The FCC usually doesn’t get involved in telling Amazon and eBay how to run their business endeavors. Things change. The government agency recently took a look at fake TV boxes up for sale on the two sites. A call went out from the government to the companies. Essentially, the FCC wants Amazon and eBay to curtail the sales of these fake pay TV boxes on their platforms.
Open-source software combined with gray-market TV boxes make it possible for people to stream content illegally. With certain apps, owners of illicit TV boxes can even stream illegal copies of movies currently playing in theaters. In years past, people took advantage of torrent sites to watch illegal copies of copyrighted material. The new apps and corresponding boxes create a new pathway to access such content. Installing the boxes isn’t difficult. Information on how to stream content can be found online. So, people take advantage of these illegal devices. Since they are sold on Amazon and eBay, some might not even think there’s anything illegal associated with the boxes.
Shockingly, eBay and Amazon did not crack down on the presence of these boxes. Perhaps lack of oversight contributed to the presence of the boxes online. An incredible volume of new products arrive on the inventory list of both these companies each and every day. Tracking what members put up for sale can be a little difficult. That’s not stated to provide a convenient excuse for the two companies. Any entity providing an online marketplace to facilitate sales must take some responsibility for the products it’s members promote. For whatever reason, the illegal and fake TV boxes seem to appear with prevalence. Now, the FCC wants to put an end to the distribution of the fake boxes.
Piracy continues to deliver a thorn in the side of the entertainment industry. Untold hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue derives from pirated distribution of content. The entertainment industry continues to crack down on illegal distribution as it should. Unfortunately, pirate technology is always advancing. As soon as one distribution channel is shut down, another one emerges. The entertainment history has to play catch-up with the pirates.
Have you realized all the major cellular providers have been fined by the FCC for those little white lies? Well, AT&T Wireless has been fined $100 million dollars by the FCC for misleading consumers about their “unlimited” data plans, that were really limited.
“Unlimited” anything is such an alluring amenity that it makes a lot of people gain your trust and sing your praises, until you find out you’ve been punked.
Back in 2007, AT&T marketed their unlimited data plans, especially for the iPhones, which tend to mean unrestricted to the majority of consumers. But according to the FCC, AT&T modified those unlimited plans by restricting and slowing down transmission speeds, and of course, they never notified customers.
Once customers reached a certain level of data usage, AT&T slowed their connection, ignored complaints, and charged outrageous penalties for cancelling a contract says chiropractor Brian Torchin.
AT&T ended their “unlimited” and unfriendly data plans in 2010 and introduced metered billing to customers. Data usage was capped for all of their plans at 2 gigabytes, and heavy users paid an additional $10 per gigabyte.
By the way, in 2012, LifeHacker spelled it out in a report, “what unlimited really meant among the carriers.”
In the end, AT&T claims they properly disclosed their policy of reducing data speeds to customers, but FCC said OK, show us.
Final statement from the FCC – “unlimited means unlimited.”
The FCC has been considerably hard on the telecom industry as of late. Their latest move is a warning regarding the enforcement of recent net neutrality legislation. The FCC is sending a message to telecom companies regarding strict regulations of user data.
Different brands of food have come out to say the FCC recently made internet access a Title II utility. This means that ISPs have to follow some of the same antiquated rules that the telephone companies have to follow. One of these rules disallows the sale of user data to third party companies without permission.
Many ISPs make a good deal of money from selling user information. AT&T GigaPower even uses private data to help deliver relevant advertisements to their subscribers in exchange for a lower rate. Without the ability to sell user data many ISPs will be losing a large chunk of their revenue.
At this point the FCC hasn’t commented on what they will actually do if they catch an ISP selling private data. There are still many bridges to cross in the battle for net neutrality and how it will actually be enforced.
Even as the Federal Communication Commission announced last week that access to the Internet should be treated as a public utility and that telecommunication companies should not be able to limit speeds based on the amount a user pays for access, the European Union has decided to consider proposals that would allow telecoms to create traffic lanes where some companies and individuals would get faster service because they can pay more.
The European Union has more telecoms with far more political sway than many tech companies in the United States and the threat to net neutrality overseas is high. At this point, it doesn’t look like a decision will be made until the summer, but a lot of business owners and Internet users around the world are holding their breaths with this news. After all, if multi-lane access is approved overseas, companies in the United States could use that decision to argue in federal courts that the FCC’s ruling was the wrong decision to make and then try to have it overturned.
Will the Europe Union say “No” to net neutrality?
Well, I asked some of patients in Dr. Daniel Amen’s waiting room and the consensus was it’s likely that the majority of representatives from EU states will oppose any laws that allow telecoms to charge more for faster speeds.