Chairman Walden Proposes Cap on Universal Service Fund; Consultation with State USF Experts on Expansion Proposals

House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn regarding the Universal Service Fund (USF) and proposals to expand the program.

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Speaking eloquently in support of justice

Cheryl_prisonphoneworkshopCheryl appeared at a Federal Communications Commission workshop in July on behalf of the United Church of Christ to advocate for just and reasonable rates for inmate calling services.  She was able to combine the moral authority of her client the United Church of Christ, OC Inc. and her communications policy expertise to lay bare the injustice of predatory prison phone rates.  For more about her work on this issue, see the description of her work on prison phones under success storiesVideo of the workshop is available.  Cheryl’s presentation begins at 26:00.

UCC stands tall as an advocate for inmates, families

Cheryl Leanza, the policy advisor of the United Church of Christ’s Office of Communications Inc., participated in a day-long Federal Communications Commission (FCC) workshop Wednesday, July 10 discussing the high cost of telephone service to persons in prison and the FCC’s current rule-making on Inmate Calling Services.  Read her testimony as prepared for delivery.  See the full video of the event. Ms. Leanza is featured from 26:00-31:00 minutes in the video.


OC Inc. has long been an advocate for reforming a system under which telephone companies that provide services to prison inmates are permitted to charge exorbitant rates to the families and friends of inmates. In some cases, companies compete for contracts with state prison systems by offering a portion of their revenues to the prison system itself.  


Under the leadership of interim FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn, the FCC has been taking a closer look at this issue. Rev. Geoffrey Black, president and general minister of the UCC, participated in a rally last November to help raise awareness of this issue. Read his remarks.  Visit our web page to learn more about this issue and get involved. 


We are collecting signatures from clergy and religious organizations to end predatory prison phone rates.

Ad-supported website operators decry cost of new online privacy rules for children

Under regulations that went into effect July 1, websites catering to children will no longer be able to collect a range of identifying information without obtaining verifiable parental consent.

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Big disconnect: Telcos abandon copper phone lines

Robert Post misses his phone line. Post, 85, has a pacemaker that needs to be checked once a month by phone. But the copper wiring that once connected his home to the rest of the world is gone, and the phone company refuses to restore it.

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Yet More Media Consolidation is not the Cure to the Problems Caused by Media Consolidation

People are buzzing about possible new consolidation in the cable industry. The reason isn't hard to see: in a market that is already very concentrated, only the strong survive. Programming costs keep rising and larger cable companies would have more leverage in negotiations against media giants like Viacom and Disney. As ISPs, larger cable companies would be better able to drive hard bargains with Internet content companies when it comes to interconnection agreements, or operate their own online video services. But bigger is not better for the public.

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Here’s what can go wrong when the government builds a huge database about Americans

The National Crime Information Center database, maintained by the FBI, provides law enforcement agencies across the country with information they need to do their job, including information about outstanding arrest warrants, gang memberships, firearms records, and much more. According to the AP, it serves 90,000 agencies and receives 9 million data points every day.

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If PRISM Is Good Policy, Why Stop With Terrorism?

If the justification for PRISM and associated programs is predicated on their potential effectiveness, why shouldn't such logic be applied elsewhere?

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Did you miss OC Inc.’s workshop at General Synod 29?

L to R: UCC OC Inc. Chair Earl Williams, Treasurer Sara Fitzgerald, Policy Advisor Cheryl Leanza

The United Church of Christ's Office of Communication, Inc. (UCC OC, Inc.) was proud to participate in the United Church of Christ’s biennial national gathering, General Synod, which was held in Long Beach, CA from June 28-Jul 1 this year.  We briefed several conferences about our work (the UCC’s regional bodies), and networked with our colleagues in justice.  We hosted a workshop which outlined our historic and cutting edge work in media justice and communications rights. 

Read the powerpoint slides from our workshop.


Fighting Hate Speech

UCC and Media Justice: Low Power FM Radio

Prison Phone Rates: A Moral Issue

Universal Service: A Matter of Economic Justice