Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Featured Blogs

Likely and Behind the Scenes Changes at the FCC

It should come as no surprise that the Federal Communications Commission will substantially change its regulatory approach, wingspan and philosophy under a Trump appointed Chairman. One can readily predict that the new FCC will largely undo what has transpired in previous years. However, that conclusion warrants greater calibration. more»

Shadow Regulations and You: One More Way the Internet's Integrity Can Be Won

Even those who care about net neutrality might not have heard of the aptly-called Shadow Regulations. These back-room agreements among companies regulate Internet content for a number of legitimate issues, including curbing hate speech, terrorism, and protecting intellectual property and the safety of children. While in name they may be noble, in actuality there are very serious concerns that Shadow Regulations are implemented without the transparency, accountability, and inclusion of stakeholders necessary to protect free speech on the Internet. more»

Data Breaches and You: ISOC Global Internet Report 2016 Explains Critical Steps You Need to Take Now

Data breaches are the oil spills of the digital economy. Over 429 million people were affected by reported data breaches in 2015 -- and that number is certain to grow even higher in 2016. These large-scale data breaches along with uncertainties about the use of our data, cybercrime, surveillance and other online threats are eroding trust on the Internet. more»

A Real-Names Domain Registration Policy Would Discourage Political Lying

I've discussed the role of the Internet in creating and propagating lies in a previous post, noting that Donald Trump lied more frequently than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders during the campaign. Now let's look at fake news like the claim that Pope Francis had endorsed Trump. The fake post features the following image and includes a "statement" by the Pope in which he explains his decision. more»

How Bubbles Decide Elections

The victory of Trump left the world perplexed, it did not take long to appear texts blaming Facebook and its bubble for the unexpected result. The "bubble", a theme that circulated more for the academic and technical spheres gained an unusual popularity in the last days, never saw so many texts on the subject published in such a short space of time, and in the recognized spaces of global journalism. more»

The Sharing Economy and Sec. 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act

The sharing economy is a challenge for local communities. On the good, it creates economic opportunity and reduces the price. On the bad, it circumvents public safety and welfare protection. Such is the clash between Airbnb and local jurisdictions. San Francisco implemented a local ordinance that permits short-term rentals on the condition that the rental property is registered. In order to register the property, the resident must provide proof of liability insurance... more»

The FCC Under Trump - A Long Shot

In May 2013, President Obama picked Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communication Commission. The Internet community generally disapproved because Wheeler had been a lobbyist for both the cellular and cable industries and a major contributor to the Obama campaign. Internet service providers AT&T and Comcast lauded the appointment and a few months later, the President was spotted playing golf with Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast. more»

The Internet (and ICANN) After the Trump Apocalypse

Three months ago, I pondered the question Would the Internet Survive a Trump Apocalypse? As improbable as that outcome was in August, enough of the American electorate has "pulled the pin" to bring it on. It is a brave new world -- distinctly darker and more uncertain. At the moment, the Trump team is trying to figure out how to manifest their vacuous invectives masquerading as policy. The world is watching, and Washington looks like the scene in Ghostbusters where the containment grid has just been turned off, and the demonic ghosts are rising from the underbelly of K-Street. The result here is a Washington lobbying dream -- a result rather different than that promised to na├»ve Trump devotees. more»

When CDA Immunity is Not CDA Immunity

Here's a question: If 47 USC 230(c) (the Good Samaritan provision of the Communications Decency Act) says that online services are not liable for third party content, then can you even sue the online service? Shouldn't the online service be immune from lawsuit? Because, after all, what would be the point of being sued for something for which you cannot be liable? more»

What Steps Can Africans Take and Lead in Internet Governance and Social Justice?

Almost three years ago, I published a blog post on CircleID titled "Internet Governance: Why Africa Should Take the Lead." I argued that African Internet stakeholders use a 'wait and see approach' in matters as critical as Internet governance," and that African voices are missing in key Internet governance discussion fora. Additionally, I suggested that some reasons for this approach, including that Africa lacks well-trained Internet governance experts and Africans see foreign affairs and international relations as an East versus West dynamic. more»