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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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The Gigabit Nation Top 10 for 2012 | Fighting the Next Good Fight

The Gigabit Nation Top 10 for 2012 | Fighting the Next Good Fight | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In August 2011, I launched the Gigabit Nation radio talk show to provide public, private and nonprofit organizations with valuable information to help them get broadband everywhere it needs to be. 120 interviews and over 18,000 listeners later, this show is firmly established as a key community broadband news and information resource.

 

Here are the top 10 shows from 2012 based on audience size.

 

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Vint Cerf: Say Bonjour to the Internet's Long-Lost French Uncle | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com

Vint Cerf: Say Bonjour to the Internet's Long-Lost French Uncle | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The internet was built on TCP/IP, networking protocols originally created by American computer scientists Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. But Cerf and Kahn were building on the work of Louis Pouzin.

 

In the early 1970s, working as a researcher for the French government, Pouzin created a computer network known as CYCLADES, and Vint Cerf himself has cited Pouzin’s design as one of the key influences behind the development of TCP/IP.

 

It isn’t hard to see why. With CYCLADES, Pouzin built a network where the delivery of information between machines was overseen by the machines themselves — not by the network itself. In other words, he realized one the fundamental ideas that makes the internet the internet.

 

“We designed CYCLADES to be connected to other networks — in the future,” Pouzin remembers.

 

This past April, in recognition of his role in the creation of TCP/IP and his contribution to various other networking standards, Pouzin was inducted into the Internet Society’s (ISOC) Internet Hall of Fame. Part of the Hall’s inaugural class, he was enshrined alongside such as names as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Ray Tomlinson, Leonard Kleinrock, and, yes, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn.

 

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Google puts Motorola Libertyville campus up for sale | Crain's Chicago Biz

Google Inc. is putting the sprawling, 84-acre corporate campus of Motorola Mobility in Libertyville up for sale, five months after announcing plans to move about 2,200 employees to downtown Chicago from the far northern suburbs.

Motorola Mobility hired Binswanger Corp. to market the complex, which totals 1.1 million square feet, according to a news release issued by the Philadelphia commercial real estate firm.

 

Richard Plonsker, executive vice president and managing director in Binswanger’s Chicago office, declined to say the price Google is seeking for the campus.

 

Binswanger will try to find a buyer that would use the facility for a regional headquarters, for back offices or for a large sales office, as opposed to an investor that would buy the property in order to lease it to multiple tenants.

The facilities, which could accommodate 3,900 employees, are best suited to a single company, Mr. Plonsker said.

 

“The cost of acquiring this facility would be substantially below the replacement cost of duplicating it anywhere else,” he said.

 

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NYC Building Owners Tell Verizon Their Tenants Don’t Care About Getting FiOS; Refuse Entry | Stop the Cap!

NYC Building Owners Tell Verizon Their Tenants Don’t Care About Getting FiOS; Refuse Entry | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

While a lot of people would love to get Verizon to wire their communities for the company’s fiber optic network, at least three New York City multi-dwelling unit property owners have told Verizon to get lost, in some cases telling the company none of their tenants were interested in the top-rated fiber to the home network, even as they remain without phone service three months after Hurricane Sandy damaged Verizon’s facilities in the city.

 

Verizon Communications has now had to force the issue, filing an official complaint with the New York Public Service Commission to get owners to open their buildings for the fiber upgrade which will also restore telephone service. In one case, a property owner allegedly demanded financial compensation from Verizon to gain admittance to the building to begin repairs.

 

“I have been complaining about Verizon’s lack of FiOS work in my building for a long time and I had no idea Verizon was banging on the door all along only to be told by the boneheads that own my building that nobody was interested,” says Brad, a Stop the Cap! reader in Manhattan. “The morons at the property management company don’t have a clue or they want money from Verizon in return for the keys. Meanwhile, there is no dial tone and Verizon says they are at an impasse until the property owners, who obviously don’t care, let them in to do repairs.”

 

Indeed, Verizon sent certified letters to all of the affected property owners informing them, if they didn’t already know, that tenants in their buildings were without telecommunications service after Sandy wreaked havoc on Verizon’s infrastructure:

 

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The Question at the Core of the Data Caps Debate | Public Knowledge

The Question at the Core of the Data Caps Debate | Public Knowledge | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) regularly insist that data caps are a legitimate tool to ease congestion on their networks and an effective way to signal value to consumers. But, as we have argued, data caps do not resolve congestion, are confusing to consumers, and lend themselves to unfair and anticompetitive behavior.

In light of this disagreement, it is a promising sign that a recent study published by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and co-authored by Steven S. Wildman, the new Chief Economist of the FCC, moves beyond some of the previous rhetoric and takes a significant step towards focusing the debate on real areas of conflict. 

Unfortunately, it stops short of recognizing a critical distinction in understanding the heart of the disagreement. Let’s take a look:

 

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Search stays the same: feds and Google settle antitrust issues | GigaOM Tech News

Search stays the same: feds and Google settle antitrust issues | GigaOM Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a long-awaited announcement, the Federal Trade Commission confirmed Thursday that it has reached a settlement with Google after a nearly two year investigation into how the search giant treats competitors. The deal will force Google to change some of its patent practices but will have relatively little effect on how the company displays its search results.

 

Speaking to reporters on Thursday afternoon, FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz said the agency, in a 4-1 vote, would force Google to stop using standards essential patents in order to to ban rivals’ gadgets from the market place.

 

On the question of so-called “search bias” — whether Google unfairly demoted rival companies’ sites in its search listings — Leibowitz said the FTC had “exhaustively” examined the issue but concluded that there was no evidence had broken any antitrust laws. He said the FTC had found a “plausible connection” between Google’s listings and efforts to improve user experience, and pointed to efforts by other companies to “game” Google’s algorithms.

 

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FTC "brought forth a couple of mice" in slapping Google on the wrist | Huff Post Blog

FTC "brought forth a couple of mice" in slapping Google on the wrist | Huff Post Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As predicted, the Federal Trade Commission has punted any serious action against Google's monopoly dominance of search advertising and related sectors.  Worse, it turns out the investigation was so narrow and ultimately so perfunctory that it's hard to understand what took nineteen months to get such a meager result.

 

Conservative FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch mocked his liberal colleagues, saying in a statement that "after promising an elephant more than a year ago, the Commission instead has brought forth a couple of mice."

 

The FTC did not even get a consent decree to enforce its main complaints against Google, just voluntary commitments by Google, an almost unprecedented approach to enforcement that Commissioner Rosch noted is "an unjustified and dangerous weakening of the Commission's law enforcement authority" and sets a terrible precedent for future FTC actions.

 

So what did the FTC kind of do to restrain Google?

 

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Let The Slashing Begin: Time Warner Cable Cuts Ovation, Current TV | Stop the Cap!

Let The Slashing Begin: Time Warner Cable Cuts Ovation, Current TV | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt warned programmersin early December that low-rated cable channels were at risk of being dropped from the second-largest cable operator in the country.

 

Ovation and Current TV now understand he meant it.

 

Customers are now being notified that the cable company has dropped both networks. Most customers will never notice the loss — only about 1% of Time Warner customers, around 33,000 nationwide — watched Ovation last month and about as many parked their remotes on Current TV.

 

Time Warner Cable released a statement explaining escalating programming costs are forcing the company to closely assess each network as it comes due for renewal. The cable company called Ovation one of the worst performing networks on its lineup. It was more abrupt about Current. The company claimed it dropped the network simply because “it was sold.”

 

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NY: Time Warner Cable Buys Independent Princetown Cable in $1.2 Million Deal | Stop the Cap!

NY: Time Warner Cable Buys Independent Princetown Cable in $1.2 Million Deal | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable is expanding its footprint in the capital region of New York with the acquisition of independent Princetown Cable Company, which serves around 600 subscribers in Princetown, Duanesburg and Rotterdam in Schenectady County.

 

Time Warner already manages cable service for most cable subscribers around the Albany-Schenectady region, but bought Princetown Cable to further solidify its holdings.

 

Princetown Cable began service in 1990 serving rural areas ignored by then-dominant TCI Cable (later AT&T Cable, then Comcast).

 

Most customers signed up to get better reception of television signals from nearby Albany and Utica.

 

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Comcast, AT&T Announce Rate Hikes for Chattanooga; Publicly Owned EPB Has Not | Stop the Cap!

Comcast, AT&T Announce Rate Hikes for Chattanooga; Publicly Owned EPB Has Not | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Chattanooga Comcast and AT&T U-verse customers will need to open their wallets a bit more in 2013 as both the cable and phone company have announced new rate hikes that are now taking effect. But not everyone will pay more. Customers of EPB Fiber, which offers up to 1,000/1,000Mbps broadband and is a service of the publicly-owned electric utility is keeping prices stable until further notice.

 

Comcast customers face new increases averaging 4% in 2013 — $5 a month for Triple Play customers, several dollars more for broadband, and around $1 for basic cable service. Customers on promotions are unaffected until the temporary pricing expires.

 

AT&T U-verse customers will see price increases as much as $9 a month for television and broadband service.

 

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30 years ago, at flip of a switch, the internet as we know it WAS BORN | The Register

30 years ago, at flip of a switch, the internet as we know it WAS BORN | The Register | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Thirty years ago this week the modern internet became operational as the US military flipped the switch on TCP/IP, but the move to the protocol stack was nearly killed at birth.

 

The deadline was 1 January, 1983: after this, any of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network's (ARPANET) 400 hosts that were still clinging to the existing, host-to-host Network Control Protocol (NCP) were to be cut off.

 

The move to packet switching with TCP/IP was simultaneous and co-ordinated with the community in the years before 1983. More than 15 government and university institutions from NASA AMES to Harvard University used NCP on ARPANET.

 

With so many users, though, there was plenty of disagreement. The deadline was ultimately set because everybody using ARPANET was convinced of the need for wholesale change.

 

TCP/IP was the co-creation of Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, who published their paper, A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection (warning: PDF) in 1974.

 

ARPANET was the wide-area network sponsored by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that went live in 1969, while Cerf had been an ARPANET scientist at Stanford University. The military had become interested in a common protocol as different networks and systems using different protocols began to hook up to ARPANET and found they couldn’t easily talk to each other,

 

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European ISPs Investigated For Slowing YouTube - The Same ISPs That Wanted to Impose Content Company Tolls | DSLReports.com

Several European ISPs, some of which operate YouTube competitors, are under investigation by European regulators for intentially slowing down YouTube traffic.

 

AT&T's ham-fisted plan to try and impose troll tolls on content operators (which truly started the net neutrality debate here) has over time seeped into the consciousness of European telcos, who went so far recently as to try and have a new tax imposed on content companies at the UN.

 

Now some of those same ISPs are being investigated for degrading YouTube performance:

 

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Don't suspend FCC rules | The Denver Post

Don't suspend FCC rules | The Denver Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the greatest assaults to our democracy today is the extreme accretion of power of the media into just a handful of corporate CEOs.

 

To put this in perspective:

 

According to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders — an independent from Vermont and a leading opponent of media consolidation — 50 companies owned 90 percent of the American media in 1983. Today, Sanders wrote last month in Politico, that same 90 percent is controlled by six companies: GE, News Corp., Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS.

 

In short, it amounts to a monopoly on what we hear, and what we view, on TV and radio.

 

If you think the situation couldn't get worse, think again. There is a move to "suspend" the FCC rules that requires public input and debate to changes in the FCC rules that would allow for even more media concentration, into what we read in our newspapers as well.

 

The change proposed by the publicly appointed FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, would allow the six major corporations left standing to get even bigger.

 

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Sprint poised to introduce own-brand pre-paid service | TeleGeography

Sprint Nextel is expected to launch a new Sprint-branded pre-paid service later this month, Fierce Wireless reports, citing US blog Android Police.

 

According to the article, which cites promotional material it received from the cellco, Sprint will introduce the ‘Sprint As You Go’ pre-paid brand on 25 January.

 

The new product will compete with Sprint’s existing Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile brands and offer two plans: a USD70 per month plan for smartphones offering unlimited voice, texting and data, and a USD50 per month plan for what it terms ‘feature phones’.

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The Laboratorium : Not with a Bang

The Laboratorium : Not with a Bang | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

So ends the Federal Trade Commission’s long and contentious investigation into Google. Out of the four serious issues on the table, Google walks away cleanly on one (“search bias”), the FTC gets a clear victory on one (“standards-essential patents”), and Google makes mushy-mouthed “commitments” on the remaining two (“vertical opt-out” and “ad portability”). But the issue on which the FTC let Google walk—“biasing” its search results to favor its own content over competitors’—was far and away the most important. The mood over at the Googleplex has to be pretty good right now.

 

Full analysis below, but first, the essential documents:

 

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Cable Industry Draws Scrutiny For Putting Web Users On A Scale | Huff Post

Cable Industry Draws Scrutiny For Putting Web Users On A Scale | Huff Post | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The cable industry wants Internet users to go on a diet.

 

Cable companies have been testing a new business model that charges customers based on how much data they use, and penalizes them for exceeding those limits. Time Warner, the nation's second-largest cable provider, now offers such tiered plans to customers nationwide.

 

The industry says so-called "usage-based pricing" -- which resembles most wireless plans -- is a sensible option for light Internet users and a way for companies to manage networks that have become congested by the explosion of data-heavy online video.

 

Yet the industry's shift away from one price, all-you-can-eat service has drawn scrutiny from consumer groups, regulators and lawmakers who worry the new model is motivated by a desire to boost profits when users go over their caps and protect cable TV from competing Internet services like Hulu and Netflix.

 

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The Empire Lobbies Back: How Big Cable Killed Competition in North Carolina | ILSR

The Empire Lobbies Back: How Big Cable Killed Competition in North Carolina | ILSR | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After a city in North Carolina built a Fiber-to-the-Home network competing with Time Warner Cable, the cable giant successfully lobbied to take that decision away from other cities.

 

The city of Wilson’s decision and resulting network was recently examined in a case study by Todd O’Boyle and Christopher Mitchell titled Carolina’s Connected Community: Wilson Gives Greenlight to Fast Internet.

 

The new report picks up with Wilson’s legacy: an intense multiyear lobbying campaign by Time Warner Cable, AT&T, CenturyLink, and others to bar communities from building their own networks. The report examines how millions of dollars bought restrictions that encourage cable and DSL monopolies rather than new choices for residents and businesses.

 

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Where's the money for telcos? Mobile broadband and cloud, says Ovum | GigaOM Mobile Tech News

Where's the money for telcos? Mobile broadband and cloud, says Ovum | GigaOM Mobile Tech News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

How are the next few years looking for telcos? Not so hot overall, according to a new forecast from Ovum. That said, the analysts do highlight one or two silver linings – the main one, by far, being mobile broadband.

 

First, a look at the overall picture. Ovum estimates that telecom industry revenues for 2012 will have totalled more than $2 trillion, which is up marginally from 2011′s $1.96 trillion, and capital expenditures should also be up from $314 billion in 2011 to more than $330 billion last year. Not stellar – that revenue growth is two percent, down from seven in 2011 – and in fact, the analyst house is warning that growth may flatline over the next five years.

 

However, Ovum also reckons that there’s significant growth to be had in specific sectors. Number one for the operators is mobile broadband – here, Ovum predicts a very healthy 19.2 percent compound annual growth rate between now and 2016, generating $123 billion in incremental revenue during that period.

 

This is important stuff to bear in mind as it colors the behavior of telcos, particularly when it comes to subjects such as net neutrality. A top-level chart of those forecasts:

 

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Bad news for cord cutters: Al Jazeera America won’t be live streamed online | GigaOM Online Video News

Bad news for cord cutters: Al Jazeera America won’t be live streamed online | GigaOM Online Video News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Cord cutters won’t be able to tune into Al Jazeera America, the new cable news network that was announced Wednesday in conjunction with the news that Al Jazeera has purchased Al Gore’s Current.tv. At least not live, anyway: An Al Jazeera America spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the network won’t be live streaming its programming online.

 

This news will likely come as a disappointment to Internet-savvy news junkies, and it’s a departure from Al Jazeera’s current distribution model. Shunned by big cable service providers, Al Jazeera has long streamed its English-language programming live through sites like YouTube as well as dedicated apps for mobile and connected devices.

 

However, through the acquisition of Current.tv, Al Jazeera is gaining cable distribution to some 40 million households through service providers like Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, Verizon FIOS and AT&T Uverse. Only Time Warner Cable decided to ditch the channel, something that was possible through an exit clause in the event of an ownership change.

 

And with new carriers, there are new responsibilities. Cable TV providers don’t like to compete with free online distribution, and instead want content to be made available only to authenticated subscribers. It’s too early to tell whether Al Jazeera America will go down that route, but it’s certainly a possibility, as Peter Kafka mused today.

 

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As Expected, FTC Announces Close Of Google Investigation With No Antitrust Charges, But Minor Tweaks To Biz Practices | Techdirt

As Expected, FTC Announces Close Of Google Investigation With No Antitrust Charges, But Minor Tweaks To Biz Practices | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It appears that the rumors from last month were entirely accurate. The FTC more or less has admitted that it can't find any real antitrust problems with Google, but did get Google to agree to a few minor tweaks in how it operates -- which lets the FTC declare victory.

 

On the big question of antitrust, however, which Microsoft and other sites led the charge on, the FTC came up completely empty, noting that the goal Google's practices was, in fact, to offer a better consumer experience, rather than to be anti-competitive.

The biggest "change" to Google's business practices is really from an issue they inherited: the handling of Motorola's standards essential patents. We were among those confused by Google's decision a year ago to continue Motorola's more aggressive practices with its standards essential patents, basically trying to get injunctions to block competitors who don't license at the (way too high) rates that Motorola was offering. This made no sense to us at the time, given Google's previous statements about the problems of the patent system.

 

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Al-Jazeera Buys Current TV, Plans to Kill It | Truthdig

Al-Jazeera Buys Current TV, Plans to Kill It | Truthdig | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Qatar-backed media network will phase out programming on the left-leaning, Al Gore-owned Current to make room for a new channel targeting American viewers.

 

It’s pretty clear from the details of the deal that Al-Jazeera wasn’t so much interested in Current as Current’s access to 50 million American households. The network, which once found a nemesis in the George W. Bush administration, has found it difficult to penetrate the American market.

 

Time Warner Cable announced that it is dropping Current, which is reported to receive low ratings compared with other news networks such as MSNBC, CNN and Fox News, from 10 million households (leaving 50 million with access to the network).

 

Al-Jazeera says the U.S. network will be based in New York, and the broadcaster plans to expand its bureaus in the United States, doubling its U.S.-based staff to at least 300.

 

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OH: Business Incubator Says You Can Come Home Again | Business Journal Daily

OH: Business Incubator Says You Can Come Home Again | Business Journal Daily | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Those who relocated from the Mahoning Valley years ago and returned for the holidays might not recognize the city they left.

 

Today Youngstown is in the midst of an economic renaissance, officials boast, and the Youngstown Business Incubator, Youngstown State University and the Oh Wow! Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology demonstrate why.

 

“We want to introduce people who have left Youngstown to the New Youngstown, the new high-tech Youngstown," said Mike Hripko, director of technology-based economic development at the YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, as he welcomed visitors to the YBI.

 

The program invited those visiting for the holidays, as well as the general public, to an open house and tour Thursday of the incubator, the newly opened National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or NAMII, and the Oh Wow! center.

 

About 25 had signed up for the morning and afternoon tours, but just a handful attended the morning tour largely because of a winter storm that swept through the Mahoning Valley Wednesday, Hripko noted.

 

Initiatives such as the incubator, energy and advanced materials research at YSU's STEM, and NAMII, are among the many efforts that have helped reshape and rebrand the city, he observed.

 

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MT: Free Wi-Fi and better access to fiber-optic lines at the top of wish lists | The Missoulian

MT: Free Wi-Fi and better access to fiber-optic lines at the top of wish lists | The Missoulian | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Free Wi-Fi and better access to fiber-optic lines are both at the top of the wish list of some “technology companies” recently surveyed in Missoula.

 

Late last year, a Missoula City Council subcommittee conducted the survey to determine how municipal government can best support the economic development of local businesses with a focus on technology. Councilwoman Caitlin Copple, who chairs the Economic Development Subcommittee, said research shows fiber – not “free” Wi-Fi – drives economic development, but pulling cables up to businesses isn’t always easy because of the cost.

 

“Getting the fiber into actual buildings so that they can use it is tricky,” said Copple, who also noted “free” Wi-Fi isn’t actually free because someone pays, even if the user doesn’t.

 

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China tightens up censorship of Internet sites | LATimes.com

China tightens up censorship of Internet sites | LATimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For years, China’s net nannies turned the other cheek to a loophole in their vast online censorship apparatus.

 

Anyone who wanted access to blocked overseas websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and more recently, the New York Times, need only download foreign software called a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent the Great Firewall.

 

But in recent weeks, even these tools have begun to falter, frustrating tech-savvy Chinese and foreign businesspeople who now struggle to access Internet sites as innocuous as gmail.com and imdb.com.

 

The tightening appears to be part of a broader and continuing campaign to rein in the Internet in China, which boasts nearly 600 million users and challenges the government’s monopoly on information every day.

 

State media have been running editorials regularly about the dangers of an unregulated Internet, citing an uptick in rumormongering and misinformation.

 

“By typing on the computer, one can send the meanest curse, the most shocking scandals, the most insensitive ridicule and it seems no one can do anything to you,” the Beijing Morning Post said in an editorial Thursday. “Any responsible government shouldn’t let this become a method for the mass public to seek justice.”

 

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Why Congress's Digital Archive For Text Messages Is Such A Bad Idea | readwrite

Why Congress's Digital Archive For Text Messages Is Such A Bad Idea | readwrite | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Text me. Wait, don't. Not anything too private anyway.

 

That's because if a new proposal is approved by the Senate, each and every SMS message you send will be stored in a digital archive by your phone provider. Why, you ask? It's all in the name of law enforcement being able to using your messages as evidence to catch bad guys and solve cases. And it's also a government-sponsored privacy nightmare come to reality.

 

If passed, the proposal would be the first major update to the 27-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), and the latest in a string of blatant challenges to the Fourth Amendment, which (up until recently... we're looking at you, FISA) served to protect citizens' rights and information, unless law enforcement was granted a court-issued warrant.

 

But if this SMS-retention requirement makes it into law, the nearly 2.3 trillion text messages America's 321.7 million wireless subscribers send in a year would all become the property of the Federal government, stored in a repository for 2 years.

 

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