The noisy response to a front-page Washington Post story about an alleged government plan to create free public Wi-Fi networks indicates public enthusiasm for cheaper Internet access in America. If only it were so simple.
The government is not going to be providing free Wi-Fi Internet access to consumers any time soon. That news may surprise anyone who read a recent startlingWashington Post story, which seemed to confuse a fairly esoteric telecom policy proposal about the use of so-called “white space” wireless spectrum with some sort of free national wireless Internet access plan.
The FCC is not proposing to build a national Wi-Fi network, contrary to recent media reports suggesting otherwise. In actuality, the FCC proposes to set aside from proposed incentive auctions a greater amount of wireless spectrum in the so-called “white spaces” for unlicensed use than it previously suggested.
With Congress divided and 2013 taking shape as a tale of never-ending fiscal cliffs, it seems unlikely that lawmakers will do much to rein in the Super PACs and dark money that made the 2012 campaigns among the least informative and most distorted in American history. Fortunately, one major reform can be implemented immediately, without legislative action or a court order. All we need is for an independent agency, the FCC, to enforce a campaign finance disclosure requirement that is already on the books.
File this one under “It makes sense, so why isn’t it the law already?” department. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the House and the Senate is reintroducing a bill to allow three or more FCC commissioners to meet in private, as long as no official agency action is taken.
Remember the Internet blackouts over SOPA and PIPA last year? What you might not remember is the other online legislation that nearly passed: the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. After being approved by the House of Representatives, the bill failed to pass in the Senate. But CISPA’s authors made good on a promise and announced that the bill will be reintroduced in 2013.
Reporters Without Borders Germany, Reporters Without Borders International, Privacy International, Bahrain Watch, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed a formal complaint with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development against a surveillance software company.
Given news that a European consortium of rivals has submitted yet another monopolization complaint against Google to the EU Commission, it is time to take stock of where we are in this long-running saga. A month ago the U.S. Federal Trade Commission dropped its independent investigation, concluding that the facts did not support an antitrust prosecution of Google. Since then, the rhetoric from Google’s critics has reached absurd levels.
The magazine industry, which has already been hurt by advertising declines and the loss of readers, is reeling from the news that they no longer would be able to get magazines delivered on Saturdays. Magazine publishers were especially surprised at how quickly the new policy is expected to take effect. Postal Service officials plan to stop delivering mail on Saturdays as early as Aug. 5th.
Public Policy Polling’s annual poll on TV news finds that there’s only one source more Americans trust than distrust: PBS. Fifty-two percent of voters say they trust PBS and only 29 percent don’t trust it. A plurality of voters all distrust the other seven outlets polled on.
Journalists and computers have gotten through the awkward, get-to-know-ya phase of their relationship, but they still have intimacy problems, sometimes failing to understand each other’s wants and needs. But they’re really trying.
If the government asks a newspaper not to publish information, should the paper comply? That’s the question being asked after the New York Times revealed that a top-secret U.S. drone base has been operating on Saudi soil for 18 months.
Ben Jacobs, Daily Download
Great news! You now have until FRIDAY AT MIDNIGHT to register for the National Conference for Media Reform at the super-duper discounted rate! Don’t delay; register today!
Portions of this email may contain copyrighted material. We make such material available to advance understanding of public issues, which we believe constitutes a “fair use.” In accordance with federal law, the material in this email is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
Free Press is a nonpartisan organization building a nationwide movement for media that serve the public interest. Please send comments or other feedback to [email protected].