Former FCC Boss Wheeler Says Trump FCC Napped On Cybersecurity
As we’ve made clear by now, the FCC under Trump spent four straight years kissing monopoly ass. From eliminating decades-old rules protecting consumers and competitors from the harms of media consolidation to gutting the FCC’s consumer protection authority simply because AT&T and Comcast wanted it done, the agency under Pai was a textbook example of regulatory capture. There were a few high points (like the creation of a national suicide hotline), but by and large the FCC under Pai was just a mindless rubber stamp for the industry’s wealthiest players.
While the Pai FCC was busy doing whatever AT&T and Comcast wanted, a lot of stuff those companies didn’t care about fell off the table. Like any real rules governing the massive light pollution caused by low orbit satellites. Or any support for policies that would competitively challenge entrenched incumbents. And according to former FCC boss Tom Wheeler, a little thing called cybersecurity (more specifically, funds directed at smaller competitors to help them secure their networks):
"We are currently failing to use efficient regulatory mechanisms to oversee the security of these networks. The Department of Homeland Security has the expertise but lacks the regulatory authority of an agency such as the Federal Communications Commission. Yet, for the past four years, the Trump FCC was asleep at the switch, gutting cyber programs and refusing to exercise its authority."
The FCC has largely been a no show on the security and privacy issues plaguing the internet of broken things. And as Congress prepares to throw another $100 billion at America’s broadband problem, Wheeler’s worried that the funds won’t come with any aid to shore up network cybersecurity. While a company like Comcast may not want or need that help, Wheeler argues that smaller broadband providers are going to need aid ensuring they’re protected from the growing threat of cyberattacks like the one that just rocked Cox Media Group:
"It is precisely these factors that make such small rural companies prime targets for cyber hackers. The companies typically have fewer than 100 employees — some fewer than 10 — and often cannot afford dedicated cybersecurity personnel or cutting-edge defensive technology."
Of course lobbyists for incumbent giants like Comcast and AT&T are busy shaping what the final broadband bill looks like. That already means not only less money overall, but more subsidies sent to giant players, and less money sent to smaller companies — especially if they’re going to be providing any competitive challenge to incumbents. But throwing yet more money at broadband providers (an approach that already historically hasn’t worked out that well for taxpayers) without providing funds to secure them could spell trouble as ransomware and other attacks increasingly target the most ill-prepared.
via Techdirt. https://ift.tt/1n7Sa38
June 11, 2021 at 12:00PM