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Beware Of Op/Eds Falsely Claiming The US Internet Only Works During A Pandemic Because Lobbyists Neutered The FCC

Beware Of Op/Eds Falsely Claiming The US Internet Only Works During A Pandemic Because Lobbyists Neutered The FCC

Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Techdirt—In recent weeks, the telecom sector and FCC allies have been busy trying to claim that the only reason the US internet still works is because the FCC killed net neutrality rules in 2017. That repeal, , not only killed net neutrality protections, but the FCC's ability to hold giant telecom monopolies responsible for pretty much anything, be it or during a crisis.The pandemic has been making it that might not have been...

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9h ago
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New Study Tries, Fails, To Claim Community Broadband Is An Inevitable Boondoggle

New Study Tries, Fails, To Claim Community Broadband Is An Inevitable Boondoggle

Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Techdirt—For years a growing number of US towns and cities have been forced into the broadband business thanks to US telecom market failure. Frustrated by high prices, lack of competition, spotty coverage, and terrible customer service, some have explored some kind of community broadband option. And while the telecom industry routinely likes to insist these efforts always end in disaster, that's never actually been true....

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17h ago
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One Vote Short: FISA Amendment Requiring Warrants For Browser & Search Data Fails

One Vote Short: FISA Amendment Requiring Warrants For Browser & Search Data Fails

Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Techdirt—As noted , Congress this week is considering a new bill (the ) that would not only renew already and heavily criticized FISA (Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act) powers, but extend the law to include warrantless access to American browsing and search data, a longstanding goal of the "there's no such thing as too much domestic surveillance" set. Given the well documented problems with the existing system, there's a...

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17h ago
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No, CDA 230 Isn't The Only Thing Keeping Conservatives Off YouTube

No, CDA 230 Isn't The Only Thing Keeping Conservatives Off YouTube

Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Free Speech—Over the last year or so, there’s been a surge of claims that Google, Twitter, YouTube, etc. are “biased against conservatives.”The starting point of this bad faith argument is a presumption that sites should be “neutral” about their content moderation decisions — decisions like which accounts Twitter suspends, how Google or Facebook rank content in search results or news feeds, or how YouTube promotes or...

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17h ago
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As Expected, Those Who Pushed For FOSTA Are Now Looking To Kill Off Porn

As Expected, Those Who Pushed For FOSTA Are Now Looking To Kill Off Porn

Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Techdirt—A few years back, when the campaign to use FOSTA (then called SESTA) as a way to chip away at Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act by creating a misleading moral panic around "sex trafficking" was in full swing, we pointed out that it was really a . I highlighted how a key group pushing for FOSTA, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), didn't even bother to hide that its real target was...

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17h ago
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Banks Get Payout From Equifax Hack While Consumers Still Wait For Compensation

Banks Get Payout From Equifax Hack While Consumers Still Wait For Compensation

Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Techdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.Techdirt—We've noted several times that the FTC's settlement over the Equifax hack that exposed the public data of 147 million Americans was little more than a . While much was made of the historic fine levied against the company, the FTC's settlement failed to provide impacted victims much of anything outside of a sad chuckle.The agency originally promised that impacted users would be able to nab 10 years of free credit...

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17h ago
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Does The US Copyright Office Not Know That Copyright Policy's Main Stakeholders Are The Public?

Does The US Copyright Office Not Know That Copyright Policy's Main Stakeholders Are The Public?

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—More than four years ago, the Copyright Office a project to do a big "study" on Section 512 of the DMCA, better known as either the "notice-and-takedown" section of copyright law, or the "safe harbors" section for websites. The Office took comments, held a few, somewhat bizarre "roundtables" (that we participated in)... and then... silence. Years of silence. Until yesterday when it . It's...

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3d ago
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We Lose A Lot When Podcasts Go Closed Instead Of Open

We Lose A Lot When Podcasts Go Closed Instead Of Open

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—Just last week, Ben Thompson's excellent Stratechery site had a great post describing , specifically with regards to podcasts. The occasion was his decision to launch a paid-for, but still "open" podcast. And he explains how there are important differences (in particular) between "open and for-pay" vs. "closed and free." Open and for-pay means that it's not locked down, and can work on a...

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3d ago
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How Most Of The Anti-Internet Crew Misread The News That The NY Times Is Getting Rid Of 3rd Party Advertisers

How Most Of The Anti-Internet Crew Misread The News That The NY Times Is Getting Rid Of 3rd Party Advertisers

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—One of the most frustrating aspects of discussing the internet, business models, and privacy is how many otherwise intelligent people continue to insist that Google and Facebook are "selling your data." It's a concept that is widely considered accurate, but has never been true. It's so ridiculous that it leads to between elected officials who are sure the tech companies are selling data,...

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4d ago
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House Democrats Have The Power To Protect Our Web Surfing From Warrantless FBI Searching; Instead, They're Pointing Fingers

House Democrats Have The Power To Protect Our Web Surfing From Warrantless FBI Searching; Instead, They're Pointing Fingers

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—You would think that House Democrat leaders like Speaker Pelosi and Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, who helped lead the impeachment effort against President Trump, would leap at the chance to stop Trump and the FBI from conducting warrantless searches of Americans' internet browsing habits. Instead, they seem to be supporting it and are trying to scapegoat Rep. Zoe Lofgren -- who is...

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4d ago
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Covid-19 Just Triggered The Worst Quarter Ever For Cable TV 'Cord Cutting'

Covid-19 Just Triggered The Worst Quarter Ever For Cable TV 'Cord Cutting'

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,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. With the pandemic not only sidelining live sports (one of the last reasons many subscribe to traditional cable in the first place), while putting a strain on many folks' wallets, cord cutting has now started to truly take off. Wall...

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7d ago
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Now The Washington Post Misleadingly Complains About Google & Apple Protecting Your Privacy Too Much

Now The Washington Post Misleadingly Complains About Google & Apple Protecting Your Privacy Too Much

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—Both the NY Times and the Washington Post have been among the most vocal in attacking internet companies like Google and Facebook, claiming that they're bad regarding your privacy. Yet, like with France (who fined Google for its privacy practices, but then at the company over the privacy-protecting features of its COVID contact tracing API), the Washington Post has a very, very weird...

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May 19
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Senate Passes Surveillance Reauthorization Bill 80-16 -- One Stripped Of Almost All Of Its Reforms

Senate Passes Surveillance Reauthorization Bill 80-16 -- One Stripped Of Almost All Of Its Reforms

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—The Senate voted today to give us five more years of pretty much unaltered surveillance. The reauthorization of key spy powers is back on again, after Congressional inaction a global pandemic, allowing these to (briefly) expire. Not that this temporary expiration resulted in . And with this overwhelming vote in favor of resumed spying, it will probably only be a matter of days before a...

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May 18
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Ohio Government Asks Companies To Snitch On Employees, Gets Hit With Auto-Generated Bogus 'Tips' Instead

Ohio Government Asks Companies To Snitch On Employees, Gets Hit With Auto-Generated Bogus 'Tips' Instead

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—Asking citizens to snitch on other citizens never seems to work out very well. The federal government has been doing it for years, maintaining "See Something, Say Something" hotlines that have mostly concerned about what their browner neighbors are doing. The same thing happens in the private sector. Ring's proprietary app -- Neighbors -- collects the , empowering bigots to feel like...

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May 16
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Judge Tells Devin Nunes' Dad (And Lawyer Stephen Biss) To Put Up Or Shut Up In Defamation Lawsuit Over Esquire Article

Judge Tells Devin Nunes' Dad (And Lawyer Stephen Biss) To Put Up Or Shut Up In Defamation Lawsuit Over Esquire Article

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Free Speech —Remember, Rep. Devin Nunes really doesn't want you to read this Esquire article entitled, . He'd be super duper upset if you read it. The article is about how Nunes, who frequently refers to his prior job as a "dairy farmer" in Tulare, California, probably doesn't want the world to know that his family up and left California to take their farm to Iowa. The article is a worthwhile read,...

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May 16
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After Seven Years And A US Supreme Court Victory, Tyson Timbs Is One Step Closer To Finally Getting His Car Back

After Seven Years And A US Supreme Court Victory, Tyson Timbs Is One Step Closer To Finally Getting His Car Back

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—Tyson Timbs went all the way to the US Supreme Court to get his forfeited Land Rover returned to him. , Timbs took his case through every level of the Indiana court system before finding relief in . Seven years after his vehicle was seized during his arrest for heroin dealing, he's still waiting for the cops to return his car.The Supreme Court said the seizure of a $42,000 vehicle over a...

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May 16
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What A Coincidence! Same Day Senator Burr Dumped His Stock, So Did His Brother-in-Law!

What A Coincidence! Same Day Senator Burr Dumped His Stock, So Did His Brother-in-Law!

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—Senator Richard Burr's potential , for which he's , may have gotten quite a bit worse this week. A new report notes that on the same day Burr sold off a "significant percentage" of his stock holdings (while also telling the public not to worry about COVID-19), it turns out . Amazing!Sen. Richard Burr was not the only member of his family to sell off a significant portion of his stock...

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May 10
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No, Congress Can't Fix The Broken US Broadband Market In A Mad Dash During A Pandemic

No, Congress Can't Fix The Broken US Broadband Market In A Mad Dash During A Pandemic

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—COVID-19 has shone a very bright light on the importance of widely available, affordable broadband. Nearly lack access to any broadband whatsoever--double FCC estimates. And millions more can't thanks to a lack of competition among very powerful, government pampered telecom monopolies.As usual, with political pressure mounting to "do something," DC's solution is going to be to :"The plan...

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May 8
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Amazon Sued For Saying You've 'Bought' Movies That It Can Take Away From You

Amazon Sued For Saying You've 'Bought' Movies That It Can Take Away From You

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—For we've talked about the many problems that arise when copyright is compared to "property" -- and people try to simply move over concepts from physical, tangible property into the world of digital. A key aspect of this: when you "purchase" something digital online, is it really a "purchase" or is it a "license" (especially a license that could be revoked)? If it was a true "purchase"...

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May 8
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Sketchy Gets Sketchier: Senator Loeffler Received $9 Million 'Gift' Right Before She Joined The Senate

Sketchy Gets Sketchier: Senator Loeffler Received $9 Million 'Gift' Right Before She Joined The Senate

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt —Kelly Loeffler is, by far, the in Congress, with an estimated net worth of half a billion dollars (the second wealthiest is Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte (famous for his body slamming a journalist for asking him a question and then about it)). Loeffler may be used to getting away with tearing up the red tape in her previous life, but in Congress, that often looks pretty corrupt. In just the...

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May 8
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Hedge Fund 'Asshole' Destroying Local News & Firing Reporters Wants Google & Facebook To Just Hand Him More Money

Hedge Fund 'Asshole' Destroying Local News & Firing Reporters Wants Google & Facebook To Just Hand Him More Money

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—Have you heard of Heath Freeman? He's a thirty-something hedge fund boss, who runs "Alden Global Capital," which owns a company misleadingly called "Digital First Media." His business has been to buy up local newspapers around the country and basically cut everything down to the bone, and just milk the assets for whatever cash they still produce, minus all the important journalism stuff....

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May 7
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Senator Wyden And Others Introduce Bill Calling The DOJ's Bluff Regarding Its Attempt To Destroy Section 230 & Encryption

Senator Wyden And Others Introduce Bill Calling The DOJ's Bluff Regarding Its Attempt To Destroy Section 230 & Encryption

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—One of the key points we've been making concerning Attorney General William Barr and his DOJ's eager support for the terrible EARN-IT Act, is that much of it really seems to be to in fighting child porn and child exploitation. The premise behind the EARN IT Act is that there's a lot of child exploitation/child abuse material found on social media... and that social media companies should...

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May 7
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Ring Docs Show Company Is Testing Consumer Enthusiasm For Facial Recognition, License Plate Reader Capabilities

Ring Docs Show Company Is Testing Consumer Enthusiasm For Facial Recognition, License Plate Reader Capabilities

These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,These are tough times for everyone, us included. If you're able to help us continue our reporting,Techdirt—It seems like Ring really wants to add facial recognition tech to its cameras. It employs a "." It this still-nonexistent feature to . And it says it will "" to meet customer feature demands in response to Congressional queries about its facial recognition plans.But now is not the best time to be trotting out new facial recognition products. Cities and one entire state have enacted bans or...

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May 5
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Prisons Replace Ankle Bracelets With An Expensive Smartphone App That Doesn't Work

Prisons Replace Ankle Bracelets With An Expensive Smartphone App That Doesn't Work

Techdirt—Tired: monitoring parolees with ankle bracelets. Wired: monitoring parolees with smartphone apps.Maybe it will be a better idea someday, but that day isn't here yet. Ankle bracelets are prone to unexpected failure, just like any other electronic device. False negatives -- alerts saying a parolee isn't at home -- are no better than false positives in the long run, although the former is the only one that can take away someone's freedom.are borne by the parolee. Smartphone apps may be slightly cheaper… but only if you don't factor in the cost of a smartphone or the app itself....

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May 2
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Comcast Graciously Extends Suspension Of Completely Unnecessary Data Caps

Comcast Graciously Extends Suspension Of Completely Unnecessary Data Caps

Techdirt —After pressure from consumer groups, major ISPs last month that they would be suspending all usage caps and overage fees for 60 days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, US consumers already pay some of the highest prices for broadband in the developed world, and imposing draconian usage restrictions and overage fees created added hardships for consumers already facing unemployment and additional financial headaches due to the pandemic. Being the sweetheart it is, Comcast also stated it would temporarily stop kicking poor folks offline during the pandemic.This week...

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May 1
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