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NM: $5.1 million for broadband for Picuris Pueblo in Taos County | ABQJournal.com

NM: $5.1 million for broadband for Picuris Pueblo in Taos County | ABQJournal.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


U.S. Senator Tom Udall and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján announced today that the Federal Communications Commission will award over $5.1 million to support mobile broadband service in areas of the Navajo Nation and Picuris Pueblo lacking wireless coverage.The FCC allocated a total of $5,149,628 to Smith Bagley, Inc. and Commnet Wireless, LLC “for mobile broadband service at Picuris Pueblo in Taos County and on the Navajo Nation, which spans New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.  Of the total award, more than $2 million will support wireless deployment over the next three years to 2,096 people living in New Mexico,” Udall and Lujan said in a news release.

“The FCC created the Tribal Mobility Fund as part of its reform of the Universal Service Fund. Through the initial phase of the fund, the FCC awarded a total of $49.8 million in one-time support to companies across five states that agreed to build 3G or 4G mobile broadband networks for currently under served Tribal lands,” states the release.
 

“Both Udall and Luján have strongly supported the expansion of broadband and wireless technology to Tribal and rural communities to help spur the growth of businesses and increase educational opportunities.”


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Lafayette, LA | Three New Companies Move to the Silicon Bayou | community broadband networks

Lafayette, LA | Three New Companies Move to the Silicon Bayou | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In the past few months, Lafayette has drawn in three high tech companies that will create approximately 1,300 well-paying positions. In addition to the community's commitment to boost its high-tech workforce, better connectivity offered by LUS Fiber helped attract the new businesses.

According to a Daily World article, the most recent addition is Perficient, Inc. The information technology and management consulting company is based in St. Louis. Perficient will add 50 new positions by the end of 2015 and another 245 over the next 6 years; average annual salary will be $60,000. The area should also see 248 additional indirect jobs. Perficient leadership intends to recruit from South Louisiana Community College and University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

This past spring, CGI announced it would employ 400 high-tech employees in a new finance facility in Lafayette. CGI will also recruit from the local high-tech educational programs. James Peake from CGI told the Advocate that the company has made an effort to keep tech positions "onshore" rather than sending them overseas. From the article:

CGI Vice President Dave Henderson cited UL-Lafayette’s top-ranked computer science program and Lafayette’s growing workforce and fiber-optic network.

This past summer, start-up Enquero announced it would open a tech center in Lafayette. The Milpitas, California company plans to hire 350 new employees by the end of 2017. City officials also expect to see 354 new indirect positions. According to Bloomberg Business Week, Enquero executives considered New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and four other states.

From City-Parish President Joey Durel's official statement:

"These are exactly the kinds of jobs we had in mind when we launched Lafayette's fiber-optic initiative in 2004, so I am thrilled to see that companies are starting to recognize what Lafayette has to offer with its affordable, gigabit speeds...I know Enquero will not regret their decision to locate in Lafayette. This community’s investment in itself is paying off.”

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All Hands On Deck: Minnesota Local Government Models for Expanding Fiber Internet Access | community broadband networks

All Hands On Deck: Minnesota Local Government Models for Expanding Fiber Internet Access | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In 2010 the Minnesota legislature set a goal: universal access to high speed broadband throughout the state by 2015. As 2015 approaches we know that large parts of Greater Minnesota will not achieve that goal, even as technological advances make the original benchmarks increasingly obsolete.

But some Minnesota communities are significantly exceeding those goals. Why? The activism of local governments.

A new report by ILSR, widely recognized as one of the most knowledgeable organizations on municipal broadband networks, details the many ways Minnesota’s local governments have stepped up. “All Hands On Deck: Minnesota Local Government Models for Expanding Fiber Internet Access” includes case studies of 12 Minnesota cities and counties striving to bring their citizens 21st century telecommunications.

“When national cable and telephone companies have refused to modernize their communications systems, local governments have stepped up. And in the process saved money, attracted new businesses, and made it more likely that their youth will stick around,” says Chris Mitchell, Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s (ILSR) Community Broadband Networks Initiative.

--Windom, which is one of the most advanced networks in the state, built their own network after their telephone company refused to invest in their community.


--Dakota County showed how a coordinated excavation policy can reduce by more than 90 percent the cost of installing fiber.


--Lac qui Parle County partnered with a telephone cooperative to bring high speed broadband to its most sparsely population communities.

ILSR’s report is particularly timely because this week, the governor’s office began accepting applications for the state’s new $20 million initiative Border-to-Border program. “We hope that before communities submit their applications they read this report to learn what others have done,” says Mitchell.


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Judge Adjusts MP3Tunes Ruling, Blasts Everyone | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Judge Adjusts MP3Tunes Ruling, Blasts Everyone | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've been following Capitol Records' (EMI) lawsuit against MP3Tunes and Michael Robertson for a long time now, in part because the lawsuit has been going on forever, with lots of back and forth (and it's still at the district court level!). Back in March, the jury hit Robertson with a bill for over $40 million for his personal involvement with MP3Tunes. As we noted, there were plenty of issues with the ruling, especially with the idea that MP3Tunes was "willfully blind" in creating its music locker. Robertson challenged many of the jury's findings, and we noted that the most important one was the willful blindness.

The judge, William Pauley, has now ruled and it's a mixed bag of just about everything, including the judge berating both parties for their approach to this lawsuit. On the whole, Robertson still loses big time, but not quite as big as before. And, on the issue we found most important -- willful blindness -- the judge has overruled the jury, noting that under the standard in the Viacom v. YouTube case, MP3Tunes was not willfully blind (except for one track where they had been alerted to an infringing copy). That's big and very important, given the potential chilling effects the willful blindness ruling would have had on other startups in the digital locker space.


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Improved patch tackles new Shellshock attack vectors | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Improved patch tackles new Shellshock attack vectors | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

System administrators who spent last week making sure their computers are patched against Shellshock, a critical vulnerability in the Bash Unix command-line interpreter, will have to install a new patch that addresses additional attack vectors.

The Shellshock vulnerability was originally discovered by Akamai Technologies security researcher Stephane Chazelas and can be exploited in several ways to remotely execute code on systems like Linux and Mac OS X that use Bash as their default shell.

The fact that the bug has existed in Bash for many years and that Linux is used on a wide variety of devices from servers to industrial equipment and embedded electronics, means that the flaw’s impact is potentially very large.

Shellshock was publicly disclosed Wednesday, and a patch was released at the same time to address it. It’s being tracked as CVE-2014-6271 in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures database. But researchers quickly found ways to bypass it with a new attack method that was assigned a separate CVE-2014-7169 identifier.

A second patch was released for CVE-2014-7169, but things didn’t stop there either because neither patch addressed the underlying risky behavior of parsing remotely originating strings. Related bugs kept popping up and while it’s unclear whether they actually posed a security risk aside from leading to crashes, they started being tracked as CVE-2014-7186 and CVE-2014-7187.

This prompted Red Hat product security researcher Florian Weimer to develop an unofficial patch that takes a more durable approach, according to Google security engineer Michal Zalewski.

“Florian’s fix effectively isolates the function parsing code from attacker-controlled strings in almost all the important use cases we can currently think of,” said Zalewski in a post on his personal blog.


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EPIC seeks enforcement action over Arizona Community College's data breaches | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

EPIC seeks enforcement action over Arizona Community College's data breaches | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A privacy watchdog filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against a community college district in Arizona that lost the personal data of 2.5 million students and employees in two data breaches.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) asked the FTC in its complaint Monday to bring an enforcement action in federal district court against the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) for violating the “Safeguards Rule,” which requires customer data to be secured.

EPIC, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, is also seeking that the MCCCD obtain an independent assessment to ensure that it is complying with the Safeguards Rule.

MCCCD’s troubles are notable as the organization was warned after a small data breach affecting 400 people in January 2011 that it needed to shore up its systems. The FBI informed it at the time that information from its databases had turned up for sale on the Internet.

Arizona’s Auditor General advised in November 2011 that the organization needed to strengthen access controls after finding terminated employees still had active user accounts on its network.

A subsequent audit in November 2012 found the organization still had not adequately limited access to its systems, according to EPIC’s complaint.

In April 2013, the FBI found 14 of MCCCD’s database for sale on a website, with data including names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, birth dates and financial aid information. The breach affected 2.49 million current and former students, employees and vendors.

A class action suit was filed in April against MCCCD in Arizona’s Superior Court, which sought US$2,500 for each plaintiff. That case’s docket suggests the lawsuit has been moved to a federal court.


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Executive Order 12333 Documents Redefine 'Collection,' Authorize Majority Of Dragnet Surveillance Programs | Tim Cushing | Techdirt.com

Executive Order 12333 Documents Redefine 'Collection,' Authorize Majority Of Dragnet Surveillance Programs | Tim Cushing | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Issued in 1981, updated in 1991 (to consolidate power, basically) and continuously expanded (mostly unofficially) since 2001, Executive Order 12333 (EO 12333) is what grants surveillance powers to our nation's intelligence agencies.

Foreshadowing the severe twisting of the English language that follows (see also: NSA-to-English dictionary), the opening paragraphs note that what certain wording sounds like isn't actually what it means. [pdf link]

In spite of the constraining appearance of all the requirements, under E.O. 12333, DoD Directive 5240 .IR, and DIAR 60-4, intelligence activities conducted by the DHS currently have much more latitude and potential for effectiveness than they have had for quite some time.

Looks like "constraints" but in practice is hardly anything at all.

Covert and clandestine operations ("Special Activities") -- normally limited to the CIA -- are now something any agency can participate in, if given permission to.

The meaning of the proscription is not that intelligence components are prohibited from conducting all Special Activities; rather, that such activities must be directed by the President and approved by the Secretary of Defense and the respective Service Secretary.

Going on from there, we see the first public instance of the government's redefinition of the word "collection."


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Broabdand helps small business do research in Dawson MN | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Broabdand helps small business do research in Dawson MN | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A couple weeks ago I was in Lac qui Parle County working with the EDA to help promote local businesses online. I spoke with Sam’s Equipment about their use of technology. They sell reused and recycled equipment parts. Mostly they use their broadband connection for research but it was interesting to hear the impact and about plans for future use…


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CEO indicted for company's alleged mobile spyware app | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

CEO indicted for company's alleged mobile spyware app | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The CEO of a Pakistani company has been indicted in the U.S. for selling a product called StealthGenie that buyers could use to monitor calls, texts, videos and other communications on other people’s mobile phones, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

The indictment of Hammad Akbar, 31, of Lahore, Pakistan, represents the first time the DOJ has brought a criminal case related to the marketing and sale of an alleged mobile spyware app, the DOJ said in a press release Monday.

Akbar is CEO of InvoCode, the company selling StealthGenie online. Akbar is among the creators of StealthGenie, which could intercept communications to and from mobile phones, including Apple, Android and BlackBerry devices, the DOJ said.

StealthGenie was undetectable by most people whose phones it was installed on and was advertised as being untraceable, the DOJ said.

Akbar was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia with conspiracy, sale of a surreptitious interception device, advertisement of a known interception device, and advertising a device as a surreptitious interception device. He was arrested in Los Angeles Saturday and is expected to appear before a magistrate judge in the Central District of California late Monday.

“Selling spyware is not just reprehensible, it’s a crime,” Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general in the DOJ’s Criminal Division, said in a statement. “Apps like StealthGenie are expressly designed for use by stalkers and domestic abusers who want to know every detail of a victim’s personal life—all without the victim’s knowledge.”

StealthGenie was hosted at a data center in Ashburn, Virginia. On Friday, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia issued a temporary restraining order authorizing the FBI to temporarily disable the website hosting StealthGenie. The StealthGenie.com website remained down on Monday.


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Digital Set-Top-Box Users Growing For Netflix | Wayne Friedman | MediaPost.com

Digital Set-Top-Box Users Growing For Netflix | Wayne Friedman | MediaPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Digital set-top video players are becoming the way for consumers to view content on Netflix, with console-based video game systems increasingly taking a back seat.

A new report from researcher GfK shows video game systems are still the dominant way to access Netflix on a TV set for 43% of those surveyed, but that's down from 48% in 2013 and from 62% in 2011.

At the same time, 28% of those who stream Netflix on a TV set use set-top-box devices, such as Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast digital media players. This is nearly down that of a year ago when it was 15% and up from 6% in 2011.

Millennials ages 13-34 are still big videogame users when it comes to streaming Netflix via TV sets, at 47% -- with 27% saying they get it via digital media player. Only 19% stream Netflix through internal apps via their TV sets.


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Growling by Comcast May Bring Tighter Leash | David Carr | NYTimes.com

Growling by Comcast May Bring Tighter Leash | David Carr | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast has a long corporate tradition of smiling and wearing beige no matter what kind of criticisms are hurled at it. That public posture is in keeping with the low-key approach favored by Brian L. Roberts, the company’s chief executive, as he seeks to take over the world. It’s worked very well so far.


But in a filing submitted to the Federal Communications Commission last week in defense of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, the company lashed out uncharacteristically at its critics. And David L. Cohen, Comcast’s chief lobbyist, continued the salvo in comments to reporters and in his written remarks.


Watching Comcast’s ballistic response to opponents of its $45 billion takeover bid was a bit like watching a campaign debate go off the rails. The front-runner, ahead by 20 points, is besieged by ankle-biters who suggest he is a lout and a bully. He finally loses it and goes off on his opponents in a fury, generally acting like, well, a bully.


That’s one way to make a big lead go away.


In baring its teeth, Comcast sought to show that the companies now opposing the deal were using public interest arguments to advance private business agendas. It said these companies had privately sought $5 billion in concessions from Comcast before going public with their opposition.

In a thick document bristling with arguments on its own behalf, Comcast used quite a bit of ink and hot rhetoric on those who would lay it low, saying in part: “The significance of this extortion lies in not just the sheer audacity of some of the demands, but also the fact that each of the entities making the ‘ask’ has all but conceded that if its individual business interests are met, then it has no concern whatsoever about the state of the industry, supposed market power going forward, or harm to consumers, competitors, or new entrants.”

Gee, Comcast, don’t sugarcoat it. Say what you really mean.

The word extortion is usually applied to guys with names like Nicky who wear bad suits and crack their knuckles a lot. If this is how the company acts in the wooing stage, imagine how charming it will be once it actually gets what it wants.

The company named names, plenty of them: Netflix, for complaining about interconnection plans it freely negotiated with Comcast; Discovery, for asking for sweetheart carriage deals before its current contract is even up; and Dish, for whining about enhanced competition.

Its opponents were surprised by Comcast’s ferocity — and overjoyed. An air of inevitability has been hanging over the merger since it was announced in February — Comcast has a legion of allies in Washington, and a formidable advocate in Mr. Cohen — but the opposition that has built up in the ensuing months seems to have driven the company around the bend.


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Canada: CRTC is doomed to lose the fight it's picked with Netflix | Barrie McKenna | The Glove and Mail

Canada: CRTC is doomed to lose the fight it's picked with Netflix | Barrie McKenna | The Glove and Mail | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So Jean-Pierre Blais wants to take on Netflix.


He might want to reconsider. This is a fight the head of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Canada’s top broadcast regulator, will almost certainly lose.


Mr. Blais warned at a recent CRTC hearing that he would start regulating the popular U.S.-based video streaming service if Netflix refused to hand over extensive data on its Canadian operations.


Netflix, based in Los Gatos, Calif., balked, leaving Mr. Blais brandishing a threat he may be unable to enforce.

Even the government doesn’t have his back. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Heritage Minister Shelly Glover have made it clear they aren’t interested in taxing or regulating Netflix.

Another hitch that may not have occurred to Mr. Blais is the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, which preceded NAFTA. Any regulatory clampdown on Netflix could provoke swift and costly U.S. retaliation from Washington.

And that may well explain Netflix’s cocky defiance in the face of Mr. Blais’ demand for information about its business in Canada.

A little history: The last time Canada and the U.S. sparred over culture was in 1998. Then-Heritage Minister Sheila Copps pushed through Bill C-55, making it illegal for foreign magazines, such as People and Sports Illustrated, to sell their advertisements to Canadian companies. The law, backed by fines of $250,000, was designed to block foreign publishers from encroaching on the Canadian market.

The U.S. responded with retaliatory tariffs on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Canadian exports, including steel – a symbolic shot at what was once the main industry in Ms. Copps’ hometown of Hamilton, Ont.

Ottawa quickly caved in, and watered down the law.


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FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel: Let's Incentivize Spectrum Efficiency | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel: Let's Incentivize Spectrum Efficiency | John Eggerton |  Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has proposed that the government put up 10 MHz of spectrum as a prize for the first person to come up with a way to make spectrum more efficient by a factor of 50 or 100 over the next decade.

That came in an op ed for the San Jose Mercury co-authored with Marty Cooper, inventor of the cell phone and a big proponent of focusing on making spectrum users more efficient.

"Ten megahertz of spectrum may not sound like much, but it could be sold or leased -- and spectrum auctions at the FCC bring in billions. Even a small slice of that revenue represents a pretty sweet incentive," they wrote.


At a Mobile Future forum in Washington Monday (Sept. 29) where Rosenworcel was a guest speaker, she talked about the need for getting more creative in freeing up spectrum including the contest and incentivizing government users to give up or more efficiently use spectrum.

She said the current method of trying to get spectrum from government users--who hold about 60% of spectrum, according to Mobile Future's Jonathan Spalter--is to knock on the door with a big stick and "urge, coax, and cajole" spectrum out of them, with the FCC eventually auctions what "scraps" it could get for new mobile broadband service. She said when government agencies open that door, all they see it loss, not gain.

Rosenworcel said it would be more efficient to use carrots, like an incentive program.


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WI: A municipal high-speed Internet network could help bridge Madison's digital divide | Jeff Buchanan | Isthmus.com

WI: A municipal high-speed Internet network could help bridge Madison's digital divide | Jeff Buchanan | Isthmus.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In late 19th century America, electricity was considered a luxury reserved for the rich. A dozen private electrical trusts controlled most of the country's electricity and cherry-picked the markets they served. It was not until the 1930s and the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt that communities began forming their own public utilities and residents came to view electricity as a necessity that yields economic and social gains.

Today, a similar fight is playing out in a different arena: high-speed Internet access. The market is dominated by a small group of carriers including Comcast and Time Warner Cable -- whose pending merger would result in further consolidation -- and, locally, Charter Communications. Around 100 million Americans do not have high-speed Internet access, and cost is the major reason.

"The parallels are striking," says Susan Crawford, an author and visiting professor in intellectual property at Harvard Law School. "When Roosevelt [came] into office in 1933, 90% of farmers didn't have electricity. Private-sector [carriers] left to their own devices will systematically leave out poor or rural sections of the country and overcharge richer sections by gathering monopoly power."

Fortunately for consumers, there's an alternative: Cities are tackling the connectivity problem by building municipal fiber-to-the-home networks. Political and business leaders in Madison seem to agree that the status quo is unsatisfactory. But they're split in how urgently they want to address the problem, with city hall favoring a wait-and-see approach and a younger class of technocrats wanting to implement short-term, low-cost solutions immediately.

Ald. Scott Resnick is proposing a $100,000 budget amendment to study the feasibility of creating a city-owned cooperative network that would provide wireless Internet to underserved neighborhoods and families.

Resnick, who is running against Mayor Paul Soglin in 2015, says the city can't wait to bridge the "digital divide," where low-income residents don't have access to or can't afford high-speed.

"We are doing one-fifth of what other communities are doing to try to cross the digital divide," says Resnick, who works in the tech field at Hardin Design & Development. "We are failing Madison's residents. I know that's not a positive statement, but that's the reality."


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Here's How To Opt Out Of Facebook's New Plan To Sell Your Browser Data | Maya Kosoff | BizInsider.com

Here's How To Opt Out Of Facebook's New Plan To Sell Your Browser Data | Maya Kosoff | BizInsider.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Facebook will soon launch a new ad program that can read your browser history to deliver targeted ads specific to your interests, according to the company's website.

Luckily, there's a way to opt out of this program to ensure Facebook can't see what you're doing online.


Over the next few weeks, Facebook users will be able to use and control Facebook's new ad preferences, which are available on every ad Facebook shows you, telling you why you're seeing that advertisement and allowing you to add or remove your interests so your personalized ads are adjusted accordingly. Facebook plans to extend its ad preferences tool globally in the coming months.


However, if you don't want Facebook to sell your personal information and browsing history to third-party companies, there's an easy way to opt out.


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Scammers Using FBI And NSA Logos, Claiming Legal Actions And Demanding Payment Via GreenDot MoneyPak | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com

Scammers Using FBI And NSA Logos, Claiming Legal Actions And Demanding Payment Via GreenDot MoneyPak | Mike Masnick | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A few weeks ago, I first heard about a scam in which scammers were calling up unsuspecting people, claiming to be the IRS and saying that the recipient had failed to pay taxes and was at risk of arrest if they didn't pay up quickly. The caller demands that the money be sent via a "GreenDot MoneyPak," which is basically the equivalent of cash.


Scams like this have been going on for a while now -- just do a simple Google search on "scam, greendot" and you'll find a lot of results. Most recently, the scam has focused either on the IRS, as mentioned above, or local utilities, with threats about turning off your power, phone, etc. New York City even put out an alert directly warning about GreenDot MoneyPak scams.

However, it appears that the scammers have recently attempted to move on from just the IRS and utilities -- to two appealing alternative options: the NSA and the FBI. Lawyer David Gingras apparently spotted the FBI version upon visiting a website recently:


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Irish TV Venture in Talks With Comcast/Time Warner Cable for Nationwide Carriage Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Irish TV Venture in Talks With Comcast/Time Warner Cable for Nationwide Carriage Deal | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Irish TV, focused on the Irish diaspora, is in talks with Comcast and Time Warner Cable to add its online channel to the national cable television lineups of both companies.

The network, not affiliated with Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) — Ireland’s public broadcaster, is a Mayo-based commercial venture that launched in May 2014, and can be viewed only in part on some PBS stations and via Sky and Freesat in Europe.

John Griffin, chairman of Irish TV, has committed to spend up to $18.9 million on the network. He has the money, having earned millions while growing London minicab company Addison Lee. He sold his interest in the venture to the Carlyle Group for $486.3 million dollars last year.

The vision behind the Irish channel, which features homegrown cooking, music, and sports entertainment, originated with its founders Pierce O’Reilly and Máiréad Ní Mhaoilchiaráin. They agreed to let Griffin run the network after concluding negotiations carried out in a London pub.

Each Irish county (North and South) will have its own half an hour slot on the channel called County Matters.


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The big problem with ‘Facebook-killer’ Ello: It’s hopelessly, irredeemably naive | Caitlin Dewey | WashPost.com

The big problem with ‘Facebook-killer’ Ello: It’s hopelessly, irredeemably naive | Caitlin Dewey | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Ello is the hot new thing. The anti-Facebook. The great social-media crusader who — as its creators promise, in a flowery manifesto — will seize our humanity back from the grinding gears of the Internet machine.

Its minimalist design is nice, of course. The absence of ads is oddly refreshing, and many people have rightly praised the start-up’s progressive name-use policy — one that lets LGBT users and other concerned groups register any name they like.

But at its core, Ello’s appeal is all theoretical: People like Ello not because it’s a prettily designed network without ads and user-tracking, but because it represents an idea. An ethic. A way of existing on the Internet in which said existence is meaningful, and not merely for the major technology companies who grind our interests and memories into data for marketers.

“You are the product that’s bought and sold,” the company rails in its opening manifesto. “We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity, and transparency.”

But when you scrutinize that string of buzzwords a little more closely, it looks less like a raison d’etre and more like a web of unlikely assumptions. Ello’s founders assume, for instance, that — given the opportunity, which they already have elsewhere — people will be constructive and pro-social online. They assume the general public has an active interest in issues of online privacy and identity. And, in an apparent business flaw that’s been much analyzed already, they assume people will generously shell out money to support that interest, even if they see little to no personal benefit, and even if they don’t have to.

Ello’s founders call it idealism. It looks a lot like naivete.


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Apple patches Bash vulnerability in OS X | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

Apple patches Bash vulnerability in OS X | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Apple released a patch Monday for Shellshock, a serious software vulnerability disclosed last week, although the company had said it posed no risk to most users.

Shellshock is the nickname for a flaw in the GNU Bourne Again Shell, or Bash, which is a command-line shell processor used for sending commands to an operating system. It is prevalent in Unix and Linux systems.

The flaw in Bash, which has been present for two decades, could allow an attacker to take complete control of a computer if the software is remotely accessible. An attacker could append malicious commands into a CGI (Common Gateway Interface) request, which would then be processed by a server.

The concern over Bash rivaled that of “Heartbleed,” a vulnerability found in OpenSSL, a widely used open-source code library used to encrypted data between a client and a server. Like OpenSSL, Bash is present in a variety of software programs.

While security experts rank the Bash flaw as severe, the risk is dependent on how it is wrapped into other software.

Apple’s OS X operating system is derived from Unix. Soon after the flaw became public, Apple advised that only users who have configured advanced Unix services may be vulnerable to the Bash flaw.


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MCNC to celebrate 30 years of connectivity in North Carolina | WRAL TechWire

MCNC to celebrate 30 years of connectivity in North Carolina | WRAL TechWire | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

MCNC will host NCREN Community Day 2014 on Nov. 5-6 at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at NC State University.

This year's theme "The Next 30" will highlight three decades of networking success and look ahead to next 30 years of broadband connectivity in North Carolina.

MCNC is a technology non-profit based in Research Triangle Park that builds, owns and operates the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN).

North Carolina has continuously set the pace for national research and education networking by leveraging NCREN, enabling true high-performance broadband connectivity for community anchor institutions in K-20 public and private education, non-profit health care, government and public safety, and many state and private research institutions.

MCNC annually recognizes and celebrates the progress and achievements from all over the NCREN user community with this event. It also is a special one for MCNC this year as they celebrate 30 years of NCREN connectivity and look ahead to a future of ubiquitous broadband for North Carolina citizens.

Todd Broucksou, senior director of NCREN Community Support at MCNC, noted that NCREN is one of the country’s oldest and most enduring broadband networks, and it has changed the way we work and live in North Carolina by providing the foundation to accelerate innovation and economic development.


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In Latest Blow to NFL, FCC Repeals TV Blackout Rules | Brendan Sasso | National Journal

In Latest Blow to NFL, FCC Repeals TV Blackout Rules | Brendan Sasso | National Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The NFL—already under fire for its handling of domestic abuse cases and other issues—suffered another setback Tuesday with the demise of federal regulations that helped it blackout games on television.

The league argued the rules were necessary to keep games on local broadcast TV stations. The regulations also helped keep stadiums full, boosting local economies, the league claimed.


But the Federal Communications Commission didn't buy it. The five commissioners voted unanimously to repeal the regulations.

"For forty years, these teams have hidden behind a rule of the FCC. No more," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said.

An NFL spokesman didn't respond to a request to comment.

The rules, first adopted in 1975, prohibited cable and satellite TV providers from showing a sports event in an area if the game is blacked out on broadcast television stations such as Fox or CBS.

The NFL requires broadcast stations to black out games if the local team does not sell out the stadium. So the repeal of the federal rules won't necessarily mean the end of all NFL blackouts—but it does remove any government support for the policy.

"It is the commission's job to serve the public interest, not the private interests of team owners," Commissioner Ajit Pai, a Republican, said.

The FCC began reconsidering whether to keep the regulations in place three years ago, so the vote is not a direct reaction to the league's light punishments for players accused of domestic violence.

But policymakers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the NFL and are rethinking a variety of regulatory perks that help the league reap billions of dollars every year.

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, pointed to the league's lack of "sensitivity to spouses and girlfriends" and the "racist" name of the Washington Redskins.

"Most fans can't afford to park, much less attend these extravaganzas," she said.


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Malvertising campaign delivers digitally signed CryptoWall ransomware | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Malvertising campaign delivers digitally signed CryptoWall ransomware | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The cybercriminals behind the CryptoWall ransomware threat have stepped up their game and are digitally signing new samples before using them in attacks in an attempt to bypass antivirus detection.


Researchers from network security firm Barracuda Networks found new CryptoWall samples that were digitally signed with a legitimate certificate obtained from DigiCert. The samples were distributed through drive-by download attacks launched from popular websites via malicious advertisements.

Several websites in the Alexa top 15,000 list were affected by this latest malvertising—malicious advertising—campaign including hindustantimes.com, the site of Indian daily newspaper Hindustan Times; Israeli sports news site one.co.il; and Web development community codingforums.com.

“In every case, malicious content arrived via the site’s use of the Zedo ad network,” the Barracuda researchers said in a blog post Sunday.

Zedo together with Google’s DoubleClick ad network were also used by attackers this month to post malicious advertisements on the Times of Israel, the Jerusalem Post and Last.fm websites among others. That attack campaign distributed a malware program called Zemot.

In a malvertising attack visitors’ browsers are redirected by rogue ads to third-party pages that execute exploits for vulnerabilities in outdated browser plug-ins like Java, Flash Player, Adobe Reader or Silverlight.


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AT&T’s bid to buy DirecTV draws muted criticism | Brooks Boliek | POLITICO.com

AT&T’s bid to buy DirecTV draws muted criticism | Brooks Boliek | POLITICO.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T is not used to flying under the radar, but that is exactly what is happening in Washington with the company’s $48.5 billion bid to buy DirecTV.

A deal that would combine the nation’s biggest telephone company and the nation’s biggest satellite TV provider seems like it would generate a lot of noise from public interest groups because it eliminates a major player in the pay-TV marketplace. But instead, critics of industry consolidation are focusing on Comcast’s $45 billion play for Time Warner Cable. Just last week, Comcast grabbed headlines when it accused companies opposing the acquisition of “extortion” — or attempts to gain concessions in exchange for either their silence or support of the deal.


While both mega-deals come with nearly the same price tag, there is a perception that Comcast’s purchase has larger implications — particularly for Internet service, a key offering as more people gravitate to online content and streaming video.


“The AT&T deal is probably benefiting from the fact that it’s happening at the same time as the Comcast merger,” said Paul Gallant, managing director of Guggenheim Securities. “The Comcast merger is drawing more fire around the issue of control of broadband. AT&T-DirecTV has more to do with the TV market than broadband.”


If AT&T’s bid for DirecTV wins regulatory approval, it would immediately turn the telecom giant into a major player in the television business. AT&T has an existing TV offering called U-verse, a fiber-based service with about 4 million subscribers, but buying DirecTV would add nearly 20 million viewers to the company’s portfolio.


Like all major telecommunications deals, the AT&T-DirecTV deal must win regulatory approval from the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission. It’s unclear where the review stands at Justice, but the FCC has set Oct. 16 as the deadline for AT&T to reply to opponents. Earlier this month, the FCC sent a list of questions to both AT&T and DirecTV, seeking additional information on the companies’ relationship with sports leagues, broadband offerings, video competition and the treatment of Internet access service.


The deal has drawn opposition from public interest groups like FreePress and Public Knowledge, but the criticism has been somewhat muted as the groups devote the lion’s share of their attention to Comcast-Time Warner Cable and the fight over net neutrality rules at the FCC. Some consumer advocates say AT&T was well aware of this dynamic when it announced its deal.


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AT&T’s congestion magically disappears when it’s signing up new customers | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

AT&T’s congestion magically disappears when it’s signing up new customers | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T yesterday began offering “double the data for the same price” to new customers and existing customers who sign new contracts, apparently forgetting that its network is so congested that speeds must be throttled when people use too much data.

Like other carriers, AT&T slows the speeds of certain users when the network is congested. Such network management is a necessary evil that can benefit the majority of customers when used to ensure that everyone can connect to the network. But as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has argued, the carriers’ selective enforcement of throttling shows that it can also be used to boost revenue by pushing subscribers onto pricier plans.


AT&T’s throttling only applies to users with “legacy unlimited data plans,” the kinds of customers that AT&T wants to push onto limited plans with overage charges. Initially, the throttling was enforced once users passed 3GB or 5GB in a month regardless of whether the network was congested. In July, AT&T changed its policy so that throttling only hits those users at times and in places when the network is actually congested, according to an AT&T spokesperson. The 3GB and 5GB thresholds, with the higher one applied to LTE devices, were unchanged.


You can use the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine to see that, through June, AT&T throttled unlimited subscribers whether its network was congested or not. The site, both then and now, encourages heavy data users to switch to a tiered or shared data plan. AT&T says that more than 80 percent of its postpaid smartphone subscribers are on limited plans.


AT&T's throttling hits “unlimited” customers even when they use less data than subscribers on limited plans. New AT&T customers who buy ”Mobile Share Value” plans can normally get 15GB to 50GB of data per month for two to 10 lines. But under the new promotion, similar to one launched by Sprint, AT&T is doubling that to 30GB to 100GB at the same price for new customers who sign up by the end of October. The doubled data remains on subscribers’ accounts until they sign a new contract.


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Linking Anchor Institutions to Outcomes for Families, Children, and Communities | Common-Wealth.org

Linking Anchor Institutions to Outcomes for Families, Children, and Communities | Common-Wealth.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Anchor institutions are enterprises such as universities and hospitals that are rooted in their local communities by mission, invested capital, or relationships to customers, employees, and vendors. As place-based entities that control vast economic, human, intellectual, and institutional resources, anchor institutions have the potential to bring crucial, and measurable, benefits to local children, families, and communities. All told, U.S. hospitals and universities combined spend over $1 trillion a year, have endowments in excess of $500 billion, and employ 8 percent of the labor force.

Many anchor institutions regularly report on community programming and activities. Some go even further and seek to pursue an anchor mission—making a commitment to consciously apply their long-term, place-based economic power, in combination with their human and intellectual resources, to better the long-term welfare of the communities in which they are anchored. Yet, to date, few tools exist to help institutions reflect and assess broadly the long-term impact of their anchor-mission activities, and particularly their impact on low-income communities.

This Democracy Collaborative paper and report proposes a set of indicators to begin to fill this gap.


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Netflix Aggravates Canada's Identity Crisis: Protection of Canadian Culture or Big Telecom Company Profits? | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Netflix Aggravates Canada's Identity Crisis: Protection of Canadian Culture or Big Telecom Company Profits? | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The arrival of Netflix north of the American border has sparked a potential video revolution in Canada that some fear could renew “an erosion” of Canadian culture and self-identity as the streaming video service floods the country with American-made television and movies. But anxiety also prevails on the upper floors of some of Canada’s biggest telecom companies, worried their business models are about to be challenged like never before.

Two weeks ago, the country saw a remarkable Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearing featuring a Netflix executive obviously not used to being grilled by the often-curt regulators. When it was all over, Netflix refused to comply with a CRTC order for information about Netflix’s Canadian customers.

Earlier today, the CRTC’s secretary general, John Traversy, declared that because of the lack of cooperation from Netflix, all of their testimony “will be removed from the public record of this proceeding on October 2, 2014.” That includes their oral arguments.

“As a result, the hearing panel will reach its conclusions based on the remaining evidence on the record. There are a variety of perspectives on the impact of Internet broadcasting in Canada, and the panel will rely on those that are on the public record to make its findings,” Mr. Traversy wrote in a nod to Canada’s own telecom companies.

Not since late 1990’s Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, who defended Canadian content with her support of a law that restricted foreign magazines from infiltrating across the border, had a government official seemed willing to take matters beyond the government’s own policy.


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