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      Biden’s EPA proposes water rule to finally ditch lead pipes within 10 years / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 30 November - 19:31 · 1 minute

    City workers unload a truck containing pallets of bottled water to distribute during a water filter distribution event on October 26, 2021 in Hamtramck, Michigan. The state Department of Health and Human Services has begun distributing water filters and bottled water to residents due to elevated levels of lead found in the drinking water due to old and un-maintained water pipes in the city.

    Enlarge / City workers unload a truck containing pallets of bottled water to distribute during a water filter distribution event on October 26, 2021 in Hamtramck, Michigan. The state Department of Health and Human Services has begun distributing water filters and bottled water to residents due to elevated levels of lead found in the drinking water due to old and un-maintained water pipes in the city. (credit: Getty | Matthew Hatcher )

    The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed a stricter rule on lead in drinking water that would require that all lead service lines in the country be replaced within 10 years, and would lower the current lead action level in drinking water from 15 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion.

    More than 9.2 million American households have water connections that include lead piping, according to the White House. Lead moves from the pipes into the water when the plumbing experiences corrosion, which is most severe when the water is acidic or has low mineral content. There is no safe level of lead, which is a toxic metal with wide-ranging health effects, including neurotoxic effects. In children, lead exposure can damage the brain and nervous system, slow development, lower IQ, and cause learning, behavioral, speech, and hearing problems. In adults, it can increase the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, and kidney damage.

    The EPA estimates that the rule will generate between $9.8 billion to $34.8 billion in economic benefits each year based on health improvement, including higher IQs in children, healthier newborns, lower cardiovascular risks in adults, and a reduction in care for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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      Car dealers say they can’t sell EVs, tell Biden to slow their rollout / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 28 November - 20:42 · 1 minute

    Car dealers say they can’t sell EVs, tell Biden to slow their rollout

    Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

    Pity the poor car dealers. After making record profits in the wake of the pandemic and the collapse of just-in-time inventory chains, they're now complaining that selling electric vehicles is too hard. Almost 4,000 dealers from around the United States have sent an open letter to President Joe Biden calling for the government to slow down its plan to increase EV adoption between now and 2032 .

    Despite our robust economy, the US trails both Europe and China in terms of EV adoption. More and more car buyers are opting to go fully electric each year, although even a record 2023 will fail to see EV uptake reach double-digit percentages.

    Mindful of the fact that transportation accounts for the largest segment of US carbon emissions and that our car-centric society encourages driving, the US Department of Energy published a proposed rule in April that would alter the way the government calculates each automaker's corporate average fuel efficiency. If adopted, the new rule would require OEMs to sell many more EVs to avoid large fines. This is in addition to an earlier goal from the White House that calls for one in two new cars sold in 2030 to be EVs.

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      Order limiting Biden admin contacts with social networks is mostly overturned / ArsTechnica · Monday, 11 September - 17:46

    President Joe Biden gives a thumbs-up after delivering remarks to an audience.

    Enlarge / President Joe Biden at the White House on September 6, 2023. (credit: Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla )

    The White House and FBI likely violated the First Amendment by coercing social media platforms into moderating content and changing their moderation policies, the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled Friday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also acted improperly but did not "coerce" social networks, the ruling said.

    However, the appeals court threw out the majority of a controversial preliminary injunction that ordered the Biden administration to halt a wide range of communications with social media companies. The injunction issued by a US District Court judge in July was far too broad and vague and applied to too many government officials, a three-judge appeals court panel unanimously decided.

    The ruling on Friday involves a case in which the states of Missouri and Louisiana and other plaintiffs sued President Biden and his administration.

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      Senate confirms Biden FCC pick as 5 Republicans join Democrats in 55-43 vote / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 September - 19:11

    The Federal Communications Commission meeting room, with an empty chair in front of the FCC seal and two United States flags.

    Enlarge / The Federal Communications Commission seal hangs inside a meeting room at the headquarters ahead of an open commission meeting in Washington, DC, on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

    The US Senate today confirmed nominee Anna Gomez to the Federal Communications Commission, finally giving President Biden a Democratic majority on the telecom regulator more than two and a half years into his presidency. The vote to confirm Gomez was 55-43 and went mostly along party lines.

    Biden's first nominee was Gigi Sohn, a longtime consumer advocate who drew united opposition from Republicans and doubts from more conservative Democrats. Sohn withdrew her nomination in March 2023, blaming the cable lobby and "unlimited dark money" for scuttling her appointment. The Senate never scheduled a floor vote on Sohn.

    Biden tried again in May with the nomination of Gomez , a State Department digital policy official who was previously deputy assistant secretary at the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from 2009 to 2023. A lawyer, Gomez was vice president of government affairs at Sprint Nextel from 2006 to 2009 and before that spent about 12 years at the FCC in several roles.

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      The Cyber Trust Mark is a voluntary IoT label coming in 2024. What does it mean? / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 19 July - 18:56 · 1 minute

    The range of US Cyber Trust Mark colors.

    Enlarge / The U.S. Cyber Trust Mark logos, which may or may not have an assigned order at the moment. Which one most says "secure" to you? (credit: Federal Communications Commission)

    The goal of the new US Cyber Trust Mark , coming voluntarily to Internet of Things (IoT) devices by the end of 2024, is to keep people from having to do deep research before buying a thermostat, sprinkler controller, or baby monitor.

    If you see a shield with a microchip in it that's a certain color, you'll know something by comparing it to other shields. What exactly that shield will mean is not yet decided. The related National Institute of Standards and Technology report suggests it will involve encrypted transmission and storage, software updates, and how much control a buyer has over passwords and data retention. But the only thing really new since the initiative's October 2022 announcement is the look of the label, a slightly more firm timeline, and more input and discussion meetings to follow.

    At the moment, the Mark exists as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) at the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC wants to hear from stakeholders about the scope of devices that can be labeled and which entity should oversee the program, verify the standards, and handle consumer education.

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      Biden FCC nominee advances to Senate floor despite Ted Cruz’s protests / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 12 July - 17:40

    In the FCC hearing room, an empty chair sits in front of the FCC seal and two US flags.

    Enlarge / Federal Communications Commission hearing room on February 26, 2015, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Mark Wilson)

    Democrats are one step closer to having a majority on the Federal Communications Commission for the first time in Joe Biden's presidency.

    Biden nominee Anna Gomez was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee today, advancing her nomination to the Senate floor. A vote of the full Senate on Gomez's nomination has not been scheduled yet.

    Democrats hold a 14-13 majority on the Senate Commerce Committee. Gomez's nomination was passed without a full roll call, but nine Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), asked to be recorded as a "no" on Gomez's nomination.

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      State Dept. cancels election meetings with Facebook after “free speech” ruling / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 6 July - 18:21 · 1 minute

    Joe Biden walking outside the White House, wearing sunglasses and holding a stack of index cards in his right hand.

    Enlarge / US President Joe Biden exits the White House before boarding Marine One on Thursday, July 6, 2023. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

    The Biden administration is appealing a federal judge's ruling that ordered the government to halt a wide range of communications with social media companies. President Biden and the other federal defendants in the case "hereby appeal" the ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, according to a notice filed in US District Court yesterday. The US will submit a longer filing with arguments to the 5th Circuit appeals court.

    On Tuesday, Judge Terry Doughty of US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction that prohibits White House officials and numerous federal agencies from communicating "with social-media companies for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech posted on social-media platforms."

    Doughty found that defendants "significantly encouraged" and in some cases coerced "the social-media companies to such extent that the decision [to modify or suppress content] should be deemed to be the decisions of the Government." The Biden administration has argued that its communications with tech companies are permissible under the First Amendment and vital to counter misinformation about elections, COVID-19, and vaccines.

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      US allocates $42B in broadband funding—find out how much your state will get / ArsTechnica · Monday, 26 June - 20:05

    Illustration of a US map with crisscrossing lines representing a broadband network.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Andrey Denisyuk)

    The Biden administration today announced how much broadband-deployment funding each US state and territory will be eligible to receive from a $42.45 billion grant program.

    The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program was approved by Congress in November 2021 and will pay Internet service providers to expand networks in unserved and underserved areas. The BEAD money is being distributed to states by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

    Texas leads the way with $3.31 billion in today's allocations, followed by California with $1.86 billion. Nineteen states will get at least $1 billion.

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      US might finally force cable-TV firms to advertise their actual prices / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 22 June - 18:36

    President Joe Biden pointing with his right hand and speaking into microphones at a podium set up outside the White House.

    Enlarge / President Joe Biden speaks on the South Lawn of the White House on June 15, 2023, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Alex Wong )

    President Joe Biden this week criticized cable-TV companies for imposing "junk fees," as the Federal Communications Commission proposed new rules cracking down on the hidden fees charged by cable and satellite video providers.

    "My administration's top priority is lowering the cost of living for the middle class, and that includes cracking down on companies' use of junk fees to hide true costs from families, who end up paying more as a result," Biden said in a statement on Tuesday.

    As Biden noted, the FCC "proposed a new rule that would require cable and satellite TV providers to give consumers the all-in price for the service they're offering up front." The proposed rule would force companies like Comcast, Charter Spectrum, and DirecTV to publish more accurate prices.

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