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The FCC Scores a Hat Trick of Errors on Internet Regulation | Forbes

The FCC Scores a Hat Trick of Errors on Internet Regulation | Forbes | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With Congress in recess and Washington largely abandoned last week, the FCC issued three major orders. Comprising some four hundred pages of dense text, the rulings addressed widely different topics: reporting the progress of broadband deployment by private networks, price regulation over middle mile Internet (what the agency calls “special access”), and the proposed sale to Verizon of wireless spectrum currently being warehoused by a consortium of cable companies.

 

The timing was no coincidence. In its last major overhaul of the agency in 1996, Congress left the FCC with almost no authority over the Internet, whether content, transmission or the devices and software that consumers use to enjoy it. All three of last week’s orders pushed well beyond the FCC’s legal authority. Issuing them in rapid succession was the act of a petulant teenager, loudly defying a parent he knows has already left the room.

 

Each decision in its own way reflected the fierce determination of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and his two Democratic colleagues to recast the agency whenever possible for a starring role in the Internet economy. They genuinely believe their “prophylactic” agenda will help consumers, despite a long history that demonstrates repeatedly the folly of slow-moving governments trying to micromanage the evolution of disruptive technologies.

 

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Five Reasons to Care About Verizon Contract Negotiations | Diana Rosen | Jobs with Justice

Five Reasons to Care About Verizon Contract Negotiations | Diana Rosen | Jobs with Justice | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A crowd of thousands rallied outside of Verizon headquarters in New York City on Saturday, creating a sea of red t-shirts and picket signs that flooded the streets of lower Manhattan. Their cause: Making sure Verizon agrees to fair contracts with its 39,000 employees, who are represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

During the last round of contract negotiations in 2011, Verizon came to the table with a long list of demands that would have undone decades of hard-won progress – from freezing pensions and increasing employee contributions toward health coverage to ending all job security provisions and allowing the company to outsource as many jobs as it wanted. Ultimately, after a two-week strike and 16 months of sustained, escalating mobilization by union members and allies like Jobs With Justice, Verizon employees successfully negotiated eight percent raises and fought back the worst of the corporation’s demands.


When Verizon came to the table this summer with an eerily similar opening proposal, it was clear that the telecom giant has a long-term agenda to cut good union jobs, decrease its menu of services they offer to many of our communities, and offshore and outsource work overseas and to contractors.


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"On a Razor's Edge:" Charter's Deal With Time Warner Financed With Junk Bond Debt | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

"On a Razor's Edge:" Charter's Deal With Time Warner Financed With Junk Bond Debt | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The attempted $55 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable will saddle buyer Charter Communications with so much debt, it will make the cable operator one of the nation’s largest junk bond borrowers.

Bloomberg News reports investors are concerned about the size and scope of the financing packages Charter is working on to acquire the much-larger Time Warner Cable. Total debt financing this year has already reached $18.2 billion and one of Charter’s holding companies is signaling plans to add another $10.5 billion in unsecured debt. Bloomberg reports the total value of Charter’s combined debt from existing operations and its acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks may reach as high as $66 billion.

Ironically, Time Warner Cable CEO Robert Marcus used Charter’s penchant for heavily debt-financed acquisitions as one of the reasons he opposed Charter’s first attempted takeover of Time Warner in January 2014.


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Microsoft makes amends for past mistakes with Windows 10 | Hayley Tsykayama | WashPost.com

Microsoft makes amends for past mistakes with Windows 10 | Hayley Tsykayama | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system should start hitting U.S. computers on Wednesday, marking one of the biggest launches in the company's history. A few years after what could charitably be called a disastrous launch for Windows 8, Microsoft needs the new system to move forward while also making amends.

With Windows 8, Microsoft moved too fast into the future by introducing a lot of tablet-focused details and designs that alienated its core keyboard-and-mouse users. Windows 10 fixes many of those mistakes but still manages to incorporate enough new touches to plot a clear course to the more mobile, touchscreen-based future.

That makes the best of Microsoft's uniquely tricky position: It needs to design a system that appeases modern consumers who want changes and upgrades quickly, while still pleasing its business users who tend to be a bit more conservative when it comes to new systems.


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Part II – The FCC’s New Role as Internet Privacy Cop? | Shawn Chang | LinkedIn.com

Part II – The FCC’s New Role as Internet Privacy Cop? | Shawn Chang | LinkedIn.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC’s decade-long effort to adopt open Internet rules for broadband Internet access service providers began with its assertion of Title I “ancillary jurisdiction” under the Communications Act (the Act) over providers of “information services” (as broadband was then classified), and was followed by its efforts earlier this year to reclassify broadband as a “telecommunications service” subject to nondiscrimination provisions of Title II of the Act.


This effort has greatly blurred the FCC’s regulatory distinctions and its ensuing consumer protection obligations between not only broadband service providers and providers of plain old telephone service (POTS), but also providers of broadband infrastructure and the providers of content, applications, services, or devices—known as edge providers—that use such infrastructure.

In the privacy context, two major decisions on net neutrality over the past two years could have profound consequences for the Commission’s assertion of jurisdiction, regarding customer privacy, information and data security, and data breach notification requirements.


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The Future of Wi-Fi Depends on Unlicensed Spectrum | John Solit | NCTA.com

The Future of Wi-Fi Depends on Unlicensed Spectrum | John Solit | NCTA.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Today, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee is holding a hearing on wireless broadband and the future of spectrum policy. We expect the hearing to shed light on the incredible importance of unlicensed spectrum and how the future of gigabit Wi-Fi depends on good spectrum policy. Today, Wi-Fi is the most used broadband medium, handling more data than any other source – more than 5,500 petabytes of data per month in the United States. Making sure spectrum policy is keeping up with incredible Wi-Fi demand is critical to consumers, innovators, retailers and just about every sector of the economy.

Take a look at the video and see how cable is using unlicensed spectrum to deliver fast, accessible Wi-Fi to millions of Americans.


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Fiber to the Press Release: Comcast's 2Gbps Service Arrives - In One 993-Acre Houston Development | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Fiber to the Press Release: Comcast's 2Gbps Service Arrives - In One 993-Acre Houston Development | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After months of issuing nationwide press releases promoting Comcast’s new, blazing fast 2Gbps fiber to the home broadband, the cable company has finally announced it will be available (so far) … in one single 993-acre unfinished planned community in a northeastern suburb outside of Houston: Humble, Tex.

The Groves, designed to eventually contain 2,200 single-family homes on 993 acres west of West Lake Houston Parkway and south of Kingwood, currently resembles a crop circle because much of the community has yet to be built.

Crescent Communities, the North Carolina-based developer, calls The Groves a “refuge” from the rest of Houston, with amenities close at hand. Residents may not instinctively balk at Comcast’s expensive super-fast service requiring a $1,000 installation fee and a multi-year commitment to get the special promotional price of $159/mo. Housing at The Groves starts in the upper $200,000s and extends into the $500,000 range.

The Houston Business Journal reports Comcast will directly connect homes in the development to fiber optics, not the usual coaxial cable used elsewhere.


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Viva joins Bolivian LTE market | TeleGeography.com

Bolivian cellco Viva (Nuevatel PCS) has commercially launched its 4G LTE mobile broadband network in the 1700MHz/2100MHz (AWS) frequency band, offering high speed LTE data access to all subscribers with compatible devices/SIMs without changing their existing packages.


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Americas are just 2 weeks away from running out of IPv4 addresses | Bob Brown | NetworkWorld.com

Americas are just 2 weeks away from running out of IPv4 addresses | Bob Brown | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

John Curran, CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), told attendees at the Campus Technology conference in Boston on Wednesday that the IP address authority's pool of IPv4 addresses has dwindled to 90,000 and will be exhausted in about two weeks.
"This is a pretty dramatic issue," says Curran, who founded ARIN in 1997 and was once CTO of Internet pioneer BBN.

Curran’s revelation came during a talk during which he urged IT pros from educational institutions to upgrade their public facing websites to IPv6 as soon as possible. Not that the IPv4 address pool drying up will result in such websites being cut off from the Internet, but Curran did say moving to IPv6 will provide much more direct access to end users whose mobile and other devices increasingly have IPv6 rather than IPv4 addresses.


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Net Neutrality – An Update | Andy Schwartzman | Benton Foundation

Net Neutrality – An Update | Andy Schwartzman | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission’s Network Neutrality rules became effective on June 12. Since then, contrary to the warnings of some opponents, the digital world has not stopped turning.


On the other hand, while Net Neutrality supporters were jubilant, there has been little visible change for the good, either. That should not be surprising, since the most important impact of the new rules is in shaping future conduct.


Even so, for those interested in preserving an open Internet, there are a number of developments worth noting.


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White House Finally Answers Snowden Pardon Petition: The Only Good Whistleblowing Is Punished Whistleblowing | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

White House Finally Answers Snowden Pardon Petition: The Only Good Whistleblowing Is Punished Whistleblowing | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The White House has finally responded -- more than two years later -- to a petition asking for a pardon of Edward Snowden. The petition surfaced soon after Snowden went public with his identity. Less than three weeks later -- June 25, 2013 -- it had passed the 100,000-signature threshold.

Understandably, the administration was in no hurry to respond to this petition. In the immediate aftermath of the first leaks, no entity was more unpopular than the NSA. Snowden, on the other hand, probably could have won a number of local elections as a write-in candidate at that point. So, the administration sat on it, as it has sat on a great many petitions not particularly aligned with its desires.

Unfortunately, the public's opinion hasn't shifted much. As other agencies have become more plaintive in their requests to undermine privacy and safety to keep criminals from "going dark," the public has become less and less enthusiastic about being forced to make more sacrifices in the interest of security. The NSA also hasn't become more popular in the interim. So buying time by cherry-picking We The People petitions to respond to hasn't made answering this petition any easier for the administration.

More than two years later -- 763 days past the point it became a viable petition -- the administration has answered.


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Innovation tour: Kitchener-Waterloo a surging hub of high-tech startup companies. | Dan Miner | Buffalo Business First

Innovation tour: Kitchener-Waterloo a surging hub of high-tech startup companies. | Dan Miner | Buffalo Business First | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Monday's story on Hamilton can be found here and Tuesday's story on the Mississauga is here.

It’s hard to find a place to start when describing the startup scene in the Kitchener-Waterloo region – but perhaps the best place is the University of Waterloo.

That college is one of the foremost engineering entities in the world and spawned a variety of high-tech companies over the years, including Blackberry Limited (formerly Research in Motion) and D2L Corp.

But the university’s prominence and the corporations its students have created might have been isolated success stories. Instead, major institutional players from higher education, government and industry decided to take the region’s technological and intellectual assets and use them to build an inclusive community, said Chris Plunkett, director of external relations at Communitech.

The result: About 1,900 new startups in the past six years which have attracted about $650 million in investment and made the region an international symbol of entrepreneurship.

All that, just a two hour drive from Buffalo, NY.


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Verizon Wireline Workers Prepare to Strike Aug. 1; "Negotiations Are Going Poorly" | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Verizon Wireline Workers Prepare to Strike Aug. 1; "Negotiations Are Going Poorly" | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If Verizon management and its unionized workforce cannot come to terms on a new contract by this Saturday, up to 39,000 Verizon landline workers from Massachusetts to Virginia will begin a strike industry observers predict could last for weeks.

Verizon Communications has increasingly shifted attention and investment away from its wireline networks, which include copper landline service and its FiOS fiber to the home network. The workforce of line technicians, installers, and engineers that are trying to keep Verizon’s wired networks running well are under pressure to accept concessions the company says reflect the reality of a dwindling number of landline customers and competition for its FiOS network.

As of Monday, representatives for the Communications Workers of America District 1, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2213 and IBEW New England Regional committees continued to call out Verizon for insisting on a list of benefit and job security reductions:


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Videotron Tests 1-Gig | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

Videotron Tests 1-Gig | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Canadian MSO Videotron is joining the Gigabit club.

The company announced this week that it is piloting a 1-Gig service in Montreal using DOCSIS 3.0, with plans underway to follow-up with a commercial launch.

State-of-the-art D3.0 modems can bond up to 32 downstream channels, enough to produce bursts up to 1.2 Gbps in North American DOCSIS networks that use 6MHz-wide channels, and up to 1.6 Gbps using EuroDOCSIS 8MHz-wide channels.


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Dem: FCC 'really screwed' by GOP appropriators | Mario Trujillo | The Hill

Dem: FCC 'really screwed' by GOP appropriators | Mario Trujillo | The Hill | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Republican appropriators "really screwed" the Federal Communications Commission in the appropriations process, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) said during an oversight hearing Tuesday.

Eshoo, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on communications and technology, lamented the proposed $25 million cuts to the FCC's budget in the House Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, as well as the policy riders that would temporarily block enforcement of net neutrality rules.

"I want to talk about your budget," she told FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who testified Tuesday. "House appropriators have really screwed the FCC in my view, And I don't think it is funny. I think it's serious."

"There are so many things that are reliant on dollars, and I'm not talking about adding a load of extra dough, I'm talking about the agency being able to carry out its responsibilities," she added.

The Appropriations Committee approved the budget last month, but floor action on spending bills is largely stalled in the House over a back-and-forth between the parties about the Confederate flag. Senate appropriations are also stalled due to Democratic concerns about funding levels.


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VP Biden Announces Broadband-Challenged Rochester, N.Y. Home to National Photonics Institute | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

VP Biden Announces Broadband-Challenged Rochester, N.Y. Home to National Photonics Institute | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Vice President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced Rochester, N.Y., a city notorious for its slow broadband, will be the home of the $600 million Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation, a hub supporting the development of photonics — technology that powers everything from fiber optic broadband to laser surgery.

Rochester, the home of dramatically downsized household names like Eastman Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch and Lomb, could see thousands of new high technology jobs created in the western New York city to develop new products and services that depend on light waves.

“The innovation and jobs this institute will create will be a game changer for Rochester and the entire state,” said U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, (D-Rochester). “This is a huge win that will shape our region’s economy for decades to come.”


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Former Obama Tech Advisor Explains How Bitcoin Could Transform Government | Gregory Ferenstein | Forbes.com

Former Obama Tech Advisor Explains How Bitcoin Could Transform Government | Gregory Ferenstein | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bitcoin, the digital currency infamous for wild swings in value and black market transactions, could have profound implications for the future of public services. Tech optimists at the highest levels of government are exploring how the same technology that makes bitcoin anonymous could make government services less bureaucratic and more secure from hackers.

Brian Forde is a former Senior Advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and recently became MIT Media Labs new director of digital currency. He sat down with the Ferenstein Wire at the Atlantic Aspen Ideas Festival and revealed how bitcoin technology could eventually become a cornerstone of modern governance.


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Canada Opens Incumbent Fiber Networks To Competition, Cue The Hysteria | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Canada Opens Incumbent Fiber Networks To Competition, Cue The Hysteria | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Canadian regulators last week did something that U.S. regulators have long only paid lip service to: they opened up incumbent fiber networks to competition. The CRTC's new ruling notes that incumbent ISPs will need to give smaller ISPs "disaggregated" access to the end user at a regional point of access relatively close to the consumer.


These independent ISPs are then responsible for transmitting data from this access point to their own central office, either via owned or leased infrastructure. The requirement will start in Ontario and Quebec, and slowly expand across Canada.

Until now, these ISPs were relegated to the incumbents' slower, last-generation networks. It's the kind of move that incumbent telco execs have nightmares about, but Canada's regulators hope the policy brings in an additional layer of competition for faster fiber services:


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Comcast's Poor Service Doesn't Discriminate: Former Comcast VP Complains About Slow Speeds | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast's Poor Service Doesn't Discriminate: Former Comcast VP Complains About Slow Speeds | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rachelle Chong, a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission during the Clinton Administration, member of the California Broadband Task Force (2006-2008), commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission (2006-2009), and Comcast’s vice president for government affairs for the California region (2011-2013) also happens to be a Comcast broadband customer.

She took to Twitter this morning to complain the company she used to work for was giving her a fraction of the speed she was paying for.

At least Comcast’s poor service doesn’t discriminate. Less prominent customers are experiencing the same issues:


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Newly Independent Cable One Plans Broadband Makeover With Speed Upgrades | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Newly independent Cable One will reduce its emphasis on cable television and turn its time, attention, and capital towards improving broadband service for its 690,000 largely rural customers in 19 states.

Cable One was spun off from Graham Holdings on July 1 and is not likely to stay independent for long before it is acquired by another cable operator, most likely Patrick Drahi’s Altice, S.A. — which recently acquired Suddenlink. But in the meantime, Cable One is attempting to persuade investors it is remaking itself into a broadband company, de-emphasizing the traditional cable television package in favor of dedicating more bandwidth for faster broadband speeds.


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How should the U.S. respond to state-sponsored cyberattacks? | Kenneth Corbin | NetworkWorld.com

How should the U.S. respond to state-sponsored cyberattacks? | Kenneth Corbin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's no secret that U.S. government agencies and businesses are the target of around-the-clock cyber intrusions, many carried out by or at the behest of foreign nation-states.

But how exactly should the feds respond to those incursions?

Ask a random sample of Americans and you'll likely get a very different answer than if you polled the State Department.

In a recent flash survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults commissioned by the security vendor Vormetric, a quarter of the respondents said that the United States should cut off all ties to any nation responsible for compromising U.S. government data.


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What's Wrong With the Internet and How We Can Fix It: Interview With Internet Pioneer John Day | Lori Emerson Blog

What's Wrong With the Internet and How We Can Fix It: Interview With Internet Pioneer John Day | Lori Emerson Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Below is an interview I conducted with the computer scientist and Internet pioneer John Day via email over the last six months or so. The interview came about as a result of a chapter I’ve been working on for my “Other Networks” project, called “The Net Has Never Been Neutral.”


In this piece, I try to expand the materialist bent of media archaeology, with its investment in hardware and software, to networks. Specifically, I’m working through the importance of understanding the technical specs of the Internet to figure out how we are unwittingly living out the legacy of the power/knowledge structures that produced TCP/IP.


I also think through how the Internet could have been and may still be utterly different. In the course of researching that piece, I ran across fascinating work by Day in which he argues that “the Internet is an unfinished demo” and that we have become blind not only to its flaws but also to how and why it works the way it works.


Below you’ll see Day expand specifically on five flaws of the TCP /IP model that are still entrenched in our contemporary Internet architecture and, even more fascinating, the ways in which a more sensible structure (like the one proposed by the French CYCLADES group) to handle network congestion would have made the issue of net neutrality beside the point. I hope you enjoy and many, many thanks to John for taking the time to correspond with me.


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New Bay State effort would connect technology start-ups with municipal governments | Shira Schoenberg | MassLive

New Bay State effort would connect technology start-ups with municipal governments | Shira Schoenberg | MassLive | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The state Senate is set to consider a proposal that would connect municipal governments to technology startups.


"It will help spur startups and new ventures in Massachusetts," said state Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, the founder and co-chair of the Legislature's Tech Hub caucus, who developed the idea and sponsored the bill, S. 1982. "We consider ourselves an innovation economy. Wouldn't it be wonderful to...show that not only are we an innovation economy, we are an innovation government?"

The bill emerged from the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, which Spilka chairs, on Tuesday, and it is likely to be voted on by the full Senate on Thursday.

The proposal would create a new "innovative community" program, with an office under the state's Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

The point of the program would be to connect municipal governments with start-ups so that the governments can purchase technological products and services.


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Reminder: When Ron Wyden Says There's A Secret Interpretation Of A Law, Everyone Should Pay Attention | Mike Masnick Techdirt

Reminder: When Ron Wyden Says There's A Secret Interpretation Of A Law, Everyone Should Pay Attention | Mike Masnick Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Years before Ed Snowden revealed how the NSA and DOJ had reinterpreted the PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act to allow the intelligence community to spy on Americans, Senator Ron Wyden tried to warn the public that this had happened:

We're getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says.

For a couple of years after he said that, privacy and civil liberties advocates were forced into something of a guessing game to figure out what that secret law actually said. Eventually, the details were spilled by Ed Snowden who is, of course, now being threatened with a lifetime in prison for blowing the whistle.


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HBO NOW Available Today for Verizon Broadband Customers; Coming Soon to Mobile Video | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

HBO NOW Available Today for Verizon Broadband Customers; Coming Soon to Mobile Video | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Home Box Office and Verizon today announced an agreement that allows Verizon to distribute HBO NOW — a service targeting Internet-only customers, across all of Verizon’s wired broadband networks, with the right to extend the service to Verizon Mobile customers in the near future.

Beginning today, HBO NOW is immediately available to all Verizon FiOS and High Speed Internet customers, starting with a 30-day free trial.


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Why Can’t We Be Like South Korea? | Susan Crawford Backchannel | Medium.com

Why Can't We Be Like South Korea? - Backchannel - Medium

I’m working this summer with a rising senior at St. Paul’s School, Sun Woo Lee, who lives in Seoul when she’s not at boarding school here in the States. It’s been astounding to hear her describe the contrast between communications in Concord, New Hampshire, where her school is, and what happens in South Korea. And in light of a recent daylong gathering here at Harvard Law School among people interested in Internet access across Massachusetts, I thought you’d be interested in a few nuggets of comparison.

The bottom line: Rural areas in New England are mostly — with some shining exceptions — struggling to come up with a route to fiber-optic-plus-WiFi access that will allow people to work from home and generally participate in the modern world. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to find a rural section of South Korea that doesn’t have fantastic high-capacity Internet access.

Here’s a story that says it all.


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