A Week in Review: December 21, 2018

by Hannah Ellis

Telecommunications company forced customers to view ad to get Internet access

Utah customers of the American telecommunications company CenturyLink were shocked and angered this week when their Internet access was temporarily disabled until they click through an advertisement for CenturyLink security software. According to Jon Brodkin, a writer for Ars Technica, CenturyLink is wrongly claiming that this is being done because of a new Utah state law that says ISPs must notify customers "of the ability to block material harmful to minors." In reality, the new law only requires that “ISPs notify customers of their filtering software options in a conspicuous manner." Cutting Internet access was not necessary in this case and is another argument for net-neutrality according to some.

European Investment Bank announces plan to expand Internet access in Africa

This past Tuesday, the European Investment Bank announced a plan to invest 495 million Euros in Internet infrastructure projects in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is projected that once completed, “the project with a network length of 4,850 km is likely to add nine million people to the pool of those accessing the internet in these countries.” The project is set to run for two years with the hope of expanding Internet access to “support rising electronic commercial ventures”.

Google’s Project Dragonfly may be suspended

Three weeks ago we included a story in our Week in Review covering the Google proposal for a censored Chinese search engine. This week the Intercept has reported that the project has been “effectively ended”. This is a win for the 739 Google employees who signed an open letter in protest of the project citing human rights and privacy concerns. On December 11, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai testified before Congress and stated that the company had no immediate plans to launch Project Dragonfly.