Grant Gross

About the Author Grant Gross


Conservative group takes credit for anti-net neutrality comments

A conservative group took credit for a barrage of anti-net neutrality comments posted on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s website this week, but it denied generating fake activism.

The Center for Individual Freedom said it did not use a bot to generate comments after news reports raised questions about the legitimacy of the posts. Between Monday and early Wednesday afternoon, the FCC had received more than 128,000 comments duplicating the language provided by CFIF.

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Bot-generated comments swamp FCC, urging overturn of net neutrality

Some supporters of a U.S. Federal Communications Commission plan to repeal its recent net neutrality rules have apparently resorted to dirty tricks.

An apparent bot-generated campaign has posted more than 83,400 comments on the FCC’s website supporting the agency’s plan to gut its own net neutrality rules.

A handful of people whose names are on the bot-generated comments have denied making the comments, according to a report by ZDNet. The 83,400 comments, filed to the FCC’s comment system between Monday and Wednesday, all contain the same text, reading in part:

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FCC hit with DDoS attacks after John Oliver takes on net neutrality — again

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s website slowed to a crawl after comic and political commentator John Oliver urged viewers to flood the agency with comments in support of net neutrality, in what appeared to be a repeat of a 2014 incident.

With the FCC headed toward a repeal of net neutrality rules it passed in early 2015, Oliver on Sunday echoed his “Last Week Tonight” commentary on the topic from three years ago. (Note to viewers: The link to Oliver’s new diatribe is not safe for work.) As in 2014, the FCC’s website seemed to buckle under the load late Sunday and early Monday, but the cause may have been more sinister than a flood of people expressing their support for net neutrality rules.

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How to prevent your data from being searched at the US border

During the past two years, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has targeted ever larger numbers of travelers’ smartphones and laptops for searches as they cross the border into the country.

U.S. courts have generally upheld a so-called border search exception to the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, allowing CBP to search electronic devices without a court-ordered warrant. In April, a group of lawmakers introduced legislation to require warrants to search devices owned by U.S. citizens and other legal residents, but for now, the law allows for warrantless device searches.

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FCC chairman plans to ‘reverse the mistake’ of net neutrality

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will vote on May 18 to kick off a proceeding to “reverse the mistake” of the agency’s 2-year-old net neutrality rules, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said.

The rulemaking proceeding would be the first step toward repealing the regulations and reversing the agency’s 2015 decision to classify broadband as a regulated, telecom-like service.

Pai didn’t provide a lot of detail about his proposal during a speech Wednesday, but during the rulemaking, the FCC will seek public comment on how best to move forward with new net neutrality rules or guidelines, he said. The FCC is scheduled to release the text of Pai’s proposal on Thursday.

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FCC chairman to announce plans to repeal net neutrality

The chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to announce plans to repeal the agency’s 2015 net neutrality rules on Wednesday.

Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, will likely announce a plan to reverse course on the 2-year-old regulations and end the agency’s classification of broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service. In a Wednesday speech, Pai will reportedly announce that he is scheduling a vote for the FCC’s May 18 meeting to begin the process of repealing the rules.

Pai has called the net neutrality rules a mistake that “injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market.” President Donald Trump, who appointed Pai as the FCC’s chairman, has also criticized the regulations.

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FCC ends price caps on many business data lines

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted to deregulate the providers of the business data lines connecting broadband service to many small businesses, schools, hospitals, and ATM machines.

The deregulation of business data services, or BDS, could mean broadband price hikes for those businesses as well as for mobile phone customers, critics said. BDS provides the backhaul that connects mobile towers to the wired internet.

The commission’s 2-1 party-line vote ends price caps on much of the BDS market across the U.S., while retaining price regulations in about a third of the country.

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FCC ends price caps on many business data lines

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted to deregulate the providers of the business data lines connecting broadband service to many small businesses, schools, hospitals and ATM machines.

The deregulation of business data services, or BDS, could mean broadband price increases for those businesses as well as for mobile phone customers, critics said. BDS provides the backhaul that connects mobile towers to the wired internet.

The commission’s 2-1, party-line vote ends price caps on much of the BDS market across the U.S. while retaining price regulations in about a third of the country.

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FCC’s deregulation of business data lines could mean a price hike

If you operate a small or medium-size U.S. business, you can expect to pay more for broadband services in the near future because the U.S. Federal Communications Commission plans to deregulate providers of business data lines, critics of the proposal say.

Users of ATMs, shoppers in stores that use credit card scanners, and mobile phone customers could also see prices go up after the FCC deregulates the so-called business data services (BDS) market. Schools and hospitals also depend on BDS for their broadband service, and prices could rise as much as 25 percent in areas where the FCC removes price caps, critics warn.

The FCC is scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposal from Republican Chairman Ajit Pai that would deregulate large parts of the BDS market, which generates an estimated US$45 billion a year for AT&T, Verizon, and other telecom carriers. Incumbent telecom carriers welcome the plan, saying there’s plenty of competition in the BDS market, sometimes called special access.

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US FCC kills plan to allow mobile phone conversations on flights

Imagine a fellow airplane passenger sitting next to you and yelling into his mobile phone for six hours during a cross-country flight.

If simply thinking about that scenario gives you a headache, you’re not alone. On Monday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission killed a plan to allow mobile phone calls during commercial airline flights.

Since 2013, the FCC and the Federal Aviation Administration have considered allowing airline passengers to talk on the phones during flights, although the FAA also proposed rules requiring airlines to give passengers notice if they planned to allow phone calls.

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FCC kills plan to allow mobile phone conversations on flights

Imagine a fellow airplane passenger sitting next to you and yelling into his mobile phone for six hours during a cross-country flight.

If simply thinking about that scenario gives you a headache, you’re not alone. On Monday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission killed a plan to allow mobile phone calls during commercial airline flights.

Since 2013, the FCC and the Federal Aviation Administration have considered allowing airline passengers to talk on the phones during flights, although the FAA also proposed rules requiring airlines to give passengers notice if they planned to allow phone calls.

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FCC kills plan to allow mobile phone conversations on flights

Imagine a fellow airplane passenger sitting next to you and yelling into his mobile phone for six hours during a cross-country flight.

If simply thinking about that scenario gives you a headache, you’re not alone. On Monday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission killed a plan to allow mobile phone calls during commercial airline flights.

Since 2013, the FCC and the Federal Aviation Administration have considered allowing airline passengers to talk on the phones during flights, although the FAA also proposed rules requiring airlines to give passengers notice if they planned to allow phone calls.

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