FCC Forced to Get Public Opinion on Net Neutrality

· Andrew Orr · Link

A court order is forcing the FCC to once again ask the public’s opinion on whether gutting net neutrality was a good idea. And just like last time, the agency is doing everything possible to distract, deflect, and defend.

In a reminder of just how petty federal telecoms regulation has become, the FCC can’t even take this implicit rebuke professionally. And so it attempted to hide the reality of the situation by flooding its announcements website on Wednesday with suddenly important news and describing the public comment period in the most obscure terms possible.

FCC Unsure Whether to Punish Carriers for Selling Location Data

· Andrew Orr · Link

Two years ago we found out that US carriers were selling real-time location data of its customers. The FCC has wrapped up its investigation, and maybe it will punish the carriers…or maybe not. Who knows? Chairman Ajit Pai doesn’t.

Pai’s statement went on: “Accordingly, in the coming days, I intend to circulate to my fellow Commissioners for their consideration one or more Notice(s) of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in connection with the apparent violation(s). We are unable to provide additional information about any pending enforcement action(s) beyond what is stated in the letter.”

If that seems unusual vague: that “one or more” mobile operators “apparently violated” the law by selling location data, you’re not the only one.

FCC Urged to Do Something About SIM Swapping

· Andrew Orr · Link

Lawmakers are urging the FCC to do something about SIM swapping attacks, which have been responsible for the theft of tens of millions.

SIM swapping is an insidious form of mobile phone fraud that is often used to steal large amounts of cryptocurrencies and other items of value from victims. All too frequently, the scam involves bribing or tricking employees at mobile phone stores into seizing control of the target’s phone number and diverting all texts and phone calls to the attacker’s mobile device.

Broadband Companies Want FCC to Hide Data on Internet Speeds

· Andrew Orr · Link

Internet providers have successfully persuaded the FCC to remove unfavorable data that shows their advertised speeds are typically higher than their actual speeds.

Internet experts and former FCC officials said the setup gives the internet companies enormous leverage. “How can you go to the party who controls the information and say, ‘please give me information that may implicate you?’ ” said Tom Wheeler, a former FCC chairman who stepped down in January 2017.

Jim Warner, a retired network engineer who has helped advise the agency on the test for years, told the FCC in 2015 that the rules for providers were too lax. “It’s not much of a code of conduct,” Mr. Warner said.

So it seems these companies regularly lie about their internet speeds. Shocking, I know.

Apple's Unusual Planning to Make Apple TV+ a Success

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Big Bird and Cody and Apple TV+

Apple is gearing up for Apple TV+ in ways we haven’t seen before. That’s because success of this streaming service is so critical to Apple.

FCC Warns of Increase in One-Ring Robocalls

· Andrew Orr · Link

The FCC is warning of an increase in one-ring robocalls. Scammers call you once, the hope you’ll be curious enough to call back.

A long-running hustle that is reportedly seeing a resurgence involves a scammer calling someone and then hanging up after just a couple of seconds. The perpetrator hopes that curiosity will prompt the person to call back. But doing so will result in expensive per-minute charges, leaving the caller with an expensive bill if the scammer succeeds in keep them on the line for any length of time.

John Oliver Robocalls FCC to Protest Ineffective Rules

· Andrew Orr · Link

John Oliver is robocalling FCC commissioners like Ajit Pai. He argues that the rules are ineffective at stopping them.

“Hi FCC, this is John from customer service,” Oliver’s recorded voice says on the call. “Congratulations, you’ve just won a chance to lower robocalls in America today… robocalls are incredibly annoying, and the person who can stop them is you! Talk to you again in 90 minutes—here’s some bagpipe music.”

In 2018 Americans Got 26.3B Robo Calls

· Andrew Orr · News

Hiya, a spam-blocking app analyzed 450,000 of its users to figure out how big of a problem robo calls are.

AT&T Updates Smartphones With Misleading 5G Icon

· Andrew Orr · Link

AT&T is so excited for the rollout of 5G that it’s updating smartphones a bit early, with a misleading 5G icon.

AT&T has updated three smartphones from Samsung and LG to make them show 5G connectivity logos, even though none of them are capable of connecting to 5G networks…That “E” in the “5G” logo is supposed to tip you off that this isn’t real 5G — just some marketing nonsense. But there’s no way of knowing that just from looking at the logo.

As it turns out, the government didn’t create or ratify 5G. Neither the FCC nor FTC are regulating what the term means, so technically AT&T is still within the law by doing this. Doesn’t make it right, but it shows how absurd the 5G situation is.