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Representatives propose bill limiting Presidential internet ‘kill switch’

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A pair of U.S. Representatives — one from each party — are proposing a law that would limit the President’s ability to shut down the internet at will. That may not strike you as an imminent threat, but federal police disappearing protestors into unmarked vans probably didn’t either, until a couple months ago. Let’s keep an open mind.

The President has the power under the Communications Act’s Section 706 to order the shutdown of some communications infrastructure in an emergency. While this was likely intended more for making sure official phonecalls could get through in a national emergency, it’s possible that today it could be used as a measure to tamp down on protests and civil unrest, as we’ve seen in authoritarian regimes around the world.

The Preventing Unwarranted Communications Shutdowns Act, from Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), doesn’t remove this ability, but adds several layers of accountability to it.

In the first place, the bill would limit Section 706 use to when there is an “imminent and specific threat to human life or national security.” This prevents it from being put into play when there is a more general “threat” such as a major protest that might be too much for local police to handle.

The bill would also require the President to inform the top layer of government officials, including opposition leaders, of any shutdown. Ideally before, but it could be up to 12 hours later (and is illegal if not by then). Any shutdown ends automatically after 48 hours unless 3/5 of Congress vote to continue it.

The U.S. government would also be obligated to compensate providers and customers for the monetary value of the shutdown’s impact. This could end up being quite expensive depending on how it’s calculated.

Lastly, a General Accountability Office report is required after every use of Section 706, and they get to the bottom of everything.

Whether this bill has any chance of becoming law is, like practically everything these days, anyone’s guess. But bipartisan laws limiting potential curtailments of civil rights by the White House are probably going to be fairly popular after the feds’ shenanigans over the summer.

At the very least it has some heavy hitters offering glowing blurbs:

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel: “In the United States our laws are dated and they offer virtually unchecked power to the president over our wired and wireless communications when we face peril or national emergency. So kudos to Congresswoman Eshoo for legislation to modernize our laws and put in place safeguards to ensure that the internet stays on when we need it most.”

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff: “A long overdue check and balance on a President’s authority to shut down or significantly curtail internet communication under the guise of an emergency.”

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: “in a time of emergency, how the internet operates is in the hands of one person. Defining that authority in a focused manner and adding congressional oversight would bring an old statute into the digital age.”

Cybersecurity mainstay Bruce Schneier: “The Internet is critical infrastructure, and needs to be protected from politically motivated shut-downs. This bill helps ensures that the communications censorship that is increasingly common in other countries doesn’t happen in the US. It adds process, and checks and balances, to what is currently an ad hoc authority.”

You can read more about the bill and read the full text here.

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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