing problem in US telecom: a lack of meaningful broadband competition. Often the bills focus almost exclusively on heavy subsidization of incumbent telecom monopolies, an approach that requires a level of diligence the U.S. has historically . The , which , certainly includes its fair share of subsidization, including $80 billion in fiscal year 2021 to help deploy fiber broadband networks to the underserved parts of the country.But the bill also contains a number of other...

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Jul 9
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Brazil's Proposed 'Fake News' Law Says Internet Users Are Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Demands Constant Logging From ISPs

Brazil's Proposed 'Fake News' Law Says Internet Users Are Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Demands Constant Logging From ISPs

Free Speech—Brazil's legislature is set to vote on its proposed "fake news" law. This law would criminalize speech the government doesn't like, under the handy theory that anything it doesn't like must be "fake." There was some mobilization on this not-even-legal-yet theory , ahead of an election, when the Federal Police announced it would be keeping an eye on the internet during the election process. There are plenty of ways to combat misinformation. Giving this job to people with guns is the worst solution.The EFF has put together . And they are the worst. First and foremost, lawmakers...

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Jul 6
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NY Judge Apparently Unaware Of The Supreme Court's Ban On Prior Restraint: Puts Temporary Restraining Order On Trump's Niece's Book

NY Judge Apparently Unaware Of The Supreme Court's Ban On Prior Restraint: Puts Temporary Restraining Order On Trump's Niece's Book

Free Speech—Last week, we wrote about the president's brother, Robert Trump, suing his (and the president's) niece, Mary Trump to try to block her from publishing her new book that criticizes the president. The initial filing to block the publication for being in the wrong court, but the follow up attempt has . NY Supreme Court (despite the name, this is the equivalent of the district court in NY) Judge Hal Greenwald doesn't seem to have even bothered to do even a cursory 1st Amendment analysis regarding prior restraint, but agreed to rush out , while ordering the the parties to brief the...

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Jul 6
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ISPs To Bring Back Usage Caps After Brief Pandemic Hiatus

ISPs To Bring Back Usage Caps After Brief Pandemic Hiatus

Techdirt—While it required , major US ISPs announced last March they would be suspending their usage caps and overage fees for 90 days as millions of Americans hunkered down to slow the spread of COVID-19. They also struck an to not kick users offline during this period for nonpayment due to financial hardship, though given the fecklessness of the captured Trump FCC, many ISPs and saw no penalty for it.Despite the fact that the pandemic is seeing explosive growth across most of the U.S. and financial hardship for many won't be ending anytime soon, most ISPs will begin :"Major Internet...

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Jul 1
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The Most Important Privacy Case You've Never Heard Of

The Most Important Privacy Case You've Never Heard Of

GreenhouseThe Tech Policy Greenhouse is an online symposium where experts tackle the most difficult policy challenges facing innovation and technology today. These are problems that don't have easy solutions, where every decision involves tradeoffs and unintended consequences, so we've gathered a wide variety of voices to help dissect existing policy proposals and better inform new ones. —One of the most important privacy cases you’ve never heard of is being litigated right now in a federal district court in Maine. ACA v. Frey is a challenge by the nation’s largest broadband Internet access...

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Jul 1
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As Predicted: Parler Is Banning Users It Doesn't Like

As Predicted: Parler Is Banning Users It Doesn't Like

Techdirt—Well, that did not take long at all. On Friday we predicted that just like every other social media platform out there, the new favorite among people who falsely say that Twitter is censoring conservatives, would start just like everyone else. Because, if you run any sort of platform that allows 3rd party speech, sooner or later you discover you have to do that. In Friday's post, we highlighted Parler's terms of service, which certainly allows for it to take down any content for any reason (we also mocked their "quick read on Wikipedia" style understanding of the 1st...

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Jun 30
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AT&T Ditches $15 TV Service It Used As Regulator Bait To Seal Time Warner Merger

AT&T Ditches $15 TV Service It Used As Regulator Bait To Seal Time Warner Merger

Techdirt—You may be shocked to learn this, but nearly all of the promises AT&T made in the lead up to its $86 billion merger with Time Warner wound up not being true.The company's promise that the deal wouldn't result in price hikes for consumers? . The company's promise the deal wouldn't result in higher prices for competitors needing access to essential AT&T content like HBO? . AT&T's promise they wouldn't hide Time Warner content behind exclusivity paywalls? . The idea that the merger would somehow create more jobs at the company? .Last week, yet another AT&T promise disappeared without...

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Jun 30
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German Minister Files Criminal Complaint Against A Journalist Who Said Police Officers Are 'Trash People'

German Minister Files Criminal Complaint Against A Journalist Who Said Police Officers Are 'Trash People'

Free Speech —Germany's speech laws and they're . Ignoring the rights the government has (apparently provisionally) extended to citizens, the recent years have seen a lot of claw-back by this same government as it seeks to regulate more kinds of speech, including the ultra vague "hate" variety.The laws on platforms to be responsive to "eye of the beholder"-type demands to remove "hate speech." This, of course, leads to over-blocking. Every so often, a different branch of the government is asked to weigh in. And when it does, it finds the supposedly criminal content .As is the case with most...

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Jun 27
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Goldman Sachs Created A Font, But You Are Forbidden By Its License To Critique Goldman Sachs Using It

Goldman Sachs Created A Font, But You Are Forbidden By Its License To Critique Goldman Sachs Using It

Techdirt —Even if you find financial news incredibly boring, you will be familiar with investment firm Goldman Sachs. The famed investment bank that rivals some small nations, which will become important in a bit. First, let's focus on this bit of hot news: Goldman Sachs !Goldman Sachs has released its own eponymous font, Goldman Sans, a contemporary sans-serif that garnishes merciless formality with a charming typographic "wink" here and there.If you want to see what the font looks like, . It's... certainly a font? To be honest, it looks clean and fine, but not especially unique. Unlike,...

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Jun 26
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Senators Launch Full On Nuclear War Against Encryption: Bill Will Require Broken Encryption, Putting Everyone At Risk

Senators Launch Full On Nuclear War Against Encryption: Bill Will Require Broken Encryption, Putting Everyone At Risk

Techdirt—Another day, another bad bill. Just as we're coming to terms with moving forward in Congress, three Senators -- Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, and Marsha Blackburn -- have . The . It's 51 pages of insanity that would effectively destroy privacy and security on the internet. This is five-alarm fire bad.For what it's worth, Graham is also a co-sponsor of the EARN IT Act, which makes me wonder if he's going to agree to an amendment of EARN IT that keeps encryption out of it while pushing this bill instead. That's now the rumor making the rounds, and I even received a press release from...

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Jun 25
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Terrible, Dangerous EARN IT Act Set To Move Forward In The Senate; Attack On Both Encryption And Free Speech Online

Terrible, Dangerous EARN IT Act Set To Move Forward In The Senate; Attack On Both Encryption And Free Speech Online

Techdirt—The attacks never stop. After rumors last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee has onto the schedule for this week, though many expect that it will get held over and marked up next week on July 2nd, which, conveniently, is a neat time to sneak through legislation when lots of people are not paying any attention (right before July 4th). In short, this means that there's a decent chance the EARN IT bill will be moving forward and could potentially pass.This would be very, very bad. I won't go back over everything in it, but the general intent of the bill is to by trying to make...

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Jun 25
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Police Memo Says Officers Raiding A Journalist's Home Were Instructed To Turn Off Their Body Cameras

Police Memo Says Officers Raiding A Journalist's Home Were Instructed To Turn Off Their Body Cameras

Techdirt—No one involved in the search of journalist Bryan Carmody's house last May is innocent. Every new piece of information shows the San Francisco police officers -- as well as any supervisors signing off on their paperwork -- knew to find the source of a leaked autopsy report was going to treat the First Amendment and the state's journalist shield law as a doormat.The leak originated in the police department, which is where the SFPD should have begun and ended its investigation. Instead, officers misled a judge to get to search Carmody's home and the contents of seized electronics. A...

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Jun 24
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Hello! You've Been Referred Here Because You're Wrong About Section 230 Of The Communications Decency Act

Hello! You've Been Referred Here Because You're Wrong About Section 230 Of The Communications Decency Act

Techdirt—Hello! Someone has referred you to this post because you've said something quite wrong about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.I apologize if it feels a bit cold and rude to respond in such an impersonal way, but I've been wasting a ton of time lately responding individually to different people saying the same wrong things over and over again, and I was starting to feel like :And... I could probably use more sleep, and my blood pressure could probably use a little less time spent responding to random wrong people. And, so, for my own good you get this. Also for you own...

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Jun 24
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The Fastest ISP In America Is Community Owned And Operated

The Fastest ISP In America Is Community Owned And Operated

Techdirt—We've long noted that community broadband networks are just an organic response to the broken, uncompetitive US broadband market. While you'll occasionally see some deployment duds if the business models aren't well crafted, studies have shown such networks (there are now in the States) offer than many incumbents. In short, these communities grew so frustrated with America's mediocre, patchy, and expensive broadband service, they built their own.This direct threat to incumbent revenues is a major reason why ISP lobbyists have passed trying to block your town's ability to even...

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Jun 24
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No, Google Didn't Demonetize The Federalist & It's Not An Example Of Anti-Conservative Bias

No, Google Didn't Demonetize The Federalist & It's Not An Example Of Anti-Conservative Bias

Techdirt —So, earlier today, NBC reported that , namely The Federalist and Zero Hedge. The story was a bit confusing. To be clear, both of those sites are awful and frequently post unmitigated garbage, conspiracy theories, and propaganda. But, it turns out the story was highly misleading, though it will almost certainly be used to push the false narrative that the big internet companies are engaged in "anti-conservative bias" in moderation practices. But that's wrong. Indeed, it appears what happened is exactly what in the past, in saying that because of certain comments people put on our...

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Jun 17
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Federal Court Affirms Activision's First Amendment Rights In Using Humvees in 'Call Of Duty' Game

Federal Court Affirms Activision's First Amendment Rights In Using Humvees in 'Call Of Duty' Game

Techdirt—Almost exactly a year ago, we first wrote about a trademark lawsuit brought by AM General LLC, the company that makes Humvee vehicles, and Activision. At issue is the inclusion of historically accurate Humvee vehicles in the publisher's Call of Duty games. AM General decried those depictions as trademark infringement, leading Activision to say its use was by the First Amendment, given that the entire goal here was to accurately depict warfare in an artistic fashion. Shortly after, the ESA chimed in with an siding with Activision. Given the implications for the gaming industry...

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Jun 15
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Devin Nunes' Lawyer Tells Judge To Ignore Section 230, Because Twitter Is Anti-Devin Nunes

Devin Nunes' Lawyer Tells Judge To Ignore Section 230, Because Twitter Is Anti-Devin Nunes

Techdirt —Twitter and Steven Biss (Devin Nunes' rather busy, but still terrible, lawyer) were in court on Friday to continue Nunes' frivolous SLAPP suit who makes fun of Nunes. The current issue remains Twitter's who is behind the account. Twitter, correctly, continues to point out that it doesn't need to give up the account info, that , that the Cow has engaged in 1st Amendment protected speech, and more. And Biss's response appears to be...Needless to say, this is not a very good argument.Nunes’ attorney Steven Biss said that Twitter should not qualify for immunity under the law, known as...

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Jun 15
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