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MN: Bradley and Guzzetta Announces FCC Affirms Twin Cities Cable Commission Rate Orders | PRWeb.com

MN: Bradley and Guzzetta Announces FCC Affirms Twin Cities Cable Commission Rate Orders | PRWeb.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The actions of these four cable commissions will have a nation-wide impact and will require Comcast to be more transparent in their billing practices. In early 2013, Comcast began charging subscribers a $1.99 DTA fee. A DTA is a digital adapter box that allows customers to convert digital cable signals to work on an analog television.


“Subscribers across the country complained about this fee,” said attorney Mike Bradley of the cable and telecommunications law firm Bradley & Guzzetta. “These four cable commissions decided to do something about it.” Comcast had insisted its fee was an unregulated service fee.


All four cable commissions, represented by Mike Bradley and Steve Guzzetta, engaged Dick Treich of Front Range Consulting, Inc. (http://www.frc-inc.com), a municipal cable financial consultant based in Denver. Based on the Report of Mr. Treich, the Commissions all adopted rate orders requiring Comcast to unbundle the equipment from three different so-called “service fees.”


“Comcast was charging a DTA Fee, an HD Technology Fee and an HD/DVR Service Fee,” said Mike Bradley. “All of these fees far exceeded the maximum rate that Comcast was allowed to charge for the equipment.” Bradley explained,


Because of the Commissions’ actions, the FCC confirmed that “the equipment regulations still apply to all the equipment in a subscriber's home that is provided and maintained by the cable operator and that is used to receive the BST [Basic Service Tier], even if it is also used to receive additional tiers of unregulated services.”


Cable operators across the country will no longer be allowed to hide equipment fees in so-called service fees.  According to Steve Guzzetta, “Now all cable operators across the country, not just Comcast, will have to explain to its customers why they charge subscribers for equipment and a corresponding service that the equipment already provides. Certainly this is a victory for transparency in cable billing.”


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WA: Seattle reporters interview Chris Mitchell about broadband feasibility study | community broadband networks

WA: Seattle reporters interview Chris Mitchell about broadband feasibility study | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With the release of the city of Seattle's community broadband feasibility study, media outlets turned to ILSR and our own Christopher Mitchell for context, and to help uncover what can be done to help improve connectivity for all Seattleites.

The same week, Christopher was invited to the city by Upgrade Seattle to help launch their initiative. Below are some selected publicity highlights from Seattle.

KUOW's "The Record" with Ross Reynolds. How can Seattle get affordable broadband Internet

KEXP's "Mind Over Matters" with Mike McCormick. Video is below. "What is Seattle's Next Step?" You can also listen to the Audio version here.

GovTech: Colin Wood interviewed Chris for his June 12 article Muni Broadband Goes Mainstream.

“You don’t just want better Internet access,” Mitchell said. “You want to know for whom and at what cost. Is your problem connecting low-income populations? That requires different thinking than if you’re just trying to attract some high-tech businesses to your town.”

CrossCut.com: Amelia Havenec covered the lunch & learn conversation between Chris and Upgrade Seattle organizer Hollis Wong-Wear. Following setbacks, municipal broadband supporters continue urging action.


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NY: New Navy Yard building to support creative, tech industries | Brooklyn Daily Eagle

NY: New Navy Yard building to support creative, tech industries | Brooklyn Daily Eagle | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A joint initiative of Boston Properties, Inc., Rudin Development and WeWork, in conjunction with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), is developing a new 675,000-square-foot building at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to cater to the rapidly emerging technology and creative industries in Brooklyn.

The $380 million building, named Dock 72 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, will be one of the largest New York City commercial buildings to be built outside of Manhattan in decades. The new project comes just weeks after the de Blasio administration announced the $140 million redevelopment of Admirals Row and follows the conversion of Building 77 into a 1 million-square-foot innovation and manufacturing hub. Collectively, these new additions to the Navy Yard represent a massive expansion that will increase Brooklyn’s competitiveness and spur thousands of new jobs.

WeWork — a company that provides space, community and services to a range of nonprofits, technology, art and design, e-commerce and fashion businesses — will anchor the new building with a 222,000-square-foot lease.

When fully occupied, the building will house 4,000 jobs. According to the agreement between the development team and BNYDC, all tenants in the building will pay a living wage to their employees, making it the first new development in Brooklyn with such a commitment.


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Privacy group files FTC complaint to push Google to extend right to be forgotten to US | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com

Privacy group files FTC complaint to push Google to extend right to be forgotten to US | Grant Gross | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google’s refusal to implement the EU’s controversial right to be forgotten rules in the U.S. amounts to an unfair and deceptive business practice, a frequent critic of the search engine giant said.

Consumer Watchdog will file a complaint against Google with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission Tuesday, said John Simpson, director of the group’s Privacy Project. The complaint will ask the FTC to rule that Google, by declining to delete search engine links on request from U.S. residents, is an unfair business practice that violates the U.S. FTC Act.

Arguing that the right to be forgotten is an “important privacy option,” Consumer Watchdog’s complaint will say that although Google claims to be concerned about users’ privacy, it doesn’t offer people in the U.S. “the ability to make such a basic request.”

“Describing yourself as championing users’ privacy and not offering a key privacy tool—indeed one offered all across Europe—is deceptive behavior,” the document reads.

Unfair business practices are defined in the FTC Act as those that cause substantial injury to consumers that they cannot reasonably avoid themselves and that are not outweighed by other benefits.

Before the Internet, it was difficult to track down records of the foolish things people did when they were young, Simpson said.

“This reality that our youthful indiscretions and embarrassments and other matters no longer relevant slipped from the general public’s consciousness is privacy by obscurity,” he said by email. “The Digital Age has ended that. Everything—all our digital footprints—are instantly available with a few clicks on a computer or taps on a mobile device.”

A Google representative didn’t respond to a request for comment on bringing the right to be forgotten to the U.S.


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FBI chief warns that terrorists hide behind encrypted communications | John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com

FBI chief warns that terrorists hide behind encrypted communications | John Ribeiro | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey has asked for a “robust debate” on encryption of communications, saying that the technology could come in the way of his doing his job to keep people safe.

The recruitment and tasking of Americans by the group known as the Islamic State, or ISIL, is increasingly taking place “through mobile messaging apps that are end-to-end encrypted, communications that may not be intercepted, despite judicial orders under the Fourth Amendment.”

“There is simply no doubt that bad people can communicate with impunity in a world of universal strong encryption,” he added.

The op-ed in the Lawfare blog comes ahead of testimonies by Comey before the Senate intelligence and judiciary committees on Wednesday.

The article by Comey reflects an ongoing dispute between the U.S. government and tech companies over the encryption of their products.

Tech companies have asked President Barack Obama not to pursue any policy or proposal that would weaken encryption or create encryption work-arounds.

The Information Technology Industry Council and Software & Information Industry Association, which represents many large tech companies, including Apple, Google and Facebook, said last month such moves would erode consumers’ trust in the products and services they rely on for protecting their information.


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Senate Eyes Transportation Tech | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Senate Eyes Transportation Tech | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Internet of moving things continues to get increasing attention inside and outside the Beltway.

Sen. Deb. Fischer (R-Neb.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee's Surface Transportation Subcommittee, has called a hearing for July 7 on new transportation technologies. Among the witnesses will be Paul Misenor, VP of global public policy for Amazon.

Cable operators have been pushing the FCC to free up more WiFi spectrum in the 5-GHz ,where vehicle-to-vehicle communications already reside. The FCC also has been involved in discussions elsewhere on the Hill about positive train control (PTC) technology, which might have prevented the deadly Amtrak derailment outside of Philadelphia earlier this year.

"I am pleased to join chairwoman Fischer to hold this hearing and discuss ways innovative technologies can help the federal government strengthen the safety and efficiency of our transportation network," said subcommittee ranking member Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who is also a member of the Communications Subcommittee.

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Comcast Ventures Backs Connected Car Startup | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel

Comcast Ventures Backs Connected Car Startup | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast Ventures, the V.C. arm of Comcast, was one of the companies that participated in a $24 million “B” round in Automatic Labs, a startup that has developed a connected car platform.

Comcast Ventures did not specify its investment. Automatic Labs, which has raised about $32 million so far, said the B round also included participation from an investment subsidiary of USAA (a top insurance and financial services provider for military families), CDK Global, along with existing investors Y Combinator, RPM Ventures, Anthemis Group, Amicus Capital, as well as several angel investors.

San Francisco-based Automatic Labs pairs an app with an in-car device that can help drivers diagnose engine trouble, detect accidents and send emergency responses. According to the company, its adapter plugs into the standard diagnostics port hidden under the dash in most cars since 1996. When paired with that device, Automatic Labs’ app displays useful information about the user’s car and driving habits.

Automatic Labs sells its device for $99.95 via its own site, as well as at retailers such as Apple.com, Best Buy, Target, and Amazon.com. Automatic Labs was founded in 2011.

The latest round of financing follows the startup’s recent launch of the Automatic App Gallery, its app store for cars. Automatic Labs said it will use the fresh funds to accelerate growth and continue to expand its app store and developer platform.

“The Internet of Things is knocking on the door of one of the largest consumer markets, the $800B US car industry,” Michael Yang, managing director of Comcast Ventures, and Gavin Teo, principal of Comcast Ventures, noted in this blog post about the investment. “Over the last several years, talent, capital, consumer and enterprise attention have focused on the promise of bringing connected devices to all activities of daily living, and the automobile is an exciting new frontier.”


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Yankees-Mariners Match-Up Will Be First Baseball Game Shot Using 8K Ultra-High Def Technology | Maury Brown | Forbes.com

Yankees-Mariners Match-Up Will Be First Baseball Game Shot Using 8K Ultra-High Def Technology | Maury Brown | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On July 17th, Japanese public broadcaster NHK will position six, 8K cameras throughout Yankee Stadium and record the first-ever baseball game captured in the ultra-high definition format. While the game will not be broadcast, Major League Baseball and NHK will have the media view the game in a specially outfitted suite with 8K monitors in Yankee Stadium during the game.

Ultra-high definition TV is 7680 pixels wide by 4320 pixels tall (33.18 megapixels), which is a sixteen time higher resolution than current HDTV. NHK is one of the first television entities in the world to develop 8K technology, which it hopes to offer on a wide scale basis by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

And while 4K seems like it just now has started working its way into consumer outlets, 8K is already right on its heels. LG showed off a whopping 98” 8K prototype at CES in January this year that blew attendees minds. If that wasn’t enough, how about a 110” 8K Samsung that transmits in 3D without the use of glasses?

Back to NHK and the game at Yankee Stadium against the Mariners, it will allow MLB, baseball, and sports business media types to gauge the experience, and begin the discussion as to how baseball looks in the ultra-high def format. For NHK, it gives them an early dry run of how the technology fares, sets up, and is broadcasted for sports in advance of the 2020 Olympics. In fact, NHK has been moving so quickly with 8K broadcasts that the Japanese broadcast company is looking to leap-frog over 4K and go straight to the ultra-high def format.


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Free Blandin Webinar July 9: Creative Spaces, Creative Places | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

Free Blandin Webinar
July 9 at 3:00-4:00
Register!

Does broadband promote creativity? Not alone it doesn’t but it can be an ingredient that spurs or supports a community effort. You also need people to make it happen. In this webinar we’ll hear from people who have promoted creativity in their community at least in some part through technology. We’ll learn about what they are doing, how they started it and what it has meant to the community.

Matthew Marcus and Aaron Deacon on Kansas City Startup Village: A community situated around the first neighborhood to get Google Fiber in KC but built but local entrepreneurs to be fertile ground to grow startups from KC and beyond. They community grew organically as if something was in the air. Hear their story and think about how can we replicate that here.

Fred Underwood on Duluth Maker Space: A sustainable multi-field community workshop for local artists, inventors, experimentors, teachers, learners (Makers!) of all ages. It opened last Fall. They have classes available and just open space with cool tools for folks who want to use them. Imagine a place in your community where makers can meet and collaborate.

A Minnesota library yet to be named. Libraries have been harbors for information, technology and innovation for centuries. Find out how to make the most of your library!


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Sprint drops 600 Kbps video-streaming limit after outcry | Matt Hamblen | NetworkWorld.com

Sprint drops 600 Kbps video-streaming limit after outcry | Matt Hamblen | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sprint this week quickly reversed plans to impose a 600 Kbps limit on streaming video as part of a promotion called "All-In" that charges $80 a month for unlimited talk, text and high-speed data.

The All-In plan, announced Tuesday, ironically was intended to "end consumer confusion & frustration," according to a press release.

But the 600 Kbps video stream cap, originally contained in a footnote about the plan, incited widespread frustration and anger on social media sites and elsewhere.

The 600 Kbps limitation was interpreted by Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, as a violation of Title II net neutrality rules, which Sprint had supported before the Federal Communications Commission. "To throttle video is such a clearcut violation of Title II," he said.

Even so, Entner said Sprint replaced the throttling language with "reasonable" terms that limit voice and data roaming off Spring's network onto other carrier networks. With the new language, he endorsed the All-In plan. "The whole experience [with All-In] is a net positive for Sprint," he said in an interview on Thursday.

Entner said Sprint probably mistakenly forwarded its older 600 Kbps limitation language from previous pricing plans first launched in June 2013. "They didn't pay attention and didn't dot their i's and cross their t's," Entner said.


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Corporate Capitalism Is the Foundation of Police Brutality and the Prison State | Chris Hedges | Truthdig.com

Corporate Capitalism Is the Foundation of Police Brutality and the Prison State | Chris Hedges | Truthdig.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Our national conversation on race and crime is based on a fiction. It is the fiction that the organs of internal security, especially the judiciary and the police, can be adjusted, modernized or professionalized to make possible a post-racial America. We discuss issues of race while ignoring the economic, bureaucratic and political systems of exploitation—all of it legal and built into the ruling apparatus—that are the true engines of racism and white supremacy. No discussion of race is possible without a discussion of capitalism and class. And until that discussion takes place, despite all the proposed reforms to the criminal justice system, the state will continue to murder and imprison poor people of color with impunity.

More training, body cameras, community policing, the hiring of more minorities as police officers, a better probation service and more equitable fines will not blunt the indiscriminate use of lethal force or reduce the mass incarceration that destroys the lives of the poor. Our capitalist system callously discards surplus labor, especially poor people of color, employing lethal force and the largest prison system in the world to keep them under control. This is by design. And until this predatory system of capitalism is destroyed, the poor, especially people of color, will continue to be gunned down by police in the streets, as they have for decades, and disproportionately locked in prison cages.

“The strength of ‘The New Jim Crow’ by Michelle Alexander is that, by equating mass incarceration with Jim Crow, it makes it rhetorically impossible to defend it,” said Naomi Murakawa, author of “The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America,” when we met recently in Princeton, N.J. “But, on the other hand, there is no ‘new’ Jim Crow, there is just capitalist white supremacy in a state of constant self-preservation.”

“We should talk about what we are empowering police to do, not how they are doing it, not whether they are being nice when they carry out arrests,” she said. “Reforms are oriented to making violence appear respectable and courteous. But being arrested once can devastate someone’s life. This is the violence we are not talking about. It does not matter if you are arrested politely. Combating racism is not about combating bad ideas in the head or hateful feelings. This idea is the perfect formula to preserve material distributions in their exact configuration.”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Uber, but for carpooling: Google jumps into the ridesharing business with an upgrade to Waze | Brian Fung | WashPost.com

Uber, but for carpooling: Google jumps into the ridesharing business with an upgrade to Waze | Brian Fung | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For the estimated 50 million people who rely on it, the turn-by-turn navigation app Waze helps redirect users around traffic jams, accidents and other obstacles on the road.

Now Waze, with a new expansion into ridesharing, is hoping to guide itself around some of the thorniest issues facing the industry.

The Israeli-founded, Google-owned app is now offering to connect people who are headed in the same direction during their commutes. Headed into work? Grab a ride with someone with a spare car seat. If you're eager to try it, though, hold on: The new feature is debuting in Tel Aviv for now as a pilot project only — though non-Waze users can also join the fun with a separate app called RideWith.

Unlike Uber, Google's entry into ridesharing will be more limited. You won't be able to just call up a ride wherever you are; according to Haaretz, drivers will only be able to offer two rides a day, and they have to begin either near where they work or near where they live.

Drivers also can't earn much of a profit from participating in the program. At best, riders will be able to pay a small amount of money to help offset wear and tear, gasoline and other ordinary expenses associated with car ownership. In other words, people won't be giving up their day jobs anytime soon to become drivers for Waze.

Despite all these restrictions, it's easy to imagine Waze's expansion someday becoming a full-on ridesharing service that competes with Uber. Although Google was an early investor in Uber, the two companies have drifted apart as both have seen the lucrative potential of the ridesharing market. Uber has taken Google head-on in the race to build a working self-driving car, for instance, in preparation for Uber's eventual transformation into a global logistics and delivery platform.

For now, though, Google's early limitations for Waze appear aimed at avoiding some of the regulatory struggles that's beset Uber around the globe. Uber suspended its low-cost ridesharing service, UberPop, in France over the weekend after authorities clamped down on Uber execs there. In Israel, government officials have vowed to defend traditional taxi drivers against companies like Uber. This could wind up being a good thing for Waze as its carpooling service seeks to gain traction.


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Hats Off to Web Advertising. No, Really. | Christopher Mims | WSJ.com

Hats Off to Web Advertising. No, Really. | Christopher Mims | WSJ.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It’s axiomatic that advertising on the Internet is at best a necessary evil.

What’s worse, just as the finance industry once vacuumed up the best and brightest from America’s elite colleges, this new source of filthy lucre has proved irresistible to people who might otherwise produce something useful. “Go West, young people, so you can figure out how to optimize engagement among millennials ages 18-30 in the top quartile of disposable income.”

Here’s how Harvard-educated math wunderkind Jeff Hammerbacher summed it up in 2011: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”

But what if everyone is wrong about ads? What if ads, in a fairly direct way, are responsible for much of what is magical, automated and “smart” about our gadgets and the Internet today?

There’s the simple argument that without ads, there would be no Gmail, no Facebook, no countless other services on which we all rely every day, but that isn’t what I’m talking about.

If we were to write a sort of People’s History of the Internet from the perspective of the ones who built it, a common theme would arise again and again: Many of those behind the curtain building the things we rely on cut their teeth in the ad tech world. Since the debut of the Web banner ad in 1994, ad tech has been a finishing school for some of the greatest minds in tech history, from unsung engineers to Sheryl Sandberg, who headed Google ’s ad products for seven years before becoming chief operating officer of Facebook.

One of those people is Gokul Rajaram, now at payment-processing provider Square. He was lead engineer of one of the very first ad networks, at email provider Juno, before going on to lead the ad tech teams at both Google and Facebook.

Early on, one of the things Mr. Rajaram and his team pioneered was the use of techniques, known as “machine learning,” that now power almost every system on the Internet that has the least bit of artificial intelligence, whether it’s Facebook deciding what to show in your news feed or Apple’s Siri learning to better understand your voice.

“Advertising was the first commercial domain to which machine learning was used at scale,” says Mr. Rajaram.


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Corruption Watch: State Attorneys General Line Up Behind Jim Hood, Support Power To Attack Enemies Of Big Corporate Donors | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Corruption Watch: State Attorneys General Line Up Behind Jim Hood, Support Power To Attack Enemies Of Big Corporate Donors | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A large group of state Attorney Generals has now stepped into the legal fight between Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and Google. As we've explained a bunch, Hood went after Google with an investigation and detailed subpoena that was funded and written by the MPAA itself. In response to this, a federal court has already called out Hood's actions, noting that there was "significant evidence of bad faith" on the part of Hood as he attempted to unconstitutionally hold Google responsible for anything bad that its search engine found on the internet.

We've written plenty about issues with state Attorneys General. The state Attorney General position is frequently seen as the stepping stone to becoming state governor or US Senator. State AGs have a reputation as being grandstanding tools, focusing on getting big headlines over actually enforcing the law. In fact, they often will focus on grandstanding even when there is no legal basis whatsoever.


The most damning account of this is one we wrote about five years ago, in which a group of AGs teamed up to shake down Chris Tolles, the CEO of online forum site Topix. The story is incredible and well worth reading. You'll see how a bunch of state AGs kept putting out press releases, blaming Topix for things with no legal basis. Tolles would go talk to them, explain how the company works in order to build understanding, and the state AGs would then, immediately, turn around and take what he told them, totally misrepresent it, and issue another press release twisting what he'd said into implying that the company was up to no good.


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Parks: 40 percent US broadband households want smartphone-based medical alerts | Aditi Pai | mobihealthnews

Parks: 40 percent US broadband households want smartphone-based medical alerts | Aditi Pai | mobihealthnews | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

More than 40 percent of US broadband households are interested in receiving medical alerts via a smartphone or another connected platform, according to a report from Parks Associates.

The report, called Smart Home Platforms for Health, assesses the potential for smart home platforms to support connected health offerings.

“About 10 percent of US broadband households have some type of smart home product, service, or both, and by 2019 the number of U.S. homes with a smart home controller will exceed 26 million,” Parks Associates Director for Mobile and Health Products Research Harry Wang said in a statement. “…The smart home could enable new value propositions in home-based health and wellness solutions and independent living products and services.”

The other use cases for home-based connected devices that Parks included in the survey were smoke or file alerts, alerts for open doors and windows, and the ability to turn lights on or off remotely.

There’s a little overlap between connected health devices and smart home offerings. This year, a couple fitness device companies have started to announce smart home products or integrate their products with existing smart home offerings.


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Microsoft pushes towards a more interoperable world with its Windows 10 IoT plans | Kareem Anderson | WinBeta.org

Microsoft pushes towards a more interoperable world with its Windows 10 IoT plans | Kareem Anderson | WinBeta.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As of late, Microsoft has been warming to the idea of Interoperability. Perhaps, market forces are dictating Microsoft's necessity to embracing the change, or maybe the company is attempting to re-establish its software roots in the industry. Whatever the cause, Microsoft has been collaborating with various foundations, internet groups and adopting standards that make its software as accessible as possible.

As the tech industry shifts its focus from mobile onto the Internet of Things, Microsoft is looking to keep pace. Microsoft has already begun to implement its vision for the IoT by putting the necessary building blocks into Windows 10. With Windows 10, Microsoft’s intent was to offer users one platform that is flexible, interconnected and able to speak to various devices seamlessly. However, without 3rd party support, Windows 10 effectively becomes the proprietary Windows of old. Microsoft is doing a lot of footwork to save Windows and IoT users from a potential siloed experience.

Alongside recent collaborations, Microsoft has also announced its participation in the AllSeen Alliance. This announcement works with in tandem with last years mention of AllJoyn support in Windows 10. With AllJoyn support in Windows 10, devs will have access to an open source software framework and a set of services that foster interoperability among connected devices. Developers who utilize this framework could also create a dynamic proximal network to help IoT devices run more intelligently. Specifically, AllJoyn addresses device discovery, interrogation, notification, and capabilities invocation in an open way, according to Microsoft. What AllJoyn fails to do, is address interoperability at the network physical layer.


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How Valuable is Low-Band VHF Anymore? | Bill Hayes | TVTechnology.com

How Valuable is Low-Band VHF Anymore? | Bill Hayes | TVTechnology.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I recently fielded some questions from a colleague regarding the upcoming spectrum auction. The colleague observed that it appeared that the FCC was clearing the way for UHF stations that wanted to participate in the auction but still stay on the air to move to low-band VHF. He wanted to know what my feelings were on moving to low-band VHF and wondered if stations would really move there.

The decision on low-band VHF is really a business decision. I am a huge fan of over-the-air broadcasting and have that capability in my home. I travel with a USB tuner stick that lets me look at DTV services when I am on the road. But even I recognize that the majority of people that watch OTA broadcasts do it via a subscription-based service; thus they are not receiving the over-the-air services but a redistribution of which, in many instances, is provided via a direct feed from the stations' studio rather than receiving the over-the-air signal.


In my opinion, low-band VHF is what I would call a "technological cul-de-sac." It was a great technology in the early days of broadcasting when making power was an expensive proposition and generating RF at frequencies above 100 MHz was a challenge to do and keep stable, and receive antennas were mounted on the outside of homes high above the roof. Low-band VHF offered great “bang for the buck” for economical operation and the signals traveled considerable distances, even over the horizon. There were few television stations and few man-made noise sources to disrupt the service and when problems happened they were pretty easy to diagnose and correct. When I worked for WSAZ (channel 3) in Huntington, W.A., I frequently found power poles with dirty insulators using just my Sony Watchman as a locator and calling the power company to report down to the pole number the insulators that needed to be cleaned in a rural area.
 

Now the entire environment has changed.


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OH: What's the payoff when it comes to data centers? | Chuck Soder | Crain's Cleveland Business

OH: What's the payoff when it comes to data centers? | Chuck Soder | Crain's Cleveland Business | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Data centers don't employ that many people, but the state of Ohio is recruiting them with tax incentives anyway.

Why would it want to do that?

The answer is complex. Job creation is just one part of it. Increased tax revenue is another. And some people say that data centers — essentially high-tech warehouses that power massive amounts of computer equipment — can help a community attract other high-tech businesses.

One of those people is Ted Griffith, managing director of information technology for JobsOhio.

One of the private nonprofit economic development group's goals is to turn Ohio into “The Big Data Hub of the Midwest,” according to its website. Part of that effort involves recruiting data centers to the state.

A few companies have taken the bait, including Amazon.

One of its subsidiaries plans to build multiple data centers in the Columbus area. Another company, ByteGrid, recently opened the first phase of what could become a huge data center on the eastern edge of downtown Cleveland.

Griffith argues that attracting data centers could help Ohio attract and retain other businesses — especially those that process large amounts of data, be they major corporations or software companies that sell products that live on the Internet.

Being closer to the data center they use means they can process data faster and easily send in-house tech experts to work on their computer systems.

“IT departments do like to be near the data center,” Griffith said.


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Salinas-backed TotalPlay eyes Mexican wholesale network | TeleGeography.com

TotalPlay, the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) provider owned by Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas, is considering participating in the government’s upcoming tender for a USD7 billion wholesale mobile network, CEO Eduardo Kuri told Reuters late last week.


The network, which will have exclusive use of a 90MHz block of spectrum in the 700MHz band, was written into Mexico’s constitution in 2013 as part of a sector overhaul designed to curb the dominance of America Movil (AM)-backed Telcel.


The plan calls for groups of private companies to bid for the right to build and run the network, which would lease capacity to mobile providers.

TeleGeography notes that the move would represent something of a volte face, given Grupo Salinas’ recent mobile market exit strategy.


In November 2014 the conglomerate entered into an agreement with US telecoms giant AT&T to sell 100% of mobile operator Iusacell for USD2.5 billion. The acquisition took place after Grupo Salinas closed its previously announced deal to purchase the 50% of Iusacell that it did not already own, from co-owner Grupo Televisa.


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Dept. Of Defense Defends Strong Encryption While Its Impetuous Child -- The NSA -- Continues To Lament The Coming Darkness | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

Dept. Of Defense Defends Strong Encryption While Its Impetuous Child -- The NSA -- Continues To Lament The Coming Darkness | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Between the FBI and the NSA, arguments against encryption that locks bad guys out (and, consequently, the government) have filled the air over the past several months. "Going dark" is the repeated concern, as if encryption would leave the nation's intelligence and investigative agencies without any options to pursue terrorists/child pornographers. It's all FUD and it's all dangerous, because carving small holes in encryption CARVES HOLES IN ENCRYPTION. Never mind the intended uses of golden keys/backdoors. A hole is a hole.

The Department of Defense seems to recognize this fact, making it one of the only government entities involved in fighting worldwide terrorism to openly do so. Bruce Schneier asked Admiral James Winnefeld Jr. (vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) a question about encryption during a recent cybersecurity summit (video here -- relevant part at 32:52) and received something almost entirely removed from the current party line.


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Canadian activists turn to UN with challenge to controversial anti-terror bill | Jessica Murphy | The Guardian

Canadian activists turn to UN with challenge to controversial anti-terror bill | Jessica Murphy | The Guardian | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Canadian civil society groups are bringing their challenge to a contentious new anti-terror bill to an international audience: a key United Nations rights body in Geneva.

Opponents of bill C-51 will use a periodic review of Canada’s international rights obligations this week by the UN human rights committee to voice a laundry list of concerns related to the anti-terror legislation and other national security issues.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and Amnesty International Canada (AIC) are among the groups that will plead their case before the UN panel.

“We want to ensure the human rights committee is aware of a fairly long list of serious, and we would say worsening, human rights concerns,” said AIC secretary general Alex Neve.

“There’s a bundle of issues related to national security, even before bill C-51 came along.”

Canadian human rights groups have panned the anti-terror bill, which was introduced by the Conservative government early this year after two fatal attacks on military personnel in Canada linked to terrorism, including the deadly shooting of Corporal Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa in October by gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.


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Paul M. Fenn's curator insight, Today, 9:38 AM

Harper is a nation-wide attack of shingles... sickening, painful to endure and lingering far too long.

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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