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NY: UR-RIT corridor: Rochester's new economic center of gravity - Rochester Business Journal

In "Triumph of the City," Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser attempts to explain why some cities-think New York or London or Bangalore-have prospered, even as the cost of communication has plummeted. The "death of distance" suggests the death of cities. Why do some defy the prognosis?

 

Glaeser reminds us that cities are "density, proximity, closeness. ... (T)heir success depends on the demand for physical closeness." He asserts that electronic communication is not a substitute for face-to-face contact, a proposition anyone who has endured a few conference calls will accept. Even sophisticated "virtual meeting" suites fall short. (Maybe it looks as if Nathan is in the same room, but you can't go out for a beer after the meeting.)

 

Going one step farther, Glaeser argues that the declining cost of communication, by creating access to vast new stores of knowledge, increases the demand for "face time" as we work together to make something of all of this information. Face time and electronic communication are complementary; each enhances the value of the other.

 

Is there a lesson here for Rochester? If proximity feeds innovation, let's explore ways to bring our smart people closer together. Unlike many college towns, our community is separated from our marquee academic institutions, the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology.

 

UR's campus is a place of splendid isolation: The main site is virtually walled off from the city to the north and west by the Genesee River, to the east by Mt. Hope Cemetery and to the south by Genesee Valley Park and I-390.

 

RIT's antecedents, the Rochester Atheneum and the Mechanics Institute, were established downtown. The first building of the combined institution was on Plymouth Avenue next to the Erie Canal. Although the relocation to Henrietta has served the university well (and has enabled the creation of a fabulous 5.6 million-square-foot facility), the campus is distinctly suburban and remote from the rest of the city.

 

It is UR's "splendid isolation" that prompted the notion of a new I-390 interchange. Recently endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Kendrick Road exit will address problems of congestion and poor design at the exits for East and West Henrietta roads and will dramatically expand access to underutilized real estate south of the UR campus. If you trace the map southwest, you run right into RIT.

 

Might this be the Rochester economy's new "center of gravity?" Our "idea factories"-UR and RIT-anchor the north and south. Monroe Community College, a critical partner for tech-based manufacturing, marks the area's eastern boundary. Ready highway access is assured by I-390 and the Thruway.

 

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EFF Grabs Two More Docs From The NSA, Detailing Expanded Post-9/11 Surveillance Powers And Section 702 Justifications | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

EFF Grabs Two More Docs From The NSA, Detailing Expanded Post-9/11 Surveillance Powers And Section 702 Justifications | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Thanks to its ongoing FOIA lawsuit against the NSA, the EFF has managed to secure another set of documents detailing the legal rationalizations behind the intelligence agency's "collect it all" approach, as well as the FISA's courts approval of expanded surveillance powers in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

The documents were supposed to be released in January, but the NSA ignored a direct court order and unceremoniously dumped them in the EFF's lap late in the evening of March 2nd.

The so-called "raw take" document dates back to July 2002 and shows the FISA court granting the NSA, FBI and CIA to continue increased surveillance powers and expanded information sharing.


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IoT's dark side: Hundreds of unsecured devices open to attack | Sharon Machlis | NetworkWorld.com

IoT's dark side: Hundreds of unsecured devices open to attack | Sharon Machlis | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A self-described security "amateur" discovered hundreds of Internet-connected devices ranging from cameras to industrial control systems that were connected to the Internet without even basic password protection -- meaning they could be easily turned on and off or otherwise manipulated with a single click of a mouse.

"You would be amazed [what] you could find," Espen Sandli, a journalist at the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, told the Computer Assisted Reporting conference Thursday. "The project was made from people who had no idea about data security at the start."

They began by searching for basic security cameras, such as finding and taking control of a surveillance camera inside a nightclub. After that, they graduated to finding compromised control systems at military installations and railroads. In one case, they found a security company's list of clients and passwords in the clear online. In another, they could have accessed who was allowed to enter or leave a military building. Another device on the open Internet could have allowed them to switch off a railway fire-alarm system.

Sandli and a colleague used the publicly available Shodan search engine, which allows searching by factors such as IP address range, device type, operating system and geography. After getting results, they used investigative reporting skills to track down device owners, including some painstaking tasks such as using Google Earth data to try to match outdoor webcams with their owners.

He said the Dagbladet team didn't do their own port scanning (instead relying on Shodan's) and never attempted to enter passwords, even when it was likely that devices were simply using defaults. Those ground rules were part of the project's ethics baseline, he said. But after just a few hours, it became clear he wouldn't need to try basic password cracking because there were so many Internet-connected devices where no passwords were needed.


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NY: ABC Files Complaint Against Verizon Citing Interference | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

NY: ABC Files Complaint Against Verizon Citing Interference | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

ABC has filed an informal complaint against Verizon Wireless arguing that the company is failing to protect WABC-TV New York's newsgathering operations from interference from Verizon's rollout of advanced wireless service (LTE) in the market. Verizon said it is working on the issue. (An informal complaint does not involve formal legal filings, has no filing charge and does not require a party to appear before the FCC.)

ABC told the FCC that Verizon had caused substantial interference to WABC-TV and "has done little to mitigate it." It wants the FCC's Enforcement Bureau to find Verizon in violation of FCC rules and, unless Verizon fixes the problem, wants the commission to prevent Verizon from deploying any new advanced LTE service sites in WABC-TV's service area.

Verizon has said it took steps to mitigate that interference, which ABC concedes, but the broadcaster says it was insufficient.

The interference issue is not new to the FCC Enforcement Bureau, which along with Verizon and ABC jointly tested the emissions back in November, which ABC said clearly showed continuing out-of-band emissions. Given that and the fact that Verizon continues to deploy LTE sites in the New York market, says ABC, and without notification or coordination with WABC-TV, as required by the FCC, ABC wants the FCC to step in.


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BroadbandUS.TV Special Program on Net Neutrality and Municipal Broadband | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Looks like a helpful session…

“In this special edition of Broadband US TV we examine two historic decisions from the FCC: The decision to classify broadband access as a Title II service, and the preemption of state laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that placed limits on municipal broadband networks.


We’ll dive into these issues with two panels of prominent players and experts on both sides of these white hot issues. Hear details about the rulings, predictions on implementation and court challenges, and what these rulings are likely to portend for broadband in America over the next year and beyond.


On the muni broadband panel, our own Jim Baller, lead counsel to Chattanooga and Wilson before the FCC, will go from host to panelist and mix it up with our other guests. We’ll be sure not to cut him any slack.”


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Republican lawmakers question FCC budget after net neutrality vote | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

Republican lawmakers question FCC budget after net neutrality vote | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Some Republican lawmakers questioned the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s new budget request Wednesday, with a couple of them attempting to tie the agency’s funding to its controversial net neutrality vote days ago.

The FCC’s vote last Thursday to impose new net neutrality rules on broadband providers will likely face a court challenge, Representative Bill Johnson, an Ohio Republican, said during a hearing before the communications subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Defending the net neutrality order “will not be costless,” Johnson said. “Wouldn’t the commission have saved a significant amount of money if it had let Congress legislate on net neutrality instead of moving forward an ill-fated ... order that it knows is going to be litigated for years?”

Johnson asked Jon Wilkins, the FCC’s managing director, for a one-word answer to his question.

“No,” Wilkins answered.

After a short pause, Johnson asked Wilkins to give a longer answer. The FCC’s current budget request assumes the agency’s current staffing will be able to handle any court challenges, and there are no additional budget requests for potential net neutrality lawsuits, Wilkins said. “In any given year, we’ll have major litigation, we’ll have major issues,” and the FCC’s staff is built to respond to them, he said.

Johnson pressed the issue. FCC attorneys don’t respond to lawsuits “for free,” he said. “If they weren’t doing that, they would be doing other things that are meaningful and useful to the taxpayer.”

Most lawmakers at the hearing steered clear of the net neutrality debate and focused more generally on the FCC’s fiscal year 2016 budget request.


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MN: County board considers year 3 of data center marketing contract | LaRessa Sandretsky | Lake County News Chronicle

MN: County board considers year 3 of data center marketing contract | LaRessa Sandretsky | Lake County News Chronicle | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At the Lake County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, Brian Hanson of APEX presented a new data center marketing proposal to the board. Lake County and Cooperative Light and Power in Two Harbors have been paying APEX, a business development firm in Duluth, to market a parcel of county land to companies wishing to build a center to store their data for the last two years.


Many Alden Township residents, the township in St. Louis County that borders the potential data site, have questioned why a company would want to be so secluded, away from emergency responders, utilities and other amenities that would be closer in a location like the Two Harbors Industrial Park. The site is located off the Ives Road in the southwestern part of the county

A study was done by the Two Harbors Economic Development Authority sometime after 2010 that identified the Ives Road location as the ideal spot in the county. The News-Chronicle submitted a data request to the City of Two Harbors two weeks ago for the data center location study, but has not yet received a copy.

Hanson said not every company wants to be secluded, but some do.

"I think that it is a great site for an enterprise data center that wants to be remotely located," Hanson said.

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MN Broadband Fund Award: A closer look around Sherburne County | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

MN Broadband Fund Award: A closer look around Sherburne County | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Almost $20 million in state grants have gone to 17 communities in Minnesota to expand broadband and make the case to legislators (and the general public) that such investments are wise and have a valuable Return on Investment. I wanted to delve into each project a bit to help us follow the money as it gets deployed. (See other awardee posts.)

Palmer Wireless, Becker Industrial Park. Awarded $151,934 to deploy 3.4 miles of fiber passing 21 underserved businesses in the Becker Industrial Park (city of Becker) as well as to 12 vacant city-owned lots covering 70 acres. In addition, one of the vacant lots is the future site of the Northstar station. The total project costs are $303,870; the remaining $151,936 (50 percent local match) will be provided by Palmer Wireless via a line of credit.

Community and Economic Development Impact: Superfast broadband improves the performance of existing firms, enables new businesses to emerge and encourages flexible working patterns – all positives for business and workforce needs now and into the future. Improving broadband service to the industrial park was the No. 1 priority for Becker based on a local broadband survey of residents and business owners.

Sherburne County was recently named a Blandin Broadband Community (BCC) community. Here is what they have to say about their participation…


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Smartphones are about to become network hubs | Patrick Nelson | NetworkWorld.com

Smartphones are about to become network hubs | Patrick Nelson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Here's the quandary with smartphones: despite featuring copious radios within, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi over both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, 4G LTE, Near Field Communication (NFC), and so on, the radios with the most propensity for delivering media don't work together.

The two Wi-Fi bands found in today's smartphones generally aren't used at the same time. The issue has been related to needing two antennas connected at the same time for the different bands. It's because the frequencies used have very different characteristics.

This dual-band limitation is about to change, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the newest routers, or wireless access points, that are being sold are already kitted with the two radios and antennas configured to work together at the same time. I wrote about a few of these monsters recently in a post titled "Is it time to move to beamforming 802.11ac?"

And secondly, new modem chipsets are now coming along that will, pretty much for the first time, do the same thing at the smartphone end.

Broadcom has just announced a Wi-Fi Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) combination modem chip with what it calls Real Simultaneous Dual Band (RSDB) for mobile devices. The BCM4359 lets phones transmit and receive over two Wi-Fi bands simultaneously.

Why? Well, there are considerable advantages to using both Wi-Fi bands at the same time. The obvious one is that by combining the bandwidth available you can increase speeds and throughput.

However, there are some secondary benefits that promise to play out too.


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Russell Roberts's curator insight, Today, 8:37 PM

Soon, your digital house will be controlled by your smartphone.  Thanks to a new chipset from Broadcom, your smartphone will use frequencies in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands to control just about everything electronic in your home or business.  These developments will require massive amounts of bandwidth, something UHF/SHF bands have.  Look for more "refarming" of frequencies to accommodate these broadband services.  Amateur Radio will lose a lot of spectrum space in the future to take care of the demand of paying customers.  Enjoy the higher bands while you can.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).  

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Eldo Telecom: Sell fiber enabled services, not “gigabit.” | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Eldo Telecom: Sell fiber enabled services, not “gigabit.” | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There’s a well-established maxim in the sales of information and communications technology (ICT) products and services: Don’t sell bits and bytes, feeds and speeds. Instead, sell features and benefits. There’s a good reason for this selling principle. Most consumers aren’t interested in technology. They’re interested in what it can do to benefit them and its value for the money invested.

The same rule applies in telecommunications. But it has been violated in the marketing of fiber to the premise (FTTP) services, where Internet Service Providers have defined FTTP by its speed – its ability to deliver bandwidths of 1 gigabit or more. Problem is, only a small percentage of consumers really know what the term “gigabit” means, according to a survey by Pivot Group spotlighted in the January/February issue of Broadband Communities magazine. (Sell Services, Not Speed)

“Service providers spend an awful lot of time and marketing spend emphasizing speed, but this research reveals consumers are confused regarding speed references and perceive that their current speed package is sufficient,” Dave Nieuwstraten, president of Pivot Group and co-author of the study, observes.

The takeaway: What really matters isn’t gigabit bandwidth per se but rather the services FTTP can enable in the home where people have high definition televisions, desktop and laptop computers and personal devices such as tablets and smartphones all being supported by the home’s Internet connection. FTTP will play an increasingly important role in the delivery of video content as more is delivered via the Internet, enhancing its value to consumers sensitive to high price points for Internet service used to support only web browsing and email. That will increasingly be so as live sports migrates to Internet streaming.


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How Hillary Clinton Exposed Her Emails To Foreign Spies... In Order To Hide Them From The American Public | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

How Hillary Clinton Exposed Her Emails To Foreign Spies... In Order To Hide Them From The American Public | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So the whole Hillary Clinton email story is getting worse and worse for Clinton. We already noted that there was no way she couldn't have known that she had to use government email systems for government work, as there was a big scandal from the previous administration using private emails and within the early Obama administration as well.


This morning we discovered that Clinton also gave clintonemail.com email addresses to staffers, which undermines the argument made by Hillary's spokesperson that it was okay for her to use her own email address because any emails with staffers would still be archived by the State Department thanks to their use of state.gov emails. But that's clearly not the case when she's just emailing others with the private email addresses.

As we noted yesterday, there are two separate key issues here, neither of which look good for Clinton. First, is the security question. There's no question at all that as Secretary of State she dealt with all sorts of important, confidential and classified information. Doing that on your own email server seems like a pretty big target for foreign intelligence. In fact, Gawker points out, correctly, that Hillary's private email address was actually revealed a few years ago when the hacker "Guccifer" revealed the inbox of former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal. So it was known years ago that Clinton used a private email account, and you have to think it was targeted.

Anonymous State Department "cybersecurity" officials are apparently shoving each other aside to leak to the press that they warned Clinton that what she was doing was dangerous, but couldn't convince her staff to do otherwise:


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Copps, 13 Years Later, 'Wowed' by Open Internet Vote | Gary Arlen | Multichannel

Copps, 13 Years Later, 'Wowed' by Open Internet Vote | Gary Arlen | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Michael Copps, the former Federal Communications Commission commissioner, had a poignant moment at the end of last week's FCC meeting at which Title II regulation for Internet services was adopted.

As the crowd milled around, Copps worked his way to the front of the room and had a long chat with his former legal advisor, who also just happened to be commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who had voted "for" the plan. There was no audio of the informal conversation, although the C-SPAN camera captured plenty of smiles, head-nodding and a sense of accomplishment as the two celebrated a shared achievement.

For Copps, who from 2001 to 2011 served as an FCC commissioner (and briefly as interim chairman in 2009), it was a "wonderful feeling ... going back into the meeting room where I cast the only dissenting vote" when in 2002 then-FCC chairman Michael Powell pushed through the light-touch Internet regulatory policy, Copps told Multichannel News this week.

"I was thinking, 'Wow, this is really a big deal,'" Copps said. "To be there and be part of the enthusiasm and understanding that citizen power had a lot to do [with it] was a moving experience."

Copps, a passionate advocate for Title II regulation, said he was "thrilled to be there" when "we put ourselves more firmly on the road to Open Internet." He characterized the FCC's 3-2 decision as "a critical step" because it established "the best legal foundation" for the court and legislative challenges ahead.

Implementation and enforcement are now the FCC's major hurdles, he said.


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TWC Reduces Carbon Footprint by 38% | Mike Farrell | Multichannel

TWC Reduces Carbon Footprint by 38% | Mike Farrell | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable (TWC) said it has reduced its carbon footprint by about 38% in the past two years, exceeding the 15% reduction goal it set in 2012 with its “Go-Green” initiative.

TWC said it reduced its carbon intensity by focusing on increased energy efficiency and improved waste and vehicle management, promoting sustainability within its supply chain, and building employee “Green Teams” around the country.

“Our Go Green efforts are reflective of Time Warner Cable’s commitment to policies and programs that use fewer natural resources and promote environmental sustainability” Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Rob Marcus said in a statement. “I’m incredibly proud of our employees for their work in helping us greatly exceed our goal, and applaud our Green Teams for the leadership roles they play in ensuring that Time Warner Cable does its part to protect the environment for future generations.”

Energy efficiency was one of the largest efforts targeting a reduction in Time Warner Cable’s carbon intensity. The company finalized its real estate and facilities guidelines based on the U.S. Green ENERGY STAR standards, which has led to implementation of environment-friendly practices at company facilities throughout the country. Three facilities and data centers, including two in Charlotte, N.C. and one in Herndon, Va., achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Other locations in Charlotte and Colorado are pursuing LEED certifications. Time Warner Cable also achieved a 14.7% increase from 2012 fuel efficiency within its fleet of 20,000 vehicles by purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles.


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Why Popcorn Time Scares Netflix | John McDuling | The Atlantic

Why Popcorn Time Scares Netflix | John McDuling | The Atlantic | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In January, Netflix, the online video streaming site, used its quarterly letter to shareholders to take aim at a rival. Not the premium-cable channel HBO, with which it's locked in an increasingly bitter battle for the best shows and movies; nor the cable provider Comcast, with which it's squabbled over the future of the Internet. Rather, Netflix’s missive called out a new adversary. “Piracy continues to be one of our biggest competitors,” it reads. “Popcorn Time’s sharp rise relative to Netflix and HBO in the Netherlands, for example, is sobering.”

Popcorn Time is one of the most fascinating sites on the Internet at the moment. It's a platform that allows people to access vast swathes of video content without paying for it, but with a clean, legitimate-looking (and somewhat Netflix-y) interface. In other words, it isn't a shady-looking portal that makes the user feel like they're engaging in illegal behavior by logging on.

By some estimates, Popcorn Time’s user base in the Netherlands rivals that of Netflix. It also appears to be quite popular in the U.S. Bloomberg reported last week that usage of the service in the U.S. more than trebled between July 2014 and January 2015, and it now accounts for one-ninth of all torrent traffic in the country. Its rise reflects a sobering reality for the entertainment industry. Despite the widespread success of Internet-based content smorgasbords with simple pricing models like Netflix, piracy endures. And TV and movie piracy, at least, is almost impossible to wipe out.

Unlike in music, where services like Spotify offer a single subscription for almost any track the user might want, there's no one-stop shop for video. That’s partly because of the way licensing works: Movies are released at different times for theaters, video-on-demand, and then cable-TV or streaming services. It’s partly also because, unlike in music, video-streaming services have chosen to compete with each other by offering their own exclusive content rather than trying to have the most complete menu. As a result, the best products remain spread out across a confusing phalanx of outlets.


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FCC Approval Of Zero Rating Shows Companies Can Still Violate Neutrality Under New Rules, They Just Have To Be More Clever About It | Karl Bode | Techdirt

FCC Approval Of Zero Rating Shows Companies Can Still Violate Neutrality Under New Rules, They Just Have To Be More Clever About It | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've discussed more than a few times the awful precedent set by AT&T's Sponsored Data effort, which involves companies paying AT&T to have their service be exempt from the company's already arbitrary usage caps.


While AT&T pitches this as a wonderful boon to consumers akin to 1-800 numbers and free shipping, as VC Fred Wilson perfectly illustrated last year, it tilts the entire wireless playing field toward companies with deeper pockets that can afford to pay AT&T's rates for cap exemption.

So how will the FCC's new net neutrality rules impact AT&T's plans? There's every indication it won't. The rules are still a few years and a few legal challenges away from becoming tangible, and in the interim, the FCC is telling companies that none of the zero rated efforts currently in play should be impacted.


Meanwhile, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Norway, Chile and now Canada all realize the threat posed by zero rated apps and have passed net neutrality rules that outlaw zero rating. The FCC, in contrast, has consistently implied it sees zero rating as "creative" pricing.

That's given AT&T the justifiable confidence to sally forth with its dangerous precedent. After all, injecting a gatekeeper like AT&T (with a generation of documented anti-competitive abuses under its belt) right into the middle of the wireless app ecosystem won't hurt anyone, and has nothing whatsoever to do with net neutrality. Isn't that right, AT&T?:


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Two indicted for stealing 1 billion email addresses in historic breach | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

Two indicted for stealing 1 billion email addresses in historic breach | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Two Vietnamese men have been indicted, with one pleading guilty, for hacking into eight U.S. email service providers and stealing 1 billion email addresses and other confidential information, resulting in what’s believed to be the largest data breach in U.S. history, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

The attacks, running from February 2009 to June 2012, resulted in the largest data breach of names and email addresses “in the history of the Internet,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement. After stealing the email addresses, the defendants sent spam emails to tens of millions of users, generating US$2 million in sales, according to the DOJ.

Viet Quoc Nguyen, 28, of Vietnam, allegedly hacked into the email service providers, stealing proprietary marketing data containing more than 1 billion email addresses, the DOJ said. Nguyen, along with Giang Hoang Vu, 25, also of Vietnam, then allegedly used the data to send spam messages, the agency alleged.

The indictments of the two men were unsealed Thursday. On Feb. 5, Vu pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to conspiracy to commit computer fraud.

Vu was arrested by Dutch law enforcement in 2012 and extradited to the U.S. a year ago. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 21. Nguyen remains at large.

In addition to the unsealing of the indictments, a federal grand jury returned an indictment this week against a Canadian citizen for conspiring to launder the proceeds obtained as a result of the massive data breach.

David-Manuel Santos Da Silva, 33, of Montreal, was indicted for conspiracy to commit money laundering for helping Nguyen and Vu to generate revenue from the spam emails and launder the proceeds.


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4K TV Market Set To Explode | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel

4K TV Market Set To Explode | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Strategy Analytics put out a bullish outlook for the 4K TV market this week, predicting that nearly half of U.S. homes will own an Ultra HD set by 2020.

That’s a steep climb from where the market stands today. According to Strategy Analytics, just 1% of U.S. homes had a 4K set in 2014. The firm also predicts that the figure will reach 10% by 2016.

Strategy Analytics also forecasts that North America will soon become the highest-penetrated 4K TV region, unseating the Asia Pacific region (see chart above).

“Ultra HD will become the standard resolution for virtually all large screen TVs within 3 to 4 years’ time and we will see it penetrate further into smaller screen sizes as manufacturing efficiencies improve,” David Watkins, service director, connected home devices at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement.


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FCC upgrades broadband to 25 Mbps. How does Minnesota measure up? | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

FCC upgrades broadband to 25 Mbps. How does Minnesota measure up? | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Back in January (2015), the FCC upped the speed definitions for broadband to 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up…

Reflecting advances in technology, market offerings by broadband providers and consumer demand, the FCC updated its broadband benchmark speeds to 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. The 4 Mbps/1 Mbps standard set in 2010 is dated and inadequate for evaluating whether advanced broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a timely way, the FCC found.

As they redefined broadband they released a report…

Using this updated service benchmark, the 2015 report finds that 55 million Americans – 17 percent of the population – lack access to advanced broadband. Moreover, a significant digital divide remains between urban and rural America: Over half of all rural Americans lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps service.

The divide is still greater on Tribal lands and in U.S. territories, where nearly 2/3 of residents lack access to today’s speeds. And 35 percent of schools across the nation still lack access to fiber networks capable of delivering the advanced broadband required to support today’s digital-learning tools.

Here are some of the numbers…


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Congresswoman Backed By AT&T, Comcast Introduces Bill To Kill Net Neutrality | Chris Morran | Consumerist

Congresswoman Backed By AT&T, Comcast Introduces Bill To Kill Net Neutrality | Chris Morran | Consumerist | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While some members of Congress have argued that the best way to deal with net neutrality is to create a law that guides what broadband providers can and can’t do with regard to data, one legislator from Tennessee — who has received significant money from neutrality’s biggest opponents — has introduced a bill that would kill neutrality and strip the FCC of its authority to regulate broadband as a necessary piece of telecommunications infrastructure.

Last week, a politically divided FCC voted to approve new neutrality rules that would prevent Internet service providers from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing any legal content carried over the web. In order to do this, the Commission had to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service (as opposed to the long-used “information service” classification that involves fewer regulations).

The “Internet Freedom Act” [PDF], introduced yesterday by Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, seeks to “prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from reclassifying broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service and from imposing certain regulations on providers of such service.”

More precisely, it aims to nullify last week’s vote and prevent the FCC from ever reissuing or adopting similar neutrality rules “unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted” by Congress.

So the Freedom Act would give true freedom to neutrality opponents like the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast (a neutrality-hating wolf in sheep’s clothing), as ISPs would be unfettered by rules against blocking competing content or giving higher priority to their own content.

And if you look at the top contributors to Blackburn’s campaign and leadership PAC, you’ll see these same names showing up:


  • AT&T: $25,000
  • Comcast: $20,000
  • NCTA: $20,000
  • Verizon: $16,000


We’re not saying that Rep. Blackburn introduced this bill because of the substantial donations from these groups, but when the congresswoman states that “My legislation will put the brakes on this FCC overreach and protect our innovators from these job-killing regulations,” you might be getting an insight into whether she’s on the side of consumers or the ISP industry, even though many Internet and telecom giants — like Google and Sprint, have explicitly stated that neutrality will not harm innovation or investment.

Blackburn has also recently introduced legislation to take away the FCC’s authority to preempt state and local laws restricting municipal broadband services.


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Senators Resolve to Promote Internet of Things | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

Senators Resolve to Promote Internet of Things | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A group of senators has introduced a resolution calling for prioritizing and accelerating the deployment and development of the Internet of Things, which means to broadband connectivity of a host of devices and services.

"The United States is well positioned to lead the world in innovation policy. Our Internet of Things resolution would commit our nation to a national strategy incentivizing the use of new technologies to maximize consumer opportunity and to facilitate economic growth," said Fischer in a statement.

"This forward-thinking initiative would call for a modern framework that encourages innovators. By doing so, we can usher in new ideas and solve problems in the years to come."

The resolution has no force of law, but is instead the "sense of the Senate" on what should happen, though of course only if it passed.

Sponsoring the resolution were Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

The resolution follows a Feb. 11 IoT hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee, of which they are all members.


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Free Wi-Fi, Better Government Data, Reduced Costs All Around: Internet of Moving Things | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Free Wi-Fi, Better Government Data, Reduced Costs All Around: Internet of Moving Things | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

NPR's 'All Things Considered' ran an interesting story the other day on how free Wi-Fi on public buses can open the door to much greater community benefit than free Wi-Fi on the buses. But let’s start with that – free Wi-Fi on the buses.


I just ran a story on how useful that is for school kids in Mille Lacs County – why wouldn’t the rest of the community benefit too? It allows people to have enough broadband on the buses to get work done (think webinar or Skye as you ride) and it saves everyone’s data plan.

According to the story, that’s just the beginning…

The service not only provides commuters with free Internet connections but also helps collect data that make the municipality run more efficiently.

That data helps power and hone the Internet of Moving Things…


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The World Loves The Smartphone. So How About A Smart Home? | Alexis Madrigal | NPR.org

The World Loves The Smartphone. So How About A Smart Home? | Alexis Madrigal | NPR.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

My coffee maker is texting me again. It's scheduled to make coffee tomorrow, the message says, but I need to refill its water tank. Welcome to the future.

The Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew Coffeemaker with WeMo — yes, that is its official name — is just one of many household appliances being remade to connect to the Internet and take care of themselves. There are thermostats, smoke alarms, washing machines and even $1,000 Bluetooth-connected toilets.

A Google subsidiary, Nest, which makes smart appliances, likes to talk about turning "unloved products" into "simple, beautiful, thoughtful things." And the company's chief, Tony Fadell, has predicted that in 10 years, "everything will have data in it."

That's not difficult to imagine anymore. Computers are cheap and tiny. Wireless Internet is nearly everywhere, so technologists are looking to implant some computing power in nearly everything.

I will admit. This can feel silly. I mean, who needs a coffee machine that texts him? Is that really necessary?


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Missouri Senate Committee Hears Anti-Muni Bill; Private Companies and Groups Ask For No Vote | community broadband networks

Missouri Senate Committee Hears Anti-Muni Bill; Private Companies and Groups Ask For No Vote | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the Senate version of Missouri's latest anti-muni bill, SB 266 [PDF], moved forward recently, a group of private sector companies and interested organizations appealed to state lawmakers [PDF] urging them to stop it in its tracks.

In January we reported on HB 437, introduced by House Member Rocky Miller. Its Senate companion, which establishes an identical slash and burn strategy to discourage municipal broadband investment, appears to be gathering interest.

The Senate Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee heard the bill on February 18th but chose not to vote on it, reports the Columbia Tribune. Members of the committee received a copy of the correspondence.

Readers will recall that Columbia is one of the many communities that have been actively investigating the possibility of municipal open access network investment. Last fall, Columbia received the results of a feasibility study that recommended the town make better use of its existing fiber assets for economic development purposes.

The letter, sent to Senator Eric Schmitt, Chairman of the Missouri Senate Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and Local Government, stressed the importance of public private partnerships in the modern economy. SB 266 and HB 437, with their onerous barriers, would certainly discourage private investment in Missouri. From the letter:


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What Do the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and Net Neutrality Have in Common? | Kevin Taglang | Benton Foundation

What Do the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and Net Neutrality Have in Common? | Kevin Taglang | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Friday, February 27, as many contemplated the Federal Communications Commission’s votes on network neutrality and municipal broadband, the White House released a discussion draft of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2015.


The bill, not yet introduced in Congress, aims to establish baseline protections for individual privacy in the commercial arena and to foster timely, flexible implementations of these protections through enforceable codes of conduct developed by diverse stakeholders.


Back in January, in the lead up to his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama promised this legislation as a follow up to the Administration’s 2012 Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. Although prospects for the draft bill seem minimal in a Republican-controlled Congress, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights – coupled with the net neutrality decision – mark a new commitment to both discuss privacy protections and enforce them.

The White House proposal, at its core, calls on industries to develop their own codes of conduct on the handling of consumer information. It also charges the Federal Trade Commission with making sure those codes of conduct satisfy certain requirements — like providing consumers with clear notices about how their personal details will be collected, used and shared. Companies that violate those requirements could be subject to enforcement actions by the FTC or by state attorneys general.

In a fact sheet accompanying the draft legislation, the White House said the proposal seeks to provide "consumers with more control over their data, companies with clearer ways to signal their responsible stewardship over data and strengthen relationships with customers, and everyone with the flexibility to continue innovating in the digital age.” Here’s how the White House summarizes the bill:

This legislation would provide consumers with clear rights to exercise individual control over data, including to:


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MWC 2015: Solar panels built into smartphone screen | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com

MWC 2015: Solar panels built into smartphone screen | Colin Neagle | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona this week, Kyocera is showing a prototype that turns one of the modern smartphone's biggest battery life liabilities into an asset – a smartphone that incorporates solar power technology into the touchscreen.

According to a Smithsonian Magazine report, Kyocera developed the technology in partnership with SunPartner Technologies and installed it on its Torque smartphone prototype, which was designed for rugged outdoor use.

At less than 0.5 millimeters in thickness and as much as 90% transparency, the screen technology could fit any of today's popular smartphones without inhibiting their users, SunPartner Technologies said in a press release. The component that captures sunlight – called Wysips Crystal – can be installed just below the touchscreen panel of the smartphone, so it doesn't affect the user experience, and feeds the solar energy into the battery.

While the technology may not be strong enough to replace the plug-and-charge smartphone battery, it does mean users could access apps and information on their phones at least for a brief period after the battery has completely died. This could prove critical for emergency situations, though it may be limited to those that occur during the day time.

SunPartner marketing director Matthieu de Broca told Smithsonian that the Wysips Crystal technology can currently generate up to 2.5 milliwatts of power per square centimeter in "typical sunlight conditions," and added that the company aims to reach 4 milliwatts by the end of this year.

At its current capacity, de Broca said 10 minutes of exposure to sunlight could generate 100 minutes of standby use and about two minutes of talk time to a smartphone's battery, according to the report.


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Mediacom's Commisso Weighs In on 'Monstrous' Title II Decision | John Eggerton | Multichannel

Mediacom's Commisso Weighs In on 'Monstrous' Title II Decision | John Eggerton | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Mediacom CEO Rocco Commisso said the Federal Communications Commission's new Open Internet regulations will cause uncertainty, except in the legal community, where he suggested they would be able to afford more vacations given the legal work the rules will prompt. He promised to fight what he called "monstrous" reregulation of his business.

Commisso was being interviewed Feb. 26 (the day of the FCC Title II vote) for C-SPAN's Communicators series (he is a C-SPAN board member). Small and medium-sized cable operators were in Washington this week for the American Cable Association summit.

Commisso said the rules will hurt his ability to raise money at a reasonable cost, though he said he had no doubt it would raise prices for consumers due to new taxes and local regulatory fees. He said he had spent over $7 billion under one set of rules, and that changing the rules was an uncalled for government intrusion into an engine of innovation to the benefit of Silicon Valley players, and the big guys, not the garage innovators. "This is to benefit companies that are already very big."

Commisso said that over the last four years, Mediacom had over a billion dollars in capital expenditures to continue to double and triple its speeds, and Commisso took the company private so that is his money. So, he is concerned that if he can't make a return on that investment, he won't be able to continue to invest.

But that speed increase could ironically work against Mediacom, Commisso suggested. The FCC has signaled that the new definition of high-speed broadband is 25 Mbps, which FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said is table stakes in the multi-device, broadband-streaming household. "The government is trying to prove by redefining [broadband speeds] that we are a monopoly...I invested the money and have the fastest speeds in the markets that I operate, and because I have the fastest speeds, I'm a monopoly."


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