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Technology 24 February 2020

The Week in Internet News: ISPs Sue Maine Over New Privacy Law

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossGuest AuthorTechnology Reporter

Protesting privacy: Four ISP trade groups are suing the state of Maine for a privacy law that goes into effect this year, Ars Technica reports. Among other things, the law supposedly violates ISP free speech rights because it limits their ability to advertise to their customers and to offer discounts in exchange for customers’ personal information. The Maine law requires ISPs to get customers’ opt-in consent before using or sharing sensitive data.

DSL over fiber: The California Advanced Services Fund, a program launched in 2008 to connect all Californians to broadband, was an early success, but recent actions in the state legislature have encouraged slow speeds of 6 Mbps and eliminated the fund’s ability to serve public housing already served by slow DSL service, the EFF says in a blog post. “By establishing an abysmally low standard based on DSL technology that made its debut more than a decade ago, the state’s regulator is forced to conclude that basically everyone has useful broadband access today,” the EFF says. “This has kept the state from closing the digital divide.”

It’s getting better: Nigeria is making great strides in getting residents connected to the Internet, the BBC reports. More than 100 million Nigerians are now connected to the Internet, with 250,000 new subscribers gaining access during the last quarter of 2019, according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission.

Watching the watchers: A new app will scan Internet of Things devices around you and let you opt out of any data collection they attempt, according to CNet. With the Internet of Things Assistant app, “you’ll be able to see devices like public cameras with facial recognition technology, Bluetooth beacons tracking your location at the mall, and your neighbor’s smart doorbell or smart speaker,” the story says. Carnegie Mellon researchers created the app.

Regulations for good: Companies in Europe are finding cyber breaches much faster than they used to, and some cybersecurity experts credit the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ZDNet says. Cybersecurity company FireEye has found that the median time from between the start of an intrusion and the time it is identified has fallen from 177 days last year to 54 days now.

The Internet is for everyone. Join the global movement to help close the digital divide!

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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