By Cat Zakrzewski Cat Zakrzewski Technology policy reporter.
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U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)
With all the various spats, this week provided a timely look at the state of tech policy, as Tony put it:
in the U.S. this week we had:— Tony Romm (@TonyRomm) April 10, 2019
- a white nationalism hearing where one witness claimed it was a 2020 ploy, and no signal either way what lawmakers will do about online hate
- a bias hearing without evidence
- a net neutrality vote with no future
this is tech policy in the U.S.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., left, announces the "Save The Internet Act," congressional Democrats' plan to reinstate "net neutrality" rules that President Donald Trump repealed in 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The bill, which passed on clear party lines by a vote of 232-190, would require Internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon to treat all web traffic equally. The maneuver highlights Democrats' efforts to combat the Trump administration's deregulation policy following the Federal Communications Commission's 2017 decision to appeal the Obama-era rules.
“With net neutrality, some Democrats sounded an optimistic note that the House’s vote — coupled with sustained public pressure from net neutrality supporters — could shift their fortunes,” Tony and Brian wrote. “During the FCC’s repeal effort, millions of Americans wrote the agency in staunch support of the government’s rules, spurred on by Web activists and the likes of HBO’s John Oliver.”
Despite GOP-led opposition, Democrats think anything could happen heading into the 2020 election. “I think the president, as he heads into 2020, when he sees a groundswell, a juggernaut coming at him, I think he’s going to change,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said ahead of the House vote.
Facebook says it is rolling out a wide range of updates aimed at combatting the spread of false and harmful information on the social media site. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
The new features and incremental product updates illustrate that Facebook is increasingly patrolling “borderline” content on its platform — while still not outright removing it. "For example, the company will update its scrolling news feed algorithm by reviewing little-known websites whose articles get sudden surges of traffic on Facebook — a pattern that Facebook says internal tests showed were a red flag for misinformation and clickbait," Elizabeth wrote. "The new metric does not mean the problematic articles will be taken down, but their traffic will be reduced in news feed, the primary screen Facebook users seen when they open the app."
But it remains to be seen whether these changes will prove to be fundamental fixes for the embattled tech giant. "The newsfeed algorithm alone takes in hundreds of thousands of behavioral signals when it evaluates which posts get promotion — and it’s tough to assess the impact any single fix might have on such a complex system,” Elizabeth writes. The company also will expand fact-checking for images and privacy features for Messenger.
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
"The absence of a major U.S. alternative to foreign suppliers of 5G networking equipment underscores the growing dominance of Huawei, which has evolved into the world’s biggest supplier of telecom equipment, sparking fears within the Trump administration that a 5G network powered by Huawei’s wireless parts could endanger national security," Brian writes. "And it throws into sharp relief the years-long retreat by U.S. firms from that market."
As Sprint and Verizon race to launch 5G, they're relying on foreign suppliers. Sweden’s Ericsson, Finland’s Nokia and China’s Huawei and ZTE, account for two-thirds of the global market for telecom equipment, according to analyst estimates.
“There is no U.S.-based wireless access equipment provider today that builds those solutions,” Sandra Rivera, a senior vice president at Intel who helps guide the chipmaker’s 5G strategy, told Brian.
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