Tech News Newsletter Image 12 01 2020

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Tech Tuesday newsletter: Ajit Pai—baby, bye, bye, bye

Here is a look at tech and politics news from the last week.

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Published Dec 1, 2020

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Hey readers, welcome to this week’s ‘Tech Tuesday’ Internet InsiderThe week started with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announcing he will step down on Jan. 20, so where does that leave the FCC moving forward?

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Here’s what we’ve got on deck today: 

  • The post-Ajit Pai FCC is still uncertain
  • With Trump out, how does Biden feel about TikTok?
  • Someone grabbed a ‘Trump 2024’ website before Trump could

Ajit Pai Leaving FCC
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BREAK THE INTERNET

Ajit Pai announces he will step down from FCC on Jan. 20

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai announced on Monday that he will step down from the agency on Inauguration Day.

Pai, who drew the ire from many activist and tech advocacy groups for his shepherding of the repeal of net neutrality rules, will follow tradition by stepping down. Pai was appointed as the head of the agency by President Donald Trump in January 2017. 

The chair of the FCC traditionally steps down from the commission, even if their term is not completed, when a new president comes into power. 

President-elect Joe Biden will be able to select a new chairperson for the commission. However, there is still uncertainty as to what the makeup of the FCC will look like moving forward.

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The Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote this week on whether to advance Nathan Simington, Trump’s pick for the FCC, to a full vote in Congress’ upper chamber.

Simington is a controversial choice because of his connections to Trump’s social media executive order. That order targets Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that shields websites from being held liable over what is posted on them by third parties. But his potential appointment to the FCC has more implications.

With Pai leaving, Simington joining the FCC would leave the agency with a 2-2 deadlock along party lines. The FCC is supposed to have five members, including the chairman, which is chosen by the president. Three of the commissioners are supposed to be from the president’s party, with the other two the opposite party.

If Republicans maintain control of the Senate after the Georgia runoff elections, they could conceivably hold off on confirming Biden’s choice to fill out the agency, keeping it deadlocked. Doing so would prevent any party-line votes—such as restoring net neutrality. 

—Andrew Wyrich, deputy tech editor

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OVERLORDS

With Trump out, how does Biden feel about TikTok?

While President Donald Trump‘s feud with TikTok may be winding down without a second term for his administration, President-elect Joe Biden has also raised concerns with the immensely popular app.

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Trump’s attempt to ban TikTok over the summer eventually culminated in the app coming to an agreement to partner with Oracle and Walmart. But in the meantime, it faced imposed deadlines for a ban that were extended several times.

While Trump seemed focused on TikTok ahead of the election, his interest seems to have waned. Meanwhile, Biden has also not said much about the app.

Here’s why it matters: The president-elect mentioned the debacle on his campaign trail in September.

“I think that it’s a matter of genuine concern that TikTok, a Chinese operation, has access to over 100 million young people particularly in the United States of America,” Biden said, according to Reuters.

Representatives for Biden did not return a request for comment by the Daily Dot. However, a technology advisor on Biden’s transition team told CNBC that it was “too early to say” what Biden’s views on the app were.

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Essentially, it remains to be seen how exactly things will move forward for TikTok with Biden in the White House.

—Libby Cohen, contributing writer


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BEHIND THE SEAMS

This week on Behind the Seamswe dig into the evocative visual worldbuilding of Pacific Rim. Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, it’s a high-octane blockbuster with a lot going on beneath the surface. That includes its brilliant costume design, giving every character their own distinctive style.

Subscribe to Behind the Seams so that you never miss an episode.


A prank site for a 2024 presidential run by Donald Trump
donaldjtrump2024.com
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LOLITICS

Someone grabbed a ‘Trump 2024’ website before Trump could

It appears that President Donald Trump has been trolled after two pranksters secured the web domain ahead of a possible Trump 2024 campaign.

Trump, who has refused to concede after losing the 2020 election to President-elect Joe Biden, is the favored candidate among Republicans for a 2024 run.

Although the president uses the website “donaldjtrump.com” for his political endeavors, the “donaldjtrump2024.com” domain will undoubtedly be stumbled upon by fans of Trump so long as rumors of another presidential run persist.

The Good Liars, the name for a comedy group run by Jason Selvig and Davram Stiefler, took credit for the prank in a video posted to social media.

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Here’s why it matters: The 2020 election had its fair share of website domain trolling. In August, Biden tweeted a link to KeepAmericaGreat.com that highlighted Trump’s “broken” promises.

The latest prank comes not long after Trump begrudgingly gave his support to the presidential transition despite continuing to falsely claim that the race was stolen due to widespread voter fraud.

—Mikael Thalen, contributing writer


BTW

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*First Published: Dec 1, 2020, 10:19 am CST