The Machinery Is in Place to Make Trump Protests Permanent
By Issie Lapowsky
January 30, 2017
Throngs of protesters descended almost instantly upon the nation’s airports this weekend in response to news that customs officials were detaining refugees and other immigrants. In Birmingham alone, some 1,000 people RSVPed on Facebook to attend the Birmingham Rally for Refugees and Immigrants after getting just a few hours notice. The same phenomenon played out in cities and small towns across the country.
The Arab Spring six years ago first demonstrated social media’s ability to power political dissent. Now it’s reaching a new point of maturation. Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Bernie Sanders all found ways to use social platforms to organize. In the course of those efforts and others, protesters have built a kind of plug-and-play network that makes it easy to generate widespread civil action with a click or tap. With this infrastructure in place, street protests could become as much a fixture of the new administration as President Trump’s tweets.
Donald Trump Muslim Immigration Ban: US Border Patrol 'Checking People's Facebook for Political Views'
By Caroline Mortimer
January 29, 2017
US border agents are checking people’s Facebook pages for their political views before allowing them into the country, an immigration lawyer has claimed.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (Alia) said border agents were checking the social media accounts of those detained and were interrogating them about their political beliefs before allowing them into the US.
The U.S. Without Net Neutrality: How an Internet Nightmare Unfolds
By Kevin Collier
January 25, 2017
Net neutrality is the reason internet providers like Comcast or Verizon are required to let their customers access the entire internet without restriction. To use a famous example, net neutrality doesn’t care if it takes a lot of bandwidth to stream movies — it can’t use that fact as an excuse to charge either Netflix or their customers more, or to slow down their internet speeds. Internet providers had for years lobbied against it, but in 2015, to much acclaim from internet advocates, the FCC enshrined firm net neutrality rules, and in June 2016, solidified them in court.
Trump’s team hadn’t been explicitly clear about its policies in this area, but it just recently picked fierce net neutrality opponent and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai to chair the FCC, the federal body that oversees Internet regulation.
In addition, both the new president and some of his closest allies have expressed both a strong opposition to net neutrality and a profound ignorance of what the concept actually mean
Surge in Media Mergers is Expected Under Trump's Pro-Business Agenda
By Meg James and Jim Puzzanghera
January 27, 2017
Los Angeles Times
Trump administration appointees are expected to be friendlier to corporate mergers, returning to a traditional Republican openness to approving major deals after eight years of heightened scrutiny — and some major rejections — under Democratic appointees of former President Obama.
This week, Trump designated Ajit Pai, a free-market advocate on the Federal Communications Commission, to lead the agency and its new Republican majority.
Pai has been an outspoken critic of the FCC’s merger review process and has indicated he would be more willing to bless corporate deals.
The change in Washington comes as Verizon and AT&T scramble to find ways to grow their businesses. Millions of consumers own smartphones, and competitors have been offering aggressive prices for their phone and data plans to grab customers from one another.
Information Lockdown Hits Trump’s Federal Agencies
By Andrew Restuccia, Alex Guillén and Nancy Cook
January 24, 2017
Federal agencies are clamping down on public information and social media in the early days of Donald Trump's presidency, limiting employees’ ability to issue news releases, tweet, make policy pronouncements or otherwise communicate with the outside world, according to memos and sources from multiple agencies.
The steps to mute federal employees — seen to varying degrees in the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of the Interior, Transportation, Agriculture and Health and Human Services — are sparking early fears of a broader crackdown across the government, as Trump vows to pursue an agenda sharply at odds with his predecessor.