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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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Larry Lessig Threatened With Copyright Infringement Over Clear Fair Use; Decides To Fight Back | Techdirt.com

Larry Lessig Threatened With Copyright Infringement Over Clear Fair Use; Decides To Fight Back | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you read Techdirt, you're almost certainly familiar with Larry Lessig, the law professor at Harvard who (among many other things) has been an avid advocate for copyright reform and campaign finance reform, an author of many books about copyright and creativity, a well-known public speaker whose presentations are stunningly compelling, entertaining and informative, and the founder of some important organizations including Creative Commons. Of course, as an expert on copyright and creativity, and someone who's actually been involved in some of the key copyright legal fights over the past decade (tragically, on the losing side), you might think that a record label would think twice before issuing a clearly bogus threat to sue him over copyright infringement. Well, apparently Liberation Music was either unaware of Lessig's reputation and knowledge, or just didn't care.

Apparently, back in 2010, Lessig gave one of his many wonderful public talks, this one called "Open," at a Creative Commons event in South Korea. While that happened a few years ago, Lessig just put video of that talk online a few months ago. In that video, which is now down (for reasons explained below), there are a few brief clips of the Phoenix song Lisztomania, which was quite popular a few years ago. When the clip was posted, it appears that YouTube's ContentID noted two possible claims: one from Viacom and one from Liberation Music, though, oddly, Lessig was only informed about the Viacom one. Lessig disputed the Viacom block, but as YouTube was about to restore the video, Liberation Music took it one step further, and filed a full DMCA claim, demanding the video be taken down and kept offline (while many people confuse them, the ContentID match is not the same thing as a DMCA claim -- without getting into the details, the DMCA claim is a bit more serious).

In response, Lessig did exactly what the law allows, and filed a DMCA counter-notice, claiming that the work did not infringe. In response, Liberation emailed Lessig directly telling him that it would be filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against him in 72 hours if he did not "retract" his counter-notice. To avoid having an immediate lawsuit on his hands, Lessig retracted the notice, but since then has teamed up with the EFF to file for declaratory judgment that the video does not infringe and (more importantly) to seek DMCA 512(f) damages against Liberation for filing a totally bogus DMCA takedown notice.


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Yes, Of Course The NSA Pays Tech Companies For Surveillance Efforts | Techdirt.com

Yes, Of Course The NSA Pays Tech Companies For Surveillance Efforts | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The latest Ed Snowden leak from the Guardian shows that after the FISA court had ruled that aspects of the NSA's data collection program were unconstitutional, the NSA had to work with tech companies to change their technology to avoid capturing some of the information they weren't allowed to capture, and, as a result the NSA paid millions to those tech companies via its Special Source Operations.


To be honest, this doesn't seem like a huge bombshell in terms of revelations. It's long been known that the government pays companies for law enforcement assistance/surveillance (e.g. wiretaps) -- and as long as that surveillance is legal, that makes sense and is reasonable. The fact that this cost millions of dollars, however, suggests that it's a pretty big program.


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Amazon’s wireless network trials are no mystery: It’s testing licensed Wi-Fi | GigaOM Tech News

Amazon’s wireless network trials are no mystery: It’s testing licensed Wi-Fi | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Bloomberg reported on mysterious network trials Amazon had conducted with satellite communications provider Globalstar. But the details of Amazon’s wireless tests are actually pretty plain: it’s investigating a form of Wi-Fi that uses dedicated licensed spectrum to connect to devices, rather than the open unlicensed bands used by our routers, laptops, tablets and smartphones today.


The technology is called terrestrial low-power service (TLPS), and satellite communications analyst and frequent GigaOM contributor Tim Farrar uncovered the details of the tests last month in his blog. Here’s the basic rundown.


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TX: CampusConnect beats Google Fiber to the punch in Austin | Austin Business Journal

TX: CampusConnect beats Google Fiber to the punch in Austin | Austin Business Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

An Austin tech company is bringing ultrafast Internet service to college students moving in to residence halls near the University of Texas campus this month.


CampusConnect LLC, which builds and runs broadband data at apartment complexes and student living halls near college campuses, has launched a 1-gigabit network for residents at Callaway House on West 22nd Street, the Austin American-Statesman reports.


The residence hall, developed by American Campus Communities Inc., will be wired to the Internet over a local fiber-optic system that connects several complexes in the area. The cost of the data network was not disclosed but the price of the gear is much higher than standard equipment, the article states. The service is included in Callaway's amenities package.


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Roosevelt Institute Examines Comcast's Internet Essentials | community broadband networks

Roosevelt Institute Examines Comcast's Internet Essentials | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In 2011, Comcast commenced its Internet Essentials program with great fanfare from then FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. We looked at the program in detail and described Comcast's decision to withhold the program for two years to use as a carrot in a bid to secure the NBC merger. In addition to acquiring NBC, Comcast received great public relations press.


The Roosevelt Institute's Next New Deal Blog, recently ran an article by John Randall in which he examined the program in depth. He concludes that the program is an effective distraction from the real problem - lack of competition. In addition to placating policy makers to prevent meaningful changes, the program turns a hefty profit for Comcast and efficiently mines for new customers.


The program, touted as a way to reduce the digital divide, established onerous criteria to qualify for the $9.95 monthly service. Children in the household must qualify for the National School Lunch Program, there cannot be any unfinished business between the household and Comcast, participants must be new customers, and households must be located in an area served by Comcast.


I have had my own experience with the Internet Essentials program. My small family qualified and we now receive up to 3/1 Mbps from Comcast; prior to the program, we paid twice as much for 1 Mbps Wi-Fi. Randall is correct when he describes the program as a "customer acquisition program." A common expression goes "The slowest speed you will accept is the fastest speed you've experienced." So true. As more of my kids' homework depends on a usable Internet connection, we will need to sacrifice somewhere else to keep our 3 Mbps and we will do it. Our choices are limited because competition is scarce, even though we live in a major metropolitan area. Comcast, you have us. Nicely played!


If Comcast really wanted to help close the digital divide, it would make Internet Essentials a permanent program and ease the restrictions. I qualify because my kids qualify but there are millions of other people, including single adults and seniors, who do not and they need the Internet just as much as I do.


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How ESPN Could Help Make Over-The-Top TV A Reality | Forbes.com

How ESPN Could Help Make Over-The-Top TV A Reality | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If there’s one thing the television industry believes viewers will never agree to do without, it’s live sports. That’s why ESPN is able to charge cable and satellite distributors so much more per household than any other channel, and it’s why the importance of the news that ESPN is negotiating with potential over-the-internet carriers can’t be overstated.


It’s not the first programmer to do so. Viacom already reportedly has a tentative deal to make its channels available for streaming through a new service Sony plans to introduce.


But a deal with ESPN would be bigger. It could be the puzzle piece that makes all the other ones fall into place and makes true over-the-top television — ie. TV delivered over the internet — a reality.


The issue is price. Because of most-favored-nation clauses built into carriage deals, would-be over-the-top providers like Google, Intel and Sony will from the outset need to pay more per household for each channel they carry than the Comcasts, Time Warners and Verizons of the world. To be competitive on programming volume, then, they’ll need to sacrifice competitiveness on price.


But that’s only if they decide they need to be competitive on programming. There’s no reason they have to. On Dish Network’s recent earnings call, chairman Charlie Ergen speculated that as pay-TV services proliferate, and as the cost of programming continues to spiral, more and more providers will follow the lead of Cox Communications and seek to offer lower-priced bundles with fewer channels.


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OECD: Wireless No Substitute For Wireline Broadband | DSLReports.com

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published the organization's biannual Communications Outlook report, which in 320 pages tries to give countries and regulators advice on how to maximize their broadband fortunes based on the organization's treasure trove of collected broadband data. There's plenty of warnings packed in here, such as the fact that open access still provides nation's with the best competitive impact, and that the migration to IPv6 still isn't happening quickly enough.

Though the report also sends out the warning that those insisting that wireless is a good substitute for wireline services are quite simply wrong:


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Google Fiber, AT&T, CenturyLink drive the 1 Gbps game | FierceTelecom.com

Google Fiber, AT&T, CenturyLink drive the 1 Gbps game | FierceTelecom.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Fiber's 1 Gbps fiber to the premises (FTTP) plan may only be a blip on the broadband screen, but the one thing it has done is tout the importance of bandwidth speeds to consumers.


Not surprisingly, the search engine giant's FTTP build has garnered a mix of praise and criticism from incumbent telcos and cable operators that don't think there's an immediate need for 1 Gbps speeds.


Time Warner Cable COO Rob Marcus said during the Broadcast and Cable/Multichannel News OnScreen Summit last December that he could not see the utility for a 1 Gbps data speed tier in the near-term.


"It will be interesting to find out whether there are applications that will take advantage of a 1 Gbps service," Marcus said. "If there is, we will provide it; our infrastructure has the ability to provide much faster speeds today. We're prepared to compete head to head with Google."


Regardless of the criticism of Google Fiber and the questioning of the need for a 1 Gbps connection, it has prompted others to respond with their own experiments and trials.


Three service provider segments are now either in the process of delivering, or have announced their intention to deliver, a 1 Gbps FTTP service:


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The FISA court got really upset when the NSA didn’t tell the truth on surveillance | Wash Post

The FISA court got really upset when the NSA didn’t tell the truth on surveillance | Wash Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For weeks, we’ve all been trying to determine whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is a rubber stamp or an effective check on the NSA’s broad surveillance powers. The Obama administration insists that FISC’s existence is evidence that the system works. Critics of the court say it is either complicit with the NSA or powerless to resist it.


New documents released by Obama’s top spy today offer ammunition to the critics.


In a 2011 court opinion, the FISA court repeatedly accuses the NSA not only of failing to comply with the rules, but of misleading it outright.


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MN: 'Fighting for an American countryside': The costs of keeping it rural | Bemidji Pioneer

Verna Toenyan, who was raised in Eagle Bend in central Minnesota, organizes and advocates for seniors in Todd County, where nearly one in five residents are 65 or older. Though she’s in her 60s herself, she often begins her days at 5 a.m. and works until well after dark, occasionally pulling her car over for a nap on the shoulder of a road. She knits people and dollars together in a myriad of creative combinations.


She teaches the elderly to use email and arranges networks that keep them in their houses and out of nursing homes. She organizes food programs. "You could never put a price tag on anything that would make an 80- or 90-year-old woman get up, put on the best outfit that she’s got and lipstick and earrings, to meet somebody bringing her a hot meal," said Toenyan. "There’s no price tag."


In the next decade, Minnesota is expected to have more people over 65 than school-aged children, a demographic shift that disproportionately affects rural areas, which are already older than the norm.


The trend extends nationwide. Nearly half of all rural counties experienced more deaths than births between 2011 and 2012. That compares to just 17 percent of urban counties.


And so, the school closes. And then the grocery store. And then the bank. "I have seen it, a dwindling at a very gradual rate, all my life," said Toenyan. "It’s just like sliding downhill very slowly."


A shift toward older Minnesotans — where there are more people drawing public benefits and fewer working to pay for them — will dramatically alter many aspects of life, primary among them the delivery of health care. Simply spending more isn’t an option, given tight federal, state and local budgets. So, people look for new ways of doing things, such as using broadband for long-distance diagnoses and record-keeping or providing in-home services so the elderly can "age in place."


The solution usually depends on the particular problem. And the tools of success depend on a community’s resources, whether an abundance of volunteers, high-speed internet or a local, innovative hospital.


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TWC will give away antennas and Best Buy credit to those affected by CBS blackout | GigaOM Tech News

TWC will give away antennas and Best Buy credit to those affected by CBS blackout | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As CBS and Time Warner Cable’s dispute stretches on and CBS remains blocked in several large cities, TWC told customers Friday that it will give away basic antennas in affected markets and will also offer $20 in Best Buy credit toward the purchase of an antenna.


“We are trying to strike a balance between our desire to restore the channels as soon as possible and our responsibility to all of our customers to hold down the rising cost of TV,” TWC said in an email to customers, according to Variety.


TWC outlined the program on its website:


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No, There Hasn't Been A Big Shift Away From US Datacenters... Yet | Techdirt

No, There Hasn't Been A Big Shift Away From US Datacenters... Yet | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've been pointing out that the various disclosures about NSA surveillance, and its ability to tap into various servers associated with US companies, should be very troubling to the US tech industry, because it will make it harder and harder to do business -- especially with those outside of the US.


Of course, some are claiming that this will all blow over, and while people will make noise about it, they won't actually go anywhere else. And, of course, the latest Netcraft data suggests that there's been little movement so far:


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The problem with algorithms: magnifying misbehaviour | The Guardian.co.uk

The problem with algorithms: magnifying misbehaviour | The Guardian.co.uk | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

By the time you read these words, much of what has appeared on the screen of whatever device you are using has been dictated by a series of conditional instructions laid down in lines of code, whose weightings and outputs are dependent on your behaviour or characteristics.


We live in the Age of the Algorithm, where computer models save time, money and lives. Gone are the days when labyrinthine formulae were the exclusive domain of finance and the sciences - nonprofit organisations, sports teams and the emergency services are now among their beneficiaries. Even romance is no longer a statistics-free zone.


But the very feature that makes algorithms so valuable - their ability to replicate human decision-making in a fraction of the time - can be a double-edged sword. If the observed human behaviours that dictate how an algorithm transforms input into output are flawed, we risk setting in motion a vicious circle when we hand over responsibility to The Machine.


For one British university, what began as a time-saving exercise ended in disgrace when a computer model set up to streamline its admissions process exposed - and then exacerbated - gender and racial discrimination.


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Is That Quantum Computer for Real? There May Finally Be a Test | Wired Science

Is That Quantum Computer for Real? There May Finally Be a Test | Wired Science | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In early May, news reports gushed that a quantum computation device had for the first time outperformed classical computers, solving certain problems thousands of times faster. The media coverage sent ripples of excitement through the technology community. A full-on quantum computer, if ever built, would revolutionize large swaths of computer science, running many algorithms dramatically faster, including one that could crack most encryption protocols in use today.


Over the following weeks, however, a vigorous controversy surfaced among quantum computation researchers. Experts argued over whether the device, created by D-Wave Systems, in Burnaby, British Columbia, really offers the claimed speedups, whether it works the way the company thinks it does, and even whether it is really harnessing the counterintuitive weirdness of quantum physics, which governs the world of elementary particles such as electrons and photons.


Most researchers have no access to D-Wave’s proprietary system, so they can’t simply examine its specifications to verify the company’s claims. But even if they could look under its hood, how would they know it’s the real thing?


Verifying the processes of an ordinary computer is easy, in principle: At each step of a computation, you can examine its internal state — some series of 0s and 1s — to make sure it is carrying out the steps it claims.


A quantum computer’s internal state, however, is made of “qubits” — a mixture (or “superposition”) of 0 and 1 at the same time, like Schrödinger’s fabled quantum mechanical cat, which is simultaneously alive and dead. Writing down the internal state of a large quantum computer would require an impossibly large number of parameters. The state of a system containing 1,000 qubits, for example, could need more parameters than the estimated number of particles in the universe.


And there’s an even more fundamental obstacle: Measuring a quantum system “collapses” it into a single classical state instead of a superposition of many states. (When Schrödinger’s cat is measured, it instantly becomes alive or dead.) Likewise, examining the inner workings of a quantum computer would reveal an ordinary collection of classical bits. A quantum system, said Umesh Vazirani of the University of California, Berkeley, is like a person who has an incredibly rich inner life, but who, if you ask him


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DOJ seeks more information on Gannett TV station acquisitions | Washington Business Journal

DOJ seeks more information on Gannett TV station acquisitions | Washington Business Journal | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

McLean-based Gannett Co. Inc. says the Department of Justice has requested additional information on its planned $2.2 billion acquisition of Dallas-based Belo Corp. and its 20 television stations.


A second request extends the regulatory review process. Gannett says it still expects the acquisition to close by the end of the year.


The company gave no details on what additional information was requested. It calls the second request a standard part of the review process and says it is complying.


The acquisition also still requires approval by the Federal Communications Commission and Belo shareholders.


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Build your own supercomputer out of Raspberry Pi boards | ZDNet

Build your own supercomputer out of Raspberry Pi boards | ZDNet | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Raspberry Pi is a single-board Linux-powered computer. They're powered by 700MHz ARM11-processors and include a Videocore IV GPU. The Model B, which is what Kiepert is using, comes with 512MBs of RAM, two USB ports and a 10/100 BaseT Ethernet port. For his project Kiepert overclocked the processors to 1GHz.


By itself the Raspberry Pi is interesting, but it seems an unlikely supercomputer component. But, Kiepert had a problem. He was doing his doctoral research on data sharing for wireless sensor networks by simulating these networks on Boise State's Linux-powered Onyx Beowulf-cluster supercomputer. This modest, by supercomputer standards, currently has 32 nodes, each of which has a 3.1GHz Intel Xeon E3-1225 quad-core processor and 8GBs of RAM.


A Beowulf cluster is simply a collection of inexpensive commercial off the shelf (COTS) computers networked together running Linux and parallel processing software. First designed by Don Becker and Thomas Sterling at Goddard Space Flight Center in 1994, this design has since become one of the core supercomputer architectures.


So with a perfectly good Beowulf-style supercomputer at hand, why did Kiepert start to put together his own Beowulf cluster? In a white paper, Creating a Raspberry Pi-Based Beowulf Cluster,  (PDF Link) he explained,


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Attempts to Protect Privacy Have a Long History | Truthig.com

Attempts to Protect Privacy Have a Long History | Truthig.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Online privacy is on everyone’s mind these days after the leaks about the NSA’s surveillance programs. Gone are the days when simply clearing cookies and browser history could satisfy users’ concerns about who sees their data and for what purposes. Fortunately there are a growing number of privacy tools available today, but efforts to keep personal information safe are nothing new.

Based on data collected from an archiving tool that crawls the Web for screenshots, the Electronic Privacy Information Center published a list of privacy tools for the public that date as far back as 1997, just six years after Phil Zimmermann created PGP, the most widely used email encryption software in the world. Among other privacy tools available in the late ’90s were anonymous surfing, disk-erasing programs, encryption tools (telnet, disk, Web, email and files) and voice privacy tools. By the early 2000s, a market opened up for privacy policy generators, password generators and secure instant messaging.

Such privacy protections don’t come without a fight and a look back at history shows the government has provoked plenty of them. After officials started opening mail in search of banned lottery materials, the Fourth Amendment got its first extension in 1878 via the court case Ex Parte Jackson, which established the guarding of letters and sealed packages from inspection without a warrant. After the FBI tapped and recorded the conversations that gambler Charles Katz had in a phone booth in the mid-1960s, he successfully argued the recordings were obtained unconstitutionally, which added the “reasonable expectation of privacy” bit to the amendment.

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Disney’s ESPN Holds Preliminary Talks for Web-Based TV | Bloomberg.com

Disney’s ESPN Holds Preliminary Talks for Web-Based TV | Bloomberg.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN sports network has held preliminary talks to offer programming on a Web-based TV service like those proposed by Google Inc., Sony Corp. and Intel Corp.


An Internet TV provider would have to pay as much or more than cable and satellite services, President John Skipper said today at ESPN’s campus in Bristol, Connecticut. He declined to specify the companies ESPN has spoken with.


A Web-based service would have to buy “the whole suite of products,” Skipper said. “We’re not going to offer one-offs.” The network includes the flagship channel, plus others such as ESPN2, ESPN News and mobile applications offered to existing pay-TV subscribers.


Access to ESPN would give new online TV providers instant credibility and a foothold to compete with established players like Comcast Corp. and DirecTV. The network is the most valuable channel on pay TV, garnering the highest subscriber fees on basic cable, according to researcher SNL Kagan.


Talks with alternative TV providers are exploratory and any new platform would have to offer a package of channels comparable to what other operators provide, according to Chris LaPlaca, a spokesman for ESPN.


To get deals done with ESPN and other networks, the new providers will have to guarantee minimum subscriber numbers and pay the associated fees even if fewer viewers sign up, David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital in New York, wrote in an e-mail.


“They have to be ‘take or pay’ contracts,” said Bank, who has an outperform rating on Disney shares. “If you can’t sign that many up, you still have to pay.”


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Let's Get The Last 100 Million Americans Connected | Forbes.com

Let's Get The Last 100 Million Americans Connected | Forbes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I consider myself fortunate to live in Utah, which is statistically one of the most well connected states in the U.S., which is one of the most well connected countries on earth, but even here when communicating with various community groups I am often reminded that we need to find ways to communicate with those who are not well connected to the internet world.


Personally, I view this is a serious social issue that needs to be addressed. While I don’t propose that any aspect of society should impose upon a person the obligation to connect to the internet against their better judgment, I can’t help but believe that many of the people who are not connected to the web, lack that connection for economic or literacy reasons that represent serious social problems.


As I review census data on this issue, I find it almost shocking to see the ethnic disparities in access to the Internet, with 75 percent of whites having access but only 60% of blacks and 54% of Hispanics.  While over 71% of households have internet access at home, the balance, of course, do not. These households represent nearly 100 million people without internet access at home in the country with the largest economy on the planet.


Increasingly, however, I am concerned that the problem isn’t so much economic as educational. Too many people don’t understand the fundamental fact that the online economy is growing quickly and the offline economy is shrinking. Those who persist in staying offline will find themselves living in a space that is getting smaller and more isolated. Today, the offline world may feel vast, but the day is coming when the offline world will consist of so few people with such limited means of communicating with like-minded people that they will effectively become social hermits.


As evidence for the fact that the problem is not primarily economic, I have a homeless friend who sends me email virtually every day. He understands that the real world, the vibrant part of the world, the relevant part is now online. Everyday he makes his way to the library to use the internet, do research and write. While his mental illness prevents him from gaining suitable employment or even from taking advantage of housing and other benefits to which he is entitled, he is proof that circumstances alone don’t preclude people from being a part of the global village online.


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Here’s how privacy advocates shined light on the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance | Wash Post

Here’s how privacy advocates shined light on the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance | Wash Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After a legal battle that went on over a year, the federal government was forced to reveal a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court (FISC) opinion that showed the National Security Agency (NSA) engaged in unconstitutional surveillance practices, including the collection of tens of thousands of Americans’ online communications.


The Switch talked to Mark Rumold, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) who worked on the case, hours after the opinion was released Wednesday night. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.


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Google Names Minnetonka As Top MN City For Online Biz | Twin Cities Business

Google Names Minnetonka As Top MN City For Online Biz | Twin Cities Business | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Minnetonka is one of 50 U.S. cities that achieved Google “eCity” status for utilizing the Internet to identify new customers, connect with clients, and grow the local economy.
 
According to Google, the city is the best in the state at virtually connecting its schools, retail stores, and restaurants with its residents and visitors.
 
Google and independent research firm Ipsos MORI calculated the top five cities in each of the 50 states with the highest number of Adwords customers relative to population size. Google’s Adwords allows businesses to use keyworks related to their products and services to develop text-based ads that appear on Google.


Businesses in each state’s top five cities were then evaluated on criteria such as whether they are listed in online directories, have a presence on social networking sites, and have websites that allow e-commerce, among other factors. Each criterion was given a score, and each business’ scores were aggregated to provide an overall score. The city with the highest score in each state was awarded “eCity” status. Click here for the full methodology.
 
For a full list of the U.S. cities that received a Google “eCity Award,” click here.


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Review of US surveillance programs to be led by panel of intelligence insiders | The Guardian.co.uk

Review of US surveillance programs to be led by panel of intelligence insiders | The Guardian.co.uk | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The review of US surveillance programs which Barack Obama promised would be conducted by an "independent" and "outside" panel of experts looks set to consist of four Washington insiders with close ties to the security establishment.


The president announced the creation of the group of experts two weeks ago, in an attempt to stem the rising tide of anger over National Security Agency surveillance techniques disclosed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.


Obama trumpeted what he said would be a "high-level group of outside experts" tasked with assessing all of the government's "intelligence and communication technologies".


However a report by ABC News, which has not been denied by the administration, said the panel would consist of Michael Morell, a recent acting head of the CIA, and three former White House advisers.


The list of apparent panel members prompted criticism among privacy and civil liberty advocates, who said the review would lack credibility and was unlikely to end the controversy over US surveillance capabilities.


When Obama announced the review earlier this month, he said it would "step back and review our capabilities – particularly our surveillance technologies". The panel would also be asked to ensure there is "absolutely no abuse" government spying programs, Obama added, in order to ensure "the trust of the people".


The review was one of four concrete proposals laid out by the president, including working with Congress to draft new legislation, to reassure the public about NSA surveillance tactics and bring about reforms.


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Craig Moffett Suddenly Thinks FiOS Is Great | DSLReports.com

Craig Moffett Suddenly Thinks FiOS Is Great | DSLReports.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Former Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett is the go to quote machine for mainstream media when writing about the telecom industry (do a Google News search), though he's building quite a reputation for being inconsistent. Now at his own firm, Moffett recently did a complete 180 on cord cutting, going from mocking them and pretending they didn't exist a few years back, to acknowledging they're a serious trend worth watching. He of course made sure to avoid acknowledging he was wrong.


Now Moffett is apparently doing the same thing for Verizon FiOS.

Just a few years back, Moffett regularly mocked FiOS as a disastrous decision, insisting that Verizon's $24 billion investment in last mile fiber would shove Verizon into a huge operational hole because Verizon was "giving people a Maserati at the price of a Volkswagen." In fact, Moffett took things further, generally attacking any real investment in broadband infrastructure by anybody. Even cable operators pondering huge benefits from relatively inexpensive DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades.

That was then, this is now. At his own firm, Moffett appears to have pulled a complete 180 on FiOS, and is now gushing about how the investment is paying off in spades for Verizon:


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TW Telecom Manhattan is Key Participant in ConnectNYC 2013 | JaymieScotto.com

TW Telecom Manhattan is Key Participant in ConnectNYC 2013 | JaymieScotto.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In an effort to expand high-speed broadband connectivity throughout the city and the outer boroughs, ConnectNYC is awarding small and medium-sized businesses and organizations with a free build-out of fiber connectivity directly to their place of business.


Participating companies are required to have an office location in N.Y.C, have fewer than 500 employees, and explain the anticipated impact of fiber on their business.


“We understand the difficulties that businesses face in obtaining quality broadband infrastructure in N.Y.C.,” said Robert Bianco, VP and general manager of TimeWarner Telecom Manhattan. “We are excited for ConnectNYC and have committed our participation in the second round of this program to ensure that NYC businesses get the support and infrastructure they need to successfully run their companies.”


“Businesses that currently have access to only one fiber provider can benefit from the competition as well,” said Michael Raspanti, account executive for tw telecom Manhattan. “Bringing in a second fiber provider enables business to have more choices, increased redundancy and business continuity.”


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Why Nobody Cares About the Surveillance State - By David Rieff | Foreign Policy

Why Nobody Cares About the Surveillance State - By David Rieff | Foreign Policy | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

On their face, Edward Snowden's revelations about the National Security Agency's secret mass electronic data surveillance system should have created a political firestorm for the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress. Not only have PRISM and related programs been used systematically to collect information about Americans with the cooperation of most major Internet and telephone companies, but when news of the program leaked, government officials first insisted that the programs had only tangential domestic implications because they targeted foreigners outside the United States -- reassurances that were quickly undone by further revelations. In other words, the government outright lied to the public and was caught in its own lies.


Despite anger at Snowden and apocalyptic claims by government officials that he had gravely undermined their ability to protect Americans from terrorist attacks, it turned out that the "secret" he revealed appeared to be one of the most broadly shared secrets in the world. The White House knew, members of the Senate and House intelligence committees knew, and major U.S. allies like Britain and Germany not only knew but in some cases collaborated in the effort. Companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft may not have known everything, but unquestionably they knew something. The only group that did not know about PRISM was the general public.


And yet, apart from some voices from the antiwar left and the libertarian right (on foreign policy there is considerable overlap between the Tea Party and the Occupy movement), the reaction from this deceived public for the most part has been strangely muted. It is not just the somewhat contradictory nature of the polls taken this summer, which have shown the public almost evenly split on whether the seemingly unlimited scope of these surveillance programs was doing more harm than good. It is akso that, unlike on issues such as immigration and abortion, much of the public outrage presupposed by news coverage of the scandal does not, in reality, seem to exist.


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