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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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Canada: Innovation lacks innovative thinking | Troy Media

Canada: Innovation lacks innovative thinking | Troy Media | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) released its bi-annual report last week, continuing the tradition of ‘groupthink’ evident in its previous two reports. To be fair, measuring innovation is an impossible task, since it includes everything from product innovations to new processes and technology to marketing and organizational structures.

 

Inevitably the report’s primary focus is on some of the inputs into the process of innovation (like research and development (R&D)), and not the outcome, which hopefully is more innovation. But unless we can say what successful innovation is and measure it, monitoring a partial list of inputs is hardly satisfying. By focusing on those things that can be quantified, the report makes a commonplace but fundamental error of social science that anything that can’t be counted doesn’t count. Friedrich Hayek devoted his Nobel Prize acceptance speech to the errors of analysis along exactly these lines.

 

The report discusses things largely because data about them exist, even though what is being measured is only partly or tangentially related to innovation. The most obvious example is R&D, to which whole chapters are devoted.

 

There is not enough discussion of the pitfalls and limitations of relying on R&D to understand innovation. The report acknowledges that “the significant investments that Canada’s natural resource industries make in exploration and evaluation activities and in field testing facilities” are not counted as R&D, but clearly are innovative. However, that is the last we hear of the problem of this type of ‘hidden’ innovation.

 

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CO: Despite its flaws, EAGLE-Net has impacts on broadband resources in Yampa Valley | Steamboat Pilot & Today

CO: Despite its flaws, EAGLE-Net has impacts on broadband resources in Yampa Valley | Steamboat Pilot & Today | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The news came on the morning of May 16: The South Routt School District would not be connected to the EAGLE-Net statewide broadband project.

 

“We don’t have the money; we can’t do it,” Steamboat Springs School District Technology Director Tim Miles said an EAGLE-Net representative told him.

 

The Oak Creek-based school district of about 400 students is only 20 miles south of the Routt County seat, but that’s far enough to be left out.

 

The South Routt School District is exactly the type of rural, underserved school system that was supposed to be at the heart of EAGLE-Net’s mission to build a high-speed network for educational and public institutions.

 

The $100.6 million federal grant-funded initiative was supposed to connect every school district in the state, but EAGLE-Net has fallen far behind its original schedule, and doubts loom about its ability to fulfill its promises.

 

The stumbles pose a challenge for rural school districts that were hoping for more affordable bandwidth at better speeds, but initiatives like EAGLE-Net also have impacts on the private sector and the overall broadband outlook for Northwest Colorado.

 

Currently, the only broadband paths connecting Steamboat Springs to larger outside networks are owned by CenturyLink. Its monopoly on what’s termed the “middle mile” — the infrastructure connection between core networks and the “last mile” to individual customers — means it has significant control over broadband services in the area.

 

Any local Internet service provider that wants to provide service to area homes and businesses has to lease connectivity from CenturyLink to reach the outside world. Without competitors in the market, CenturyLink can charge higher prices for middle mile services here than on the Front Range, and it can leave fiber dark, meaning it’s not lit for use, if it chooses, limiting the potential bandwidth available.

 

EAGLE-Net was supposed to change that. It would offer an open-access network that would allow any carrier to lease fiber and compete in the middle mile market.

 

The project still is slated to reach Steamboat and could have tremendous effects on broadband in Routt County. But for now, companies and organizations are exploring what can be done to improve connectivity in the area with or without EAGLE-Net.

 

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SAP to bring in autistic workers as software testers and programmers GigaOM Tech News

SAP to bring in autistic workers as software testers and programmers  GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Following successful pilots, SAP will step up its hiring of people on the autistic spectrum, the German business software firm announced. Working with an outfit called Specialisterne, the company will bring in hundreds of autistic staff around the world to work in fields such as software testing, programming and data quality assurance.

 

This is the latest move in what appears to be an interesting new trend. Plano, Texas-based CRM firm Alliance Data recently started seeking out workers on the autistic spectrum, as have other IT-related businesses such as the Berlin-based consultancy Auticon. SAP is the first major multinational to adopt similar hiring policies.

 

Because autism tends to come with impaired social abilities, it can be problematic in a work environment. As a result, many people with autism find it difficult to gain and hold a job. However, the autistic spectrum is wide and many of those with low-level autistic spectrum disorder – such as the recently reclassified Asperger Syndrome – can function in a work setting.

 

People with autistic spectrum disorders often display highly focused and analytical behavior and it is these characteristics that companies such as SAP and Alliance Data are finding can work to their advantage, particularly in the context of software testing and programming. In its statement on Tuesday, SAP said it saw “a potential competitive advantage to leveraging the unique talents of people with autism.”

 

According to SAP human resources chief Luisa Delgado:

 

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New 'Arbitrary' AT&T Fee Upsets Customers | Huff Post Tech

New 'Arbitrary' AT&T Fee Upsets Customers | Huff Post Tech | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

AT&T must be run by magicians. The company is turning a mere 61 cent monthly fee into hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

But instead of delighting an enchanted audience, AT&T has mostly angered its customers with its new "Mobility Administrative Fee," which went into effect for all monthly cellphone contracts on May 1. The company has more than 107 million wireless subscribers, so the new fee stands to bring in $775 million each year. OK?

 

Here's AT&T's explanation for the price add-on: "Consistent with similar fees charged by other carriers, the monthly fee of 61 cents per line will help cover certain expenses, such as interconnection and cell site rents and maintenance," AT&T's executive director of media relations, Mark Siegel, told The Huffington Post. The fee applies to all "postpaid (contract) consumer wireless customers."

 

The new fee should not have come as a surprise to the AT&T customers who read their bills carefully. "Customers were given a full thirty days advance notice of this fee in their April bills. The fee is summarized and identified as a line item on every single monthly bill," Siegel said.

 

AT&T customers took to Twitter to complain:

 

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Charles Chas's curator insight, May 28, 2013 6:16 PM

New 'Arbitrary' AT&T Fee Upsets Customers | Huff Post Tech | @scoopit http://sco.lt/...

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Second Segment of Fiber Optic Cable Connects to Cuba | Global Voices

Second Segment of Fiber Optic Cable Connects to Cuba  | Global Voices | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

The fiber optic cable, which is expected to improve Cuba's connectivity to the Internet, is of utmost importance to the country, and every piece of information continues to clarify the current state of this technological infrastructure. In the past days, U.S. company Renesys announced on its blog that during this week they “observed a second non-satellite connection established for the Cuban state telecom, ETECSA [Cuban State Telecommunications Company]“.

 

In January of this year, Renesys stated that the ALBA-1 submarine cable had begun to bring Internet traffic in the segment that connects Cuba to Venezuela.

 

According to Doug Madory, a Renesys employee:

 

"this time a different segment from the ALBA-1 submarine cable is being used to connect Cuba to its neighboring island, Jamaica. At 15:04 UTC on May 13, 2013, it was observed that ETECSA began receiving international Internet service through Cable & Wireless Jamaica."

 

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Europe's quiet Apple antitrust probe takes on 4G dimension, report suggests | GigaOM Tech News

Europe's quiet Apple antitrust probe takes on 4G dimension, report suggests | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Back in March, some carriers complained to the EU competition authorities over Apple’s channel tactics, such as its alleged use of excessively high sales quotas to make sure carriers’ marketing budgets go disproportionately in the direction of iPhones and iPads. Two months on, and it seems the authorities are quietly probing the issue.

 

First off, it’s important to realise that no formal complaints have been made and the European Commission has not launched a formal investigation. However, according to a Financial Times report on Sunday, the Commission has sent a questionnaire to several European carriers, asking them to clarify what Apple asks them to do.

 

The article claims the questionnaire asks whether operating groups are forced to buy a certain quota of iPhones, whether Apple dictates how marketing budgets should be allocated, and whether the U.S. firm demands subsidies and sales terms that are at least as favorable as those offered to other manufacturers. Interestingly, it also says the Commission is looking into potential “technical or contractual restrictions on the iPhone 5 that mean it cannot be used on high-speed 4G networks in Europe.”

 

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Tech industry targets GOP senators to pass immigration reform | The Hill's Hillicon Valley

Tech industry targets GOP senators to pass immigration reform | The Hill's Hillicon Valley | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The tech industry is targeting six GOP senators in the hopes of building a supermajority behind the Senate’s immigration bill.

 

The bill approved this week by the Judiciary Committee significantly increases the cap on H1-B visas commonly used by tech firms, and softened tougher restrictions on their use.

 To preserve that victory, tech companies are trying to help the bill’s supporters secure enough GOP votes to pass the bill out of the full Senate with as close to 70 votes as possible. Such a majority would increase the bill’s odds in the House.

 

Tech lobbyists are wooing Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jerry Moran (R-Kans.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to support the bill.

 

All have a tech presence in their state or appear open-minded on supporting an overhaul of the country's immigration rules.

 

Other names that have been floated include Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.).

 

Here’s a look at some of the main tech targets:

 

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John McCain: Americans 'Are Being Ripped Off' By Cable Companies | Huff Post Tech

John McCain: Americans 'Are Being Ripped Off' By Cable Companies | Huff Post Tech | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

John McCain continued his fight for a la carte cable programming that would allow subscribers to pay for just the cable channels they watch on Wednesday.

 

The Arizona senator is speaking out in favor of changing the payment model for cable. McCain recently introduced the Television Consumer Freedom Act, which would give viewers the ability to pick the channels they want, instead of paying for cable packages that include programming they never watch.

 

He made his case in an editorial entitled, "Cable TV, the right way". "The American people are being ripped off," McCain declared.

 

He lamented the rising price of basic cable and the fact that the average viewer only watches 18 channels, despite paying for hundreds of them — which he described as a "fundamental unfairness" supported by laws that favor cable companies and television programmers. He acknowledged that the legislation faces "an uphill battle," but warned that companies only have two choices: "meet consumers' demands or become obsolete."

 

He also made the argument last Tuesday in a Commerce Committee hearing. McCain introduced similar legislation in 2006, but it did not make it past committee. It is sure to face stiff opposition from broadcasters and cable companies this time around, as well.

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How easy is it to hack a smart meter? | BBC.co.uk

How easy is it to hack a smart meter? | BBC.co.uk | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

By the year 2020 about 30 million British homes will have digital smart meters monitoring their gas and electricity usage, according to government plans.

 

The scheme promises to reduce costs as in-house monitors will make energy consumption more visible and therefore controllable, and will remove the need for estimated bills.

 

However this month the roll-out was delayed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change for more than a year as the government admitted more tests were still needed.

 

One big issue for information security experts is the safety of the data collected by the meters and transferred back to the utility companies.

 

While there are many different brands of meter, the communications hubs which transmit this information often use the mobile data network via a SIM card, security consultant Eireann Leverett from IO Active told the BBC.


"There are two main ways of hacking the meters," he said.

 

"Through the mobile network they use to communicate, or through hardware hacking - opening the meter up, tampering, altering the firmware or removing the cryptographic keys."

 

Utility companies are reluctant to use home broadband services for data transmission because they could be liable if an individual's account was hacked, he added, and the meters themselves could be vulnerable as many of them will be outside properties or in communal areas.

 

The problem is that making the new digital meters more secure requires considerable investment for a relatively low-cost product, Mr Leverett explained.

 

"It's hard to do," he said.

 

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Adam Savage On Why Copyright And Trademark Holders Need To Get Over Their Obsession With 'Control' | Techdirt

Adam Savage On Why Copyright And Trademark Holders Need To Get Over Their Obsession With 'Control' | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Reader aster points us to a tested.com video in which Adam Savage talks about copyright issues. I've seen Savage mention on Twitter in the past that he's a closet copyright geek who is very interested in copyright policy, and the conversation is definitely interesting, focusing on the high profile cease and desist letter that Fox sent over Jayne hats.

 

The frustrating thing to me, in watching this, is that the conversation jumps back and forth between copyright and trademark without clarification. In fact, they're almost entirely talking about trademark, while saying they're talking about copyright. Frustratingly, they suggest that you have to enforce copyright to keep it, which is simply not true. What they mean is that for trademark -- not copyright -- you have to make some effort to prevent confusion or your mark becoming generic if you want to keep that mark (though this has nothing to do with copyright). You can see the segment below, though the main discussion starts up around the 7:30 mark:

 

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Broadcasters go after Aereo by suing smaller competitor, Aereokiller | The Verge

Broadcasters go after Aereo by suing smaller competitor, Aereokiller | The Verge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

The nation's largest television broadcasters filed a copyright lawsuit against FilmOn.TV and its Aereokiller service yesterday, alleging that the service retransmits TV programming without authorization or compensating them, according to a story in Variety. Aereokiller is the flippantly-named competitor to Aereo, the company that uses dime-sized antennas to capture over-the-air TV transmissions and then streams them to subscribers by way of the internet.

 

This is part of an escalating fight for control of the country's TV airwaves. The broadcasters say that if Aereo, or any other company is allowed to distribute their programming without licensing it then nobody will. A big chunk of the broadcasters' revenue comes from the retransmission fees it charges cable companies. Aereo, which is also defending itself against a copyright suit filed by the broadcasters, argues that it only enables subscribers to access freely available over-the-air TV, which they have every right to do.

 

The broadcasters appear to be suing Aereokiller again because it has proven to be a far less formidable opponent in court than Aereo. Last year, a federal district judge in New York rejected the broadcasters' request to issue a preliminary injunction that would have required Aereo to shut down. A federal appeals court agreed with the lower court's decision and found that the broadcasters were unlikely to win the case based on the evidence.

 

But out in California, the broadcasters prevailed in another district Court against Aereokiller. They are obviously hoping to win a similar decision in Washington DC, where the most recent suit against Aereokiller was filed. It's interesting to note that the big media companies typically file their copyright suits in New York, a venue that perhaps doesn't look as friendly to them now.

 

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Russ Roberts's curator insight, May 28, 2013 11:45 PM

Although this isn't directly related to amateur radio, those of us using cable or satellite-delivered television programs should be interested in the outcome of this lawsuit.  When I was in the commercial radio business, music licensing organizations (BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC) dogged broadcasters, restaurants, bars, and public areas that used music without permission.  As a broadcast station, my former employer had to pay hefty licensing fees for our programming.  The idea of "free music" is a myth--licensing of entertainment material and paying of the requistite fees are enforced with hefty fines for non-licensed use.  Television broadcasters are feeling the pressure of small competitors such as "Aerokiller" and "Aereo".  Broadcasters will win this contest in the end, as did the music licensing groups who pressured businesses using music as background ambiance to pay up.  Although the FCC hasn't imposed heavy costs on amateur radio operators for use of the rf spectrum, some licensing bodies, such as those in Australia, are imposing hefty license fees on amateurs who wish to use the rf spectrum.  On top of that, Australian officials are taking back some of the UHF sprectrum once earmarked for amateur radio use.  "It can't happen here" is becoming fact in many parts of the world.  Will amateur radio operators in the USA be next to feel the financial pain?  Aloha de KH6JRM.
 

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MN: Eagan signs agreement with Frontier Communications | Minneapolis Star Tribune

MN: Eagan signs agreement with Frontier Communications | Minneapolis Star Tribune | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

The city of Eagan and Frontier Communications have reached an agreement under which Frontier will become the first telecommunications provider on AccessEagan, the city’s wholesale fiber network.

 

The agreement could mean faster Internet speeds and more service options for many businesses in Eagan. It also adds the city’s 16-plus miles of fiber optic lines to Frontier’s more than 302 miles of fiber in Dakota County.

AccessEagan is a wholesale fiber network owned by the city and open to any telecommunications carrier wishing to provide services to Eagan businesses. The city provides no retail services.

 

The AccessEagan lines are in central and north Eagan mostly, with an extension going in this summer in the Cedar Grove area, where an outlet shopping mall is being built.

 

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The Battle for Control of Smart Cities | Fast Company

The Battle for Control of Smart Cities | Fast Company | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Who will own the brains of smart cities--citizens or corporations? At stake is an impending massive trove of data, not to mention issues of privacy, services, and inclusion. The battle may be fought in the streets between bands of Jane Jacobs-inspired hacktivists pushing for self-serve governance and a latter-day Robert Moses carving out monopolies for IBM or Cisco instead of the Triborough Bridge Authority.

 

Without a delicate balance between the scale of big companies and the DIY spirit of “gov 2.0” champions, the urban poor could be the biggest losers. Achieving that balance falls to smarter cities’ mayors, who must keep the tech heavyweights in check and “frame an agenda of openness, transparency and inclusivness.”

 

Those are some of the conclusions of “The Future of Cities, Information, and Inclusion,” a 10-year forecast commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation and published this morning by the Institute for the Future. “Without this catalyst for cooperation,” the authors conclude, “we may repeat the devastating urban conflicts of the 20th century that pitted central planners like Robert Moses against community activists like Jane Jacobs.”

 

Befitting the Foundation’s focus on the world’s poorest and what it calls “smart globalization,” the report’s emphasis is on smartening up cities in the developing world--cities that lack both data about their swelling populations and the tools needed to make sense of it. The roster of expert contributors comprises a who’s who of ubiquitous computing and gov 2.0 types, including MIT Senseable City Lab director Carlo Ratti, Everyware author Adam Greenfield, the Santa Fe Institute’s Nathan Eagle, Intel Labs Director Genevieve Bell, Microsoft Research’s Jonathan Donner, and San Francisco CIO Chris Vein.

 

Together, they highlight five “technologies that matter” for cities in 2020: mobile broadband; smart personal devices, whether they’re dirt-cheap phones or tablets; government-sponsored cloud computing (modeled on the U.K.’s national “G-cloud” initiative); open-source public databases to promote grassroots innovation, and “public interfaces.” Instead of Internet cafés, imagine an outdoor LED screen and hacked Kinect box allowing literally anyone to access the Net using only gestures.

 

The report’s centerpiece is a map depicting how these technologies might be applied across 13 scenarios, from something as simple as on-demand census counting (to track the influx of urban immigration) to crowdsourced public services (best exemplified in the U.S. by SeeClickFix, the subject of a profile in the December/January issue of Fast Company) to high-resolution, real-time models of urban processes.

 

None of these developments are unambiguously good, stresses Anthony Townsend, director of technology development at IFTF and the report’s lead author. Data-rich models might offer residents a chance to see how congestion pricing might effect the volume of traffic on their street, or they might be harnessed by technocrats in places like China or Singapore to further tighten their grip on how cities function.

 

Crowdsourcing carries its own complications, adds Townsend. “It’s cooperation versus offloading: cities shoveling off service delivery onto citizen groups” in a social media successor to business improvement districts, “while in the developing world, you’re going to have governments that never provided services to begin with” leaving the crowd to fend for themselves in the name of empowerment.

 

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Ireland reportedly considering corporate tax reforms | CNET News

Ireland reportedly considering corporate tax reforms | CNET News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Ireland is reportedly considering tax reforms that would close a loophole allegedly exploited by several multinational corporations -- most notably Apple -- to reduce their tax bills.

 

In the face of mounting international criticism, the Irish government is considering ways to phase out the Double Irish taxation arrangement, according to a report this weekend in the financial newspaper Sunday Business Post. The technique dramatically reduces a company's tax debt by funneling profits through two linked Irish subsidiaries.

 

The report did not indicate what specific changes might be under consideration. CNET has contacted Ireland's Department of Finance for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

 

The technique has led to criticism by U.S. lawmakers who recently labeled Ireland a tax haven for U.S. companies seeking to avoid taxes in their home country. A recent report prepared by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations described how Apple has used corporate structures set up in myriad countries that allow it to exist as a resident of nowhere so that it pays very little corporate tax on its international revenue.

 

The Senate report noted that Apple's Irish subsidiary earned $22 billion in 2011. However, it wound up paying $10 million in taxes.

 

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New Zealand: From payphones to Wi-Fi hotspots | MuniWireless

New Zealand: From payphones to Wi-Fi hotspots | MuniWireless | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

You’ve seen all those forlorn phone booths gathering dust on a weedy corner waiting for the elusive Person-Without-A-Cellphone to step in and drop coins into the pay phone. I’ve always thought they should be turned into high capacity Wi-Fi hotspots.

 

It appears that Telecom NZ (New Zealand) has decided to do just that. New Zealand has some of the most expensive wired and wireless broadband connections in the world. When I was in New Zealand last year, almost all the publicly available Wi-Fi (in cafes and restaurants) was metered and doled out like precious gold. And it was slow! Only in McDonald’s MacCafes did I find free (fast) Wi-Fi.

 

Thank heavens Telecom NZ began installing Wi-Fi access points from Ruckus Wireless last December 2012 and is expanding the number of Wi-Fi “phone booths” to more than 3000 across the country. They are using the Ruckus ZoneFlex 7762 outdoor dual-band 802.11n product. The challenge for Telecom NZ has been to bring enough power and backhaul to the pay phones. Ruckus Wireless claims that PCCW in Hong Kong and Oi in Brazil are planning similar projects to equip their ancient phone booths with Wi-Fi.

 

Telecom NZ is using the phone booth Wi-Fi hotspot to attract new subscribers and to offload data traffic from its cellular networks.

 

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Leaks Inquiries Show How Wide a Net Is Cast | NYTimes.com

Leaks Inquiries Show How Wide a Net Is Cast | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Even before the F.B.I. conducted 550 interviews of officials and seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters in a leak investigation connected to a 2012 article about a Yemen bomb plot, agents had sought the same reporters’ sources for two other articles about terrorism.

 

In a separate case last year, F.B.I. agents asked the White House, the Defense Department and intelligence agencies for phone and e-mail logs showing exchanges with a New York Times reporter writing about computer attacks on Iran. Agents grilled officials about their contacts with him, two people familiar with the investigation said.

 

And agents tracing the leak of a highly classified C.I.A. report on North Korea to a Fox News reporter pulled electronic archives showing which officials had gained access to the report and had contact with the reporter on the day of the leak.

 

The emerging details of these and other cases show just how wide a net the Obama administration has cast in its investigations into disclosures of government secrets, querying hundreds of officials across the federal government and even some of their foreign counterparts.

 

The result has been an unprecedented six prosecutions and many more inquiries using aggressive legal and technical tactics. A vast majority of those questioned were cleared of any leaking.

 

On Thursday, President Obama ordered a review of Justice Department procedures for leak investigations, saying he was concerned that such inquiries chilled journalists’ ability to hold the government accountable. But he made no apology for the scrutiny of the many officials whose records were searched or who had been questioned by the F.B.I.

 

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AT&T Launches the Cellular Smart Grid | Energy Collective

AT&T Launches the Cellular Smart Grid | Energy Collective | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

AT&T already has a ton of business in the utility sector, providing everything from workforce connectivity to the backhaul networks that help connect millions of smart meters and other grid devices in the field. But to date, AT&T and its telecommunications coequals, such as Verizon and Sprint, haven’t made the leap from smart grid ICT solutions providers to actually putting together smart grid projects themselves.

 

This week, AT&T announced that it’s taking on that central role for the first time, in a project with Duck River Electric Membership Corp., a 71,000-customer rural cooperative utility in Tennessee. Under the terms of contract, AT&T will integrate cellular-connected smart meters from Itron, meter data management software from ElectSolve and volt/VAR optimization and distribution grid controls from S&C Electric, and will then manage the entire affair for the utility.

 

Consider it the first stab by AT&T at becoming a smart grid project integrator and service guarantor for the thousands of U.S. utilities that want to outsource their smart grid integration and operations tasks. Whether it’s known as “smart grid as a service” or goes by the name of a hosted or cloud-based smart grid platform, the idea is to open smart grid investments and benefits to the mass of utilities that either can’t afford or can’t justify doing all the heavy IT lifting on their own.

 

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How the Apple TV can compete with the Xbox One | GigaOM Tech News

How the Apple TV can compete with the Xbox One | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

Microsoft impressed me when it unveiled the Xbox One earlier this week. I can’t imagine a future where we won’t be talking and gesturing to our TVs while visiting with grandma on a video call and playing a game at the same time.

 

Throughout the presentation, I was thinking, I wish Apple made something like this. The battle for your living room is heating up, and the Xbox One has positioned itself as the “all-in-One” solution, providing all your entertainment in one device. It doesn’t entirely succeed at that, but it does a better job than what Apple is offering currently with the Apple TV, and consumers will notice that.

 

Below, I’ll examine how I think Apple can bring the Apple TV up to par with the One as a true living room device.

 

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US entertainment industry to Congress: make it legal for us to deploy rootkits, spyware, ransomware and trojans to attack pirates! | Boing Boing

US entertainment industry to Congress: make it legal for us to deploy rootkits, spyware, ransomware and trojans to attack pirates! | Boing Boing | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The hilariously named "Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property" has finally released its report, an 84-page tome that's pretty bonkers. But amidst all that crazy, there's a bit that stands out as particularly insane: a proposal to legalize the use of malware in order to punish people believed to be copying illegally. The report proposes that software would be loaded on computers that would somehow figure out if you were a pirate, and if you were, it would lock your computer up and take all your files hostage until you call the police and confess your crime. This is the mechanism that crooks use when they deploy ransomware.

 

It's just more evidence that copyright enforcers' network strategies are indistinguishable from those used by dictators and criminals. In 2011, the MPAA told Congress that they wanted SOPA and knew it would work because it was the same tactic used by governments in "China, Iran, the UAE, Armenia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Burma, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam." Now they've demanded that Congress legalize an extortion tool invented by organized criminals.

 

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Three disruptive technologies that will change your life | MyBroadband.co.za

Three disruptive technologies that will change your life | MyBroadband.co.za | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

One of the main drivers of economic growth through the millennia has been technology – technologies like seed planting and the plough made the turn to agriculture possible, technologies to harness fossil fuels ignited the Industrial Revolution.

 

Technology has also transformed healthcare, our societies and families (think birth control pills), and the transformations just keep coming (my iPhone does more than the communicators on Star Trek!).

 

Looking ahead, it’s interesting to imagine what’s next – Facebook chips in our brains, perhaps, or robotic hands that turn into rocket launchers?

 

Clearly, I’m bad at imaging the technologies of the future, but happily you don’t have to rely on me for a peek ahead.

 

Recently, McKinsey interviewed Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, asking him to predict what technologies will have the greatest impact on our world in the near future. He came up with three main ones.

 

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Vermont Declares War On Patent Trolls; Passes New Law And Sues Notorious Patent Troll | Techdirt

Vermont Declares War On Patent Trolls; Passes New Law And Sues Notorious Patent Troll | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I've always liked the state of Vermont -- but mainly because it was a nice place to visit. But, now the state appears to be declaring war on patent trolls. A new anti-patent trolling law has been quietly enacted, H.299, which targets patent trolls. Or, as it says "bad faith assertions of patent infringement."

 

It does this by amending the state's consumer protection laws, to give tools to judges to recognize when patent litigation is done in bad faith (i.e., for trolling, rather than legitimate reasons). Eric Goldman summarizes the law this way:

 

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Hottest job on market: Cybersecurity professionals | Chicago Daily Herald

Hottest job on market: Cybersecurity professionals | Chicago Daily Herald | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Five dozen teenagers hunched over computers in a hotel conference room near Washington, decrypting codes, cleaning malware and fending off network intrusions to score points in the finals of a national cybersecurity contest.

 

Just hours later, the high-school students got a glimpse of the labor market's appetite for their skills as sponsors such as network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. described career opportunities. Internships start as young as 16 at Northrop Grumman Corp., which reserves 20 spots for participants in the Air Force Association's contest.

 

"We're the largest provider of cybersecurity solutions to the federal government, so we know that we've got to help build that talent pipeline," said Diane Miller, Northrop's program director for the CyberPatriot contest, on the sidelines of the March event. "We just have a shortage of people applying" for the 700 positions currently open.

 

Security breaches experienced by institutions ranging from Facebook to the Federal Reserve are spurring spending on cybersecurity. President Barack Obama describes the threat as one of the nation's most serious perils, while the Department of Defense has said the Chinese military has targeted government computers. With few specialists trained to respond to evolving attacks and most universities still adjusting to requirements, demand is overwhelming supply.

 

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McKinsey: The $33 Trillion Technology Payoff | NYTimes.com

McKinsey: The $33 Trillion Technology Payoff | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

 

The “next big thing” lists are a well-worn staple of technology analysts and consultants, typically delivered just before the calendar turns to a new year.

 

A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of the consulting firm, delivers a twist on the art form, and the difference is more than the timing. The 154-page report not only selects a dozen “disruptive” technologies from a candidate list of 100, but also measures their economic impact.

 

By 2025, the 12 technologies — led by the mobile Internet, the automation of knowledge work, and the Internet of Things — have the potential to deliver economic value of up to $33 trillion a year worldwide, according to the McKinsey researchers.

 

That would be a sweeping and disruptive effect indeed, since economists project that by 2025 global economic output will be about $100 trillion.

 

The McKinsey report does include the estimated value of the social benefits of using a more efficient technology, like time saved. Such benefits — known as “consumer surplus” — are not included in conventional measures of economic output. (An example would be the value of time saved by quickly finding answers to questions by using a search engine. Google economists estimate that saving at up to $65 billion annually.)

 

The estimated range of the impact of the dozen technologies is also quite wide, from $14 trillion to $33 trillion by 2025. That approach, McKinsey researchers say, takes account of the many uncertainties when projecting possible outcomes more than a decade in the future. Two of the 12 technologies identified in the McKinsey report, for example, are “renewable energy” and “advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery.” Energy prices will have a big effect on the measured impact of those technologies — and energy prices can fluctuate widely. Over the last decade, oil prices ranged from a a low near $23 to a high of about $146.

 

“We’re not in the prediction business, and we’re not in the forecasting business,” said Michael Chui, a principal of the McKinsey Global Institute. “We wanted to show potential, and do that with a quantitative perspective.”

 

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Verizon Cloud Offers 500MB Of Free Storage To iOS, Some Android Devices | Ubergizmo

Verizon Cloud Offers 500MB Of Free Storage To iOS, Some Android Devices | Ubergizmo | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We’re sure by now you have decided which cloud-storage service you want to trust all of your files, photos and other miscellaneous documents with, but Verizon is throwing their cloud into the ring as they have just launched its cleverly named Verizon Cloud for iOS and some Android devices.

 

Verizon Cloud is available only to Verizon subscribers on supported handsets, including all iOS products and most Android devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC DROID DNA. Verizon customers can have access to 500MB of free cloud storage, but will allow additional storage on a tiered price scale. An additional $2.99 a month will get you 25GB of storage, $5.99 per month gets you 75GB of storage, while spending $9.99 per month will get you 125GB of storage.

 

Verizon Cloud won’t only store your everyday files, such as photos, music and documents, but the service will also store text messages, call logs and contacts in an attempt to make transitioning between devices a little bit easier by seamlessly transferring information.

 

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'Gigabit and Ultra-High-Speed Networks: Where They Stand Now and How They Are Building the Future' | BroadbandBreakfast.com

Emphasizing the developing nature of broadband networks in the United States, speakers at the May 21 Broadband Breakfast Club event said that the recent achievement of ultra-high speed broadband networks has been a critical factor seeding transformative developments for organizations, individuals and communities. These developments, panelists said, were simply not possible before with slower speed networks.

 

Yet panelists at the event, “Becoming a Gigabit Nation: What Have We Learned About Ultra-High Speed Broadband?” also agreed that speed is not actually the most important factor in the maturing of these networks.

 

Successful deployment of such networks requires concerted efforts and continual upgrades involving community leadership, assessment of consumer needs and desires, infrastructure development, application development and successful assessment of usage patterns. All of these factors affect the success of such gigabit and high-speed networks, panelists said.

 

In other words, high-speed networks need to be developed in concert with proposed applications, which are in turn developed in the context of their communities or customer base.

 

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