EARN IT Act threatens end-to-end encryption
While we're all distracted by stockpiling latex gloves and toilet paper, there's a bill tiptoeing through the US Congress that could inflict the backdoor virus that law enforcement agencies have been trying to inflict on encryption for years.
FBI Director Chris Wray Pitches Weakened Encryption At A Cyber Security Conference
On May 29, 2018, the FBI promised to deliver an updated count of encrypted devices in its possession. As James Comey and his replacement, Chris Wray, continued to advocate for weakened encryption, the number of phones the FBI couldn't get into swelled from 880 in 2016 to over 7,800 by the time the FBI realized its phone-counting method was broken.
EARN IT is an attack on encryption
Yesterday a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced a new bill called the EARN IT act. On its face, the bill seems like a bit of inside baseball having to do with legal liability for information service providers.
The EARN IT Act Is a Sneak Attack on Encryption
A bipartisan pair of US senators today introduced long-rumored legislation known as the EARN IT Act. Meant to combat child sexual exploitation online, the bill threatens to erode established protections against holding tech companies responsible for what people do and say on their platforms.
The Graham-Blumenthal Bill: A New Path for DOJ to Finally Break Encryption
Members of Congress are about to introduce a bill that will undermine the law that undergirds free speech on the Internet. If passed, the bill known as the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) Act, will fulfill a long-standing dream of U.S. law enforcement.
FCC Proposes to Fine Wireless Carriers $200M for Selling Customer Location Data
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today proposed fines of more than $200 million against the nation's four largest wireless carriers for selling access to their customers' location information without taking adequate precautions to prevent unauthorized access to that data.
Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech
After a decade or so of the general sentiment being in favor of the internet and social media as a way to enable more speech and improve the marketplace of ideas, in the last few years the view has shifted dramatically—now it seems that almost no one is happy.
The DOJ Asks Startup Investors: Are Tech Giants Too Powerful?
Whether the largest tech companies have too much power has become a common question in Washington, DC. The House Antitrust subcommittee and Federal Trade Commission both have active investigations on the topic.
EFF's Recommendations for Consumer Data Privacy Laws
Strong privacy legislation in the United States is possible, necessary, and long overdue. EFF emphasizes the following concrete recommendations for proposed legislation regarding consumer data privacy.
Australian political parties hacked
Morrison said that the Australian government had made moves to "ensure the integrity of our electoral system," including instructing the Australian Cyber Security Centre "to be ready to provide any political party or electoral body in Australia with immediate support, including making their technical experts available."
If they can't maintain security before forcefully introducing weaknesses I can't imagine what things will look like after.
Russia tries to force social media giants to relocate servers to Russia
The Russian government agency responsible for censorship on the Internet has accused Facebook and Twitter of failing to comply with a law requiring all servers that store personal data to be located in Russia.
Time to exit the market.
Senators press wireless carriers on mobile throttling
"All online traffic should be treated equally, and Internet service providers should not discriminate against particular content or applications for competitive advantage purposes or otherwise."
AT&T CEO criticizes disparate state net neutrality regulations after helping to dismantle unified, national rules
"We've got a mess coming at us, literally states independently going out and designing their own privacy regulation," [Randall] Stephenson said. "How do you do business in a world where you have 50 different regulations and rules around privacy?"
America's internet freedom rating drops following net neutrality repeal
"Losing net neutrality impacts internet freedom because the open web is one of most powerful tools we have to hold leaders to account," [Josh] Tabish said. "Whether you're challenging tyranny or just saying something unpopular politically, net neutrality is essential for maintaining free speech online."
CA governor signs nation's strictest net neutrality law
The nation's largest state just adopted sweeping net neutrality protections, setting up a potential legal showdown with the Federal Communications Commission over the future of the internet. California Governor Jerry Brown Sunday signed a bill banning broadband providers such as AT&T and Comcast from blocking, throttling, or otherwise discriminating against lawful content passing through their networks.
The Copenhagen Letter
Tech is not above us. It should be governed by all of us, by our democratic institutions. It should play by the rules of our societies. It should serve our needs, both individual and collective, as much as our wants.
FCC chairman boosts telecom companies, throws Silicon Valley under the bus
There's absolutely a legitimate conversation to be had here in terms of what to do about privacy and speech in the Facebook and Twitter era. And that may or may not involve crafting new regulations. But it might be nice if people wised up to the fact that a huge swath of the conversation is being dictated not by parties acting in good faith with a genuine eye on valid solutions, but by telecom monopolies eager to pee in the discourse pool simply to fatten their wallets.
Time to break up Facebook
... the chilling effect of Facebook and other tech giants buying up every promising startup is noticeable. "I think if we have a tech economy entirely premised on the idea that monopolists may one day buy the underlying thing, it really limits what can happen," says Wu.
California passes net neutrality bill
S.B. 822 bans blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, classic ways that companies have violated net neutrality principles. It also incorporates much of what the FCC learned and incorporated into the 2015 Open Internet Order, preventing new assaults on the free and open Internet. This includes making sure companies can't circumvent net neutrality at the point of interconnection within the state of California.
CA net neutrality bill back on track
The bill enshrines not only the fundamentals of net neutrality, such as prohibiting ISPs from throttling or blocking sites, but also prohibits other telecom trickery, such as zero rating—a practice where companies provide access to certain parts of the internet for "free" and charge for others.
OIG report: FCC lied about being hacked
The OIG report shows that Pai knew from the start that the story of a hack-attack was unsupported by evidence and disputed by experts -- we knew that too, because those experts were speaking publicly at the time, but it's great to see it in official black-and-white.
FCC admits its site was never hacked
No one seriously believed the FCC's hackers-ate-my-homework excuse, especially after the FCC refused to cooperate with law-enforcement agencies who wanted to investigate the supposed attack and stonewalling Congress on the details.
Don't pin your political hopes on tech giants
Elon Musk donates to Republicans, Facebook donates to Republicans. This doesn't excuse Musk, however. If anything, it should deepen the growing sense that Silicon Valley is concerned first and foremost with its continued survival and success, and doesn't give an iota of a damn about much else.
FBI once again compares creating encryption back doors to putting a man on the moon
We're a country that has unbelievable innovation. We put a man on the moon. We have the power of flight. We have autonomous vehicles… [T]he idea that we can't solve this problem as a society -- I just don't buy it.
CA net neutrality bill makes a comeback
"They want us to just trust them to protect net neutrality, and I think history shows that we can't just have a leap of faith," Wiener said. "The ISPs have violated net neutrality in the past, and they will in the future. The economic pressure will be too great for them not to violate net neutrality, so we need to have some rules in place."
Comcast throttling mobile video and charging extra for high quality streaming
Comcast's Xfinity Mobile service is imposing new speed limits on video watching and personal hotspot usage, and the company will start charging extra for high-definition video over the cellular network.
That didn't take long. Who needs net neutrality anyways?
California approves new online privacy rules
Consumers would have the right to request all the data collected about them from a business up to twice a year, and businesses would be required to disclose the information free of charge. Consumers would have "the right to request that a business delete any PI about the consumer which the business has collected from the consumer."
Popular tech companies work to stop California privacy law
The idea that Californians might gain sweeping new privacy rights has spooked Silicon Valley, internet service providers, and other industries that increasingly rely on data collection, leading to a lobbying push to defeat the initiative before it gains traction.
Silos and centralization on the internet
For years, we've been saying that it's time for us to rethink the internet, and move back towards a more decentralized, distributed world in which this kind of censorship isn't even an issue. It hasn't happened yet, but it feels like we're increasingly moving towards a world in which that's going to be necessary if we want to retain what is best about the internet.
Bill promises Californians more control over their data
... the bill would allow California residents to find out what information businesses and data brokers collect about them, where that information comes from, and how it's shared. It would give people the power to ask for their data to be deleted and to order businesses to stop selling their personal information. It places limits on selling data on users younger than 16 years of age, and prohibits businesses from denying service to users for exercising their rights under the bill.
I love the sound of this — hopefully it's not derailed like California's net neutrality bill was.
Consolidation swiftly follows the death of net neutrality
Combined with the death of net neutrality, the U.S. is creating a very uncertain future where a handful of companies now dominate everything from local sports and news broadcasts to broadband, with few rules or guidelines preventing price gouging, predatory practices, and routinely anti-competitive behavior.
Net neutrality is repealed as the real fight for it begins
So while many are understandably frustrated today, the elimination of the FCC's 2015 rules shouldn't be seen the end of net neutrality, or the end of the road. It's more like another chapter in a story that has neither a beginning nor an end. Net neutrality isn't something that simply "ends" with the creation or elimination of government guidelines. Net neutrality violations are only a symptom of a lack of competition in broadband and decades of regulatory capture.
CA senate passes strict net neutrality law in defiance of ISPs
The California bill would replicate the US-wide bans on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization that were implemented by the FCC in 2015, and it would go beyond the FCC rules with a ban on paid data-cap exemptions. California is one of several states trying to impose state-level net neutrality rules because the FCC's Republican leadership decided to eliminate the federal rules effective June 11.
As a general rule, if something is good for ISPs, it's bad for their customers.
Vermont passes law regulating data brokers
... under the guidelines of the bill—which passed into law Tuesday without the signature of Republican Governor Phil Scott—data brokers will have to pay a $100 annual fee to register with the state, and will have to comply with new rules meant to protect Vermonters from suffering at the hands of another data breach like the one that befell Equifax last year and exposed the data of 145 million (and counting) Americans.
This sounds like the kind of law that should also exist at the federal level to benefit everyone. Data brokers are terrible companies that make money by exposing and endangering everyone's personal information.
Popular sites support long-shot effort to save net neutrality
The measure would still face long odds, however. Republicans, who tend to support the FCC’s move to repeal net neutrality, hold a solid majority in the House of Representatives. If it were to pass the House, the measure would also need the signature of President Trump or a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress to override a veto.
I sincerely doubt that this effort will amount to anything, but it's nice to see prominent companies and legislators continuing to fight in favor of net neutrality.
FCC strategically delays finalizing net neutrality repeal
Pai has been fond of saying that the net neutrality repeal hasn't harmed consumers, but that's a pretty low bar to clear given that the rules are still in effect.
The FCC sucks at repealing net neutrality
... the FCC shot itself in the foot, and when it neutered its own authority over ISPs at Comcast, AT&T and Verizon's behest, it managed to also neuter its authority to preempt states from filling the void. Of course this could all be moot if the FCC loses its battle in court, but it's amusing all the same, and it's another example of how Ajit Pai and friends didn't really think this whole thing through.
FCC, ISPs grapple with net neutrality challenges
Twelve lawsuits filed against the Federal Communications Commission over its net neutrality repeal have been consolidated into one suit that will be heard at a federal appeals court in California.
California state senate passes net neutrality legislation
The California State Senate yesterday approved a bill to impose net neutrality restrictions on Internet service providers, challenging the Federal Communications Commission attempt to preempt such rules.
Fort Collins votes in favor of municipal broadband
While the Federal Communications Commission has voted to eliminate the nation's net neutrality rules, the municipal broadband network will be neutral and without data caps.
The Department of Justice has said that they want to have an “adult conversation” about encryption. This is not it. The DOJ needs to understand that secure end-to-end encryption is a responsible security measure that helps protect people.
A vote for Pai is a vote against consumers and for Big Cable
Mr. Pai, has a long track record of putting big cable before consumers, big corporations above small businesses and pay-to-play over the free and open internet. Mr. Pai has betrayed the American consumer at every turn and has an agenda at the FCC that makes a mockery of the moniker: Independent Agency. He's on the side of big cable and big business, and hasn't done much of anything for the rest of us.
Ending net neutrality will end the Internet as we know it
The path forward is clear. The FCC must abandon its ill-conceived plan to end net neutrality. Instead of creating fast lanes for the few, it should be moving all of us to the fast lane by encouraging competition in local broadband connectivity and pushing companies to deliver higher speeds at more affordable prices. It's the right thing for us as consumers and as citizens.
ISPs look to the Supreme Court to kill net neutrality
The lobby groups want a ruling that the FCC exceeded its statutory authority by reclassifying broadband as a common carrier service. Such a ruling could prevent future FCCs from implementing net neutrality rules as strict as the current ones, which outlaw blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. A ruling for the industry could also prevent future FCCs from reviving other consumer protections that are likely to be overturned by the commission's current Republican majority.
FCC continues to completely disregard public opposition to net neutrality repeal
Let's not mince words: the FCC's plan to gut net neutrality protections in light of severe public opposition is likely one of the more bare-knuckled acts of cronyism in modern technological and political history. That's because the rules have overwhelming, bipartisan support from the vast majority of consumers, most of whom realize the already imperfect rules are some of the only consumer protections standing between consumers and giant, uncompetitive companies like Comcast. Repealing the rules only serves one interest: that of one of the least liked, least-competitive industries in America.
Three days left to comment on the FCC plan to kill net neutrality
The Verge has a helpful write-up on how to comment on the FCC's plan to roll back net neutrality protections, along with details about the decision. If you care about a free and open internet, you should take the time to make your voice heard (provided the FCC actually listens).
Ajit Pai accused of conflict for helping former client
A prisoners' rights group has accused Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai of having a conflict of interest because he used to represent a prison phone company as a lawyer.
EFF argues border agents need warrants to search digital devices
"Our cell phones and laptops provide access to an unprecedented amount of detailed, private information, often going back many months or years, from emails to our coworkers to photos of our loved ones and lists of our closest contacts. This is light years beyond the minimal information generally contained in other kinds of personal items we might carry in our suitcases. It's time for courts and the government to acknowledge that examining the contents of a digital device is highly intrusive, and Fourth Amendment protections should be strong, even at the border," said EFF Staff Attorney Sophia Cope.
FCC is ignoring public interest in net neutrality repeal
Although ISPs have claimed that the net neutrality rules harm investment, the cable industry's top lobbying group recently boasted that US Internet speeds are continuing to soar and that the cost of data per megabit has gone down. ISPs have also told their investors that the rules have not harmed network investment, an important factor because publicly traded companies are required to give investors accurate financial information, including a description of risk factors involved in investing in the company.
We Should All Care About Encryption
If we squander privacy by allowing back doors or building illicit vulnerabilities into encryption tools, there is nothing to protect us from prying corporations, spying governments or even criminals bent on abusing our data. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a back door that only lets the good guys in.
Data must always be encrypted, end-to-end, period — before it leaves your computer. Privacy is a fundamental right. Let's not squander it in the name of security.
Lawsuit seeks records of FCC net neutrality discussions
"The FCC has made it clear that they're ignoring feedback from the general public, so we're going to court to find out who they're actually listening to about net neutrality," American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers said in the group's announcement of its lawsuit.
They're listening to ISPs and their lobbyists — they couldn't care less about the public.
Lawmakers blast FCC net neutrality rollback
"To date, most of the FCC's actions have ignored the needs of consumers," said Rep. Frank Pallone, the New Jersey Democrat. "Too often, when given the choice, this FCC has sided with large corporations to the detriment of hardworking Americans."
Verizon argues throttling isn't throttling
"Video optimization is a non-discriminatory network management practice designed to ensure a high quality customer experience for all customers accessing the shared resources of our wireless network," a spokesperson said.
Senator attacks ISP and FCC argument for net neutrality repeal
ISPs are quick to tell the FCC and the public that Title II is harming network investment, but they have presented a much rosier view when talking to investors.
Misleading Arguments Against Net Neutrality Abound
... anybody that actually cares about net neutrality should support the simplest and easiest way to protect consumers, startups and small businesses moving forward: keep the existing rules intact.
Comcast continues to whine about net neutrality
Comcast's claims about network investment clash with what ISPs have told their own investors; even Comcast's chief financial officer downplayed Title II's effect on investment in December 2016.
GOP advances plan for ring-free voicemail spam
The GOP's leading campaign and fundraising arm, the Republican National Committee, has quietly thrown its support behind a proposal at the Federal Communications Commission that would pave the way for marketers to auto-dial consumers' cellphones and leave them prerecorded voicemail messages — all without ever causing their devices to ring.
How to comment on the FCC's proposal to kill net neutrality
FCC and ISPs begin campaign to gut net neutrality while pretending to protect it
... don't pretend that a bill from Congress pretending to "save" net neutrality will actually do so, when it's quite obvious that the bills being offered will undermine our internet, help big broadband screw over users, and diminish competition.
Protecting your privacy
I can't stress enough the importance of your privacy. We never, ever release personal data about you. All data is completely anonymous and related to purchases only.
Nonsense. If you're not paying for the service your data is being monetized in a way that benefits the interests of the company providing the service, not you.
DHS Boss Calls For More Fear, Less Encryption
This is wonderful stuff if you're a fan of authoritarianism. Shut up and show your support. It's a message that's been sent several times by the new president. Now, it's being echoed by his top officials.
Yet another ill-considered power grab in the name of safety.
Don't like systematic privacy violations? Stop using the internet
That's when Sensenbrenner said, "Nobody's got to use the Internet." He praised ISPs for "invest[ing] an awful lot of money in having almost universal service now." He then said, "I don't think it's my job to tell you that you cannot get advertising for your information being sold. My job, I think, is to tell you that you have the opportunity to do it, and then you take it upon yourself to make the choice."
We desperately need to stop electing officials that have no understanding of the impact of the legislation they help pass.
Silicon Valley fights to preserve net neutrality
The internet industry is uniform in its belief that net neutrality preserves the consumer experience, competition and innovation online," the group said. "In other words, existing net neutrality rules should be enforced and kept intact.
Lawmakers want to require border agents to obtain a warrant for smartphone searches
"By requiring a warrant to search Americans' devices and prohibiting unreasonable delay, this bill makes sure that border agents are focused on criminals and terrorists instead of wasting their time thumbing through innocent Americans' personal photos and other data," [Sen. Ron] Wyden said in a statement.
I'd love to see this implemented, but I just can't see it happening.
Internet privacy rules repealed
"If the government believes that location data is sensitive and requires more explicit consumer disclosures and permissions," he continued, "then those protections should apply to all players that have access to location data, whether an ISP or edge player or search engine."
No, customers should be able to expect that their data remain private and, the fact of the matter is, customers typically have a choice who they provide their data to (whether that be Facebook, Google — you name it).
Congress guts internet privacy protections
Thanks to a cash-soaked Congress there will be neither broadband competition, nor functional regulatory oversight of an industry with a documented history of aggressive, anti-consumer and anticompetitive behavior. What could possibly go wrong?
Senate chooses ISPs over customer privacy
ISPs act as gatekeepers to the Internet, giving them incredible access to records of what you do online. They shouldn't be able to profit off of the information about what you search for, read about, purchase, and more without your consent.
Keep the Internet Open
"The internet is a public good, and I believe access should be a basic right. We've seen such great innovation in software because the internet has been a level playing field. People have been able to succeed by merit, not the regulatory weight of incumbency."
CBO analysis confirms GOP health bill is little more than class warfare
The AHCA would reverse one of the greatest actions against inequality ever taken by the federal government, and then increase inequality yet further. It is an act of class warfare against low-income Americans, waged for the benefit of the handful of rich taxpayers affected by Obamacare's surtaxes.
FCC throwing consumer privacy protections out the window to help ISPs
There's not really a bright side here for consumers. Internet providers asked for permission to start sharing your private data again, and without much of a fight, they're about to get it.
GOP senators' new bill would let ISPs sell your Web browsing data
"Big broadband barons and their Republican allies want to turn the telecommunications marketplace into a Wild West where consumers are held captive with no defense against abusive invasions of their privacy by internet service providers," [Sen. Edward] Markey said.
The Internet belongs to the people, not powerful corporate interests
The Internet is an invaluable platform on which we depend to spur innovation and job creation. Our economy works best when innovators, entrepreneurs, and businesses of all sizes compete on a level playing field. Ensuring that the playing field would be level was the basis for the FCC's decision to protect net neutrality by properly classifying broadband as a telecommunications service.
FCC chair offers poor excuses as he seeks to strip consumer protections
Eliminate functional regulatory oversight and refuse to address limited competition? The end result is... Comcast Corporation and its record-shatteringly-bad customer service, high prices, and usage caps.
Internet Privacy Rules in Part Face a Halt at the FCC
Consumer advocacy groups have argued that the ISPs have a broader capacity to collect data on people than websites and digital services, given that ISPs connect users to all those websites and services in the first place. ISPs might use the collected data for their own promotions or sell it to data brokers for marketing or other uses.
Techdirt podcast on the new FCC
I really enjoyed this episode — it's an engaging deep dive into the history of net neutrality and where it stands under the oversight (or lack thereof) of the new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai.
Senators warn against net neutrality repeal
In light of a Congress that long ago made it clear that it prioritizes telecom cash contributions over consumers, the best "solution" for net neutrality at this juncture would be leaving the existing rules -- and the FCC's authority over broadband providers -- intact.
Trump FCC chair begins dismantling consumer protections and subsidies
"The Federal Communications Commission's new Republican leadership has rescinded a determination that AT&T and Verizon Wireless violated net neutrality rules with paid data cap exemptions. The FCC also rescinded several other Wheeler-era reports and actions."
Senate push for encryption legislation falters
Draft legislation that Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Intelligence Committee, had circulated weeks ago likely will not be introduced this year and, even if it were, would stand no chance of advancing, the sources said.
Fantastic news. This bill (and the push behind it) was ill-conceived at best and would have caused untold damage were it to pass.
DOJ takes war on encryption to WhatsApp
The government's theory, that the All Writs Act gives it the power to compel American companies to write code and design products to ensure law enforcement access to encrypted content, is virtually without limits. No devices and indeed no encrypted messaging services, would be safe from such backdoor orders. If the government wins in San Bernardino, it could even force companies to give it access to software update systems, and send their users government surveillance software disguised as security patches.
Dutch government on encryption
...forcing companies to add backdoors to their products and services would have "undesirable consequences for the security of communicated and stored information," since "digital systems can become vulnerable to criminals, terrorists and foreign intelligence services."
Backdoor password in Juniper's firewall code
On December 17, Juniper Networks issued an urgent security advisory about "unauthorized code" found within the operating system used by some of the company's NetScreen firewalls and Secure Service Gateway (SSG) appliances. The vulnerability, which may have been in place in some firewalls as far back as 2012 and which shipped with systems to customers until late 2013, allows an attacker to gain remote administrative access to systems with telnet or ssh access enabled.
ISPs secretly furious at Verizon
"Verizon seemingly won a huge victory in January when a federal appeals court struck down network neutrality restrictions on blocking and discriminating against Internet content over fixed broadband connections. But Verizon's lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission could backfire, with the commission now considering even stronger rules on both fixed and wireless networks."
Smart devices were ultimately the downfall of the wireless carriers when all the value moved to the handset and its ecosystem rather than their own proprietary ecosystem. This is the fear that some cable companies must face. Could smart devices eventually do the same thing to them? We can only hope.
Grapes of Wrath
"There is a fifteen-fold difference in the price of cabernet sauvignon grapes that are grown in Napa Valley and cabernet sauvignon grapes grown in Fresno" in California’s hot Central Valley, says Kim Cahill, a scientist researching climate change's effect on viticulture who has also done consulting for the wine industry. "Cab grapes grown in Napa sold [in 2006] for $4,100 a ton. In Fresno, the price was $260 a ton. The difference in average temperature between Napa and Fresno was five degrees Fahrenheit."
Interesting read on climate change, wine and agriculture via Mother Jones.