@illusionofmore: EFF Petition Language Used in Fake Emails to the FCC

[Editor Charlie sez:  For a little context on this excellent post by David Newhoff–Remember the Electronic Frontier Foundation from the “Google Shill List“?

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Or Roger Parloff’s reporting in Fortune: “If the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the nation’s preeminent digital rights nonprofit, had disclosed last year that it received a cool $1 million gift from Google — about 17% of its total revenue — some eyebrows might have been raised.”  Not to mention the very, very, very close ties between EFF folk and some Google executives.

And remember that the last FCC Chair who pushed through the current Net Neutrality rules was ably assisted by one Gigi Sohn, formerly of fellow Google Shill Lister Public Knowledge and current fellow of the Soros Open Society Foundation, pictured here with Fred von Lohmann, who led the charge against artist rights while at EFF until he actually returned to the mothership, so to speak, and joined Google:

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And which side of the Net Neutrality debate might Google be on?]

It’s depressing how often one reads news that makes the United States seem as though we’re reliving the 19th century rather than an enlightened 21st.  With that comment, you might think I’m referring to the current administration (and I certainly could be), but at the moment, I refer to Americans across the political spectrum who seem willing to return to the political tactics of Tammany Hall, albeit in digital form.

On May 31, the National Legal and Policy Center, a D.C. watchdog group, reported that an “initial forensic analysis” of the 2.5 million comments submitted to the FCC on Net Neutrality found that over 465,000 of these were fake. It further states that over 100,000 of these comments used language from the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “Dear FCC” petitioning tool in support of “Net Neutrality.”  Although the NLPC did not accuse the EFF of processing these false emails, the organization was quick to defend itself as though it had been so accused.  It’s June 1 response states …

“NLPC’s report is false. Not one name, email address, or email domain cited in the report matches to any of the comments that came through EFF’s comment tool.”

Then, missing the point and seizing the moment, the statement proposes …

“Throughout the FCC’s comment process, we’ve seen malicious actors attempt to discredit the process by generating obviously fake comments. Their hope is that they can drown out the voices of the overwhelming majority of Americans who support net neutrality.” 

I am in no way qualified to assert that the EFF had any direct hand in the fake emails, but somebody spammed the FCC; and I have no problem saying that the EFF’s rebuttal is preposterous.

Read the post on Illusion of More

T-Bone Burnett’s Comments on Reform of the DMCA Safe Harbor

The U.S. Copyright Office has invited the public to comment on potential reforms of the DMCA “safe harbors” and the incomparable T-Bone Burnett delivered this video version of his insightful comments on DMCA abuse. (See also Billboard article on T-Bone’s comment and my 2006 post on MTP, The DMCA is Not An Alibi.) It is important […]

via T-Bone Burnett’s Comments on Reform of the DMCA Safe Harbor — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

@TuscaloosaJohn: Having backed the losing candidate, Google now tries to align with Trump

As President-elect Trump prepares to take office, tech behemoth Google has changed course, now trying to align itself with the incoming Republican administration after backing Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

Watchdog.org reported extensively last year on Google’s cozy relationship with the Obama administration, from a lobbyist’s frequent visits to the White House to the number of employees who have transitioned from Google to the Obama administration and vice versa.

RELATED: Visitor logs show Google’s unrivaled White House access   

The company also has amped up its influence of Congress, becoming one of the most influential tech lobbyists and provider of campaign contributions in the United States.

RELATED: Google, telecom rivals spend big on lobbying and lawmakers

Shortly after Trump’s win, the Mountain View, California-based company posted a listing for a conservative outreach manager, Bloomberg noted. Google sought a D.C. veteran to “act as liaison to conservative, libertarian and free market groups.”

No matter the ideological disposition of a company’s leadership, it’s not at all unusual for big lobbying shops to include advocates of both political parties — just in case.

Bloomberg pointed out that Trump’s position on several issues important to Google, including autonomous vehicles, telecommunications rules and antitrust concerns, is uncertain.

Read the post on Watchdog.org

@andreworlowski: Trump meets Google – exclusive transcript

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After meeting Kanye West, President-elect Trump will meet Google and other Silicon Valley leaders today. We’ve imagined how the conversation might go.

RUSHED TRANSCRIPT

TRUMP: So. Peter tells me you’re the smartest guys in America. How do you like the furniture?

PAGE: Very nice Mr President Elect.

TRUMP: Where’s the Russian?

PAGE: Sergey [Brin]?

TRUMP: Yes

SCHMIDT: Sir, the Secret Service detained him. We warned him not to try to get into Trump Tower wearing his Google Glass, but he won’t take them off. Well. We want to thank you for inviting us to Trump Tow—

TRUMP: Let’s just cut the crap. I know you did everything you could do get Hillary [Clinton] elected. I know you worked for Obama’s team, Eric [Schmidt]. I know you hate me and I don’t care. But you have 10 minutes to tell me what you want so I can figure out how useful you can be, and how much damage you can do. Go.

PAGE: Er, right. Well. Top of our agenda is ensuring that America’s wealth-creating technology companies – that’s us – have a vital supply of top technology talent.

SCHMIDT: Mr President, as I said two years ago, ‘we take very, very smart people, bring them into the country, give them a diploma and kick them out where they go on to create companies that compete with us’.

TRUMP: What happens to those companies they create?

SCHMIDT: We buy them and close them down. Or our VC friends close them down. As Peter Thiel says: Monopoly is good.

TRUMP: Well, hmmm.

SCHMIDT: Mr President, engineers are expensive, would you use the most expensive labour you could? Employers need to keep wages down.

TRUMP: Which of course I love. But you see, I just got elected on jobs. That’s how I won. I got 2 million fewer votes than Crooked Hillary, but I got them where it counted, right in her backyard. And you’ve created a two-caste economy. Maybe you can employ some American engineers?

SCHMIDT: Uh. In a global interconnected world, Sir, that would be…

TRUMP: Spare me the Thomas Friedman crap. You’re toxic. The DoJ said your cartel fixed wages for a million workers.

SCHMIDT: We’ve fixed the DoJ now, Sir. We run it.

Read the post on The Register

@jonathantaplin: Forget AT&T. The Real Monopolies Are Google and Facebook.

The proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner has drawn censure from both sides of the political aisle, as well as a Senate hearing that looked into the potential for the combined company to become a monopoly.

But if we are going to examine media monopolies, we should look first at Silicon Valley, not the fading phone business.

Mark Cuban, the internet entrepreneur, said at the meeting of the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee last week that the truly dominant companies in media distribution these days were Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon.

“Facebook is without question in a dominant position, if not the dominant position, for content delivery,” he said.

Look at the numbers. Alphabet (the parent company of Google) and Facebook are among the 10 largest companies in the world. Alphabet alone has a market capitalization of around $550 billion. AT&T and Time Warner combined would be about $300 billion.

Read the Post on The New York Times

@AOkuliar: The FCC: Death to the Set-Top Box! Long Live the Set-Top Box…or is it Apps?

Emboldened by its success with net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may be looking to shake up the way you enjoy media at home. At the behest of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, on February 18, 2016, the agency issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) about television set-top boxes.[1] The proposal passed 3-2 on a party line vote, with the Democrats in favor and the Republicans opposed. The proposal—which would require cable companies to open access to set-top box technology to foster competition—has proved controversial, drawing commentary and debate from a wide spectrum of stakeholders. Very recently, it has met with criticism and opposition even among those who initially sponsored it, despite an eleventh hour compromise attempt by Chairman Wheeler. The agency has now taken the set-top box proposal off the agenda until next year….

Read the post on The Federalist Society

@andreworlowski: Team Trump snubs Big Internet oligarchs

[Editor Charlie sez: No more White House Spotify playlists?]

Team Trump has announced the composition of the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum – and there’s no place for internet oligarchs like Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos or the world’s fifth-richest man, Mark Zuckerberg.

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch has a seat, as does Ginni Rometty, head of everything at IBM. The forum is headed by Stephen A Schwarzman, co-founder of private equity giant Blackstone.

“The panel will be a strong voice on Team Trump for corporate America and the interests of the 1 per cent,” writes Larry Kumer of the Fabius Maximus blog, noting that for a populist President-elect, there’s no representation for organised labour.

But it’s not merely corporate – that much can be expected from a CEO President-elect. DC sources tell us that Trump’s antipathy towards Big Internet is based on jobs. A second Trump term depends on jobs growth; while internet companies such as Amazon, Google and Uber destroy jobs, manufacturing industries create them.

It’s a sign of which corporations Team Trump thinks can generate jobs. Outgoing President Obama couldn’t get enough of Big Internet, and today many agencies reflect Google’s agenda. The Google Transparency project has documented the busy revolving door between DC and Mountain View, and the amount of Google-friendly policy activity has become frantic in recent months. Examples include ripping up the rules for TV licensing – which proved too much even for the Democrat FCC Commissioner with the swing vote to approve – and locking the Register of Copyright out of her office.

Read the post on The Register