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Digital Liberty blog

Lifeline Make Over By Cecelia Mitchell | March 31, 2016

Originally created in 1985, the FCC’s Lifeline program was established to help low-income Americans gain access to basic telephone service. At the time of its origin, telephone communications were a necessary component of life, vastly expanding ways for people to communicate across the country and the globe. Since the 1980s, the necessity of telephone communications has been replaced by the Internet. The Internet has changed the way the world communicates, making it an easier and instantaneous process. Besides communications purposes, the Internet has also made its way into every other aspect of life. Research, entertainment, and news are just a few of the many things the world relies on the Internet for.

Lack of Bipartisanship and Transparency Plagues the FCC By Cecelia Mitchell | March 30, 2016

On March 22, 2016 the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission”. The hearing examined various policy decisions and the processes by which the FCC reaches decisions. Many of the criticisms surrounding the FCC are about lack of transparency and lack of listening to opposing viewpoints. 

In his opening statement, Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden made the following remarks: “These are significant matters that will define how we communicate for years to come. It will not serve the American people if they are resolved in a manner that ignores opposing views, discredits opposing input on its face, and gives short shrift to collaboration in favor of expediency. Good process – openness, transparency, and accountability – honest policy debate, and compromise are the catalyst for balanced, sustainable, outcomes.”

South by Southwest: Meet Some of the Brilliant and Diverse Female Panelists By Cecelia Mitchell | March 14, 2016

Katie McAuliffe, Federal Affairs Manager at Americans for Tax Reform and Executive Director of Digital Liberty, will be moderating a panel on diversity in the technology field at the music, film, and technology conference South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

The panel is titled “Making Our Tech Look More Like Our Country” and will focus on the topic of diversity in the technology field and how to encourage more women and minorities to enter the field.

Who is Watching You Watch T.V.? By Katie McAuliffe | March 09, 2016

Over the past few years, Internet service providers have less and less access to the data that their subscribers browse.

These days, the prevalence of encryption prevents Internet service providers from knowing much about their subscribers' habits at all.  Any website you visit with “https” at the beginning is encrypted.

In response to new privacy concerns regarding identity theft, and fears of the government or companies peaking in to our Internet habits, encryption is used on 49% of websites, and most Aps can only get data that you give them permission to access.

In April 2014, this is what the traffic to “http” (un-encrypted) v “https” (encrypted) looked like:

Fraudsters Love Weak Government Technology By Cecelia Mitchell | February 24, 2016

As technology advances in some sectors, others are left behind in the dust. This is exactly what happened to the U.S government. The Internet became more advanced, and people learned how to master the advancement, but the government was unable to keep up. The technology capabilities of the government became laughable and even more so the government’s cyber security techniques became an embarrassment.

Cyber Attacks: Is Our Information Really Secure? By Cecelia Mitchell | February 22, 2016

Almost half of the world is online and connected to technology in some way. Technology has become integrated into our daily lives, making even the simplest of tasks dependent on technology. Not only have we embraced this life style, we have added fuel to its never ending fire. We willingly make accounts on websites and do all of our banking online. We openly put some of our most personal information on social media, sometimes even without concern for whether or not the information is private. Or we do have concern for the level of privacy of the information we supply, but have no earthly idea on how to go about and protect it. What about the information and records of personal data that is collected on each one of us by different agencies? We may know this data is being collected, but do we know if this data is being kept secure or not?

Counting Down the Years Until 5G By Cecelia Mitchell | February 12, 2016

The growth of wireless Internet connectivity has been astronomical. Within just ten years we saw the growth of wireless connectivity jump from 3G at 384Kbps in 2000 to 4G at 100 Mbps in 2010. As technology continues to grow every day, we are expected to have 5G wireless connectivity at a rate of 1Gbps by the year 2020.

Some may ask why our technological capabilities continue to increase. Why are we forced to buy new cell phones and figure out other devices? These questions arise more and more as new technology forces its way into our lives and a changes the way we do daily activities. We may complain about these advancements as they come along, but soon we realize the added benefits they bring.

Thomas K. Sawanobori explains the various benefits a 5G wireless network would bring us in his paper “5G The Generation of Wireless: 5G Leadership in the U.S.”

Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Approves Three Bills By Cecelia Mitchell | February 12, 2016

On Thursday the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology approved three bills to lessen the burden of some regulations. In the words of Congressman Walden “these bills are essential to protecting consumers, small businesses, and improving access to the latest communications services.”

Also passed was H.R. 2666, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act. This Act prohibits the FCC from regulating the rates charged for broadband Internet access service.

Internet Tax Freedom Forever #ITFA By Cecelia Mitchell | February 10, 2016

In an Op-ed for The Daily Caller, Federal Affairs Manager at Americans for Tax Reform & Executive Director of Digital Liberty Katie McAuliffe discusses why the Senate must pass legislation that bans Internet taxes forever.

This week, Senators have the opportunity to stand up for Internet freedom and vote to keep the Internet Tax Freedom Forever (ITFFA) provision in the customs bill. A vote against ITFFA is a vote against the Internet.

In 1998, the Internet Tax Moratorium was enacted to ensure tax-free Internet access by preventing state and local governments from taxing Internet access or implementing discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce. Unfortunately, a few states were able to pass access taxes before the ban was enacted, and the ban is not permanent. Lawmakers reauthorized the Internet Tax Moratorium more than half-a-dozen times since its initial passage.”

Letter: Over 40 Coalition Partners Support Internet Access Tax Ban in Customs By Katie McAuliffe | January 21, 2016

A bipartisan coalition letter signed by more than 40 organizations was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. The letter was in strong support of the permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) in H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act. The letter described the internet as a necessity of modern life that must remain tax free in order for the economy to flourish.

To show your support for keeping the internet tax free click here.