Displaying items by tag: Politics
The House of Lords has called for a new central digital super-regulator to be created in order to inspect the different bodies protecting the internet and to replace the ‘clearly failing’ system of self regulation in place.
The Lords’ communications committee report has recommended a new Digital Authority. The report warns that the contribution of several regulators for the digital realm can be more problematic than helpful as it creates overlaps and gaps.
The report also states that large tech companies have failed to tackle cybersecurity issues and Ofcom should, in the future, expand their services to involve implementing a duty of care on those companies.
Lord Gilbert of Panteg, Chair of the committee, stated: “The government should not just be responding to news headlines but looking ahead so that the services that constitute the digital world can be held accountable to an agreed set of principles.”
He continued: “Self-regulation by online platforms is clearly failing and the current regulatory framework is out of date. The evidence we heard made a compelling and urgent case for a new approach to regulation. Without intervention, the largest tech companies are likely to gain ever more control of technologies which extract personal data and make decisions affecting people’s lives.”
The Lords said that the new Digital Authority should be guided by 10 guiding principles pertaining to online regulation. Some of these basic principles include: transparency, parity, recognition of childhood, accountability, privacy and human rights.
Last month, a Digital Culture, Media and Sport committee held Facebook responsible for being run by “digital gangsters” and as a result, recommending that tech and social media companies could regulate themselves independently under a ‘code of ethics’ which could be overseen by Ofcom.
The report by the Lords echoed this sentiment. It stated that self-regulation from internet behemoths from the likes of Google and Facebook were “clearly failing”.
Lord Panteg wrote: “Policy makers across different sectors have not responded adequately to changes in the digital world.”
He added: "The Digital Authority should be empowered to instruct regulators to address specific problems or areas. In cases where this is not possible because problems are not within the remit of any regulator, the Digital Authority should advise the Government and Parliament that new or strengthened legal powers are needed.”
The report recommends many changes to already existing regulations whether the Digital Authority is created or not. An example of these proposed changes is the public interest test for mergers and acquisitions which would protect peoples’ data from being bought and sold with no prior consent from the individual.
Additionally, the report recognizes the power which this new Digital Authority would hold and justified it by stating: “This is necessary because of the magnitude of urgent social and political problems caused by regulatory fragmentation in the digital world. These problems are less likely to become more complex as technology develops.”
Internet giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook were not held in high regard amongst the Lords, especially in the report.
It concluded, “Major platforms have failed to invest in their moderation systems, leaving moderators overstretched and inadequately trained. Online platforms should make community standards clearer through a new classification framework akin to that of the British Board of Film Classification.”
US president Donald Trump revisited a previous plan to nationalize 5G in the US after it had been previously scrapped in 2018 due to industry backlash.
President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign backtracked on the prospect of 5G wireless technology after it seemed to contradict the White House’s administration policy.
Trump’s admin began to discuss this prospect in January 2018 in an attempt to one-up their main competitor, China.
Politico reported that this plan would ensure the government have full control over the 5G spectrum to create a wholesale market where operators could buy capacity.
“A 5G wholesale market would drive down costs and provide access to millions of Americans who are currently underseved,” said Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign to Politico on Friday. She added “this is in line with President Trump’s agenda to benefit all Americans, regardless of geography.”
The resurgence of the campaign put it in an unfavorable position with White House administration officials who have been adamant on dropping the original plan of a free market approach after the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC), Ajit Pai’s, criticism against the matter.
5G technology is not yet readily available for the public.
Axios reported that Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, believes that promoting a nationalized system could potentially general more votes from citizens in rural areas who want faster internet.
According to Business Insider, 5G is “next generation, super-fast wireless technology [which] has become a real, tangible thing that people can actually use.. Right now, only a tiny number of eople across a very limited spread of locations have access to 5G. For most of us, 5G is still a mystery, full of tantalizing promise but few details.”
Some members of the Trump administration such as Larry Kuldow, are wary of the nationalization of 5G as it would mean that private companies like Verizon and AT&T would be able to build it out.
Last month, trump expressed his concerns about 5G and its dominance by telling US operators to “step up their efforts” and criticized them for “lagging behind on something that is so obviously the future.”
As an attempt to reiterate his opposition to the prospect of network nationalization, Pai reposted a tweet from January 2018 which stated “The market, not the government, is best-positioned to drive innovation and investment.”
Similarly, some FCC commissioners such as Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr both expressed their opposition to the idea on social media while others even went as far as comparing it as a “China-like nationalization” of 5G networks.
In early February, Trump tweeted:
“I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.”
“I want the United States to win through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies.
“We must always be the leader in everything we do, especially when it comes to the very exciting world of technology!”
An offer from 21st Century Fox to buy Sky TV has sparked a major political row in the UK – as Rupert Murdoch makes his bid to reassert total control in the company. The billionaire media mogul was forced to take a step back from Sky in 2010 – following the phone hacking scandal. However, Murdoch who owns 21st Century Fox has now made a fresh offer of 18.5bn for Sky TV.
The bid has seen shares in Sky TV rocket by over 30% since the announcement of the bid emerged. But news of the potential takeover has been met with anger in some quarters with former Labor leader Ed Miliband calling for Prime Minister Theresa May to move swiftly to block the takeover bid and refer it to the CMA(Competition and Markets Authority).
Miliband tweeted: “Do we want Rupert Murdoch controlling even more of the media landscape? No. Government must refer bid for Sky TV to CMA/Ofcom. He added the following in a separate tweet. “On the steps of Downing Street, Theresa May said she would stand up to the powerful. No better test than Murdoch bid for Sky. Over to you.”
The chief executive of 21st Century Fox is Mr Murdoch's son James, who is also Sky's chairman - and he was the predecessor to Sky's current chief executive Jeremy Darroch.
His son's return to the company, after he was forced to resign when the Murdoch media empire became engulfed by public outrage at reports of phone-hacking at the Murdoch-owned News of the World newspaper, led to rumours that Rupert Murdoch would make a fresh swoop for the UK-based satellite broadcaster. His empire abandoned its bid in 2011 because it was 'too difficult to progress in this climate'.
When he started the bid in 2010, his portion of Sky and his British newspapers were part of the same company, but they have since been split up. His bid vehicle owns Fox television and film studios, but not the Sun and the Times newspapers.
MP Chris Bryant waded into the row and tweeted: “It would be bad for our broadcasting ecology, for UK political life and for media plurality for Murdoch to be allowed to take back Sky.”
If the deal is confirmed, culture secretary Karen Bradley will have 10 working days to decide whether she will issue a public interest intervention notice (PIIN).That will need to detail the concerns she has with the deal - she could raise concerns about whether Rupert Murdoch is a 'fit and proper' person, or highlight issues of competition.
If she submits a PIIN, Ofcom will conduct an initial investigation within 20 days. If it has concerns, Ms Bradley will have to ask Fox to address any issues, and decide whether to accept what they suggest.
A rejected compromise would send the bid to the Competition and Markets Authority for full review, which could take up to six months. After their scrutiny, Ms Bradley will have 30 days to block, or approve the deal with conditions. Many believe Ms. Bradley will have to submit a PIIN because to do nothing could lead to accusations of bias.