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Facebook Messenger Might Allow You to Unsend Messages Soon

Facebook might be going through yet another data breach scandal but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stop working on its products.

Facebook may soon deliver a new feature allowing users to unsend messages in its Messenger app. It’s an interesting development after it was revealed that CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg actually seemed to delete messages he sent from the recipients’ inboxes. The incident raised privacy concerns and many took issue with Zuckerberg’s apparent abuse of power due to the fact that the ability to “unsend” a message isn’t available to other users.

After this news, Facebook said it would roll out the feature on a wider scale, but no news has developed since—until now. Screenshots from a Facebook Messenger user show the ability to unsend a message through the app, which was reported by tech news site TechCrunch. The site added that the user has previously provided tips on other features that later saw wider roll outs.

Additionally, it seems the feature only allows you to unsend the message after a certain amount of time before it will remain in the recipient’s inbox forever, according to Android Police. It’s also worth noting to anyone looking for the feature that the option seems to be on the Android app. It’s unclear how wide the roll-out is at the moment or when (or even if) it will be released more broadly.

Exclusive: Key EU lawmaker's plan to rein in online marketplaces a threat to Amazon

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Amazon could face a threat other than just EU antitrust scrutiny after a key EU lawmaker announced proposals aimed at curbing online marketplaces’ use of merchants’ data to boost sales of own brand products.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company’s logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

Seeking to ensure a level playing field between tech giants such as Google, Amazon and Apple and traditional businesses, the European Commission in April outlined draft rules to prevent unfair business practices.

The proposal specifically targets app stores, search engines, e-commerce sites and hotel booking websites.

European Parliament lawmakers, whose approval is needed to ensure the proposal becomes legislation and under pressure to be seen as consumer-friendly ahead of elections in May, have since come up with about 680 amendments to beef up the draft.

Key among these is the one proposed last week by Danish center-left lawmaker Christel Schaldemose, the lead parliament negotiator, which takes aim at a case her compatriot, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, is looking into.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

Schaldemose has proposed setting up Chinese walls between subsidiaries, according to a draft seen by Reuters. She aims to get her committee to vote on the amendments on Dec. 6.

Vestager last month said she was gathering information on whether Amazon uses merchants’ data in a way that hurts competition. Her power lies in her ability to impose fines while Schaldemose’s proposal, if accepted, would be more far-reaching as it would apply to all companies regardless of their market power.

In her amendment, Schaldemose referred to investigations by antitrust regulators in the European Union and elsewhere into online intermediation services’ dual role as a marketplace and as a rival on the same platform.

“To ensure fairness, the provider of the online intermediation service should not be allowed to disclose the data generated by the transactions of a business user to third parties for commercial purposes, including within their own corporate structure, without the consent of the business user,” the draft said.

Lawmakers also want the rules to cover voice assistance services or virtual helpers such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant because of their increasing popularity.

After the committee vote, Schaldemose would then seek approval at the assembly a week later. EU lawmakers would then need to thrash out a common position with the Commission and EU countries before the proposals become law.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by David Evans

How to Benefit From A Standing Desk

Ever feel completely drained after a flight, long car ride, or just a day of sitting at a desk? Even though you were just sitting for a long time, you felt exhausted. There are so many negative side effects to simply sitting for extended periods of time. Yet, Americans sit for on average 8 hours a day, with most of these hours being at work. Sitting for such a long time can negatively affect your health, side effects include:

·      Weight gain

·      Poor blood circulation

·      Heart disease

·      Weakened muscles

·      Diabetes

·      Posture problems

·      Chronic Back and neck pain

·      Anxiety and Depression

Sitting for long periods of time can cause more harm than good, especially for office workers. In an attempt to avoid these side effects, standing desks have become more and more popular. Not only do they avoid these harmful consequences of sitting, but standing desks actually improve health. Studies have shown standing desks actually increase productivity and focus in the workplace. An article by the Washington Post cited a recent study conducted by Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center School of Public Health that tested the benefits of standing desks. The study, which monitored 167 employees in a Texan call center over a six-month period, found that employees using stand-capable desks were more productive than their colleagues in standard, seated desks. And, the productivity of the standing-desk workers continued to increase over their seated colleagues steadily. In the first month, the stand-capable group had 23 percent more successful calls than their seated colleagues, and by the sixth month, they had 53 percent more successful calls.

In addition to increasing productivity, standing desks have been sought out for numerous benefits. These benefits include:

·      May lower risk of weight gain and obesity

·      May Lower blood sugar levels

·      May lower risk of heart disease

·      Reduce back and neck pain

·      Improve mood and energy levels

With as many benefits that come with a standing desk, it is no wonder they have become so popular in the workplace. Improve your focus, productivity, and health with this simple office fix. 

Soyuz Rocket Failure Jeopardizes Future ISS Missions

A NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut were forced to make a dramatic landing after their ride to space, a Russian Soyuz rocket, failed minutes after takeoff. The incident caused the crew to initiate emergency abort procedures, landing a few hundred miles away from the launch site. Both Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin are safe.

The crew launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:40 am ET and was scheduled to dock at the ISS six hours later. But about two minutes into the flight, the Soyuz suffered an unspecified failure and the onboard computer initiated the abort. “There was an issue with the booster from today’s launch,” a NASA spokesperson says. “The Soyuz capsule returned to Earth via a ballistic decent, which is a sharper angle of landing compared to normal.”

Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos (Russia’s space agency) has announced that all crew missions will be put on hold for the foreseeable future while the agency investigates the failure. The Russian state corporation, along with NASA are already analyzing data to determine what caused the anomaly. “NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the NASA team are monitoring the situation carefully,” the space agency said in a statement following the mishap. “NASA is working closely with Roscosmos to ensure the safe return of the crew. Safety of the crew is the utmost priority for NASA. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.”

This incident marks the first failure for the Russian human spaceflight program since 1983 when a Soyuz exploded on the launch pad. (The two Soviet cosmonauts on board, Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov, were able to jettison to safety). But it’s also the second mishap in recent months for Russia’s trusty Soyuz. In August, the crew members onboard the space station discovered an air leak originating from one of the Soyuz capsules that was docked with the orbital outpost. The leak was eventually traced to a tiny hole in the Soyuz’s orbital module. Crew members were able to repair the ship and no one was in any danger, however, the leak has been a source of controversy as officials work to determine how the hole was made. Russian media outlets have tried to suggest on-orbit sabotage, implying that one of the crew members on board ISS intentionally drilled the hole. NASA has refuted those claims and Bridenstine is currently in Russia for the launch as well as to meet with Russian space officials.

Currently, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft is the only vehicle capable of ferrying crews to the ISS. In 2011, NASA’s fleet of space shuttles was retired, leaving the agency (and others around the world) dependent upon Russia for access to space. Commercial companies like SpaceX and Boeing are building NASA’s next generation space taxis, but they are not yet ready to fly. (The first flights of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner crew capsules are expected to take off next year).

This failure raises serious questions about the future of the International Space Station, as the Soyuz spacecraft (and rocket) are the only means by which crews can reach it. It is not clear how long the Soyuz vehicle will be grounded, or how long the current crew—American astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, German Commander Alexander Gerst, and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev— can remain in orbit. They’re scheduled to come home on December 13, although it’s likely their mission will be extended.

Their scheduled replacements (cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques and NASA astronaut Anne McClain) were slated to launch on Dec. 20, but as of now their flight is uncertain pending the outcome of this investigation. NASA is still working out the plans going forward concerning both the crew and space station. While the agency can run the space station from the ground, agency officials prefer to have crew onboard, resulting in an extended stay in space for Auñón-Chancellor, Gerst, and Prokopyev. Supplies on board are ample so the crew is in good shape in terms of consumables.

Transportation, however, may be a bit trickier. Each Soyuz spacecraft is only certified to stay docked to the space station for approximately 200 days. With their lifeboat’s shelf life set to expire in January 2019, the crew could either be stranded or forced to abandon the space station. Both the rocket and the spacecraft to be used for the next launch are nearly ready to fly, however, so it’s entirely possible that the next Soyuz could launch without people on board, serving as an extra lifeboat to fetch the current crew.

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Microsoft's patent move: Giant leap forward or business as usual?

When Microsoft surprised everyone by releasing its entire 60,000 patent portfolio to the open-source community, someone asked me if I thought the move would finally convince everyone Microsoft is truly an open-source friendly company.

“Oh no,” I replied.

Must read: Microsoft open-sources its patent portfolio

Sure enough, some folks are still convinced that Microsoft is intending to “embrace, extend, and extinguish” open source. Many others believe, however, that Microsoft has truly evolved and has become an open-source company.

Is it a trap?

On the purely positive side, we have Jim Zemlin, The Linux Foundation‘s executive director:

“We were thrilled to welcome Microsoft as a platinum member of the Linux Foundation in 2016 and we are absolutely delighted to see their continuing evolution into a full-fledged supporter of the entire Linux ecosystem and open-source community.”

Patrick McBride, Red Hat‘s senior director of patents added, “What a milestone moment for open source and OIN! Microsoft is joining a unique shared effort that Red Hat has helped lead to bring patent peace to the Linux community. Developers and customers will be the beneficiaries. Now is a perfect time for others to join as well.”

On the haters’ side, there is Florian Mueller, editor of the FOSSPatents blog, who thinks:

‘Microsoft loves Linux’ is a lie. And now Microsoft wants us to think that Microsoft battles patent trolls. This too is a Microsoft lie.”

He also said joining the OIN, which Mueller considers a pro-patent IBM front group, “imposes no actual new constraints on them.” This is just a cynical PR move from Mueller’s viewpoint.

Also: Open source: Why it’s time to be more open

Other anti-Microsoft die-hards on Reddit, Twitter, and other social networks also insist that this new Microsoft is the same as the old Microsoft. Or, as one person, harking back to Star Wars, remarked: “It’s a trap!”

Microsoft finally gets open source

At Microsoft, the company insists that it has been changing its open-source ways for years. In a recent Open Source Virtual Conference keynote, John Gossman, a distinguished Microsoft Azure team engineer, described former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s 2001 comment that Linux was “a cancer” as being ” a fundamental misunderstanding of open source.”

Also: Open-source licensing war: Commons Clause

With Satya Nadella as CEO, Microsoft finally gets open source.

What the patent experts are saying…

But it’s not just Microsoft staffers who are saying Microsoft’s attitude toward open-source has evolved. Andrew “Andy” Updegrove, patent expert and founding partner at the Boston-area law-firm Gesmer Updegrove, said:

“While this may seem surprising to those who have not followed Microsoft’s evolution in recent years, it is in fact more a formal recognition of where they, and the realities of the IT environment are today.”

Daniel Ravicher, executive director of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), whose work was once used by Ballmer against Linux, wasn’t surprised by this move:

“With the

acquisition of GitHub and other things the company is done they’ve really changed their tune in the past 15 years. They also hired as an in-house attorney a former staff attorney of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). It may be like the Korean War that doesn’t have a formal end date, but I think now Microsoft and open-source software are on the same page and working together.”

Prominent open-source attorney and Columbia University law professor, Eben Moglen, also sees this as a move towards patent peace. Moglen remarked:

“Microsoft’s decision signals the transition from the period of patent war to the making of industry-wide patent peace for free and open-source (FOSS) software. Microsoft’s participation in the OIN licensing structure will be the tent pole for the extension of OIN’s big tent across the world of IT. For SFLC and other parties whose job it is to secure the interests of individual FOSS programmers and their non-profit projects, this is also the moment of opportunity to ensure their safety and respect for their mode of development across the entire industry, including by companies who continue to engage in patenting their own R&D.”

Also: Open source is 20: How it changed programming

Why is Microsoft doing this when it makes money from patents?

Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group, described the decision as a “fundamental philosophical change” — resulting from an understanding that open-source is inherently more valuable to Microsoft than patent profits.

John Ferrell, chair at the Silicon Valley technology law firm Carr & Ferrell, thinks there may be a more pragmatic reason behind Microsoft’s move:

“Microsoft’s gesture to donate 60,000 patents to the OIN is indeed a philosophical change for this giant, but the change likely is rooted in the realization that the Company is much better suited to fight in the marketplace rather than to fight in the courtroom. Virtually every patent-owning company that gets into a patent battle with Microsoft is fighting from a position of asymmetrical advantage. Where damages are based on a percent of sales, Microsoft almost always has more to lose. Especially companies that leverage open-source software, these companies tend to be small and patent infringement for Microsoft is difficult and expensive to police.”

Ferrell, the litigator, continued:

“From a defensive standpoint, small companies with one or two patents arguably infringed by Microsoft are especially annoying and potentially damaging to this goliath. Microsoft is a huge target and is constantly barraged with patent lawsuits by small and large companies trying to gain a foothold or monetize their development efforts at the expense of Microsoft’s deep pockets.”

An additional reason for Microsoft’s change of heart, according to Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange, an open-source network services company, is:

“Microsoft boss Nadella wants to buy new credit in the open-source industry, distancing the company from the business model and practises of his predecessors, i.e. Gates’ and Ballmer’s sincere dislike of open source developers” Nadella, however, “recognizes that Microsoft’s future revenue will come from providing cloud services, rather than selling operating system licenses. And for cloud services, Linux is now the operating system of choice – underpinned by the fact that already

half of the Microsoft Azure services are based on Linux today.”

Also: Open-source vulnerabilities which will not die: Who is to blame?

Will this bring peace to our time?

Bradley Kuhn, president of the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), appreciates Microsoft joining OIN patent non-aggression pact, noting: “Perhaps it will bring peace in our time regarding Microsoft’s historical patent aggression.”

Microsoft needs to do more, Kuhn added, “We call on Microsoft to make this just the beginning of their efforts to stop their patent aggression efforts against the software freedom community.”

Specifically, he said, “We now ask Microsoft, as a sign of good faith and to confirm its intention to end all patent aggression against Linux and its users, to now submit to upstream the exfat code themselves under GPLv2-or-later.”

Exfat, a file system, was open-sourced by Samsung with the SFC’s help in 2013. But Kuhn said, “Microsoft has not included any patents they might hold on exfat into the patent non-aggression pact.”

In general, it should be noticed, when asked about FAT-related patents, Erich Andersen, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and chief intellectual property (IP) counsel, has said:

“We’re licensing all patents we own that read on the ‘Linux system.'” And, in addition, all of Microsoft’s 60,000 granted patents relating to the Linux system are covered by the OIN’s requirements.

In a subsequent e-mail Kuhn noted, “Ultimately, the OIN license agreement is quite narrowly confined to the ‘ OIN Linux System Definition‘ and therefore doesn’t assure that patent aggression must stop immediately; rather, Microsoft is only required to stop for those patents that read on technologies in the OIN Linux System Definition.”

So, for example, BSD specific code, wouldn’t necessarily be covered.

Therefore, Kuhn suggested:

“Expanding the ‘Linux System Definition’ would be a useful way to solve this problem through OIN.”

Historically, OIN has been expanding the Linux System Definition.

Kuhn concluded:

“More importantly, Microsoft can help solve it unilaterally by submitting patches that implement technology from their patents into upstream projects that are already contained in the Linux System Definition. I suggest they start with upstreaming exfat in Linux themselves.

Also: Hollywood goes open source


So, while there are a few people who think Microsoft is up to no good, the experts agree that this is a laudable move by Microsoft to show its open-source bona fides. That’s not to say some still want to see more proof of Microsoft’s intentions, but overall, people agree this is a major step forward for Microsoft, Linux, and open-source intellectual property law regulation.

Related stories:

Digital-only banks take sizeable share in France but lose money: regulator

PARIS (Reuters) – A new breed of digital-only banks has spread in France but still struggles to make any money, a report by France’s banking regulator ACPR said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of cash machines Orange Bank is seen on the facade of the Bank headquarters in Montreuil near Paris, France, October 27, 2017. Picture taken October 27, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

With rare exceptions, none of the twelve online banks has reached breakeven in 2017, the regulator said after reviewing their operations over the first half of this year.

About 6.5 percent of French people are clients these banks, which capture one third of all newly-opened accounts, according to the report.

A majority of the online banks, which include Orange Bank, Credit Agricole’s BforBank and Societe Generale’s Boursorama Banque, were taken over by traditional lenders.

Half of them expect to break even in 2020, an assumption that ACPR is challenging as their business model rests on high spending to win customers while charging almost no fees.

Reporting by Inti Landauro and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Mathieu Rosemain

Pentagon says memo asking for Broadcom-CA deal review is likely fake

(Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense said on Wednesday that a memo purporting to show the Pentagon asking for a national security review of chipmaker Broadcom Inc’s (AVGO.O) $19 billion deal to buy software company CA Technologies (CA.O) was likely fake.

A sign to the campus offices of chip maker Broadcom Ltd, is shown in Irvine, California, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Broadcom said in a statement that the two companies are American, “and there is no basis in fact or law for CFIUS review of our pending transaction.”

The Pentagon is looking into who wrote the fake memo, according to a spokeswoman. She said they considered it likely to be fake based on an initial assessment.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is the government panel that reviews deals for potential national security risks. Panel members include representatives of several U.S. departments, including the Department of Defense and the Treasury Department.

Earlier this year, U.S. President Donald Trump blocked Broadcom’s $117 billion hostile bid for semiconductor peer Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O), arguing it posed a threat to U.S. national security and gave an edge to Chinese companies looking to build next-generation wireless networks.

Since then, Broadcom has redomiciled from Singapore to the United States, placing it formally outside the purview of CFIUS, the government panel that reviews deals for potential national security risks.

Shares of Broadcom were down 2.3 percent at $239.00 and those of CA slipped 1.6 percent at $43.28.

Broadcom announced the deal to buy CA Technologies in July.

Several media reports on Wednesday said U.S. Senator Rand Paul had called for a review of the deal. Paul did not respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Susan Thomas

SoundCloud expands direct licensing to wider array of artists

LONDON (Reuters) – SoundCloud, a popular streaming music service with wide appeal to new artists seeking to break into the top-heavy recording industry, is introducing a new offer to help musicians make money from their work, bypassing music label distributors.

The Berlin-based firm said it is opening up its previously invite-only “premier monetization” program to hundreds of thousands of artists who offer their recordings on SoundCloud’s music streaming service, and qualify as professional creators.

Rival streaming music services include Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music, which typically restrict direct music sales to top artists, if at all. SoundCloud said in a statement that it would meet or beat the revenue split offered to artists by other streaming services.

Spotify is experimenting with offering direct licensing deals to some artists, it confirmed in July.

The decade-old SoundCloud counts 20 million creators who have posted content on its platform. It has been instrumental in launching the careers of recent chart-topping artists including Chance the Rapper, DJ duo Louis the Child, rapper Bryson Tiller and genre-bending soul singer Kali Uchis.

However, SoundCloud – which has one of the larger global audiences for free, advertising-supported listening outside of China – has struggled to convert users into paying subscribers.

Those hurdles have remained even after it offered its low-priced $4.99 a month ‘SoundCloud Go’ service last year.

The service said it would pay qualifying artists in its SoundCloud Pro or Pro Unlimited program who are at least 18 years of age directly each month. It will start with artists with at least 5,000 plays a month, in the United States, as well as major European markets, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The direct licensing program is aimed at newer, independent artists. SoundCloud has licensing deals with major music labels which cover many top artists.

For copyright reasons, only original music for which creators own all the rights can be offered, SoundCloud said. Covers, sampling and songs by artists with a track record of copyright violations will disqualify them from participating.

Reporting by Eric Auchard in London; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

Can the FCC Really Block California's Net Neutrality Law?

Within hours of California governor Jerry Brown signing a sweeping net neutrality bill into law, the US Department of Justice sued the state, sparking the latest battle in the long legal war over the ground rules for the internet. Groups representing broadband providers followed suit on Wednesday, with their own lawsuit arguing that California’s law was illegal.

The California law, set to take effect on January 1, will ban internet service providers from blocking or otherwise discriminating against lawful internet content. The rules are designed to replace similar regulations passed by the Obama-era Federal Communications Commission but jettisoned earlier this year by the now Republican-controlled agency.

Lawyers say the dispute raises novel questions about the relationship between the federal government and the states. First is whether California has authority to impose net neutrality rules at all. Both the DOJ and the broadband industry claim that the inherently interstate nature of the internet means that only the federal government can regulate broadband services. A second, even thornier question is whether the FCC was within its rights when it effectively banned states from adopting net neutrality rules earlier this year.

At its heart is this conundrum: In repealing the Obama-era rules, the FCC said it didn’t have authority to impose net neutrality regulations. But the agency now claims it does have the authority to ban states from adopting their own rules.

“It’s hard to find a case that’s perfectly, squarely applicable, where an agency says ‘we’re vacating the field, and we’re not allowing anyone else to enter the field,’” says Marc Martin, a former FCC staffer during the presidency of George H.W. Bush who is chair of law firm Perkins Coie’s communications practice.

The California net neutrality dispute is just one part of a larger struggle between progressive states and the Trump administration on issues including immigration bans, separation of families at the border, and vehicle emissions. On net neutrality, several states, led by New York, are suing the FCC, arguing, among other things, that its decision was “arbitrary and capricious” and therefore illegal. A few states, including New York and Oregon, have banned state agencies from doing business with broadband providers that don’t protect net neutrality. And Washington, like California, passed a law to protect net neutrality directly.

Supporters of the California and Washington laws say they don’t conflict with federal regulations because, well, there aren’t any federal net neutrality regulations to conflict with.

“Usually you have preemption where there is a federal rule and a state tries to enact an incompatible rule,” says Pantelis Michalopoulos, a lawyer with the firm Steptoe & Johnson who is representing net neutrality advocates in a federal lawsuit against the FCC. “You’re in a much weaker position when you try to preempt a state rule where there is no federal rule.”

It’s not unheard of for the federal government to preempt state or local regulations when those regulations conflict with federal policy, even when the federal policy is not to regulate. Martin, the former FCC staffer, points to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, which banned states from reimposing federal airline regulations.

But that was a decision by Congress, not a federal agency. More relevant to this case are court decisions upholding the FCC’s moves to block the state of Minnesota from regulating internet phone services like Vonage like traditional telephone carriers. But the Vonage cases differ from the California net neutrality case in that the FCC’s authority to regulate internet phone services wasn’t in doubt. It’s less clear that the FCC still has authority to regulate broadband in the same way.

The FCC spent years, under both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, trying to enact net neutrality regulations, but was repeatedly shot down in court until the FCC reclassified broadband providers as “Title II” common carriers, not unlike traditional telephone services. When the FCC passed the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which took effect earlier this year and repealed Obama-era federal net neutrality rules, the agency returned broadband to the less stringent “Title I” information service category. The agency also concluded that it doesn’t actually have the authority to ban broadband providers from blocking or discriminating against particular internet content.

In a lawsuit challenging the legality of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, a coalition of state and local governments and technology companies argued in a brief that this admission by the FCC effectively undermines its ability to preempt state laws, pointing to a 1976 federal court decision striking down the FCC’s attempt to preempt state regulation of two-way communications over cable television connections. That case was primarily about intrastate communications, but highlighted what Judge Malcolm Wilkey called a “vital difference between a refusal to use granted power, and an attempt to prevent regulation by others in an area where no ordinary Commission jurisdiction appears to exist.” Combined with the earlier cases that blocked the FCC from imposing net neutrality regulations without classifying broadband providers as common carriers, net neutrality advocates argue that the FCC lacks the authority to preempt states.

The question that remains is whether having the option to classify broadband as Title II and refusing to do so helps the FCC’s case, because it clearly had the authority to regulate net neutrality at one point, or hurts it, because it has given that authority up.

Martin thinks the states that are trying to protect net neutrality through policies barring state agencies from using broadband providers that don’t respect net neutrality are on stronger footing than the California and Washington laws. States are typically allowed to make their own decisions about how they spend their budgets. But Thomas Nachbar, senior fellow for national security law at the University of Virginia, isn’t so sure. He says those rules go too far by dictating how broadband providers treat not just the state, but other customers.

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