Verizon v. FCC: Why It Matters

Tomorrow, Monday, Sept. 9, the D.C. Circuit will hear argument in Verizon v. FCC. [FCC links here to filings in the case – scroll down. I was involved in the ‘Natl Assn of Telecomms Officers Assn’ amicus brief. The remarks below were prepared for a public session in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 5, for which CSPAN has video here.] There’s a spray of issues in telecommunications policy and law, and lots of acronyms and shiny objects. So it should be a relief to people here that the case being considered by…

Book TV After Words: Susan Crawford, “Captive Audience”

“Ms. Crawford argues that the U.S. has lost its competitive advantage in the knowledge-based economy, because it is no longer at the forefront of the internet revolution. Other countries have internet capabilities that are significantly faster and less expensive to use than in the States. This puts U.S. consumers at a distinct disadvantage and, she argues, it also threatens America’s economic future. She discusses her findings with Andrew Blum, author of ‘Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet’”.

IMLS, USCIS to Make Announcement at ALA Conference

American Library Association’s Larra Clark, Director of OITP’s Program on Networks the Program on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century (AL21C), announces the upcoming presenters  for the 2013 National Conference. “A frequent media commentator and Internet activist, Crawford will explore themes outlined in her new book “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age.” Of particular interest to librarians, Crawford examines how powerful telecommunications monopolies stymie policy efforts to improve Internet access at affordable rates”. 

While we’re waiting

Back in early July, we heard that the McCain tech policy (eight months behind the Obama tech policy) was going to be released in… July. It’s August, it’s humid, and no policy. We can predict to some extent what the in-process policy will say. The bottom line: Sen. Obama sees the promise of technology. He understands that technology policy should be closely tied to this country’s economic policy, because technology may provide answers — solutions — for our sagging standing in the world. Sen. McCain, from all we can tell,…

We won’t defer when you’re wrong

When should a court defer to an agency’s interpretation of its governing statute and/or its own regulatory actions? I got interested in this question because deference by a flummoxed Supreme Court gave us Brand X, with its ahistorical “this looks really tricky so we’ll let the FCC categorize highspeed internet access” approach. In this week’s Third Circuit opinion about the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident, the court doesn’t defer much. At least three times, it corrects the FCC’s reinterpretation of past regulation. 1. FCC: We gave notice of and a…

BT and Ofcom

About 16 months ago, I heard Ed Richards of Ofcom speak at a CITI conference at Columbia, and blogged about it here. I remember thinking that Richards didn’t seem to think that highspeed access to the internet was all that important. The market had to demand it, and the market wasn’t being demanding.  Also, he wasn’t interested in government intervention to support highspeed access. [In April 2007] Richards said (paraphrase mine): We won’t give network providers money — instead, we want to let the market make the decision. Are consumers…

Supernova 2008

This is the first time I’ve been able to attend Supernova, and it seems like a fine conference. It’s all being made available online: Conversation Hub: http://www.conversationhub.com Live video stream: http://www.mogulus.com/supernova2008 IRC Chat: irc://irc.freenode.net/supernova2008 Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/supernova2008 Yahoo Pipe: http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=055fe30a2c9cbcfc197e494d6db2885a In a back-and-forth this afternoon between David Morin of Facebook and Kevin Marks of Google, Morin said that FB had “turned off” Google’s Friend Connect application because it was a violation of FB’s Terms of Service. Morin also said that that FB wants to make sure that privacy settings applied…

Bit caps, consolidation, and Clearwire

The news that Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T are all considering capping use of their networks – so that “overuse” would trigger a charge – has prompted intense discussion of just why these network operators are moving in this direction.  One camp suggests that these operators have to do *something* to manage congestion, and because any protocol-specific discrimination plan raises howls of protest from the Net Neutrality side of the fence adopting bit-usage discrimination schemes is inevitable.  It’s the least-bad approach, following this view. The Net Neutrality side, for its…

P2P traffic standards

Someone pointed me today to an IETF workshop held last week at MIT (announcement here) about possible standard-setting activities focused on P2P issues. The workshop was prompted by the Comcast/BitTorrent experience. This is a good development, in my view. Putting aside the policy implications of the Comcast situation (and the question whether the FCC has or should have jurisdiction to do anything about that situation), the key problem for the globally interoperable internet as a whole is whether network operators are adhering to internet standards. The cable networking standard, DOCSIS,…

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Last Friday’s news that Lori Drew (neighbor who posed on MySpace as potential teenage boyfriend) was being indicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act represents yet another cyberlaw constitutional moment. Once again, we’re pressing laws intended to address X problem into service mending Y dispute. This time, however, the law is more sweeping than we might like to admit. In fact, courts have already read the CFAA to stretch awfully far – including to violations of agreements *not* found in the Terms of Service on a particular web site….

The New Clearwire

The new Clearwire could be game-changing, but the rules of the game may not be quite as Clearwire presents them. I have been wondering since last July whether something significant would happen in the Google/Sprint world. The deal announcement earlier this weekseems to be that key development. (Here’s the press release and here are slides describing the transaction.) In a nutshell, Sprint will contribute its substantial spectrum licenses in the 2.5 GHz range and its WiMAX-related assets and intellectual property. Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks…

700 MHz Update: Will VZ comply with the rules?

Last Friday (HT::  IPDemocracy), Google filed a petition [PDF] asking that the Commission ensure that Verizon understands what those “open platform” requirements for the C Block really mean.  Verizon has taken the position in the past that its own devices won’t be subject to the “open applications” and “open handsets” requirements of the C Block rules, and Google says it is concerned that Verizon doesn’t plan to follow those requirements in the future. This is big.  Here’s the background. In the 700 MHz auction rules, the Commission noted that public…