Apple joins government task force to kill robocalls

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Tune in live Wednesday, September 7 for Apple's iPhone 7 keynote.
Apple is teaming up with top tech companies to end the scourge of robocalls.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

The scourge of robocalls may be coming to an end, thanks to a new task force comprised of over 30 top tech companies, including Apple.

The U.S. government has enlisted the help of Apple, AT&T, Alphabet, Verizon, Comcast and others to crack down on unsolicited, automated, prerecorded phone calls that have become the most frequent complaint the U.S. Federal Communications Commission receives from citizens.

AT&T pushes back on $100 million throttling fine

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AT&T is at war with the FCC.
AT&T is at war with the FCC.
Photo: AT&T

AT&T is asking the FCC to not make it pay the largest proposed fine in the agency’s history as punishment for throttling customers’ data speeds.

After being slammed with the $100 million fine by the FCC last month when the government agency found the carrier had throttled speeds for customers with ‘unlimited’ data plans, AT&T says it didn’t really harm anyone, so it shouldn’t have to pay up.

FCC slams AT&T with $100 million fine for throttling unlimited data plans

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Unlimited data's about to get a bit more pricey.
It's time for AT&T to pay up.
Photo: Apple

The Federal Communications Commission announced today that it’s slapping AT&T with a hefty fine for misleading subscribers about unlimited data plans. At a grand total of $100 million, it’s the largest fine the agency has proposed, after AT&T was caught throttling speeds of unlimited data plans without telling them.

Cell jamming gives science teacher an important legal lesson

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Cell phone jammer
Bringing one of these into class will get you into more trouble than texting.
Photo: Cell Phone Jammers

A high-school science teacher has received a five-day suspension without pay for using a jammer in his classroom to block students’ cell-phone signals.

He can consider himself lucky, however, because he had actually violated federal law.

Steve Wozniak declares FCC’s net neutrality ruling a ‘victory for the people’

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stevewozz
The Woz is happy about today's FCC ruling.

Today the FCC made a historic move to protect net neutrality. By reclassifying ISPs under Title II of the Communications Act, the internet is now regulated like a utility.

“While some other countries try to control the internet, the action that we take today is an irrefutable reflection of the principle that no one, whether government or corporate, should control a free and open access to the internet,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler during a packed meeting today in Washington DC.

In attendance at the meeting was Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who called the FCC’s decision a “victory for the people.”

Say goodbye to those ugly labels on the back of your iPhone

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These ugly labels will soon be a thing of the past. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac
These ugly labels will soon be a thing of the past. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

On otherwise flawless devices that strip away any unnecessary components, the ugly small print on the back of an iPhone or iPad — including the serial number, FCC logo, CE logo and model number — has always stood out.

Well, thankfully Jony Ive and the rest of his design-obsessed team can finally do away with it for good, thanks to the E-label Act law signed in by President Obama on Wednesday. The bill, which unsurprisingly was heavily supported by those in the tech industry, means that gadget makers can now add software-based labels as opposed to having to print the identifying information onto their hardware.

Proposed FCC rule change could deliver the Apple TV you’ve been dreaming of

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Apple's new improved TV could be coming as early as this fall.
Photo: Robert S. Donovan / Flickr CC
Photo: Robert S. DonovanFlickr CC

A proposed change in U.S. regulations could have massive implications when it comes to bringing about the kind of integrated Apple television set Steve Jobs talked about producing.

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed a revision of rules that would afford Internet streaming services the same treatment as traditional cable and satellite television companies when it comes to negotiating with channel operators like HBO.

If the change is made, online providers would gain “access to programming owned by cable operators” and be able to negotiate licensing deals with content providers like HBO or local TV stations. Wheeler says the move would “encourage new video alternatives by opening up access to content previously locked on cable channels,” similar to the way regulatory changes in the ’90s enabled satellite TV to compete with cable operators.