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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Senators file to force vote on disapproval of FCC’s new net neutrality rules

The Democratic push to restore net neutrality took another step today with the official filing of a petition, under the Congressional Review Act, to force a vote on whether to repeal the FCC’s unpopular new rules. The effort may be doomed in the end, but it’s still extremely important.

The CRA is a way of reversing rules recently instated by federal agencies that’s simple and effective, though until this administration rarely used (but they made up for lost time, all right). Its expedited process and low bar to entry — only 30 senators are needed to bring a vote, and the vote generally happens quite quickly — have made it an ideal tool for Congress to undo Obama-era regulations, but the shoe is on the other foot now.

Democrats in the Senate are using the CRA as a potential method of removing the rules the FCC voted for in December and returning to 2015’s Open Internet Order and strong net neutrality rules. Today they filed the actual petition to force the vote.

“This is the fight for the internet,” said Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) in a press conference introducing the action. “By passing this resolution, we can send a clear message that this Congress won’t fall to the special interest agenda of President Trump and his broadband baron allies, but rather will do right by the people that send us here.”

You can watch the whole proceeding below:

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Right now there are 50 senators supporting the measure, including one Republican. The Democrats are hoping to make this issue extremely visible in order to put pressure on other, perhaps undecided, Republicans who might cross the aisle with enough prodding from their constituency.

As I’ve written before, and as Senators themselves have admitted, the chance of this actually rolling back the rules is low, since it would have to also pass through the House, where Democrats are at a more serious disadvantage, then be signed by the President, which is unlikely to say the least.

But by forcing a vote, they force everyone in the Senate to take a position for or against the rules, including those who have attempted to stay “neutral” through silence.

By making them take a position with consequences, net neutrality can be made into a voting issue come election season this year, and in 2020.

“It always helps to build pressure at the FCC level, but this is about us losing elections,” Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) told me late last year when this effort was just starting. “They have a 3:2 edge at the FCC because we lost. We have to understand that when we vote in 2020, we’re voting on the future of the internet. We can generate a lot of emails and that’s great. But the moment those emails are converted to votes, we win.”

Expect the actual vote to take place some time in the next week or so, though be warned that even in the case of success there won’t be any immediate effect. As with everything in government, even the short game is a long game. But it’s imperative that in the meantime voters don’t forget that this is an ongoing and critical issue.


Source: TechCrunch

Android P: 3 settings to change right away – CNET

Make your phone work for you, not the other way around.
Source: CNET

Steam Link app hopes to blow your mind with mobile game streaming – CNET

Starting in mid-May, Steam plans to release two apps for streaming games and video from your library to iOS and Android devices.
Source: CNET

Big day for drones as US endorses tests of package delivery and more – CNET

The FAA is greasing the skids for pilot projects that could mean a defibrillator drops from the sky just when you need it.
Source: CNET

You can now buy tires at Amazon and get them installed at Sears – Roadshow

One more thing you can add (relatively) worry-free to your Amazon shopping cart.
Source: CNET

Ford F-150 production slowed by parts shortage due to supplier fire – Roadshow

Production of Ford’s best-selling vehicle has stopped at its Kansas City plant, and may cease in Dearborn as well.
Source: CNET

Monzo, the U.K. challenger bank, now lets you pay ‘Nearby Friends’

Monzo, one of a plethora of U.K. fintech startups aiming to re-invent current account banking, has launched a new feature that makes it even more frictionless to transfer money to friends. Dubbed ‘Nearby Friends’, the new geolocation functionality uses Bluetooth to let you see anyone else that uses Monzo who is nearby so that you can initiate a payment without needing their phone number to be in your contact book first.

One of the ways Monzo has increased its virality from the get-go is by making friend-to-friend payments easy, either to people who already bank with the startup, or via the Monzo.me service, which gives users a payment link to share with friends. The idea, as Monzo co-founder often explains, is that unlike traditional incumbent banks that basically have zero network effects (perhaps beyond joint accounts), the challenger bank is designed to become more useful the more people who join it.

Revolut has a similar feature called 'Near Me'

Revolut has a similar feature called ‘Near Me’

“Thanks to the magic of Bluetooth, you can see anyone else that uses Monzo nearby. To protect people’s privacy, you’ll only find people who also have the feature open at the same time. With just a couple of taps, you can send people money, without the need to swap numbers or do any other admin,” writes Andy Smart, iOS Platform Lead at Monzo, on the company’s blog.

Under the hood, Monzo’s ‘Nearby Friends’ uses Google Nearby, Google’s peer-to-peer networking API that allows apps to “easily discover, connect to, and exchange data with nearby devices in real-time, regardless of network connectivity”. Specifically, here is how Monzo says its implementation works:

  1. When you open Nearby Friends, we send an anonymous token (a random string of text) to Google
  2. That token is broadcast via Bluetooth to devices nearby
  3. At the same time, your Monzo app starts searching for other devices near you
  4. When your Monzo app discovers a device nearby, it receives the device’s token. Using the Monzo API, it exchanges that token for your friend’s name and profile picture
  5. We also receive an identifier which we can use to work out who to make the payment to

The token does not identify you personally outside of Monzo’s systems, which means we don’t share any of your personal information with third parties during the process. The token we send to Google expires after a short period of time, meaning your personal data is unidentifiable.

Meanwhile, competitor Revolut recently — and relatively quietly by its standards — rolled out a very similar feature, as it is wont to do. Called ‘Near Me’, I understand it will be formally unannounced in a company blog post as soon as tomorrow and is another clear sign of how fast the $1.7B valued banking startup is moving.


Source: TechCrunch

What Did AT&T Want From Michael Cohen?

The telecom giant confirms that it paid President Trump’s personal lawyer $200,000 “to provide insights into understanding the new administration.”
Source: Wired

Facial Recognition Tech Is Creepy When It Works—And Creepier When It Doesn’t

It’s a powerful tool, but recent incidents have shown that there’s no winning with facial recognition.
Source: Wired

Google and the Rise of 'Digital Wellbeing'

Google wants to unglue people from their phones. But like other wellness trends, “digital wellbeing” promises more than it can deliver.
Source: Wired

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