The European Union will soon hold a vote to decide if it will enforce a mandatory, universal charging connector for all smartphones and other similar, small electronic devices. Arguments in favor of the new legislation include a reduction of e-waste and easy, interoperable charging for end-users. The introduction of USB Type-C has energized standardization talks as it incorporates many of the advantages (reversibility of connection, data transmission rates, and charging speeds) used to justify the existence of proprietary charging connectors. Read More
U.S. senator Josh Hawley has announced the outline for a bill that could apply new consumer protections to video games played by minors. Specifically, it targets games played by those younger than eighteen years of age and aims to prohibit several forms of abusive monetization practices, such as loot boxes and pay-to-win elements. The goal is to have the Federal Trade Commission enforce the bill's proposed rules by treating the distribution of any offending games as unfair trade practices. Read More
In what is likely a smokescreen intended to distract from the FCC planning a vote to destroy net neutrality, the FCC has issued additional rules which permit telecoms to block robocalls, specifically those which use Caller ID spoofing to impersonate phone numbers that do not exist, are not allocated by telecoms to subscribers, or are inbound-only phone numbers— in other words, allocated to systems which are unable to make outgoing calls. Read More
Net Neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers (Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and so on) should treat all data the same. It has been a hot topic in the United States for years, especially after the FCC voted in 2015 to reclassify ISPs as Title II utilities, essentially making Net Neutrality law. Read More
We've covered the FCC's dance with Net Neutrality and Title II regulation for ISPs in the past, and it looks like chairman Pai has come out with a few more statements about the return to a future of deregulated internet regional monopolies. The FCC is in full propaganda mode today, churning out piles of information (or misinformation) on the subject after Pai announced his plans to stop ISPs from following Title II regulations. Companies like Verizon are more than excited to jump on the bandwagon for deregulation, too. After all, captive markets are profitable markets, and now the FCC is happy to support them. Read More
All's fair in love and war and high-stakes international B2B sales. Wait, that's not true: there's actually quite a lot of regulation on that last bit. Just ask the Korean Fair Trade Commission, which presented American chipmaking giant Qualcomm with a gigantic fine for unfair business practices on Wednesday. According to the KFTC, Qualcomm abused its dominant business position to force its manufacturing partners to pay exorbitant patent licensing fees when selling its widely-used mobile modem chips. Read More
Net neutrality is a tricky beast. The informal principle is usually applied to the idea of data providers charging more for specific services, but it can also extend to telecoms giving away specific services (and, by extension, charging more for everything else). That's the attitude of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, known locally as "Trai," expressed in a statement today. The regulator says that it will not allow any service provider to "offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on basis of content," more or less aligning India's wireless and landline data industry with the principles of net neutrality. Read More
Yandex is often called "the Google of Russia," for pretty obvious reasons: it owns and operates the largest search engine (by market share) in the country, and it has expanded into familiar markets like webmail, online video, mapping services, and even an app store. Still, Yandex has found that Google's hold on Android is basically unshakeable at this point, so the company has resolved to take advantage of Android's open source nature and provide superior alternatives to its customers. Ha, just kidding. They're sicking the Russian regulators on Google instead.
TechCrunch reports that Yandex has asked the Russian antitrust authority to investigate Google, specifically for setting its own search engine as the default on Android devices. Read More
The US mobile market is weird in that almost all the phones floating around here are locked to one carrier or another. You can usually request an unlock code from the carrier if you are not under contract or still paying off the device, but Sprint is different. It claims it doesn't have any mechanism to unlock phones for use on other US carriers right now, but that's going to change next year.