Government

Thu
15
Apr
John Lister's picture

Use of AI Could Be Banned or Restricted

Proposed laws in Europe would ban some forms of artificial intelligence while restricting others. But critics say the proposals are too vague to be workable in practice. The proposals, expected to be formally published in the next few weeks, come ... from the European Commission. If approved by the European Parliament they could become a regulation that takes immediate legal effect across all European Union countries. It's not yet clear if and how the rules would extend to businesses in other countries as happens with data protection rules. Under the proposals, only AI used by the military or for ... (view more)

Tue
06
Apr
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US to Spend $100B to Expand Broadband

The US government plans to spend $100 billion to expand broadband availability in the US. The goal is that all Americans should have access to "affordable" high-speed broadband by 2029. The spending is part of a planned infrastructure bill, so it's ... possible the broadband measures may not survive the legislative process. It's a clear sign that the government views Internet access as a key utility, with the broadband measures coming alongside spending to upgrade water networks and electricity grids. Indeed, a White House explanation directly compares the broadband move to the 1936 Rural ... (view more)

Tue
23
Mar
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Robocallers Fined $225M; May be Blocked by Carriers

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined two telemarketers a record $225 million for unlawful automated "robocalls." The offenders, who used names including JSquared Telecom and Rising Eagle, made around a billion such calls in a ... five-month period. The fine isn't just a record for robocalls, but is also the largest ever issued by the FCC for any reason. (Source: cnbc.com ) The calls claimed to offer health insurance plans from well-known legitimate providers. In fact the calls were made on behalf of several companies, at least one of which has already been sued for its own ... (view more)

Fri
12
Mar
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Report Details Government Internet Shutdowns

29 countries intentionally disrupted Internet access for their citizens at some point in 2020 according to a new report. Of a total 155 shutdowns, 28 were "full Internet blackouts." While many were authoritative states, the most disruptions by far ... came in India, which is officially at least a democracy. It used more than 100 Internet shutdowns to prevent communication by protestors against a controversial law. Those shutdowns have now been judged illegal by the country's Supreme Court. Mobile Speeds Slowed The report, from Access Now, found the overall number of shutdowns around the world was ... (view more)

Thu
25
Feb
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Proposed Law Would Bar State-Run Broadband

A proposed US law would ban states and local governments from offering broadband services. Supporters of the bill say "municipal broadband" crowds out commercial providers, while critics say such services only exist to fill the gap left by the ... commercial market. If passed, the bill would become law as the CONNECT (Communities Overregulating Networks Need Economic Competition Today) Act. It would ban any state or political subdivision (such as a city) from starting to provide "retail or wholesale broadband Internet access service." (Source: house.gov ) This would apply whether it was provided ... (view more)

Wed
16
Dec
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Websites Face Major Fines for 'Illegal Content'

Tech giants such as Facebook could face eye watering fines or even be blocked if they don't do enough to remove "illegal content." The proposals in the United Kingdom highlight the difficultly every government faces in balancing online freedoms and ... responsibilities. The measures, set out in the Online Harms Bill, would affect websites and services around the world. If it becomes law, it raises the question of whether the UK is a significant enough market that websites change their practices worldwide to avoid headaches, similar to the way many US business decided it was better to ... (view more)

Tue
08
Dec
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Feds Snooped IP Addresses Using Website Logs

The Director of National Intelligence has confirmed the government collected visitor information from a US webpage using powers stemming from the PATRIOT Act. It's reawakened political debate about whether search and browsing history should be part ... of these powers. The argument centers on Section 215 of the act which gives the government the authority to collect "tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information." In the past that's been interpreted to include electronic records such as phone logs. ... (view more)

Tue
28
Jan
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State Could Ban Gov't Ransomware Payments

New York state senators want a legal ban on local governments paying ransomware demands. The bipartisanship move is based on the idea that paying up simply incentivises the attacks. Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts files on a hard ... drive so that they become unusable. Cyber criminals then demand a hefty ransom to unlock the files. Two state senators, one Democrat and one Republican, have each proposed broadly similar bills. They are currently in the committee stage and its likely that one will go ahead to a full vote of the New York State Senate. Both bills are based on similar ... (view more)

Wed
22
Jan
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Apple Drops Plan to Tighten iCloud Encryption

Reports suggest that Apple has been pressured by the FBI to drop plans to improve the security of its customer backups. The plan was to better encrypt backups on the iCloud service. iCloud serves two purposes: it's a way for Apple users to store ... data and documents online and access them from anywhere (from any Apple device) with a password; it's also a way to automatically backup the contents of iPads and iPhones. Data from the iCloud is stored on Apple servers in an encrypted format, which means that if somebody gained access to the files (either through a remote hack, or a physical breach ... (view more)

Wed
11
Dec
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House Passes Robocall Bill (Finally)

A bill to tackle unwanted "robocalls" looks likely to become law in the US. It would use a range of approaches to tackle misleading or annoying automated calls. Robocalls are automatically-dialed marketing (or scam) phone calls - the same calls made ... by Indian tech support scammers . Using computers to place the call greatly increases the number of homes a company (or scammer) can attempt to phone - and in turn the number of calls the average home is likely to receive. The House of Representatives has now passed the proposed Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and ... (view more)

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