The People won prison phone justice today – thanks FCC!

We won phone justice
Graphic by Jermaine Chambers
What kind of a nation would lock up 10% of its adult population long term for minor crimes like smoking a marijuana joint or stealing a jacket … and on top of that, make calling home so expensive for prisoners it became virtually impossible?

Well, that would be the United States of America – until this morning, that is, when the FCC voted to make prison calls affordable. Thank you for heading up this valuable initiative Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

Today (Thursday, 21 October 2015), the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to cap the rates and fees companies charge those families struggling to keep in touch with incarcerated relatives by phone. That change came as a direct result of mounting pressure from groups across the country. read more

OK John Oliver, I made my comment to the FCC on net neutrality. Happy now?

John Oliver on Net NeutralityI’ve made comments to the FCC about net neutrality in previous comment periods but not this one. Enter John Oliver, who made such a convincing argument about the need to take advantage of our bloody rights as US citizen to make a positive difference in this matter, that I felt shamed enough to submit another comment today.

If you too wish to be motivated to get off YouTube, Facebook or whatever you’re on for a while and use your computer for the God-given purpose it was clearly designed for (that is: the protection and furtherance of global democracy) then you too NEED to watch John Oliver’s segment on Last Week Tonight about Net Neutrality. Go on, I dare you to watch and come away uninspired. read more

Did Facebook illegally try to depress users?

Facebook manipulationI learned today that Facebook is under an FCC consent decree that will last 20 years (until 2032) to protect user’s privacy. Also that privacy advocacy group EPIC has filed a formal complaint against Facebook for violating it. Facebook recently attempted to influence the mood of 700,000 users by filtering posts in their News Feeds to show either more good or more bad news, and then monitored individual users’ posts for words known to reflect emotional state. This was a research project that involved Cornell University but users were not informed that it was taking place. read more

Verizon pushes court to rule that “free speech” equals suppression

Verizon’s stunning challenge to the FCC rule that dictates that the internet should be open, is that its (Verizon’s) “free speech” rights will be violated if it is not allowed to,

“…suppress someone else’s ability to transmit or receive information.

…Here’s the twist: Verizon clearly knows better. Its joint statement with Google about the prospect of open-Internet rules in early 2010 stated: “The minute that anyone, whether from the government or the private sector, starts to control how people access and use the Internet would be the beginning of the end of the ‘net as we know it.” read more

‘Barbershop Punk’ documentary explains Net Neutrality and issues

Michelle Maisto of Connected Planet writes,

“Barbershop Punk,” a David-and-Goliath style documentary about Net Neutrality and citizen’s rights to the Internet has been touring the film festival scene and on Friday night — a day after the Senate voted to strike down a move to block the FCC’s net neutrality rules . . . Small audience by small audience, the film — which includes interviews with Henry Rollins, OK Go’s Damian Kulash, Clinton White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry and FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, among others — is educating viewers . . . read more

FCC forms net-neutrality committee

by Sara Jerome / 04/27/11 03:01 PM ET

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a note in the Federal Register last week announcing that it plans to form a net-neutrality committee.

The “Open Internet Advisory Committee” is charged with tracking the effects of the net-neutrality rules, passed in December, and with providing recommendations to the agency as it enforces the rules.

The committee will reportedly include phone and cable companies, consumer groups, engineering experts, investors, Internet companies and device manufacturers. read more