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The fight for open internet: Assessing the "Day of Action"
Rounding up recent tech news that impacts livelihoods in the creative community …
"Day of Action" net neutrality protests encourage digital activism
On July 12, leading internet companies and political organizations joined together in a "Day of Action" to protest the Federal Communications Commission's current plans to replace its Title II Open Internet enforcement scheme with a different approach. The FCC's first round of public comments closes today, having topped 7 million responses, with more than 1.6 million comments digitally submitted on July 12 alone, and more than 3 million emails sent that same day to lawmakers. Companies directly participating in the action included Amazon, Facebook, Google, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Netflix, Snapchat, SoundCloud, Reddit, and Spotify. Independently, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon made statements endorsing open internet principles and encouraging new legislation as the most comprehensive solution, while other observers expressed confidence litigation would protect online freedom, if necessary. Although intense popular sentiments don't shed light on the technical details of protecting the open internet, this broad support for the idea of net neutrality should help much-needed progress occur, even if it takes the form of market-oriented solutions relying on customers to select service plans that promise to protect the open internet.
News publishers ask Congress for right to negotiate collectively
Representing news publishers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, on July 10 News Media Alliance called on Congress to permit news publishers to negotiate collectively with Facebook and Google. Newspaper advertising revenue in 2016 was one-third the size of 2006 revenue, and in 2016 Facebook and Google received 58 percent of U.S. digital ad dollars. NMA President/CEO David Chavern said, "To ensure that [quality] journalism has a future, the news organizations that fund it must be able to collectively negotiate with the digital platforms that effectively control distribution and audience access in the digital age." Although accused of being a "digital duopoly," both Facebook and Google made statements expressing their commitment to working with newspapers and helping them succeed.
Google disavows search results linking to "best torrent sites"
As first reported on July 9 and for several days thereafter, search engine Google's automated efforts to help users find what they are looking for took a step back into the past, supplying helpful internet addresses for "torrent sites," "best torrent sites," as well as illegal options under "streaming sites." Google responded, "These results are generated algorithmically, but in this particular case, do not reflect what we had in mind for this feature, and we are looking into it."