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Facts About Low Band Spectrum Holdings | AT&T Public Policy Blog

In an op ed last week, CCA again called for auction limits to “prevent the two dominant wireless carriers from blocking competitors’ access to low-frequency spectrum.”  The problem, according to CCA, is that AT&T and Verizon control a significant portfolio of low band spectrum.  CCA also alleges we were “handed” our 850 MHz allocations “free of charge” (despite the fact that the vast majority of our current 850 MHz licenses were acquired for significant value on the secondary market). 
 
Finally, CCA alleges that we “want to keep other cellphone carriers (including, presumably, CCA members) from getting access” to low band allocations.  CCA specifically identifies three member companies – Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, Cellular One – that “are anxious to further expand in rural America, and they need low-frequency spectrum to do so.”
 
As with so many arguments in the high band/low band spectrum debate, these arguments are made without much reliance on facts.  So, let’s look at some relevant facts, starting with the three member companies CCA identifies in support of their argument:


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Mediacom Urges FCC To Unbundle | Multichannel.com

Mediacom Urges FCC To Unbundle | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Mediacom Monday asked FCC to adopt new rules that would prevent volume-based discounts in program carriage deals, insure access to content online, and require the disclosure of rates.

 

That came in a petition for expedited rulemaking filed by the cable operator. The FCC is under no obligation to act on the petition, but it puts Mediacom's asks on the table.

 

Mediacom said the relationship between programmers and distributors is broken, that the marketplace as it has evolved thanks to Washington is anti-competitive and anti-consumer, and that Washington needs to fix it. It even co-opts some network neutrality language usually used by content providers towards ISPs, saying one thing the FCC needs to do is prevent programmers from blocking or restricting access to online content.

 

Mediacom wants the FCC to unbundle deals dominated by "six "media giants" who control more than 125 cable nets, including must-have programming. Mediacom even added the recent talk of a possible News Corp./Time Warner Cable merger to make its point that big companies are getting bigger, adding that broadcast groups are heavying up, too.


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The rise of the Internet of things | USAToday.com

The rise of the Internet of things | USAToday.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Here's a phrase you're about to hear a lot more of — if you haven't already: the "Internet of Things."


Why? It's about to be the next big thing. What does it mean? It's not just computers and phones that are linked up to the Internet — it's your stuff: refrigerators and glasses and trains and buildings.


The buzz about the Internet of things really took off earlier this year, when Google acquired smart thermostat and smoke alarm company Nest for $3.2 billion. What else is a member of this new club? Wearable devices like the Fitbit and Nike FuelBand trackers that monitor our physical activity and store that data in the cloud, Google Glass and more.


But the surprising twist is that the big money in this next big thing may lie in a slightly less sexy arena than you'd think. The real future of devices that talk to each other may lie not in Google users but in smart-ifying, formerly clunky industrial companies.


Folks who have worked on building automation, railroads, heating efficiency and more are stepping full force into the Internet of Things space. Companies like Cisco ("Internet of Everything"), GE ("Industrial Internet") and others in the Valley that were around long before the dot-coms showed up now have the chance to make big-time bucks by smartening up a bunch of hefty, old-school stuff that affects our daily lives.


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US Chamber of Commerce backs Senate cyber bill | TheHill.com

US Chamber of Commerce backs Senate cyber bill | TheHill.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pressuring the Senate to take up and “expeditiously” pass a Senate cybersecurity bill that would encourage companies to share information about cyber threats with each other and the federal government.


The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act “would strengthen the protection and resilience of businesses’ information networks and systems against increasingly sophisticated and malicious actors,” the Chamber said in a letter Monday.


The bill — from Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice-chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) — passed through the Intelligence Committee earlier this month by a 12-3 vote.


The group praised the bill’s protections for companies that share information about cyber threats.


It’s “targeted protections — including limited liability, disclosure, regulation, and antitrust — should constructively influence businesses’ decisions to share cyber threat data and countermeasures more quickly and frequently,” the letter said.


That bill has faced backlash from privacy advocates, who warn that it would let government agencies, including the National Security Agency, share and use information without adequate restraints and say it would give private companies too much leeway in identifying and responding to cyber threats.


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A guide to the confusing Internet of Things standards world | NetworkWorld.com

A guide to the confusing Internet of Things standards world | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google recently announced a new networking protocol called Thread that aims to create a standard for communication between connected household devices.


If that description sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Thread joins similar collaborative efforts led by the likes of Intel, Qualcomm, GE and others in the race to establish standards for the Internet of Things, which is widely considered the next technology frontier.


The complexity of these standardization efforts has evoked comparisons to the VHS and Betamax competition in the 1980s. Re/Code’s Ina Fried wrote, “there’s no way all of these devices will actually be able to all talk to each other until all this gets settled with either a victory or a truce.” In the meantime, we’re likely to see some debate among the competing factions.


“If this works out at all like past format wars, heavyweights will line up behind each different approach and issue lots of announcements about how much momentum theirs are getting,” Fried wrote. “One effort will undoubtedly gain the lead, eventually everyone will coalesce and then, someday down the road, perhaps all these Internet of Things devices will actually be able to talk to one another.”


So here’s a guide to the current state of affairs in the race to standardize the Internet of Things, along with what people are saying about each.


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The Almost forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000 | AmigaLounge.com

The Almost forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000 | AmigaLounge.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Steve Jobs was quoted that he wanted to" Make a dent in the Universe", and now,everyone (other than Amiga users) wants to change the history books and erase Commodore and the Amiga from history, but, there actually was one Amiga that truly changed the world.


Unfortunately, The Amiga 2000 is one of the least favorite or collectible Amiga's . Even today, with the most "die hard" Amiga fans, the A2000 often is ignored and shunned as a "big, ugly, tank" of a machine. One look at Ebay (Canada or USA), on any given day, and you can see that the A2000 often doesn't sell at all, and most times goes for a lot cheaper than all the other Amiga's - even cheaper than an A500.


But, because of this, one can find awesome deals, because, most of the time, the seller has no clue of what Zorro cards are inside, and for next to nothing, you can pick up a fully loaded A2000 with an '030 or above for peanuts (the shipping is the killer here). This is the "North American" Market I speak of, I have no idea what the European market is for the A2000.


In fact, I get a lot of A2000 dumped at my door, because it is almost next to impossible to give them away here in Canada. Also, like all big box Amiga's, the A2000 has a "barrel" battery, that can and will eventually leak. The Acid can eat into and through the motherboard, so, if you are looking for one - Always ask to see the battery area.


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US court says warrant for access to all content of email account is justified | NetworkWorld.com

US court says warrant for access to all content of email account is justified | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A New York judge defended a controversial order that gave the government access to all content of the Gmail account of a target in a money laundering investigation, holding that courts have long recognized the practical need for law enforcement to seize documents if only to determine whether they fall within the warrant.


The opinion, which will likely fuel the privacy debate in the country, is at odds with decisions by judges in several courts including courts in the Districts of Columbia and Kansas, Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York noted in an opinion Friday.


The District of Columbia judge had refused disclosure of the contents of an entire email account because that would allow the government to actually seize large quantities of emails “for which it has not established probable cause.”


The court in Kansas criticized a similar warrant as it failed to “limit the universe of electronic communications and information to be turned over to the government to the specific crimes being investigated.”

The New York court, in contrast, granted on June 11 a warrant that permitted law enforcement to obtain emails and other information from a Gmail account, including the address book and draft mails, and to permit a search of the emails for certain specific categories of evidence.


Courts have recognized that on-site searches of hard-disk drives of computers and other storage devices are not practical given the complexities of electronic searches, and have as a result allowed for the seizure or copying of such storage, Judge Gorenstein wrote. He held that the same applied to email accounts.


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NAACP & CWA on Net Neutrality: FCC Should Use Sec. 706 | Multichannel.com

NAACP & CWA on Net Neutrality: FCC Should Use Sec. 706 | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The NAACP and Communications Workers of America (CWA) want the FCC to use its existing Sec. 706 authority to justify new Open Internet regulations that essentially recreate the success of the old ones.

 

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed using Sec. 706 authority [insuring broadband deployment to all Americans] to buttress rules thrown out by the court, but also says he will reclassify ISPs under Title II common carrier regs if that is the only way to preserve openness, competition, innovation and investment.

 

In comments to the commission on its proposed new network neutrality rules, they said the FCC should follow the advice of the D.C. court. "The Court affirmed the Commission’s legal authority to ground its Open Internet rules in Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, and suggested that no blocking and anti-discrimination rules based on a 'commercially reasonable' standard would be legally sound. The Commission should take this approach to protect a free and Open Internet," they said.

 

They did not criticize the alternative Title II approach, instead focusing on how 706 authority could and should protect openness.


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CA: TWC Tosses Hat Into L.A.’s 1-Gig Ring | Multichannel.com

CA: TWC Tosses Hat Into L.A.’s 1-Gig Ring | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable said it is participating in Los Angeles’ request for information (RFI) that’s aiming for the development and deployment of a communitywide, 1-Gbps-capable network to residences, businesses and city government facilities.

 

TWC said its response includes information on the company’s future deployment plans for DOCSIS 3.1, an emerging CableLabs specification that will be capable of supporting multi-gigabit capacities – up to 10 Gbps in the downstream, and at least 1 Gbps in the upstream – using the existing hybrid/fiber coax (HFC) network. At The Cable Show in April, the cable industry announced “Gigasphere” as the consumer-facing brand for the technology. TWC is currently using DOCSIS 3.0 technology to deliver downstream speeds of up to 300 Mbps in Los Angeles and other markets as part of the MSO’s all-digital “TWC Maxx” network upgrade initiative.

 

CableLabs completed the initial set of product specs for DOCSIS 3.1 last fall. Timelines are in flux as vendors develop products and submit them for certification and qualification at CableLabs, but it’s expected that widespread deployments of D3.1 should be underway within two to three years. TWC, which is in the process of being acquired by Comcast, believes it will be in position to deliver 1-Gig speeds via D3.1 in Los Angeles by sometime in 2016, and that the technology will be ready for “initial pilots” in 2015.

 

The city issued its RFI request for the last spring, and responses were due today (July 18). The City of Los Angeles Community Broadband Network (LACBN) RFI asked bidders to propose an “enforceable timeline and process for buildout,” and encouraged joint bidding.


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Google Talks Up Fiber Expansion Plans | Multichannel.com

Google Talks Up Fiber Expansion Plans | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google is on track with its exploration to expand Google Fiber to as many as 34 cities as they complete “checklists” that could pave the way for future deployments, and the expectation is to announce the going-forward plan before the end of the year, company SVP and CFO Patrick Pichette said Thursday on the company’s second quarter earnings call.

 

Google Fiber has buildouts underway in Kansas City, Mo; Kansas City, Kan.; Provo, Utah; and Austin, Texas. Under an expansion plan announced in February, Google identified 34 cities in nine metros, including Nashville, Tenn.; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; San Jose; and Atlanta. Google is now working with those cities to determine where it will build out its 1-Gig network.

 

Those cities are in the process of completing a readiness checklist (PDF) that aims to streamline the process and to help keep the cost of construction in check. Pichette said Google Fiber and the cities will be working out rights-of-way, permitting and other details “over the coming months.”

 

Pichette also heaped some praise on the economics of Google Fiber, which, unlike earlier competitive overbuilders, has sought approval for a demand-based deployment plan that enables Google Fiber to target “fiberhoods” that meet subscriber thresholds.

 

“The economics of a fiber network today are clearly much cheaper than they were, say, a decade ago,” Pichette said.


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How The Big 5 Publishers Hobbled The Amazon Unlimited Launch | TechCrunch.com

How The Big 5 Publishers Hobbled The Amazon Unlimited Launch | TechCrunch.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Amazon Unlimited was dubbed the Netflix of books. That is correct as long as you imagine a Netflix consisting of an endless array of low-budget indie releases and some major small-studio films. In truth, Amazon’s new $9.99 all-you-can-read service features no books by “big 5″ trade publishers, an issue on which Amazon has remained mum.


I’ve asked Amazon for clarification but haven’t heard back. However, if you look at the list of popular titles on the Unlimited list, all of them are either published by smaller publishers – “smaller” being a relative term – or independent entities. Take Life Of Pi, for example. It comes from Mariner Books, part of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, an educational publisher. Michael Lewis’ The Flash Boys comes from W. W. Norton & Company. And the real draw, the Harry Potter canon? That is owned by Pottermore Limited, J K Rowling’s business venture. In short, the big guys sat this one out.


In fact, most major publishers have been working hard to create and invest in other partners. Oyster Books, for example, is a beneficiary of this anti-Amazon sentiment while houses like Zola Books are funded by publishing insiders. Whether or not these services will bear fruit – or cash – is a different question.


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Netflix tests private viewing mode to hide your B-movie binges | GigaOM Tech News

Netflix tests private viewing mode to hide your B-movie binges | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We’ve all been down that road: You decide to watch some roadhouse B-movie fare on Netflix, hoping that it will be fun on some level, but it ends up just being a very bad choice — one that you and everyone sharing your account are reminded of the next day, and that your friends may even see as well, if you have chosen to share your viewing with Facebook.


Netflix may be able to help you with those B-movie binges soon: The company is starting to test a private viewing mode. Cliff Edwards, the company’s new director of corporate communications and technology, described the tested feature this way in an email:


“At Netflix we continuously test new things. In this case, we are testing a feature in which a user watching a movie or TV show can choose to view in “Privacy Mode.” Choosing that option means the program will not appear in your viewing activity log, nor will it be used to determine recommendations about what you should watch in the future.”


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Why the consumer is still held hostage in peering disputes | GigaOM Tech News

Why the consumer is still held hostage in peering disputes | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Angry customers. Dueling blog posts. An FCC investigation. The most recent fight over peering practices between large ISPs and Netflix has raged for almost 10 months, and we are still at the point where each side is defending its point of view and the end consumer is still getting screwed when they try to watch streaming video.


We’ve talked a lot about why this is happening and each side’s arguments. Others have laid out how to get around the problem using virtual private networks that can hide the Netflix traffic. Verizon has been the latest ISP to face the wrath of customers. On Wednesday it tried to explain its position. On Thursday Level 3 explained why Verizon was full of crap and a customer tested his connection using the aforementioned VPN and discovered he could get 10x the speed.


But the core of the problem here isn’t that Verizon is trying to protect its own economic interest by charging Netflix, whose traffic might ultimately force it to invest in network upgrades to meet consumer demand. It’s that Verizon is effectively a duopoly provider of an essential service.


Consumers have to use Verizon, or likely one of the other large ISPs that is economically threatened by streaming video traffic, and Netflix has to find some way of getting its bits onto Verizon’s network in order to serve subscribers who can’t leave the network. Both have an economic interest is prevailing and both can make effective arguments about how the other is in the wrong. Thus, the consumer is basically a hostage in the ongoing Verizon and Netflix negotiations.


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Peeling the onion: Almost everyone involved in developing Tor was (or is) funded by the US government | Pando.com

Peeling the onion: Almost everyone involved in developing Tor was (or is) funded by the US government | Pando.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

“The United States government can’t simply run an anonymity system for everybody and then use it themselves only. Because then every time a connection came from it people would say, “Oh, it’s another CIA agent.” If those are the only people using the network.”


—Roger Dingledine, co-founder of the Tor Network, 2004

***

In early July, hacker Jacob Appelbaum and two other security experts published a blockbuster story in conjunction with the German press. They had obtained leaked top secret NSA documents and source code showing that the surveillance agency had targeted and potentially penetrated the Tor Network, a widely used privacy tool considered to be the holy grail of online anonymity.


Internet privacy activists and organizations reacted to the news with shock. For the past decade, they had been promoting Tor as a scrappy but extremely effective grassroots technology that can protect journalists, dissidents and whistleblowers from powerful government forces that want to track their every move online.


It was supposed to be the best tool out there. Tor’s been an integral part of EFF’s “Surveillance Self-Defense” privacy toolkit. Edward Snowden is apparently a big fan, and so is Glenn Greenwald, who says it “allows people to surf without governments or secret services being able to monitor them.”


But the German exposé  showed Tor providing the opposite of anonymity: it singled out users for total NSA surveillance, potentially sucking up and recording everything they did online.


To many in the privacy community, the NSA’s attack on Tor was tantamount to high treason: a fascist violation of a fundamental and sacred human right to privacy and free speech.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation believes Tor to be “essential to freedom of expression.” Appelbaum — a Wikileaks volunteer and Tor developer — considers volunteering for Tor to be a valiant act on par with Hemingway or Orwell “going to Spain to fight the Franco fascists” on the side of anarchist revolutionaries.


It’s a nice story, pitting scrappy techno-anarchists against the all-powerful US Imperial machine. But the facts about Tor are not as clear cut or simple as these folks make them out to be…


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Fox Mulls Using Sky Sale to Boost Time Warner Bid | Bloomberg.com

Fox Mulls Using Sky Sale to Boost Time Warner Bid | Bloomberg.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. is considering using proceeds from the sale of its Italian and German pay-TV assets to boost its offer for Time Warner Inc., according to two people familiar with the matter.


Fox may reach an agreement to sell its wholly-owned Sky Italia unit and its 57 percent stake in Sky Deutschland AG to British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc in the next two weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The assets could be valued at about 10 billion euros ($13.5 billion), people familiar with the matter said in May. Fox owns a 39 percent stake in BSkyB.


The proceeds could give Murdoch additional cash for a Time Warner bid without having to borrow more. While Fox is willing to pay more than $75 billion after Time Warner’s board rejected its $85 per-share bid, no final decision has been made on whether to bump the offer, the people said. JPMorgan & Chase Co., the biggest U.S. bank by assets, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the fifth-biggest, will help Murdoch finance the bid.


BSkyB and Fox disclosed their talks about a European transaction in May, weeks before Fox approached Time Warner.


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NAACP, Major Union Side With Cable Companies On Net Neutrality | HuffPost.com

NAACP, Major Union Side With Cable Companies On Net Neutrality | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The NAACP and a major union last week endorsed an FCC plan that could effectively end net neutrality, a position that aligns them with major broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast.


The union and the NAACP seem to be banking on the broadband companies' claims that money earned from charging websites like Netflix for fast Internet access will be reinvested to create jobs, especially for African-Americans. But one progressive net neutrality proponent blasted that position as a "baffling" embrace of "trickle-down economics."


In a joint comment to the FCC on Tuesday, the NAACP and the Communications Workers of America argued against regulations that could "have the unintended consequence of dampening the private investment needed to build the next-generation broadband networks."


For years, broadband companies have similarly argued that they would be unable to invest in building out their networks if Internet providers are reclassified as public utilities, thus prohibiting discrimination between websites based on price.


Instead of taking that step, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has instead opted to adopt a plan that could open the door to paid prioritization, which would allow broadband companies to charge websites like Netflix for speedier access to their customers. Net neutrality activists argue that would divide the Internet into preferential "fast lanes" and disadvantaged "slow lanes" for online traffic.


The NAACP and CWA did not take an outright position on reclassification, but they did argue that paid prioritization won't lead to those fast and slow lanes. More money flowing to the big broadband companies for investing in capital improvements, they claimed, will lead to better service for all.


Shifting the cost of Internet access to "edge providers" like Netflix will provide broadband companies with a new "revenue stream," the groups argued, and could result in "lowering end-user subscriber rates for broadband service, thereby reducing cost barriers to adoption of broadband services."


"With high-sped networks, there is enough capacity for everyone, and concerns about 'fast lanes' and 'slow lanes' disappear," the African-American advocacy group and the union asserted.


Rashad Robinson is the executive director of Color of Change, an online group for African-American advocacy that has repeatedly criticized the NAACP for its position on net neutrality. He said the FCC comment is a misstep that borrows ideas from "trickle-down economics."


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After a terrible season, Fox is destroying the wall between networks and studios | Vox.com

After a terrible season, Fox is destroying the wall between networks and studios | Vox.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Since former Fox network president Kevin Reilly left his job (officially, it was his decision, but with the low ratings the network posted last season, it seems likely he isn't exactly being mourned on the lot) in May, the network has taken its time plotting out just what its future will look like. The past year has been one of the worst in recent memory, with even old stalwart American Idol plummeting in the ratings (though it's still one of the network's highest rated shows). For every bright spot, like the performance of Sleepy Hollow, there were three or four dark clouds, like the collapse of the ratings for the Tuesday comedies. It seems time for a change.


Fox has come up with an unorthodox solution. 20th Century Fox, the corporation that owns the Fox TV network, has restructured itself so that Dana Walden and Gary Newman, co-presidents of 20th Century Fox TV, will now head up the Fox Television Group, which will oversee both the studio and network sides of the business.


This is super confusing, I know, so let me break it down and explain both why this is important to the future of television and why it became the major theme of this morning's executive session with Peter Rice, the Fox Network Group CEO and Chairman, and Walden and Newman's boss. (Walden and Newman had previous commitments and were unable to attend.)


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How Secret Partners Expand NSA’s Surveillance Dragnet | The Intercept

How Secret Partners Expand NSA’s Surveillance Dragnet | The Intercept | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Huge volumes of private emails, phone calls, and internet chats are being intercepted by the National Security Agency with the secret cooperation of more foreign governments than previously known, according to newly disclosed documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden.


The classified files, revealed today by the Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information in a reporting collaboration with The Intercept, shed light on how the NSA’s surveillance of global communications has expanded under a clandestine program, known as RAMPART-A, that depends on the participation of a growing network of intelligence agencies.


It has already been widely reported that the NSA works closely with eavesdropping agencies in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia as part of the so-called Five Eyes surveillance alliance. But the latest Snowden documents show that a number of other countries, described by the NSA as “third-party partners,” are playing an increasingly important role – by secretly allowing the NSA to install surveillance equipment on their fiber-optic cables.


The NSA documents state that under RAMPART-A, foreign partners “provide access to cables and host U.S. equipment.” This allows the agency to covertly tap into “congestion points around the world” where it says it can intercept the content of phone calls, faxes, e-mails, internet chats, data from virtual private networks, and calls made using Voice over IP software like Skype.


The program, which the secret files show cost U.S. taxpayers about $170 million between 2011 and 2013, sweeps up a vast amount of communications at lightning speed. According to the intelligence community’s classified “Black Budget” for 2013, RAMPART-A enables the NSA to tap into three terabits of data every second as the data flows across the compromised cables – the equivalent of being able to download about 5,400 uncompressed high-definition movies every minute.


In an emailed statement, the NSA declined to comment on the RAMPART-A program. “The fact that the U.S. government works with other nations, under specific and regulated conditions, mutually strengthens the security of all,” said NSA spokeswoman Vanee’ Vines. “NSA’s efforts are focused on ensuring the protection of the national security of the United States, its citizens, and our allies through the pursuit of valid foreign intelligence targets only.”


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Your travel records tell the government your IP, email, credit card, call center notes | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com

Your travel records tell the government your IP, email, credit card, call center notes | Ms. Smith | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Have you ever been curious as to what information the government has stored about you and your travel records? A Passenger Name Record (PNR) is a computerized travel record created by airlines or travel agencies for both domestic and international flights, as well as hotel bookings, car rentals, cruises, and train trips. Your PNR, which is given to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) if you travel internationally, can include details like your un-redacted credit card number or IP addresses. As Ars Technica’s Cyrus Farivar found out, your PNR is just another example of the government’s “collect it all” mentality.


Farivar submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to CBP for his PNR; he was eventually given 76 pages of data covering his travel from 2005 to 2013. He said his PNRs included “every mailing address, email, and phone number” he ever used, as well as some PNRs listing the IP address he used when buying the ticket, his full credit card number stored in the clear, and notes jotted down by airline call center employees “even for something as minor as a seat change.”


After he consulted travel writer Edward Hasbrouck, Farivar was told, “PNRs like mine are created for domestic flights, too, but that it's only for international travel that data is routinely given to CBP.” He also learned that every notation made by an airline call center employee, for things such as seat changes or even special needs requests, can stay in your permanent file kept by DHS.


Hasbrouck has written extensively about what’s in a PNR and about Computerized Reservation System databases.


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Venezuela: Digitel has around 100,000 LTE subscribers, 900 base stations | TeleGeography.com

Venezuelan mobile operator Digitel has disclosed that its 4G LTE network has reached a total of roughly 100,000 active customers since being launched commercially a year ago, while it has deployed 900 LTE base stations across main cities in all regions of the country.


As reported by Telesemana, Digitel has already invested USD600 million in the development of its 3G and 4G networks in the last three years, according to executive Luis Bernardo Perez, who added that the main challenge facing the company is the inability to acquire sufficient volumes of mobile devices due to Venezuela’s foreign exchange controls.


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Republican Commissioner Pai Pans FCC's Auction Plan Process | Multichannel.com

Republican Commissioner Pai Pans FCC's Auction Plan Process  | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC commissioner Ajit Pai is not happy with a decision made by the FCC's Media Bureau this week related to changes to the FCC's plan for the AWS-3 spectrum reclamation and auction plan. Pai's principle concern appeared to be with the process, saying it was "no way to run a railroad."

 

"When you’re told that you must vote on an item before you can learn what you’re voting on, something is very wrong," he said in a statement Friday. "But regrettably, this is just the latest breakdown in process at the Federal Communications Commission."

 

Pai also expressed concerns about FCC process at the most recent open meeting. In reference to last-minute changes to an item he said: "Take it or leave it party line votes have become the new normal for high-profile commission items. This is not good process, and devastating substance."


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Verizon FiOS To Pump Up The Upstream | Multichannel.com

Verizon FiOS To Pump Up The Upstream | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Applying some additional competitive pressure on cable-delivered broadband services, Verizon Communications has unveiled an upgrade initiative for FiOS that will enable customers to receive upload speeds that match their download speeds at no added cost.

 

Under the upgrade program, which will standardize on symmetrical broadband speeds, here’s now the new FiOS Internet tiers will compare:


-Existing customers on the 15 Mbps down by 5 Mbps tier will be upgraded to 15/15; new FiOS service bundles will start at 25/25 going forward;


-50/25 tier will be upgraded to 50/50;

-75/35 tier will be upgraded to 75/75;

-150/65 tier will be upgraded to 150/150;

-300/65 tier will be upgraded to 300/300; and

-500/100 tier will be upgraded to 500/500.

 

Verizon said it will begin to offer the upgrades and new speeds on Monday (July 21) for both existing and new Verizon FiOS residential customers. The Wall Street Journal first reported about the coming Verizon speed upgrades on Sunday night.


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Students develop drone to locate survivors via their mobile phones | GizMag.com

Students develop drone to locate survivors via their mobile phones | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

These days, most people are inseparable from their mobile phone, with the device being one of the essentials along with keys and cash or cards that people don't leave home without. A project at EPFL's Mobile Communications Laboratory is looking to take advantage of this fact by developing a drone that would help rescuers search for victims of natural disasters by locating their phones.


When a mobile phone's Wi-Fi is switched on, the device emits data packets at regular intervals. The strength of these signals can vary depending on the surrounding terrain, the weather, interference, or if the device is buried under a layer of rubble as the result of an earthquake or other natural disaster.


Taken in isolation, with all these variables it isn't possible to accurately calculate the location of the device that is emitting the signals. However, by capturing the signals from several different points it becomes possible to calculate the device's approximate location. This is where the drone comes in.


Using a Wi-Fi antenna attached to what appears to be a senseFly eBee UAV, it is possible to capture the signal as the drone flies between different points to better map the location of the device and, hopefully, the person it belongs to.


Cheseaux, who worked on the project for his master's degree, says that automatically eliminating weaker signals from the calculations has helped to improve the accuracy of the system, which has been able to locate mobile phones on the EPFL campus with a high degree of accuracy.


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Google announces team of zero day bug-hunters | GizMag.com

Google announces team of zero day bug-hunters | GizMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When the Heartbleed security flaw was detected earlier this year, it was estimated that two-thirds of the world's servers were vulnerable to attack. Flaws such as this, that exist before they are detected, are known as "zero day" flaws. Now, Google has set up a team to combat them.


Google was one of the parties involved in the discovery and subsequent reporting of the Heartbleed vulnerability, as part of its "part-time" security research program. The firm says that the success of that research has led it to setting up what's described as a "new, well-staffed team called Project Zero."


The aim of Project Zero is to "significantly reduce the number of people harmed by targeted attacks." Google says there will be no constraints placed on the project and that it will cover any software used by large numbers of people.


In addition to detecting flaws, the team will pay attention to the techniques, targets and motivations of attackers. All bugs discovered will be reported to the vendor and then logged in an external, public database. Database users will be able to monitor vendor time-to-fix performance, see discussions about exploitability and view historical exploits and crash traces.


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Canada: Customers Billed By Bell, Rogers After Cancelling Services | HuffPost.com

Canada: Customers Billed By Bell, Rogers After Cancelling Services | HuffPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The majority of Canadians rely on Bell Canada and Rogers Communications for their internet, cable and cellphone services, but that doesn't mean their customers are pleased.


Customers of the two competing media giants say they have recently encountered billing issues.


Earlier this week, Global News shared the story of Doris Simon-Shatz who says she's receiving bills from Bell months after cancelling her services. A Saint John, N.B. man is also suing Rogers for billing him $1,333 after he cancelled his account, according to the CBC.


Simon-Shatz and her husband switched to Rogers after encountering problems with Bell’s television service. She says she called and asked for all of her services to be cancelled several times and even sent letters. However, she continued to get bills and constant robocalls from Bell asking her to pay a $534.94 bill for services the Toronto couple didn't use.


The reason for the continued billing, a Bell representative explained to her six months later, is that she didn't cancel “everything.”


“She said to me I did not specify I was cancelling all their services. She said I should have said that I have a bundle and that I want to cancel the whole, entire bundle,” said Simon-Shatz.


Simon-Shatz says because she didn't use the world "bundle" not all her services were cancelled.

The issue is now in the hands of Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services, who will issue a binding decision if the parties can’t come to an agreement.


James Burke is in a similar position – but with Rogers.


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CA: Benicia fiber deal puts industrial broadband plan into action | Steve Blum's Blog

CA: Benicia fiber deal puts industrial broadband plan into action | Steve Blum's Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The City of Benicia is working with Lit San Leandro LLC (LSL) to bring a gigabit-class fiber network to the Benicia Industrial Park and the adjacent Arsenal area.That’s the top line from a status report I gave to the Benicia City Council this evening.


Benicia issued a request for proposals last year, asking interested service providers to submit ideas for delivering industrial and commercial-grade broadband service. Among the resources the City put on the table was $750,000. The most attractive proposal – for a full fiber network – was submitted by LSL. Since then, both the City and LSL have been working on solving key challenges, such as how to connect the local network to long haul fiber and Tier 1 data centers.


LSL identified several potential solutions, and is working on more detailed plans. Parallel to that, the City and LSL will be negotiating a formal contract, which will be brought back to the City Council for approval, likely in the next two or three months. After that, LSL can begin construction.


The preliminary network design includes a loop through the central core of the Benicia Industrial Park, with spurs serving the Arsenal area just to the south and the periphery of the park.


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