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Public Knowledge Asks Congress for a Permanent Fix to Cell Phone Unlocking | Public Knowledge

Today, Public Knowledge sent a letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees requesting an exemption in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that would allow people to unlock their cell phones. The letter, signed by a slew of organizations, academics, online communities, startup companies, and cell phone unlocking petition author Sina Khanifar, details that it is imperative that copyright law keeps up with the pace of technological change.

 

The range of interests held by these organizations, individuals, and startup companies shows the wide appeal to an exemption for this change. As a consumer advocacy group, Public Knowledge has always felt that changes to copyright law are long overdue and this exemption in the DMCA would be a step in the right direction. For more information about Public Knowledge's specific proposals for copyright reform look at our Internet Blueprint. 

 

The following can be attributed to Sherwin Siy, Vice President of Legal Affairs:

 

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Supreme Court justices hold stock in tech vendors, other firms | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

Supreme Court justices hold stock in tech vendors, other firms | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Two U.S. Supreme Court justices owned stock in tech vendors or other companies that filed briefs in cases under review by the high court in the past year, a watchdog group said Thursday.

The justices’ ownership of stock in three companies that filed amicus, or friend of the court, briefs in Supreme Court cases during the past year represent a “minefield of potential conflicts of interest and ethical problems” that could damage the court’s reputation, said Fix the Court, a group advocating for more transparency at the court.

Chief Justice John Roberts owned up to US $750,000 in shares of Time Warner and its subsidiaries at the time the media giant filed a brief in ABC v. Aereo, which broadcasters won 6-3 last June, with Roberts in the majority. Aereo was a start-up offering TV service to subscribers through specialized antenna farms.

Justice Stephen Breyer owned up to $100,000 in IT services firm EMC and Roberts held up to $50,000 in Hewlett-Packard last year when both businesses filed briefs in favor of Teva Pharmaceuticals, which won its patent case against generic drug maker Sandoz, 7-2, with Breyer and Roberts in the majority.

Justice Samuel Alito also held stock in publicly traded companies last year, Fix the Court said. The Supreme Court has nine justices.

The court’s media relations team didn’t immediately respond to a request for a comment on the Fix the Court report. Fix the Court planned to post the financial reports on its website late Thursday.

The Supreme Court released justices’ annual financial disclosure reports Friday. The financial reports are available as paper documents; the court does not post them online.

Fix the Court called on the justices to place their securities into blind trusts, as is done by presidents, presidential candidates and many members of Congress.


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Bitcoin glitch expected to abate as software upgrades continue | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

Bitcoin glitch expected to abate as software upgrades continue | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bitcoin experienced a glitch over the weekend that is expected to be resolved as software clients that handle transaction data are upgraded.

Some software clients that “mine” bitcoins are creating invalid transaction data, which are referred to as blocks. Blocks are records of transactions, and the first miner to complete a block is rewarded with new bitcoins. The blocks are added to bitcoin’s public ledger, called the blockchain.

Some software clients that had not been recently upgraded are accepting invalid blocks created by other clients, according to a notice posted on bitcoin.org.

Bitcoin transactions must be confirmed by other miners on the network. The software problem means that clients are showing confirmations of transactions that aren’t accurate, the advisory said. Bitcoin mining operations have lost up to US$50,000 in income due to the problem, it said.

“Some software can detect that those blocks are invalid and reject them; other software can’t detect that blocks are invalid, so they show confirmations that aren’t real,” it said.

The Bitcoin clients most affected are ones that do Simple Payment Verification, which rely on connections to other trusted nodes. Those SPV clients continue to build new blocks based on invalid ones, Bitcoin.org said.


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Hacking Team Hacked: Documents Show Company Sold Exploits And Spyware To UN-Blacklisted Governments | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

Hacking Team Hacked: Documents Show Company Sold Exploits And Spyware To UN-Blacklisted Governments | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Hacking Team -- purveyor of exploits and spyware to a variety of government agencies all over the world -- has been hacked. Late Sunday night, its Twitter account name was changed to "Hacked Team" and its bio to read:

Developing ineffective, easy-to-pwn offensive technology to compromise the operations of the worldwide law enforcement and intelligence communities.

Whoever's behind this (no group has claimed responsibility yet) has repurposed the official Hacking Team Twitter feed to send out screenshots of incriminating information it/they have uncovered. For those who want to take a look themselves, the liberated documents can be torrented. Here are two places the torrent file can be picked up. (CAUTION: Actual file is 400 GB, so use a robust client and check your drive[s] for free space…) [And, if those go down, I've also stashed the torrent file here.]

What has been exposed so far shows Hacking Team has been lying about its business partners. It claims to only sell to NATO partners and blacklists oppressive governments. But its "Customer" Wiki appears to show that it counts such countries as Kazakhstan, Sudan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Malaysia as partners.

Screenshots of emails accessed by Hacking Team's hackers show the company circumventing local regulations and restrictions on the export of exploits and spyware by using third-party resellers.


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EOBC: FCC Could Cut TV's Auction Opening Prices By Billions | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

EOBC: FCC Could Cut TV's Auction Opening Prices By Billions | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition (EOBC) says that the FCC's opening prices for TV stations in the incentive auction could plummet by more than $8 billion collectively.

In a filing with the FCC Friday (July 2), EOBC, which represents most of a hundred TV stations interested in participating in the incentive auction at the right price, said the FCC needs to make three what it calls "relatively minor" changes to the auction framework, beginning with the "anomaly" that it says, if left unchanged, will cut opening prices to stations in the reverse auction by $8.3 billion.

EOBC also wants the FCC to reduce the decrements in each round (the degree to which prices drop as the FCC seeks the lowest bidder) and adjust the auction pricing formula.

When the FCC released its updated population data for TV stations (population is one factor, EOBC says too large a factor, in the FCC's calculation of opening bid prices), EOBC says station opening bid prices had dropped by 2.3%, or $8.3 billion) due to the new calculations.

The FCC is planning to vote July 16 on its auction framework public notice, which will include its pricing formula for opening bids, decrements, and much more.

In a blog post, EOBC executive director Preston Padden says that the FCC staff is pondering the drop prompted by the new calculation and how to address it.


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Podcast: Eye in the Sky | RadioLab.org

Podcast: Eye in the Sky | RadioLab.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ross McNutt has a superpower — he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he?

In 2004, when casualties in Iraq were rising due to roadside bombs, Ross McNutt and his team came up with an idea. With a small plane and a 44 mega-pixel camera, they figured out how to watch an entire city all at once, all day long. Whenever a bomb detonated, they could zoom onto that spot and then, because this eye in the sky had been there all along, they could scroll back in time and see - literally see - who planted it. After the war, Ross McNutt retired from the airforce, and brought this technology back home with him.


Manoush Zomorodi and Alex Goldmark from the podcast “Note to Self” give us the low-down on Ross’s unique brand of persistent surveillance, from Juarez, Mexico to Dayton, Ohio.


Then, once we realize what we can do, we wonder whether we should.


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WI: Sun Prairie Utilities advised against fiber optic plan | Jennifer Fetterly | The Star

WI: Sun Prairie Utilities advised against fiber optic plan | Jennifer Fetterly | The Star | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It’s no surprise that Frontier and Charter oppose Sun Prairie Utilities’ (SPU) plans to bring fiber optics citywide, but this week, they had the opportunity to state their case.

Industry competitors spent more than 90 minutes telling city officials why it’s a bad idea, highlighting failures in other municipalities, questioning the utilities’ ability to handle operations, and even hinting, if it goes through, they’ll cut jobs in the Sun Prairie area.

The city estimates the fiber-to-the-home initiative would cost $27 million for full buildout with a private-public partnership, and are looking at a $500,000 test pilot project in Smith’s Crossing by the end of the year, if approved by the city council.

Utility officials are confident in the plan, buoyed by projections that would see a positive cash flow within four years if 35 percent of residents would take service. They also say they have experience: SPU already offers fiber optics to more than 238 residents and 31 businesses, that generates $400,000 in annual revenue.

Municipalities across the country are getting into the fiber-optics game, either because it’s not made readily accessible or the service, either cable or fiber-optics, is lacking or too expensive.

Tim Moore, executive director of Wisconsin Cable Communications Association, said he came to the June 30 Committee of the Whole meeting to persuade the city not to go forward with the citywide project.

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George Washington’s Farewell Address: A ‘Warning Against the Impostures of Pretended Patriotism’ | Truthdig.com

George Washington’s Farewell Address: A ‘Warning Against the Impostures of Pretended Patriotism’ | Truthdig.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Independence Day, against official claims that mass domestic surveillance is needed to ensure U.S. security, Truthdig reprints the farewell address of the first president of the United States.

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the same time, to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.

I rejoice that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied that if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.


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Privacy Is Freedom: Robert Scheer | Truthdig.com

Privacy Is Freedom: Robert Scheer | Truthdig.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In an excerpt from his new book, “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy,” Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer traces the Fourth Amendment’s enshrinement of privacy rights from English common law to Facebook and a defense by Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.

What is the role of privacy in the twenty-first century? To the leaders of Internet commerce, whose basic business model involves exploiting the minutiae of their customers’ lives, the very idea of privacy has been treated as, at best, an anachronism of the pre-digital age. Meanwhile, those desiring to keep their personal data from prying eyes claim it as an unconditional constitutional right.

After making a pro-privacy pretense, in his company’s early years, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg began steadily advancing the argument that privacy is a luxury being willingly tossed aside by customers preferring convenience. “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people,” he said while accepting a Crunchie award in San Francisco in January 2010. “That social norm is just something that has evolved over time. We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are.”

Instead of viewing the protection of privacy as a business’s obligation to his customer base, Zuckerberg suggested that the very concept of personal privacy could be gradually disappearing. “[F]our years ago, when Facebook was getting started, most people didn’t want to put up any information about themselves on the Internet,” he told an interviewer at the Web 2.0 Summit in 2008.


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viNGN explores Virgin territory with Gigabit launch | TeleGeography.com

The Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN) has announced that businesses and residences in Frydenhoj, Red Hook and Smith Bay on St Thomas, Christiansted and Gallows Bay on St Croix, and Cruz Bay on St John. now have the option of connecting to its new 1Gbps fibre-to-the-home/building (FTTH/B) network.


While the viNGN will not be offering services directly to the public, it notes that connectivity is available via the following internet service providers (ISPs): High Tide Solutions, ADM Technologies, Alliance Data (SmartNet), Orbitel Access, Broadband VI, One Stop Wireless, Innovative Fibernet, Choice Communications, Surge Broadband Communications and Fusion Solutions.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the viNGN – which is primarily funded by a grant from the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) as part of an extensive federal programme designed to improve broadband capacity in the US and its unincorporated territories – will eventually pass every home in the US Virgin Islands.


The cable incorporates a twelve-part 183km submarine cable link between Saint Thomas and Saint Croix.

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Bernie Sanders Will End the IMF's Economic Violence in Greece and Africa | Robert Naiman | Common Dreams

Bernie Sanders Will End the IMF's Economic Violence in Greece and Africa | Robert Naiman | Common Dreams | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Many people want to know more about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' foreign policy agenda. Yes, they say, we like what Sanders is saying about reducing extreme inequality, about reducing the political power of the billionaire class. But what about U.S. foreign policy? Yes, they say, Bernie voted no on the Iraq war; yes, they acknowledge, Sanders supports the Iran deal. But we're spending more than half of our federal income tax dollars on the Pentagon's empire, money we should be spending on rebuilding our nation's domestic infrastructure. "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death," Dr. King said. What's Bernie going to do about that?

I'm all for pushing Bernie to talk more about downsizing the Pentagon to be an institution focused on actually defending the United States, as opposed to running around the world overthrowing other people's governments - a Pentagon that "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy," as President John Quincy Adams put it.

But we should also take advantage of the new opportunity that now presents itself; it's not only with bombs that U.S. foreign policy kills and injures innocent civilians.

We should recognize and publicize the fact that Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate who is talking about what the IMF is doing to Greece, the only presidential candidate who has a track record of opposing the IMF, the only presidential candidate who, if elected, is likely to do anything to end the economic violence of the IMF.


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NM: Broadband is as critical today as phone once was | Nan Rubin Op-Ed | Las Cruces Sun-News

NM: Broadband is as critical today as phone once was | Nan Rubin Op-Ed | Las Cruces Sun-News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I suppose David Tofsted can be forgiven for his deliberately reactionary and misinformed letter of June 7, asserting that there is no genuine "need" for broadband access to the Internet because 20 years ago he got by fine without it, thank you very much.

But it is downright scary that state Rep. James Smith, chair of the interim Science, Technology, and Telecom Committee, has taken a similar position ("FCC regulation could impose on high-tech future," June 8.) He really should know better.

As recently as 1984, it was considered a nearly insurmountable economic and social disadvantage not to have a telephone. So President Ronald Reagan established the Lifeline program to subsidize the cost of monthly phone service to low-income residents in both urban and rural areas.

This made regular telephone service affordable to millions of Americans for the first time — giving them a phone number that allowed them to apply for jobs, participate in local civic and social activities, hear from teachers at their children's school, or call a doctor in case of an emergency.

Because commercial providers refused to serve this population, it took the federal government to step in and ensure that this large group was not left behind. And to this very day, the Lifeline program is regulated and managed by the Federal Communications Commission.

Flash forward — we are faced with the very same communications problem, only today it is access to fast, affordable Internet service that is absolutely necessary to keep up with today's economy.


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WI: The Kauffman Foundation's incomplete, misleading message | Gegory Dorf & Daniel Isenberg Opinion | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Throughout Wisconsin, there have been a lot of resources and energy devoted to business growth and job creation.

So it's understandable that the recent Kauffman Foundation Startup Index, reported by the Journal Sentinel and others, triggered broad concern. How is it even possible that Wisconsin is 50th out of the 50 states for numbers of business start-ups?

Perhaps our initial dismay was just our Midwestern tendency to accept bad news about ourselves to be true. Our deeper dive into the data shows that not only does the Kauffman index send an incomplete, misleading message, but it misses the dynamic environment for small but growing, middle-market and larger corporations that should make us proud and inspire more companies to grow and to choose Wisconsin.

The facts show that Wisconsin is a place where entrepreneurs not only thrive, but are in fact the drivers of job creation and economic strength.


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MN Senator Klobuchar says Feds need to make concrete plan for broadband | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

According to the Brainerd Dispatch, on a recent trip to Northern Minnesota Senator Klobuchar spoke about broadband, the need for action and its potential role in the presidential election…

The newly-arrived presidential election season makes it a more likely time for progress on broadband, Klobuchar said, because the issue is popular in debates and campaigns. However, there is a need for concrete action along with all the campaign talk, she said.

“We need to actually put … the money where your mouth is,” she said.

Brainerd-area attendees gave anecdotes about how the lack of broadband impacts the well-being of people who need it to get information related to health care, education and business.

Richard Schulman of Leech Lake Telecommunications Company described a drought of proper Internet access on the reservation. The two-year-old company is the first tribally owned telecom firm in Minnesota, he said.


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Hollywood Resists Revealing Details Of Its Cozy Relationship With Mississippi AG Jim Hood, But Glimpses Come Out | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Hollywood Resists Revealing Details Of Its Cozy Relationship With Mississippi AG Jim Hood, But Glimpses Come Out | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The whole legal fight between Google and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has been pretty nasty from the very beginning, but it's been getting even nastier as it drags on. Even in many high stakes lawsuits involving large companies and the government, the filings tend to remain somewhat bland and low key. But this particular fight seems personal to many of the parties involved (going beyond just Google and Jim Hood to the MPAA and the studios it represents).


If you don't recall, for a few years now, Hood has been bizarrely blaming Google for the fact that people do bad stuff online, rather than understanding that a search engine isn't responsible for the content that it finds. The reasons for Hood's ignorance became a lot more clear after the Sony Hack, when internal emails revealed that Hood was acting as a puppet for the MPAA whose hand was shoved so far up Hood's behind that it was a bit unseemly.

The MPAA's lawyers ran the entirety of Hood's "investigation." Those lawyers actually wrote the subpoena that Hood sent Google (Hood merely added the opening and his signature). The studios paid for the investigation, and the program itself was explicitly designed not to protect anyone online but to bring down Google (dubbed "Goliath" in the documents). The MPAA hired Hood's best friend, mentor and predecessor to lobby Hood on this... and (coincidentally, I'm sure),


Hood hired the very same guy, Mike Moore, to help with the investigation -- which should raise serious conflict of interest questions. As these details were revealed, Hood launched into a bizarre anti-Google rant that was both ill-informed and often flat out incorrect. He insisted perfectly legal things (a news site about dark markets) were completely illegal, he blamed Google for not doing things it actually had done, and he couldn't seem to figure out the first thing about how the internet -- or the First Amendment -- actually work.

With this new info in hand, Google went to court to argue that Hood's demands were illegal, and a clear attempt of abusing the power of his office to attack a business. The courts have overwhelmingly sided with Google up to this point -- putting his demands (written by the MPAA) on hold and saying that it was clear Hood unconstitutionally acted in bad faith in violation of the First Amendment.

The judge also ordered Hood to cough up his communications with the MPAA -- something Hood was refusing to do the last time we checked in on this case about two months ago.

Since then, there has been a flurry of activity in multiple courts as Google, Hood and the MPAA fight it out in increasingly emotional terms.


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Hacking Team responds to data breach, issues public threats and denials | Steve Ragan | CSO.com

Hacking Team responds to data breach, issues public threats and denials | Steve Ragan | CSO.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Sunday evening, someone hijacked the Hacking Team account on Twitter and used it to announce that the company known for developing hacking tools was itself a victim of a devastating hack.

The hackers released a 400GB Torrent file with internal documents, source code, and email communications to the public at large. As researchers started to examine the leaked documents, the story developed and the public got its first real look into the inner workings of an exploit development firm.

Hacking Team is an Italian company that sells intrusion and surveillance tools to governments and law enforcement agencies. However, their business has earned them a black mark from privacy and human rights organizations, as the company has been accused of selling tools and services to nations known for violent oppression.
hackingteam 010

Reporters Without Borders has listed the company on its Enemies of the Internet index due largely to Hacking Teams' business practices and their primary surveillance tool Da Vinci.

Sunday evening, documents circulating online, and documents shared by @SynAckPwn with Salted Hash, have linked Hacking Team to Egypt, Lebanon, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

The link to Sudan is especially newsworthy as the company previously stated they've never done business with the nation. There is a UN arms embargo on the Sudan, which is covered by EU and UK law. If they were doing business with the Sudanese government, Hacking Team could be in hot water.

In 2014, a Citizen Lab report revealed evidence that Hacking Team's RCS (Remote Control System) was being used by the Sudanese government, something the Italian company flat-out denied.

However, on Sunday a contract with Sudan, valued at 480,000 Euro, and dated July 2, 2012, was published as part of the 400GB cache. In addition, a maintenance list named Sudan as a customer, but one that was "not officially supported." Interestingly, Russia has the same designation.


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What Washington really knows about the Internet of Things | Darren Samuelsohn | POLITICO Agenda

What Washington really knows about the Internet of Things | Darren Samuelsohn | POLITICO Agenda | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Barack Obama wears a FitBit monitor on his wrist to count his steps and calories, and has waxed poetic about the power of wearable technology to “give each of us information that allows us to stay healthier.”

On Capitol Hill, 13 members have joined together across party lines this year to launch the Internet of Things Caucus. Started by a former Microsoft marketing executive and a Republican who made his fortune in electronics, the caucus pledges to help foster the coming explosion of “products, services and interconnected opportunities that didn’t exist a generation ago and will be taken for granted by the end of this generation.”

Then again, the caucus hasn't even held its first meeting yet. Obama's own government panel has warned of a "small — and rapidly closing — window" for the U.S. government to successfully figure out how to deal with the tech explosion everyone is so excited about.

The number of web-linked gadgets surpassed the number of humans on the planet seven years ago, and today the Internet of Things, the profusion of networked objects and sensors that increasingly touch our lives, is quickly turning our physical world into something totally new. As American consumers start filling their homes and businesses with networked technology — smart watches sending health data wirelessly, cars that can take over for their human drivers, and drones tracking wildfires and cattle — POLITICO set out to determine how well government was keeping up. Beyond one fledgling caucus, how is Washington grappling with this sweeping new force?

The short answer: It's not.


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Next Century Cities Grows to 100 Communities including four from Minnesota | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

I wanted to share the following press release with a quick note that the list of Next Century Cities now includes four Minnesota cities, which means three new additions. The Minnesota cities include Duluth, Monticello, Windom and Winthrop (which has been a member for a while).

Next Century Cities Grows to 100 Communities Nationwide Leading on Next-Generation Broadband Internet Collaborative of Rural and Urban Communities Sees Rapid Progress since October 2014 launch

Washington, DC (July 6, 2015) – Next Century Cities, a city-to-city collaborative of mayors who recognize the critical need for fast, affordable, and reliable Internet, has grown to 100 communities across the country since launching in October 2014. Boise, Idaho was announced today as the 100th city to join Next Century Cities, a bipartisan, nationwide effort that also includes inaugural members such as Boston, Kansas City, and Chattanooga, and more recent additions such as Charlotte.

“Since launching Next Century Cities in October, we’ve seen incredible demand from cities looking to lead the conversation about the crucial role next-generation Internet plays in helping communities thrive,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “The 100 city leaders who are part of Next Century Cities know that gigabit level Internet is critical infrastructure for their residents and are pushing to become more economically competitive now and in the future through better access to high-speed, low-cost solutions for all.”

Next Century Cities is a bipartisan initiative of mayors and city leaders dedicated to ensuring the availability of next-generation broadband across the country. As momentum grows around gigabit level Internet, more mayors and municipal leaders are joining together to show what’s happening in their communities and to join together to help one another realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband.


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Greece - What You Are Not Being Told by the Media | Chris Kanthan | Films for Action

Greece - What You Are Not Being Told by the Media | Chris Kanthan | Films for Action | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Every single mainstream media has the following narrative for the economic crisis in Greece: the government spent too much money and went broke; the generous banks gave them money, but Greece still can’t pay the bills because it mismanaged the money that was given. It sounds quite reasonable, right?

Except that it is a big fat lie … not only about Greece, but about other European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland who are all experiencing various degrees of austerity. It was also the same big, fat lie that was used by banks and corporations to exploit many Latin American, Asian and African countries for many decades.

Greece did not fail on its own. It was made to fail.

In summary, the banks wrecked the Greek government and deliberately pushed it into unsustainable debt so that oligarchs and international corporations can profit from the ensuing chaos and misery.

If you are a fan of mafia movies, you know how the mafia would take over a popular restaurant. First, they would do something to disrupt the business – stage a murder at the restaurant or start a fire. When the business starts to suffer, the Godfather would generously offer some money as a token of friendship. In return, Greasy Thumb takes over the restaurant’s accounting, Big Joey is put in charge of procurement, and so on. Needless to say, it’s a journey down a spiral of misery for the owner who will soon be broke and, if lucky, alive.

Now, let’s map the mafia story to international finance in four stages.


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Verizon and the NY State Public Service ('Captured') Commission | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com

Verizon and the NY State Public Service ('Captured') Commission | Bruce Kushnick Blog | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

"Regulatory Capture" is when an industry takes over the regulatory agency that is supposed to be doing oversight of the companies' business practices and is supposed to be protecting the Public Interest.


The newly released report by the NY State Public Service Commission (NYPSC) "Staff Assessment of Telecommunications Services", (June, 2015) is a model of how a corrupted government agency helped Verizon (and Time Warner) get continuous rate increases, allows for egregious communications bills and deceptive marketing to be 'business as usual', covers over Verizon's failure to deliver on the commitment for 'massive deployment of fiber optics' (but charged customers over $750.00 and counting) and then claims that competition truly exists.

And to top it off, the State report claims that there has not been any major telecommunications proceedings for over a decade! (NOTE: There appears to be another name used, "The Department of Public Service", for the report.)

NOTE: The State Commission controls local service and the use of the state utility, commonly known as the Public Switched Telephone Networks, while the FCC controls 'interstate' services, i.e., services that cross-state lines. These jurisdictions and distinctions are way too complicated to discuss here.

Let's present some facts to substantiate our conclusion of regulatory capture. Above is an excerpt from the report. See anything wrong?


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The cable box might solve the Internet of Things' biggest problem | Roberto Baldwin | Engadget.com

The cable box might solve the Internet of Things' biggest problem | Roberto Baldwin | Engadget.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The issue with the Internet of Things (IoT) and the connected home is that they're not even remotely connected. At least not seamlessly. Thanks to competing communication protocols and manufacturers building closed ecosystems, you need a new app every time you add something "connected" to your house. But developer Alticast has proposed another solution. One that uses something that's already in the home: your cable box.

Other than the fact that it gives you access to hundreds of channels and videos-on-demand, your cable box is about as exciting as a doorknob. It's a gateway to somewhere else, and it's forgotten as soon as you step through that door.


But that bland portal to the entertainment world could also be the answer to fixing the hydra of IoT hubs from Belkin, Lowe's, Quirky, Philips and others needed to create a connected home.


Alticast proposed in a recently published white paper that the cable box could become a protocol-agnostic Internet-of-Things hub. It would bring all your devices together into a single ecosystem that lets your lights talk to your oven that talks to your garage door that talks to your security camera. Everything working together like a truly connected home with a single app and the bonus of your TV being a giant notification center.


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About-face by Apple Music shows need for constant change | Drew Clark Op-Ed | Deseret News

About-face by Apple Music shows need for constant change | Drew Clark Op-Ed | Deseret News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When a company as big and successful as Apple changes its mind about something as significant as the music industry, it's worth taking note of what's changing with consumers.

Apple, the world’s most valuable company, is betting that consumers want to spend more money through Apple Music, the $9.99/month music streaming service it launched on Tuesday.

It’s a far cry from the vision of the late Steve Jobs, the founder and legendary leader of Apple until his death in 2011. Originally a computer maker, Apple became a post-personal computer company with the launch of the iPod in 2001. This was a digital audio player with so much more storage capacity than its competitors.

That invited consumers — particularly young people with a strong emotional connection to their music — to load up shiny iPods with hundreds or thousands of digital songs.

This was the Napster era of rampant file-sharing. Napster had been the brainchild of a college student who wanted to share what he was listening to with his fellow students. As a company, Napster created an online catalog that allowed computer users to share, on a peer-to-peer basis, digital MP3 music files.

Napster was shut down for contributing to copyright infringement. As a service, it effectively enabled the sharing of digital music files, enabling a user to download a free copy of a song purchased by someone else.

Enter Steve Jobs, who was more of a counter-cultural rock-and-roll rebel than your stereotypical slide-rule-toting computer geek.

According to the biography written by Walter Isaascon, published days after Jobs' death from cancer, "He knew that the best way to stop piracy — in fact the only way — was to offer an alternative that was more attractive than the brain-dead services that music companies were concocting. 'We believe that 80 percent of the people stealing stuff don't want to be, there's just no legal alternative.'"

As with other great entrepreneurs, Jobs set out to create a win-win-win-win situation: One that would benefit the artists who composed and performed music, the record labels who cut CDs, the company (Apple) that sold the iPods, and consumers — who could finally listen to all of their music in one place.


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Peru: Claro to launch fixed-wireless TD-LTE service | TeleGeography.com

Claro Peru has unveiled plans to use Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) technology to provide broadband in remote areas, where fixed connections are not feasible.


Gestion writes that the operator plans to launch the fixed-wireless service in H2 2015, to provide high speed broadband services in areas unserved by fixed infrastructure and where the deployment of fixed networks is difficult, either due to the geographical conditions or municipal and administrative obstacles.


Robert Bellido, the Mexican-backed cellco’s deputy director of residential market, said that the offering will complement the coverage of fixed services and will allow more people the opportunity to benefit from telecom services.

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Greece rejects bailout, could exit euro | Mark Hensch | The Hill

Greece rejects bailout, could exit euro | Mark Hensch | The Hill | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Greece has reportedly rejected Europe’s terms for further bailout from its debt crisis in vote that could see the nation exit the Eurozone.

Greek voters overwhelmingly voted “No” on Sunday in a historic bailout referendum, according to multiple news reports.

Reuters said that 60.4 percent of Greeks voted against a bailout offer from international creditors. The “Yes” option received 40.1 percent of support, the news outlet added.

Ahead of the vote, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had said that a “no” would not automatically mean a Greek exit from the euro, but could strengthen Athens’s hand in restructuring its debt.

The Greek government said on Sunday that it is restarting negotiations over the details of a potential debt bailout by global creditors.

“The negotiations which will start must be concluded very soon, even within 48 hours,” government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said on Greek television. “We will undertake every effort to seal it soon."


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New dimensions of quantum information added through hyperentanglement | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com

New dimensions of quantum information added through hyperentanglement | Colin Jeffrey | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In quantum cryptography, encoding entangled photons with particular spin states is a technique that ensures data transmitted over fiber networks arrives at its destination without being intercepted or changed. However, as each entangled pair is usually only capable of being encoded with one state (generally the direction of its polarization), the amount of data carried is limited to just one quantum bit per photon. To address this limitation, researchers have now devised a way to "hyperentangle" photons that they say can increase the amount of data carried by a photon pair by as much as 32 times.

In this research, a team led by engineers from UCLA has verified that it is possible to break up and entangle photon pairs into many dimensions using properties such as the photons' energy and spin, with each extra dimension doubling the photons' data carrying capacity. Using this technique, known as "hyperentanglement", each photon pair is able to be programmed with far more data than was previously possible with standard quantum encoding methods.


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Mexico: Ifetel hits Telmex with LLU order; telco has 60 days to prepare terms | TeleGeography.com

Mexican telecoms regulator Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel) announced yesterday (30 June) that Telmex, the country’s Agente Economico Preponderante (AEP), must open up the so-called ‘last mile’ of its fixed line networks to its rivals for the first time. The telco, which is owned by Carlos Slim’s America Movil (AM) group, now has 60 days within which to prepare terms for its competitors.

In announcing the move, Ifetel noted: ‘Effective unbundling of the local network will allow other concessionaires to provide telecommunications services through the infrastructure of the AEP. The conditions for this process help ensure effective access to the local network of the leading company in the telecommunications sector, in order to remove barriers to competition and market entry.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, a local loop unbundling (LLU) decision has been on the cards since Ifetel took over from the Comision Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Cofetel) in September 2013, with legislation passed in April 2013 compelling the incoming regulator to enact the changes.

TeleGeography notes that Telmex accounted for 63.5% of all PSTN lines in service as at 31 December 2014, while Mexico is one of the few Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries not to currently offer LLU.

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