Policy & Regulation

Policy & Regulation / Most Commented

Who is Responsible in Our Cloudy World?

A number of large technology companies, including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, have announced that they have signed up to a voluntary code of conduct on how they do business in countries that curtail freedom of expression like China and Singapore... It's not surprising to see this sort of self-regulation being proposed as otherwise political initiatives like the Global Online Freedom Act, passed in one US Senate committee but currently floating in legislative limbo, could actually make it into law. more

Domain Slammers Go Phishing

ICANN introduced a requirement for domain name registrars to send out annual notices to all their customers (registrants) to check the Whois on their domain names to ensure the information is correct. While this seemed fairly reasonable (if cumbersome), the fact is it confuses the heck out of people -- and creates a whole lot of confusion for registrants. But that was a problem we could deal with. Fast-forward to October, 2008... more

The Trouble with White Spaces

Like several other engineers, I'm disturbed by the white spaces debate because it focuses on what I regard as the wrong question. The White Space Coalition argues that showing that a system can be constructed that prevents interference between White Space Devices and television broadcast signals compels the Commission to offer up the White Spaces for unlicensed use. This is far from obvious. more

The Other Vote on November 4th

The vote that Federal Communications Commissioners are planning for November 4 is not as important as the voting we'll do on that day, but it does matter a lot to the future of the United States. Unless the forces opposed to progress manage to postpone FCC action (which they are trying very hard to do), the FCC could decide to set the stage for another generation of innovative products with which the US will strengthen its competitive position in global markets... more

White Spaces: Timing

Last week's emergency petition by the broadcasters to delay the FCC's Nov. 4 vote is just part of the white spaces atmosphere right now. Ars Technica reports that the mud is really flying -- the broadcasters are accusing proponents of white space use of wanting to kill off television. It's a familiar argument -- "If you do Y, broadcast television as we know it will be destroyed." more

Read Obama and McCain Campaign Responses to Key Wireless, Broadband Issues

RCR Wireless has posted responses received from presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain to questions covering a wide range of policy issues confronting the wireless industry, telecom, broadband and high-tech sectors in general. Questions asked by Jeffrey Silva, RCR Wireless' Washington Bureau Chief, included: What are the biggest telecom and technology issues the next president of the United States will face? While the wireless industry is more competitive than other telecom sectors, consolidation in recent years has reduced the number of service providers. What steps would Obama/McCain administration take to prevent antitrust abuses and protect consumers? more

White Spaces: The NAB vs. Reality

One of Washington's most powerful corporate lobbies is at it again. Raising a dust cloud of lies in a last-ditch effort to stop new technology that could better the lives of millions. For more than five years, now, the television broadcast lobby has tried to deny the American public access to white spaces -- unused airwaves that sit vacant between TV channels. Technology now exists that would tap the near limitless potential of these airwaves and deliver high-speed Internet services to tens of millions of people now left on the wrong side of the digital divide. more

Google Wants the Other Important Vote to Also Take Place on the Election Day

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) last Friday filed an emergency petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in order to stop the November 4th vote from taking place which may result in favorably supporting the use of "white space" spectrum. Today, Google's Washington Telecom and Media Counsel, Richard Whitt, urges all citizens to get involved in Free the Airwaves initiative; emphasizing that "it can happen only if the FCC moves forward with rules that make the best possible use of this spectrum." Whitt further explains the situation in a post on Google's Official Blog... more

White Spaces News… Interesting First Step

When the U.S. Digital Television Transition (DTV) transition happens in Feb. 2009, channels 2 through 51 will remain allocated for television transmission. Few of the nation's television markets actually use 49 channels. Indeed, most use less than half of that number... Today, with Congress in recess, leaving less room for last-minute-Lucy-with-the-football lobbying gambits, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appears to be poised to release a report saying the white spaces can be used without necessarily causing interference to existing broadcasts. There are still many questions to be answered... more

My Name is Vint Cerf, I'm a Scientist and I am Voting for Barack Obama

Vint Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist who is also credited as the co-founder of the Internet, has endorsed U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama in a YouTube video submitted to AVoteForScience channel. In the video, Cerf discusses the importance of Net Neutrality (NN) and the fact that Obama is the candidate that supports NN. The following excerpt is a portion of what Cerf says in the video... more

The Net Neutrality Conflicts in Obama vs. McCain Presidential Debates?

According to U.S. presidential candidates' position statements on the issues, John McCain is against Net neutrality and Barack Obama supports it. Glenn Derene, senior tech editor of Popular Mechanics who has put some thought into this issue in light of the current presidential race, says Net Neutrality is "one of the few technology issues on which the candidates clearly disagree." Derek explains... more

U.S. Counterterrorism Data Mining Measures Questioned by New NRC Report

An extensive report released today by The National Research Council (NRC), titled "Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Assessment", examines the balance between security and privacy. According to the report, all U.S. agencies with counterterrorism programs that collect or "mine" personal data -- such as phone, medical, and travel records or websites visited -- should be required to systematically evaluate the programs' effectiveness, lawfulness, and impacts on privacy. more

Broadband Data Improvement Act Passes Senate, House, A.K.A. Find Why U.S. is on Continuous Decline

In a major win for the public interest, the Broadband Data Improvement Act passed the Senate (on September 26th) and the House (on September 29th). Due to amendments, it now goes back to the Senate for final approval (should be pro-forma) before it lands on George Bush's desk. With the United States falling further and further behind a host of other countries, the question on many people's minds (including the folks over at Point-Topic who created this graphic) is, "Why is this happening?" more

It's Official: China Now Has More Broadband Lines than the United States

It was just last year that those of us raising alarms about the massive half-decade market failure in the United States to adequately provision broadband services were facing a misinformation campaign that raw numbers mattered more than percentage rankings. According to this argument, the U.S. broadband market was sound because we had more broadband lines than anyone else. The misinformation brigade got so much attention that public interest groups had to issue reports systematically refuting the PR are marketing hype. more

European Commission on the Future of the Internet

The European Commission has just published a communication which describes the broad lines of its Internet policy in the coming years. Vint Cerf, on the Google Public Policy blog sees this as a very interesting vision. Indeed, it closely links the issue of openness of the Internet to several obvious and not-so-obvious factors. more