Reform in the Age of Corporate Lawyers

Ethical Markets Wealth of Networks

Media Policy at the FCC

Reform in the Age of Corporate Lawyers

The FCC decision requiring television broadcasters to post data about political ad spending online is a milestone in the fight against political dominance by traditional media and the one percent. It defies every ounce of conventional wisdom in Washington by proving that activists, bloggers, consumer advocates and everyday people could join forces to defeat a corporate agenda. Don’t let the lawyers undo that.

Timothy Karr, Huffington Post

House Committee Siding with Powerful Broadcasters to Keep Americans in the Dark

A House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee voted on a misguided measure that would decrease transparency for political ads aired on local television stations. If signed into law, the draft appropriations bill would deny the FCC funding to provide the public with better access to information about the individuals and groups that purchase these political ads, and the amounts they pay to air them on local stations.

Free Press

Appropriations Bill Would Block FCC Political File Rule

A provision has been inserted in a draft of a House appropriations bill that would defund the FCC’s effort to put broadcaster political files online.

Mike Reynolds, Multichannel News

Google Fiber Set-Top Box Pops Up on FCC Site

The FCC’s website lists a Google Fiber IP set-top box equipped with Wi-Fi, USB, Ethernet, HDMI input and output, IR and coax. This probably means a super-fast Google broadband connection is on its way to consumers.

Donna Tam, CNet

FCC Looks to Regulate Middle-Mile Connections

The FCC will look into new regulations of middle-mile broadband connections used by many businesses and owned largely by AT&T and Verizon Communications, the agency said.

Grant Gross, IDG News


Future of the Internet

Smartphones Bring Hope, Frustration as Substitute for Computers

The mobile telecom industry portrays smartphones as a progressive force, one that is delivering Web access to historically disadvantaged communities. It cites data showing that African Americans and Latinos are now more likely to own smartphones than whites. But as many have discovered, mobile devices come with the built-in limits of stripped-down Web browsers, offering connections that are typically slower and less reliable than wired broadband links.

Gerry Smith, Huffington Post

Is the U.N. Really Trying to Take Over the Internet? Nope.

At a U.S. House of Representatives hearing earlier this week, a number of government officials from both sides of the aisle, as well as Google’s chief Internet evangelist and inventor of the TCP/IP protocol Vint Cerf, warned that the U.N.’s International Telecom Union could try to wrestle control away from the U.S.-centric ICANN and “take control of the Internet.” For the most part, all of these fears are completely speculative at this point.

Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch

As ISPs Throttle, Europe Hopes Competition Will ‘Discipline Operators’

At least one-fifth of mobile broadband users in Europe face technical or contractual restrictions on their use of VoIP products, while more than a third of European mobile users also have restrictions on their P2P usage. When it comes to the fixed-line Internet market, the situation with regard to blocking and throttling is better. VoIP is almost never limited, though P2P usage can be. But the real concern comes from wireline companies which manage their network to offer “specialized services” — think TV, like AT&T’s U-verse in the U.S.

Nate Anderson, Ars Technica

Is It Possible to Wage a Just Cyberwar?

This digital evolution means that it is now less clear what kind of events should reasonably trigger a war, as well as how and when new technologies may be used. With cyberweapons, a war theoretically could be waged without casualties or political risk, so their attractiveness is great — maybe so irresistible that nations are tempted to use them before such aggression is justified.

Patrick Lin, Fritz Allhoff and Neil Rowe, The Atlantic

FBI Probes Leaks on Iran Cyberattack

The FBI has opened an investigation into who disclosed information about a classified U.S. cyberattack program aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Evan Perez and Adam Entous, Wall Street Journal

Senate Democrats Blast National Security Leak About Cyberattack Against Iran

Senate Democrats blasted leaks to the press about a cyberattack against Iran and warned the disclosure of President Obama’s order could put the United States at risk of a retaliatory strike.

Jeremy Herb, The Hill


Journalism and Beyond

The Sometimes Picayune: Want to Damage New Orleans (Again)? Decimate Its Newspaper

Here, for your reading pleasure, are two familiar cliches: 1. New Orleans is a unique city. 2. The newspaper business is changing. Several days ago, when it was announced that theTimes-Picayune would get out of the daily print newspaper business, the second cliche kicked the first one’s ass. This makes no sense to me.

Harry Shearer, Columbia Journalism Review

What Happens When a Newspaper Is Just Another Digital Voice?

The fact that print is declining as a medium for journalism, and that newspapers are going to have to deal with that in a variety of ways, was brought home with a thud recently when Advance Publications and Postmedia announced they would no longer print some of their papers on certain days, in order to save money. As more newspapers are forced to make similar decisions, what impact will that have on their ability to serve a public purpose as an information source about the community?

Mathew Ingram, GigaOM

Politico Goes for ‘Fair and Balanced’

Last week, Politico rocked the insidery world of political journalism with an article that criticized the New York Timesand the Washington Post for media bias.

Peter Sterne, Columbia Journalism Review

Attack on Venezuela Newspaper Highlights War on Media

Gunmen opened fire on a newspaper headquarters in northwestern Venezuela, the third attack against a local media outlet in a week. This is worrying evidence of an increasingly brazen war against the press in the crime-ridden state of Zulia.

Christopher Looft, In Sight