At a glance.
- Social media as common carriers? US Supreme Court Justice weighs in.
- Huawei sanctions update.
- Myanmar’s Internet shutdown.
Social media as common carriers? US Supreme Court Justice weighs in.
The US Supreme Court overturned a judgment that President Trump’s blockage of Twitter followers ran afoul of the First Amendment, Axios reports, dismissing the suit since the President has left office. In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that social media is in for a reckoning given that “Twitter barred Mr. Trump not only from interacting with a few users, but removed him from the entire platform.” He concluded, "We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms."
Protocol explains Thomas’ case for treating the platforms like utilities. Whereas phone companies link individuals through wires, digital platforms use analogous infrastructure. If the platforms are properly viewed as common carriers, they would lose the “right to exclude” users. Although alternatives to Big Tech options exist, Thomas says none “are comparable.”
Huawei sanctions update.
Noting that Huawei’s growth took a hit last year (tumbling from nineteen to four percent), Ars Technica wonders how long the trend will continue in light of the company’s new market conquests and strong investments in autonomy. Beijing is still “several generations behind” South Korea, Taiwan, and the US in chipmaking abilities, but is looking to rule the roost by 2049. Over the next half-decade, the country will boost R&D spending by seven percent yearly. Import tax cuts and other tax breaks are expected to further spur progress.
Circle ID says a recent Iran-China agreement encompasses at least $1 billion in telecom investments, a contract Huawei and ZTE will likely share. ETTelecom adds that Huawei anticipates admission to India’s trusted supplier list, despite the fact that Chinese firms did not attend a recent meeting where the new supplier procedures were unveiled. A Huawei VP shared that the company is also focused on IoT device rollouts, commenting, “Our Asia Pacific strategy is very clear.”
Myanmar’s Internet shutdown.
Wired repeats a human rights advocate’s assessment of the Myanmarese junta’s Internet blockade as “an act of vast self-harm.” On Good Friday, the state ordered telecoms to shut off mobile and wireless access for the whole country “until further notice,” allowing hardwired connectivity to continue for corporations, banks, and Government functions. Wired lists digital rights, speech, communication, education, health care, and the economy as victims of the blackout. Some residents are sharing their scarce hookups and spreading the word about apps that rely on Bluetooth for communication.