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Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-07-06 20:12
[Note: This was submitted to the FCC for Reply Comments on the Title II Privacy NPRM]
The FCC’s Open Internet order and proposed Title II privacy rules divided what was unified.
For privacy, it broke what was working. Confused what was clear. Complicated what was simple. Unprotected what they sought to protect. Created more costs than benefits.
Since the Internet’s beginning the FTC has had privacy authority over information services.
For the decade since the FCC classified cable, wireless, and DSL broadband as an information service, and for the entire smartphone era where consumers became familiar with online privacy issues and regulation, the FTC was the sole unified regulator for protecting American consumers’ privacy.
In a 2014 filing to the FCC, the FTC explained why the FTC was better positioned to protect consumer privacy and data security than the FCC, because the FTC had national direct statutory authority to protect all consumers under: Section 5 -- that proscribes “deceptive” or “unfair” business practices; the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, (COPPA).
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2016-06-21 17:08
The likelihood improved this week, that the Supreme Court could have an interest in hearing an appeal of the recent USTelecom v. FCC court decision that granted the FCC complete Chevron deference to uphold the FCC’s Title II reclassification of ISPs as utilities. That’s because a new unanimous 8-0 Supreme Court decision suggests that the USTelecom Court may have granted the FCC too much legal Chevron deference on its Title II reclassification. (A hat tip to Gus Hurwitz’ tweet for flagging the Title II relevance of this SCOTUS case and his great legal analysis is here.)
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2016-06-20 11:48
Are the FCC’s set-top-box proposed rules really about unlocking the set-top-box to competition or are they really about advancing Google and Public Knowledge’s real agenda – forced unlocking of the licensing and copyright protections of the underlying video programming that generates ~$200b in annual revenues?
In response to the FCC Chairman’s request for an alternative approach to the FCC’s current AllVid proposed rules, the Pay TV coalition has proposed an app-based solution that solves all of the FCC’s publicly-stated problems with cable set-top boxes.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-06-15 17:47
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 majority decision to completely uphold the FCC Open Internet Order on every single one of the ~couple dozen argued points, after the court had twice before not granted the FCC complete deference in overturning the FCC on these matters, surprised most everyone given the number and seriousness of the legal challenges put forth, and the selective skepticism the judges signaled at oral arguments.
Given that this total support of the FCC was not anticipated, what does this potentially seminal court precedent mean practically?
For now, the FCC effectively enjoys complete deference from this Court on Open Internet issues.
The majority dismissed every single one of the petitioners’ best legal, process, and constitutional challenges and proactively cauterized them with court assertions that the FCC’s actions were reasonable, supported by the evidence, and compliant with the APA, or that the challenges were unpersuasive.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2016-06-14 11:03
The evidence increasingly proves that Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, companies collectively known as “GAFA,” are the dominant consumer-technology, “edge” platforms/incumbents in their respective communication sector markets of: information, smartphones, social media, and ecommerce.
The evidence below shows Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon to clearly be the emerging dominant communications incumbents of the 21st century communications sector ecosystem and that an apparent FCC assumption that “edge” companies cannot be a competition problem is both naïve and erroneous.
Despite the FCC’s “competition, competition, competition” policy mantra, this GAFA dominance reality has not kept the FCC from slavishly favoring the dominant GAFA incumbents, as “insurgent” upstarts deserving of special FCC treatment and protection, in all of the FCC’s current major communications policy revamps it is making without Congress: i.e. its Title II Open Internet Order; its Title II ISP-only privacy rules; its AllVid set-top box rules; and its implicit wireless policy of favoring spectrum sharing and unlicensed spectrum over spectrum auctions and licensing.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2016-06-08 12:49
With due credit to "Ripley's Believe it or Not!®,"so much odd and bizarre is happening at the FCC in the "name" of “privacy” that the topic calls for its own collection of: "Believe it or Not!®" oddities.
Title II Privacy Proposed Rules
The FCC claims consumer privacy is important, but preempted existing FTC privacy regulation of broadband providers before they had any replacement privacy protections in place, so U.S. broadband consumers have been left without any federal privacy protection for over a year!
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2016-06-02 17:44
Every company and industry competitor currently serving and targeting the digital home marketplace doesn’t know they are largely surrounded, but they are.
If one organizes and pieces together the many related things Google intimated at its I/O developer conference last month, especially about Google’s big advantage in conversational AI voice, with what we already know about what Google has already achieved and is doing, what kind of Google digital home strategy becomes clear?
The assembled pieces showcase a discernible big picture of an exceptionally comprehensive Google-Android strategy to try and monopolize the integrated connectivity of home automation (i.e. digital information, products and services) over time via: its strong advantage in conversational AI voice interface, Android dominance, and its proliferating OS tentacles -- very much like Google did with mobile search and search-related information, products, and services in increasingly dominating consumer digital services over the last decade.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2016-05-27 10:03
Summary: It is rare for an FCC proceeding to be so wrong-headed and ill-conceived that it has seven huge flaws. Tellingly this one does.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2016-05-23 22:39
[Note: this blog was submitted to the FCC as a reply comment in the AllVid Set Top Box NPRM.]
As more evidence comes to light exposing Google’s much increased search and Android dominance in the U.S. since the FTC closed its search and Android antitrust probes in January 2013, it only becomes clearer that the FCC’s AllVid proposed rulemaking to “Unlock the [set-top] Box” is obviously anticompetitive overall, not pro-competitive as the FCC naively claims.
(A brief context refresh is needed here. In a nutshell, Google is the primary impetus behind the FCC’s controversial AllVid set top box proposal that would force U.S. pay-TV providers to effectively open-source cable set-top boxes and the $200b worth of proprietary video programming/information that flows through them, so that Google and other edge platforms could monetize that proprietary video programming without a license -- for free.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2016-05-17 09:20
If you are online, you can’t escape Google’s myriad of ways it tracks you, but you can leave your ISP.
A famous 2009 Google Blog post boasted that: “Google is not the Hotel California — you can check out any time you like and you CAN, in fact, leave!”
Since Google chose that apt metaphor, and boasted about how easy Google makes it to “check out” your private data and “leave” to a competitor, lets test if you can ever “in fact leave” Google-Eye’s pervasively invasive online surveillance -- from a privacy perspective.
But first, why is this point a relevant exercise for people who care about privacy at this particular point in time?
Right now in the U.S., the FCC is trying to justify differential treatment of ISPs and dominant edge platforms like Google in its Title II privacy proceeding and its AllVid set top box proceeding, by claiming that ISPs are more “sticky” and harder to leave than dominant edge platforms like Google.