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U.S. and China to Discuss Investment Treaty, but Cybersecurity Is a Concern | NYTimes

U.S. and China to Discuss Investment Treaty, but Cybersecurity Is a Concern | NYTimes | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew called the development a significant breakthrough. It represents “the first time China has agreed to negotiate a bilateral investment treaty, to include all sectors and stages of investment, with another country,” he said in a statement.

 

The treaty talks were announced at the close of a two-day meeting here of high-ranking Chinese and American diplomatic, security and economic officials, part of an annual “strategic and economic dialogue” between the world’s two largest economies.

 

But concerns over espionage and theft using the Internet have complicated the economic discussions, with diplomats working on those issues this week. Protections against cyberspying would presumably have to be part of any investment treaty, and could be a major sticking point.

 

The United States has repeatedly warned that the theft of American companies’ intellectual property, often over computer networks, could make businesses hesitant to invest. And the United States has blocked some Chinese investments, fearing that they could facilitate electronic espionage.

 

“The reality is clear: The technological ties that bind us together also introduce a new challenge to our bilateral relationship,” said William J. Burns, the deputy secretary of state. Mr. Burns has stepped in for Secretary of State John Kerry — whose wife has been ill — at the negotiations this week.

 

The Chinese have responded to the American complaints with barbed comments of their own. In particular, they have pointed to the revelations of Edward J. Snowden, the former contractor for the National Security Agency who last month leaked details on the United States’ sweeping surveillance of foreigners and Americans.

 

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Roku launches affordable and functional smart TV range | GizMag.com

Roku launches affordable and functional smart TV range | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you’re a fan of top media streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, then you’re also likely aware of Roku, a company that specializes in low-cost streaming boxes that let you throw that content up onto the big screen. The company has announced partnerships with TV manufacturers Hisense and TCL to produce Roku TV, a range of smart TVs that make media streaming more convenient without breaking the bank.


As you might expect, the new smart TVs are all about media streaming, providing access to Roku’s 1,500+ streaming channels and library of 200,000+ movies and TV shows via the company’s official store. Continuing with the content-first theme of the device, the company is bundling in two months free Hulu Plus membership, plus a package of free trials reportedly worth in excess of US$100.


There are a number of ways to control that media, the first being a simple, 20-button remote similar to those used with company’s streaming boxes. More interestingly, the TVs can also be controlled using smartphones and tablets by means of the Roku Mobile app, available for iOS and Android.


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Out in the Open: Hackers Build a Skype That’s Not Controlled by Microsoft | Klint Finley | WIRED

Out in the Open: Hackers Build a Skype That’s Not Controlled by Microsoft | Klint Finley | WIRED | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The web forum 4chan is known mostly as a place to share juvenile and, to put it mildly, politically incorrect images. But it’s also the birthplace of one of the latest attempts to subvert the NSA’s mass surveillance program.


When whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that full extent of the NSA’s activities last year, members of the site’s tech forum started talking about the need for a more secure alternative to Skype. Soon, they’d opened a chat room to discuss the project and created an account on the code hosting and collaboration site GitHub and began uploading code.


Eventually, they settled on the name Tox, and you can already download prototypes of the surprisingly easy-to-use tool. The tool is part of a widespread effort to create secure online communication tools that are controlled not only by any one company, but by the world at large—a continued reaction to the Snowden revelations. This includes everything from instant messaging tools to email services.


It’s too early to count on Tox to protect you from eavesdroppers and spies. Like so many other new tools, it’s still in the early stages of development and has yet to receive the scrutiny that other security tools, such as the instant messaging encryption plugin Off The Record has. But it endeavors to carve a unique niche within the secure communications ecosystem.


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What is the blue light from our screens really doing to our eyes? | Elizabeth Armstrong Moore | GigaOM Tech News

What is the blue light from our screens really doing to our eyes? | Elizabeth Armstrong Moore | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

An eye doctor says he’s recently seen a few 35-year-old patients whose lenses, which are typically clear all the way up until around age 40, are so cloudy they resemble 75-year-olds’. A sleep doctor says kids as young as toddlers are suffering from chronic insomnia, which in turn affects their behavior and performance at school and daycare. A scientist finds that women who work night shifts are twice as likely to develop breast cancer than those who sleep at night.


What do all these anecdotes have in common? Nighttime exposure to the blue light emanating from our screens.


You’ve probably heard the hype these past few years: being in the presence of light at night disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythms by suppressing the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone. But melatonin does far more than help us get sleepy – it’s also an antioxidant that appears to play a pivotal role in slowing the progression of cancer and other diseases.


“I’ve been spending a lot of the past 20 years worrying about it,” said Dr. Richard Hansler, who clocked in 42 years at GE Lighting developing “all kinds of bright, beautiful lights” before his move to John Carroll University in Ohio, where he studied the effects of light at night on our health. It was the mid 1990s, and at that point, he said, his concern wasn’t widely shared.


“I discovered that using light at night is bad for people’s health and interferes with their sleep. I felt a moral obligation to do something about it, particularly when I learned it’s the blue component in ordinary white light that is suppressing the production of melatonin. And melatonin not only helps you sleep but is a marvelous material that has a very big influence on health in general; specifically, if you don’t have enough you may develop diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even a couple kinds of cancer.”


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Turn Your Place Into A Smart Home On The Cheap With These Beacons | FastCoLabs.com

Turn Your Place Into A Smart Home On The Cheap With These Beacons | FastCoLabs.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Most of us dream of the day when we can have a smart home like Tony Stark’s in the Iron Man movies or George’s from The Jetsons. A smart home that reacts to us without us having to lift a finger. One that knows where we are in it and then configures that room to meet our needs. But while we are slowly inching our way toward having homes full of smart devices, outfitting an entire house’s infrastructure to become a true smarthome costs tens of thousands to millions of dollars.


Until now anyway.


A startup called airfy have begun pre-orders on Indiegogo for the airfy Beacon, enabling people to convert their “dumb homes” into smart homes without the need for ripping up walls to install costly infrastructure.


The airfy is a hardware beacon that you place around your house--it looks like a smaller, slicker, futuristic version of the wireless routers we’re all familiar with. Once installed in the various rooms in your home, the airfy Beacons can enable virtually any device in those rooms to turn on or off based purely on your micro-location--that is, whether or not you’re in the room.


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The US government can brand you a terrorist based on a Facebook post. We can't let them make up the rules | Arjun Sethi | The Guardian

The US government can brand you a terrorist based on a Facebook post. We can't let them make up the rules | Arjun Sethi | The Guardian | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The US government’s web of surveillance is vast and interconnected. Now we know just how opaque, inefficient and discriminatory it can be.


As we were reminded again just this week, you can be pulled into the National Security Agency’s database quietly and quickly, and the consequences can be long and enduring. Through ICREACH, a Google-style search engine created for the intelligence community, the NSA provides data on private communications to 23 government agencies. More than 1,000 analysts had access to that information.


This kind of data sharing, however, isn’t limited to the latest from Edward Snowden’s NSA files. It was confirmed earlier this month that the FBI shares its master watchlist, the Terrorist Screening Database, with at least 22 foreign governments, countless federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, plus private contractors.


The watchlist tracks “known” and “suspected” terrorists and includes both foreigners and Americans. It’s also based on loose standards and secret evidence, which ensnares innocent people. Indeed, the standards are so low that the US government’s guidelines specifically allow for a single, uncorroborated source of information – including a Facebook or Twitter post – to serve as the basis for placing you on its master watchlist.


Of the 680,000 individuals on that FBI master list, roughly 40% have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation”, according to the Intercept. These individuals don’t even have a connection – as the government loosely defines it – to a designated terrorist group, but they are still branded as suspected terrorists.


The absurdities don’t end there. Take Dearborn, Michigan, a city with a population under 100,000 that is known for its large Arab American community – and has more watchlisted residents than any other city in America except New York.


These eye-popping numbers are largely the result of the US government’s use of a loose standard – so-called “reasonable suspicion” – in determining who, exactly, can be watchlisted.


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Trinidad & Tobago: Digicel applies for pay-TV concession in T&T | TeleGeography.com

Trinidad & Tobago-based mobile operator Digicel has applied for a pay-TV licence, the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad & Tobago (TATT) has confirmed.


The application for the concession, technically named a ‘Subscription Broadcasting Service via a Telecommunications Network (National Geographical Class)’, is subject to comments or objections until 15 September.


Competition in Trinidad’s pay-TV sector comes from the likes of Flow, DirecTV, Green Dot and MayaroCable TV.


TeleGeography notes that the Digicel Group has taken steps in recent months to broaden its horizons in a number of markets, by agreeing takeover deals for a series of fixed line and pay-TV operators. Recent acquisitions include: Telstar (Jamaica, July 2014); WIV Cable (Turks & Caicos, April 2014); SAT Telecommunications (Dominica, February 2014) and Caribbean Cable Holdings (Anguilla, Nevis and Montserrat (November 2013).

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Istanbul, Turkey: The Ninth Annual Internet Governance Forum | IntGovForum.org

The Ninth Annual IGF Meeting will be held in Istanbul, Turkey on 2-5 September 2014. The venue of the meeting is Lütfi Kirdar International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC). The overarching theme for the meeting is: "Connecting Continents for Enhanced Multistakeholder Internet Governance" with the following subthemes.


Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo has issued an official invitation to the Ninth Annual Internet Governance Forum Meeting. The draft programme paper for the 9th IGF is available. It is a rolling document which will be updated as the preparatory process for the Istanbul meeting progresses.


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Five easy ways to keep your business secure that you might not have considered | GigaOM Tech News

Five easy ways to keep your business secure that you might not have considered | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Another day, another massive security breach, this time courtesy of hackers who somehow gained entrance into the systems of J.P. Morgan Chase, the biggest bank in the U.S. But if you’re thinking, “I don’t need to worry about my own business getting hacked, because I’m a small fish in a huge pond and there’s no reason hackers would ever target me,” that’s probably not the best line of reasoning to take.


According to statistics from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non-profit advocacy group that logs data breaches, 206 security breaches have been recorded so far in 2014 alone, afflicting organizations as varied as Dairy Queen, the U.S. Investigations Services (USIS), a UPS Store in Atlanta, Georgia and online retailer Backcountry Gear. As you can tell, you don’t have to be a massive financial institution or a government agency to be at risk.


That being said, there are some steps you can take to protect your business, and while these tips may seem pretty obvious, sometimes you just need a nagging reminder that security is a process.


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Murfreesboro, TN: Aviation corridor proposed for city | Scott Borden | The Daily News Journal

Murfreesboro, TN: Aviation corridor proposed for city | Scott Borden | The Daily News Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Economic-development goals in a 2035 Comprehensive Plan should include the vision of an aviation corridor to tie in with other cities in the region, City Manager Rob Lyons said.


"This project will give us the opportunity to do that," Lyons told officials wanting to come up with plans for a fast-growing city that reached a U.S. Census estimated population of 117,044 in 2013.


"Let's think big. It may be aviation. We are well positioned to do extremely well for a long time."


Lyons shared his ideas during a recent joint meeting with the Murfreesboro City Council, the city's Planning Commission and Bret Keast, the owner of the Kendig Keast Collaborative consulting firm that's working with government officials and the community in crafting a comprehensive plan for a city expected to approach a population of 200,000 in the next 20 years.


The city manager mentioned several reasons why the aviation industry could be a key to Murfreesboro's future economic development, including how Middle Tennessee State University has one of the top aerospace colleges in the country with students training at Murfreesboro Airport.


Lyons said the aviation corridor includes Smyrna Airport with its large corporate park available for economic development, Nashville International Airport, the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell in the Clarksville area, the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma where wind tunnels are located for research and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.


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South Dakota: A jobless future? | Jodi Schwan, Editor | Sioux Falls Biz Journal

South Dakota: A jobless future? | Jodi Schwan, Editor | Sioux Falls Biz Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It looked like Jim Schmidt, a Lincoln County commissioner and head of the Sioux Empire Housing Partnership, had copied half of the Sioux Falls business community and local politicians on an email I received one Monday morning a few weeks ago.


"Food for thought on a Monday morning — a futurist view of a jobless market," the subject line read.


A link took me and dozens of executives and elected officials included on the email to a Washington Post piece by Vivek Wadhwa, an academic, writer, researcher and entrepreneur.


Are you worried about robots taking your job in 20 years?


The column focused on how technology might be leading us into a jobless future, as automation produces more output and requires fewer people.


"Within two decades, we will have almost unlimited energy, food and clean water; advances in medicine will allow us to live longer and healthier lives; robots will drive our cars, manufacture our goods, and do our chores," Wadhwa wrote.


Self-driving cars will be available by the end of this decade and eventually replace truck, bus and taxi drivers, he predicted. We will debate whether humans should be allowed to drive on public roads at all.


Robots already are replacing manufacturing workers, Wadhwa wrote, working 24 hours a day and requiring little maintenance. Farmers, pharmacists and retail clerks also are threatened by robotic replacements.


True to the prediction, not long after reading that article I stumbled on one about the "Burger bot." The creation of a San Francisco startup, it custom grinds patties, cooks them, slices toppings, places the items on a bun and bags the burgers.


"The writing is clearly on the wall about what lies ahead," Wadhwa wrote. "Yet even the most brilliant economists — and futurists — don't know what to do about it."


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Documents: Tacoma, WA police using surveillance device to sweep up cellphone data | The News Tribune

Documents: Tacoma, WA police using surveillance device to sweep up cellphone data | The News Tribune | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Tacoma Police Department apparently has bought — and quietly used for six years — controversial surveillance equipment that can sweep up records of every cellphone call, text message and data transfer up to a half a mile away.


You don’t have to be a criminal to be caught in this law enforcement snare. You just have to be near one and use a cellphone.

Known as Stingray, the device — small enough to be carried in a car — tricks cellphones into thinking it’s a cell tower and draws in their information.


News that the city was using the surveillance equipment surprised City Council members, who approved an update for a device last year, and prosecutors, defense attorneys and even judges, who in court deal with evidence gathered using the surveillance equipment.


“If they use it wisely and within limits, that’s one thing,” said Ronald Culpepper, the presiding judge of Pierce County Superior Court, when informed of the device Tuesday. “I would certainly personally have some concerns about just sweeping up information from non-involved and innocent parties — and to do it with a whole neighborhood? That’s concerning.”


For years, a growing number of local law enforcement agencies have used the surveillance devices to track a cell signal to deduce a subject’s location, who he communicates with, for how long and how often.


Law enforcement investigators can use the technology to find drug dealers and violent criminals. Civil libertarians charge police also are secretly scooping up data from innocent people during these broad searches for suspects.


No state or local law enforcement agency in Washington state has acknowledged possessing the required surveillance devices. Tacoma Police Department has not confirmed that it has a Stingray, but Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said Tuesday that the Police Department sometimes assists the sheriff’s office with the device.


Documents — including purchase orders, invoices, contracts and even a police newsletter — further make the case that Tacoma officials will not.


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US: Growth Ahead for Wireline Services | USTelecom.org

US: Growth Ahead for Wireline Services | USTelecom.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Both the wireline services and telecom equipment markets are experiencing significant growth in the U.S. and abroad. Several factors are propelling this expansion — from increased consumer use of broadband and data-rich devices — to a wide area of applications and utilization within other industries.


According to a new report from Transparency Market Research, the global wireline services market is projected to grow from $19 billion this year to almost $35 billion by 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of almost 10.4 percent. The increase in exploration and production activities of oil and natural gas companies is largely responsible for fueling the growth, since wireline services are required throughout the lifecycle of these activities.


Additionally, broadband services are increasing wireline revenue for America’s telecommunications providers. An article in Market Realist noted that Verizon’s Consumer business revenue rose by more than 5 percent last quarter — driven predominantly by the company’s wireline FiOS products (broadband and TV). New subscribers also increased FiOS consumer revenues by more than 14 percent over the quarter.


AT&T is experiencing a similar uptick in wireline revenue related to U-verse, the company’s fiber-based service, offering digital TV, voice, and high-speed Internet.


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14th Annual Digital Cities Survey Extends Deadline | DigitalCommunities.com

14th Annual Digital Cities Survey Extends Deadline | DigitalCommunities.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Center for Digital Government's Digital Cities Survey is conducted annually in the summer: July - August.


All United States cities, towns, villages and consolidated city/county governments with populations of 30,000 or greater are invited to participate in this survey. The awards are presented concurrently with the National League of Cities (NLC) conference held each November.


The Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities Program invite cities to participate in the 14th Annual Digital Cities Survey!

EXTENDED SUBMISSION DEADLINE: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2014.

CLICK HERE for more information and the survey, or visit www.govtech.com/cdg/digitalcities2014


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Drone Video Shows Apple's Campus In Construction | Kaylene Hong | The Next Web

Drone Video Shows Apple's Campus In Construction | Kaylene Hong | The Next Web | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There’s been a lot of hype about Apple’s new ‘spaceship’ Campus 2, a 2.8 million square-foot collection of buildings that was first proposed back in 2011.


Now, a video captured by a GoPro mounted on a flying drone gives a bird’s-eye view of what’s going on at the construction area, as spotted by 9to5Mac. We got a glimpse of the massive campus via an aerial photo released last month, but the new footage shows how much progress has been made since then, with the foundations of the buildings already laid down.


The city of Cupertino revealed earlier that work only started on the campus in Q2 of this year and is due to continue through the end of Q4 in 2016, although it’s possible that the campus will open before all the buildings are fully completed.


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Aereo Tells Judge It Can Beat Lawsuit Despite Supreme Court Ruling | Eriq Gardner | The Hollywood Reporter

Aereo Tells Judge It Can Beat Lawsuit Despite Supreme Court Ruling | Eriq Gardner | The Hollywood Reporter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On Friday, Aereo filed its opposition to an injunction demanded by television broadcasters. As expected, the digital TV company is asserting that it is a "cable system" and is therefore entitled to a statutory license under Section 111 of the Copyright Act.


Two weeks ago, after U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan said that broadcasters should get the opportunity to first make an injunction motion before Aereo opposed, the plaintiffs did just that with one that was aimed at stopping Aereo from "streaming, transmitting, retransmitting, or otherwise publicly performing any Copyrighted Programming over the Internet... or by means of any device or process throughout the United States of America."


The broadcasters said that it was in keeping with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on June 25 to interpret Aereo's system of capturing over-the-air television signals and relaying them to subscribers' digital devices as a violation of broadcasters' public performance rights.


Justice Stephen Breyer likened Aereo to a cable system -- an unlicensed one -- which has led the company to fully embrace the designation in the interest of saving its company.


According to Aereo's memo opposing an injunction, "At oral argument, the [Supreme] Court made clear its understanding that its ruling would entitle Aereo to a Section 111 license when Justice [Sonia] Sotomayor specifically stated, 'We say they’re a c[]able company, they get the compulsory license.'”


"Indeed, the Court specifically found that with respect to its 'Watch Now' functionality, Aereo is a facility that receives television broadcast signals and makes secondary transmissions to its subscribers," continues the brief.


The broadcasters have pointed to arguments why Aereo won't prevail in the copyright case and can't attain a statutory license including WPIX, Inc. v. ivi, Inc., a 2nd Circuit opinion from 2012 that knocked down a statutory license attempt from a Aereo predecessor.


"But ivi concerned nationwide, out-of-market retransmissions that are fundamentally different from Aereo’s in-market-only technology and thus it does not apply here," responds Aereo. "Aereo has paid the statutory license fees required under Section 111, and thus Plaintiffs can no longer complain that they are not being compensated as copyright owners."


Aereo raises another argument about why it is likely to succeed in the case.


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Peru: MTC to begin regional fibre rollout | TeleGeography.com

The Peruvian government has begun preparation of pre-investment studies for the construction of a regional fibre-optic network, to complement the national fibre-optic backbone.


TeleSemana writes that the new network is expected to connect around 6,500 remote locations, covering more than six million Peruvians.


The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) is aiming to award licences for ten regional fibre projects under the scheme by July 2015.

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NY: Syracuse MetroNet is exploring ways to bring municipal broadband here | Nader Maroun | Syracuse.com

NY: Syracuse MetroNet is exploring ways to bring municipal broadband here | Nader Maroun | Syracuse.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The members of Syracuse MetroNet have noted with great interest both the recent proposal by Mayor Stephanie Miner to build a municipal broadband network in Syracuse and Stephen Kimatian's recent endorsement of the idea in his guest column.


Syracuse MetroNet is a nonprofit consortium of local educational, health care and government organizations whose purpose is to use broadband technology to have a positive impact on economic opportunity, equity of access, and quality of life available to Central New Yorkers.


Syracuse MetroNet was originally formed in 1997 to take advantage of a grant opportunity enabling us to build a very high speed fiber network linking anchor institutions such as the Syracuse City School District, local hospitals, local colleges and universities, and city and county governments in Syracuse at a fraction of the cost of building such a network without such a grant.


We estimate that the MetroNet members have saved over $14 million in telecommunications and Internet costs over the past 15 years by virtue of their membership in the consortium.


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Leaked Nude Celebrity Photos Banned on Twitter #JenniferLawrence | Marvin Ammori Blog

Leaked Nude Celebrity Photos Banned on Twitter #JenniferLawrence | Marvin Ammori Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The incident of celebrity photos being leaked on 4chan has everything to make it a fascinating law school exam question, a sociological novel, or a Supermarket tabloid--all wrapped in one.


If you talk to lawyers at the web companies, they’ll be quick to say there are 10 other hard questions they have to answer every day; this is just the tip of the iceberg.


 I just published an article in the Harvard Law Review about free expression on Internet platforms like Twitter and I’m sometimes asked my thoughts when Twitter bans photos or videos (LA Times, Fox Business, etc.) Since Twitter is suspending accounts for sharing  Jennifer Lawrence’s leaked stolen photos, I might get questions, but the questions (above) will be more interesting than the answers I’d give.


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OH: Cleveland welcomes growing field of server farms | Mark Gillispie | MorningJournal.com

OH: Cleveland welcomes growing field of server farms | Mark Gillispie | MorningJournal.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Northeast Ohio is hardly ready to usurp Silicon Valley as a high-tech mecca, but a growing number of data centers are choosing to locate in and around Cleveland to take advantage of cheap power, an abundance of fiber-optic cable and one of the safest environments in the country for storing digital information.


BYTEGRID, which got its start in northern Virginia, is investing millions to convert a small data center near downtown Cleveland into a large one capable of using enough electricity to power around 20,000 homes. At least one other company is looking for a site in Cleveland, and several more have established sites in the city and its suburbs.


“One of the things that is attracting data centers to Cleveland is we have a lot of industries with a lot of data,” said Tracey Nichols, director of city’s Department of Economic Development.


Data centers do not create large numbers of jobs directly, Nichols said, but their existence is a big attraction to companies that use massive amounts of data. Hospitals and medical research centers such as the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, for example, are prime customers for data centers. Nichols hopes these data centers will help grow the city’s fledgling health tech corridor. Information technology companies like Rosetta and Brandmuscle have come to Cleveland, in part, because of its high-speed, fiber-optic data and Internet connections, Nichols and others said.


“We have a very robust fiber trunk that runs through Cleveland, which means excellent connectivity,” Nichols said.


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The Evolution of ATM Skimmers | Ashley Feinberg | Gizmodo.com

The Evolution of ATM Skimmers | Ashley Feinberg | Gizmodo.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a little over a decade, ATM skimmers have gone from urban myth to a wildly complex, ever-evolving suite of technologies that has the potential to be the worst nightmare of anyone with a bank account. Here's a look at how quickly skimmers have evolved—and why they're increasingly impossible to spot.


In its most basic form, skimming is really just a way to intercept an otherwise legitimate financial transaction. Whether it's a rig hooked up to an ATM, a cash register, or even something as low-tech as photocopying receipts, the thief uses their mechanism of choice to swipe your card's data, as you go about your business totally unaware.


To gain full, total access to all your hard-earned funds, thieves-to-be need to secure your PIN, too. That usually means rigging up a camera overhead to capture your keystrokes or, if they're particularly conniving, laying a device over the keypad itself. In other words—skimming can be sneaky as hell.


Tracing skimming back to its origins is difficult, if for no other reason that it was years before their existence was confirmed. There have been traces and whispers of skimmers, though, for well over a decade.


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$10 million loan fund for North Country businesses established through NY Power Authority & Alcoa | North Country Now

Businesses in St. Lawrence County looking to expand and create new jobs or retain existing ones might be eligible for loans through a new $10 million fund created with commitments between the New York Power Authority and Alcoa.


The fund for low-cost loans has been established through a long-term contract between NYPA, which operates the Moses-Saunders hydropower dam on the St. Lawrence River, and the giant aluminum company, which has smelting plants in Massena that require large amounts of electric power.


“This fund will give local businesses access to the capital they need to invest in land, equipment and technology that will enable them to remain competitive in the 21st Century,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo as quoted in a news release from the New York Power Authority. “Supporting these efforts in turn will help strengthen the region’s economy and create jobs in the North Country.”


At a meeting Thursday, the Development Authority of the North Country Board of Directors approved the protocol needed to administer the loan fund jointly with the New York Power Authority and to receive applications from businesses looking to expand in St. Lawrence, Clinton, Franklin, Essex, Jefferson, Lewis, Hamilton or Herkimer counties. Expanding enterprises within the New York boundaries of the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation are also eligible.


Applications will be reviewed regularly by the North Country Economic Development Fund Board, which consists of representatives from the New York Power Authority, the Development Authority of the North Country, the North Country Alliance and Empire State Development.


According to the agreement, for every $25,000 loaned from the fund at least one job must be created or retained.


Businesses are eligible to apply for loans of up to 30 percent of a project’s planned cost, with a ceiling for the loans set at $300,000. Businesses interested in applying for funding can visit the Development Authority of the North Country’s website at www.danc.org for more information.


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Iowa: New tech group chief puts high priority on outreach | Marco Santana | The DesMoines Register

Iowa: New tech group chief puts high priority on outreach | Marco Santana | The DesMoines Register | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Brian Waller says Iowa's technology industry must draw interest from minority groups and people outside traditional population centers such as Des Moines for its growth to continue.


The first step toward achieving that, he said, is reaching out, identifying and meeting with the leaders of those communities. Waller takes over as president of the Technology Association of Iowa on Sept. 29 and says the organization's growth depends on prioritizing diversity.


"The future of Iowa's technology community relies on how we can integrate a diverse population to get a really rich environment of different views," Waller told The Des Moines Register. "I have spent three years traveling the state. I've also spent three years representing Iowa outside of the state. The communities that get it have a melting pot of diversity. The communities that will be left in history's wake are the ones that do not want to integrate or diversify from a population standpoint."


His effort comes just as some of the nation's most prominent tech firms, such as Apple, Facebook and Google, shared diversity numbers with the public this month.


The overall picture shows an industry disproportionately dominated by white and Asian males when compared with the overall population. But officials in Iowa say a program aimed at students has shown promise, with the percentage of those participating closely aligning with Iowa's ethnic makeup.


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Canada: How Uber Explains Our Economic Moment | HilaryHenegar.com

"My driver said he’d been with Uber ever since he’d graduated from his master’s program in IT project management last year. This profession was, according to him, going through hard times. In the wake of the great recession steady jobs had been replaced by short-term contracts, and there weren’t even a lot of these to be had. As a result he was now competing against much more experienced people for each new gig that came up, and he hadn’t had a lot of success since graduating.


So to cover his monthly fixed costs of student loan payments (on more than $100k in debt), rent, and health care he was driving for Uber. A lot. He estimated that he spent more than 60 hours a week behind the wheel. This allowed him to pay his bills, but not to build up any real savings.


To which I say good for him, and for Uber. This is a guy who could be sitting around waiting for the dream job he’d gone to school for, collecting unemployment, defaulting on his loans, and/or dropping out of the labor force for good. Instead, he was working hard at a job that was available.


The days when high-paying factory jobs were available to anyone willing to work hard are long gone. My driver’s job existed because a small group of venture-backed entrepreneurs created a technology platform that matched up cars and drivers with people who were willing to pay for a ride. Most cars are chronically underutilized and in a time of high unemployment, so are too many people. Uber’s founders came up with a clever way to put them to work, and to do so while maintaining an enviable service and safety record."


I feel a deep urge to call bullshit on the author’s neoliberal perspective on how Uber supports our unemployed brothers and sisters during this time of economic transition. 


I have often been one to tout the collaborative economy as an opportunity for cities to build micro-entrepreneurship and expanded employment opportunities, but I feel uncomfortable by the way he’s framed it. And am wondering how to reconcile.

 

I agree that the “peer economy,” as he calls it, has many benefits in terms of temporary employment for those saddled with enormous student loan debt and no hope of securing work in their field of expertise. But in celebrating the collaborative economy as a gift to those folks by the venture capital system, he loses me. 


It’s hard not to reflect on the Robber barons or the d’Medicis and their contributions to the arts - on the backs of all those exploited by the systems that created their wealth, including the earth. Art = good. Means to patronizing, collecting and preserving art = bad. 


It’s hard not to wonder what’s to become of the more vulnerable class of folks who’ve been driving taxis to solve very similar challenges. 


I’m really starting to feel a sense of urgency for those of us in the business of supporting/fostering/developing the collaborative economy (holla, Share Vancouver!) to push harder to elevate public discourse beyond the novelty of Airbnb, Uber and the monster capital being raised to exploit the opportunities presented by collaborative consumption.


More democratic models of generating startup capitol and revenue are the future of the collaborative economy space. Co-ops, crowdfunding and community investment funding – when we talk about the collaborative economy and its potential to better our lives, and the future of our world, these are the models that will propel us forward. 


Of course there’s a place for the big guys – and their deep pockets. They’re mainstreaming the concept of sharing, borrowing and connecting peer-to-peer. But we can’t let them win the battle to define the space. 


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New York Flaunts Clout in Review of Comcast Deal/TWC | Shields & Klopoff | Bloomberg.com

New York Flaunts Clout in Review of Comcast Deal/TWC | Shields & Klopoff | Bloomberg.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a test of state clout over megamergers, New York regulators are threatening to disrupt Comcast Corp.’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. unless the companies agree to costly concessions.


From Albany to Sacramento, the nation’s two biggest cable providers are trying to appease state officials reviewing the $42.5 billion deal.


While the U.S. government is reviewing the alliance on antitrust grounds, states have authority over cable service on their soil. New York regulators have additional power due to a state law passed this year that requires cable mergers to benefit the public.


If a key state such as New York rejects the acquisition, it could lead the companies to abandon the plan.


“They definitely have leverage,” said Brad Ramsay, general counsel at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, a Washington-based group that represents state regulators. “They can definitely extract concessions.”


The deal has become part of the New York gubernatorial campaign. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has received more than $200,000 in combined campaign contributions from the companies, hasn’t taken a stance, while a rival for the Democratic nomination says she would reject the consolidation.


The New York State Public Service Commission is scheduled to vote on Oct. 2, and its staff has recommended the acquisition be approved only if concessions are included that it says would cost Philadelphia-based Comcast $300 million. The proposals would require a post-merger Comcast to keep jobs in New York, offer faster broadband, improve customer service, expand in rural areas, and ease enrollment standards for a program that offers cheap broadband to poor families.


Some are pressing for even more. This week, Cuomo said he would make sure the state’s merger review takes into account a nationwide loss of Internet service for Time Warner customers that lasted several hours on Aug. 27.


The state can set conditions so stringent the companies would forgo the merger, said Richard Brodsky, a former state lawmaker and senior fellow at Demos, a New York-based policy group. “This is not a garden-variety PSC decision.”


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The race for your files continues, as Amazon Zocalo comes online | Barb Darrow | GigaOM Structure

The race for your files continues, as Amazon Zocalo comes online | Barb Darrow | GigaOM Structure | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Th cloud giants continued their race to get as much user data in their respective clouds as possible. Last week, for example:



All of this action shows  just how addictive storage can be. Vendors figure if they can get your files into their cloud,  they can sell you all sorts of other, pricier, stuff.


Sooooo …. don’t be storage smart and cloud silly. As Gigaom guest contributor Praveen Asthana pointed out, storage price cuts are widely trumpeted, but the same vendors that are making all that noise are also hiking prices on other services, just without the fanfare.


This week’s Structure Show guest Kalev Leetaru, Yahoo Fellow in Residence at Georgetown University blew us away with his discussion of the Global Database of Events, Languages, and Tones. The GDELT project ingests hundreds of millions of historical data points from the past 35 years to try to figure out how what’s happening today may be mirroring similar events in the past. But more broadly, he talks about how the advent of cloud computing and the availability of big data tools bring all that information to mere mortals, not just ivory tower academicians or government statisticians. This, he says, is a very good thing.


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