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Paul Merrell

Vowing to Deliver High-Speed Broadband for All, Sanders Plan Would Enshrine Internet as Public Utility | Common Dreams News - 2 views

  • Vowing to take on the telecom giants that have monopolized the web for private profit, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday unveiled a $150 billion plan to make the internet a public utility, break up and tightly regulate corporate behemoths like Verizon and AT&T, and provide high-speed broadband for everyone in the United States.
  • It is outrageous that across the country millions of Americans and so many of our communities do not have access to affordable high-speed internet," Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement. "Access to the internet is a necessity in today's economy, and it should be available for all." Sanders vowed that, if elected president in 2020, he will ensure that every American household has affordable and high-speed internet by the end of his first term.
  • Sanders' plan, posted on his website, would provide $150 billion in federal funding through the Green New Deal to help states and municipalities "build publicly owned and democratically controlled, co-operative, or open access broadband networks." The proposal also calls for: Reinstating the net neutrality protections that President Donald Trump's telecom-friendly FCC repealed in 2017; Using anti-trust laws to break up internet and cable monopolies; Ensuring that all public housing in the U.S. offers free broadband; Requiring all providers to "offer a Basic Internet Plan that provides quality broadband speeds at an affordable price"; and Guaranteeing that all new broadband infrastructure is "resilient to the effects of climate change" and "capable of managing high amounts of renewable energy."
Paul Merrell

Time to 'Break Facebook Up,' Sanders Says After Leaked Docs Show Social Media Giant 'Treated User Data as a Bargaining Chip' | Common Dreams News - 0 views

  • After NBC News on Wednesday published a trove of leaked documents that show how Facebook "treated user data as a bargaining chip with external app developers," White House hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders declared that it is time "to break Facebook up."
  • When British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell first shared the trove of documents with a handful of media outlets including NBC News in April, journalists Olivia Solon and Cyrus Farivar reported that "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network's power and control competitors by treating its users' data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data." With the publication Wednesday of nearly 7,000 pages of records—which include internal Facebook emails, web chats, notes, presentations, and spreadsheets—journalists and the public can now have a closer look at exactly how the company was using the vast amount of data it collects when it came to bargaining with third parties.
  • The document dump comes as Facebook and Zuckerberg are facing widespread criticism over the company's political advertising policy, which allows candidates for elected office to lie in the ads they pay to circulate on the platform. It also comes as 47 state attorneys general, led by Letitia James of New York, are investigating the social media giant for antitrust violations.
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  • According to Solon and Farivar of NBC: Taken together, they show how Zuckerberg, along with his board and management team, found ways to tap Facebook users' data—including information about friends, relationships, and photos—as leverage over the companies it partnered with. In some cases, Facebook would reward partners by giving them preferential access to certain types of user data while denying the same access to rival companies. For example, Facebook gave Amazon special access to user data because it was spending money on Facebook advertising. In another case the messaging app MessageMe was cut off from access to data because it had grown too popular and could compete with Facebook.
  • The call from Sanders (I-Vt.) Wednesday to break up Facebook follows similar but less definitive statements from the senator. One of Sanders' rivals in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), released her plan to "Break Up Big Tech" in March. Zuckerberg is among the opponents of Warren's proposal, which also targets other major technology companies like Amazon and Google.
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