Headlines

Benton Foundation provides free, daily summaries of articles concerning the quickly-changing telecommunications policy landscape.

US Asks China to Help Rein In Korean Hackers

Location:
Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
1

The Obama Administration has sought China’s help in blocking North Korea’s ability to launch cyberattacks, the first steps toward the “proportional response” President Barack Obama vowed to make the North pay for the assault on Sony Pictures — and as part of a campaign to issue a broader warning against future hacking, according to senior administration officials

President Obama: North Korea's hack not war, but 'cybervandalism'

Location:
Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
1

President Barack Obama says he doesn't consider North Korea's hack of Sony Pictures "an act of war." "It was an act of cybervandalism," President Obama said.

How the Hacking at Sony Over ‘The Interview’ Became a Horror Movie

Location:
New York Times, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY, 10018, United States
Recommendation:
2

Things have gone so deeply wrong so quickly -- the movie industry will look back at this crossing of the Rubicon with a deep sense of shame -- it is hard to keep track of all the mistakes that led us here, but David Carr would like to take a crack at it ...

Sony hack raises journalism ethics issues, too

Location:
San Francisco Chronicle, 901 Mission St, San Francisco, CA, 94103, United States
Recommendation:
1

There are no longer any gatekeepers of news in this digital age.

Congress Steps In to Protect the Internet

Location:
Wall Street Journal, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10036, United States
Recommendation:
1

The US Congress has saved the Internet from President Obama.

US network neutrality campaign enables foreign governments' Internet control

Location:
Free State Foundation, 6259 Executive Blvd, Rockville, MD, 20852, United States
Recommendation:
1

There is more than a little irony in the fact that President Barack Obama is asking the Federal Communications Commission to classify Internet services as regulated telecommunications services (which they are not now) and the FCC's chairman, Tom Wheeler, appears prepared to go along with the presidential direction. The FCC’s action will make it more likely that other countries will succeed in their quest to put Internet governance under government control.

Judge: It’s OK for cops to create fake Instagram accounts

Location:
US District Court - New Jersey, Camden, NJ, United States
Recommendation:
2

United States District Judge William Martini has signed off on the practice of law enforcement using a fake Instagram account in order to become "friends" with a suspect -- thus obtaining photos and other information that a person posts to their account.

Wisconsin Targets the Media

Location:
Wall Street Journal, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10036, United States
Recommendation:
1

The Wisconsin assault on political speech has been in a lull, but it reappeared with a bang with a fresh document release by a state court. The disclosures include evidence that Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board wanted to go after Milwaukee radio host Charlie Sykes and Sean Hannity of Fox News.

Pandora cites free speech to defend against artist demands for royalties

Location:
Pandora, 360 22nd St, Oakland, CA, 94612, United States
Recommendation:
1

Led by key members of the 1960s rock band the Turtles, oldies artists have persuaded a series of judges in California and New York that they are entitled to royalty payments from Sirius XM. Those artists are suing Pandora as well, claiming the online broadcaster violated their copyrights under California law to songs they recorded before February 1972. On Dec 19, Pandora struck back, moving to dismiss a federal class-action lawsuit by the Turtles' Flo & Eddie because it allegedly violates Pandora's 1st Amendment rights.

Free hotel Wi-Fi coming, with strings attached

Location:
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Stamford, CT, United States
Recommendation:
1

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide -- with more than 1,200 properties including the brands W, Westin, Sheraton, Four Points and St. Regis -- announced that standard in-room Internet will be free to all Starwood Preferred Guest members starting Feb. 2. The move mirrors a decision announced by Marriott International to offer free standard Wi-Fi to members of its loyalty rewards program, starting in January.

FTC Raises Its Voice Under Its Soft-Spoken Chairwoman

Location:
Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20580, United States
Recommendation:
2

While public debate has raged in recent months over the Federal Communications Commission’s position on network neutrality and the Justice Department’s review of the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the Federal Trade Commission has operated somewhat more in the shadows. But FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez is pushing to regain some of the prominence of the FTC, the nation’s top consumer protection enforcer, which just celebrated its 100th anniversary -- by focusing particular attention on digital privacy and transactions.

FDA Oversight in the Internet Age

Location:
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 10903 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD, 20993-0002, United States
Recommendation:
1

A Food and Drug Administration rebuke of televised comments made by Aegerion Pharmaceuticals’ CEO -- which led the company to air a TV commercial correcting the statements -- was prompted by complaints from a government drug reviewer. The incident shed light on the regulator’s oversight of marketing in the Internet age, where comments that might have aired once and been forgotten in the past can now easily be retrieved through a Google search.

Facebook caves to Russian censorship, blocks page supporting Putin critic

Location:
Facebook (new HQ), 1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA, United States
Recommendation:
1

Facebook has blocked a page calling for a protest in support of a prominent opposition leader in Russia, apparently at the request of Vladimir Putin's government.

The news media crackdown in Turkey threatens democracy

Location:
Washington Post, 1150 15th St NW, Washington, DC, 20071, United States
Recommendation:
1

Autocrats often feel compelled to invent pretexts, no matter how unconvincing, for crushing their opponents.

This tiny legal tweak could change the way you watch TV and get online

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing a tweak to the nation's TV rules, suggesting that new online video providers be treated just like the country's traditional cable and satellite TV companies. That means companies offering live television over the Internet -- such as the now-shuttered Aereo -- would be given the same privileges (and requirements) that apply to companies such as Comcast or Time Warner Cable.

Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I Support Authorized for Eleven Winning Bids

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

On December 19, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission issued a public notice authorizing Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I support for eleven winning bids.

Vermont connects broadband library network

Location:
VT, United States
Recommendation:
2

Representatives from the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Vermont Telecommunications Authority and Sovernet Communications gathered to announce the completion of the project that provides broadband to 43 libraries from Pownal and Vernon to Montpelier and Plainfield.

Julie Drizin named executive director of Current

Location:
Current, 6930 Carroll Ave, Takoma Park, MD, 20912, United States
Recommendation:
1

The American University School of Communication has hired public media journalist, producer and critic Julie Drizin for the new position of Executive Director of Current, as the newspaper and website seeks to expand its coverage and impact in US public and nonprofit media.

US attributes Sony attack to North Korea

Location:
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW J. Edgar Hoover Building, Washington, DC, 20535-0001, United States
Recommendation:
2

Federal investigators accused North Korea of carrying out a computer attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, blaming the government for an intrusion that exposed corporate e-mails, wiped out computer data and underlined the cyber capabilities of one of the United States’ top adversaries. The new claim marks a significant escalation -- the first time that the United States has openly laid blame on a foreign government for a destructive cyberattack against an American corporation.

President Obama: Sony Pictures 'made a mistake' in canceling 'The Interview'

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
2

President Barack Obama addressed Sony Picture's decision to halt the release of "The Interview," during a press conference, saying he believed the studio made "a mistake" by pulling the film.

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