Feb 27, 2018
Randy Abreu (@AbreuForNYC) is an author, attorney, tech-policy nerd and former candidate for New York City Council from the Bronx. Abreu served in the Obama Administration where he was appointed to the Department of Energy's Office of Technology Transitions and Clean Energy Investment Center. He is an alum of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and Google Policy fellowships and is currently a Google NextGen Leader, Internet Law and Policy Foundry fellow, and member of the Bronx Progressives.
The FOSTA bill—the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex trafficking bill—cleared the House Rules Committee on Monday. It now moves to a floor vote and it includes California Republican representative Mimi Walters’ amendment to allow victims to sue and prosecutors to charge website operators who enable sex trafficking. The bill now moves to a floor vote and it now has the support of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
The National Rifle Association awarded FCC Chairman Ajit Pai with a “Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire” award. The NRA wanted to recognize Pai for enduring the incredible public outcry over the push to repeal the net neutrality rules.
The FCC’s repeal of the net neutrality rules was published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, giving Congress 60 days to block the repeal under the Congressional Review Act before the first few rules take effect. Senators who support the measure to block the repeal need one more vote. Eric Limer reports in Popular Mechanics. Meanwhile, a coalition of 22 state attorneys general have now refiled their lawsuits to block the repeal as well.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission against AT&T claiming the company throttled customers can move forward. The FTC alleges that AT&T slowed down customers’ data even though the customers had unlimited data plans. As Harper Neidig notes in the Hill, the decision is seen as affirming the FTC’s role as enforcer of net neutrality principles.
Intel concealed the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws from US officials until they were made public some six months after Google’s parent company, Alphabet, told them about them. Intel now faces 32 pending lawsuits related to the flaws, as well as an insider-training investigation concerning the company’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, who sold a chunk of company stock in the fourth quarter of last year, after the security flaws were known. Tom Warren has the story in the Verge.
The U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that Google was justified in firing former Google computer engineer James Damore. Despite all the recent so-called research about a supposed lack of “viewpoint diversity” in Silicon Valley, and all of the histrionics around high profile individuals leaving Silicon Valley because they don’t feel free to express themselves—the NLRB found that Damore’s derogatory comments in a memo about how women’s biological traits affect their work performance were “unprotected discriminatory comments”. Edward Moyer has a report in CNET.
In another case, an employee who criticized Damore, whom Google also subsequently fired, is also now suing the company for letting him go. The employee, Tim Chevalier, who is queer and transgender, posted that Damore’s memo was misogynistic and also that “’white boys’ expect privilege and feel threatened if they don’t receive it.’”
Forty-seven percent of parents are worried that their kids are addicted to mobile devices. That’s according to a new survey from Common Sense Media and Survey Monkey. But 89% believe that they are in control of their kids’ device use. Brett Molina reports in USA Today.
SpaceX launched two experimental satellites that will test the internet service it wants to provide to everyone on the planet via 10,000 low-orbiting satellites whizzing around the earth at over 200 miles per hour. The project has FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s blessing. Pai urged his fellow commissioners to approve SpaceX’s proposal to provide broadband worldwide. Jackie Wattles reports in CNN.
Facebook announced last week that it would begin sending postcards to ad buyers in order to verify their identities. In the aftermath of revelations that Russian hackers relied extensively on Facebook to push Russian propaganda, the social media giant wants to prove to regulators and the public that they are committed to weeding out bots and fake profiles. Dustin Volz reports for Reuters.
Nancy Scola reported for Politico that Facebook will now study economic inequality in the United States using its own, massive data trove. The Stanford-led team will be led by economist Raj Chetty.
Michael Laris and Jonathan O’Connell reported for the Washington post that the Washington, D.C. government has granted Elon Musk a permit to start digging for the Hyperloop. The Hyperloop would be a vacuum-based transportation system that’s capable of traveling at 670 miles per hour.
It was a tough week last week for right-wing conservatives on social media. Luis Sanchez reports for the Hill that conservatives on Twitter have been bleeding followers since itreportedly suspended thousands of user accounts. One claimed to have lost as many as 2,000 in a single night
Twitter also announced Wednesday that it will be limiting users’ ability to automate and post duplicate posts across platforms and accounts.
Ali Breland of the Hill reports that over at Medium, the blogging platform suspended the accounts of far-right bloggers Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer
And the YouTube channel of the far right outlet InfoWars posted a conspiracy video claiming that one of the Parkland survivors was an “actor”. YouTube issued an apology and issued a strike against InfoWars. According to YouTube’s community guidelines, users that get 3 strikes within 3 months will have their channels terminated. Abby Ohlheiser has more at the Washington Post.