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ITC hands Apple initial victory in Samsung’s patent suit | Wash Post

ITC hands Apple initial victory in Samsung’s patent suit | Wash Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. International Trade Commission in an initial finding Friday said Apple’s iPhones, iPods and iPads don’t violate Samsung’s patents, handing the mega tech firm another victory in a contentious patent war between the world’s biggest handset makers.

 

The decision was preliminary and must be voted on by the whole commission. But it set Samsung back another step as the ITC both defended and fired its own shots at Apple.

 

ITC Judge James Gildea disagreed with Samsung’s allegations that Apple violated four of its patents being used in the iPhone, iPod and iPad. The ITC handles global patent disputes and has the ability to block imports of infringing products.

 

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Is Internet access necessary for economic well-being? FCC chairman thinks so. | Cristina Maza | CSMonitor.com

Is Internet access necessary for economic well-being? FCC chairman thinks so. | Cristina Maza | CSMonitor.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This year, the Federal Communications Commission decided that broadband Internet should be treated as a public utility, similar to the telephone network. Now, the FCC’s chairman says that, like the phone network, the Internet should be subsidized for the poor.

Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided qualifying, low-income consumers with discounted telephone services. Supporters of the program argue that access to phone services is essential for calling for medical help, searching for employment, and, ultimately, for attaining overall economic well-being.

On Thursday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told his colleagues that Internet access is just as important as telephone access for people trying to climb out of poverty. His $1.7 billion proposal would give recipients the option to choose between phone service, Internet access, or a combination of both, The New York Times reported.
Recommended: How much do you know about US entitlement programs? Take our quiz.

“People increasingly depend on the Internet for access to jobs, education, news, services, communications, and everything else under the sun,” says Kristine DeBry, vice president of the Policy Strategy Center at Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group in Washington.


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The latest Time Warner Cable merger isn’t Comcast all over again, execs argue | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

The latest Time Warner Cable merger isn’t Comcast all over again, execs argue | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications said Tuesday it's buying Time Warner Cable in a $55 billion mega deal that would give Charter some 24 million customers in parts of the country ranging from Washington state to South Carolina.

Hanging over the announcement, though, is Comcast. You can't talk about an acquisition of Time Warner Cable without discussing Comcast's failed bid for the nation's second-largest cable company, which collapsed last month.

[Charter strikes deal with Time Warner Cable to create mega cable and Internet firm]

It's clearly something Charter has thought about, too — and the company addressed the issue head-on in response to the first question on an investor call Tuesday morning.

"We're a very different company than Comcast, and this is a very different transaction," Charter chief executive Tom Rutledge said on the call.

Just like the Comcast-TWC deal, the Charter-TWC merger has to be approved by federal regulators, including the Federal Communications Commission.

Charter is already moving to counter some of the arguments that helped sink the Comcast merger. For instance, what executives are calling the "New Charter" will be much smaller than a Comcast-Time Warner Cable mash-up would have looked like, company officials say, which could help limit regulators concerns about potentially anticompetitive behavior.

While a Comcast deal would have controlled more than half the country's high-speed Internet subscribers and roughly one-third of the nation's cable TV market, the latest deal would give Charter only about 30 percent market share in broadband and 17 percent in cable video, according to the company.


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Charter Communications Starts Advertising Blitz: Its Internet Service Has "No Data Caps," AT&T U-verse Does | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Charter Communications Starts Advertising Blitz: Its Internet Service Has "No Data Caps," AT&T U-verse Does | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications is now heavily advertising the fact its Internet service “has no data caps,” in an attempt to leverage customers away from AT&T DSL (150GB cap) and AT&T U-verse (250GB cap).

Charter quietly shelved its softly enforced usage caps several months ago and is now using its cap-free experience as a marketing tool to convince customers to switch from AT&T and other phone company broadband options that often include usage limits.

“They used it with me to convince me to drop U-verse for Charter,” writes Stop the Cap! reader Jennifer in Tennessee. “I hate usage caps.”

Charter is also using its cap-free broadband as a key argument in favor of its merger deal with Time Warner Cable and Bright House (which have no usage caps either).


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U.N. report: Encryption is important to human rights — and backdoors undermine it | Andreaa Peterson | WashPost.com

U.N. report: Encryption is important to human rights — and backdoors undermine it | Andreaa Peterson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new report from the United Nation's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights says digital security and privacy are essential to maintaining freedom of opinion and expression around the world -- and warns that efforts to weaken security tools in some countries may undermine it everywhere.

The report written by special rapporteur David Kaye says that encryption -- the process of digitally scrambling information so that only authorized persons can access it -- and anonymity tools "provide the privacy and security necessary for the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age." The report will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council next month.

It comes amid a growing debate in the U.S. about how to best balance personal privacy rights and national security. Since former government contractor Edward Snowden's revelations about National Security Agency surveillance programs, tech companies have scrambled to encrypt more of their products.

Now, some U.S. law enforcement officials are pushing to have tech companies build ways for the government to access secure content passing through their products -- so-called "backdoors."

FBI Director James Comey and NSA chief Adm. Michael Rogers have said that the growth in encryption use could make it harder to track criminals -- and argued that the government should require companies to build ways for law enforcement to access encrypted content.


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America's Cable Cartel: The Scorecard of Two Decades of Mergers That Left You With a Bigger Bill | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

America's Cable Cartel: The Scorecard of Two Decades of Mergers That Left You With a Bigger Bill | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

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"The French Slasher" Patrick Drahi/Altice Likely to Target Cablevision, Cox, Mediacom Next for Quick Buyouts | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

"The French Slasher" Patrick Drahi/Altice Likely to Target Cablevision, Cox, Mediacom Next for Quick Buyouts | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Patrick Drahi and his Luxembourg-based Altice SA appears to be out of the running to buy Time Warner Cable, but are likely to quickly turn their attention to acquiring several of America’s remaining medium-sized cable companies: Cablevision, Cox, and Mediacom.

“While it is still possible that Altice counters on TWC, we do not believe that it can match Charter [and backer John Malone’s] funding firepower and will ultimately lose out,” wrote Macquarie Capital’s Kevin Smithen. “In our opinion, Altice is more likely to turn its attention to Cablevision or privately held Cox or Mediacom, in an effort to gain more fixed-line scale in order to compete against Charter and Comcast.”

Last week, cable analysts were surprised when Drahi swooped in to acquire Suddenlink, one of America’s medium-sized cable operators.

“Altice’s decision to buy Suddenlink (at an unsupportably high price) creates even more uncertainty in an industry where virtually every element of the story is now in flux,” said MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett.


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Comcast Raising Rates July 1st; Higher Cable TV Surcharges, $3 More for Double-Play Broadband/TV Package | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast Raising Rates July 1st; Higher Cable TV Surcharges, $3 More for Double-Play Broadband/TV Package | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Just in time for the summer fireworks, Comcast’s own rate explosion may be arriving in your mailbox. The cable company is boosting rates on cable television and broadband service in several regions, including higher Broadcast TV surcharges and, for some, the introduction of a new compulsory sports programming fee. Comcast customers shared their rate increase letter with Broadband Reports.

The original notification letter was littered with grammatical and spelling errors and obviously was never proofread. Maybe they are using the extra money to hire someone to help out with that. We’ve translated the text into the English language:


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The charts and maps you need to understand why Charter is buying Time Warner Cable | Zachary Seward | Quartz

The charts and maps you need to understand why Charter is buying Time Warner Cable | Zachary Seward | Quartz | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications is buying Time Warner Cable for $55.1 billion and Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion, in a major consolidation of the US cable industry. Here are the details:

  • If the deals are approved by regulators, they would combine the second- (TWC), fourth- (Charter), and tenth-largest (Bright House) cable companies in the US, with a combined 23 million customers.
  • But that’s a big if, because when Comcast tried to buy Time Warner Cable, it was blocked by two government agencies that worried the merger would be bad for consumers. (That combined company would have had about 35 million customers.)
  • Don’t forget that AT&T is also buying DirecTV, though that deal is also still pending regulatory review. They aren’t cable companies, but compete in many of the same businesses.


To understand this latest transaction, you first need to forget about television. Charter, TWC, and Bright House may be best known for providing Americans with TV service, but that business has been declining for many years. Instead, think of them as internet providers with a declining side business in television.


Cable companies still generate more revenue from television than internet service, but those lines are converging, too. In any event, broadband internet is a higher-margin business than cable TV, which requires hefty payments for programming licenses. Internet service providers are also less susceptible to competition.



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A Few Highlights From Mary Meeker's Internet Trends Report | Miguel Helft | Forbes.com

A Few Highlights From Mary Meeker's Internet Trends Report | Miguel Helft | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Listening to Mary Meeker present her annual Internet trends report is the closest humans get to being connected to a firehose of data: 197 information rich slides in something like 10 minutes. Don’t even try to drink it all, at least not in real time.

On Wednesday morning at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Meeker, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers barreled through her presentation, touching on everything from e-commerce as percentage of GDP in various geographies, to regulatory hurdles facing marketplaces. We’ve included the whole slide deck below. It is worth perusing at your own pace.

In the meantime, I’ve highlighted a few of Meeker’s trends which struck me as particularly interesting.


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Wi-Fi access point scans can betray a person's location | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

Wi-Fi access point scans can betray a person's location | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Many Android applications collect information on Wi-Fi access points, which researchers contend can be used to figure out where a person is more than 90 percent of the time.
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The privacy implications of Wi-Fi access point scanning is often overlooked but presents a risk if the information is abused, according to the study, written by the Technical University of Denmark, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Copenhagen.

Wi-Fi information isn’t considered location data, and Android applications such as Candy Crush Saga, Pandora and Angry Birds routinely collect it.

“This makes it possible for third party developers to collect high-resolution mobility data under the radar, circumventing the policy and the privacy model of the Android ecosystem,” wrote Sune Lehmann, an associate professor at DTU Informatics at the Technical University of Denmark, in a blog post.

The study said it wasn’t suggesting that Candy Crush Saga, Pandora and Angry Birds collected Wi-Fi scans for location purposes but that they would, in theory, have the ability to do so.

Location data is seen as valuable for purposes such as advertising, where context-specific ads can be shown as a person moves into a certain area. But that sort of tracking has raised privacy concerns over how users are notified that the tracking is taking place and if they can opt out.


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Research community looks to SDN to help distribute data from the Large Hadron Collider | John Dix | NetworkWorld.com

Research community looks to SDN to help distribute data from the Large Hadron Collider | John Dix | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) starts back up in June, the data collected and distributed worldwide for research will surpass the 200 petabytes exchanged among LHC sites the last time the collider was operational.


Network challenges at this scale are different from what enterprises typically confront, but Harvey Newman, Professor of Physics at Caltech, who has been a leader in global scale networking and computing for the high energy physics community for the last 30 years, and Julian Bunn, Principal Computational Scientist at Caltech, hope to introduce a technology to this rarified environment that enterprises are also now contemplating:


Software Defined Networking (SDN). Network World Editor in Chief John Dix recently sat down with Newman and Bunn to get a glimpse inside the demanding world of research networks and the promise of SDN.


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Charter Communications Pushes for More Reserve Spectrum | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Charter Communications Pushes for More Reserve Spectrum | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications had more than the proposed Time Warner Cable deal on its mind Monday, urging the FCC to make plenty of low-band spectrum available in the broadcast incentive forward auction to competitors to AT&T and Verizon.

The FCC has proposed reserving 30 MHz of spectrum in the auction for competitive carriers, but Charter says it should be 40 MHz, which would allow for two potential competitors--20 MHz is needed for each of those.

Charter agrees that the FCC should put some of the best "category 1" spectrum -- the least impaired by potential interference from TV stations repacked in nearby spectrum -- in the reserve, but also argues the FCC should include some of the second-best, rather than have no reserve where there are no essentially unencumbered (category 1) licenses.


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Senator Franken Advises Close Look at Charter-TWC | John Eggerton | Multichannel

Senator Franken Advises Close Look at Charter-TWC | John Eggerton | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Media consolidation critic Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) wrote the FCC and Department of Justice Tuesday (May 26) on the news that Charter had made a $78.7 billion bid for Time Warner Cable, asking the FCC to keep its fine-tooth comb ready.

“I have long been concerned about the effects of consolidation in the telecommunications industry on American consumers,” wrote Sen. Franken. “Any deal of this size and scope warrants scrutiny. For my part, I will be examining this deal in the coming weeks, and I urge the [Federal Communications Commission] and the [U.S. Department of Justice] to look closely at the consequences for American consumers in terms of competition, pricing, and choice in telecommunications services.," he wrote.

Franken did not say he opposed the deal, a reluctance he did not show with Comcast's effort to by TWC, but did say he would be looking at it closely, and suggested it if were to get through, it should likely only be with strong, enforceable conditions.

The full text of his letter is below.


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WA: Seattle Energy Committee Meets to Discuss Muni Fiber Possibilities: Video Available | community broadband networks

WA: Seattle Energy Committee Meets to Discuss Muni Fiber Possibilities: Video Available | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the talk of municipal broadband grows louder in Seattle, city leaders are gathering to learn more about what deploying at a fiber network may entail. On May 13th, the Seattle Energy Committee and leaders from citizen group Upgrade Seattle met to discuss the needs, challenges, and possibilities. Chris joined them via Skype to provide general information and answer questions. He was in Atlanta at the time of the meeting. Video of the entire meeting is now available via the Seattle Channel and embedded below.


King5 also covered the meeting (video below).

"We're starting from a different place in terms of the infrastructure," said Karen Toering with Upgrade Seattle. "The city already has in place hundreds of miles of dark fiber that we're not even using right now that were already laid in the years previous to now."

Upgrade Seattle sees that dark fiber as the key to competition which will lead to better consumer prices and service from private providers.

Businesses are also interested in reliability, argues Upgrade Seattle. Devin Glaser told the committee:


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Charter strikes deal with Time Warner Cable to create mega cable and Internet firm | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com

Charter strikes deal with Time Warner Cable to create mega cable and Internet firm | Cecilia Kang | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications said Tuesday that it has struck a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable for $55 billion, creating a new giant in an industry racing to hook up homes to high-speed Internet as cable television declines.


The merger of the fourth- and second-largest cable providers will create a new contender in an industry long lacking competition and will face strong scrutiny from federal regulators who have complained of too much power in the hands of a few firms, particularly Comcast.


Charter will pay Time Warner Cable $195.71 a share, a significant premium over Time Warner Cable's closing stock price Friday. The company also announced the purchase of small cable operator Bright House Networks, which will be combined with the two companies.

The merged company will serve 23.9 million cable, broadband Internet and phone customers in 41 states including in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles.

The deal comes just one month after Comcast's surprising decision to drop its own bid for Time Warner Cable, a deal regulators later said would harm consumers. Federal officials said the combination of Comcast and Time Warner Cable would put more than half of all U.S. broadband subscribers under the control of one company, giving it the potential to thwart competition from streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube.


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Charter says it’s buying Time Warner Cable. Here’s what customers can look forward to next. | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Charter says it’s buying Time Warner Cable. Here’s what customers can look forward to next. | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications stands to become a massive player in the cable space with its $55 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable. But the deal is taking place at a time of tremendous change for the industry — and that means Charter needs a long-term plan.

Part of that plan may include a new, Internet-based video service and a cellular service that runs primarily on WiFi, said Charter chief executive Tom Rutledge in interviews Tuesday. Both ventures would expand on a key source of growth for cable companies — high-speed broadband — and help Charter fend off attacks by its rivals in other industries.

[Charter strikes deal with Time Warner Cable to create mega cable and Internet firm]

"We think that WiFi lends itself to the modern smartphone and smart tablet use," Rutledge said. "We want to keep deploying that where people work, where people gather, where people play. And ultimately, we could begin to sell mobile services on WiFi."

Rutledge also hinted in an interview with CNBC that Charter might someday offer its own Netflix-like streaming video app. And, in what will likely be even shorter time frame, Charter plans to roll out a new customer interface that lists streaming video content right alongside programming from the cable lineup, blending so-called over-the-top video that relies on an Internet connection with more traditional TV offerings.

"All of that product can be integrated into our new user interface that will allow customers to seamlessly move between over-the-top and cable on every device that they own," Rutledge told CNBC.


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Peru: Govt provides USD346m funding for regional broadband programmes | TeleGeography.com

The Peruvian government has signed contracts to finance regional broadband development projects in four areas, namely Apurimac, Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Lambayeque. In total, the four programmes cover the deployment of fibre-optic infrastructure to 1,344 villages, connecting 1,607 schools, 812 health centres, 97 police stations and 93 other public entities and benefiting around 750,000 Peruvians.


Contracts for deployments in Apurimac, Ayacucho and Huancavelica were handed to the Gilat consortium, providing funding of USD82.66 million, USD97.27 million and USD106.41 million respectively, whilst Spanish-backed Telefonica del Peru – which operates under the Movistar brand – won the USD59.24 million contract for the development in Lambayeque.

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The Time Warner Cable deal will provide ‘lower prices for faster’ Internet, says Charter’s CEO | Ceilia Kang & Brian Fung | WashPost.com

The Time Warner Cable deal will provide ‘lower prices for faster’ Internet, says Charter’s CEO | Ceilia Kang & Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Charter Communications said Tuesday that it was buying Time Warner Cable for $55 billion, just one month after Comcast withdrew its bid for the nation's second-largest cable company.


Charter chief executive Tom Rutledge spent a few minutes chatting with The Washington Post about the deal, his company's future and the fate of the cable industry.


The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.


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Cox’s Mark Greatrex Talks Gigabit Internet at NCTA | Julianne Twining | NCTA.com

Cox’s Mark Greatrex Talks Gigabit Internet at NCTA | Julianne Twining | NCTA.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this month, NCTA and CTAM, the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, hosted a discussion with Mark Greatrex, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer at Cox Communications and Chairman of the Board at CTAM.


He shared with us new research on how their customers engage with cable and broadband and how Cox is building stronger customer service relationships. He also discussed how Cox’s gigabit broadband service, G1gablast, is changing how customers are using the Internet.


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In 5 years, 80 percent of the whole Internet will be online video | Brian Fung | WashPost

In 5 years, 80 percent of the whole Internet will be online video | Brian Fung | WashPost | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Video is eating the Web.

Already, we know that Netflix accounts for one-third of Internet traffic at peak hours. Toss in YouTube, and that figure rises to roughly half of all bandwidth consumed. But even that's small potatoes compared with what's coming. In five years, 80 percent of the entire world's Internet consumption will be dominated by video. That number will be even higher in the United States, approaching 85 percent.

That's according to the latest projections from Cisco, which publishes an annual study peering into the near future of the Web. The newest report, out Wednesday, predicts that by 2019, the Internet will have become more or less a big video pipe. Part of the growth will come from adding new people to the Internet — for the first time, over half the world's population will be digitally connected. But individual Internet users are also expected to consume more video over time, and at a higher quality, which will put tremendous new burdens on the world's Internet infrastructure.

"The cord-cutting household [consumes] more than twice as much data per month as non-cord-cutters," said Robert Pepper, Cisco's vice president of global technology policy.

When you see the Internet as a huge distribution channel for video, it puts virtually everything that tech and communications companies are doing into perspective. Telecom firms like Verizon are racing to expand their cellular networks so that they can deliver video over LTE. Cable companies are fleshing out their public WiFi hotspots so users can watch videos outside their homes. Content providers like HBO and CBS are putting their programming on the Internet so that customers don't have to be tethered to their television sets.


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F.C.C. Chief Seeks Broadband Plan to Aid the Poor | Rebecca Ruiz | NYTimes.com

F.C.C. Chief Seeks Broadband Plan to Aid the Poor | Rebecca Ruiz | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For 30 years, the federal government has helped millions of low-income Americans pay their phone bills, saying that telephone service is critical to summoning medical help, seeking work and, ultimately, climbing out of poverty. Now, the nation’s top communications regulator will propose offering those same people subsidized access to broadband Internet.

On Thursday, that regulator, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will circulate a plan to his fellow commissioners suggesting sweeping changes to a $1.7 billion subsidy program charged with ensuring that all Americans have affordable access to advanced telecommunications services, according to senior agency officials.

The effort is the F.C.C.’s strongest recognition yet that high-speed Internet access is as essential to economic well-being as good transportation and telephone service. Mr. Wheeler will propose potentially giving recipients a choice of phone service, Internet service or a mix of both, the officials said. He will also suggest new measures to curb fraud, a source of criticism in recent years.


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Smartphone location tracking via Wi-Fi signals, motion sensors | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com

Smartphone location tracking via Wi-Fi signals, motion sensors | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Here are two research papers about tracking people via their smartphones that might momentarily make you want to toss your phone into a lake. Both show a 90% or above accuracy in tracking people via their phones' Wi-Fi connections or motion sensors.

Tracking Human Mobility using WiFi signals (pdf) makes the case for Wi-Fi scans to be considered "a highly sensitive type of data" that "should be considered location data."

Using just one GPS observation per day per person allows us to estimate the location of, and subsequently use, Wi-Fi access points to account for 80% of mobility across a population. These results reveal a great opportunity for using ubiquitous Wi-Fi routers for high-resolution outdoor positioning, but also significant privacy implications of such side-channel location tracking.

Researchers Piotr Sapiezynski, Arkadiusz Stopczynski, Radu Gatej and Sune Lehmann point out that "large companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, or Skyhook, combine Wi-Fi access points with GPS data to improve positioning, a practice known as 'wardriving'." The actual "how" is "proprietary to large companies." They added, "Predictability and stability of human mobility are also exploited by commercial applications such as intelligent assistants." They used Google Now as an example of an app "which learns users' habits to, among other services, conveniently provide directions to the next inferred location."

In the Android ecosystem, location permission is separate from the permission for "Wi-Fi connection information." Yet the researchers found that inferring location can be accomplished using only a small percentage of Wi-Fi access points (AP) seen by a device; it's one way an app can inexpensively convert the APs into users' locations. "The impact is amplified by the fact that apps may passively obtain results of scans routinely performed by Android system every 15-60 seconds. Such routine scans are even run when the user disables Wi-Fi."


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Google introduces Android Pay, a replacement for its Wallet app on mobile | Ben Popper | The Verge

Another year, another attempt by Google to get mobile payments right. Today, at its I/O developer conference, the company unveiled a new app, called Android Pay, that will take the place of Google Wallet on your phone.

Android Pay will power in-app and tap-to-pay purchases on mobile devices. Google Wallet will stick around, but it will power Play Store purchases outside Android, say on the web, and facilitate peer-to-peer payments you can make through the app and on services like Gmail. Confused? Let the new branding wash over you, and stop worrying so much.

The history of Google’s work on mobile payments has always embodied this frustrating mix of promising ambition and confusingly fraught execution. Android smartphones had near field communication (NFC) and card emulation years before the competition. But relationships with the carriers and manufacturers that distribute Android devices kept Google Wallet from realizing its full potential. Google also had a tough time getting major banks and credit cards to participate. That allowed Apple to swoop in late and capture a great deal of momentum in the market, with CEO Tim Cook claiming that it is now larger than all its major competitors combined.

Google is hopeful that this will change now that Softcard is dead. The carrier-backed payment effort folded earlier this year, with Google purchasing some of its technology. At the time, Softcard advised all its users to download Google Wallet as a replacement. Those carriers will now simply preinstall Android Pay instead. It remains to be seen if swapping the word "wallet" for "pay" will give Android users the awareness and confidence they need to actually start shopping with their phones in the wild. Google is planning to make merchant's reward programs work with Android Pay, a move it hopes will boost engagement.


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OTI's Alan Davidson Heads to Commerce Department | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

OTI's Alan Davidson Heads to Commerce Department | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Alan Davidson, director of New America's Open Technology Institute, is joining the Obama administration.

Davidson (pictured at left) has been tapped to be senior advisor to the Secretary of Commerceand will be working on Internet policy and digital economy issues, the institute said.

OTI has been supportive of the Obama Administration's backing of strong Title II-based Internet regulations. OTI and the Administration are also in sync on backing passage of the USA Freedom Act, which would limit bulk data collection of communications info.

"The Commerce Department will play a central role in some of the biggest Internet policy debates of the next few years, and I am honored by this chance to make a contribution there,” Davidson said. Commerce's role will include freeing up government spectrum for more wireless broadband and transitioning the Internet naming and numbering function oversight to a multistakeholder model.


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U.S. AG Lynch to Senate: Pass USA Freedom Act | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

U.S. AG Lynch to Senate: Pass USA Freedom Act | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Attorney General Loretta Lynch put in a plug for the USA Freedom Act Wednesday (May 27) on her way to announcing indictments against executives involved with FIFA.

Senators are currently trying to find some common ground on the bill, which would at least limit -- some say eliminate -- indiscriminate metadata collection by the NSA, a program revealed by agency leaker Edward Snowden.

The House passed the bill, but the Senate failed to bring it up for an up or down vote and has plans for one more try in a Sunday, May 31, session before the bulk collection authority -- under the Patriot Act -- expires June 1.

"I am deeply committed to ensuring that this nation protects the civil liberties of every American while also keeping our country safe and secure," she said. "Unfortunately, some of the vital and uncontroversial tools we use to combat terrorism and crime are scheduled to shut down on Sunday."

Privacy activists opposed to the bill and the collection would take issue with the term "uncontroversial.”


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