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3D/DC II: 3D Printing Comes to Washington, DC | Public Knowledge

Apr 24, 2013 05:30 PM - Apr 24, 2013 07:30 PM 

 

Location: Cafeteria of the Rayburn House Office Building

 

Come see the remarkable, disruptive technology of 3D printing in person. Chat with some of the people and companies that make it happen. Mingle with other 3D printing fans and curiosity seekers.

 

This is the second time PK has hosted the 3D printing community to come together in Washington, DC. Don't miss your chance this time around!

 

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We’ve finally hit the breaking point for the original Internet | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

We’ve finally hit the breaking point for the original Internet | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's finally happened. The North American organization responsible for handing out new IP addresses says its banks have run dry.

That's right: ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers, has had to turn down a request for the unique numbers that we assign to each and every smartphone, tablet and PC so they can talk to the Internet. For the first time, ARIN didn't have enough IP addresses left in its stock to satisfy an entire order — and now, it's activated the end-times protocol that will see the few remaining addresses out into the night.

IP addresses are crucial to the operation of the Internet. They're the numbers behind URLs like "google.com" or "facebook.com." They identify every device that connects to the Web, from servers to connected cars. The original designers of the Internet thought they'd only need around 4 billion unique combinations, derived from the series of dots and digits that make up IP addresses everywhere.

How wrong they were.

By 2020, humanity will be living alongside 25 billion Internet-connected devices, according to Gartner researchers. The rising global demand for Web-enabled devices is far outstripping the original system's ability to keep up. Left, uh, unaddressed, this problem would have put a stranglehold on the Web, keeping it from growing. It would've kept you from using new devices like smartwatches or smart refrigerators. Entirely new technologies we haven't dreamt of might never have emerged. We'd have been stuck with the Internet that we now have, forever.

If you haven't already guessed, we have a backup system in place so that Xboxes and Playstations of the future can continue to get online. Internet engineers have actually been anticipating this day for decades. To understand how they've solved it, let's let one of the original designers of the Internet explain:


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NY: Critics blast PSC on telecom analysis | Casey Seiler | TimesUnion.com

NY: Critics blast PSC on telecom analysis | Casey Seiler | TimesUnion.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is one of the signatories to a letter sent Thursday to the state Public Service Commission (PSC) criticizing its action so far on a comprehensive analysis of New York's telecommunications system — a study that's months past its original deadline.

Miner is one of many who have complained that, a decade after the state deregulated the telecom industry, the state's system is overpriced and under-responsive to the needs of upstate residents, rural and urban alike.

The letter, dated Thursday, comes in response to this week's release of a 97-page PSC staff report that will serve as the factual foundation for the final product, and its scheduling of a series of hearings around the state.

The letter notes the Capital Region and Hudson Valley aren't on the list, something its authors called "inadequate and discriminatory."

"We note that only one-third of the hearings take place in the region of the state having at least two-thirds of the state's population," the letter said of the schedule, which includes stops in Smithtown, New York City, Utica, Binghamton, Lake Placid and Buffalo.

The letter also complains the PSC has yet to release "a series of broad questions" that would also guide its work. While those questions weren't included in the staff report, they were offered in a separate filing from PSC that was recently included in the record of documents related to the telecom study.

The letter was signed by Miner as well as Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause, and Robert Master of the Connect New York Coalition.


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Letter to the Editor : Working together for broadband | AspenTimes.com

I have just attended this year’s Mountain Connect conference in Vail, CO where the theme was developing rural broadband infrastructure through public/private partnerships. The conference was excellent and well attended by more than 350 people, including local technology planning teams, county officials and industry representatives from every corner of the state. They came together to hear from industry experts on the latest trends in technology and local technology planning teams on their successes and lessons learned.


Governor Hickenlooper’s staff announced at the conference that building broadband infrastructure throughout the state is their No. 1 economic development priority. Last fall, the governor announced that the Department of Local Affairs was making $20 million available to local governments for planning and building open access rural broadband infrastructure.


The good news is Department of Local Affairs has already committed or spent $19 million and is working with almost every part of rural Colorado, including Northwest Colorado, to put these funds to work. There also are substantial sources of funds available from the federal government to build broadband infrastructure for three of our most important entities: schools and libraries, hospitals and first responders.

Here in northwest Colorado, your counties, regional council of governments and local technology planning teams are busy planning and building the broadband infrastructure needed for our future economy. Pitkin County has just received $150,000 from Department of Local Affairs for network engineering and connectivity within the Roaring Fork Valley. In Steamboat Springs, our local technology planning teams (Northwest Colorado Broadband Inc.) has used a public/private partnerships to built a carrier neutral location, purchased middle mile capacity for a group of community anchor institutions and seen their cost of broadband service drop by up to 90 percent.


Our next step, in both cases, is to prepare a comprehensive broadband plans to identify the options for providing abundant, reliable and affordable service for all of our residents. Similar efforts are under way throughout the 12,000 square miles of Colorado Mountain College’s district.

There is still a lot of work left to do and we will need your help to be successful. Please watch for more details as we move forward.

Ken Brenner

Colorado Mountain College, trustee and representative to

Northwest Colorado Broadband Inc.

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Chicago Rages Against The Future With 9% Tax On Netflix, Spotify And Other Streaming Services | Tim Geigner | Techdirt

Chicago Rages Against The Future With 9% Tax On Netflix, Spotify And Other Streaming Services | Tim Geigner | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Almost exactly three years ago, Mike wrote up a post that discussed Planet Money pulling together five economists with differing political views to see what they could all agree on. The result was several policy ideas that appeared to transcend politics if economics was the driving motivator instead of any kind of partisanship.


The whole post is awesome, and has influenced my thoughts on economic policy and taxes to a large degree, but I came away from it with one general concept firmly in mind: tax what you want to discourage, don't tax what you want to encourage, and never tax innovation or the future.

And now my home city is taxing the future. You see, the city of Chicago recently announced that it will extend its 9% amusement tax to online streaming services and cloud computing.

A ruling by Chicago’s Department of Finance allows the city to add an extra nine percent tax onto “electronically delivered amusements” and “nonpossessory computer leases.” In an odd combination, buying a subscription to streaming media, such as Netflix or Spotify, would qualify, as would using a cloud computing platform, such as Amazon Web Services. Each would be subject to 9% tax; Chicago is the first major American city to levy a tax on either streaming services or cloud computing services.

Amusement taxes in and of themselves generally violate the concept I highlighted in the opening. After all, if you're a municipality, taxing fun is essentially saying you want less fun. But what makes this re-write of the amusement tax already on the books silly is that it is purely a money-grab.


Here's what happened: the amusement tax in Chicago worked primarily to collect revenue from book stores, music stores and movie rental stores, which are obviously becoming increasingly in short supply as consumers move to online stores and streaming services like Netflix and Spotify and Amazon for all of the above.


This is actually a good thing from a public interest standpoint for a variety of reasons: less pollution from physical products, more efficiency in the marketplace, the opening of more creative outlets for members of the city, and more access to more content from more places and devices, meaning a more robust economic marketplace. The future, in other words, although increasingly the present as well. And Chicago wants to tax all this, effectively discouraging its use, in order to collect an additional $12 million a year.

Chicago, mind you, is in the hole for roughly one hundred times that amount.


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A look at California's effort to build an H-1B firewall | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld

A look at California's effort to build an H-1B firewall | Patrick Thibodeau | NetworkWorld | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

California lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it difficult for state-regulated utilities to replace U.S. workers with H-1B workers. It may be one of the most significant anti-offshoring measures in years.

In the absence of federal action, states have long tried to put the brakes on the shift of jobs to offshore. Legislative efforts began in earnest with the burst of the dotcom bubble in 2001. Many state bills were never adopted, but that hasn't stopped some from trying.

In New Jersey, for instance, lawmakers in 2012 approved legislation intended to impede call center outsourcing. The Communication Workers of America, which spurred the effort, said that it had represented about 3,000 New Jersey call center workers in 2002, but by 2012, that figure had fallen to 725.

The New Jersey CWA said telecommunications providers, notably Verizon, were shifting DSL call-center support jobs to India and other countries. New Jersey lawmakers responded by passing, in both houses, the "Save New Jersey Call Centers Jobs Act." But Gov. Chris Christie, who announced Tuesday that he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, vetoed the bill with little explanation.

The New Jersey bill required any employer relocating a call center to a foreign country to notify the state, and give up any grants, loans or tax benefits. A similar bill first introduced in Congress in late 2011, the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act, gained nearly 140 co-sponsors, mostly Democrats, but was not adopted. The bill was subsequently reintroduced in the following Congress, and once again failed to pass.

California's anti-offshoring bill (AB 853), sponsored by Assembly member Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina), is aimed at IT operations. It requires an electric or gas company "to use direct employees for any work associated with the design, engineering, and operation of its nuclear, electrical, and gas infrastructure, including all computer and information systems, to the extent feasible."


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MN: Pennington County Broadband 2014 Update: 92% coverage despite $15.33 per Megabit to connect to the Internet backbone | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

MN: Pennington County Broadband 2014 Update: 92% coverage despite $15.33 per Megabit to connect to the Internet backbone | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Pennington County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 9.4
  • Number of Households: 5,836
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 91.64%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 91.64%


Pennington is doing pretty well. And we have a unique look at the situation in Pennington because it was used as an example in the last Minnesota Task Force report to demonstrate the inequity in cost to a provider to connect to the Internet backbone based on location…


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Coalition formed to free consumers from cable set-top boxes | Kathryn Bachman | Katy on the Hill

Coalition formed to free consumers from cable set-top boxes | Kathryn Bachman | Katy on the Hill | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

TiVo, Google, Vizio, and DC advocacy groups like COMPTEL and Public Knowledge are forming the Consumer Video Choice Coalition to free consumers from having to rely on cable and satellite set-top boxes for subscription video content.

In addition to promoting alternative ways for consumers to receive subscription video content, the group is also looking to influence the FCC’s Downloadable Security Technical Advisory Committee, a technical advisory committee formed to develop recommendations for software security solutions to replace set-top box and other hardware solutions.

The FCC formed DSTAC soon after Congress effectively killed the cable card with the passage of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR) late last year.

Many of the same members of the new coalition wrote to the FCC in May urging the agency to expand DSTAC’s mission to include competitive issues.


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Comcast's New Voice-Controlled Remote Starts Marketing Movies To Your Kids | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Comcast's New Voice-Controlled Remote Starts Marketing Movies To Your Kids | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For years, broadcasters and cable operators have tried to push the boundaries of good taste and advertising revenue generation. Whether that's trying to prevent consumers from skipping ads to patenting technology that will use cameras embedded in set tops to watch you watching TV, there's a relentless thirst for new realms of ad revenue.


As a sense of futility extends into the quest for more meaningful privacy protections in the new age of smart hardware and deep packet inspection, cable operators continue to nudge the boundaries of revenue collection ever further.

Comcast's latest foray into this arena is its new voice-controlled remote, which lets users give some basic keywords to control the company's set top box. Like similar services, it's a relatively useful concept, though if it works as well as most such efforts, most people will stick with old-fashioned buttons. Meanwhile, Comcast has apparently started using the technology to strike deals that market certain films to kids:

"Just say the word ‘banana’ into the remote and you’ll get a list of food programs as the minions talk back. Saying ‘kudos’ will take you to the Despicable Me 2 movie, and the minions will say ‘kudos!’ right back. Test out other words in Minionese to see what comes up, and keep checking the Xfinity and Minions social channels for new commands as they’re added. And if you want to get ready for the movie that comes out on July 10, just say ‘Minions’ to see the trailer."

To be clear, I don't think this is all that big of a deal, even though I understand the concerns of those who aren't thrilled about direct marketing to (and data collection of) children (as we recently saw with the new Wi-Fi-connected Barbie). After all, Minions ads are everywhere. Amazon's featuring the yellow pill-shaped little rabblerousers on their boxes during a limited cross-promotion. This is just kind of cute, right?


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VPN users, beware: You may not be as safe as you think you are | Katherine Noyes | NetworkWorld.com

VPN users, beware: You may not be as safe as you think you are | Katherine Noyes | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It’s become common practice to use virtual private networks for extra privacy and security in this era of mass surveillance, but a study published this week suggests such networks may not be as safe as they’re commonly made out to be.

In fact, because of a vulnerability known as IPv6 leakage, many of them can expose user information to prying eyes, according to a paper from researchers at Sapienza University of Rome and Queen Mary University of London.

Entitled “A Glance through the VPN Looking Glass: IPv6 Leakage and DNS Hijacking in Commercial VPN clients,” the report describes a study conducted late last year that examined 14 popular commercial VPN providers around the world.

Specifically, the researchers tested the VPNs by attempting two kinds of attacks: passive monitoring, whereby a hacker might simply collect the user’s unencrypted information, and DNS hijacking, where the hacker would redirect the user’s browser to a controlled Web server by pretending to be a popular site like Google or Facebook.

What they found was unnerving: 11 of the 14 providers leaked information, including the websites the user was accessing and the actual content of the user’s communications. The only three that didn’t were Private Internet Access, Mullvad and VyprVPN. TorGuard offered a way around the problem, they noted, but it wasn’t enabled by default.


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Petition Backs TWC Shareholder Proposal | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

Petition Backs TWC Shareholder Proposal | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Advocacy group SumOfUs.org has launched a petition backing a resolution from some Time Warner Cable shareholders calling on the company to disclose its political spending and "end the funding of shadow organizations opposed to net neutrality."

They want the company to disclose how much it contributes to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association--it is one of the largest members-- citing NCTA's support for Broadband For America, which opposed net neutrality regs. They also want TWC not to fund groups opposing net neutrality rules.

NCTA has made not secret of its opposition to the FCC's new network neutrality order, having joined with other ISPs to challenge the FCC's Title II reclassification.

SumOfUS.org says it has almost 20,000 signatories on its petition.

TWC shareholders are meeting in New York this week, where the resolution will be proposed.

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MA Update: 22 towns authorize $34.5M for fiber. 6,700+ deposits on service | Monica Webb | WiredWest

MA Update: 22 towns authorize $34.5M for fiber. 6,700+ deposits on service | Monica Webb | WiredWest | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After creating a telecommunications coop to bring broadband to rural communities in Western Mass, and completing four years of planning, WiredWest member towns have signaled they’re ready to move forward with a regional fiber-optic network.


Over the last two months, 22 WiredWest communities have passed bond authorizations totaling $34.5 million for their towns’ portions of costs to build a fiber-optic network. The votes have been characterized by record attendance and passage by overwhelming margins, including three unanimous town votes.


On June 29th, the Town of Goshen became the 20th town to authorize their funding with a record turnout of 240 voters. In fact, the meeting had to move from Town Hall to the nearby Congregational Church in order to accommodate everyone, which is the second meeting of a WiredWest town on the bond authorization that has had to do so.


According to WiredWest Delegate, Bob Labrie, “Our family has lived in Goshen for almost 30 years. Over that time during town meeting, we’ve debated the costs of a fire truck, an ambulance, several highway trucks and police cruisers, capping our dump, a new elementary school, an addition to the high school and now the construction of a regional broadband network. Never in the history of Goshen have we had to change the venue of the meeting because so many people turned out.”


All 240 voters were unanimous in their support of the bond authorization. In Labrie’s words, “In the end, history was made. Never before had the town been so galvanized on a topic like this. Never before had there been a unanimous vote in favor of a project of this magnitude. Some might call it divine intervention. I just think of it as the right thing to do for the future of our region.”


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Fine Print Fun: Sprint Backs Off From Throttling All Wireless Video Traffic to 600kbps | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Fine Print Fun: Sprint Backs Off From Throttling All Wireless Video Traffic to 600kbps | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sprint’s all-new “All-In” wireless plan was supposed to simplify wireless pricing for consumers by bundling a leased phone, unlimited voice, data, and texting for a flat $80 a month, but customers slogging through the fine print discovered speed throttling and roaming punishments were silent passengers along for the ride:

To improve data experience for the majority of users, throughput may be limited, varied or reduced on the network. Streaming video speeds will be limited to 600Kbps at all times, which may impact quality. Sprint may terminate service if off-network roaming usage in a month exceeds: (1) 800 min. or a majority of min.; or (2) 100MB or a majority of KB. Prohibited network use rules apply—see sprint.com/termsandconditions.

Although many smaller wireless carriers also have limits on off-network roaming usage, none have proposed to permanently throttle web videos to a frustratingly slow 600kbps. At those speeds, Sprint customers could expect buffering delays or degraded HD video.

Many customers contemplating switching to the All-In plan considered the speed throttle a deal-breaker and let Sprint know through its social media accounts. Even websites friendly to Sprint were very critical of the plan:


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Last-Mile FTTH Via Nonprofit Networks in New York State | community broadband networks

Last-Mile FTTH Via Nonprofit Networks in New York State | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Western New York residents are welcoming the presence of a new Internet service provider, Empire Access, competing directly with Time Warner Cable and Verizon. Besides satisfied customers, no data caps, and no usage-based billing, Empire is different from the incumbents in another way - it uses nonprofit network infrastructure to deliver services.

StopTheCap writes that Empire Access utilizes the Southern Tier Network (STN) to connect to communities in Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler Counties in its southern service area. STN's 235-mile backbone was deployed when fiber-optic manufacturer Corning contributed $10 million to build the network and the three counties contributed the remaining $2.2 million. Construction on the open access network was finished in the spring of 2014.

Axcess Ontario provides the fiber route in the northern region of the Empire Access service area. The network is also a non-profit model and similarly developed to serve business, community anchor institutions, and ISPs. The organization began 10 years ago with the establishment of the nonprofit. The Ontario County Office of Economic Development /Industrial Development Agency provided startup costs to deploy the $7.5 million middle-mile open access dark fiber network. Axcess Ontario is also over 200 miles long.

For now, the locally-owned company that began in 1896 with one telephone and grew from there, is taking a different approach then its much larger competitors. From StopTheCap:


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Windstream's Kinetic TV Barely Competes With Time Warner Cable in Nebraska | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Windstream's Kinetic TV Barely Competes With Time Warner Cable in Nebraska | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If Windstream was hoping to make a splash with its new Kinetic IPTV service, Time Warner Cable certainly isn’t reaching for a towel.

Kinetic debuted in April in Lincoln, Neb., the first community to get Windstream’s fiber to the neighborhood TV service. Three months after being introduced, it’s available in about half of the city. But it is not proving much of a threat to incumbent Time Warner Cable because Windstream set rates roughly the same or higher than what the cable company charges.

In fact, a Stop the Cap! reader contemplating a trial run of Kinetic was quickly dissuaded when he learned Windstream charged $10 more than what he already paid Time Warner Cable.

“Windstream either does not understand Time Warner’s pricing or is artificially trying to limit demand for the moment,” our reader tells us. “I have to believe it is one or the other because the alternative is they don’t know what they are doing and are creating an experiment built to fail. When I told Time Warner I was toying with the idea of trying Kinetic, they cut my bill another $30 a month and Kinetic is now dead to me.”


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22 Towns in Massachusetts Are Building Their Own Gigabit Fiber Network | Jason Koebler | Motherboard

22 Towns in Massachusetts Are Building Their Own Gigabit Fiber Network | Jason Koebler | Motherboard | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Large swaths of rural Western Massachusetts are about to get gigabit fiber internet after residents in 22 separate towns decided to join a government cooperative designed to bring high speed broadband to places where traditional cable companies refuse to offer service.

The towns have secured $34.5 million in government bonds to undertake the project, which is expected to cost a total of $79 million. The Massachusetts state government is expected to pick up 40 percent of the overall cost as part of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (the $34.5 million is not included in that total), according to the coop, called WiredWest.

WiredWest hopes to eventually wire a total of 32 towns in the state. Of those, 22 have formally joined, meaning that 40 percent of the households in a given town agree to buy the fiber service and have made a $49 deposit to secure their spot. Town councils must also pass a measure agreeing to contribute their share of the overall costs.

"This is a major commitment for a town. In time WiredWest’s revenues from the network may cover all or part of the principal and interest on that debt," WiredWest wrote on its site, explaining why wiring the towns may be a controversial issue. "But the town will be on the hook, and some townspeople may oppose borrowing the money. If you want high-speed internet service, you need to be at town meeting to vote yes."

In the end, enough towns have decided to join to make it a reality. So far, 6,700 people have placed deposits for service, which represents a third of the area's overall number of households.

The collective is notable because it's one of several throughout the country attempting to bring high speed internet to places that are primarily served by dial-up or slow DSL lines. The Federal Communications Commission has said that such arrangements are critical to eventually wiring the country, because companies such as Comcast and Verizon have made it clear that it's not worth their investment to connect rural areas.

WiredWest says it will offer 25 Mbps speeds for $49 per month, 100 Mbps for $79 per month, and 1 gb/s speeds for $109 per month. DSL or satellite internet, which is common in the area, usually tops out at just a couple Mbps, at best.


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Security threats, hackers and shadow IT still plague health IT | Kenneth Corbin | CIO.com

Security threats, hackers and shadow IT still plague health IT | Kenneth Corbin | CIO.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Security has long been a primary challenge in the health IT market, and two new reports help illustrate the vulnerabilities surrounding some of the most sensitive consumer data.

The health IT group HIMSS on Tuesday released its 2015 cybersecurity survey, finding that 87 percent of healthcare officials and information security workers polled identify cybersecurity as an increasing business priority within their organizations, but still report an alarming rate of intrusions.

Two-thirds of the nearly 300 respondents report that their organization had recently experience a "significant" cyber event, and many express little confidence in their ability to defend against zero-day attacks.

In a statement, HIMSS Vice President Lisa Gallagher calls the recent breaches in the healthcare sector a "wake-up call" that should remind the industry that the information held in medical systems is a high-value target, and that many firms need to take security more seriously.

"Healthcare organizations need to rapidly adjust their strategies to defend against cyberattacks," Gallagher says. "This means implementing threat data, incorporating new tools and sophisticated analysis into their security process."

In a separate study, the security-software vendor Skyhigh Networks offers a sobering assessment of the extent of unauthorized applications and services running within healthcare organizations. As a result of that so-called shadow IT, the average healthcare firm is running 928 cloud services, more than 10 times the number that IT departments know to be in use, according to Skyhigh's analysis.

In most cases, employees have no malicious intent when they use unauthorized tools to collaborate, develop software or share content, but in doing so they nonetheless introduce new security vulnerabilities -- only 7 percent of the cloud services Skyhigh detected meet its standards for acceptable enterprise security and compliance.


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Securing the ‘Net – at what price? | Taylor Armerding | NetworkWorld.com

Securing the ‘Net – at what price? | Taylor Armerding | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Is it possible to secure the Internet? And if so, what would it cost?

According to Jim Manico, a global board member of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Foundation, it is. And he suggested a price of $4 billion, in a recent "open letter" to President Obama.

Manico said if the government would write him a check for that amount, “or any amount of money deemed enough to instigate change – I’ll show you how to help secure the software that drives modern businesses and the Internet at large.”

If he’s right, it could be one of the best, most efficient investments the federal government has made.

Yes, $4 billion is a lot of money – enough to put an individual at the top end of the 1% income bracket. But it is less than 1% of the money lost to cybercrime annually, which according to a report by Intel Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is $575 billion, with $100 billion of that coming from the U.S.

And compared to the 2015 federal budget of nearly $3.2 trillion, it is not even a rounding error – barely more than one-tenth of 1%. The government spends that much in less than half a day.


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Wi-Fi password-sharing feature in Windows 10 raises security concerns | Blair Hanley Frank | NetworkWorld.com

Wi-Fi password-sharing feature in Windows 10 raises security concerns | Blair Hanley Frank | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With the launch of Windows 10, anyone who walks into your house and gets your Wi-Fi password for their PC could potentially let all their friends onto your network, thanks to a new feature that has ignited controversy online.

Called Wi-Fi Sense, the feature is designed to make it easier for people to get Internet access for their devices while they’re on the go by automatically logging them into wireless hotspots. It does so with a two-pronged approach: by logging users into select open networks and also by allowing them to share secured connections with their friends (and vice versa). Perhaps unsurprisingly, that has drawn the ire of people who care about wireless security.

If someone with a Windows 10 device logs on to a new network, they can check a box to share that access with their contacts, who could include their Facebook friends, Outlook.com contacts and people on their Skype contact list. This isn’t exactly a new feature—Microsoft introduced it with Windows Phone 8.1 last year, but it didn’t make much of a splash at the time because not that many people use Windows Phone.

Craig Mathias, a principal at the Farpoint Group who specializes in wireless technology, said in an email that the feature was “a cheap hack.” He went on to say that the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Passpoint technology, which makes it possible for some devices to connect securely to wireless networks without going through a login process, is “more important.”

“And no one should ever leave Wi-Fi access wide open,” he said.


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San Francisco to Host Free Antenna Giveaway | Tom Butts | TVTechnology.com

San Francisco to Host Free Antenna Giveaway | Tom Butts | TVTechnology.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

TVFreedom.org and Antennas Direct will give away over 300 indoor digital broadcast TV antennas in San Francisco's Chinatown on Friday, July 3, 2015 at 9:00 A.M. PT.


The giveaway will be held in conjunction with this week's 2015 OCA National Convention. This is the latest stop in the TVfreedom.org/Antennas Direct joint TV Liberation Tour that was launched last year and will include several new, yet-to-be-announced, tour stops in 2015.

The event will feature a tour bus with big picture screen HD TV's, information on the local broadcast TV channels available to San Franciscans and other promotional giveaway items such as t-shirts and discount coupons to purchase additional antennas online.

Antennas Direct will be giving away its ClearStream Eclipse TV antennas which will allow viewers to watch dozens of local broadcast TV channels in the San Francisco Bay area for free.

TVFreedom.org and Antennas Direct have hosted similar giveaways in the past year, including one in Washington D.C. last November in which they gave away more than a thousand antennas. .


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Chicago Residents Now Stuck With A New 9% "Cloud Tax" On Netflix And Other Streaming Services | Kate Cox | Consumerist

Chicago Residents Now Stuck With A New 9% "Cloud Tax" On Netflix And Other Streaming Services | Kate Cox | Consumerist | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There used to be a whole world of brick-and-mortar retail stores and transactions a city could gather some sales tax from and build into a revenue stream. As more and more goods instead become online services, though, those streams have dried up. Now one city wants to go back to gathering its cash… from your transactions in the cloud.

The Verge reports that residents of the Windy City are about to have to start paying a premium on Netflix and their other streaming services, as a new “cloud tax” takes effect in Chicago today.

The logic goes something like this: In the long-gone ancient era of “twenty whole years ago,” when you went down to your corner video store for some rentals and some popcorn, you’d leave a few cents of sales tax behind with your purchase. Those nickels and pennies added up, and your town, city, or county got some revenue out of it.

But now, you’re streaming all your media, not buying it, and as a result there’s no sales tax going anywhere. Worse: record stores, video stores, and bookstores are in large part going the way of the dodo, and cities can’t collect business or property taxes on businesses that don’t exist. So this, then, is Chicago’s attempt to recoup some of those losses.

As The Verge explains, the new tax is actually a pair of rules put together. One covers “electronically delivered amusements” and the other, “nonpossessory computer leases.” The former targets your streaming video and radio sites, and the latter is meant to cover remote computing platforms like Amazon Web Services.


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WSJ gets it wrong on Title II Internet universal service obligation | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

WSJ gets it wrong on Title II Internet universal service obligation | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

How Fast Internet Affects Home Prices - WSJ: Telecom companies by law are required to make telephone service available to every residence in their service areas, but the same isn’t true for all high speed Internet providers.

The Federal Communications Commission's newly issued Open Internet rules that took effect June 12 reclassified Internet service from an optional information service to a mandatory common carrier telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, thereby bringing Internet service under the same universal service obligation as telephone service.

This is a glaring example of how the mainstream and much of the info tech media have buried and lost this quintessential Title II requirement as it was termed by Harold Feld of Public Knowledge under the rubric of "net neutrality."

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After Uber ruling, pressure mounts on companies to reclassify contractors | John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com

After Uber ruling, pressure mounts on companies to reclassify contractors | John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The pressure on app-based companies to reclassify their contractors as employees is picking up, with more of them getting sued this week.

The California Labor Commission ruled last month that a driver of Uber Technologies was an employee and not a contractor, when driving for the company, and was hence entitled to reimbursement on certain expenses. The ride-hailing company said it had appealed the decision.

Postmates, Shyp, and Washio were sued by workers this week, arguing that they should be classified as employees and not independent contractors, according to Shannon Liss-Riordan who is an attorney in these cases. The actions against Shyp and Postmates were filed as “class action arbitration” demands in arbitration courts.

The suits all aim to be class actions, according to Liss-Riordan, who has been involved in separate lawsuits against Uber, Lyft and food delivery service Caviar.

On Wednesday, Shyp, an app-based shipping service that was targeted in one of the arbitration cases, said its couriers would now be considered as employees. The company will pay them workers’ compensation and vehicle expenses, in addition to their unemployment, Social Security, and Medicare taxes, as it does for its satellite drivers and warehouse employees. Depending on hours worked, Shyp said it will also provide benefits like health care.


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FCC's Sohn: 25 Mbps Is Snail's Pace in Fiber World | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC's Sohn: 25 Mbps Is Snail's Pace in Fiber World | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Gigi Sohn, counselor to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, told a fiber-to-the-home conference in California this week that the FCC was ready to step in to preempt any more state laws that hampered municipal fiber buildouts, and would give cities money to do that building if the big telecoms don't step up.

And Sohn made it clear she did not think commercial broadband networks were cutting it.

"It’s not hard to see that current networks are not up to the task to meet the needs of today’s Internet users," she told the FTTH Connect conference in Anaheim, Calif., June 30. Sohn talked bout the folks that can't get 25 Mbps broadband (1 in 6 Americans, she said), what she pointed out chairman Wheeler has called table stakes for "full use" of the Internet.

She pointed out that the FCC had upped its baseline for high speed to that 25 Mbps. But she also said even that was a "snail's pace" in a world of fiber.

The FCC earlier this year preempted state laws limiting municipal broadband buildouts in Chattanooga and Wilson, N.C., where she said there had been substandard service or none. Sohn said the FCC was ready to do so again if needed.

"Now the FCC respects the important role of state governments in our federal system and we don’t take preemption of state laws lightly. But when state laws directly conflict with Federal laws and policy, we are not afraid to take action," she said.

But she also pointed to efforts that did not involve the FCC's intervention.

"In cities and towns where incumbent broadband access providers have not stepped up to provide their customers with the reliably fast service they need at a reasonable price, community leaders are taking matters into their own hands," she said.

But the FCC is also ready to invest in those builds. Sohn pointed out that the FCC has Universal Service Fund subsidies that municipalities can access if the major telecoms, who get first crack at the funds, pass on the money.


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Will the FCC Ignore Our Complaint? Did AT&T Commit Perjury, Claiming it had Covered 100 Percent of 21 States With Broadband? | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

Will the FCC Ignore Our Complaint? Did AT&T Commit Perjury, Claiming it had Covered 100 Percent of 21 States With Broadband? | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rumors are flying that the proposed AT&T-DirecTV merger is a done deal. And yet, it appears that the FCC ignored our complaint, which outlined that AT&T may have committed perjury during the previous AT&T-BellSouth merger. In 2008, AT&T claimed it had fulfilled a merger commitment to have 100% of their 21 state territory covered with broadband, (albeit slow at 200 Kbps). Based on US Census and FCC data, this would mean that AT&T would have had about 77 million 'locations' -- i.e., businesses and residential customers, covered in 21 states.

But, as we pointed out, over the last 5 years, in statement after statement, AT&T claimed it did not have 100 percent coverage of broadband -- and we believe that the FCC must investigate this BEFORE any new merger is consummated.

Allowing the company to con the FCC is one thing. But, the bottom line is -- There are no 'commitments' in place to make sure that AT&T does anything whatsoever after the ink is dry on the agreement. And history shows that AT&T may, can and will simply walk away from anything they said they would be doing, just to get this deal through.

And this is also an important issue now as the FCC's leadership, including Democrat Chairman Tom Wheeler, and Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai each claim that they have the right plan to make sure that rural areas get broadband. Ironically, they both just want to throw money, read your tax dollars and fees, at the problem instead of asking --Wasn't AT&T supposed to have upgraded rural areas? Neither regulator mentioned AT&T's requirement, of course. Moreover, all of the major incumbent phone companies, AT&T, Verizon and Centurylink, had commitments to do upgrades in most states, which included rural areas, which were never done, even though customers were hit with rate increases and the phone companies got tax perks to do the work. And the FCC has never investigated any state commitments for broadband upgrades, much less rural areas.

But I digress, as this is about the fact that AT&T's own statements condemns AT&T's actions. As we discussed in our complaint, AT&T claims it still does NOT cover 25 percent (or 15 million locations) with broadband -- and that's one of the reasons it needs to merge with DirecTV.


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Seattle City Council Member Urges Grass Roots Broadband Revolution After Ten Years Of Failing To Fix Broken Broadband Duopoly | Karl Bode | Techdirt

Seattle City Council Member Urges Grass Roots Broadband Revolution After Ten Years Of Failing To Fix Broken Broadband Duopoly | Karl Bode | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For most of the last decade Seattle, like many U.S. cities, has been painfully unhappy with its broadband options. If they're "lucky," Seattle residents have the choice of apathetic telco CenturyLink (formerly Qwest), or everybody's favorite dysfunction monolith, Comcast.


CenturyLink historically can barely be bothered to upgrade its aging DSL networks, resulting in most of its users paying an arm and a leg for 3 to 6 Mbps DSL (which was quite cutting edge in 2003). And while Comcast has done a relatively better job upgrading its networks, their customer service documentably qualifies for inclusion as a new circle of hell.

So Seattle has, since 2005 and before, pondered whether it should get into the broadband business itself. The city has conducted study after study on building a citywide fiber ring to feed municipal operations and residential and business service, yet these efforts consistently die under the weight of bureaucratic incompetence and Comcast and CenturyLink pressure.


At one point, Seattle even paid a company by the name of Gigabit Squared $55,000 in exchange for absolutely nothing of note (Gigabit Squared magically evaporated after also taking money from Chicago in exchange for doing nothing).

So basically year after year slips by, and each new Seattle politician publicly laments the horrible state of broadband competition to score political points, but, like most cities, nothing gets fixed.


That's in large part courtesy of incumbent ISP lobbyists, who work tirelessly to make sure city politicians don't disrupt the profitable and uncompetitive status quo.


Last year, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (the money he received from Comcast was a hot topic leading up to his election) proudly proclaimed that he would be the one to fix Seattle's broadband woes:


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