Media & Communications Policy

Media & Communications Policy

Issues & Developments in the Realm of Communications and Media Policy & the First Amendment

Category Archives: Digital technology

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Electronic Privacy Needs ICPA Update

Posted in Digital technology, International Jurisdiction, New Media, Uncategorized
Privacy advocates won an important victory in July when a federal appeals court ruled to limit the access of the U.S. government to individuals’ e-mail accounts. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said the federal government did not have the authority to issue search warrants for persons’ e-mails stored on servers outside… Continue Reading

Netflix, Self Interest, and Net Neutrality

Posted in Broadband, Digital technology, FCC, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality, Uncategorized
The recent announcement by Netflix that it has been reducing the video quality of its programs on mobile networks for years – something the new net neutrality rules prohibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from doing – has sparked a firestorm by opponents of net neutrality regulations. From the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and cable and… Continue Reading

Progressives’ Anti-Merger Mania

Posted in Cable TV, Digital technology, FCC, Media competition, Media Consolidation, Media Regulation, Uncategorized
The proposed merger between the cable systems of Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks has brought out the usual poseurs in opposition.  I speak, of course, of such as Common Cause, Consumers Union, and Public Knowledge (all of which are wrong in their usual and tiresome way, but not certifiable), and their… Continue Reading

Title II Places Global Internet Freedom in Jeopardy

Posted in Broadband, Digital technology, FCC, International Jurisdiction, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality, Uncategorized
By guest blogger ROBERT M. McDOWELL, partner at Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, D.C.  Former FCC commissioner McDowell is chairman of The Media Institute’s Global Internet Freedom Advisory Council. In February, the Federal Communications Commission reversed decades of bipartisan consensus on America’s foreign policy for the Internet when it adopted new “open Internet” rules.  These… Continue Reading

Net Vitality Should Be the Cornerstone of U.S. Broadband Policy

Posted in Broadband, Digital technology, FCC, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality, Uncategorized
By guest blogger PROF. STUART N. BROTMAN, faculty member at Harvard Law School and author of the study Net Vitality: Identifying the Top-Tier Global Broadband Internet Leaders published by The Media Institute.  Prof. Brotman is a member of the Institute’s Global Internet Freedom Advisory Council.  The full version of this article appeared in The Hill… Continue Reading

The FCC’s Wheeler of Fortune

Posted in Broadband, Broadcasting, Digital technology, FCC, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality, Uncategorized
LAS VEGAS – Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler’s speech yesterday to broadcasters attending the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show here dealt primarily with broadcast-specific subjects.  But as expected, he also used the occasion to tout the Commission’s new Open Internet Order, arguing that broadcasters should support it because, like the must-carry rules,… Continue Reading

Is This What Net Neutrality Is Really About?

Posted in Broadband, Content Controls, Digital technology, FCC, First Amendment, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality, New Media, Uncategorized
Recent congressional hearings held in the wake of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality ruling provide a glimpse into what is so deeply wrong with this regulation, and why so many activist groups were behind it. It’s an aspect of this matter of which you were perhaps unaware while the FCC was considering its… Continue Reading

The LEADS Act and Cloud Computing

Posted in Digital technology, International Jurisdiction, Uncategorized
Bipartisan legislation, introduced last month in the House and Senate, promises to reform and update the antiquated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and in the process push back against the practice by agencies of government to gain access to personal data stored on U.S. corporation servers abroad. The legislation, called the LEADS Act, is co-sponsored… Continue Reading

What Changed the FCC Chairman’s Mind?

Posted in Broadband, Cable TV, Digital technology, FCC, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality, Uncategorized
On the occasion last week of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s passage of “net neutrality” regulations, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Commission, announced that it was “the proudest day of my public policy life.”  It’s not known whether that statement is a reflection of how little Wheeler feels he’s accomplished in life, or an embarrassing… Continue Reading

Who’s Behind the Push for Net Neutrality?

Posted in Digital technology, FCC, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality, Uncategorized
If “net neutrality” were a life form, it would be classified as a simple organism.  And that lack of complexity, as it happens, is its very appeal to certain “progressives,” garden-variety regulators, and large Internet companies, who see in government regulation of the Internet opportunities to cement and extend their franchises. The brave and gifted… Continue Reading

FCC’s Net Neutrality Plan Is Another Step in the Regulation of Speech

Posted in Digital technology, Network Neutrality, Uncategorized
So the latest development on the speech regulation front is Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler’s rumored plan to create a “hybrid” regulatory structure in the name of “net neutrality,” the condition which, as it happens, has already been attained. Under Wheeler’s plan, Internet regulation would be split between a highly regulated back end,… Continue Reading

The FCC’s Net Neutrality Vote

Posted in Broadband, Digital technology, FCC, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
Not unlike the way that people present themselves as avatars in cyberspace, policymakers in Washington present themselves behind a veneer that is usually as predictable as it is tiresome. But not always!  Once or twice a decade some public official will do something that surprises, and in doing so leaves all the other players gobsmacked… Continue Reading

Nowhere To Hide

Posted in Digital technology, First Amendment
Because free speech aficionados like us are attracted to those subjects where even angels fear to tread, let’s talk about Donald Sterling. The first thing one wants to say is that the guy is a slob.  Indeed, there’s evidence that he’s been a slob for quite some time.  Read, for instance (if you have the… Continue Reading

Orts and All

Posted in Digital technology, Journalism, Media criticism
Facebook Buys the Oculus Rift.  As mentioned here a few months ago, the video game trade press has been wildly enthusiastic about the development of the VR headset called Oculus Rift.  And why not?  By all reports the OR headset is a significant leap forward in its immersive qualities, thereby providing a more life-like environment.… Continue Reading

Facebook Jumps Into the Political Fray

Posted in Digital technology
The resolution of the flap over campaign ads paid for by a group (Fwd.us) funded by some leading tech barons, most notably Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, is going to be revealing of many things. Perhaps for the first time the tech industry is giving financial and intellectual support to political campaigns that are bound to attract… Continue Reading

The ITU and the Internet

Posted in Digital technology, FCC, Free speech, International Jurisdiction, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
In 1971, when China was first admitted to the United Nations, William Rusher quipped that it was "a case of loosing a China in the bullshop." Such is the first thought that comes to mind in reflection on the latest bit of mischief to issue from the UN, in this case courtesy of that body's International Telecommunications Union (ITU).… Continue Reading

Google and the First Amendment

Posted in Digital technology, First Amendment, Media Regulation
By guest blogger KURT WIMMER, ESQ., partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C., and chairman of The Media Institute’s First Amendment Advisory Council. I just had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion at an American Antitrust Institute conference.  My panel included such luminaries as Eli Noam of Columbia, Gene Kimmelman of… Continue Reading

DOL Reportedly Postponing New ‘Lock-up’ Policy

Posted in Digital technology, First Amendment, Journalism
Published reports suggest that the Department of Labor is poised to delay implementation of a policy announced in April that would require reporters working in the DOL’s “lock-up” room to use government computers and transmission lines when writing stories about DOL reports and data as they’re released.  The proposed policy caused a flurry of criticism… Continue Reading

Julius Genachowski and Broadband Billing

Posted in Broadband, Digital technology, FCC, Media Regulation, Network Neutrality
Comments made earlier this week by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski have raised hackles at organizations like Free Press and kindred groups.  The occasion was the Cable Show in Boston, and the offending subject was what is called “usage-based billing” – the radical notion that people who use more of a thing should pay more than… Continue Reading

The Truth Behind Google’s Copyright-Bills Hysteria

Posted in Copyright, Digital technology, FCC, First Amendment, Media Legislation, New Media
Though the final chapter in the legislative history of the copyright bills hasn’t yet been written, a couple things are obvious even now: The tech industry has demonstrated great political clout through the mobilization of its users and fan base; and the industry lobby, led by Google, will say and do pretty much anything to… Continue Reading