1. Entertainment

    Why the Frak Don’t People Say “Fuck” on Cable? It’s All About the Money

    With the exception of premium channels like HBO, people don't say the word "fuck" on television. It's either bleeped out or replaced with another word. But why? Many people assume it's because of FCC regulation, but the FCC only controls over-the-air broadcasts. Shows on cable can say whatever they want. So what fucking gives?

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  2. Entertainment

    FCC Fines Networks Millions for Airing Olympus Has Fallen Emergency Alert Trailer

    When the Olympus Has Fallen trailer aired last year, you were being subjected to dangerous desensitization to more than just crappy movies: Your innate ability to be mildly inconvenienced brought to a state of alert by the Emergency Alert System was damaged when networks aired the trailer. But don't worry, the FCC is on it.

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  3. Tech

    FCC Considers Lifting Bans on Cellphones on Airplanes

    In a 3-2 vote today, the Federal Communications Commission has officially decided to consider lifting the ban on cellphones in airplanes, citing that there's no technical reason for their use to be impermissible. So prepare yourselves now, folks -- one day, you might have to listen to somebody's entire phone conversation while in flight. Whee.

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  4. Tech

    TV Networks Tell FCC That Indecency Rules Are Obsolete Because No One Watches Television

    The major broadcast networks' revolt against the FCC's regulation of indecent content on broadcast television has taken a weird turn courtesy of the TV provider's latest argument against the fines. Is it that indecency fines undermine freedom of speech? Are they making the case for the artistic value of sex and profanity in TV shows? Or just pointing out the hypocrisy that you can show a gruesome murder on CSI, but can't show sex or nudity? Actually, none of those. They're arguing that the FCC should not hold them to the existing standards because broadcast TV ratings have dropped so much that they're no longer culturally relevant.

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  5. Tech

    Google Media Player FCC Filing Includes Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Reference, Gets Our Hopes Up

    We don't know a lot about the Google-built media player, other than the fact that Google made it, and it's a media player, but the device's FCC filing does reveal one interesting tidbit: The model number is H2G2-42. Yeah, you're not seeing things, it's absolutely a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Someone has a sense of humor, or we're getting a really awesome media player at some point.

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  6. Entertainment

    Julius Genachowski Steps Down As FCC Chair

    Look, no one expects being the chairman of any major government agency to be a walk in the park, but Julius Genachowski has had a notably turbulent run during his nearly five year long run as chairman of the FCC. Considering the time he's had, during which he's managed the impressive feat of earning the ire of both public interest groups and industry CEOs, it's not a surprise to see the often embattled chairman announce that he will step down in the coming weeks. The real question now is who will succeed him in what promises to be a thankless job.

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  7. Tech

    The FCC Wants Free Nationwide WiFi, Shockingly ISPs Do Not Want That

    The Federal Communications Commission is said to be considering a plan that would buy back some frequencies from television stations and use those frequencies to give the country free and ubiquitous "super-WiFi." That sounds amazing. Obviously, the companies providing non-free, non-ubiquitous "ordinary-WiFi" are pretty set against the whole thing. Thankfully, companies like Google and Microsoft want to see this happen. It's just a matter of which giant companies bully the FCC into bending to their will.

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  8. Tech

    FCC Makes Getting Wi-Fi on Planes Simpler, Will Likely Still Cost Way Too Much for Passengers

    Sure, Louis C.K. wasn't wrong when he chastised folks for complaining about in-flight Wi-Fi connections, but that doesn't mean they're wonderful either. Some airlines have them, others don't, and it always seems to be a weird and different method to connect every single time you fly. Then it goes down, or it costs way too much to even bother with, but sure, it's still a cool thing to have. Now, more airlines should start to embrace in-flight Wi-Fi thanks to updated regulations from the Federal Communications Commission. You'll be able to complain on even more flights soon enough!

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  9. Tech

    Lolz: FCC Sez W3 Can Text 911 by May 2014 =D

    Well now, this is certainly an ironic development. According to an article distributed by the Associated Press, the FCC is working to give mankind the ability to reach emergency services at 911 via text messaging. You read that correctly, the very same distracting activity that has led to so many vehicular tragedies and other lethal mishaps will soon become our lifeline. You know, for those moments when we find ourselves trapped under rubble or are about to be mauled by a grizzly bear. Only after you text your friends first, naturally.

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  10. Entertainment

    Supreme Court and FCC Poised for Epic Clash Over On-Air Obscenity

    The FCC has always been something of a nuisance to broadcasters everywhere. The group's vague, inconsistently applied policies strike fear in the hearts of executives everywhere who are afraid they might have to shell out a fine should a careless celebrity let a naughty word slip. Things look like they're headed for a change now, though. Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a decision on the FCC's obscenity policies, and while it didn't smack down FCC censorship wholesale, the Court did crack its knuckles and let drop a few fightin' words. The stage is set for a battle; the next time the FCC and the Supreme Court inevitably meet, shit is going to go down, if you'll pardon the phrase.

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  11. Tech

    Google Releases Entire FCC Investigation Into Wi-Fi Snooping Scandal

    A few weeks ago, the Federal Communication Commission announced that it had concluded its investigation into Google's interception of user data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks with its street view cars. Now, Google has released the entire report of perusal, giving insight into this curious case.

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  12. Tech

    FCC Rules All Cellphones Must Have GPS by 2018

    GPS capable phones have been around for a while and are an absolute godsend if you have a sense of direction that is as bad as mine. The downside is that I have to rely on other people's GPS enabled phones because I'm still living in the Stone Age. If the FCC has its way --which it will, it just ruled on this-- all phones will have GPS come 2018.

    Why? The reason they cite is for the purpose of tracking 911 calls. Whether or not that's just a smokescreen depends on your personal level of paranoia and frequency of illegal activites. Currently, if a non-GPS enabled phone dials 911, the provider has to triangulate the location, which is annoying and inefficient, apparently. Straight up GPS is just much better for figuring out exactly where you are, however that makes you feel.

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  13. Weird

    Net Neutrality Rules Finally Set, Go Into Effect November 20th, Hopefully

    Ladies and gentlemen, the FCC has drafted its net neutrality rules and had them published. After being voted through at a 3 to 2 majority last year, they will go into effect November 20th, assuming they are not delayed by lawsuits. They will probably be delayed by lawsuits. Verizon and MetroPCS have been waiting in the wings, unable to file suit until the rules were finalized and made official so now is their time to pounce.

    Despite the fact that no service provider would want to be bound to these rules, they actually seem pretty reasonable. The FCC's own summary describes them as follows:

    First, transparency: fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of their broadband services. Second, no blocking: fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services. Third, no unreasonable discrimination: fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.

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  14. Tech

    U.S. Government Sues to Block AT&T T-Mobile Merger

    As you may know, AT&T has had its sights set on T-Mobile for a while now, and the two had agreed that AT&T would be allowed to gobble up T-Mobile for a scant $39 billion. If you had your money on the merger getting blocked for antitrust violations, you were right. Today, the U.S. Government sued to block the merger on grounds that it would "substantially lessen competition," at which point AT&T's stock took a 5% hit. If the merger should happen to go through after all, we will see the birth of the largest mobile service provider in the United States.

    Due to cancelation language written into the merger agreement, AT&T has some significant incentives to fight these antitrust allegations. If the deal fails to go through, AT&T owes T-Mobile a check for $3 billion and reduced charges for dialing into AT&Ts network as part of a package that's worth somewhere around $7 billion.

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  15. Tech

    How to Complain to the Government About the AT&T-T-Mobile Merger

    Yesterday's news that AT&T plans to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion sent shockwaves through the mobile phone-owning populace, and based on our informal Internet sentiment analysis following the deal, a lot of people are unhappy about it. Many T-Mobile customers don't want to go over to AT&T, and web freedom advocates dislike AT&T's complicity in sweeping NSA surveillance programs. And cell phone owners on all networks have plenty to fear about an America in which there are only three relevant carriers, and one, AT&T-Mo (our coinage, not theirs) essentially has a monopoly on GSM technology in the U.S. The acquisition is not a done deal yet, but its opponents who simply assume that it would be open-and-shut antitrust may be in for a rude surprise.

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