News Roundup, June 15: Domestic Filtering, Wireless Spectrum Auctions, Mobile User Privacy

Published:  June 14, 2012
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Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) advocates for equal rights regardless of sexual orientation. Their website was among the sites blocked by the Camdenton School District. Photo licensed CC by PDX Pixels: http://goo.gl/EK1iY

Welcome to our weekly series, highlighting the most newsworthy events under the Open Technology Initiative’s three key areas: Freedom of Expression, Spectrum Policy, and Privacy and Security. Contact us with story ideas: blog@opentechinstitute.org

Freedom of Expression: School District Settles with ACLU on Web-Filtering Case

Last summer, the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) sued Missouri’s Camdenton School Districtfor using filtering software to block access to educational and nonsexual websites relating to gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual issues. This week, the lawsuitwas settled. In addition to allowing the sites, the district agreed to undergo an 18 month audit to ensure the lack of censorship and pay legal fees and costs. The lawsuit had been initiated by the ACLU on behalf of organizations whose websites had been blocked. Read more about the Camdenton District’s filtering system.

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Spectrum Policy: 4G Wireless Auction Raises $1.4 Billion Dollars For Brazil

Earlier this week, the Brazilian government auctioned wireless airwaves to its top mobile carriers. The auction raised 2.93 billion reais, which is roughly $1.4 billion. Anatel, the Brazilian telecommunications regulator, reports that the auction comes with obligations. The mobile carriers are expected to use the spectrum to offer faster Internet speeds to customers, construct 4G networks in certain cities by April 2013, and increase coverage in rural areas. Read more about Brazil’s spectrum auction.

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Privacy and Security: FCC Seeks Comments on Protecting Privacy for Mobile Users

Highlighting the expanding capabilities of wireless providers to collect customers’ data via mobile phones, the FCC released a public statement seeking comments on mobile privacy issues. More specifically, the FCC solicited comments on how companies can design their products to protect user privacy, how much control users have over the collection of their data, and the role of government regulation in encouraging better privacy protections. Read more about the FCC’s record on mobile privacy.

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