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The Digital Divide Is Now All About Affordable Data Access | eWeek

The Digital Divide Is Now All About Affordable Data Access | eWeek | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For all practical purposes, the digital divide in the western world has vanished. Computers and computing platforms are available to anyone, sometimes at very little cost, and sometimes for free. Training on how to use those devices is now readily available in schools and elsewhere, also for free. By the time students reach middle school, computer use is routine.

 

This is important to the global economy because computer literacy, as we used to call it, is a necessity for nearly any task in today’s world and is a part of most jobs in some way. While access to computing devices lags elsewhere in the world, it’s not lagging by much. But it seems that access to data, especially wireless access, hasn’t kept up.

 

And access to wireless data isn’t a problem just in the third world or among the urban poor. It’s a problem to anyone in the U.S. who doesn’t have a good enough job to afford $100 a month to pay for it. In the U.S., access to wireless data is something for the rich who live in areas where they can be connected. The poor, whether they live in the city or in rural areas, need not apply.

 

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Global 4K UHD TV Shipments Up 700% | Greg Tarr | TWICE.com

Global 4K UHD TV Shipments Up 700% | Greg Tarr | TWICE.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Global 4K Ultra HD TV shipments are expected to exceed 11.6 million units in 2014, on the way to topping 100 million units by 2018, according to new research issued by Futuresource Consulting.

The firm said 4K UHD sets are expected to grow nearly 700 percent year on year in 2014, with China accounting for over 70 percent of global demand.

In Western Europe and North America, share of 4K demand for 2014 will represent 10 percent and 8 percent respectively, with demand expected to grow at 72 percent CAGR until 2018.

“4K adoption is forecast to grow quickly from 2015 onwards with over 100 million shipments projected in 2018, representing 38 percent of the total TV market,” said David Tett, Futuresource research analyst. “An indication that 4K is quickly becoming mainstream was the availability of many sets at discounted prices during last month's Black Friday.”

Sales of 4K TVs are expected to be concentrated on the larger screen sizes, generally 50 inches, but screens smaller than 40 inches will become more widely available with 4K in the coming years, Tett said. Native 4K content remains scarce, and many consumers are currently buying sets on the basis that they can up-scale HD content and will be future-proof, in preparation for when native 4K content is more widely available.


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CableVision Bermuda hunting high and low with fibre upgrade | TeleGeography.com

Bermudan digital cable TV and broadband access provider CableVision has upgraded its fibre-optic infrastructure in the country to allow ultra-high broadband internet speeds, The Royal Gazette reports.


The cableco is using fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology to boost infrastructure capacity by a factor of 50, allow for peak data speeds of up to 900Mbps/200Mbps (download/upload) and enable the launch of new products and services.


CableVision CEO Terry Roberson is quoted as saying that fibre upgrades will also be carried out in the West End (i.e. Royal Naval Dockyard) – in time for the massively increased demand for data services during the global America’s Cup. ‘We feel it’s an appropriate time for us to position our company for the future where we can deliver exceptional services with technology that will be relevant over the next ten to 15 years,’ he said.


‘We also believe that this will assist in selling Bermuda as a sophisticated technological centre to the international business community,’ Roberson added.

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EOBC: FCC Auction Lowball Could Hit 1,100 stations | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

EOBC: FCC Auction Lowball Could Hit 1,100 stations | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition says that the FCC's proposed formula for pricing initial offers in the broadcast incentive auction undervalues 1,000 stations and, unless it is changed, will "snatch auction failure from the jaws of success."

The EOBC represents over 80 stations potentially willing to give up spectrum for the auction at the right price, but EOBC executive director Preston Padden has been trying to convince the FCC that the price will not be right if the commission diverts from valuing a station based on its impact on repacking.

In the recently released public notice on implementing the auction framework Report and Order released last May, the FCC provided detailed proposals including basing part of the station valuation on population served, which Padden says is irrelevant to a station's interference profile and was only included to drive down the price.

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OTT, Online Video, and the Arguments for and Against Cable | Adam Flomenbaum | Lost Remote

OTT, Online Video, and the Arguments for and Against Cable | Adam Flomenbaum | Lost Remote | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

2014 has been the year of unbundling and TV Everywhere. Content is king and networks, advertisers, and cable service providers are adapting quickly. Networks are finding better ways to monetize content online and on OTT platforms than they have been in the recent past, advertisers are reaching more targeted audiences, and cable service providers are also internet service providers.

Millenials are large drivers of this sea change – they spend 48% more time viewing online video than the average user and some (“cord nevers”) do not have cable and do not consider purchasing it.

Brightcove, a leading provider of video publishing and monetizing solutions, has 5,500+ customers (essentially every major player in the TV, OTT, and video content space) that rely on the company to guide it through the changing digital video landscape.


For more on how the landscape is evolving, the argument for and against remaining a paying cable customer, and how networks can capitalize on OTT engagement and monetization heading in 2015, we spoke with Josh Normand, Brightcove’s VP of Sales:


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CenturyLink's Christmas Present: Rate Hikes For the New Year | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com

CenturyLink's Christmas Present: Rate Hikes For the New Year | Karl Bode | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Several CenturyLink customers have e-mailed me to note that the company is reaching out to users with a not-so-welcome holiday gift: rate hikes in the new year.


According to the notification being sent out to users, standalone broadband customers can expect to start paying $2 more per month in the new year, while bundled phone and broadband customers will see a $1 increase.

The hikes come on the heels of the addition of several nonsensical fees -- such as the company's $1 "Internet cost recovery fee", or its $1.55 "non telecom surcharge". It's unclear if next year will see an increase in these fees in addition to the vanilla rate hike for users.


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Municipalities deliver broadband via partnerships | Kathleen Hickey | GCN.com

Municipalities deliver broadband via partnerships | Kathleen Hickey | GCN.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Municipal governments are developing creative partnerships to bring broadband and faster Internet access to citizens and businesses in their communities, including building their own infrastructure and partnering with Google to install Google Fiber.

“Hundreds [of cities and towns] have done something already, and hundreds more are evaluating it now and are likely to take action,” said Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, according to a report on Ars Technica.

One of the latest efforts: Next Century Cities, a coalition of 32 cities trying to upgrade to gigabit service. The project officially launched Oct. 20, and now 50 cities from Idaho, Indiana, Texas, Massachusetts, Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky, Washington, California, Oregon, North Carolina, Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota are involved.

A similar joint venture is Gig. U, or the University Community Next Generation Innovation Project. A coalition of over 30 leading research universities from across the United States, Gig.U seeks to accelerate the deployment of ultra high-speed networks to U.S. universities and their surrounding communities.

“As we have seen in city after city, truly high-speed broadband can impact all facets of a citizen’s quality of life,” noted an announcement of the project by Next Century Cities.

“The caliber of Internet networks required for cities to compete, grow and thrive in the 21st century will largely not be achieved through the copper wire networks of the 20th century. Cities and their leaders recognize that the present and the future will be based on fiber-optic, gigabit networks that can deliver speeds at hundreds of times the current national average.”

Other cities have partnered with local power companies to provide high-speed service.


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The Ridiculousness Of Turning The Sony Hack Into The 9/11 Of Computer Security | Tim Cushing | Techdirt.com

The Ridiculousness Of Turning The Sony Hack Into The 9/11 Of Computer Security | Tim Cushing | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Once again, our government is stepping up to help a beleaguered industry giant. Usually the MPAA would be involved (and maybe it is), along with some terrible legislation, but this time it's Sony Pictures getting an assist from The Man.

Sony, which has no one to blame but itself for being nearly completely compromised, apparently has enough pull that the White House itself is ready to step up, publicly denounce and possibly punish the group behind the hacking. (via Boing Boing)

U.S. investigators have evidence that hackers stole the computer credentials of a system administrator to get access to Sony's computer system, allowing them broad access, U.S. officials briefed on the investigation tell CNN. The finding is one reason why U.S. investigators do not believe the attack on Sony was aided by someone on the inside, the officials tell CNN.

These unnamed investigators and officials believe North Korea is behind Sony's hacking. It will be interesting to see what they present to back up this claim, considering there seems to be evidence indicating otherwise. The furor over The Interview, the film that portrays the assassination of Kim Jong-un, wasn't originally named as a motivation for Sony's hacking. The media seized on this possibility first, and the hackers followed suit.

Even if the US government turns out to be correct, there are plenty of reasons why it shouldn't react this way to the hacking of a private company. This is evidenced in White House press secretary Josh Earnest's statement, which indicates the White House is willing to play right into the hackers' hands.


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Whether Or Not Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood Is In Hollywood's Pocket, He Sure Doesn't Understand Free Speech Or The Internet | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Whether Or Not Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood Is In Hollywood's Pocket, He Sure Doesn't Understand Free Speech Or The Internet | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We already discussed the rather unbelievable (in that they are, literally, unbelievable) claims from Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood that he didn't know he was working with the MPAA's top outside lawyer when he had that same lawyer, Tom Perrelli of Jenner & Block, spend time prepping him for a meeting with Google in which he attacked Google's practices, and further when he signed his name to a ~4,000 word letter to Google that Perrelli wrote, attacking Google's practices.


He just assumed that Perrelli -- who probably charges more per hour than you can possibly imagine -- was doing it to help Hood out, rather than for a client. And he expects everyone to believe that, even though at the same time Hood himself had called one of the MPAA's top lobbyists to discuss Google.


And, further, he doesn't appear to think there's anything wrong that his political mentor, Mike Moore, who helped get him his job as Attorney General (Moore was in that job before Hood), just happened to take a cushy lobbying job paid for by Hollywood companies right around the same time. It's all a giant coincidence.

But if Hood is going to take a step back and reflect on just how bad this looks, he sure isn't showing it.


Instead, he's coming out swinging, holding a press conference in which he appears focused on revealing his own ignorance of the law and technology (with a special focus on his vast desire to censor the internet -- and anyone who criticizes him).


This was held yesterday, prior to Google's filing this morning challenging Hood's subpoena (the one the MPAA knew was coming).


While the Google filing discussed in that previous post detailed many of the problems with Hood's legal theories, the press conference displayed an astounding lack of understanding of the law, of search engines and of basic technology.


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CBS Blames Netflix For Its Own Secrecy Over Streaming Video Numbers | Karl Bode | Techdirt.com

CBS Blames Netflix For Its Own Secrecy Over Streaming Video Numbers | Karl Bode | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After spending the last few years suing the hell out of every and any disruptive TV innovation on the horizon (from Dish's Hopper to Aereo), CBS recently announced the launch of its own "All Access" streaming video service.


The service, only available in 14 metro markets, lets users view CBS content the day after it airs on traditional television -- with advertisements included. It's a somewhat shaky value proposition, and when pushed this month to disclose how many subscribers the service has signed up since its October launch, CBS CEO Les Moonves not only refused to get specific, he felt the need to throw a jab at Netflix:

"Moonves would say only that CBS All Access was “ahead of projections,” but acknowledged that could mean as few as 10 subscribers...I've been extremely impressed with the product,” he said, adding that its subscriber base would grow as more affiliates sign up to provide a live feed of their stations’ programming over broadband...Pressed for a hard number of subscribers, Moonves replied, "When Netflix tells you how many people are watching House of Cards, we’ll tell you how many subscribers we have."

It should be fairly obvious that when you're a subscription service, ratings matter less than when you're a traditional broadcaster dealing with advertisers, but this faux outrage at Netflix secrecy was the tone CBS took for much of last week. Case in point is CBS's chief researcher David Poltrack, who couldn't help taking shots at Netflix's original series viewership numbers:


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Sony Baloney | Jon Oltsik | NetworkWorld.com

Sony Baloney | Jon Oltsik | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As an information security analyst, I’ve been following the cyberattack details at Sony Pictures for some time now, just as I followed other events (i.e. Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase, Staples, UPS, etc.) earlier this year.


Yup, each of these events received its fair share of publicity, but nowhere near the amount of press that Sony is getting. Maybe it’s the Hollywood angle, maybe it’s the intrigue of geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, or maybe it’s the general impression that this hack is juxtaposed to our first amendment rights.


Whatever the reason, it’s big. I participated in a webinar yesterday with security guru Bruce Schneier (CTO of Co3), focused on security predictions for 2015. The Sony Pictures cyberattack dominated the conversation, and we both agreed that we could have discussed it for hours more.

Now, in some ways, all of the Sony Pictures attention is good, as it shines a spotlight on cybersecurity issues to an unprecedented degree. I guess when Hollywood is involved, you are bound to get the Paparazzi effect. That said, the Sony hack has ignited a new level of cybersecurity hype bordering on hysteria. The mainstream media is approaching the Sony hack with a naïve perspective and bellicose rhetoric simultaneously.


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FCC Mysteriously Lost Hundreds of Thousands Net Neutrality Comments | Adam Clark Estes | Gizmodo.com

FCC Mysteriously Lost Hundreds of Thousands Net Neutrality Comments | Adam Clark Estes | Gizmodo.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the Sony hack makes internet regulation a top priority, startling new revelations about how the FCC handled public comments on net neutrality just came in. New analysis of the data the FCC recently released about the process shows that the agency lost and/or ignored a whole bunch public comments. How many is a whole bunch? Oh, about 340,000.

Fight for the Future, a pro-net neutrality group, just announced a pretty major discrepancy in the number of comments it helped submit. In total, the organization helped drive 777,364 commenters to post on the FCC's antiquated comment site. Fight for the Future CTO Jeff Lyon says that "at least 244,811 [comments] were missing from the data" recently released by the FCC. On top of that, a new Sunlight Foundation study found that 95,000 of the comments the FCC did release were duplicates.

Why does this matter? Well, the Sunlight Foundation study concluded that anti-net neutrality comments dominated the dataset. There was talk of a "shadowy" Koch Brothers group that succeeded in driving half of the total number of comments, leading to the conclusion that some 60 percent of those who commented actually opposed net neutrality. Then, of course, served as fuel for pundits to argue how Americans didn't want net neutrality, which seems incorrect at best.

The Sunlight Foundation admitted that there were some discrepancies in the data. The FCC also admitted to Jeff Lyons that nearly a quarter of a million comments were indeed missing from the data it released. Lyons wondered, "As of right now, the failure point is still unclear: Did the FCC simply fail to export these comments, or did they actually fail to process them in the first place?"


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WunderBar sensor kit gets notifications app for broader appeal | David Meyer | GigaOM Tech News

WunderBar sensor kit gets notifications app for broader appeal | David Meyer | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The open-source WunderBar kit is a distinctive attempt to get app developers to shift their attention to the internet of things. It takes the form of a chocolate bar, the individual pieces of which can be broken off, with each piece containing different sensor functionality, such as temperature and humidity, sound, light and proximity, and motion, and with low-energy Bluetooth tying the system together.

Whereas other systems like Spark and LittleBits are more geared toward people who like to fiddle around with little wires, WunderBar firm Relayr specifically targets app developers who are only starting to think about hardware. The system comes with software development kits (SDKs) for Android and iOS, and months after launch there are already interesting ideas springing up, such as InsulinAngel’s temperature-sensing capsule for the kits diabetics have to carry around (you don’t want the insulin to spoil) and BabyBico, a system that uses Wunderbar’s accelerometer and sound sensor to monitor babies’ sleeping patterns.

But Berlin-based Relayr, which has an international distribution deal with German electronics retailer Conrad, wants to broaden WunderBar’s appeal. To that end, on Thursday it released a new app called TellMeWhen, which makes it easy for WunderBar owners to get simple notifications when, for example, the proximity sensor is activated, or when the accelerometer and gyroscope detect movement, or when the temperature sensor’s environment gets too hot or cold.


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Obama: Sony 'made a mistake' in bowing to threats over movie | Jennifer Epstein | POLITICO.com

Obama: Sony 'made a mistake' in bowing to threats over movie | Jennifer Epstein | POLITICO.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Barack Obama said Friday that Sony erred in choosing not to release “The Interview” amid cyber threats that have been linked to North Korea.

“Yes I think they made a mistake,” he said at his year-end news conference at the White House.

“We cannot have a society in which a dictator in some place can start imposing censorship in the United States,” he said. If a leader like North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un is able to inspire such concern over a “satirical movie,” the president said, “imagine what they start doing” with undesirable documentaries or news reports.

“I wish they’d spoken to me first,” he added. “I would have told them: Do not get into the pattern in which you are intimidated.”


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As more viewers cut cable, what will happen to sports? | Jon Wertheim | Sports Illustrated

As more viewers cut cable, what will happen to sports? | Jon Wertheim | Sports Illustrated | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If your cable package were a sports team, it would invariably be described as “close-knit,” all those individual channels bound and bundled together. Unlike most of commerce today—we purchase individual songs rather than entire albums; we customize everything from cars to phone cases to basketball shoes—cable comes to us as one robust, unbreakable whole. Don’t have kids? Too bad, you’re still paying monthly for Nickelodeon. You’re a socialist? Sorry, you’re buying a slate of financial news networks. You can’t spell inextricable without c-a-b-l-e.

But even with the most harmonious team, bonds eventually unravel and connections erode. A growing number of subscribers are cutting the cord, replacing cable with broadband. Networks such as HBO and CBS are going straight to the consumer with content that can be streamed on mobile devices. As the president of Fox, Chase Carey, put it on a recent earnings call, the cable bundle is “fraying at the edge.” The received wisdom: Inevitably a day will come—perhaps soon—when we will consume media à la carte, picking and choosing and paying for only the programming we desire.

For years sports have been an essential ingredient in the cable-driven model, providing “appointment television,” the rare fare that is all-but-DVR-proof. “The power of sports is the leading reason the bundle exists today and [why] the bundle is as big as it is,” says Rich Greenfield, media and tech analyst at BTIG in New York City. “Sports support the whole business.” At the same time bundling has been a boon to sports, increasing exposure on new tiers of channels and, more important, creating wealthy cable networks that have used those riches to pay record rights fees.

How will the new, unbundled model affect this synergy? Here’s what the sports viewing landscape could look like in the future:


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Chile: Cellcos predict 500,000 4G users by year-end | TeleGeography.com

Chilean cellcos Claro, Movistar and Entel expect to end the year with a combined total of more than 500,000 4G subscribers, blaming delays in the allocation of 700MHz spectrum for that number not being higher.


Diario Financiero writes that Claro is predicting 4G subscriptions to reach 250,000 by 31 December 2014, whilst Movistar and Entel are expected to have signed up 200,000 and 170,000 respectively.


The trio attributed a delay in the ‘massification’ of the 4G market to legal action brought by mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Telestar, which has delayed the allocation of 700MHz frequcies.

Telestar claims that the auction process and rollout obligations prevented smaller operators from bidding for the frequencies.


Movistar, Entel and Claro were named as the winners of the 700MHz spectrum blocks in March this year, but due to the legal challenge the frequencies have yet to be handed to the operators.


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The four things Republicans in Congress could do to stymie net neutrality | Nancy Scola | WashPost.com

The four things Republicans in Congress could do to stymie net neutrality | Nancy Scola | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This winter, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to pass its much-anticipated rules telling Internet service providers what, exactly, it means to treat everything that moves across the Internet fairly.

If those "net neutrality" rules go as far as President Obama has called for them to go -- more or less, treating broadband Internet less like any other consumer product and more like a core part of the United States' public infrastructure -- Internet service providers are likely to take them to court. And so, many savvy observers of the net neutrality debate will tell you to keep a close eye on the judicial branch next.

But here's where your other eye should be firmly focused: over on Congress. Capitol Hill has largely been ignored in the public debate over net neutrality. The reality, though, is that House and Senate Republican opponents of net neutrality have the ability to make life very difficult for Obama and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on the net neutrality front.


Here's how.


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The FCC's Plate is Full | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs

The FCC's Plate is Full | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I don’t think I can remember a time when the FCC had more major open dockets that could impact small carriers.


Let’s look at some of the things that are still hanging open:


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T-Mobile will pay $90M over bogus charges on customer bills | Jeff John Roberts | GigaOM Tech News

T-Mobile will pay $90M over bogus charges on customer bills | Jeff John Roberts | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC on Friday announced a $90 million settlement with T-Mobile, making it the latest phone carrier to pay a penalty for “cramming,” which involves adding unauthorized charges to customers’ bills for subscriptions or “premium” text message services.

Under the terms of the settlement, T-Mobile will pay at least $67.5 million to fund a program for consumer refunds, plus another $18 million to state governments and $4.5 million to the U.S. Treasury.

“Yet again we are faced with a phone company that profited while its customers were fleeced by third parties who placed unauthorized charges on their phone bills,” said Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “And once again the FCC is standing up for those customers. Today’s settlement holds T-Mobile responsible for its billing practices and puts money directly back into the pockets of American consumers.”

The FCC’s press release says current and former T-Mobile customers can apply for refunds at http://www.tmobilerefund.com, though the website doesn’t appear to be working yet. Once it is up and running, it is likely to mirror a similar site where consumers who were bilked by AT&T over cramming can fill out a claim.


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What Big-City Museums Could Learn From This “Company Town” for Art | Greg Scruggs | Next City.org

What Big-City Museums Could Learn From This “Company Town” for Art | Greg Scruggs | Next City.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The transition from industrial to post-industrial to knowledge economy is a familiar, but that doesn’t mean smaller cities have figured out all the answers. North Adams, in western Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains, however, got some vindication last month that their strategy to become an art hub is working.


On November 17th, outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick announced a $25.4 million state grant that, matched with upwards of $30 million in private funds, will allow the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) to renovate another 140,000 square feet into gallery space on its 13-acre campus.


While this expansion will make it the largest contemporary art museum in the U.S., MASS MoCA has also been pioneering new economic models, civic engagement strategies and urban design interventions that are relevant for museums in much larger cities.

The confluence of two branches of the Hoosic River in North Adams has attracted manufacturing since colonial times. From 1860 to 1942, the Arnold Print Works (now home to MASS MoCA) was a leading textile facility.


Later, Sprague Electric Company produced parts there for projects as significant as the atomic bomb and later the Gemini moon missions.


Over the years, the two employers made North Adams a consummate company town, with nearly one-quarter of residents working for Sprague at its peak before it closed in 1985.

Three of Mackenzie Greer’s relatives worked at Sprague. She is now the city planner for the North Adams Office of Community Development. “You can’t expect a museum to employ the entire city,” she cautions, “but MASS MoCA was the idea that died a thousand deaths and kept going.”


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Congress wants to legislate net neutrality. Here’s what that might look like. | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Congress wants to legislate net neutrality. Here’s what that might look like. | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Republicans in Congress appear likely to introduce legislation next month aimed at preventing Internet providers from speeding up some Web sites over others, in hopes of changing the tone of a critical debate over the future of the Web, according to industry officials familiar with the plans.

The industry-backed proposal would preempt efforts by the Federal Communications Commission to draw up new rules for Internet providers. While key details of the proposed bill are still being hammered out, the legislation would attempt to end a debate over the FCC's power to regulate net neutrality, or the idea that broadband companies should treat all Internet traffic equally, said the people familiar with the plan who declined to be named because the talks were private.

The industry officials said they are discussing details of the proposal with several Republican lawmakers, whom they declined to name. The officials also said the proposal is being backed by several large telecommunications companies, which they also declined to name.

One important piece of the proposed legislation would establish a new way for the FCC to regulate broadband providers by creating a separate provision of the Communications Act known as "Title X," the people said. Title X would enshrine elements of the tough net neutrality principles called for by President Obama last month. For example, it would give FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler the authority to prevent broadband companies from blocking or slowing traffic to Web sites, or charging content companies such as Netflix for faster access to their subscribers — a tactic known as "paid prioritization."

But those new powers would come with a trade-off, the people said. In exchange for Title X, the FCC would refrain from regulating net neutrality using Title II of the Communications Act — a step favored by many advocates of aggressive regulation, including the president, they said.

FCC officials declined to comment for this story.

Broadband providers have strongly opposed aggressive net neutrality rules, arguing it would stymie the industry's growth. But in recent months some industry officials have said they were open to the same net neutrality principles advocated by Obama, highlighting a sliver of potential common ground between Internet providers and net neutrality advocates. In a blog post last month, Comcast said it opposed blocking or slowing traffic to Web sites, along with paid prioritization. AT&T made similar arguments in June.


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Google Files Legal Challenge To Attorney General Jim Hood's Subpoenas | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Google Files Legal Challenge To Attorney General Jim  Hood's Subpoenas | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This story sure escalated in a hurry. Following all the news of the MPAA's tight relationship with Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, Google has made a filing in a Mississippi federal court seeking seeking a temporary restraining order and an injunction against Hood's investigation. As the filing notes:

For the last eighteen months, the Mississippi Attorney General has threatened to prosecute, sue, or investigate Google unless it agrees to block from its search engine, YouTube video-sharing site, and advertising systems, third-party content (i.e., websites, videos, or ads not created by Google) that the Attorney General deems objectionable. When Google did not agree to his demands, the Attorney General retaliated, issuing an enormously burdensome subpoena and asserting that he now has “reasonable grounds to believe” that Google has engaged in “deceptive” or “unfair” trade practice under the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act (MCPA), which allows for both civil and criminal sanctions. The Attorney General did so despite having publicly acknowledged in a letter to Congressional leaders that “federal law prevents State and local law enforcement agencies from prosecuting” Internet platforms. The Attorney General took these actions following a sustained lobbying effort from the Motion Picture Association of America.

As Google explains, there is no legal basis for this investigation:


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A Look At North Korea's Cyberwar Capabilities | Yourkyung Lee | HuffPost.com

A Look At North Korea's Cyberwar Capabilities | Yourkyung Lee | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Most North Koreans have never seen the Internet.

But the country Washington suspects is behind a devastating hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment has managed to orchestrate a string of crippling cyber infiltrations of South Korean computer systems in recent years, officials in Seoul believe, despite North Korea protesting innocence.

Experts say the Sony Pictures hack may be the costliest cyberattack ever inflicted on an American business. The fallout from the hack that exposed a trove of sensitive documents, and this week escalated to threats of terrorism, forced Sony to cancel release of the North Korean spoof movie "The Interview." The studio's reputation is in tatters as embarrassing revelations spill from tens of thousands of leaked emails and other company materials.

Despite widespread poverty, malnutrition and decades of crippling U.S.-led economic sanctions, Pyongyang has poured resources into training thousands of hackers who regularly target bitter rival Seoul.

A look at the country's suspected capabilities and where experts believe the authoritarian nation is heading with its cyber program:


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Anchor Districts are the new engines of job creation, and that's a good thing for cities | Christine McBurney | FreshWaterCleveland

Anchor Districts are the new engines of job creation, and that's a good thing for cities | Christine McBurney | FreshWaterCleveland | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

"In two thirds of America’s 100 largest cities, anchor institutions such as universities and hospitals are the largest employers." That statistic comes from the Anchor District Council, a trade and advocacy group comprised of community service corporations, hospitals, universities and institutions and companies in anchor districts.

What is an anchor district? It can be defined as a geographic area with a density of institutions like universities and hospitals that are considered fixed "anchors" in a neighborhood because, well, it’s hard to move a collection of 100-year-old buildings. More importantly, however, these anchors stabilize their communities through activities such as creative placemaking and job creation.

Cleveland’s own anchor district community is not downtown. It’s “uptown,” where it’s been since the early 20th century. University Circle is the area where many healthcare institutions, arts and culture organizations and universities cluster and connect with large businesses, small firms, startups, incubators and accelerators. It's the hotbed of Cleveland’s “eds and meds” where institutions such as Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals work closely and collaboratively to conduct research and spur innovation.

A recent story in CityLab, “How Anchor Instititions like Hospitals and Universities Can Help Cities,” refers to these institutions as “economic powerhouses.” Tanvi Misra writes: “Universities represent three percent of the national economic output and employ more than 3 million people. Hospitals employ even more: Five million. One in eight universities and one in 15 hospitals are located in inner cities.”

It is these institutions, often located in anchor districts, that are adding jobs at an impressively fast clip. In part, this is because the healthcare sector, in particular, is rapidly expanding. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics Employment Projections, "Occupations and industries related to health care are projected to add the most new jobs between 2012 and 2022. Total employment is projected to increase 10.8 percent, or 15.6 million, during the decade."

University Circle Inc. (UCI) Marketing Manager David Razum says that although the numbers aren't all in, early data suggests that anchors may be creating jobs at a faster rate than traditional downtowns. "During this last recession, the fields of healthcare and education continued to grow jobs nationally at about 8-9 percent," he says. Whereas traditional downtowns are just now bouncing back from the recession, anchor districts have never really stopped growing.


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Trojan program based on ZeuS targets 150 banks, can hijack webcams | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Trojan program based on ZeuS targets 150 banks, can hijack webcams | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new computer Trojan based on the infamous ZeuS banking malware is targeting users of over 150 banks and payment systems from around the world, security researchers warn.

The new threat, dubbed Chthonic, is based on ZeusVM, a Trojan program discovered in February that is itself a modification of the much older ZeuS Trojan.

“The Trojan is apparently an evolution of ZeusVM, although it has undergone a number of significant changes,” security researchers from antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab said in a blog post. “Chthonic uses the same encryptor as Andromeda bots, the same encryption scheme as Zeus AES and Zeus V2 Trojans, and a virtual machine similar to that used in ZeusVM and KINS malware.”

Like ZeuS, Chthonic’s main feature is the ability to surreptitiously modify banking websites when opened by victims on their computers. This technique, commonly known as Web injection, is used to add rogue Web forms on banking websites that ask victims for sensitive information, like credit card details or second-factor authorization codes.

However, Chthonic has a modular architecture that allows cybercriminals to extend the Trojan’s functionality. The Kaspersky Lab researchers found Chthonic modules designed to collect system information, steal locally stored passwords, log keystrokes, allow remote connections to the computer through VNC, use the infected computer as a proxy server and record video and sound through the computer’s webcam and microphone.

According to Kaspersky Lab, there are several Chthonic-based botnets with different configurations, suggesting the malware is being used by different groups.


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As Hollywood Funds a SOPA Revival Through State Officials, Google (And The Internet) Respond | Parker Higgins | EFF.org

As Hollywood Funds a SOPA Revival Through State Officials, Google (And The Internet) Respond | Parker Higgins | EFF.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Almost two years ago, millions of Internet users joined together to defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act, a disastrous bill that would have balkanized the Internet in the name of copyright and trademark enforcement.


Over the past week, we've been tracking a host of revelations about an insidious campaign to accomplish the goals of SOPA by other means. The latest development: Google has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of an overbroad and punitive subpoena seeking an extraordinary quantity of information about the company and its users. The subpoena, Google warns, is based on legal theories that could have disastrous consequences for the open Internet.

The subpoena is was issued after months of battles between Google and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. According to the lawsuit, Hood has been using his office to pressure Google to restrict content accessible through the search engine. Indeed, among other things, he sought "a “24-hour link through which attorneys general[]” can request that links to particular websites be removed from search results "within hours,” presumably without judicial review or an opportunity for operators of the target websites to be heard." As Google states, "The Attorney General may prefer a pre-filtered Internet—but the Constitution and Congress have denied him the authority to mandate it."

The subpoena itself is bad enough, but here's what's really disturbing: the real force behind it appears to be the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which has been quietly supporting state-level prosecutors in various efforts to target the company and the open Internet.


The clear aim of that campaign—dubbed "Project Goliath" in MPAA emails made public through the recent high profile breach of Sony's corporate network—is to achieve the goals of the defeated Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) blacklist proposal without the public oversight of the legislative process. Previously, Google had responded with a sharply worded notice and a petition titled #ZombieSOPA.

According to Google, the MPAA intended to use the state prosecutors' offices to bring about the aims of SOPA after the bill's embarrassing public defeat nearly three years ago.


In January 2012, legislators quickly distanced themselves from SOPA after a widespread online "blackout" campaign drew attention to the way the proposed law could be misused for censoring lawful speech.


In addition, EFF helped coordinate a series of letters signed by prominent computer scientists explaining how the proposed blacklist technique—censoring at the DNS level—could undermine the fundamental architecture of the Internet, destabilizing core components in an ill considered effort to reduce copyright infringement.

The MPAA learned a lesson from that campaign, but it appears it was the wrong one. Instead of recognizing that an online blacklist was a fundamentally unworkable idea, they decided that it could only be pushed in secrecy. In one email, MPAA's Global General Counsel Steven Fabrizio includes a section titled "Technical Analyses," that suggests they did not seriously consider the technical concerns highlighted during the SOPA backlash:


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