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Smart Grids, Smart Meters, Smart Software

Smart Grids, Smart Meters, Smart Software | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it
In response to new market forces such as globalization, product commoditization, industry consolidation, and the global explosion of data, many industries are redesigning their business models and launching new connected services.
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Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Everything about Broadband Policy, Network Infrastructure, Voice, Video and Data Services, Devices and Applications for Managing our Planet
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Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations wrap up in Maui | Tracey Samuelson | Marketplace.org

Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations wrap up in Maui | Tracey Samuelson | Marketplace.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Negotiations wrap up Friday in the latest round of the five-year-old Trans-Pacific Partner negotiations, with final sticking points remaining over sugar, dairy, state-owned enterprises and the exclusivity period granted to the makers of certain types of drugs.

Ministers from the U.S., Japan, Canada and nine other countries are negotiating in private at a resort on the Hawaiian island of Maui to hash out the agreement’s final details.

“As anyone who has been in trade negotiations knows, those final decisions are always the most difficult,” Michael Froman, the U.S. Trade Representative, said earlier this week.

Outside the negotiation rooms, official advisers, congressional staff, trade groups, lobbyists and nonprofit advocates roam the resorts’ lobby, using every spare plug to charge phone and laptops, meeting among themselves and hoping to catch a moment with the delegates, either through official briefings or unguarded moments in the elevator or hotel restaurants.


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CWA & IBEW Leaders at Verizon Announce Plan to Stay on the Job & Continue Fight for a Fair Contract | CWA-Union.org

CWA & IBEW Leaders at Verizon Announce Plan to Stay on the Job & Continue Fight for a Fair Contract | CWA-Union.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Leaders of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers announced that 39,000 Verizon workers up and down the East Coast will work without a contract when their collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight tonight, and continue their fight for a fair agreement while on the job.


The union leaders also announced that they will leave the sites of round-the-clock bargaining in Philadelphia and Rye, NY, where union and management teams have been meeting since June 22nd in what has so far been a vain attempt to reach a contract. The unions have informed the company, however, that they are prepared to schedule regular bargaining sessions, and urged the company to begin bargaining constructively.
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NC: Google Fiber Network Build Underway in Raleigh | Karl Bode | DSL Reports

NC: Google Fiber Network Build Underway in Raleigh | Karl Bode | DSL Reports | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Fiber's network build in Raleigh is underway. The company will be deploying 5,700 miles of fiber, connected to roughly 50,000 telephone poles, all tied to 26 fiber huts scattered around the city. Nine locations for fiber huts have just been picked out by Google, each one 28 feet long and 9 feet tall and acting as the backbone for the looming network. There's still no word on when the network will go live, however.


“We will open signups first in areas where the network is ready, permits are in place and we have crews to connect our fiber directly to homes," Google tells Raleigh locals.


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Can Cable Networks Deliver a Gigabit? | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs

Can Cable Networks Deliver a Gigabit? | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable recently promised the Los Angeles City Council that they could bring gigabit service to the city by 2016. This raises the question – can today’s cable networks deliver a gigabit?

The short answer is yes, they are soon going to be able to do that, but with a whole list of caveats. So let me look at the various issues involved:


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VA: Tired of waiting for high-speed Internet? Ask your local government. | Patricia Sullivan | WashPost.com

VA: Tired of waiting for high-speed Internet? Ask your local government. | Patricia Sullivan | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Fed up with waiting for faster Internet access, two Northern Virginia governments are trying to prompt the development of fiber-optic broadband networks by creating them or partnering with entities that can.

Alexandria is seeking proposals from organizations that want to work with the city to create a fiber-optic backbone network that can be used by public institutions — such as libraries, school and public safety agencies — and by businesses, residents and nonprofit groups.

Five months ago, Arlington County decided to offer access to its own 10-mile fiber-optic network to companies located in the county’s major commercial areas as an economic development incentive.

“Broadband is the new transit. It’s sort of a must-have for any business,” said Stephanie Landrum, president and chief executive of the Alexandria Economic Partnership. “Seven years ago, only people working in technology or the federal government needed access to the highest speeds and capacity for broadband connectivity. Now it’s becoming an expectation that business people and those working in the nonprofit sector have it too.”

Although Verizon Fios offers a high-speed fiber-optic network in much of the Washington region, it is not available everywhere. And although cable firms such as RCN and Comcast offer what they call high-speed Internet access, experts say fiber-optic service is 200 times faster than the typical household cable service.


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SC: Passport Mobile Payment App Revamps Parking in the City! | Columbiasc.net

SC: Passport Mobile Payment App Revamps Parking in the City! | Columbiasc.net | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Drivers in the City of Columbia can get ready to pull out their phones to park! With Passport’s mobile payment system, available in early August, residents and visitors can use mobile parking payment technology in all of the City’s 5,000 parking spaces. The app, developed by Charlotte, NC-based Passport, is free to download and gives users a much simpler option than paying at the parking meter.

“This installation of Passport is a large component of the City’s initiatives to revamp our parking program,” said John Spade, Parking Director for the City of Columbia. “We know that parkers in Columbia will embrace this upgrade in technology, and it will make the process of parking one less thing to stress about.”

After thoroughly researching various mobile payment providers through a competitive bidding process, the City selected Passport, the industry leader in mobile payments for parking and transit to provide this service. Passport has successfully launched its mobile payment platform in cities like Chicago, Boston, Tucson, and even nearby in Charleston, SC.


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Windows 10 is spying on almost everything you do - here's how to opt out | Zach Epstein | BGR.com

Windows 10 is spying on almost everything you do - here's how to opt out | Zach Epstein | BGR.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Windows 10 is amazing. Windows 10 is fantastic. Windows 10 is glorious. Windows 10 is faster, smoother and more user-friendly than any Windows operating system that has come before it. Windows 10 is everything Windows 8 should have been, addressing nearly all of the major problems users had with Microsoft’s previous-generation platform in one fell swoop.

But there’s something you should know: As you read this article from your newly upgraded PC, Windows 10 is also spying on nearly everything you do.


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Union workers at Verizon may strike tonight | Donna Goodison | Boston Herald

Some 38,000 Verizon union workers from Massachusetts to Virginia are threatening to strike at midnight as the countdown looms for their contract to expire.

Both sides reported little or no progress yesterday in talks that started June 22.

The workers in nine states — including 5,000 in Massachusetts — whose contract expires at 11:59 p.m. are service reps, clerical workers, operators, testers and technicians “that build and maintain Verizon’s entire network infrastructure,” said Paul Feeney, spokesman for Boston’s International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2222. “It is inconceivable that Verizon would have a qualified and well-trained workforce capable of making those repairs in a timely manner should there be a work stoppage.”

Verizon, meanwhile, said it has been training “thousands of non-union Verizon employees and outside business partners” in network and customer service functions. “In the event of a work stoppage, Verizon is confident it can continue to maintain its network and systems and serve our customers,” spokesman Phil Santoro said.


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White House Vaguely Agrees Outdated ECPA Should Be Reformed But Only With An Eye On The Government's 'Interests' | Tim Cushing | Techdirt

White House Vaguely Agrees Outdated ECPA Should Be Reformed But Only With An Eye On The Government's 'Interests' | Tim Cushing | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Obama administration must be doing a little housecleaning in preparation for the 2016 winner. After months of highly-sporadic and belated responses to We The People petitions, it's answered two big ones (that have been sitting around forever) in a single day. It's also issued a handful of other responses to open petitions, some of which are little more than "we decline to respond," accompanied by a link to the site's Terms of Participation.

It took on two big petitions today. The first was a response to a request to pardon Snowden, which it denied under its "No Good Whistleblowing Goes Unpunished" policy. The second asked for a long-delayed rewrite of an outdated law.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act has been in need of reform for years. If nothing else, the law's misleading name needs to be changed. One of the more notorious aspects of the law is that it gives email less privacy protection than snail mail, which is already an exceedingly low bar.

The administration agrees that reform of this law -- which treats email older than six months as "abandoned" and thus easily-accessible by law enforcement -- is needed. However, it does so both belatedly, vaguely and disingenuously.

The We The People petition calling for ECPA reform was posted November, 12, 2013. It passed the 100,000-signature threshold roughly 30 days later. At that point, a response was "required." 593 days later, that response has finally arrived.


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Fundamental flaw: Linear thinking prevails in an exponentially changing world of Internet-based telecom | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Fundamental flaw: Linear thinking prevails in an exponentially changing world of Internet-based telecom | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Law of Accelerating Returns | POTs and PANs: The FCC recently set the new definition of broadband at 25 Mbps. When I look around at the demand in the world today at how households use broadband services, this feels about right. But at the same time, the FCC has agreed to pour billions of dollars through the Connect America Fund to assist the largest telcos in upgrading their rural DSL to 15 Mbps.


Not only is that speed not even as fast as today’s definition of broadband, but the telcos have up to seven years to deploy the upgraded technology, during which time the broadband needs of the customers this is intended for will have increased to four times higher than today’s needs.


And likely, once the subsidy stops the telcos will say that they are finished upgrading and this will probably be the last broadband upgrade in those areas for another twenty years, at which point the average household’s broadband needs will be 32 times higher than today.

I laud Google and a few others for pushing the idea of gigabit networks. This concept says that we should leap over the exponential curve and build a network today that is already future-proofed. I see networks all over the country that have the capacity to provide much faster speeds than are being sold to customers. I still see cable company networks with tons of customers still sitting at 3 Mbps to 6 Mbps as the basic download speed and fiber networks with customers being sold 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps products. And I have to ask: why?

Some excerpts (above) from an excellent blog post from Doug Dawson of CCG Consulting that explains to a great extent why the United States suffers from inadequate telecom infrastructure: employing an ill suited linear planning and business model for today's Internet-based telecommunications space that is expanding exponentially.


I too have asked why -- why providers and regulators view Internet-based telecom like a consumptive utility such as electric power, water or natural gas and base their business models on packaging and selling bandwidth rather than telecommunications services?


For example, see this provider's "dedicated optical fiber" service that slices and dices bandwidth into seven (yes, seven) bandwidth tiers at exorbitant prices on a fiber circuit that can easily deliver 1 Gigabit of bandwidth.


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Warner Music's Response To Evidence Of Happy Birthday In The Public Domain: Who Really Knows Anything, Really? | Techdirt

Warner Music's Response To Evidence Of Happy Birthday In The Public Domain: Who Really Knows Anything, Really? | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this week, we wrote about fairly damning new evidence that almost certainly shows that the song "Happy Birthday" is in the public domain, and not, as Warner Music's Warner/Chappell claims, still covered by a copyright that it holds (and ruthlessly enforces). The evidence was in the form of a 1922 songbook that published the music and lyrics to Happy Birthday, noting that it was via "special permission through courtesy of the Clayton F Summy Co."


The Summy company is who registered the copyright in 1935, and which Warner eventually bought. Warner has long argued that there was no pre-1935 publication. As the lawyers for the plaintiffs ("Good Morning To You Productions" -- who are making a documentary film about the song) pointed out, the publishing of the song and lyrics in 1922 without a copyright notice pretty clearly establishes the song is in the public domain. Even if there were a copyright on the original songbook, it would have expired.

It seemed pretty damning, but Warner/Chappell has quickly responded by basically trying to muddy the waters with a "well, who really knows what 'special permission' really meant" line, along with lots of other FUD about how Summy wouldn't have even owned the copyright at that point in the first place. Basically, Warner is just going to claim that none of this matters for as long as it possibly can. Watch the tap dancing:


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Washington Post Publishes... And Then Unpublishes... Opinion Piece By Ex-Intelligence Industry Brass, In Favor Of Strong Encryption | Mike Masnick |Techdirt

Washington Post Publishes... And Then Unpublishes... Opinion Piece By Ex-Intelligence Industry Brass, In Favor Of Strong Encryption | Mike Masnick |Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Update: And... the article has been republished at the Washington Post's site with a note claiming that it was accidentally published without fully going through its editing process. Extra points if anyone can spot anything that's changed...

Earlier this week, we noted with some surprise that both former DHS boss Michael Chertoff and former NSA/CIA boss Michael Hayden had come out against backdooring encryption, with both noting (rightly) that it would lead to more harm than good, no matter what FBI boss Jim Comey had to say. Chertoff's spoken argument was particularly good, detailing all of the reasons why backdooring encryption is just a really bad idea. Last night, Chertoff, along with former NSA boss Mike McConnell and former deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, published an opinion piece at the Washington Post, doubling down on why more encryption is a good thing and backdooring encryption is a bad thing.

Yes, the very same Washington Post that has flat out ignored all of the technical expertise on the subject and called for a "golden key" that would let the intelligence community into our communications. Not only that, but after being mocked all around for its original editorial on this piece, it came back and did it again.


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AT&T, Comcast, Lies Hurt Homeowners | community broadband networks

AT&T, Comcast, Lies Hurt Homeowners | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As of this January, the FCC defines broadband as 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream, but in some rural areas in the United States, people are still struggling to access DSL speeds of 768 kbps. In a few extreme cases, individuals who rely on the Internet for their jobs and livelihoods have been denied access completely.

The sad state of affairs for many Americans who subscribe to the major Internet service providers like AT&T and CenturyLink was recently chronicled in an article on Ars Technica that examined AT&T’s stunning combination of poor customer service, insufficient infrastructure, and empty promises to subscribers. It tells the unfortunately common story of the little guy being systematically overlooked by a massive corporation focused solely on short-term profit maximization.


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Contrary To What You've Heard, TPP Will Undermine US Law -- Including Supreme Court Decisions | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Contrary To What You've Heard, TPP Will Undermine US Law -- Including Supreme Court Decisions | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the key lines of pure unadulterated bullshit spread by the USTR concerning the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is that it won't lead to significant changes in US law. That's just wrong.


As KEI points out, it's pretty clear that the current text would completely undermine key Supreme Court rulings concerning state sovereign immunity from intellectual property disputes. Zack Struver and Tazio De Tomassi created a short video explaining why:


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Communications Workers of America Statement on Verizon Contract Talks | CWA-Union.org

Communications Workers of America Statement on Verizon Contract Talks | CWA-Union.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Collective bargaining agreements between Verizon and 39,000 members of CWA and IBEW expire at midnight tonight. CWA has put a constructive, comprehensive new bargaining proposal across the table at negotiations in Rye, NY that would offer the company significant healthcare and retiree cost savings.and union bargainers are currently waiting for a response from Verizon.


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DOCSIS 3.1 Seen Taking Off | Alan Breznick | Light Reading

DOCSIS 3.1 Seen Taking Off | Alan Breznick | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Seeking to join the Gigabit Parade, cable operators are apparently chomping at the bit to deploy the emerging next-gen DOCSIS 3.1 spec so they can offer 1 Gig and higher speeds themselves.

In its latest survey of cable providers across the globe released earlier this week, IHS Inc. found that, on average, providers expect to pass about a third of their residential broadband subscribers with DOCSIS 3.1-enabled headends by April 2017. In the US alone, that would translate to more than 17 million cable modem homes passed by D3.1, which is designed to support data downstream speeds as high as 10 Gbit/s and upstream speeds of 1 Gbit/s or more.

If this brisk rollout pace is realized, DOCSIS 3.1 would be far more widely deployed in the early going than its predecessor, DOCSIS 3.0, as well as earlier versions of the cable broadband spec. In fact, many cable systems have still not been upgraded for DOCSIS 3.0, more than nine years after CableLabs completed the spec and more than seven years after the first MSO deployments of D3.0 began.


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AT&T gets DirecTV merger approval, must deploy fiber to 12.5M customers | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica

AT&T gets DirecTV merger approval, must deploy fiber to 12.5M customers | Jon Brodkin | Ars Technica | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T's $48.5 billion purchase of DirecTV is a done deal, as the Federal Communications Commission today announced that it has voted to approve the merger. After the vote, AT&T announced that it has completed the acquisition.

The FCC imposed conditions on the acquisition, saying they ensure the combination will be in the public interest. AT&T will become the largest pay-TV company in the nation with about 26 million subscribers, jumping ahead of Comcast.


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Wikileaks Latest Info-Dump Shows, Again, That The NSA Indeed Engages In Economic Espionage Against Allies | Techdirt

Wikileaks Latest Info-Dump Shows, Again, That The NSA Indeed Engages In Economic Espionage Against Allies | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With all the revelations that have come out about the NSA and our foreign and domestic spy programs, it can, at times, become difficult to parse out exactly what we're supposed to be getting pissed off about and what is the exact kind of spy-work we ought to expect the alphabet agencies to conduct.


Some of the groups that are involved in getting these revelations out there don't make it much easier, of course. Take as an example the latest Wikileaks info-dump, which chiefly concerns the NSA's spy program against our ally Japan. From the press release accompanying the documents:


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How free apps eavesdrop on your entire private life | Madhumita Venkataramanan | Wired UK

How free apps eavesdrop on your entire private life | Madhumita Venkataramanan | Wired UK | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

You are looking at a map of all the permissions you have given six popular smartphone apps -- Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Instagram, Skype and Viber. Instagram can use your camera and microphone to record audio and take pictures and video, without asking you first. Gmail can read and modify your phone contacts. Viber has your precise GPS location at all times. Facebook can read all your text messages.


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MN: Tuesday, August 4th is Rural Broadband Day at Farmfest | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

I am planning to attend Farmfest on Tuesday and to take notes. It’s a fun event if you have the time and opportunity to attend. Here’s the schedule…

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How many people does it take to build a network out of phones? Fewer than you think. | Stanislav Shalunov | Medium

How many people does it take to build a network out of phones? Fewer than you think. | Stanislav Shalunov | Medium | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

FireChat connects all nearby phones into a network and uses this network to pass messages. Today, we are launching private off-the-grid messaging. FireChat uses unlicensed spectrum to create a heterogenous ad hoc network for messaging. Connections using unlicensed spectrum are fairly short-range: about 40 yards in most situations, but up to 70 if the conditions are right. While the throughput of these connections differs depending on technology — Wi-Fi Direct is considerably faster than Bluetooth Low Energy — the range is pretty similar.

The key to the way the network operates is the ability to daisy-chain devices to pass messages much further. FireChat augments pure off-the-grid transmission with using the Internet when available, but for now let’s focus on off-the-grid operation only.


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4th Amendment Lives: Court Tells US Government Get A Warrant If It Wants Mobile Phone Location Info | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

4th Amendment Lives: Court Tells US Government Get A Warrant If It Wants Mobile Phone Location Info | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A potentially big ruling came out of the courtroom of Judge Lucy Koh yesterday, in which she affirmed a magistrate judge's decision to tell the government to get a warrant if it wants to obtain historical location info about certain "target" mobile phones (officially known as "Cell Site Location Info" -- or CSLI).


The government sought to use a provision of the Stored Communications Act (a part of ECPA, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act) to demand this info without a warrant -- using a much lower standard: "specific and articulable facts" rather than the all important "probable cause."


Judge Koh says that's doesn't pass 4th Amendment muster, relying heavily on the important Supreme Court rulings in the Jones case, involving attaching a GPS device to a car, and the Riley case about searching mobile phones.


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Zayo to oversee Colorado's Eagle-Net broadband network | Mark Harden | Denver Business Journal

Zayo to oversee Colorado's Eagle-Net broadband network | Mark Harden | Denver Business Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Zayo Group Holdings Inc. said Friday that it has "assumed network oversight and support responsibility" for Eagle-Net Alliance, the state's intergovernmental high-speed Internet network that was launched with $100.6 million in federal stimulus funding and which has been met with years of controversy.

"Zayo and Eagle-Net have entered into this interim agreement as they work to establish an expanded, long-term partnership," Boulder-based Zayo, a global fiber-network operator, said in an announcement.

Broomfield-based Eagle-Net was founded to provide broadband service to schools, libraries and other "community anchor institutions" in areas of the state that lack high-speed connections.


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The government is headed back to the drawing board over controversial cybersecurity export rules | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com

The government is headed back to the drawing board over controversial cybersecurity export rules | Andrea Peterson | WashPost.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The cybersecurity industry and the government have been struggling over proposed export rules that researchers say could end up making the Internet less safe. And now the government says it will try again and give the public another chance to weigh in.

Earlier this year, the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security released a proposal for how to implement restrictions on exporting so-called "intrusion software" in order to comply with an international arms control agreement known as the Wassenaar Arrangement. The list of items covered by the agreement was updated in December of 2013 to include some surveillance and intelligence-gathering tools and the proposed rules were meant to ensure the U.S. meets its obligations under the pact.

But the proposal drew criticism from big tech companies and independent researchers alike, who argued that they were too broad and would end up stymieing defensive cybersecurity research. Security professionals warned that licensing requirements in the proposed regulations could limit the use of so-called "penetration testing" -- tools designed to help researchers discover problems in computers systems or even make it more difficult for researchers to disclose vulnerabilities they uncover to software makers so they can be fixed.


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VA: Leesburg Eyes Increased Government Transparency Through Technology | Mike Stancik | Leesburg Today

VA: Leesburg Eyes Increased Government Transparency Through Technology | Mike Stancik | Leesburg Today | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Members of Leesburg’s Technology and Communications Commission on Monday night presented to Town Council an idea to create an information archiving system that would allow the public to find document they could currently acquire through a formal government request.

The commission is proposing to make available, in searchable and downloadable form, all of town information and databases that are not required to be kept confidential by Virginia public records law in hopes that it would make the town a more desirable place for businesses and educational institutions.

“Many citizens found that once this information is available, the whole staff uses it as well and it’s much easier to access and it’s more efficient,” Commission Chairman John Binkley said. “It’s useful for businesses trying to use analytics and saves time for staff.”

Morgan Wright, owner of a tech company called SafeLife, supported the commission’s recommendations, saying the more transparency there was within government the more economic development there would be.

“Information is power and it’s a powerful economic engine,” Wright said.


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