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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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Iowa: WLP becomes communications utility | Waverly Newspapers

Iowa: WLP becomes communications utility | Waverly Newspapers | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The citizens approved it in 2000, but it wasn't until Monday night that the vote of the people was given a green light by the Waverly City Council.


Waverly Light and Power (WPL) is now officially a municipal communications utility.


The council voted Monday 5-2 to pass Ordinance 970, establishing the entity, adding the potential for phone, video and broadband services for the Waverly area.


"We are so pleased that the council, representing the community, saw the value of putting the structure in place in order to advance a vision that the citizens of Waverly began more than 12 years ago," Diane Johnson, WLP's general manager, told Waverly Newspapers Wednesday. "We see this as a way to enhance the economic vitality of Waverly and the quality of life for people who live and work here."


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Cities Failing to Meet Innovation Age Challenge | Huff Post Blog

Cities Failing to Meet Innovation Age Challenge | Huff Post Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


The U.S.-based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITLF) published its seminal report "Digital Prosperity" warning that:


"In the new global economy information and communications technology (ICT) is the major driver, not just of improved quality of life, but also of economic growth...Yet, most policymakers do not adequately appreciate this fundamental reality."


Sadly, most mayors and city councils don't either.


Yet, in the new economy it is these cities that are the new engines of growth and development that need the information infrastructures the most.

Admittedly, cities are still reeling over the pension crisis and related fiscal malaise. The established players--mostly the cable and Telco's-- have joined forces to routinely block any attempt any by a city to provide municipal Internet services. State legislators and other politicians have also told them the telecommunications business belongs to the private sector. And most cities -- already subsidized in some small way by a cable franchise or largesse of the local telephone monopoly-- are afraid to act or simply unaware of the stakes.


In every study of importance however, broadband Internet services are mentioned prominently. The argument that such infrastructures are the thing most of the nation's innovation today urgently needs is something that all the studies seem to agree on. Given the realignment of power in the world--from nations to cities to individuals--what the city does or does not do can determine their community's success and survival, or its demise. The world's map is being redrawn and there is likely to be lot of ghost towns littered along the new global information highway.


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Obama Initiative: Public Schools to Have Gov Issued High-Speed Internet | Susanne Posel Blog

Obama Initiative: Public Schools to Have Gov Issued High-Speed Internet | Susanne Posel Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been asked to approve President Obama’s imitative called ConnectED, a newly developed high speed internet that will bring a stronger digital connectivity to public schools.


Subsidies for broadband and wireless connections in schools and libraries must be 1 gbps to remain competitive. E-Rate, which is paid by the FCC with a Universal Service Fund, needs no approval from Congress to begin.


American customers of phone corporations would see an increase by an estimated $5 to their monthly bill to aid funding this initiative.


Arne Duncan, Secretary of the DoE explained that the “telephone tax” would be an issue for the FCC to examine as far as necessities of funding for ConnectED.


Douglas Levin, executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) explained: “Over the past few years, schools have been relying on broadband more and more, they’ve been ditching textbooks … shifting to digital assessments and online learning. That’s putting more and more strain on school networks.”


Speaking at a middle school in Mooresville, North Carolina, Obama said: “In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools?”


Obama would like to see all students have a laptop throughout their public school career.


He said: “You’re spending less money getting better outcomes and people around the country are starting to take notes. I don’t want this success to be restricted to one school or one school district. There’s no reason we can’t replicate the success you’ve had here. I want to see a tablet that’s the same price as a textbook. I want to see more apps that can be instantly updated with academic content the days it’s available so you don’t have textbooks with students’ names from years ago.”


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More Details On PRISM Revealed; Twitter Deserves Kudos For Refusing To Give In | Techdirt.com

More Details On PRISM Revealed; Twitter Deserves Kudos For Refusing To Give In | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Late on Friday, the NY Times released the most detailed explanation to date of the PRISM system that was revealed on Thursday, claiming that nine of the biggest tech and internet companies were working with the NSA to give them "direct access" to servers. The explanation explains how both the original story was substantially true, as were the "denials," though the denials were (as predicted) a bit of doublespeak. Today, the Guardian revealed another slide from the presentation it has, which clarifies some more details.

Basically, it appears those companies all agreed to make it easier for the NSA to access data that was required to be handed over under an approved FISA Court warrant, and they appear to do this by setting up their own servers where they put that information (and just that information). From the NY Times report:


But instead of adding a back door to their servers, the companies were essentially asked to erect a locked mailbox and give the government the key, people briefed on the negotiations said. Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information, they said.

The data shared in these ways, the people said, is shared after company lawyers have reviewed the FISA request according to company practice. It is not sent automatically or in bulk, and the government does not have full access to company servers. Instead, they said, it is a more secure and efficient way to hand over the data.


This is significantly less worrisome than the original Washington Post report, which suggested full real-time access to all servers. That's not quite what has happened, according to this report. This involves cases where the companies really do need to hand over this information. We can disagree with whether or not the FISA Court should issue these warrants, but at some point there may be information that the companies do need to hand over to the government. As for the Guardian, they published the following slide:


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Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder Richard Stallman | Guardian.co.uk

Cloud computing is a trap, warns GNU founder Richard Stallman | Guardian.co.uk | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


The concept of using web-based programs like Google's Gmail is "worse than stupidity", according to a leading advocate of free software.


Cloud computing – where IT power is delivered over the internet as you need it, rather than drawn from a desktop computer – has gained currency in recent years. Large internet and technology companies including Google, Microsoft and Amazon are pushing forward their plans to deliver information and software over the net.


But Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the computer operating system GNU, said that cloud computing was simply a trap aimed at forcing more people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that would cost them more and more over time.


"It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign," he told The Guardian.


"Somebody is saying this is inevitable – and whenever you hear somebody saying that, it's very likely to be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true."


The 55-year-old New Yorker said that computer users should be keen to keep their information in their own hands, rather than hand it over to a third party.


His comments echo those made last week by Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, who criticised the rash of cloud computing announcements as "fashion-driven" and "complete gibberish".


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BCP Rural Business Opportunity Grant | USDA Rural Development

Rural Business Opportunity Grants (RBOG)


The primary objective of the RBOG program is to promote sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis.


Program Status: OPEN

Estimated Program Funding: $2.6 million
Maximum Grant Amount: $100,000
Cost Sharing Requirement: None


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NSA Spying Revelations Start To Cause Outrage In Europe; China Next? | Techdirt

NSA Spying Revelations Start To Cause Outrage In Europe; China Next? | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

News that the NSA has unfettered access to most of the leading Internet services inevitably has an international dimension. After all, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google and the rest of the Naughty Nine all operate around the world, so spying on their users means spying on people everywhere. Indeed, as Mike explained earlier today, the NSA is actually trying to quell criticism by selling this news as something that purely concerns non-Americans (although that's clearly rubbish.)


Despite that fact, the European Commission's Home Affairs department made the following reply to the journalist David Meyer when he asked them for a statement of the latest revelations:


We do not have any comments. This is an internal U.S. matter.


It was only later that it realized this was a ridiculous position, and issued the following statement:


"We have seen the media reports and we are of course concerned for possible consequences on EU citizens' privacy. For the moment it is too early to draw any conclusion or to comment further. We will get in contact with our U.S. counterparts to seek more details on these issues.


That dismissive initial comment followed by the rather feeble backtracking suggests that the European politicians have not yet realized how big a problem this is going to be for them, as well as for the US authorities. For example, The Guardian has confirmed today that the UK has been tapping into Prism for a while:


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NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others | The Guardian

NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others | The Guardian | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.


The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.


The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims "collection directly from the servers" of major US service providers.


Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.


In a statement, Google said: "Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'back door' into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data."


Several senior tech executives insisted that they had no knowledge of Prism or of any similar scheme. They said they would never have been involved in such a program. "If they are doing this, they are doing it without our knowledge," one said.


An Apple spokesman said it had "never heard" of Prism.


The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.


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Contact Lens Computer: Like Google Glass, without the Glasses | MIT Technology Review

Contact Lens Computer: Like Google Glass, without the Glasses | MIT Technology Review | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


For those who find Google Glass indiscreet, electronic contact lenses that outfit the user’s cornea with a display may one day provide an alternative. Built by researchers at several institutions, including two research arms of Samsung, the lenses use new nanomaterials to solve some of the problems that have made contact-lens displays less than practical.


A group led by Jang-Ung Park, a chemical engineer at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, mounted a light-emitting diode on an off-the-shelf soft contact lens, using a material the researchers developed: a transparent, highly conductive, and stretchy mix of graphene and silver nanowires. The researchers tested these lenses in rabbits—whose eyes are similar in size to humans’—and found no ill effects after five hours. The animals didn’t rub their eyes or grow bloodshot, and the electronics kept working. This work is described online in the journal Nano Letters.


A handful of companies and researchers have developed electronic contact lenses over the past five years. Sensimed, of Switzerland, makes a lens for 24-hour monitoring of eye pressure in glaucoma patients, and other researchers, including University of Washington professor and Google Glass project founder Babak Parviz, have built contact-lens displays. But these devices have used rigid or nontransparent materials.


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Nano technology is amazing!

 

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Obama to Propose Broadband Initiative for Nation’s Schools | TeleCompetitor.com

Obama to Propose Broadband Initiative for Nation’s Schools | TeleCompetitor.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


President Obama today is expected to call for a massive upgrade to data connections serving the nation’s schools. Several media outlets report that the president will recommend an initiative aimed at bringing high-speed broadband to nearly all of the nation’s schools within five years. According to the Washington Post, the initiative will be called ConnectED.


According to Hillicon Valley, the target broadband speed is 100 Mbps and the initiative is expected to cost “several billion dollars.”


President Obama is expected to announce the initiative at an event in Moorseville, N.C. this afternoon, where he will visit a school to highlight the benefits the school district has seen since it began providing laptop computers to all students.


If this program actually comes to pass it could be good news for network operators, including those in rural areas that have lagged behind metro areas in broadband availability because the cost of deploying broadband is higher than in urban areas. And as the “middle mile” broadband stimulus program demonstrated, once a community gets high-speed connectivity to the rest of the world via an anchor institution, it’s a lot easier for network operators to find a business case for bringing broadband to individual homes and businesses.


I have some serious doubts about whether this initiative will actually happen any time soon, however.


According to an Associated Press report, how to pay for the program would be up to the FCC. One option would be to use savings from the E-Rate program – a portion of the Universal Service program that funds Internet access in schools and libraries. Another option would be to impose a new temporary surcharge of about five dollars per year on phone bills, the AP reports.


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NSA Phone-Record Tracking Troubles Privacy Scholars | MIT Technology Review

NSA Phone-Record Tracking Troubles Privacy Scholars  | MIT Technology Review | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


Of the two big U.S. government surveillance projects that came to light this week, the one that might seem less startling—the fact that the National Security Agency gathers Verizon’s U.S. call records—troubled privacy activists more than the report that the NSA can get user data such as e-mails and photographs held by Internet companies including Google and Facebook.


That’s because details of the phone surveillance, and the confirmation of its scope by the U.S. director of national intelligence, suggest that the NSA has broadened its interpretation of the 2001 Patriot Act in ways that allow for the mass collection of information about U.S. citizens.


The mandate of the NSA is to capture intelligence about foreigners. But the vast communications dragnet it operates inevitably scoops up information about Americans as well. In 2005, revelations emerged that the NSA was collecting phone records of U.S. citizens. Public concern about the program soon waned, but many activist groups and researchers have spent the years since working to learn more about NSA surveillance activities. Reports this week that the NSA is secretly tracking people’s phone records and online data to uncover possible terrorist activities rekindled outrage over the surveillance, with even the president using careful language to defend the activities, telling the public, “nobody is listening to your telephone calls.”


Specifically, a court order released by the Guardian, a British newspaper, shows that the NSA required Verizon’s business division to hand over all records of calls “on an ongoing basis” using a section of the Patriot Act, which was passed shortly after the September 11 attacks in an effort to crack down on terrorism. That section had been previously interpreted as allowing demands only for specific, existing data. Such requests are screened by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).


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Netflix and Hulu have nothing to fear from YouTube's paid channel plans | paidContent.org

Netflix and Hulu have nothing to fear from YouTube's paid channel plans | paidContent.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With much fanfare last month, YouTube introduced the launch of paid, premium channels. YouTube identified about 30 of its partners and also announced that other producers would soon be able to set up their own paid channels – from obscure, niche start-up programming, such as “Cars.TV,” to marquee programming by the creators of “Sesame Street.” Subscribers can now pay anywhere from 99 cents to $7.99 in monthly subscription fees to  watch paywalled shows on YouTube – you know, the home of “Charlie Bit My Finger” and the Dramatic Chipmunk.


YouTube is banking that this long-anticipated move will finally prove to be the proverbial brass ring that fully realizes the revenue potential of the site, allowing both high-traffic and lower-traffic -but-premium brands to coexist on the site. This will preserve YouTube’s “star system” – where some users have risen to fame and fortune on the strength of YouTube’s more than one billion viewers worldwide – while theoretically providing new channels of revenue generation for YouTube and its partners. At least that’s what YouTube hopes.


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MN: It's time (again) to talk about broadband | Lake County News Chronicle

Next Wednesday, community members will gather at Grand Superior Lodge, just north of Two Harbors, with broadband on the agenda.


With broadband internet soon to be available in the entire county, community leaders have been looking for ways to educate the public and ensure the new service is used to its full potential. Lake County was named a Blandin Broadband Community in November 2012, one of nine selected across rural Minnesota. Since that time, the county has convened a leadership team and engaged the community in a two-year project to make the best use of information and services that broadband can deliver.


“I have just been overwhelmed by the amount of positive energy that people have brought to these meetings. It’s really inspirational,” said Angie Dickison Palmer, director of information systems for the county. Palmer applied for the Blandin designation and helped facilitate the meetings that defined the goals for the county.


After a communitywide public meeting and a few smaller meetings, three more specific goals for the county surfaced.


“Those that had the most interest and support floated to the top,” Palmer said. With those three goals in mind, the group applied for funding. They were recently awarded with over $40,000 as three separate grants: two to the school district and one to the county.


The county will create a YouTube channel with their $10,000 and produce videos to help educate folks on how they can use broadband. The district will use its first grant of $17,000 to train community members in using programs like Skype, Twitter and conferencing tools. Their second grant of $18,000 will be funneled into programs that will help community members use the new services for economic growth.


“The Blandin Foundation allows us to bring grant monies into our county that will help improve community vitality through programs that promote digital literacy and digital inclusion,” Palmer said.


Dr. Kathleen Annette, CEO of Blandin Foundation, said Lake County is the perfect recipient for the grant monies and the Blandin Broadband designation.


“Hopeful leaders make ambitious choices, and Lake County residents will benefit from this collaborative effort,” Annette said. “We’re excited by this work, and the vibrancy it will bring to the region.”


At the meeting next Wednesday, attendees will hear from John Bennett from the U of M Center for Community Vitality. He will discuss how the internet can revitalize local businesses and rural communities. He said his center works frequently with communities like Lake County to maximize business exposure and profitability using the internet.


“(The internet) is particularly helpful for people in Two Harbors and Silver Bay where there are a lot of travelers,” Bennett said.


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After Your Job Is Gone | TechCrunch

After Your Job Is Gone | TechCrunch | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


Do you have a job? Do you like having a job? Then I have some bad news for you. The Guardian is worried “today’s technologies are going to remove people from economic activity completely.” Techonomy says “America’s real worker crisis is not immigration, it is jobs.” Om Malik asks: “People talk about robot-helpers and an army of drones, but…what is going to happen to millions of people who will be replaced by those drones and robots?”


Wrong tense: the right question is what is happening. Henry Blodget points out “Fewer Americans are working than at any time in the past three decades.” The New York Times observes “The jobless rate remains far higher than it typically would be this far into a recovery,” quoting a factory owner: “Because it is automated, we won’t have to add a lot of employees with the upturn in the construction industry.”


It’s the same around the world. Western manufacturing jobs used to go to Chinese workers; now they’re increasingly going to Chinese robots, such as the million new robots that Foxconn is deploying.


Think you’re safe because you don’t work in a factory? Guess again. “In a move that could put millions of teenagers around the world out of their first job, Momentum Machines is creating a hamburger-making machine that churns out made-to-order burgers,” reports Gizmag. A Cornell robot can learn how and when to pour you a beer. Well, never mind food service, how about social services? …Oh. Other robots have been shown “wiping the mouth of a disabled man and adjusting a blanket.”


Retail? Forget about it. Derek Thompson writes in The Atlantic:


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NSA phone spying program FOILED plan to blow up New York City subway, claim under fire security officials | Mail Online

NSA phone spying program FOILED plan to blow up New York City subway, claim under fire security officials | Mail Online | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The government's broad programs to collect U.S. phone records and Internet traffic helped disrupt a 2009 plot to bomb the New York City subways, a senior U.S. intelligence official said.


But the assertion raises as many questions as it answers because court testimony indicated the subway plot investigation began with an email.


Over the past days, The Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post have revealed classified documents showing how the National Security Agency sweeps up phone records and Internet data in its hunt for terrorists. Those programs have come under criticism from civil libertarians and some in Congress who say they were too broad and collected too much about innocent Americans.


The break in that case came, according to court documents and testimony, when Zazi emailed a Yahoo address seeking help with his bomb recipe.


At that time, British intelligence officials knew the Yahoo address was associated with an al-Qaida leader in Pakistan. That's because, according to British government documents released in 2010, officials had discovered it on the computer of a terror suspect there months earlier.


Because the NSA and British intelligence work so closely together and so little is known about how the NSA monitors email traffic, it's possible that both agencies were monitoring the Yahoo address at the time Zazi sent the critical email in 2009.


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WI: Forum: Importance of broadband listening session | WausauDailyHerald.com

WI: Forum: Importance of broadband listening session | WausauDailyHerald.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Professor Andy Lewis and Maria Alvarez-Stroud will discuss the importance of having broadband access to compete effectively and live in the 21st century. During their interactive discussion, special attention will be given to how the city of Merrill, Lincoln County and surrounding areas can acquire more Internet capabilities to help increase community vitality.


This discussion will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at the Merrill Eagles Club, 1205 Lake St. There is no charge to attend and lunch is free.


Lewis joined the University of Wisconsin-Extension in 1983. Stroud is director of the UW-Extension Center for Community Technology Solutions.


The Center for Community Technology Solutions was established as a result of education and outreach work in 2010-2012. Its purpose is to help Wisconsin communities connect with broadband/high speed Internet and technology innovations in ways that advance local economies and quality of life.


Center personnel have conducted numerous county listening sessions to help local leaders determine their Internet needs from a community and economic development perspective. The Center, often in collaboration with other partners and county-based Extension educators, then works with communities to help fulfill those needs. The Center also trains local leaders to become technology coaches in their communities.


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Director of National Intelligence issues fact sheet on PRISM in response to leaks | The Verge

Director of National Intelligence issues fact sheet on PRISM in response to leaks | The Verge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After days of relatively short and vague statements on a leaked Verizon court order and a slideshow on the PRISM data collection program, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has released a statement and "fact sheet" detailing more information on what PRISM is and how it's run.


Clapper criticized a series of "reckless disclosures" by newspapers, which he asserts failed to include the full context of the program. What follows is a series of points justifying the program, detailing how the law is allegedly applied and its legal limits:


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MO: Cities urge Gov. Nixon to veto bill requiring quicker local decisions on new cell phone towers | St.LouisToday.com

MO: Cities urge Gov. Nixon to veto bill requiring quicker local decisions on new cell phone towers | St.LouisToday.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Since the 1980s, hundreds of towers have sprouted across Missouri to serve cellphone customers — sometimes only after disputes with city and county governments over where and how to erect them.


Now telecommunications firms and local officials are at odds over an industry-pushed bill passed last month by the Legislature to require local governments to act within 120 days on tower applications.


The Missouri Municipal League on Friday urged Gov. Jay Nixon to veto the measure, which also restricts what cities and counties can consider when they decide on proposed towers.


Supporters say the public would benefit from the changes.


“It helps us improve service and to do it more quickly,” said Richard Telthorst, president of the Missouri Telecommunications Industry Association. “Sometimes permitting can be very slow and kind of plodding. It creates some predictability for us.”


Municipal League officials contend that the new rules in effect would end local government authority over the placement, size and scope of towers.


“A veto will ensure that new cellphone towers are responsibly added in the least intrusive and disruptive manner to families and businesses across the state,” said Richard Sheets, the league’s deputy director.


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Thomson firm targets telecom with Public Mobile buy | Yahoo! Finance Canada

Thomson firm targets telecom with Public Mobile buy | Yahoo! Finance Canada | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


The private-equity firms Thomvest Seed Capital Inc., controlled by Toronto businessman Peter Thomson, and Cartesian Capital of New York have reached a deal to acquire Public Mobile, and say they're ready to play in the evolving wireless carrier market.


The deal to acquire the upstart wireless carrier founded in 2008 was announced Thursday, two days after Ottawa blocked the sale of Mobilicity to Telus Corp., and could be a sign that the buyers are preparing to be players in Canada's wireless market.


Thomvest would hold the controlling interest in Public Mobile and Cartesian would have a smaller financial stake, pending regulatory approval of the deal.


"In the coming months, the Canadian wireless industry will see consolidation, and an important spectrum auction," Cartesian partner Paul Pizzani said. "Public Mobile is well-positioned to grow in scale by pursuing these consolidation opportunities and by bidding for national spectrum in the 700 MHz auction."


Can anyone take on the Big 3 of Canadian telecom?


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The Importance of Anchor Institutions for Community Health | ZeroDivide

The Importance of Anchor Institutions for Community Health | ZeroDivide | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The vibrancy of any community depends largely on the participation of its inhabitants. When individuals combine their efforts within their neighborhood, there is a lasting and positive social benefit for all. In this case, anchor institutions often present a powerful incentive for people to come together.


Harvard Economics Professor Michael Porter coined the term “anchor institution” in 2002. An anchor institution, he wrote, is one that is “…advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates.” Anchor institutions come in many different forms, such as universities, local businesses and community health organizations. Their embedded nature within communities allows them to intimately contribute to the local people’s economy, culture and overall health, and because they provide important services, anchor institutions have the ability to bring people together from different cultural backgrounds.


The emphasis on building out local anchor institutions has been one of ZeroDivide’s objectives since its inception 15 years ago. Recently, ZeroDivide began work with an established hospital called the Wellness Center, located in the historic General Hospital building in Los Angeles, California. The Wellness Center is situated in Los Angeles’ historic Boyle Heights neighborhood, a densely populated area and home to one of the largest Latino/Hispanic populations in the United States. Unfortunately, Boyle Heights has fallen behind in many vital services like education, public safety and health care.


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Under the covers of the NSA's big data effort | GigaOM Tech News

Under the covers of the NSA's big data effort | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it


The NSA’s data collection practices have much of America — and certainly the tech community — on edge, but sources familiar with the agency’s technology are saying the situation isn’t as bad as it seems. Yes, the agency has a lot of data and can do some powerful analysis, but, the argument goes, there are strict limits in place around how the agency can use it and who has access. Whether that’s good enough is still an open debate, but here’s what we know about the technology that’s underpinning all that data.


The technological linchpin to everything the NSA is doing from a data-analysis perspective is Accumulo — an open-source database the agency built in order to store and analyze huge amounts of data. Adam Fuchs knows Accumulo well because he helped build it during a nine-year stint with the NSA; he’s now co-founder and CTO of a company called Sqrrl that sells a commercial version of the database system. I spoke with him earlier this week, days before news broke of the NSA collecting data from Verizon and the country’s largest web companies.


The NSA began building Accumulo in late 2007, Fuchs said, because they were trying to do automated analysis for tracking and discovering new terrorism suspects. “We had a set of applications that we wanted to develop and we were looking for the right infrastructure to build them on,” he said.


The problem was those technologies weren’t available. He liked what projects like HBase were doing by using Hadoop to mimic Google’s famous BigTable data store, but it still wasn’t up to the NSA requirements around scalability, reliability or security. So, they began work on a project called CloudBase, which eventually was renamed Accumulo.


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Secret cyber directive calls for ability to attack without warning | Wash Post

Secret cyber directive calls for ability to attack without warning | Wash Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

President Obama called on national security leaders to develop destructive cyberwarfare capabilities that could be triggered with “little or no warning” against adversaries around the world, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.


Presidential Policy Directive 20, issued to national security and intelligence officials in October, includes an array of procedures to ensure that cyberattacks are lawful and minimize damage. But in bureaucratic language, the directive indicates the government believes cyberattacks, known as “Offensive Cyber Effects Operations,” or OCEO, are becoming common and that cyberwar could be just around the corner.


“OCEO can offer unique and unconventional capabilities to advance U.S. national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging,” the document said. “The United States government shall identify potential targets of national importance where OCEO can offer favorable balance of effectiveness and risk as compared with other instruments of national power.”


The leak of the document could complicate Saturday summit talks between Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, during which Obama is expected to complain about Chinese cyberspying and theft of American trade secrets. Cyber-specialists take it for granted that the United States and China are already engaged in a struggle in cyberspace.


Those summit talks come just days after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaking to troops in Hawaii, warned, “Cyber is one of those quiet, deadly, insidious unknowns you can’t see.”


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In Light of NSA Revelations, Government Asks for More Time in EFF Surveillance Cases | Electronic Frontier Foundation

In Light of NSA Revelations, Government Asks for More Time in EFF Surveillance Cases | Electronic Frontier Foundation | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In light of the confirmation of NSA surveillance of millions of Americans' communications records, and especially the decision by the government to declassify and publicly release descriptions of the program, the government today asked the courts handling two EFF surveillance cases for some additional time to consider their options.


The first notice comes in EFF's Jewel v. NSA case (along with a companion case called Shubert v. Obama), which seeks to stop the spying and obtain an injunction prohibiting the mass collection of communications records by the government. While the Guardian importantly confirmed this with government documents on Wednesday and Thursday, we've been arguing for seven years in court that the NSA has been conducting the same type of dragnet surveillance. In the government's motion, they ask the court to hold the case in abeyance and that the parties file a status report by July 12, 2013.


The second notice comes in EFF's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case seeking the DOJ's secret legal interpretations of Section 215 of the Patriot Act (50 U.S.C. section 1861), which was the statute cited in the leaked secret court order aimed at Verizon. Sen. Wyden and Sen. Udall have long said publicly that the American public would be "shocked" to know how the government is interpreting this statute. The leaked court order gives us an idea of what they were talking about. The government seeks a status report within 30 days of today, June 7, 2013.


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10 Things Americans Underestimate About Our Massive Surveillance State | AlterNet.org

Americans may be upset about the latest revelations in the government’s ability to spy on citizens via their online lives, but no one should be surprised. We've underestimated and overlooked many key aspects of the government’s ability to track our lives for years.


The bottom line, which resonates most strongly among civil liberties advocates on the left and conservative libertarians on the right, is not just the loss of privacy but also the growing power of the state to target and oppress people who it judges to be critics and enemies. That list doesn’t just include foreign terrorists of the al-Qaeda mold, or even the Chinese government that has  stolen the most advanced U.S. weapon plans; it also includes domestic whistleblowers, protesters and journalists—all of whom have been  targeted by the Obama administration Justice Department.

 
Let’s go through 10 points about these latest revelations of domestic spying to better understand what Americans have underestimated and overlooked about electronic eavesdropping.


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A Letter to Verizon Customers from President Obama | The Borowitz Report | The New Yorker

A Letter to Verizon Customers from President Obama | The Borowitz Report | The New Yorker | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Today, President Obama issued the following letter to all Verizon customers:


Dear Verizon Customers,


Yesterday it came to light that the National Security Agency has been collecting millions of phone records from you each and every day. Since that news was released, many of you have called the White House with questions and concerns about this new program. To save my time and yours, here are answers to three of the F.A.Q.s (Frequently Asked Questions) we’ve been hearing from you:


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