Google has agreed to pay full refunds totaling at least $19 million to consumers who were charged for purchases that children made via apps without parental consent from the Google Play app store. The settlement is part of the third case by the Federal Trade Commission about unauthorized in-app purchases made by children. It settled with Apple for $32.5 million in January.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler yesterday stated flatly that in too much of the U.S., there is no meaningful broadband competition, and that competitors are lagging behind public need. If enough people accept his propositions, Wheeler would then be able to justify reclassifying broadband as a communications service.
As the celebrity photo-hacking scandal has made clear, privacy isn't what it used to be. Whether famous or seemingly anonymous, people from all walks of life put all sorts of things online or into cloud-based storage systems, from vital financial information to the occasional nude photo. Periodic cases of hacking fuel outrage, but there's no retreat from digital engagement or any imminent promise of guaranteed privacy.
The movement to make cable CPE more energy-efficient has paid off, saving U.S. cable customers as much as $168 million in total on their energy bills. New set-top boxes use approximately 14 percent less energy than those previously used by service providers.
UC Irvine professor Scott Jordan was named the new CTO of the FCC. For those who try to read tea leaves, Jordan’s appointment might be a signal that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is serious about exploring the possibility of reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service.
VIDEO: Senate Republicans are promoting the notion of making local stations a la carte on cable networks with a new YouTube video. The idea has the potential for gaining bipartisan support, even in this bitterly divided Congress, as a consumer-friendly and nearly pure free-market solution.
Fitbit, a company that makes wearable devices that monitor fitness activity, says it's changing its practice of selling users' personal data to advertisers after concerns were raised about consumer privacy. The San Francisco-based company's move comes after U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate what he called a troubling policy.
The saga continues. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to hear Aereo’s argument that if it is, as the Supreme Court deemed, essentially a cable company, it must be treated like one. But Aereo still has the option to argue its case.
Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox have received approval from the FCC to switch the frequency at which their outdoor Wi-Fi access points operate from a portion of the unlicensed band now in common use to another nearby frequency at 5.1 GHz.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sowed confusion Monday with an announcement that appeared to indicate he was leaving his embassy bolt hole, but his spokesman later clarified that that would not happen unless the impasse over his extradition were resolved. Assange made the comments during a press conference at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
Open Mic: The FCC has recommended striking the “integration ban” portion of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Given the success that Cablevision and Charter have had getting the necessary waivers to sidestep the ban, it’s not unrealistic to hope for a change.
Two Senators have floated an idea for fixing the retransmission consent mess; they are proposing a la carte for broadcast stations. The idea would be that broadcasters who charge too much might find themselves losing viewers and therefore money.
Google is wielding the power of its dominant Internet search engine to push more websites into protecting the people using their services. The move involves a change in Google's closely guarded formula for determining the rankings of its search results. Websites that automatically encrypt their services will now be boosted higher in Google Inc.'s recommendation system.
Following consumer consternation over reports that Verizon is occasionally restricting the access of some of its heaviest users, and after FCC Chairman cautioned the company, Verizon responds that its actions are necessary network management practices to handle network congestion.
TWC is joining a program administered by the DOE to reduce petroleum use within its fleet of more than 20,000 service trucks and vehicles. Participation in the DOE’s Clean Cities’ National Clean Fleet Partnership is part of the company’s “Go Green” initiative.
The NCTC announced a comprehensive multi-year distribution agreement to deliver The Walt Disney Company’s lineup of sports, news and entertainment content to participating NCTC members’ customers across TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices.
The MSO is offering up to 6 months of complimentary service for any family that has not yet applied for Internet Essentials. Comcast also said it intends to forgive the debt of some families that have subscribed in the past to the Internet Essentials program and still have unpaid balances.
U.S. law enforcement can force Microsoft Corp. to turn over emails it stores in Ireland, a judge ruled in a case that technology companies have rallied around as they pursue billions of dollars in data storage business abroad. U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska ruled from the bench Thursday after hearing oral arguments in Manhattan.
Comcast has canceled a promotional event at the home of a Kansas state senator. The cable company announced the open house in a recent news release that paired Republican Sen. Julia Lynn of Olathe and promotional language about its home security service.
The U.S. House of Representatives has reauthorized STELA. The cable industry had hoped to tack on provisions to reform retransmission consent rules, but the House declined. But the House did include language to end separable security requirements. In other words, the House has agreed to let the loathed CableCard die.
A group of over two dozen of the largest Internet companies, including eBay, Netflix and Facebook, are urging the FCC to refrain from Net Neutrality policies that would create so-called slow lanes and fast lanes. The companies also argued that the Commission treat fixed and wireless broadband providers in the same manner.
Charter Communications has beefed up its policy presence in Washington D.C. with the recent addition of Christianna Lewis Barnhart, who joined the company as vice president, regulatory affairs. Barnhart, who started her new job today, now reports to Alex Hoehn-Saric, senior vice president, government affairs.
Amazon is asking the Federal Aviation Administration permission to use drones as part of its plan to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less. The online retailer created a media frenzy in December when it outlined a plan on CBS' "60 Minutes" to deliver packages with self-guided aircrafts that seemed straight out of science fiction.
Aereo, the television-over-the-Internet service that suspended operations after the Supreme Court ruled against it, is refusing to disband for good. The company is now using the Supreme Court's own language to force broadcasters to treat it just like a cable TV company. In Aereo's view, that means broadcasters must license their signals to Aereo under a 1976 copyright law.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced the members of the panel that will review two proposed mega-mergers: Comcast / Time Warner Cable / Charter, and AT&T / DirecTV. Those who watch such things infer from the choice of panelists that the FCC is not going to simply rubber-stamp either deal.