California lawmakers have voted to make net neutrality state law, becoming the latest of several states to approve such measures.
The move by state legislators is a rejection of the Trump administration’s repeal of national net neutrality rules that did not allow internet service providers to discriminate in their handling of internet traffic.
It was first put in place by the Obama administration in 2015. When it was repealed, it opened the door for internet service providers to block content, slow data transmission, and create “fast lanes” for consumers who pay premiums.
If California Governor Jerry Brown signs net neutrality into law, the state could possibly face a legal fight from the Federal Communications Commission, which has declared that states cannot pass their own net neutrality rules.
Analysts say other states are watching how California will handle the issue. If the home of Silicon Valley finalizes the new law, that could encourage other states to do the same or encourage national politicians to re-enact national protections.
Jonathan Spalter, president/CEO of the broadband industry group USTelecom, said in a statement that consumers want a “single, national approach to keeping our internet open,” instead of a “confusing patchwork of conflicting requirements.” (VOA)
The online sale of sex slaves is going strong despite new U.S. laws to clamp down on the crime, data analysts said Wednesday, urging a wider use of technology to fight human trafficking.
In April, the United States passed legislation aimed at making it easier to prosecute social media platforms and websites that facilitate sex trafficking, days after a crackdown on classified ad giant Backpage.com.
The law resulted in an immediate and sharp drop in sex ads online but numbers have since picked up again, data presented at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Trust Conference showed.
“The market has been destabilized and there are now new entrants that are willing to take the risk in order to make money,” Chris White, a researcher at tech giant Microsoft who gathered the data, told the event in London.
Backpage.com, a massive advertising site primarily used to sell sex — which some analysts believe accounted for 80 percent of online sex trafficking in the United States — was shut down by federal authorities in April.
Days later, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which introduced stiff prison sentences and fines for website owners and operators found guilty of contributing to sex trafficking, was passed into law.
The combined action caused the number of online sex ads to fall 80 percent to about 20,000 a day nationwide, White said.
The number of ads has since risen to about 60,000 a day, as new websites filled the gap, he said.
In October — in response to a lawsuit accusing it of not doing enough to protect users from human traffickers — social media giant Facebook said it worked internally and externally to thwart such predators.
Using technology to continuously monitor and analyze this kind of data is key to evaluating existing laws and designing new and more effective ones, White said.
“It really highlights what’s possible through policy,” added Valiant Richey, a former U.S. prosecutor who now fights human trafficking at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), echoing the calls for new methods.
Law enforcement agencies currently tackle slavery one case at a time, but the approach lacks as the crime is too widespread and authorities are short of resources, he said.
As a prosecutor in Seattle, Richey said his office would work on up to 80 cases a year, while online searches revealed more than 100 websites where sex was sold in the area, some carrying an average of 35,000 ads every month.