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CA: Mesh network offers potential for free wireless Internet in Oakland | KitsapSun.com

CA: Mesh network offers potential for free wireless Internet in Oakland | KitsapSun.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Every Thursday evening, on a poorly lit street around the corner from the Paramount Theater, groups of computer hackers and tech whizzes slip through a battered glass door under an unmarked blue awning. An intercom and a hand-written note are the only sign that the door leads to anything more than an abandoned storefront. Inside, a freight elevator takes them up a floor to a loft space furnished with battered couches and boxes full of technological jetsam: circuitboards, resistors and miles of tangled gray cable. Books on coding lie on top of disassembled hard drives. In one corner, a giant satellite dish watches over the room. This is a hacker space.


Sudo Room, as it is known, is a working space for technologists, activists and artists looking to collaborate on projects. Though on any given night the projects at Sudo Room can be as varied as the hackers themselves, one group, calling itself Sudo Mesh, is instead focused on one unified goal: building a free wireless network for Oakland residents.


Sudo Mesh is a collection of dozens of volunteers and is a sort-of Meetup for civic-minded programmers. On this particular Thursday evening, as seven participants kick back around a fabulously disorganized table, some with their feet up, others hunkered down over the laptops, debate ensues. They are deciding which elements of the project they should consider critical and start work on. One by one, they examine the individual facets of the project. Items are knocked down the list if they will take too long or aren’t needed right away. “We could work on that,” one of the programmers said. “But I don’t want to spend 5 years going through assembly code and come out an old man.”


The group’s plan is to use low-cost wireless routers mounted on top of buildings to beam signals from house to house. The setup, known as a “wireless mesh network,” is basically a locally controlled communications infrastructure that can be used as a way to connect to the Internet, or as a neighborhood “intranet”—a closed local network that allows community members to communicate.


The idea, from the perspective of Sudo Mesh, is to break away from centralized commercially owned Internet networks and provide free, community-based networks that are both more secure and more communal.


Though the Bay Area has some of the highest rates of high-speed Internet access in the country, many of Oakland’s more impoverished neighborhoods are still comparatively disconnected. Bruce Buckelew, the founder of Oakland Technology Exchange West, an organization that distributes free or low-cost refurbished computers to low-income residents, conducted a survey through schools and community fairs in West Oakland and found that only 30 percent of residents had a working computer and Internet at home. Overall, the city of Oakland got a grade of “C” for broadband availability, according to a study by the East Bay Broadband Consortium.


Bridging this “digital divide” in Oakland is exactly what Sudo Mesh hopes to do with the wireless mesh network.


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Netflix, Google Face Push to Tax Online Video in Canada | Etan Vlessing | Hollywood Reporter

Netflix, Google Face Push to Tax Online Video in Canada | Etan Vlessing | Hollywood Reporter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As Netflix faces heavy resistance from industry foes while landing in Europe this week, the U.S. video streaming giant suddenly has a friend in Canada.


Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper on Monday said he will "oppose any tax on services like Netflix and YouTube" to support local TV production. Netflix, which launched in Canada in 2010, this week faces calls by local TV producers and broadcasters to be regulated as an online video service during public hearings by the CRTC, the country's TV czar, to wrap Friday.


Netflix will appear at the hearings later this week, but Google, which appeared last week, warned Canada choosing to regulate and tax YouTube may be repeated elsewhere. "If Canada started doing this, it is not difficult to imagine other jurisdictions would follow suit,” Jason Kee, public policy and government relations counsel at Google Canada, told the CRTC hearings.


Netflix and Google go unregulated in Canada, unlike local broadcasters and cable players that contribute a share of their revenues to subsidize local TV production. That's coin for local TV shows like ABC's Motive and BBC America's Orphan Black, which sell into the U.S. and other world markets.


Canadian media giants Rogers Media and Shaw Media recently unveiled plans to launch their own online video portal, Shomi, to compete with Netflix Canada. A third rival, Bell Media, is set to launch its own video streaming service here.


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PBS: Incentive Auction Rules Reverse Legal Precedent | Deborah McAdams | TVTechnology.com

The nation’s top public TV station groups say incentive auction rules adopted by the Federal Communication Commission in May reverse the regulator’s own precedent. PBS, the Association of Public Television Stations and the Corp. for Public Broadcasting filed a Petition of Reconsideration with the FCC to preserve channels for public TV stations. The Petition notes that the recently adopted rules simply omit this protection.

“For over 62 years, the commission has reserved spectrum in the Table of Allotments for exclusive noncommercial educational use, but the Report and Order reverses this well-settled policy sub silentio by making the continued existence of noncommercial educational reserved spectrum subject entirely to market forces,” the Petition stated. “The commission did not provide the required notice or reasoned analysis for this unprecedented reversal of longstanding policy.”

Specifically, the Petition requests a revision allowing noncommercial, educational stations operating on reserved channels to relinquish spectrum usage rights if at least one public station remains on the air in the community, or at least one channel is reserved during the repack for a new noncommercial entrant.

The Petition notes that, under the rules, a channel license reserved for a noncommercial remains reserved if the licensee elects to share a channel with another station. The designation is not protected for noncommercial stations that elect to give up their license entirely to participate in the spectrum auction.

“This would de facto delete the reserved channel without ‘carefully weighing the public interest effects of dereservation,’ as is the commission’s well-established practice,” the Petition said.


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Sign Up Early for A Gig in Longmont, Colorado | Lisa Gonzalez | community broadband networks

Sign Up Early for A Gig in Longmont, Colorado | Lisa Gonzalez | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you are in Longmont, you can sign up for gigabit service from LPC for only $49.95 per month.


The Longmont Compass reports that customers who sign up within the first three months will retain that price point for an as yet undetermined extended period. AND, that price stays with the home if the customer sells, adding substantial value to the real estate.


The Compass also spoke with General Manager Tom Roiniotis about LPC's decision to offer Inernet and voice but not video:


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Dish inks Scripps renewal, adds HGTV, Food Network, other channels to OTT lineup | Daniel Frankel | FierceCable.com

Dish Network announced a wide-reaching program-renewal deal with Scripps Networks, giving the No. 2 satellite operator, among other things, rights to put channels including HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and DIY Network on its soon-to-launch OTT service.


The multiyear deal also expands Dish's multiscreen rights to Scripps content, allowing for authenticated live and VOD programming on IP devices while widening distribution of DIY and Cooking Channel on Dish's popular America's Top 200 programming tier.


The intriguing part of this content-renewal deal is, of course, the over-the-top rights. Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has said his company's upcoming OTT video service, set to launch by the end of 2014, is targeted at Millennial-aged viewers who are not yet indoctrinated into the world of pay TV.


Analysts have questioned how many channels Dish could license for the service while still reaching a target monthly consumer price of $30 or less for the service.


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Yahoo slams new 'digital will' law, says users have privacy when they die | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com

Yahoo slams new 'digital will' law, says users have privacy when they die | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

What should happen to your personal digital communications—emails, chats, photos and the like—after you die? Should they be treated like physical letters for the purposes of a will?


Yahoo doesn’t think so. The company is criticizing new legislation giving executors charged with carrying out the instructions in a person’s will broad access to their online accounts. The legislation aims to tackle the sensitive question of what to do when someone’s online accounts on sites like Facebook, Google or Yahoo outlive them.


This past summer, Delaware signed into law the “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act.” It was modeled after legislation approved earlier by the Uniform Law Commission, a nonprofit group that drafts and lobbies for new state laws. In Delaware, the measure removes some of the hurdles that an estate attorney or other fiduciary would otherwise have to go through to gain broad access to the deceased’s online accounts.


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Uber doubles down on shared rides, enacts permanent pricing cut for UberX | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com

Uber doubles down on shared rides, enacts permanent pricing cut for UberX | Zach Miners | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Uber appears determined not to stand down in the face of a regulatory challenge to its new shared ride service.


Days after the California Public Utilities Commission said that Uber’s car-pooling service violated state law, the company sent an email to users in the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday that promoted it.


“Want to make your commute even cheaper? Give UberPool a spin,” Uber wrote to users.


UberPool is a new car-pooling service that lets multiple people split the cost of a ride. That service can be up to 40 percent cheaper than UberX, the company said.


The same email also said Uber would be permanently dropping the price of its lower-cost UberX service by 15 percent, extending an earlier summer promotion. That makes it 40 percent cheaper than a taxi, according to Uber.


After Friday’s announcement from the CPUC, which also targeted similar services offered by Lyft and Sidecar, Uber said it had no immediate plans to suspend the service and would work with the CPUC to keep UberPool alive.


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More Yahoo vs. The NSA: Government Tried To Deny Standing, Filed Supporting Documents Yahoo Never Got To See | Tim Cushing | Techdirt.com

More Yahoo vs. The NSA: Government Tried To Deny Standing, Filed Supporting Documents Yahoo Never Got To See | Tim Cushing | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After having the court documents unsealed and the gag order lifted, Yahoo is finally free to talk about that one time when the government wanted to fine it $250,000 a day [!!] for refusing to comply with a FISA court order to turn over data on its customers. Two of the lawyers (Mark Zwillinger and Jacob Sommer) who represented Yahoo in that court battle, have written a post detailing the behind-the-scenes activity.

First off, they note that it's kind of amazing they're even able to discuss it at this point.


Having toiled in secret until recently, and having originally been told we would need to wait 25 years to tell anyone of our experience, it is refreshing to be able to write about the case in detail.


That's the normal declassification schedule, which at this point would still be nearly 18 years away. Fortunately, Ed Snowden's leaks have led to an accelerated schedule for many documents related to the NSA's surveillance programs, as well as fewer judges being sympathetic to FOIA stonewalling and exemption abuse.

We've talked several times about how the government makes it nearly impossible to sue it for abusing civil liberties with its classified surveillance programs. It routinely claims that complainants have no standing, ignoring the fact that leaked documents have given us many details on what the NSA does and doesn't collect. But in Yahoo's case, it went against its own favorite lawsuit-dismissal ploy.


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Google wants to fly drones above New Mexico | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com

Google wants to fly drones above New Mexico | Martyn Williams | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google is planning to test Internet delivery by drone high above New Mexico, according to a government filing.


On Friday, the company asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to use two blocks of frequencies for the tests, which are scheduled to last about six months and begin in October. They will be conducted above an area of more than 1,400 square kilometers in the center of New Mexico to the east of Albuquerque.


“Google recently acquired Titan Aerospace, a firm that specializes in developing solar and electric unmanned aerial systems for high altitude, long endurance flights,” Google said in its application. “These systems may eventually be used to provide Internet connections in remote areas or help monitor environmental damage, such as oil spills or deforestation.”


Google said its application for temporary permission to make the transmissions was needed “for demonstration and testing of [REDACTED] in a carefully controlled environment.”


The FCC allows companies to redact certain portions of their applications when they might provide too much information to competitors.


In the application, Google said it wants to use two blocks of frequencies, one between 910MHz and 927MHz and one between 2.4GHz and 2.414GHz. Both are so-called “industrial, scientific and medical” (ISM) bands typically used for unlicensed operations.


The application has not yet been approved.


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Reflections on the Internet Governance Forum - Community Broadband Bits Episode 116 | community broadband networks

Reflections on the Internet Governance Forum - Community Broadband Bits Episode 116 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This week, Lisa Gonzalez interviews me about my recent trip to the Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul, Turkey. The IGF is an opportunity for anyone concerned with Internet Governance on planet Earth to discuss the perceived problems and possible solutions.


It uses a multi-stakeholder format, which means that governments, businesses, civil society, and academics are all able to come to the table... this means just about anyone who has the means to participate -- including by doing so remotely -- can do so.


I went as part of a delegation with the Media Democracy Fund, along with six other grantees of theirs to get a better sense of how we can contribute and what we might learn from these international discussions.


Lisa and I discuss my impressions, some of the topics we discussed, and why it is important for people in the United States to participate in these global deliberations.


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ILSR Submits Comments to FCC in Support of Restoring Local Authority | community broadband networks

ILSR Submits Comments to FCC in Support of Restoring Local Authority | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance recently submitted comments on FCC petitions filed by Wilson, North Carolina and Chattagnooga, Tennessee. We have been following the proceedings that may prove to be the tipping point in the movement to regain local telecommunications authority.


Our organization collaborated with eight other groups and two D.C. Council Members to provide detailed comments for the Commission's consideration. Our group supplied examples of the benefits munis bring to local communities. In addition to providing connectivity where the incumbents fail to meet demand, our comments point out that municipal networks encourage private investment. We provide concrete evidence of both.


With our partners, we also addressed the fact that state restrictions like the ones in North Carolina and Tennessee are not needed. Local communities must go through a rigorous, transparent process everywhere before investing. State legislative barriers are the product of intense lobbying from the cable and telecommunications giants.


As we point out to the Commission, municipal networks are an important tool to bring ubiquitous Internet access to the U.S.:


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Verizon's McAdam: We set a high bar for further FiOS expansions | Sean Buckley | FierceTelecom.com

Verizon's McAdam: We set a high bar for further FiOS expansions | Sean Buckley | FierceTelecom.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Verizon Communications is holding fast to its thesis that while it is on track to complete the buildout of FiOS to about 21 million premises, it will need a compelling reason to expand into new markets.


Speaking during the Goldman Sachs 23rd Annual Communacopia Conference, Verizon's CEO and Chairman Lowell McAdam said that it is not dismissing the idea of possible expansions, but they would have to provide a compelling return on investment.

"Expansion into other areas I wouldn't rule out, but it would have a very high bar," McAdam said. "If you look at some of the things that Google is doing around fiber, I think that's opened up a new model for us."

McAdam added that broadband data is more profitable than its linear TV service, so offering more fiber-based broadband services is a possibility.  


"Going in and offering broadband is another alternative for us, but the bar will be fairly high on that," he said. "If I see an opportunity to generate shareholder value, I wouldn't rule it out."


Today, the focus near-term FiOS opportunity is centered around extending its fiber into new apartment buildings and condominiums in major metro markets such as New York City and Newark, N.J.


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Supreme Court ruling has wiped out 11 “do it on a computer” patents so far | Joe Mullin | Ars Technica

There have been no less than 11 federal judicial rulings striking down patents as "abstract" since the US Supreme Court's June 26 decision in Alice v. CLS Bank.


It's a high number. The case was recognized as a big decision by commentators when it came, and what's happened since suggests the ramifications may be broader than first thought. Vox Media's Tim Lee (former Ars contributor) has an article rounding up the 11 rulings.


The list only highlights patents that have lost under Section 101 of the US patent law, which governs when a patent is an "abstract idea" that can't be patented. Section 101 wins are important to repeat defendants, because they're wins without going through discovery and hiring costly experts. However, some members of the patent bar see Section 101 as an overly blunt tool for weeding out bad patents from true innovations. Many of the patents being knocked out under 101 are "do it on a computer" patents that take everyday activity and add a lot of computer jargon.


"The courts are sending a pretty clear message: you can't take a commonplace human activity, do it with a computer, and call that a patentable invention," writes Lee.


This season's patent walk of shame includes the Digitech case, in which a unit of Acacia Research Corporation tried to use a circa-1996 Polaroid patent to sue 31 different camera companies and retailers. A July 17 decision by the Federal Circuit put that patent to rest. Lee also counts the "computer bingo" patent, another Section 101 strike down noted by Ars after an August 26 decision from the same court.


Since then, a Delaware court has knocked out a patent on a computer system for "upselling" that was used to sue Amazon.


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Community Broadband Media Roundup - September 12 | community broadband networks

Community Broadband Media Roundup - September 12 | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This week, you might have been tripped up by some infuriating “spinning wheels of death” on the Internet, but don’t worry, the slow-down was largely symbolic— at least for now. Fierce Telecom covered the Internet Slowdown Day protest on Wednesday, organized by “Battle for the Net." It was designed to bring attention to what will happen if so-called “slow lanes” are allowed under new FCC net neutrality rules. 


Netflix, MuniNetworks, Kickstarter, Reddit, and thousands of other sites took part in the protest. “The New Yorker’s” Vauhini Vara writes that Internet Slowdown Day produced more than 700 thousand comments about proposed FCC rules. 


Meanwhile, Amazon is positioning itself to come out on top whichever way the Net Neutrality rules fall. Susan Crawford urged the FCC to take action and “Think Chattanooga.”


“This is not a story of huge companies fighting one another. This is a sweeping narrative of private control over the central utility of our era: high-capacity Internet access. We, the people of the United States, are the collateral damage in this battle; we are stuck with second-class, expensive service.”


Muni Networks are gaining more ground, with Chattanooga and Wilson, NC still in the spotlight. Anne L. Kim took up the issue of preemption on CQ Roll Call. She interviewed Chris Mitchell for the article:

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Netflix Has Replaced Google as the Face of Net Neutrality | Brendan Sasso | National Journal

Netflix Has Replaced Google as the Face of Net Neutrality | Brendan Sasso | National Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Netflix is relishing its role as the corporate leader in the fight for net neutrality, and why wouldn't it?


By fighting for an open Internet, the video-streaming site is not only advocating a position that would protect its profits, it's also earning goodwill from Web activists and liberals.


But by taking a high-profile role, Netflix risks learning a painful political lesson: In Washington, friends are fickle, and enemies have long memories.

 

That was the fate that befell Google after it carried the net-neutrality mantle in 2010, pushing for an open Internet at the same time President Obama was making it a policy priority. The position alienated Republicans, and in the end, it won Google precious little goodwill on the left—the company was accused of selling out the cause when it compromised on a final deal.


In this year's fight, Google has kept largely quiet. The switch in roles comes as the Federal Communications Commission is trying to craft new net-neutrality regulations after a federal court struck down the old ones earlier this year. The agency's new proposal has sparked a massive backlash from liberals because it could allow broadband providers like Comcast to charge websites for access to special Internet "fast lanes."


And as Netflix wades into the fray, it has drawn the ire of the same forces that went after Google in 2010. Conservatives and industry groups are already beginning to target Netflix, claiming it wants all Internet users to bear the costs of its data-heavy videos.

 

"Now that Google has stepped back, the fire is going to be directed at Netflix," said Harold Feld, the senior vice president of consumer group Public Knowledge and a supporter of net neutrality. "You can tell the people who haven't updated their talking points from 2010 to 2014 by the fact that they still say 'Google' instead of 'Netflix.' "


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Wireless Fight as FCC Ponders Net Neutrality Regulations | Todd Shields | Bloomberg.com

Months of debate and more than 1 million comments about rules for Web traffic may have moved regulators to consider tougher standards for wireless networks that connect smartphones and tablets.


With the Federal Communications Commission ending its period to accept comments today, Chairman Tom Wheeler is weighing whether to bar wireless companies led by AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. from treating differently some Web content -- applying the same rules as wired services.


The agency already has drawn a firestorm for Wheeler’s proposal in May to allow Internet service providers including cable companies such as Comcast Corp. to accept payment for moving Web traffic faster. Such arrangements would divide the Internet into fast and slow lanes with companies that can pay getting speedy access to consumers, while those that can’t languishing with slow connections, according to critics.


“Given some of the opposition to Wheeler’s proposal that he floated earlier in the year, I think he’s taking a more open view and putting every issue on the table,” said Andrew Lipman, a Washington-based partner at the law firm Bingham McCutchen.


As of Sept. 10, an FCC record 1.5 million public comments had been submitted to the FCC, Gigi Sohn, special counsel for external affairs, said on Twitter. Analysis of the comments by the Sunlight Foundation showed most commenters are opposed to Wheeler’s proposal and want to maintain the ideal of treating Web traffic equally, a concept known as net neutrality.


Public-interest groups want utility-style rules for high-speed Internet service, or broadband, said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior counselor at the Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Public Representation in Washington. The next priority is extending the rules to wireless, he said.


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Teachout, Wu call on Cuomo to back net neutrality | Conor Skelding | Capital New York

Teachout, Wu call on Cuomo to back net neutrality | Conor Skelding | Capital New York | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu appeared at a Free Press rally for net neutrality on Monday afternoon, their first public appearance since losing the Democratic primary last week.


"There's something about the Internet that to my mind, or about net neutrality, that brings into focus the very idea about America," said Wu. "The frontier nature of this country meant that from the beginning we were all struggling together, we all had a rough equality."


Wu coined the term "net neutrality," which refers to the idea that Internet service providers must treat all data equally, and not set different prices and speeds for certain parties or types of content.


Today is the last day for public comments on the Federal Communication Commission's proposal to allow Internet service providers to designate "fast lanes" and "slow lanes."


"The frontier today is the Internet, and we don't want to have it closed," he said at the rally.


"So I am incredibly proud of this net neutrality movement, which as I know first-hand, started from academic obscurity, started with a paper," he said to at least 50 people at a park near City Hall.


Early in his run for lieutenant governor, Wu described his campaign as an attempt to raise the profile of causes like net neutrality, but as his bid gained traction, it came to focus more on his opponents' record on more traditional issues, like immigration and guns.


Teachout spoke after Wu, and brought up the Comcast-Time Warner merger, which she touched on in her campaign against Governor Andrew Cuomo.


"We need to stop this merger. And we need net neutrality," she said. "From now on out, you should not be able to be a politician in New York State, let alone in this country, who does not take a strong, clear stand against the Comcast-Time Warner merger and in favor of net neutrality."


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T-Mobile takes Wi-Fi voice and text everywhere | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

T-Mobile takes Wi-Fi voice and text everywhere | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

T-Mobile USA is making a big bet on Wi-Fi, offering unlimited voice calls and text messaging over any Wi-Fi network on every new smartphone it sells, including on networks outside the U.S.


The new offering, called Wi-Fi Un-leashed, is open to all subscribers to the carrier’s Simple Choice plans. It could vastly expand the places those customers can exchange calls and text messages.


In addition to domestic use, it will allow calls into the U.S. from any Wi-Fi network outside the country, using the subscriber’s regular T-Mobile number and no additional apps. Starting Sept. 17, Wi-Fi Un-leashed also extends to flights on U.S. airlines—minus the voice calls—with unlimited text, picture messaging and visual voicemail through a partnership with in-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo.


Wi-Fi plays a growing role in mobile operator networks, bringing in extra capacity without sapping their expensive licensed spectrum, because Wi-Fi runs over unlicensed bands. Hotspots have been a key part of T-Mobile’s infrastructure for years, but the services unveiled on Wednesday go further than any major U.S. carrier to date. It’s the latest strategy by the nation’s fourth-largest carrier to grab market share from its larger rivals through unconventional plans.


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IL: Is SWAT raid on wrong house, based on open Wi-Fi IP address, unconstitutional? | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com

IL: Is SWAT raid on wrong house, based on open Wi-Fi IP address, unconstitutional? | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Although the EFF and a coalition of other organizations believe in the Open Wireless Movement, here’s a nightmare-like story regarding a SWAT team raiding the wrong house based on open Wi-Fi and an IP address.


Court documents filed on 9/11 revealed that Evansville Police did not look into all the IP addresses associated with anonymous posts before sending in SWAT. The owner of the house claims the raid violated her “Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure and excessive force.”


Before we dive into this, you really should take the time to watch the Evansville, Indiana, SWAT helmet cam video evidence that was released by the City Attorney’s office. The real action starts after the three minute mark.


Two years ago, online rumors of leaked police addresses and other personal information led to some pretty serious threats made against the Evansville Police. The online comments were posted on Topix.com. The warrant application (pdf) mentions a subpoena sent to Topix requesting information about three usernames and the IP addresses associated with threats the users made to the police. It turns out that all three users had the same IP, and so Time Warner Cable was subpoenaed for the subscriber name and address associated with that IP address.


According to a court document response (pdf) filed by the subscriber, Louise Milan, Topix found nine usernames that had used that IP to post threats, but the cops were focused on just three. Topix also warned the cops, “Multiple people could be using that same IP address so that may lead you to a different, unrelated user."


Time Warner also warned that the IP address associated with the online threats to the Evansville Police Department and Chief Billy Bolin did not mean it came from the individual registered as having that IP. “We do not make any representations as to the identity of the individual who actually used the above IP address on the time and date in question.”


In fact, according to testimony, a detective claimed that prior to SWAT busting the glass door, tossing in two flashbangs, and handcuffing the mom and daughter, “he drove down her street to check for open wireless connections and discovered one while in front of her house.”


City attorneys argue that “searching the home to examine the Internet router and computers was necessary.” They also admit, “Further investigation was necessary to determine if the person posting the threats from the IP address was the actual residence subscriber to the IP address or someone else.”


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'Tiny banker' malware targets US financial institutions | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

'Tiny banker' malware targets US financial institutions | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A banking trojan, known for its small size but powerful capabilities, has expanded the number of financial institutions it can collect data from, according to security vendor Avast.


Tiny Banker, also known as Tinba, was discovered around mid-2012 after it infected thousands of computers in Turkey.


The malware is just 20K in size and can inject HTML fields into websites when it detects a user has navigated to a banking site, asking for a range of sensitive information banks would never request during an online session.


A version analyzed by Avast showed Tiny Banker has been customized to target many new financial institutions, many of which are based in the U.S. such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase, wrote Jaromir Horejsi, an Avast malware analyst.


A screenshot bearing Wells Fargo’s logo showed how Tiny Banker asks for more information when a person logs into their account. It shows a bogus warning about a system update, asking users to provider more information to verify their identity.


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Microsoft Buys Minecraft Maker Mojang for $2.5 Billion | Angela Moscaritolo | PCMag.com

Microsoft Buys Minecraft Maker Mojang for $2.5 Billion | Angela Moscaritolo | PCMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Heads up, Minecraft fans — the acquisition rumors were true.


Microsoft has purchased Mojang, maker of the massively popular sandbox building game, for $2.5 billion, the Swedish game developer announced on Monday. The company also announced that founders Markus "Notch" Persson, Carl Manneh, and Jakob Porser are leaving.


The news follows reports last week that Microsoft and Mojang were in "serious discussions" about a multibillion dollar acquisition.


"Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us," the Mojang team wrote in a note on its website. "It's going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK."


The developer continued: "Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you — the community — are extremely important to everyone involved."


The acquisition is somewhat surprising given that Persson, who created Minecraft, has, in the past, avoided outside investment and derided big firms like Microsoft. But as Minecraft grew from a "simple game to a project of monumental significance," the pressure of owning it became too much for Persson to handle.


"Though we're massively proud of what Minecraft has become, it was never Notch's intention for it to get this big," Mojang wrote. "He's decided that he doesn't want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. The only option was to sell Mojang."


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FTC warns of using big data to exclude consumers | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

FTC warns of using big data to exclude consumers | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The collection and analysis of big data holds great promise, but may also lead some companies to create profiles of consumers leading to discrimination, the chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Monday.


The FTC is “committed to rigorous enforcement” of current law related to data privacy and discriminatory practices, but companies, U.S. policymakers and other groups need to have a deeper discussion about fair big data practices, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said during an agency workshop on big data and discrimination.


Monday’s workshop could “help foster a discussion about industry’s ethical obligations as stewards of information detailing nearly every facet of consumers’ lives,” she said. Ramirez said she hoped the workshop would also identify gaps in existing U.S. law related to the collection and use of big data.


Big data “has the capacity to save lives, improve education, enhance government services, increase marketplace efficiency and boost economic productivity,” Ramirez added. “But the same analytic power that makes it easier to predict the outbreak of a virus, identify who is likely to suffer a heart attack, or improve the delivery of social services, also has the capacity to reinforce disadvantages faced by low-income and underserved communities.”


FTC Commissioner Julie Brill, like Ramirez a Democrat, repeated calls for Congress to pass new transparency rules for data brokers. She also called on data brokers to police their own industry by better understanding how the companies that buy their data sets use the information and by prohibiting discriminatory uses of the data.


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United Way to begin accepting donations in Bitcoin | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com

United Way to begin accepting donations in Bitcoin | Hayley Tsukayama | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

United Way Worldwide announced Monday that it will begin taking donations in Bitcoin, the digital currency.


Bitcoin users can now use the currency for donations to the United Way's Innovation Fund, a part of the United  Way dedicated to updating the organization through "technology, relationships and efficiency." Coinbase, one of the leading Bitcoin payment platforms, is partnering with the charity to let those interested donate directly from their digital Bitcoin wallets to the fund. According to a page on the United Way's Web site, anyone from around the world can donate to the fund using Bitcoin.


Bitcoin is making steady progress in gaining more mainstream acceptance, with companies ranging from Home Depot and Target to local food trucks jumping on board. eBay's PayPal announced last week that it will soon be offering developers of its Braintree payment platform the option to accept Bitcoin as a method of payment, also through a partnership with Coinbase.


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Intellectual Property Maximalist Lobbying Group Proposes A New Trademark SOPA (Plus Girl Scout Badges...) | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Intellectual Property Maximalist Lobbying Group Proposes A New Trademark SOPA (Plus Girl Scout Badges...) | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) -- which is a sort of "super group" of companies looking to always ratchet up intellectual property laws -- had a brief note on their front page on Monday pushing for bringing back SOPA, but with a promise that it's for trademark law only (the story may disappear from the front page and apparently "archives" are for "members only"):


On September 7 the IPO Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting in principle legislation to attack online trademark counterfeiting. Such legislation would enable brand owners to file suit against domestic websites selling or offering for sale or distributing counterfeit products, and also as to “foreign counterfeiting websites,” in order to obtain a court order that would require (a) that financial service providers cease processing payment transaction to the defendant(s) and the foreign counterfeiting website, at least in the United States, (b) that internet advertising service providers cease providing such services to the defendants and the foreign counterfeiting website, at least in the United States, and (c) any other injunctive relief the court may determine as appropriate.

The legislation should focus on trademark counterfeiting only; provide for nationwide personal jurisdiction and venue over any foreign counterfeiting website, so long as such is consistent with due process; and permit e-mail service of process to a domestic or foreign counterfeiting website without requiring leave of court based on the e-mail address listed in domain registration for the administrative or ownership contact and to the e-mail address found on the website, if no real or actual address is available for providing notice to the potential defendant.


All of that sounds nearly identical to parts of SOPA -- except the IPO seems to think that if they just focus on the trademark issue, it will be able to sneak it through without a SOPA-like eruption from the public. But the basics here are the same. Allowing companies a private right of action to block out sites (both domestic and foreign) deemed as "counterfeiting websites" is a dangerous plan. Note that, in the past, big brands have regularly declared perfectly legitimate resellers as counterfeiters, and have attacked and sued companies like eBay for not magically stopping people from selling counterfeit goods.


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Sprint, Windstream traffic routing errors hijacked other ISPs | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

Sprint, Windstream traffic routing errors hijacked other ISPs | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet traffic routing errors made by U.S. operators Sprint and Windstream on the same day last week underscore a long-known Internet weakness, posing both security and reliability issues.


Both of the errors involved Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), an aging but crucial protocol that is used by networking equipment to route traffic between different providers. Traffic routes are “announced” using BGP, and the changes are then taken up by routers around the world.


But network providers frequently make erroneous announcements—known as “route hijacking”—which can shut off services, causing reliability issues or be used for certain kinds of cyberattacks.


For about a day starting last Tuesday, Sprint made a BGP announcement that directed Internet traffic from an ISP in Macedonia through its own network, wrote Doug Madory, a senior analyst with Dyn’s Renesys division, which monitors how global Internet traffic is routed.


On the same day, Windstream commandeered traffic destined for Saudi Telecom, and then a day later for networks in Gaza and Iceland, besides three in China, Madory wrote.


It’s not uncommon for operators to make such errors through misconfiguration. But Madory wrote that the problem of BGP route hijacking “has gone from bad to downright strange.”


“While we now detect suspicious routing events on an almost daily basis, in the last couple of days we have witnessed a flurry of hijacks that really make you scratch your head,” he wrote.


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Comcast Denies It Threatens Customers With Suspension for Using Anonymous Tor Web Browser | Stop the Cap!

Comcast Denies It Threatens Customers With Suspension for Using Anonymous Tor Web Browser | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast has strongly denied reports it threatened customers with service termination for using the Tor anonymous web browser, designed to obscure a web user’s identity or location.


Over the weekend, Deep.Dot.Web reported that Comcast agents were contacting customers using the Tor web browser and warned them their Internet access was in peril if they continued using the anonymous browsing software, claiming it was against Comcast’s acceptable use policy.


Allegedly, Comcast representatives “Jeremy” and “Kelly” claimed Tor was “an illegal service” and demanded the customers reveal the web sites they were attempting to reach using the browser.


The representative identified as “Kelly” claimed:


“Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the Internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal. We have the right to terminate, fine, or suspend your account at anytime due to you violating the rules. Do you have any other questions? Thank you for contacting Comcast, have a great day.”


The Tor browser was designed to protect the identity of its privacy-minded users from nosy government agencies and law enforcement elements, but has also been used to hide illegal activities ranging from child pornography and drug dealing to murder-for-hire and espionage-related activities. But the majority of the estimated four million Tor users rely on the browser primarily to help them overcome Internet censorship blocks or geographic restrictions on online video content.


Tor directs each user’s Internet traffic through a free, worldwide,

volunteer network of more than five thousand relays to hide a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Technically, users who volunteer to run a relay may be in violation of Comcast’s acceptable use policy, which states (in part):


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