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Statistics & Assessment

FCC to Consider Revised Net Neutrality Rules

electronic-superhighway-by-nam-june-paik“Electronic Superhighway” by Nam June Paik, image © The QThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is once again trying to propose network neutrality rules that would assure an open Internet, though early press reports based on a draft proposal indicate that more work needs to be done to achieve network neutrality. In its January 2014 decision in Verizon v. FCC, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals struck down previous FCC rules on network neutrality. The FCC will consider new rules on May 15. The proposed rules will then be subject to public comment and will be carefully reviewed by many communities, given the possible impact on free speech, innovation, online learning, and more. ARL, the American Library Association (ALA), and EDUCAUSE have been collaborating on network neutrality issues and will continue to work with the FCC and other communities as the proposed rules are publicly considered. 

 
 

Two Bills Seek to Address NSA Surveillance Practices

phone with sticker that says This Phone Is Tappedimage © François ProulxThe continuous release of information concerning the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance practices has led to increased scrutiny by Congress. Two bills have been introduced that seek to address some of the NSA surveillance practices and address serious privacy concerns. First, Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the FISA Improvement Act of 2013 (PDF) that was approved by the Select Committee on Intelligence on October 31. The bill was not made publicly available until after the committee’s approval. The second, a bicameral and bipartisan bill, the USA Freedom Act of 2013 (PDF), was introduced by Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on October 29. This bill seeks to rein in the NSA’s bulk collection, analysis, and storage of Americans’ electronic communications. ARL with others in the public and private sectors support the USA Freedom Act of 2013.

 
 

FCC Grants One-Year Waiver of E-Reader Accessibility Requirement

image © Terry MadeleyOn January 28, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a one-year waiver exempting e-readers from the requirement that equipment used for advanced communication services (ACS) be accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities. The FCC granted the waiver in response to a petition filed by the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers, but limited the waiver to only one year despite the coalition’s request for an indefinite waiver. In the order granting the waiver (PDF), the FCC stated:

 
 

FCC to Decide E-Reader Waiver Petition by January 28

image © Terry MadeleyOn October 22, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau announced that the FCC needs more time to review a petition requesting a waiver for certain e-reader devices to be exempt from the FCC’s advanced communications accessibility requirements. The petition was filed by the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers. The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau issued an order (PDF) granting a temporary waiver from the accessibility requirements for certain e-readers until January 28, 2014. During this temporary waiver period, the FCC will evaluate the merits of the petition and decide whether to grant or deny the waiver request. For more background, read about the reply comments ARL submitted to the FCC in September 2013 opposing the waiver.

 
 
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