May 9, 2017

Court to reconsider case over FTC authority

Alan Diaz / AP

A federal court will reconsider its decision in a case that endangered the Federal Trade Commission's ability to regulate privacy at certain services owned by some internet providers. But, per the case's court order, "The three-judge panel disposition in this case shall not be cited as precedent by or to any court of the Ninth Circuit."

Backstory:

  • The court ruled last year that in most cases the FTC wasn't able to regulate any services offered by so-called "common carriers" — that's legalese for a small group of entities that includes telecom providers.
  • The decision was part of a case over FTC case against AT&T. Previously, the FTC was only unable to regulate the "common carrier" activities, like offering voice service, but could still police other unrelated services offered by the same companies.
  • Now, the full court will reconsider the ruling.

Why it matters: This story gets more complicated. In 2015, the FCC reclassified broadband service as a "common carrier" — meaning that internet service was regulated by that agency, rather than the FTC. But the FCC is under new leadership that wants to roll back that decision. That has caused some to fret that even if broadband service lost the "common carrier" status, the FTC couldn't regulate privacy at internet providers because the companies will still carry the broader status of "common carrier" thanks to other services they offer.

The upshot: If the court reverses the decision then it stands to make life harder for opponents of the net neutrality rollback, who would struggle to claim that it will scuttle privacy regulation. Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that the "court's action also strengthens the case for the FCC to reverse its 2015 Title II Order and restore the FTC's jurisdiction over broadband providers' privacy and data security practices." An AT&T spokesperson said that it has "reviewed the court's order, and we look forward to participating in the en banc review." The FTC declined to comment.

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
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  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
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Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

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