The United States has a long history of unwarranted surveillance on its citizens, mostly stemming from the Patriot Act signed into law after the September 11 attacks. The Patriot Act allowed various law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance on citizens (without warrants) in the name of protecting against future terrorist attacks, and while that law has lapsed, a new amendment passed by the U.S. Senate once again allows law enforcement to rummage through your internet history with no probable cause. Read More
The FCC is expected to vote on new rules against robocalling during its next open meeting on June 6. In the lead-up to that decision, the Senate has taken up one of its own to lay out the groundwork for how the FCC will carry out its intentions. The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act passed yesterday by a vote of 97-1. Read More
A lot of our favorite things come from California. Artichokes, Android, almonds, even those newfangled talking pictures. But thanks to a law that recently went into effect in the state, an accidental export might update the cancellation process across the US for recurring payments when it comes to services like newspapers. Read More
The decision by President Trump and the Department of Commerce to lift ZTE's ban on importing U.S. components has drawn plenty of criticism. Not only was it ZTE's second time breaking U.S. law, but many believe Chinese OEMs like ZTE and Huawei to be security threats. Now a number of senators plan to introduce a bill that will reinstate the import ban. Read More
Consider devices like the HTC One, or any of Sony's recent Xperia flagships, or the Moto X with its wood and leather options. These are gadgets with decades of engineering inside of them, but which have nonetheless been painstakingly designed to look gorgeous on the outside. And nothing spoils that quite like a big honkin' FCC-required ID and safety label hiding on the metal finish. Manufacturers can try to make it blend into the phone's default color, or hide it behind a battery cover or on a bezel. But we know it's there, taunting us, like a zit on a teenager the night before the prom. Read More
Two days ago, the White House announced its support for carrier unlocking handsets. The administration promised an FCC/NTIA investigation as well as a willingness to "work with Congress" on legislation to fix the problem. So, we can probably count on the President's support of the new Wireless Device Independence Act, introduced last night by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). The bill, which is only three pages long, has a simple goal: amend the DMCA such that it explicitly allows the unlocking of cell phones, obviating the need for a tri-yearly exemption.
The following language would be added to the DMCA's section on anti-circumvention policies: