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Inside the Black Box - By Marc Ambinder | ForeignPolicy.com

Inside the Black Box - By Marc Ambinder | ForeignPolicy.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For China, U.S. government secrecy has been a boon. Cyber-warfare directed against American companies is reducing the gross domestic product by as much as $100 billion per year, according to a recent National Intelligence Estimate. Because companies are generally reluctant to admit they've been breached and because the National Security Agency, which works with these companies to assess Chinese cyber techniques, is surrounded by a cocoon of secrecy, China has been able to operate with impunity. 

 

That soon will change. 

 

In the coming weeks, the NSA, working with a Department of Homeland Security joint task force and the FBI, will release to select American telecommunication companies a wealth of information about China's cyber-espionage program, according to a U.S. intelligence official and two government consultants who work on cyber projects. Included: sophisticated tools that China uses, countermeasures developed by the NSA, and unique signature-detection software that previously had been used only to protect government networks. 

 

Press reports have indicated that the Obama administration plans to give certain companies a list of domain names China is known to use for network exploitation. But the coming effort is of an entirely different scope. These are American state secrets.

 

Very little that China does escapes the notice of the NSA, and virtually every technique it uses has been tracked and reverse-engineered. For years, and in secret, the NSA has also used the cover of some American companies -- with their permission -- to poke and prod at the hackers, leading them to respond in ways that reveal patterns and allow the United States to figure out, or "attribute," the precise origin of attacks. The NSA has even designed creative ways to allow subsequent attacks but prevent them from doing any damage. Watching these provoked exploits in real time lets the agency learn how China works.

 

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FCC Chairman Questions Verizon's Decision to Throttle Some Heavy Users | Re/code.net

FCC Chairman Questions Verizon's Decision to Throttle Some Heavy Users | Re/code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is questioning Verizon Wireless’ decision to slow connection speeds for certain customers during times of peak network congestion.


In a letter to the carrier, Wheeler pronounced himself “deeply troubled” by Verizon’s plans to slow connection speeds for a subset of its subscribers — those with older, unlimited data plans — during times when the network is experiencing high demand. The carrier has said that the plan, which is to take effect in October, is part of its network management strategy.


“‘Reasonable network management’ concerns the technical management of your network; it is not a loophole designed to enhance your revenue streams,” Wheeler wrote in a letter Wednesday. “It is disturbing to me that Verizon Wireless would base its ‘network management’ on distinctions among its customers’ data plans, rather than on network architecture or technology.”


Verizon said it would respond to Wheeler’s letter more fully once it has received and reviewed it. However, it defended the practice, which it described as limited in scope.


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MT: Study finds Missoula city, county should spend $10M on broadband | Missoula.com

MT: Study finds Missoula city, county should spend $10M on broadband | Missoula.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Missoula city and county should spend an estimated $10 million to build a fiber-optic network that would help public agencies and businesses that need fast, reliable Internet services, according to a “next generation” broadband study released Tuesday.


Magellan Advisors issued the report, which was commissioned by the Bitter Root Economic Development District. The proposed network would link more than 50 public entities, including Missoula County Public Schools, the University of Montana, health care centers, and city and county facilities.


“How do we deliver 21st century curriculum to kids in our schools without 21st century infrastructure?” said Councilwoman Caitlin Copple, chair of the Missoula City Council’s Economic Development Subcommittee.


A presentation on the full report takes place at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the council’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Council Chambers, 140 W. Pine St. The seed of the report came out of the Economic Development Subcommittee.


As proposed, the city and county together would invest $10 million toward a $17 million system, with the local government funds leveraging other money, Copple said. The local money would be paid through user fees, not taxes, and it would build roughly 60 miles of an “open access” fiber-optic network.


“Everybody has the same chance to use it,” Copple said.


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The Story of Cell Phone Unlocking Reform | Public Knowledge

The Story of Cell Phone Unlocking Reform | Public Knowledge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This is the story of the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act.


In late 2012, the iPhone 5s had just come out, President Obama had been reelected, and the Library of Congress issued an odd ruling. The ruling had to do with the digital locks that are in the software of everyone’s cellular phone, mostly put there by the carrier they originally signed up with for service. The Library of Congress said that consumers could no longer unlock the cell phones they owned in order to take the phones they own to other carriers, even though the Library of Congress had previously ruled in 2006 and 2010 that cell phone unlocking was legal and not a violation of copyright law.


This change in the law came as a part of a process that the Library of Congress has to go through according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Every three years, the Library issues rules on what digital locks people can and can’t legally break under copyright law. And while this convoluted process might seem esoteric, this particular ruling caused a real uproar, especially among several entrepreneurs, DIY-ers, and groups that worked on copyright, like Public Knowledge.


In response to the ruling, entrepreneur Sina Khanifar started a “We the People” petition to the White House in an effort to rally President Obama to oppose the Library’s decision. With advocates like Derek Khana amplifying the call for reform, the petition overwhelmingly succeeded and got the signatures of over 114,000 others who thought it was wrong that their ability to unlock their phones had been taken away. The White House came out in strong support of legislative action to overturn the Library of Congress and directed the FCC to start working on a voluntary solution with cell phone carriers. Still, a real solution that would restore the ability for consumers to unlock their phones was over a year away.


Following the We the People petition, media coverage picked up and several members of Congress introduced different bills, each trying to fix the problem. Early on, lots of people expressed skepticism that anything could succeed in the midst of a divided and highly partisan Congress.  However, many advocacy groups continued to keep up the drum beat on unlocking following the President’s response.


These groups, Public Knowledge among them, continued to have conversations about cell phone unlocking with congressional offices and explained the odd reversal by the Library of Congress, the importance of the issue to consumers, and the problems with the underlying law that causes the whole mess: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.


One piece of legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate by the respective chairs of the Judiciary Committees, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. While this wasn’t the most ambitious of the bills available, it still represented a significant, positive change. We decided to support the bill, while also calling attention to the broader problems with the law. As the House version of the bill came to a vote, however, a new wrench was thrown into the works.


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UT: What’s the Latest on UTOPIA? | Transmission.xmission.com

UT: What’s the Latest on UTOPIA? | Transmission.xmission.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Since the inception of UTOPIA nearly a decade ago, I have managed XMission’s services on the 11 city municipal network in Utah.  


As such, I have earned a unique insider persective and understanding of not only UTOPIA’s current situation but also its long term challenges and successes.  In recent months, I have attended a figurative magnitude of city council meetings, private presentations, public inquiry sessions and open houses in which the proposal by Macquarie Capital has been discussed.


At these events, a number of thoughtful questions inevitably arise again and again.  I thought I would take a few minutes to address some of the ones I hear repeatedly asked by concerned citizens and city leaders, while bringing everyone up to speed on the current status of the Macquarie proposal and its traction with the member cities.


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Time Warner's Bewkes faces Wall Street grilling over Fox offer | NYPost.com

Time Warner's Bewkes faces Wall Street grilling over Fox offer | NYPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes will be first on the heat seat next week when he gets grilled by Wall Street over the media giant’s rejection of an $80 billion takeover bid from 21st Century Fox.


Bewkes was quick to rebuff Fox’s $85-a-share bid as too low earlier this month, saying the board decided the company can do better on its own. That puts pressure on Bewkes to explain why the stand-alone company is worth more than combined with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox, analysts said.


Both Time Warner and Fox are set to report earnings on Aug. 6, with Time Warner first up in the morning.


“The biggest outstanding question has to do with Time Warner’s assertion that the initial offer undervalues the company as it was $14 above where it had previously closed,” said analyst Michael Morris of Guggenheim Securities. “I’d like to hear more about why $85 is too low.”


Bewkes has his supporters, including former Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons. In a Bloomberg interview, Parsons called the initial offer inadequate.


“The price offered is way off the mark and the form of currency is way off the mark,” Parsons told Bloomberg.


Laura Martin at Needham & Co. said Time Warner will also face questions about its “poison pill”-styled takeover defense. The board moved to prevent its shareholders from calling special meetings, effectively blocking an unsolicited bid.


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Honig Defends MMTC Against 'Smears' | Broadcasting & Cable

Honig Defends MMTC Against 'Smears' | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Minority Media & Telecommunications Council President David Honig came out swinging Tuesday against critics of the groups opposition to Title II and its support of the FCC's waiver to Grain Management, a minority tower company, and its leader, David Grain, who Honig said was akin to MMTC's Rosa Parks


That came in his keynote for MMTC's Access to Capital Conference in Washington.


Honig said MMTC, Rainbow Push and the over 40 other groups that joined in supporting the FCC's Sec. 706 approach to new net neutrality rules had studied the issue and did not believe a Title II approach made sense, an approach he called risky and irresponsible.


"You can't say these 42 organizations are too stupid to know what the net neutrality issue is about," he said, adding that the smears of his group smacked of....He did not finish the sentence, but if so, it probably would have been "racism."


He said the group had been pilloried for doing what it thought was right, and that while it has been "generally quiet" about the smears, "no more."  He said that MMTC would "take them on anywhere" that he had confidence in their research into the issue and that he would not allow anyone to continue to repeat a smear that was not true.


The defense came even before Honig could take to the rostrom. Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, VP and chief research and policy offer for MMTC, said the organization would not tolerate "digital lynch mobs" trying to discredit Honig and MMTC.


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Netflix, AT&T Cut Interconnection Deal | Multichannel.com

Netflix, AT&T Cut Interconnection Deal | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T and Netflix on Tuesday confirmed that they have inked an interconnection deal that, once executed, should improve the quality of streams delivered on the telco’s broadband network.

 

Both companies released statements they reached the deal in May and have been working together since to provision additional interconnect capacity to “improve the viewing experience for our mutual subscribers.”  They have begun to turn up those connections, and expect the process to be “complete in the coming days.”

 

Word of the deal, reported first by Mashable, comes about five months after AT&T said it was in discussions with Netflix about forging a more direct connection. It also comes after Netflix begrudgingly signed similar paid interconnection pacts with Comcast and, more recently, with Verizon Communications. Netflix prefers that ISPs join Open Connect, its private content delivery network that relies on edge caches.

 

Netflix has openly complained that some major ISPs have allowed their peering points to degrade to force paid interconnection deals that Netflix views as an “arbitrary tax” on it and other over-the-top video service providers. Further, Netflix has been urging the FCC to include paid peering and interconnection deals into the discussion as the Commission pursues new network neutrality rules.


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CA: DirecTV Still Balking at TWC over SportsNet LA | Multichannel.com

CA: DirecTV Still Balking at TWC over SportsNet LA | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is scheduled to meet with Rep. Tony Cárdenas  (D-Calif.) Tuesday afternoon, following the Congressman’s letter last week asking the agency to mediate the carriage impasse between SportsNet LA, the television home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and a host of distributors. However, the prime players in the dispute don’t seem like they are ready to play ball anytime soon.

 

In the letter to Wheeler, Cárdenas along with six other House Democrats, Brad Sherman, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Alan Lowenthal, Linda Sánchez Julia Brown, Janice Hanh and Judy Chu sent to the FCC, they asked the agency to mediate the dispute over $4-plus monthly subscriber fees that has kept the rookie RSN from gaining carriage on Cox, Charter, Suddenlink, Dish, DirecTV, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse

 

Indeed, as the 2014 Major League Baseball season heads into its final two regular-season months, only subscribers to Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, which the nation’s No. 2 MSO negotiates programming deals for, have been able to see the first-place Dodgers on a regular basis within the team’s TV footprint.

 

In response to the letter, Time Warner Cable, which is paying the Dodgers some $8.35 billion over 25 years and is handling affiliate negotiations for the RSN, and the club said on July 28 that they would be amenable to entering into binding arbitration as a means to end the carriage impasse with DirecTV, which has a major presence in Los Angeles and throughout SportsNet LA’s footprint.


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Windstream Communications Soars on REIT Plans | Multichannel.com

Windstream Communications Soars on REIT Plans | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Stock in Windstream Communications, the Little Rock, Ark.-based competitive local exchange carrier soared more than 20% on Tuesday on news the company plans to spin off its network assets as a real estate investment trust (REIT), which could give the company significant tax breaks and have sweeping implications across the broadband market.


Windstream stock was trading as high as $13.30 per share (up $2.77 each or 26.3%) in early trading Tuesday after it said it had received approval from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to spin off its network assets – copper and fiber plant – into a separately publicly traded REIT, which would then lease back those assets to Windstream for $650 million per year. The move, Windstream said in a statement, would allow the company to reduce debt by about $3.2 billion and would significantly reduce its tax burden, freeing up more cash for upgrades and infrastructure improvements. The stock settled down in subsequent trading, closing at $11.83 per share on July 29, up 12.4% ($1.30) each.

 

“As a result of the transaction, Windstream will offer faster broadband speeds and more robust performance to consumers,” Windstream said in a statement. The company said it would expand availability of 10 Mbps Internet service to more than 80% of its customers by 2018 and make 24 Mbps service available to 30% of customers by that same year, aboiut twice its current availability.

 

The transaction could have implications for other broadband service providers as well. Stocks in several CLECS and broadband providers were up significantly in early trading as well.


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Analysts to Cable Ops: Fear Silicon Valley | Multichannel.com

Analysts to Cable Ops: Fear Silicon Valley | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Finding a small cable operator complaining about high programming costs at the Independent Show is easier than finding a barbeque joint in this city, Kansas City.

 

But a group of analysts tried to persuade the cable faithful here that programmers shouldn’t be the focus of their fear and ire…Silicon Valley should be. 

 

The panel, “Wall Street Update for Main Street MSOs,” was featured at The Independent Show, the annual confab for small and mid-sized cable operators hosted by the American Cable Association and the National Cable Television Cooperative

 

Indeed, far from carping about increased programming costs, cable operators should feel good about their business. New digital entrants destroyed the newspaper, music and Yellow Pages business, but the cable industry has largely avoided the mass migration of subscribers and revenue to new digital entrants. 

 

“This is the only industry to date that has been able to fight the onslaught of digital platforms, and so far no leakage”  said Laura Martin (pictured), a managing director at Needham & Co. -- a testament to the collaborative relationship between cable operators and programmers. "If that fractures, said Martin, "seventy percent of gross revenue will disappear.”

 

Overall viewing of TV content on more devices in the home is up, Martin said, which should provide more cover on price increases. In round numbers, cable’s $75 billion of subscription revenue, in addition to $75 billion in advertising revenue, is up roughly 20% over the past five years.  Moreover, “all those consumers that are whining to you that they can’t possibly pay more money are paying another $3 billion to Netflix and another $1 billion in subscription fees.” 

 

“You’ve got a better mousetrap – it’s just a question of execution,” said Naveen Nataraj, a senior managing director at Evercore Partners. 

 

Martin suggested the operators in the room think more holistically about their business. True, video margins are getting squeezed, compared to broadband margins, but video content, in not so many years, will be moving to toward a more interactive, real-time experience. Cable operators have a strategic advantage with the double bundle – and far better discovery than online sites such as YouTube.

 

“You should think of your video and broadband product as integrated” because of interactive possibilities around the corner…”only you can do those fast speeds two way.”  “Keep the bundle… the bigger the bundle the better,” Martin said.


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Paid Peering, Paid Prioritization, and the Nuance of the Net Neutrality Debate | Benton Foundation

Paid Peering, Paid Prioritization, and the Nuance of the Net Neutrality Debate | Benton Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It is easy to conflate peering and paid prioritization. Recently, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced bills in both chambers of Congress to ban so-called paid prioritization.


Coverage by the New York Times pointed out that the bills ban “deals similar to the recent agreement that allows Netflix to connect directly to Comcast’s system to avoid network congestion.” However, that is not strictly true.


The proposed Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act of 2014 (S. 2476 and H.R. 4880) prohibits “paid prioritization” as understood in the Federal Communications Commission’s conventional discourse on net neutrality. The bills do not explicitly deal with interconnection, or peering arrangements such as the Netflix-Comcast deal.


Similarly, in its Open Internet rules, the FCC has so far focused on regulating the potential harms of last-mile paid prioritization rather than that of paid peering/ interconnection.


As the FCC reviews the recent flood of net neutrality comments, regulators should be mindful of rhetoric-masked, bad arguments that overlook the nuances between the two.


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Flexibility, asking questions key for recent college graduates looking to advance in IT | Fred O'Connor | NetworkWorld.com

Flexibility, asking questions key for recent college graduates looking to advance in IT | Fred O'Connor | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Cathy Lee started working at New York startup Faith Street last year, she quickly learned a lesson that could benefit other recent college graduates who want to advance their IT careers—soft skills like being flexible, taking on new tasks and asking questions matter a lot.


She originally handled office administrator tasks like answering phones and scheduling meetings and soon added marketing and front-end development to her duties. The New York University graduate even researched CRM (customer relationship management) software for the company, whose website and mobile application help people find churches and faith communities.


“I didn’t really have a job title at the time,” said Lee, who graduated in 2013 and double majored in marketing and information systems. “I was open and willing to try out new things. Whatever the need was at the time I just jumped on board and helped out.”


Her interest in user interfaces and user experience helped her get the job of FaithStreet’s “user happiness designer,” which involves front-end development and product and account management.


“I was able to figure out what I could do that was needed by the company but also something that I enjoyed,” Lee said. “I’m involved [with] everything from figuring out user needs, evaluating different prototypes to testing quality assurance of the final product or our latest iteration of the product.”


The company wouldn’t have initially hired her as a designer “but after six months of being available to do different kinds of work, we found she has a real knack for it,” said CEO Sean Coughlin. “Folks who are new out of college have ideas about what they’re going to do that are too fixed. The first 100 days or even year at your first job you’re going to learn a ton about what you are good at.”


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Google seeks public opinion on 'right to be forgotten' | CNET.com

Google seeks public opinion on 'right to be forgotten' | CNET.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Does the public have a right to information about the nature, volume, and outcome of removal requests made to search engines? Should individuals be able to request removal of links to information published by a government? These are just a couple of the questions thrown out by Google in a new Web form asking people affected by the "right to be forgotten" ruling to share their opinions.


The European Union right to be forgotten ruling, which went into effect in May, requires Google and other search engines to take down search result links pertaining to individuals who believe that such links invade their privacy or harm them in some way. The ruling has been controversial as it walks the tightrope between privacy and free speech.


Google has criticized the ruling but has also attempted to comply with it. Earlier this month, Google said that as of July 18 it has received 91,000 requests involving more than 328,000 individual webpages since May. Google is only taking down links in its European search engines, meaning that if users search for the same content on its US-based website they can see the results that were removed in Europe.


Google's recently formed advisory council has scheduled several public discussions on the matter that will use information collected by the new Web form. But will such discussions lend new insight to the matter or confuse it even further?


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Sky Deutschland's Second Biggest Shareholder Rejects BSkyB's Offer

Sky Deutschland's Second Biggest Shareholder Rejects BSkyB's Offer | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, who is the former son-in-law of Rupert Murdoch, has turned down an offer from U.K. pay TV operator BSkyB to buy his shares in Germany’s Sky Deutschland, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.


Odey’s hedge fund Odey Asset Management is Sky Deutschland’s second biggest shareholder, after Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, with a stake of around 8%.


Last week, BSkyB, which is controlled by 21st Century Fox, announced a deal to buy Fox’s 57% stake in Sky Deutschland, and its 100% shareholding in Sky Italia.


BSkyB intends to pay £2.9 billion ($4.92 billion) for Fox’s stake in Sky Deutschland, and offer the same share price for the remaining publicly traded shares, valuing them at €6.75 ($9.09) a share.


However, Odey Asset Management told the stock market Tuesday that it “does not intend to tender its shares in this proposed offer.” Odey believes the proposal, effectively a nil premium takeover offer, understates the company’s true value.


Odey told the Telegraph that while Sky Deutschland was already an expensive stock, it was “undervalued on a three-year basis” as there was significant growth in the German TV market.


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LPTVs Lobby for Digital Transition Relief | TVTechnology.com

LPTVs Lobby for Digital Transition Relief | TVTechnology.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Low-power TV stations are asking to get out from under a digital transition deadline requiring them build new facilities potentially rendered useless by next year’s spectrum incentive auction.


The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance has requested a blanket extension or waiver of the Sept. 1, 2015 deadline for LPTV licensees to construct digital facilities. The incentive auction tentatively will take place next June. Non-Class A LPTVs will not be guaranteed a spot in the post-auction channel repacking.

“The commission has acknowledged consistently that requiring LPTV licensees to construct facilities that may be eliminated in repacking after the broadcast spectrum auction… makes no sense,” ATBA said in its petition to the FCC for an extension or waiver. “Without an extension of the applicable construction deadline, an LPTV permittee would have to build facilities that may be unusable after 2015.”

The ATBA, which represents 700 LPTVs, “hundreds of translators” and around 100 full-power stations, reasoned that the commission likely will be inundated with hundreds of individual waiver requests between now and the current Sept. 1, 2015 deadline, that it would to evaluate case-by-base. The commission’s Media Bureau has acknowledged granting more than 650 six-month construction deadline extensions, one at a time.

The commission is taking the petition under consideration and is now seeking comments via Docket. No. 03-185. The comment deadline is Aug. 14, 2014. Replies are due Aug. 29, 2014.

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Powerful new patent service shows every US invention, and a new view of R&D relationships | GigaOM Tech News

Powerful new patent service shows every US invention, and a new view of R&D relationships | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The website for the U.S. Patent Office website is famously clunky: searching and sorting patents can feel like playing an old Atari game, rather than watching innovation at work. But now a young inventor has come along with a tool to build a better patent office.


The service is called Trea, and was launched by Max Yuan, an engineer who received a patent of his own for a bike motor in 2007. After writing a tool to download patents related to his own invention, he expanded the process to slurp every patent and image in the USPTO database, and compile the information in a user-friendly interface.


Trea has been in beta for a while, but will formally launch on Wednesday. The tool not only provides an easy way to see what inventions a company or inventor is patenting, but also shows the fields in which they are most active. Here is a screenshot from Trea that shows what Apple has been up to in the last 12 months:


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Broadcasters Oppose Aereo's Bid To Restart DVR Service | MediaPost.com

Broadcasters Oppose Aereo's Bid To Restart DVR Service | MediaPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Aereo suspended its online streaming service days after the Supreme Court ruled against the company. But to the obvious chagrin of broadcasters, the Barry Diller-backed cord-cutting company is obviously hoping to find a way to continue with its business.


Not only is Aereo now arguing that it's a “cable system” and entitled to a compulsory license, but the startup is also trying to pave the way to resume its DVR service. Until last month, Aereo offered an $8 a month service that allowed users to stream over-the-air television shows in real time to their smartphones, tablets and other deivces. The company also let users “record” shows for playback at a later date.


Last week, Aereo asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift an injunction prohibiting the company from operating its DVR service. In response, a coalition of broadcasters says the court should reject Aereo's request on procedural grounds: The broadcasters say that the federal appeals court shouldn't consider Aereo's argument now, because it didn't raise the issue to U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball in Utah, who issued the injunction in February.


“Aereo ... made strategic decisions not to present certain arguments to the District Court, and now that it has lost in the Supreme Court it wants to make these 'Plan B' arguments for the first time in this appeal,” the broadcasters say in papers filed late last week.


Procedural technicalities aside, Aereo's argument ultimately could gain traction on the merits.


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GAO: FCC Can't Ensure Station-Sharing Limits Further Public Interest | Broadcasting & Cable

GAO: FCC Can't Ensure Station-Sharing Limits Further Public Interest | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC does not have enough data to determine whether its current of future policies toward station sharing arrangements—it has recently moved to limit them in some circumstances—actually serve the public interest, a shortfall that could undermine its goals.


That is one of the principal observations in a new Government Accountability Report on whether the FCC should review the effects of those broadcasters sharing arrangements on its media policy goals of competition, localism and diversity. GAO suggests that answer is yes, but leaves it up to the FCC to decide.


"[The] FCC does not collect data and has not completed a review on the prevalence of agreements, how they are used, or their effects on its policy goals and media ownership rules," said GAO in releasing the report, "yet federal standards for internal control note the importance of agencies' having information that may affect their goals. Without data and a fact-based analysis of how agreements are used, [the] FCC cannot ensure that its current and future policies on broadcaster agreements serve the public interest."


In addition to the lack of data, "the long delays in completing FCC's review makes it difficult to objectively determine the effect of the agreements on FCC's policy goals of competition, localism, diversity," GAO said.


In response to the report, FCC Media bureau chief Bill Lake agreed with the need for more info, and pointed out that the FCC has proposed requiring disclosure of sharing arrangements as a way to better understand their terms and prevalence in the marketplace.


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FCC Commissioners: FCC Needs to Review Designated Entity Rules | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Commissioners: FCC Needs to Review Designated Entity Rules | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On a panel at the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council Access to Capital Conference in Washington Tuesday (July 29) the FCC commissioners Tuesday agreed that the FCC needs to look at revamping its designated entity rules [the chairman had a previous engagement, and so sent a brief video greeting].


MMTC has been pushing for a review of those rules to insure that minorities and women are not excluded from the move to wireless communications, as many were in the rise of broadcasting and cable.


Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said that, no matter what the pressure to do otherwise, she would not support the notion that entrepreneurship opportunities are reserved for a particular class. She vowed that the commission would do all it can, in a legally sustained way, to promote meaningful participation for small and diverse businesses.


Commissioner Ajit Pai said that the key to incentive auction participation, and that one way that he has proposed it allowing people to bid on smaller economic areas, which he said would allow more smaller DE's to bid in the upcoming AWS-3 and broadcast incentive auctions.


Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that court decisions including Adarand and Council Tree have made DE rules less effective, and a review is necessary.


Commissioner O'Rielly said he was optimistic the incentive auction would be "very successful." To that point, he said the FCC had to balance helping designated entities with raising enough money for funding FirstNet, next-generation 911 and deficit reduction.


FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced an incentive auction timeline last month, that includes opening a proceeding to review the DE rules, "including whether any revisions made to the DE rules should apply to the incentive auction."


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FCC Seeks Comment On Mediacom Unbundling Petition | Multichannel

FCC Seeks Comment On Mediacom Unbundling Petition | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC has put out for public notice Mediacom's request that the commission force media conglomerates to unbundle their package programming deals.

 

That is according to Mediacom, which says the FCC is providing 30 says for initial comment.

 

On July 21, Mediacom petitioned the FCC for an expedited rulemaking. The cable operator said the relationship between programmers and distributors was broken and that the marketplace is now anti-competitive and anti-consumer.

 

Mediacom is seeking the following new rule regime:


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TX: AT&T Adds San Antonio To ‘GigaPower’ List | Multichannel.com

TX: AT&T Adds San Antonio To ‘GigaPower’ List | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T has committed to roll out its fiber-based, 1-Gig-capable “GigaPower” network to parts of San Antonio, a city that is also on Google Fiber’s list of potential expansion sites

 

AT&T flirted with a potential expansion of GigaPower in San Antonio in April, about a month after San Antonio approved a long-term, master lease deal that will help to clear the deployment of 40 Google Fiber “fiber huts.

 

Time Warner Cable, which is in the process of being acquired by Comcast, is San Antonio’s incumbent cable service provider.

 

AT&T said locations and pricing for its GigaPower rollout in San Antonio will be announced at a later date.

 

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KS: Smaller Cable Ops Sing Blues in K.C., but Have Hope | Multichannel.com

KS: Smaller Cable Ops Sing Blues in K.C., but Have Hope | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As independent operators settle in Kansas City this week for their annual convention, they’ve got more on their minds than just barbecue and blues.


In the group’s hometown this year, National Cable Television Cooperative and American Cable Association members have gathered to hash out the myriad issues facing small, midsized and independent cable operators: the skyrocketing cost of programming, Internet-protocol delivery of video and data, retransmission consent and TV Everywhere. 


Multichannel News editor in chief Mark Robichaux caught up with ACA president and CEO Matt Polka to hear what’s on his legislative agenda for members.


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Canada blames China for cyber intrusion at National Research Council | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Canada blames China for cyber intrusion at National Research Council | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The IT infrastructure of the National Research Council of Canada was recently compromised by highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored hackers, the Canadian government said Tuesday.


t’s not clear why the government believes that the attackers were state-sponsored, but the breach was discovered and confirmed with help from the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s foreign signals intelligence agency. The agency is also responsible for securing government communications.


The National Research Council’s computer networks are not part of the Canadian government’s broader network and there is no evidence that data from the larger network was compromised, the Chief Information Officer for the Government of Canada said in a statement. Nevertheless, the research agency’s networks have been isolated as a precaution.


Steps have been taken to contain the security breach and protect information assets, the NRC said in a statement on its own website. An effort was launched to create a new secure IT infrastructure, but the process could take up to one year, the agency said.


The NRC has not releases details about how the attackers broke into its systems or what kind of information they obtained, if any.


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US Senator Leahy pushes new version of bill to limit NSA phone records collection | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

US Senator Leahy pushes new version of bill to limit NSA phone records collection | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has introduced a new version of a bill to rein in the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. phone records in an effort to strengthen legislation that passed the House of Representatives this year.


The new version of Leahy’s USA Freedom Act, introduced Tuesday, would ban bulk collection of U.S phone records by the NSA and would prohibit the agency from collecting all the information from a single telecom carrier or from a broad geographic region such as a city or zip code.


Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, introduced the new version of the bill after the House passed a weakened version of the bill in May. The House version of the bill would allow the NSA to continue collect telephone and other records from large groups of people, critics said.


Leahy’s new version would require the NSA to use specific selection terms to target its telephone records collection.


The bill would also require the government to issue reports on the number of people targeted in surveillance programs. It would give communications providers options on how to report on the number of surveillance requests they receive, and it would require the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to appoint a panel of special advocates to argue in support of individual privacy and civil liberties during court consideration of surveillance requests.


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Drones for disaster relief | US National Science Foundation | NSFgov

Drones for disaster relief | US National Science Foundation | NSFgov | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

At the Smart America Expo, Yan Wan from the University of North Texas exhibited unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) she developed that are capable of providing wireless communications to storm-ravaged areas where telephone access might be out.


Typical wireless communications have a range limit of only a hundred meters. However using technology developed by Wan and her colleagues, they were able to extend the Wi-Fi reach of drones to five kilometers.


In a grant from NSF, Wan is applying similar technology to next-generation aviation systems. One day, Wan's research will enable drone-to-drone and flight-to-flight communications, improving air traffic safety, coordination and efficiency.


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