What’s Hot 10/30/2013

Data Industry Must Step Up to Protect Consumer Privacy (Commentary)

New laws would help, but there is more we can do right now to help consumers regain control of their private data, says FTC Commissioner Julie Brill.


The Federal Trade Commission will soon meet to discuss how it plans to regulate the Internet of things, and how connected devices share consumer data. There are two issues at play here, one being the privacy of consumer data and the other being the security of the networks delivering that data.


@FCC FCC takes action to promote interoperability in the lower 700 MHz band http://fcc.us/1f0arKu

@TimKarr BBC asks: "Why is broadband more expensive in the US?" Answer: 1. Lack of competition 2. industry capture in DChttp://bbc.in/19LxtCQ

Future of communication is about more than phones (The Hill’s Congress Blog, 10/28/13) It may sound like something remarkable happened in the House of Representatives on Wednesday morning when the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held its hearing on “The Evolution of Wired Communications Networks.” You heard telco giant AT&T agree with advocacy group Public Knowledge about the principles that should guide the transition as technologies advance to carry voice and other communications services over broadband. Those principles include providing universal service, fostering competition, protecting consumers and ensuring reliability during emergencies. You can’t find fault with such worthy objectives. But emphasizing the “telephone transition” is the wrong call. While the technology used to send voice over the public network is changing, we should focus on that network rather than the services it delivers.

F.C.C. Seeks Better Phone Service for Rural America (New York Times, 10/28/2013) At a time when consumers can use a hand-held device to have a video chat with someone on the other side of the globe, it is hard to believe that some places in the United States have trouble getting traditional long-distance telephone calls. But in rural America, as many as one in five long-distance landline calls go astray, never connecting to the intended number. A caller might hear the sound of a ringing phone through a handset, but the actual phone might not ring, a busy signal could be wrongly transmitted or the line might simply go dead. Seeking to address this issue of rural call completion, the FCC adopted new ruleson Monday that require phone companies to collect and report data on the number of rural calls that go through. The rules also offer incentives for phone service providers to improve their service. ”We’ve heard about calls from doctors to nursing homes not going through, that calls to businesses aren’t getting completed, and that rural consumers are frustrated when their friends and family are not able to reach them,” Mignon Clyburn, the F.C.C.’s acting chairwoman, said just before the commission voted 3-0 to adopt the new rules. The commission will now require telephone companies to record, retain and report data on rural call completion