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A Tale Of Two Studies: Can File Sharing Both Harm And Help Sales? | Techdirt

A Tale Of Two Studies: Can File Sharing Both Harm And Help Sales? | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In part one of this series, we looked at a study that suggested that file sharing (mainly via Megaupload) likely harmed the sale and rental of digital movies. In part two, we looked at a study that suggested that file sharing of music (across many sites) likely helped the sale of digital music.

 

So is one right and the other one wrong? Not necessarily. It's possible both are correct. Unlike some other studies we've seen, the methodologies used by both studies appear to be fundamentally sound, without any obvious problems.

 

As with just about any study, both studies correctly note that there is the possibility of unknown or unexplained variables impacting the data. However, both run through a series of tests to try to eliminate a number of possible outside variables, and both come out with results that suggest their initial arguments are robust.

So, let's try to look at why the two studies might both be right -- and what that might actually mean.

 

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World Broadcasting Unions unite against TV spectrum release | Advanced-Television.com

The World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) – the coordinating body for broadcasting unions who represent broadcaster networks across the globe – has released an official joint position on radio spectrum allocation, stating their support to maintain the allocation of UHF frequencies (470 to 694 MHz) currently used for terrestrial TV broadcasting.


The WBU says that broadcasters from all over the world are resolved about the importance of the UHF band because it provides the only set of air waves which are globally available for digital terrestrial broadcasting. “Long-term certainty about the availability of the UHF band is also necessary to ensure continued investment and innovation by broadcasters. Whether or not 4K television will be available to the general public will, for example, heavily depend on the sufficient availability of radio spectrum for television broadcasting,” it advises.


The WBU statement also outlines support for the preservation of the C-band frequencies (3.7 to 4.2 GHz), which is used for fixed satellite services essential to broadcasters’ operations around the world.


The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is one of eight broadcasting unions that make up the WBU. Regional differences on the use of spectrum can make agreeing on a common position difficult, but the unions are united in this statement in the run up to the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) World Radio Conference in 2015.


The WBU’s Technical Committee has already expressed concerns that the release of more TV broadcasting spectrum to mobile operators will cause serious problems for many broadcasters, limiting both the content and quality of transmission. Additionally, there could be unwanted social and economic consequences if free-to-air broadcasting becomes severely limited.


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One Million Net Neutrality Comments Vs. $42 Million in ISP Lobbying | Re/Code.net

One Million Net Neutrality Comments Vs. $42 Million in ISP Lobbying | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Newly released lobbying figures show that broadband providers are still far outpacing Internet companies on spending in D.C., as federal regulators consider how to write new rules for Internet lines.


Collectively, Internet service providers (and their trade associations) have spent $42.4 million so far this year lobbying lawmakers and regulators, according to federal disclosure forms. In the second quarter, Comcast* spent $4.45 million on lobbying, while the cable industry’s trade group, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, spent another $4 million.


Internet companies have spent significantly less on lobbying, some $25.9 million so far this year. About a third of that total was spent by Google, which increased its spending in the second quarter to $5.03 million, compared to $3.82 million in the first three months of the year.


The discrepancy between the spending by the two industries — which is nothing new — continues to be a potential problem for net neutrality advocates who are hoping to convince federal regulators to adopt strong rules on Internet lines to prevent broadband providers from discriminating against some traffic.


Net neutrality advocates have passion on their side — last week the Federal Communications Commission announced it had received a total of 1.07 million comments about its controversial fast-lane net neutrality plan, which would allow Internet providers to charge content companies for prioritized service to subscribers. But the newly released lobbying figures show that broadband providers continue to far outspend companies that support stronger net neutrality rules.


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Twitter diversity report, 'we have a lot of work to do' | TheNextWeb.com

Twitter diversity report, 'we have a lot of work to do' | TheNextWeb.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Like the rest of tech sector, Twitter has released its diversity report. Also like the rest of the sector, it’s a largely white, male dominated company.


In today’s report, Twitter’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Janet Van Huysse stated that says that she will now focus on efforts to create a more diverse work force that’s inclusive.


Currently, the leadership team at Twitter is 79 percent male. Overall, the company skews 70 percent male. The overall ethnicity of the company is 59 percent white, 29 percent Asian, with African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and others hitting only three or less percent.


Twitter is being pro-active to remedy the situation. It has in-house employee-led groups like WomEng (women in engineering), Blackbird (Tweeps of color), Alas (Latino and Latina employees), and TwitterOpen (LGBTQ folks). The company also says that it is partnering with organizations to improve its diversity including, Girls Who Code, Out for Tech (an LGBT program to develop leaders), and it says it is aware of the “critical importance” of recruiting from historically black colleges.


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Verizon Gets Snarky, But Basically Admits That It's The One Clogging Its Networks On Purpose | Techdirt.com

Verizon Gets Snarky, But Basically Admits That It's The One Clogging Its Networks On Purpose | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So the war of words over interconnection has continued. Last week, we wrote about the back and forth between Verizon and Level 3 on their corporate blogs concerning who was really to blame for congestion slowing down your Netflix video watching. As we noted, Level 3 used Verizon's own information to show that Verizon was, in fact, the problem. Basically, in spite of it being easy and cheap, Verizon was refusing to do a trivial operation of connecting up a few more ports, which Level3 had been asking them to do so for a long time. In other words, Verizon was refusing to do some very, very basic maintenance to deliver to its users exactly what Verizon had sold them.

Earlier this week, Verizon went back to its blog with another blog post from David Young, this one even snarkier than the last. Snark can be fun, but if the underlying message is completely bogus, you're going to run into trouble. In fact, Young's underlying message is so weak, that he more or less admits to absolutely everything that Level 3 was claiming in its post -- while pretending it's Level 3 that actually admitted fault!


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GA: Statesboro and Hinesville getting lots of fiber | StatesboroHerald.com

GA: Statesboro and Hinesville getting lots of fiber | StatesboroHerald.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With about 125 miles of fiber optic cable now being laid to serve Statesboro and Hinesville, Hargray Communications will become the fifth provider of fiber-based, high-speed Internet service in the Statesboro market.


That total mileage includes cables being buried across rural stretches to connect the two new markets to Hargray's existing system from points near Savannah and Pooler.


Locally, the system will consist at first of a 15-mile loop encompassing most of Statesboro, said Chris McCorkendale, Hargray Communications' vice president for operations.


"We will initially build a fiber optic ring around and through Statesboro and put that network into service in order that we can serve customers off of that ring," he said, explaining that side cables will be installed to meet demand.


In both Statesboro and Hinesville, the company will initially focus on bringing businesses "last-mile optical fiber" to provide high-speed data, voice and video.


"We certainly wouldn't rule out residential services, but as we initially enter a market, we enter for purposes of being an alternative fiber-based provider for the business community," McCorkendale said.


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Another Reason For Defending Net Neutrality: NSA Surveillance | Techdirt.com

Another Reason For Defending Net Neutrality: NSA Surveillance | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The net neutrality debate has been underway for many years now, but more recently it has entered the mainstream. The main arguments in favor of preserving net neutrality -- that it creates a level playing field that allows innovation, and prevents deep-pocketed incumbents from using their financial resources to relegate less well-endowed startups to the Internet slow lane -- are familiar enough.


But PC World points us to a fascinating paper by Sascha D. Meinrath and Sean Vitka in the journal "Critical Studies in Media Communication" that offers a new and extremely important reason for defending net neutrality: that without it, it will be hard to fight back against blanket surveillance through the wider use of encryption (pdf). Here's the main argument:


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Verizon Eyes 2015 For LTE Multicast Video | Multichannel.com

Verizon Eyes 2015 For LTE Multicast Video | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Shedding some light on its future plans involving the distribution of live video over its mobile network, Verizon Wireless plans to “go commercial” with an LTE multicast product as early as 2015, company CFO Fran Shammo said on the company’s second quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

 

“The network will be ready by the end of the third quarter to actually launch multicast,” he said. “We won’t go commercial with that until 2015, but the network will be ready.”

 

From there, it will be a matter of getting handsets out that can use the technology. Verizon expects to start to embed chips with those capabilities into handsets later this year, Shammo said.

 

LTE Multicast is a technique that delivers live TV signals wirelessly to mobile devices without gobbling up all of the cell site’s bandwidth. Instead of delivering unicast streams to each person viewing the video, Verizon’s multicast approach will rely on a dedicated portion of LTE spectrum to place the live event that can be seen by multiple devices that are connected to the cell site. Verizon demonstrated LTE Multicast in January in New York in the week leading up to the Super Bowl matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos.

 

Verizon also views LTE Multicast as a technology that enable the delivery of live events to consumers without the need for a separate pay-TV service.


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ACA: FCC Net Rules Fail Unless Applied To Edge Providers | Multichannel.com

ACA: FCC Net Rules Fail Unless Applied To Edge Providers | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The American Cable Association, representing small cable operators, has told the FCC that its proposed new network neutrality rules will not protect Internet openness unless they extend to content (edge) providers like search engines and not just ISPs.

 

It is the first time ACA has asked the FCC to regulate edge providers, including online programmers.

 

If the FCC did try to include the Google's and the Yahoo!'s of the world under its rules, it would face major pushback from Silicon Valley whether it tried to use Sec. 706 authority, Title II authority, or some other justification.

 

ACA's call for including the edge came in comments to the FCC. among more than a million that have now come over the electronic transom as the FCC works toward passing new rules by the end of the year.

 

"The Commission once again proposes to use its authority under Section 706 to impose one-sided regulation on broadband ISPs while leaving other Internet actors free to block or discriminate in harmful ways, despite its explicit recognition that other Internet actors can similarly interfere with open consumer access to Internet content, applications, services and devices," said ACA. "Edge providers that offer sufficiently important content to end users of the Internet, such as popular search engines, social networks, online retailers, and online video providers, can severely threaten the overall value of broadband access services and the Internet by limiting access to their content in a commercially unreasonable manner."

 

“These so-called ‘edge’ providers have the incentive and ability to limit access to their content in a commercially unreasonable manner, thereby undermining the intent of the Open Internet rules.  These concerns are not merely hypothetical,” said ACA President Matt Polka in a statement, citing online blackouts by CBS in 2013 and Viacom earlier this year, among others.


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Securing big data off to slow start | ComputerWorld.com

Securing big data off to slow start | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While so-called "big data" initiatives are not new to a number of industries such as large financial services firms, pharmaceuticals, and large cloud companies it is new to most organizations. And the low cost and ease of access of the software and hardware needed to build these systems, coupled with an eagerness to unleash any hidden value held within all of those enterprise data, are two trends that have sent large, next-generation database adoption soaring.


Unfortunately, the efforts to secure these systems haven't soared equally as high or as fast. But fortunately, that appears to be starting to change.


In many cases, analysts say, big data initiatives began organically, within small enterprise departments or teams, and without much, if any, IT oversight or governance. In a recent survey by IDG Enterprise of more than 750 IT decision makers, almost half (48 percent) of enterprises anticipate big data will be widely used by their enterprise within three years, while another 26 percent expect significant use within a business unit, department, or division.


When it comes to security, big data poses a number of interesting challenges. Some of the challenges arise for similar reasons that make the consumerization of IT and BYOD trends so challenging for many organizations. "This is a very compelling security story because we're watching small organizations pull down open source tools and, with only a couple of programmers, be able to out-scale the largest Oracle databases in existence," says Adrian Lane, analyst and CTO at information security research firm Securosis.


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Leaked Memo: Despite Apology, Painful Comcast Retention Call Was Right on Script | Stop the Cap!

Leaked Memo: Despite Apology, Painful Comcast Retention Call Was Right on Script | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Despite near-automatic apologies from Comcast over an 18-minute customer retention call that seemed to never end, an internal memo written by a major Comcast executive and leaked to several consumer sites, including Stop the Cap!, admits the ruthless length the representative went to avoid disconnecting service was exactly the way Comcast intended it, but next time maybe 18 minutes was a little too long (underlining ours):


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Verizon CFO: Younger Demo Prefers Broadband Video to Bundled Channels | Home Media Magazine

Verizon CFO: Younger Demo Prefers Broadband Video to Bundled Channels | Home Media Magazine | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Younger consumers prefer to pay for high-speed Internet and not so much for bundled TV channels, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo told analysts. Speaking July 22 during the telecom’s fiscal call, the executive appeared to underscore the obvious about a college-age or 30-something consumer transfixed by over-the-top video.


“Within this younger generation, a year ago we tested the ability to have them select whether they wanted large TV bundles and lower Internet speeds or high Internet speeds and lower TV bundles, and what we saw is the majority of the this segment selected the highest speed that they could get and didn't really care about how many TV stations they got because most of them are consuming their video via the Internet,” Shammo said.


Yet, terms such as “cord-cutting” and “cord nevers” remain routinely dismissed by senior executives from media companies, multichannel video distributors and even OTT video providers as inconsequential hype. Indeed, most research reports contend that at most less than 10% of U.S. broadband homes have opted out of pay-TV service.


“The data shows that there’s zero cord-cutting. We’re at a 100 million [cable households] and [it] goes down a little bit every year as students move, but it’s the same as [it was] last year,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in an earnings call last year.


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Did Comcast's Infamous Customer Service Call Open The Company Up To Legal Troubles For Lying About Speeds? | Techdirt.com

Did Comcast's Infamous Customer Service Call Open The Company Up To Legal Troubles For Lying About Speeds? | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So, last week, that customer service call between Ryan Block and a Comcast "retention specialist" who refused to take "cancel the damn service" for an answer went viral. Comcast has since apologized, said it was investigating, and insisted that the call was "not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives." I doubt many people actually believe that -- but it may be even more serious than most people realize.

That's because, throughout the call, the nameless representative keeps insisting that Comcast's broadband is the fastest. And that's not true. Which raises some potentially serious questions about Comcast directly misleading customers.


“You’re not interested in the fastest Internet in the country?” the rep asked goadingly. “Why not?”

Were it true, it would be a convincing bit of rhetoric. The problem is, Comcast is not the fastest Internet service provider in the United States -- at least, not according to the most recent survey from Speedtest.net and PC Magazine. Published in September 2013, the survey ranks Comcast the third fastest broadband provider, behind Midcontinent Communications at No. 2 and Verizon FiOS at No. 1. “Verizon FiOS continues to set the pace for Internet speed in the United States,” the magazine wrote.


IBTimes asked a Comcast PR person, who insisted that the company does not claim to be the fastest internet in the country, nor does it train its reps to make that claim. But it's undeniable that the guy said exactly that many, many times during the call, and it sure sounded like it was coming from a script that he'd read pretty damn often.


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Tor Project working to fix weakness that can unmask users | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Tor Project working to fix weakness that can unmask users | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Developers of Tor software believe they’ve identified a weakness that was scheduled to be revealed at the Black Hat security conference next month that could be used to de-anonymize Tor users.


The Black Hat organizers recently announced that a talk entitled “You Don’t Have to be the NSA to Break Tor: Deanonymizing Users on a Budget” by researchers Alexander Volynkin and Michael McCord from Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) was canceled at the request of the legal counsel of the university’s Software Engineering Institute because it had not been approved for public release.


“In our analysis, we’ve discovered that a persistent adversary with a handful of powerful servers and a couple gigabit links can de-anonymize hundreds of thousands Tor clients and thousands of hidden services within a couple of months,” the CERT researchers had written in the abstract of their presentation. “The total investment cost? Just under $3,000.”


In a message sent Monday to the Tor public mailing list, Tor project leader Roger Dingledine said that his organization did not ask Black Hat or CERT to cancel the talk. Tor’s developers had been shown some materials about the research in an informal manner, but they never received details about the actual content of the planned presentation, he said. The presentation was supposed to include “real-world de-anonymization case studies.”


Despite the lack of details, Dingledine believes that he has figured out the issue found by CERT and how to fix it. “We’ve been trying to find delicate ways to explain that we think we know what they did, but also it sure would have been smoother if they’d opted to tell us everything,” he said in a subsequent message on the mailing list.


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How CEO Pay Incentives Could Pave the Way for Media Megadeals | Variety.com

How CEO Pay Incentives Could Pave the Way for Media Megadeals | Variety.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The prospect of 21st Century Fox acquiring Time Warner has Wall Street and Hollywood bracing for a wave of mergers and acquisitions to hit the media sector. Conventional wisdom holds that entertainment conglomerates must bulk up to counter the size of tech giants like Google and the pending combinations of Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV.


But there’s another factor that’s been overlooked: high-ranking executives whose employment contracts are larded with “change in control” clauses. Think of these as the gold standard for golden parachutes, provisions that trigger huge payouts in the event of an ownership change that ousts the selling corporation’s senior management.


If Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes had accepted Rupert Murdoch’s $85-per-share bid last week, for instance, he could have collected incentives worth more than $95 million, according to calculations based on a Time Warner proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in April. Of course, if the price goes higher, so does Bewkes’ payout.


And Bewkes is hardly alone; his chief lieutenants would have also collected additional millions of dollars. No wonder change in control has drawn criticism for potentially incentivizing CEOs to engage in M&A that may be more beneficial to themselves than to the companies they represent.


“These compensation packages run the risk of motivating CEOs to go after bad deals because of the personal profit involved,” said Sanjay Sanghoee, a former investment banker who worked on many media pacts while with Lazard Freres and Dresdner Bank.


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Connected TV devices in U.S. to double by 2017, study says | FierceCable.com

Connected TV devices in U.S. to double by 2017, study says | FierceCable.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Signaling that a major shift in the way Americans watch television is accelerating, the NPD Group predicts that the number of connected TV devices in the U.S. will double by 2017 to 204 million.


Releasing the figures in its Connected Home Forecast, NPD's "connected device" definition encompasses everything from over-the-top hardware like Roku, Apple TV (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Chromecast, to videogame consoles like the Xbox, to Internet-connected Blu-ray players and smart TVs.


Beyond there being more devices--about twice as many as there currently are U.S. broadband homes--more of them will be turned on and connected. While 60 percent of Internet-capable TV devices are currently connected to the Internet, NPD expects the figure to jump to 76 percent by 2017 as makers improve interfaces and develop apps that prompt users to connect.


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Fiber: It's good for your digestion and your home value! | GigaOM Tech News

Fiber: It's good for your digestion and your home value! | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Here at Gigaom, we already know fiber to the home broadband connections are awesome. I don’t know what I will do with a gigabit connection when Google finally gets its FTTH service in Austin, but I know I need it. And aside from the faster broadband connections, a survey released Wednesday from the FTTH Council (it obviously really likes fiber) says that homes with fiber connections come with a $5,000 premium in terms of home value.


The survey also notes that there are 58 fiber-to-the-home providers in the U.S. offering gigabit speeds and that the total number of fiber-to-the-home connections is at 10.4 million. I’m actually pretty disappointed in the overall growth of FTTH connections, which grew only by about 700,000 homes or 7 percent from a year ago.


But if you have FTTH service you are apparently happier and more fulfilled as an internet customer, spending less time waiting for content to load. The survey puts that time saved as 49 hours per year, but I have no idea what the comparison is. I hope I’m not spending that kind of time waiting for sites to load. That’s more time than I spend brushing my teeth in a year.


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FCC bid to boost broadband competition faces attack over “constitutionality” | Ars Technica

FCC bid to boost broadband competition faces attack over “constitutionality” | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission will face a lawsuit if it tries to invalidate state laws that restrict the ability of cities and towns to offer Internet service, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler yesterday. Such a move would infringe on states' rights protected by the Constitution, the group claimed.


Wheeler has said he intends to "preempt state laws that ban competition from community broadband," relying on authority detailed in a court decision that overturned the FCC's net neutrality rules. These state laws make it difficult or impossible for municipalities to create their own broadband networks that compete against private Internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon.


The US House of Representatives has already approved a budget amendment that would prevent the FCC from invalidating these laws.


If that doesn't stop the FCC, the NCSL said it "will challenge the constitutionality of any action on the part of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking to diminish the duly adopted laws of the impacted states or prevent additional states from exercising their well-established rights to govern in the best interests of the voters. Aside from the Constitutional challenges, such an attempt disregards the countless hours of deliberation and votes cast by locally elected lawmakers across the country and supplants it with the impulses of a five- member appointed body in Washington, D.C. As you have conceded previously, 'I understand that the experience with community broadband is mixed, that there have been both successes and failures.' Your words in mind, is it that unreasonable policymakers in 21 states have responded by enacting safeguards on municipal networks to mitigate the pitfalls associated with entry?"


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Apple “inadvertently admitted” to iOS backdoor: forensics expert | John Cox | NetworkWorld.com

Apple “inadvertently admitted” to iOS backdoor: forensics expert | John Cox | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Apple has “inadvertently admitted” to creating a “backdoor” in iOS, according to a new post by a forensics scientist, iOS author and former hacker, who this week created a stir when he posted a presentation laying out his case.


Apple has created “several services and mechanisms” that let Apple -- and, potentially, government agencies or malicious third parties -- extract lots of personal data from iOS devices, says Jonathan Zdziarski. There is, he says, no way to shut off this data leakage and there is no explicit consent granted by endusers.


He made his case in a talk, "Identifying back doors, attack points, and surveillance mechanisms in iOS devices,” [available in PDF] at the annual HOPE X hackers conference last week in New York City. The talk was based on a paper published in the March issue of “Digital Investigation,” which can be ordered online.


Essentially, Zdziarski says that Apple over time has deliberately added several “undocumented high-value forensic services” in iOS, along with “suspicious design omissions…that make collection easier.” The result is these services can copy a wide range of a user's personal data, and bypass Apple's backup encryption. That gives Apple, and potentially government agencies, such as the National Security Agency, or just bad people intent on exploiting these service, the ability to extract personal data without the user knowing this is happening.


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CA: Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network | TechPresident.com

CA: Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network | TechPresident.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.


Sudo Room and one of their working groups, Sudo Mesh, is currently building a mesh network called the People’s Open Network. Mesh networks are a type of decentralized network connected by nodes, which can be wifi routers or other transmitters, that share the connection, thereby creating a communication network far more resilient to natural disasters and censorship because there is no single cut-off point.


In this way, the People’s Open Network is a web within a web: it includes all the benefits of the global internet but is a community-run, more robust, and free network. (For a simple and clear visualization of a mesh net, watch the first 40 seconds of this video.)


Currently, the Sudo Mesh team is still very much in the testing phase, ensuring that the hardware and software will run smoothly before doing serious community outreach. While 74 sites in the Bay Area have offered to host a node, currently there are only two active nodes, both run by Sudo Mesh volunteers. As Pete Forsyth, Principal at Wiki Strategies and Sudo Mesh volunteer told me over the phone, “we want to get to a technical place where anyone can join easily, instead of doing outreach first and disappointing people.”


When the mesh network is publicly launched, the team will encourage adopters to donate a node for someone who can’t afford one. When this happens they will find a home in an under-connected area that would like a free node installed. This allows the technically proficient and often wealthier early adopters to assist with spreading the network in an inclusive way. The team eventually wants to offer free classes and workshops to anyone hosting a node, to help them understand, maintain, and share their connection.


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Comcast CEO Roberts: AT&T/DirecTV ‘Powerful Combination’ | Multichannel.com

Comcast CEO Roberts: AT&T/DirecTV ‘Powerful Combination’ | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts told analysts Tuesday that he believes AT&T’s pending deal to acquire DirecTV is a “powerful combination,” adding that the $67 billion merger validates the idea that the market is changing rapidly.


Roberts, speaking on a conference call with analysts to discuss second quarter results, said the two companies are “part of the reason we have lost video subs,” over the past six years.


“And it sort of for me validates the changing and dynamic nature of the market that we are living in, the technological changes, the consumer behavior changes that are happening at very fast speeds,” Roberts said.


AT&T’s May decision to acquire DirecTV in a cash and stock deal was a direct response to Comcast’s own pending $69 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The TWC deal will create a cable operator with about 30 million subscribers, still well ahead of the 26 million the combined AT&T/DirecTV will amass.


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Canada launches plan to extend high-speed Internet to remote areas | Reuters.com

The Canadian government on Tuesday invited remote communities across the country that lack high-speed Internet access to make a claim to get some of the C$305 million ($284 million) it plans to spend over the next three years to upgrade access.


The government's Connecting Canadians plan aims to deliver high-speed Internet - judged to be speeds faster than 5 megabits per second (5 Mbps) - to 280,000 households that it says sit below that line.


Industry Minister James Moore likened the launch of the program to such pivotal moments in the country's history as the completion of a transnational railway and the opening of the Northwest Passage. He said areas eligible for funding will be made public later this year and companies will then be invited to pitch for connection projects.


The move is part of a long-promised comprehensive plan for digital communications and commerce that Ottawa says will also strengthen online privacy protection and beef up cybersecurity.


Many of the underserved areas shown on a government map are in the Prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta and farther west in British Columbia. Connection would mean that about 98 percent of Canadian households would be linked to online services by 2017, the government said.


"Connecting Canadians is about ensuring that Canadians, whether they live in urban centers or remote regions of the country, have access to the latest wireless technologies and high-speed networks at the most affordable prices possible," Moore said in a statement.


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US needs to restore trust following NSA revelations, tech groups say | ComputerWorld.com

US needs to restore trust following NSA revelations, tech groups say | ComputerWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S government can take action to slow the calls in other countries to abandon U.S. tech vendors following revelations about widespread National Security Agency surveillance, some tech representatives said Friday.


Decisions by other governments to move their residents' data away from the U.S. are hurting tech vendors, but Congress can take steps to "rebuild the trust" in the U.S. as a responsible Internet leader, said Kevin Bankston, policy director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute.


Still, other governments will continue to try to use the NSA revelations by former agency contractor Edward Snowden to their advantage, said panelists at a Congressional Internet Caucus discussion on the effect of NSA surveillance on U.S. businesses.


"What we have here is an inflection point -- a moment for other countries, other companies, to close the gap and to use this as an opportunity to really catch up to the IT industry in the U.S.," added Chris Hopfensperger, policy director with software trade group BSA.


BSA is hearing "anecdotal" evidence of foreign governments turning away U.S. tech vendors because of NSA surveillance, Hopfensperger said. He noted news reports last month of the German government dropping a contract with Verizon Communications because of spying.


Hopfensperger called on U.S. policymakers to actively address worldwide concerns about NSA surveillance, instead of waiting to see what the impact on the U.S. tech industry will be. "There's a very large focus on what is the dollar impact on this," he said. "The problem with looking at the numbers of what has happened is, by the time you have a real dollar amount, that business is lost, and it's not coming back to the U.S."


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Slingbox M1 Review: Is the Slingbox Still Relevant? | Re/Code.net

Slingbox M1 Review: Is the Slingbox Still Relevant? | Re/Code.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Up until a week and a half ago, I had never used a Slingbox. And after testing the newest model, I’m not convinced I need one.


Slingbox, for those who don’t know, is a box that connects to your cable box at home and lets you watch remote streams of that live or DVR’ed TV content while you’re away. It’s made by Sling Media, which is owned by EchoStar Communications.


I’ve heard many Slingbox-saved-the-day stories from consumers, including my boss Walt Mossberg, who years ago relied on his Slingbox to watch Red Sox games while he was traveling in Japan. (Yes, he’s that big a Sox fan.) In fact, a lot of these Sling stories involve can’t-miss sporting events, like the World Cup soccer games earlier this month.


But personally, when I am away from the cable box at home, I get by with webcasts, streaming video services and downloadable content. Even Twitter, in a way, has started to fulfill my need for real-time updates during sports.


Put it this way: The first Slingbox was introduced back in 2005. Since then, a lot of new options have emerged for consuming TV content, even if it’s not through traditional cable or broadcast feeds.


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US House of Representatives Passes STELAR On Voice Vote | Multichannel.com

US House of Representatives Passes STELAR On Voice Vote | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The House Tuesday passed the STELA Reathorization Act (H.R. 4572), or STELAR, which renews the complusory license that allows satellite operators to import disant network TV station signals into markets that don't have one.

 

The bill also prevents coordinated retransmission consent negotiations between noncommonly owned TV stations in the same market and scraps the ban on integrated cable set tops, which cable ops wanted, and drops the prohibition on cable operators dropping TV station signals if retrans impasses coincide with Nielsen sweeps.

 

Also in a nod to broadcasters, the bill gives stations forced to unwind joint sales agreements per an FCC decision earlier this year 18 months to do so.

 

The Senate has yet to pass its version of the bill, but must either adopt this bill language or reconcile its version with the House bill before Dec. 31, when the current blanket license expires.


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GA: Rome live-streaming City Commission meetings, officially starting July 28 | NorthwestGeorgiaNews.com

GA: Rome live-streaming City Commission meetings, officially starting July 28 | NorthwestGeorgiaNews.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A small disruption at last week’s Rome City Commission meeting marked the introduction of a way people can instantly keep up with the local government.


Soon after new City Manager Sammy Rich finished giving his thanks to the board for selecting him for the position, his remarks could be heard again — coming from a mobile device.


As the commission and audience members looked around, Commissioner Buzz Wachsteter indicated he was the source of the repeat speech.


“Well, I had to see if it worked,” he said.


Monday’s meeting was the first time the board’s regular gathering was streamed live online as part of a test, and Rome Information Technology Director Johnny Bunch says it’s ready for the public.


“It actually went well,” Bunch said. “Everything came out like it was supposed to, which was pleasing as far as I was concerned.”


Beginning officially with the board’s July 28 meeting, regular commission meetings will be live streamed online from the commission chambers at City Hall through the joint Rome-Floyd County website at www.romefloyd.com/. Click here to see video from last Monday's meeting.


Also, the full meetings, which are recorded and shown on the Rome-Floyd County Library’s public access channel, will be able to be seen online through the new Web page the day after.


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