Comcast is expected to announce on Thursday an agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable for more than $45 billion in stock, a deal that would combine the biggest and second-biggest cable television operators in the country. For Comcast, which completed its acquisition of NBC Universal, the television and movie powerhouse, from General Electric less than a year ago, the latest deal would be its second big act to radically reshape the media landscape in the United States. And the merger is almost certain to bring to an end a protracted takeover battle that Charter Communications has been waging for Time Warner Cable.
For consumers, this means an even larger company with a reputation for poor customer service aggressively lobbying against things like net neutrality.
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The company’s latest report reveals a fairly dramatic increase in the volume of user data requests from the U.S. government since the beginning of 2010. In the first half of that year, Google received 4,287 requests for user data. In the latest reporting period, the company got 10,918 requests. However, the percentage of requests that Google complies with has been dropping over time, with the company providing some data in 94 percent of requests in the second half of 2010 and 83 percent in the first half of 2013. Overall, requests from all governments have more than doubled since 2010.