August 22, 2020

1591 words 8 mins read

FCC Boss Pai Urged To Accept Trump Loss Pause Dumb Attack On Social Media

FCC Boss Pai Urged To Accept Trump Loss Pause Dumb Attack On Social Media

With the Biden victory, FCC boss Ajit Pai is being urged to pause all controversial rulemaking, including the agency’s absurd and now likely doomed attempt to regulate social media and undermine Section 230 via the FCC. With a Biden win, Pai’s guaranteed to lose his spot as top commissioner, and is likely to exit the agency altogether.

Energy and Commerce Committee heads Frank Pallone and Mike D

oyle this week wrote to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simons, urging them to, as is tradition, pause any controversial rulemaking in preparation for the incoming Biden administration:

“With the results of the 2020 presidential election now apparent, leadership of the FCC will undoubtedly be changing. As a traditional part of the peaceful transfer of power — and as part of our oversight responsibilities — we strongly urge the agency to only pursue consensus and administrative matters for the remainder of your tenure.”

The message to adhere to civility and norms was also mirrored by Jessica Rosenworcel, who’ll likely be the next FCC boss (at least on an interim basis):

“I welcome the letter from Chairman Pallone and Chairman Doyle. Historically, the FCC has honored the transfer of power from one Administration to the next by pausing any controversial activity. I urge FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to follow this past practice in order to ensure an orderly transition of agency affairs. I look forward to continuing to work on the routine and consensus matters currently before the agency.”

Granted, Ajit Pai is the same FCC boss that actively blocked law enforcement inquiries into Trumpland and the broadband industry’s use of fake or dead people to generate bogus support for unpopular polices at the agency. He also spent years parroting false telecom lobbyist data as he happily dismantled the agency from within at the behest of ATT, Verizon and Comcast. He also rubber stamped competition and job-eroding telecom mergers without even bothering to look at the data. And, who can forget the time Pai thought it was a good idea to make a dance video with a pizzagater after giving the public a giant middle finger.

As such, any idea that the FCC intends to adhere to norms here as they simultaneously deny obvious and clear election results is likely wishful thinking. Even though Pai himself made such a request shortly after Trump won. Still, former FCC staffers like Wheeler advisor Gigi Sohn urged the agency to at least try to consistently adhere to norms:

.@FrankPallone @USRepMikeDoyle send a pencils down letter 2 @AjitPaiFCC requesting @FCC immediately stop work on all partisan, controversial items. When I was at FCC, our pencils went down quickly. Will that happen here?

Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) November 10, 2020

From the sound of things, it seems unlikely that the FCC’s bumbling attempt to regulate social media at Trump’s request has a long shelf life either way.

You’ll recall that Trump fired Republican FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly for very politely pointing out the FCC lacks the authority to regulate social media and that undermining 230 would likely create more censorship, not less. As his replacement, Trump nominated the NTIA’s Nathan Simington, the very guy that wrote Trump’s ridiculous EO demanding the FCC “reinterpret” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Simington’s appointment to the FCC is going through all the usual processes, including a hearing this week designed to provide media sound bytes supporting the completely bogus claim that social media unfairly censors Conservatives (data and reality often indicate the exact opposite). But everything I’m hearing is that Simington isn’t likely to obtain an actual vote, in part because the GOP realizes Trump’s 230 gambit is likely doomed, and they’re more interested in others getting the FCC seat (Crystal Tully, Deputy Staff Director at the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science Transportation is a name that keeps coming up in my conversations this week).

It’s one of several indications that while the GOP publicly is pretending the election is contested (to fundraise, avoid angering Trump’s adoring fans, and keep supporters engaged for the Georgia runoffs), they’re privately positioning and strategizing with the full knowledge the Biden Presidency is a done deal. Either way, there’s every indication that the dumb FCC attempt to regulate social media (and the rank hypocrisy required to embrace such a move after bitching about net neutrality as “government overreach” for four years), is likely dead as a doornail.

Author: Karl Bode

Date: 2020-11-13


Australian Cops Are Pre-Criming Students Too, Setting Minors Up For A Lifetime Of Harassment (2020-12-02) Its not just American law enforcement agencies turning kids into criminals Theyre doing it in Australia too In Florida the Pasco County Sheriffs Office uses software to mark kids as budding criminals using questionable markers like D-grades witnessing domestic violence or being the victim of a crime The spreadsheet adds it all up and gives deputies a thumbs up to start treating students like crimi..
White House Offers To Allow Renaming Confederate Bases… In Exchange For Getting Rid Of Section 230 (2020-11-20) Lets state upfront that there is no way in hell this is happening and its all just performative nonsense No one is actually going to do this However the NY Times is reporting that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has floated the idea of compromise to get the annual NDAA passed after President Trump has whined about it requiring the renaming of military bases named after Confederacy leaders ..
China’s Hong Kong Protester-Targeting ‘See Something, Say Something’ Hotline Is A Big Success (2020-11-09) The protesters in Hong Kong have a point: the Chinese government is supposed to stay the fuck out of managing Hong Kongs day-to-day governance for 50 years after its securing of this profitable market sector from the British in 1997 We all love to see colonialism dismantled but when the recipient is China caution should be deployed The Chinese government agreed to not turn Hong Kong into China 15 ..
Daily Deal: The Premium Learn to Code 2021 Bundle (2020-11-24) The Premium Learn to Code 2021 Bundle has 27 courses to help amp up your programming skill set Courses cover JavaScript Swift UI C# Ruby on Rails Python My SQL Bootstrap and more Youll learn how to create dynamic websites and apps how to harness the abilities of Raspberry PI how to create artificial neural networks and much more The bundle is on sale for $60 and if you use the code SAVE15NOV youll..
Content Moderation Case Study: Using Fact Checkers To Create A Misogynist Meme (2019) (2020-11-11) Summary: Many social media sites include fact checkers in order to either block or at least highlight information that is determined to be false or misleading However in some ways that alone can create a content moderation challenge Alan Kyle a privacy and policy analyst noticed this in late 2019 when he came across a meme picture on Instagram from a meme account called memealpyro showing what app..
Senator Tillis Is Mad That Twitter Won’t Testify About Copyright Infringement; Since When Is Twitter A Piracy Problem? (2020-12-03) After writing about the MPA/RIAAs ever-shifting targets of who to freak out about regarding copyright infringement it helps to take each new target with a grain of salt They were mad about Napster then LimeWire then YouTube then cyberlockers/cloud storage And now apparently the target is random social media sites? Theres been plenty of attention recently over the RIAA turning its attention to back..
Aussie Brewer Keeps Digging Holes With Trademark Lawsuits, Now Owes Court Costs (2020-11-09) If you can believe it despite my storied fascination with the intersection of trademark law and alcohol one battle between two Australian breweries flew under my radar Sorry okay? But it is worth writing about now if only as it demonstrates the length to which some trademark protectionists will go even when it ultimately causes that protectionist harm Laneway Brewery in Melbourne sued nearby La Si..
Merger ‘Synergies’ Force T-Mobile To Pay $200 Million Fine For Sprint Falsehoods (2020-11-06) T-Mobile has been forced to pay $200 million because Sprint took taxpayer money it didnt deserve to service customers that apparently dont exist In an announcement this week from the FCC T-Mobile will pay a $200 million penalty to the US Treasury to resolve an investigation into Sprint a company T-Mobile acquired against the recommendations of most antitrust experts for $26 billion earlier this ye.. Merger ‘Synergies’ Force T-Mobile To Pay $200 Million Fine For Sprint Falsehoods
Lawsuit Says NYPD Is Still Engaging In Unconstitutional Stops Of New York Residents (2020-11-04) A federal judge shut down the NYPDs stop and frisk program back in 2013 finding the suspicionless stops mainly of minorities were unconstitutional Then-mayor Mike Bloomberg defended the program – often frothily – by claiming it was essential to maintaining order Without stop and frisk the streets would be awash in deadly criminals and their deadly weapons An actual look at the data showed someth..
Thanks To Fair Use, One Man Is Trying To Preserve Old School Video Game Manuals (2020-11-03) We have discussed at some length the intersection of copyright laws and antiquated video game preservation Going back at least a decade now most of that focus has been on whether the use of emulators and the digitization of games that no longer have systems to run them ought to qualify as fair use You can couple that with the more recent trend of some museums with a focus on the art of video games..