Internet

Wikimedia Endowment gets new $1 million backing from Amazon

By on November 7, 2021

Amazon has donated $1 million to the Wikimedia Endowment, a fund supporting Wikipedia, the e-commerce giant said Tuesday.

The gift was intended to support Wikipedia and its nonprofit parent Wikimedia, which Amazon relies on for answers on its Alexa voice assistant. It was Amazon’s first ever to the free online information and education organization.

‘We are grateful for Amazon’s support, and hope this marks the beginning of a long-term partnership to supporting Wikipedia’s future,’ Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said in a statement.

Amazon said consumers can also donate to Wikimedia via Alexa Donations, a feature the company launched in April to let people use their Echo speakers to give money to nonprofits.

Amazon’s donation comes as the company and its founder, CEO Jeff Bezos, have both been working to do more in philanthropy. At the same time, Amazon’s surging stock price has made Amazon one of the most valuable companies in the US, at over $950 billion, and made Bezos the world’s richest person.

After little charitable work in past years, Amazon has stepped up with support for Mary’s Place, providing the Seattle nonprofit with a permanent homeless shelter in one of Amazon’s buildings. In 2013, it also started AmazonSmile, which donates a portion of retail sales to charity.

Bezos, who hasn’t been a major player in giving, earlier this month announced a new $2 billion fund to help nonprofits focused on homelessness and create a new network of preschools in low-income communities.

The company and Bezos have still faced considerable criticism, with some saying Bezos’ latest giving is small when compared with his $159 billion fortune. US Sen. Bernie Sanders and others have also criticized Amazon over how it pays and treats its warehouse workers.

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Microsoft Bing’s China outage may have been a technical error, not a block

By on November 4, 2021

China’s government may not have censored Microsoft’s Bing search engine after all.

 

The service’s outage stemmed from a technical problem, Reuters reported Monday, citing an anonymous source. Microsoft didn’t get any prior notice of a block from the Chinese government and it wasn’t an intentional move, the source reportedly said. The Financial Times reported last week that the outage was the result of a government order.

 

The outage resulted in Chinese internet users who tried to access cn.bing.com being directed to an error page, as they would if they tried to access other sites blocked in the country, the outlet reported. The problem lasted from Thursday to late Friday, it noted.

 

Microsoft confirmed the outage, but didn’t offer any comment on the cause, or the report.

 

‘We can confirm that Bing was inaccessible in China, but service is now restored,’ a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement on Monday.

 

 

 

Google pulled out of China in 2010 to avoid censorship, and last year an effort to bring a censored version of its service — known as the Dragonfly project — to the country was mired in controversy. Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo are among the many Western sites blocked by the Great Firewall of China.

 

China’s Cyberspace Administration couldn’t be reached for comment.

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FCC leaders say we need a ‘national mission’ to fix rural broadband

By on October 21, 2021
Ajit Pai is distancing himself from President Trump - Protocol — The  people, power and politics of tech

 

Democrats and Republicans in Washington can’t agree on much of anything these days.

One thing they do agree on: The digital divide undercutting rural America needs to be fixed. But figuring out the details of achieving this goal is where the two sides diverge.

As anyone who’s ventured beyond major cities or population centers in the US can tell you, high-speed internet access is a luxury that millions of people don’t experience. According to data from the Federal Communications Commission, roughly 39 percent of people living in rural regions of this country lack access to high-speed broadband, compared with just 4 percent of urban Americans.

What’s more, the internet that rural Americans can access is slower and more expensive than it is for their urban counterparts. To add insult to injury, rural residents generally earns less than those in urban areas.  

So how are policy makers working to solve this problem? I traveled to Washington last month to talk about this topic with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the only Democrat on the commission. Specifically, I wanted to know what they see as the cause of this divide and how they think it can be bridged.

One thing they agreed on: Deploying broadband is expensive in many parts of the country, making it hard for traditional providers to make a business for building and operating networks. But not surprisingly, they had different perspectives on what it will take to solve the problem.

‘In big cities and urban areas where you have dense populations, the cost of deployment is lower,’ Rosenworcel said. ‘When you get to rural locations it’s harder because financing those networks, deploying them and operating them is just more expensive.’

She added, ‘That’s not a reason not to do it. We’re just going to have to get creative and find ways to connect everyone everywhere.’

The maps ‘stink’

But before you can do that, you have to address one key issue, she said.

‘Our broadband maps are terrible,’ she said. ‘If we’re going to solve this nation’s broadband problems, then the first thing we have to do is fix those maps. We need to know where broadband is and is not in every corner of this country.’

You can’t solve a problem you can’t measure, she added.

The FCC’s current broadband maps grossly misstate where internet or wireless service exists and where it doesn’t. The issue hasn’t escaped the notice of lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle. At an FCC Senate oversight hearing this summer, Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana, put it the most bluntly when he said the maps ‘stink.’

One of the major reasons for that: The FCC has relied on wireless and broadband companies to report to the FCC where they offer service. But the agency doesn’t check the data. What’s more, providers only need to report advertised maximum speeds and not actual speeds. They also keep pricing information confidential, which means that broadband speeds may be available but outrageously expensive.

A bigger issue is that so long as providers report having just one customer in a census block — the smallest geographic area used by the US Census Bureau — who can get broadband service, the entire area is considered served. In rural areas, that home may be the only place with internet service for miles around.

Pai agrees that the inaccuracies of the FCC’s maps are a major problem. And he acknowledges that relying solely on self-reported data from the carriers is an issue. But he blames the previous Democrat-led administration for creating the problem and says his administration has been left to clean up the mess. He said that when he became chairman in January 2017, the FCC had to sift through that self-reported data based on parameters that individual carriers defined, creating a mismatched data set.  

‘So we didn’t just have apples and oranges,’ he said. ‘We had apples, oranges, bananas and many other fruits.’

He said his administration has tried to streamline the process so the FCC is at least gathering the same self-reported information from each carrier.  But he admits that the process is still flawed. To rectify that, the agency has developed a challenge process.

‘We’ve asked the American public, state and local officials, and carriers, consumer groups, farm groups in rural states to challenge those maps and tell us where they’re inaccurate,’ he said.

But he says this process will take some time to play out.

‘The maps as they currently stand aren’t perfect,’ Pai said. ‘But our goal is to make sure with respect to wireless connectivity that we have a clear-cut idea about where those connections are and where they aren’t.’

Rosenworcel argues these efforts aren’t enough. She thinks the FCC needs to use staff from its field offices to go out to check the maps. She also says the FCC needs to go directly to the public for this information.

‘Every one of us knows where we get bars on our phone,’ she said. ‘We need to figure out how to crowdsource all that energy out there in the public and develop a map that isn’t just made here in Washington but is made by all of us.’

Factoring in the net neutrality repeal

Another area of disagreement between the two officials is the role that the repeal of the popular 2015 net neutrality rules has played in spurring investment in broadband infrastructure, particularly for rural carriers.

The Obama-era net neutrality rules prohibited broadband companies from blocking or slowing access to websites or online services. They also banned providers from favoring their own services over competitors’ offerings. But the rules also reclassified broadband as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act, potentially subjecting broadband and wireless networks to regulation originally meant for telephone networks.

The broadband industry and Republicans like Pai argued that saddling broadband and wireless companies with utility-style regulation developed 80 years ago stifled innovation and network investment, particularly in rural areas where capital is already constrained.

‘We saw a downturn for the first time outside a recession in the two years when Title II was in effect,’ Pai said.

He said the rules hit smaller carriers especially hard. He pointed to Paladin Wireless in Royston, Georgia, which he said spent $8,000 in compliance under the previous rules. While that might be a small amount of money for a big company like AT&T or Verizon, he said, $8,000 to a small wireless company ‘could have gone a long way in terms of connecting people.’

Since the rules were repealed, according to Pai, rural operators have said they’re more confident about investing in their networks.

He said VTel Wireless, a small wireless company serving rural Vermont and parts of New Hampshire, decided to invest $4 million to upgrade its 4G LTE network as a result of the net neutrality repeal.

‘Smaller providers will tell you that this does factor into their decisions,’ Pai said.  ‘And to have a light-touch approach that protects consumers on one hand and preserves their incentive and ability to invest on the other is a really powerful solution, especially in rural America.’

Rosenworcel disagrees. She said she supports net neutrality and believes the agency’s ‘misguided decision’ to repeal the rules will ‘squander internet openness.’  

‘The argument is that we will see more deployment in rural locations,’ she said. ‘But I don’t believe that we have evidence that suggests that’s happening. Instead, what we have are more companies with more rights to block and censor content online, and that’s not good for any of us.’

Ajit Pai is distancing himself from President Trump - Protocol — The  people, power and politics of tech

A 1930s-style ‘national mission’

Ultimately, Pai and Rosenworcel agreed what’s really needed to bring broadband to every American is a national vision on the scale of what the US government did when it brought electricity to rural America in the 1930s.

‘We were able to get electrification to happen in rural, hard-to-reach parts of this nation,’ Rosenworcel said. ‘We need to be able to do the same with broadband.’

Pai agrees that a ‘national mission when it comes to broadband,’ on the scale of what happened the better part of a century ago, is necessary. He said what gives people hope in small towns throughout rural America is the ‘promise of digital opportunity.’

People living in these areas want the same thing that people in big cities and suburban areas want, he emphasized. They want to be able to better educate their kids, access high-quality health care and enable precision agriculture to grow their businesses. And all of that in 2018 requires connectivity to high-speed internet service.

‘It really would be a game-changer for rural America if every town in this country were connected,’ he said. ‘And that idea is bipartisan in nature.’

 

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Mastercard signs on as global partner for League of Legends

By on October 15, 2021
Mastercard named exclusive financial sponsor of the LCS - Dot Esports

Mastercard wants in on esports, and it’s going in big.

The company Tuesday announced in Singapore a new partnership with the Riot Games’ League of Legends, which is currently one of the biggest (if not the biggest) esport. A recent tournament, the Mid-Season Invitational, saw close to 20 million players watching online streams, and the game itself features an estimated player base of around 100 million gamers.

The deal will see Mastercard become the game’s exclusive payment service partner. Mastercard will also offer fan experiences through its Priceless site, where fans will be able to attend behind the scenes tours or watch with a pro player from VIP seats.

These experiences will be available at three major annual League of Legends events — the Mid-Season International, the All-Star event and the World Championship, with the first experience taking place as early as next month in South Korea for the World Championship.

‘League of Legends has scale, it’s growing pretty well and the environment lends itself to us and our partners for solutions that work for fans,’ said Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard’s chief marketing and communications officer.

Mastercard named exclusive financial sponsor of the LCS - Dot Esports

‘It’s very critical for us to have partners who are receptive to our approach for co-creating and innovating together, and we found Riot Games to be exactly that. We looked at every single opportunity and finally zoomed in into League of Legends.’

Rajamannar added that Mastercard has also looked into Riot’s action plans over recent reports of sexism and sexual misconduct and ‘are comfortable with what they [Riot] are doing’ to fix the issues.

The Mastercard League of Legends deal is likely the first of its kind, even if the company has sports partnerships in tennis, soccer and golf. Rival Visa already has sponsorship deals with esports teams and ties to the Olympics and the Fifa World Cup.

 

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1,000 Google employees reportedly protest work on censored Chinese search engine

By on October 14, 2021
Google employees reportedly sign letter in protest of China censorship  project | VentureBeat

When Google employees learned the company was working on a secret drone project for the US government that could weaponize their AI research, thousands protested the so-called Project Maven — and some employees reportedly quit.

Now, The New York Times reports that 1,000 employees are protesting another secret project — one that would produce a new search engine that would allow the Chinese government to censor search results for its citizens.

While the NYT report doesn’t confirm that Google is actually working on such a censored search engine — there’s some debate that the project, reportedly codenamed Dragonfly, actually exists — an employee protest might at least push Google to issue some sort of statement that confirms or denies the project and explains the company’s intentions. 

That’s what happened with Project Maven, anyhow. Google CEO Sundar Pichai wound up publishing an entire AI ethics memo (you can read it here) that clearly stated the company wouldn’t develop AI for use in weapons. (Notably, Google didn’t actually halt Project Maven, deciding to honor the remaining months in its contract.)

Google employees reportedly sign letter in protest of China censorship  project | VentureBeat

According to the NYT, the current protest is in the form of a letter to Google signed by 1,000 employees, asking for the company to be transparent about the project and create an ethical review process for the project. Gizmodo appears to have obtained that letter, which we’ve copied below:

Our industry has entered a new era of ethical responsibility: the choices we make matter on a global scale. Yet most of us only learned about project Dragonfly through news reports [in] early August. Dragonfly is reported to be an effort to provide Search and personalized mobile news to China, in compliance with Chinese government censorship and surveillance requirements. Eight years ago, as Google pulled censored web search out of China, Sergey Brin explained the decision, saying: ‘in some aspects of [government] policy, particularly with respect to censorship, with respect to surveillance of dissidents, I see some earmarks of totalitarianism.’ Dragonfly and Google’s return to China raise urgent moral and ethical issues, the substance of which we are discussing elsewhere.

Here, we address an underlying structural problems: currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment. That the decision to build Dragonfly was made in secret, and progressed even with the AI Principles in place makes clear that the Principles alone are not enough. We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table, and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building.

In the face of these significant issues, we, the undersigned, are calling for a Code Yellow addressing Ethics and Transparency, asking leadership to work with employees to implement concrete transparency and oversight processes, including the following:

1. An ethics review structure that includes rank and file employee representatives;

2. The appointment of ombudspeople, with meaningful input into their selection;

3. A clear plan for transparency sufficient to enable Googlers an individual ethical choice about what they work on; and

4. The publication of ‘ethical test cases’; an ethical assessment of Dragonfly, Maven, and Airgap GCP with respect to the AI Principle; and regular, official, internally visible communications and assessments regarding any new areas of substantial ethical concern.

Google left China eight years ago after similar concerns about censorship, but it appears the company is slowly pushing back into the Chinese market.

Meanwhile, tensions between the US and China are heating up — tariffs, hacks and national security concerns — so it’s an interesting time for this debate to occur.

Google declined to comment.

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The net neutrality fight isn’t over. Here’s what you need to know

By on September 12, 2021
What Is Net Neutrality? Here's What You Need to Know

The fight over net neutrality doesn’t die. It just changes over time.

The Obama era rules for the open internet proved short-lived, lasting briefly from 2015 to 2018. But the battle rages in the courts as supporters challenge the repeal of the rules and the Federal Communications Commission challenges states that are passing their own net neutrality rules.

Many people agree with the basic principle of net neutrality – the idea that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally – but plans for realizing that uncontroversial concept have been a lightning rod for conflict. Behind the clash: The former, Democrat-led FCC reclassified broadband networks so that they were subject to the same strict regulations that govern telephone networks. Supporters claim that was necessary for establishing the legal basis of the rules. But it provoked a backlash from Republicans, who said the move was clumsy and blunt.

On June 11, the Obama Era rules went away. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, appointed by President Donald Trump, had called those rules ‘heavy-handed’ and ‘a mistake,’ and he’s argued that they deterred innovation and depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks. (Read his op-ed on CNET here .) Hr took the FCC back to a ‘light touch’ approach to regulation, pleasing both Republicans and internet service providers.

Supporters of net neutrality say the internet as we know it may not exist much longer without the protections. Big tech companies, such as Google and Facebook, and internet luminaries, such as Tim Berners-Lee, fall in that camp.

‘We need a referee on the field who can throw a flag,’ former FCC Chairman and Obama appointee Tom Wheeler said at MIT during a panel discussion in support of rules like those he championed. Wheeler was chairman when the original net neutrality rules passed. (You can read his op-ed in CNET regarding internet privacy here. )

Even in death, the FCC’s net neutrality rules continue to make news.

If you still don’t feel like you understand what all the hubbub is about, have no fear.  We’ve assembled this FAQ to put everything in plain English.

What’s net neutrality again?

Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally, regardless of whether you’re checking Facebook, posting pictures to Instagram or streaming movies from Netflix or Amazon. It also means companies like AT&T, which is trying to buy Time Warner, or Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, can’t favor their own content over a competitor’s.

What were the rules?

Under the Obama administration, the FCC adopted rules in 2015 to protect these principles. The regulation prohibited broadband providers from blocking or slowing traffic and banned them from offering so-called fast lanes to companies willing to pay extra to reach consumers more quickly than competitors. To make sure the rules stood up to court challenges, the agency also put broadband in the same legal classification as the old-style telephone network, which gave the agency more power to regulate it.

Internet providers said the rules stifled investment, especially the new classification of broadband, which they feared would allow the government to set rates.

Commentary by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: Our job is to protect a free and open internet

Were the 2015 rules ever challenged in court?

As a matter of fact they were. AT&T as well as a couple of industry groups sued the government arguing the FCC didn’t have the authority to reclassify broadband. But in 2016, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the rules, dealing the FCC a significant victory. The ruling essentially made it clear that the FCC could regulate broadband. AT&T tried to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court. And President Trump’s Department of Justice urged the court to take the case. But ultimately, the high court rejected the appeal. And that 2016 ruling stands.

What happened to the 2015 rules?

The FCC, led by Ajit Pai, voted on Dec. 14 to repeal the 2015 net neutrality regulations. And in June the rules officially came off the books. This means that today there are not rules that prevent broadband providers from slowing or blocking your access to the internet. And there’s nothing to stop these companies from favoring their own services over a competitor’s service.

But one of the most significant changes that’s often overlooked is that the FCC’s ‘Restoring Internet Freedom’ order also stripped away the FCC’s authority to regulate broadband and instead handed that authority to the Federal Trade Commission.

Does this mean no one will police the internet?

The FTC will be the new cop on the beat. It can take action against companies that violate contracts with consumers or that participate in anticompetitive and fraudulent activity.

Is the FTC equipped to make sure broadband companies don’t harm consumers?

The FTC already oversees consumer protection and competition for the whole economy. But this also means the agency is swamped. And because the FTC isn’t focused exclusively on the telecommunications sector, some experts argue that the agency isn’t able to deliver the same kind of  scrutiny the FCC would.

More importantly, the FTC also lacks the FCC’s rule-making authority. This means FTC enforcement extends only to companies’ voluntary public commitments or to violations of antitrust law. Unless broadband and wireless carriers commit in writing to basic net neutrality principles, the FTC can only enforce antitrust issues, which must meet a high legal standard.

Also, any action the FTC takes happens after the fact. And investigations of wrongdoing can take years.

What about internet fast lanes?

The repeal of FCC net neutrality regulations removes the ban that keeps a service provider from charging an internet service, like Netflix or YouTube, a fee for delivering its service faster to customers than competitors can. Net neutrality supporters argue that this especially hurts startups, which can’t afford such fees.  

But Pai said the ban on paid priority was too restrictive. He wanted to make sure broadband companies could experiment with different business models, such as offering more zero-rated deals, which allow companies to give away content for free without it counting against a customer’s monthly data cap. Another potential business model would let a broadband provider give priority to a medical application or to services like those enabling self-driving cars.

Are any of the old rules still in place?

The one rule that was spared is the so-called ‘transparency rule,’ which requires broadband providers to disclose how they manage their networks. The FCC now requires service providers to commit to disclosing when and under what circumstances they block or slow traffic and to disclose if and when they offer paid priority services.

What are the states doing?

Attorneys general in 22 states and the District of Columbia have joined pro net neutrality consumer groups and Firefox publisher Mozilla in suing the FCC in federal court to reverse the FCC’s move.

There are also a number of states, such as California and Washington, which have passed their own laws governing an open internet, after the FCC. Several other states, like New York are considering similar legislation.

California’s law is based on the 2015 protections, but it goes further. It also outlaws some zero-rating offers, such as AT&T’s offer, which exempts its own streaming services from its wireless customers’ data caps. The law also applies the net neutrality rules to so-called ‘interconnection’ deals between network operators, something the FCC’s 2015 rules didn’t explicitly do.

Can states really enact their own net neutrality protections?

Many states think they can. California officials argue that since the FCC has refused to regulate broadband and because the agency actually abdicated its authority for such regulation to the FTC that they can impose their own rules for services delivered in their states.

But the Trump Administration disagrees. As part of its roll-back of net neutrality, the FCC included a provision in its order that pre-empted states from creating their own regulations. The Department of Justice and the broadband industry argue it would be too complicated for internet service providers to follow different net neutrality rules in 50 states.

Immediately, after California’s governor signed net neutrality into law, the Trump DOJ filed a lawsuit arguing the law violates the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.

‘Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does,’ US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

Several industry groups are also suing California over the new law making a similar argument.

What about the FCC’s comment system? I’ve heard there were issues. What’s that all about?

More than 22 million comments were filed with the FCC when the agency was considering repealing the 2015 rules. That was a record. But analysis of the comments showed that an overwhelming number of them were duplicates or submitted by automated bots.

An analysis found that two million of those 22 million comments submitted used stolen identities, including some who were dead, like actress Patty Duke, who died in 2016. Nearly 8 million comments used email domains associated with FakeMailGenerator.com. About half a million were sent from Russian email addresses. And of the emails that came from legitimate email addresses, the vast majority were form letters originating from the same pro- and anti-net neutrality groups.

Then there was the controversy over a supposed cyberattack on the comment system that temporarily shut down the platform on exactly the same day thousands of net neutrality supporters responded to comedian John Oliver’s call to flood the agency with comments.

That ‘cyberattack’ has been confirmed to be false, after more than a year of speculation. In August, the FCC’s inspector general reported the FCC had misled Congress and the public when it said the outage in May 2017 was the result of a DDoS attack. Instead the IG suggested the outage occurred because the agency hadn’t prepared its website for a flood of visitors.

What’s it all mean for me?

The repeal of the FCC’s net neutrality rules was a big change in policy. But for most people, their hasn’t really changed.

But over time, it could change significantly. Whether you think that change will be for the better or the worse depends on whom you believe.

Pai and many other Republicans say freeing up broadband providers from onerous and outdated regulation will let them invest more in their networks. Pai pointed to a report published in October by broadband trade group USTelecom that validates his policies by showing broadband spending increasing by $1.5 billion from 2016 to 2017.

Net neutrality argue that the FCC’s financial analysis is wrong. Democrats like Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, consumer advocacy groups, civil rights organizations and technology companies like Google and Mozilla say that repealing the 2015 rules and stripping the FCC of its authority will lead to broadband companies controlling more of your internet experience.

This may lead to higher prices. Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union also say it could affect your First Amendment right to free speech as big companies control more of what you experience online.

‘Internet rights are civil rights,’ said Jay Stanley, an ACLU senior policy analyst. ‘Gutting net neutrality will have a devastating effect on free speech online. Without it, gateway corporations like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T will have too much power to mess with the free flow of information.’

What Is Net Neutrality? Here's What You Need to Know

What’s next?

Net neutrality supporters have filed lawsuits to reinstate the old rules. Several tech companies, including Vimeo, Mozilla, Kickstarter, Foursquare and Etsy, as well as several state attorneys general, have launched lawsuits against the FCC to preserve net neutrality rules.

They argue the FCC’s decision to change the classification of broadband and to get rid of the rules violates the Administrative Procedure Act, because it is ‘arbitrary and capricious.’

The DC Circuit will hear the case against the FCC, challenging the repeal of its 2015 rules. This is the same court that upheld challenges to the original rules in 2016. Final briefs in the case due Nov. 27. But the hasn’t yet set a date for oral argument or to announce the makeup of the three-judge panel that will hear the appeal.

In October, California struck a deal with the DOJ that it would not enforce its net neutrality law until the lawsuit in the DC Circuit, challenging the agency’s repeal, is resolved.

What is Congress doing?

Democrats in Congress are trying to reinstate the FCC’s rules through the Congressional Review Act. A CRA resolution passed the Senate in May and must pass the House of Representatives by the end of the year. If it passes both houses of Congress, it still has to be signed into law by President Donald Trump to officially turn back the repeal.

Democrats in Congress have tried to make net neutrality an issue in the midterm election, but it’s unclear how much of a factor this issue has played in an already heated election cycle.

If Democrats retake Congress, they could write laws protecting an open internet. But in this sharply partisan time, it’s unlikely Democrats and Republicans will come to a consensus.

Could an FCC controlled by Democrats reverse course?

Yes, if Democrats take control of the White House in 2020, a Democrat-led FCC could reinstate the rules. They’d have to go through the same rule-making process as last time. But everyone agrees that this ping-ponging between having rules and not having rules isn’t good for anyone. For this reason, people on both sides of the issue would like to see a permanent fix from Congress.

What can I do now?

Net neutrality supporters say the fight isn’t over yet. They’re calling on those who care about the issue to continue pushing state legislatures to pass their own net neutrality measures.

 

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Instagram’s latest test getting rid of vertical scroll went pretty poorly

By on August 26, 2021

Some people logged into Instagram on Thursday to an unwelcome surprise: Their vertical scrolling through images had disappeared.

 

It was all part of a test change Instagram has been considering that would do away with the up-and-down swipe that’s become the standard way we practically scroll through anything in the modern age. Instead, Instagram’s been thinking about having people scroll side to side or tap to go through their feed.

 

Adam Mosseri, who heads Instagram, tweeted that this newest change wasn’t intended to be tested on so many people.

 

 

 

 

 

Instagram has tested these types of changes in the past as part of a broader effort for the Facebook-owned social network to draw in more people and to get its users to interact with the app more often. The app counts more than a billion people who log in each month, making it one of the largest social networks on the planet, behind Facebook itself, which counts more than 2 billion people.

 

 

 

Regardless of Instagram’s intentions this time around, the whole experience caused quite a stir, with people taking to Twitter to complain about how confusing everything had become.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bottom line is that you probably shouldn’t screw with people’s Instagram during the holidays.

 

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