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posted by Fnord666 on Monday April 08 2019, @03:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the is-my-pipe-dumb-enough dept.

Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica reports that the House Energy And Commerce committee approved the Save The Internet Act, which rolls back the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)* 2017 repeal of its 2015 order on network neutrality[PDF].

The Ars Technica article states:

Democrats in the US House of Representatives yesterday rejected Republican attempts to weaken a bill that would restore net neutrality rules.
[...]
Commerce Committee Republicans repeatedly introduced amendments that would weaken the bill but were consistently rebuffed by the committee's Democratic majority. "The Democrats beat back more than a dozen attempts from Republicans to gut the bill with amendments throughout the bill's markup that lasted 9.5 hours," The Hill reported yesterday.

Republican amendments would have weakened the bill by doing the following:

  • Exempt all 5G wireless services from net neutrality rules.
  • Exempt all multi-gigabit broadband services from net neutrality rules.
  • Exempt from net neutrality rules any ISP that builds broadband service in any part of the US that doesn't yet have download speeds of at least 25Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3Mbps.
  • Exempt from net neutrality rules any ISP that gets universal service funding from the FCC's Rural Health Care Program.
  • Exempt ISPs that serve 250,000 or fewer subscribers from certain transparency rules that require public disclosure of network management practices.
  • Prevent the FCC from limiting the types of zero-rating (i.e., data cap exemptions) that ISPs can deploy.

[amendment links above are all PDF]

Another Republican amendment [PDF] would have imposed net neutrality rules but declared that broadband is an information service. This would have prevented the FCC from imposing any other type of common-carrier regulations on ISPs.

The committee did approve a Democratic amendment [PDF] to exempt ISPs with 100,000 or fewer subscribers from the transparency rules, but only for one year.
[...]
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) claimed that the Democrats' bill "is not the net neutrality that people want" and is "actually more government socialism," according to The Hill.

But the primary opponents of the FCC's net neutrality rules were broadband providers and Republicans in Congress, not the people at large. Polls showed that the FCC's repeal was opposed by most Americans: "Eighty-six percent oppose the repeal of net neutrality, including 82 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats," the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland reported last year after surveying nearly 1,000 registered voters.

"It's embarrassing watching telecom shills in these committee votes attempt to turn this into a partisan issue when it's actually quite simple: no one wants their cable company to control what they can see and do on the Internet, or manipulate where they get their news, how they listen to music, or what apps they can use," Deputy Director Evan Greer of advocacy group Fight for the Future said.

The now-repealed net neutrality rules prohibited ISPs from blocking or throttling lawful content and from charging online services for prioritization. The Democrats' bill would reinstate those rules and other consumer protections that used to be enforced by the FCC. For example, Pai's repeal vote also wiped out a requirement that ISPs be more transparent with customers about hidden fees and the consequences of exceeding data caps.

*The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency of the United States government that regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The FCC serves the public in the areas of broadband access, fair competition, radio frequency use, media responsibility, public safety, and homeland security.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday April 08 2019, @08:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the accountability-is-for-suckers dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Elizabeth Warren wants jail time for CEOs in Equifax-style breaches

In 2017, criminals stole the personal data of about 143 million people from the credit rating system Equifax. It was a huge embarrassment for the company and a headache for the millions of people affected. Equifax's then-57-year-old CEO Richard Smith retired in September 2017, weeks after the breach was discovered, with a multi-million dollar pay package.

Massachusetts US Senator turned Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wants to make sure that CEOs who preside over massive data breaches in the future don't get off so easily. On Wednesday, she announced the Corporate Executive Accountability Act, which would impose jail time on corporate executives who "negligently permit or fail to prevent" a "violation of the law" that "affects the health, safety, finances or personal data" of 1 percent of the population of any state.

A CEO could get up to a year in prison for a first offense. Repeat offenders could get three years.

The penalty only applies to companies that generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue—Equifax had $3.4 billion in revenue in 2017. It also only applies to companies that are either convicted of violating the law or settle claims with state or federal regulators. Equifax may qualify on this score, too, since the company signed a consent decree with state regulators last year.

With that said, it seems that most data breaches probably wouldn't trigger criminal penalties under the proposed new law. A CEO would only face jail time if a data breach was the result of illegal activity by the company and if prosecutors can show that the CEO was negligent in failing to prevent it. And under current law, merely being the victim of a data breach isn't a crime.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday April 07 2019, @12:19AM   Printer-friendly

April 2, 2019

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, announced today that he would soon release a proposal to eliminate massive tax breaks enjoyed by the wealthy on their capital gains income. If successful, the proposal would ensure that income from wealth is taxed just like income from work.

His plan, which he has promised to flesh out in a white paper in the coming weeks, would tax the appreciation of assets owned by the very wealthy as income each year, an approach known as mark-to-market taxation. It would also subject that income to ordinary tax rates rather than special, lower income tax rates that apply to capital gains.

https://itep.org/sweeping-reform-would-tax-capital-gains-like-ordinary-income/
https://www.wsj.com/articles/top-democrat-proposes-annual-tax-on-unrealized-capital-gains-11554217383


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday April 04 2019, @12:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the "sleep-on-it"-protected-data dept.

A Political Quake in Turkey as Erdogan's Party Loses in His Home Base of Support

Step by step over the years, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey sought to ensure nobody could challenge him. He marginalized adversaries. He purged the army, the police and the courts. He cowed the press. He strengthened his powers in the Constitution. And he promised Turks a bright economic future.

So it was a huge surprise when the outcome of weekend municipal voting showed on Monday that Mr. Erdogan's party had not only lost control of Ankara, the political center, but maybe Istanbul, the country's commercial center, his home city and longstanding core of support. Even if the results were not final, they amounted to the most momentous political earthquake to shake Mr. Erdogan in nearly two decades of basically uncontested control at the helm of Turkey, a NATO ally and critical linchpin of stability in the region.

What was different this time was the rapidly tanking economy and a highly disciplined opposition. It deployed monitors to not only scrutinize the vote tallies but also sleep on sacks of sealed counted ballots to guard against possible tampering by members of Mr. Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party, the AKP. "We think they were not able to rig the election," said Ilayda Kocoglu, 28, vice president of the Istanbul branch of the opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, who slept on some sacks herself. "They were not expecting us to be that organized, or that resolved."

The results do not mean that Mr. Erdogan, whose term as president lasts for four more years, will change his behavior, which includes promoting Islamic religious values over secularism, closer ties to Russia and chillier relations with NATO. But the election showed Mr. Erdogan has weaknesses. "It's a catastrophe for him," said Asli Aydintasbas, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. "We now know he is not invincible."

See also: Erdogan's AK Party challenges Istanbul, Ankara poll results
Turkish voters send a clear message to Erdogan: Enough
Has Erdogan's Populism Reached Its Limits?


Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Wednesday April 03 2019, @07:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the sayonara-heisei,-youkoso-reiwa dept.

New Era Name 'Reiwa' Defines Japan As Emperor Akihito Prepares To Abdicate

Japan has revealed the name of its next imperial era to be "Reiwa," set to begin May 1 as Crown Prince Naruhito is expected to take the throne.

Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, announced the name at a press conference Monday morning local time, unveiling a board with the two kanji characters written on it. While there was some deliberation over the exact meaning, the two characters that make up the new name, or the "gengo," translate roughly to "good fortune" and "peace" or "harmony," according to The Japan Times.

"We hope [the era name] will be widely accepted by the people and deeply rooted as part of their daily lives," Suga told reporters.

The announcement comes as the current "Heisei" era draws to a close after three decades, with Emperor Akihito set to step down on April 30 in the first abdication of the throne in over 200 years.

[...]Announcing the name one month in advance gives companies and government entities time to incorporate the name into paperwork and computer systems, The Guardian reports. Even as the Western calendar has become more widespread in Japan, the era name is still used frequently, including on newspapers, coins and official documents like driving licenses. Under the system, 2019 is known as Heisei 31, or the 31st year of Akihito's reign.

Also at BBC.

See also: Japan's New Era Gets a Name, but No One Can Agree What It Means

Previously: MonarchyNews: The King is My Co-Pilot and Japanese Succession "Crisis"
Japan Clears Way for Emperor to Step Down in 1st Abdication in 200 Years
Big Tech Warns of 'Japan's Millennium Bug' Ahead of Akihito's Abdication


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday March 28 2019, @03:19AM   Printer-friendly

Cheollima Civil Defense: What is known about North Korean embassy group

A group calling itself the Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) says it was behind a raid on a North Korean embassy in the Spanish capital of Madrid last month in which staff were reportedly shackled and beaten.

According to a Spanish High Court document, the group entered the building on 22 February armed with machetes, knives, metal bars and cable ties and left with two computers, hard drives, USB pen drives and a mobile phone - items said to have been handed to the FBI.

But the organisation, a self-styled human rights group, disputes reports that this was a violent attack, saying that "no weapons were used" and embassy staff were "treated with dignity and necessary caution".

Despite having a website and YouTube channel, the group has made almost no contact with the world's media, and it remains somewhat in the shadows.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday March 27 2019, @07:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the Tractors-and-combines-are-just-iphones-on-wheels dept.

Farmers have been getting screwed by a combination of DRM linked to DMCA legalisms that effectively make farmers into criminals if they modify their own farming equipment, forcing them to choose between breaking the law or paying extortionate fees to equipment manufacturers for both hardware and software fixes.

Elizabeth Warren recently announced a new broad policy agenda focused on helping farmers. But buried in it is something everybody here can get behind too - the right to repair:

Consolidation is choking family farms, but there’s a whole lot of other ways in which big business has rigged the rules in their favor and against family farmers. I will fight to change those rules.

For example, many farmers are forced to rely on authorized agents to repair their equipment. Companies have built diagnostic software into the equipment that prevents repairs without a code from an authorized agent. That leads to higher prices and costly delays.

That’s ridiculous. Farmers should be able to repair their own equipment or choose between multiple repair shops. That’s why I strongly support a national right-to-repair law that empowers farmers to repair their equipment without going to an authorized agent. The national right-to-repair law should require manufacturers of farm equipment to make diagnostic tools, manuals, and other repair-related resources available to any individual or business, not just their own dealerships and authorized agents. This will not only allow individuals to fix their own equipment — reducing delays — but it will also create competition among dealers and independent repair shops, bringing down prices overall.


Original Submission

posted by FatPhil on Thursday March 21 2019, @04:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the copycat-copyright dept.

Last week we wrote a critical analysis of Elizabeth Warren's big plan to break up "big tech." As we noted, there was a lot in the plan that was nonsensical, unsupported by the facts or just plain confused. We'll be talking more about some of these ideas a lot over the next few years I imagine (stay tuned), but there was one line in Warren's plan that deserved a separate post: it appears that a part of Warren's big attack on big tech... is to give a massive handout to Hollywood. Here's the line:

We must help America's content creators — from local newspapers and national magazines to comedians and musicians — keep more of the value their content generates, rather than seeing it scooped up by companies like Google and Facebook.

That may sound rather basic and lacking any details, but what's notable about it is that the language reflects -- almost exactly -- the language used in the EU in support of the absolute worst parts of the EU Copyright Directive (specifically, Article 11 and Article 13). For example, this Q & A page by the Legislative Affairs Committee of the EU Parliament uses quite similar language:

The draft directive intends to oblige giant internet platforms and news aggregators (like YouTube or GoogleNews) to pay content creators (artists/musicians/actors and news houses and their journalists) what they truly owe them;

Why, that sounds quite familiar. Indeed, Warren's announcement even uses "keep more of the value their content generates," which appears to be a reference to the completely made up notion of a "value gap" between what internet platforms make and what they should be paying artists.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday March 17 2019, @07:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the at-least-the-House-and-Senate-agreed-on-something dept.

breitbart.com/politics/2019/03/15/donald-trump-vetoes-attempt-to-block-national-emergency

President Donald Trump vetoed a bill designed to block his emergency declaration at the Southern Border on Friday, in a ceremony at the White House.

“Today, I am vetoing this resolution,” Trump said. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it. And I’m very proud to veto it.”

Also at CBS News, CNBC, and USA Today.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday March 14 2019, @01:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the 3rd-time-lucky? dept.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-47547887:

Theresa May's EU withdrawal deal has been rejected by MPs[*] by an overwhelming majority for a second time, with just 17 days to go to Brexit.

MPs voted down the prime minister's deal by 149 - a smaller margin than when they rejected it in January.

Mrs May said MPs will now get a vote on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal and, if that fails, on whether Brexit should be delayed.

She said Tory MPs will get a free vote on a no-deal Brexit.

That means they can vote with their conscience rather than following the orders of party managers - an unusual move for a vote on a major policy, with Labour saying it showed she had "given up any pretence of leading the country".

The PM had made a last minute plea to MPs to back her deal after she had secured legal assurances on the Irish backstop from the EU.

But although she managed to convince about 40 Tory MPs to change their mind, it was not nearly enough to overturn the historic 230 vote defeat she suffered in January, throwing her Brexit strategy into fresh disarray.

[*] MP: Member of Parliament; PM: Prime Minister


Original Submission