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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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Airtel Zambia rolls out 3.75G data network - ITWeb

Airtel Zambia rolls out 3.75G data network - ITWeb | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Airtel Zambia has introduced the country's first 3.75G data network that will enable customers to experience high-speed mobile broadband access, make video calls, and watch TV live.

 

Until now, mobile TV in Zambia was not an option due to poor infrastructure and limited broadband capacity.

 

Airtel said the technology used to usher in the 3.75G network was the fastest available and will be enormously beneficial for a variety of users, including large corporates, SMEs and the youth.

 

The data service offers speeds of up to 21Mbps, making Airtel Zambia the fastest mobile Internet provider in the country. The services form part of the company's $250 million rollout plan, which ends in March.

 

Telecommunications is one of Zambia's fastest growing industries, after mining, with a rapidly expanding mobile phone market that now covers Internet access, mobile banking and mobile commerce.

 

Airtel Zambia MD Fayaz King said the 3.75G data network is also expected to be rolled out across Africa, in countries where Airtel has operations, including Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, with the objective of building the largest 3G network across the region.

 

In Zambia alone, King said the company currently has 280 3.75G sites covering all provincial districts. By the end of 2012, King expects that the company will have rolled out up to 400 sites across the country.

 

Airtel has already partnered with the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), the country's telecoms sector regulator, to build more than 350 communications towers across the country under the Universal Access Network Rollout Project, which is financially supported by the Zambian government. The project aims at expanding communications across the country, with under-serviced areas a key focus.

 

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Clean Break » Blog Archive » Hamilton consortium puts pressure on Ontario government to lift moratorium on offshore wind in the Great Lakes

Clean Break » Blog Archive » Hamilton consortium puts pressure on Ontario government to lift moratorium on offshore wind in the Great Lakes | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

For a year now there has been a moratorium on the development of offshore wind projects in the Great Lakes. The Ontario government issued the ban because it said more study was needed to make sure the projects can be developed safety and responsibly, even though such studies were supposedly already done when the previous moratorium was lifted in January 2008. It’s more than likely that the latest ban was politically motivated, which is why a consortium of companiesstretching from Kingston to Niagara Region has high hopes of changing the government’s mind.

 

The consortium, calling itself the Lake Ontario Offshore Network, aims to make Ontario the North American capital of offshore wind development. The group includes Windstream Energy Inc., the only company that holds a feed-in-tariff contract with the Ontario Power Authority to sell power from offshore wind turbines into the province’s electrical grid. It doesn’t matter that Windstream, because of the moratorium, can’t currently develop its project. It hopes that by bringing together an industrial consortium it can dangle thousands of jobs in front of the government and possibly convince the powers that be to reconsider its offshore ban.

 

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DistribuTECH Smart Grid Show Wrap-Up - Greentech Media (blog)

DistribuTECH Smart Grid Show Wrap-Up - Greentech Media (blog) | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Much of the Greentech Media smart grid brain trust has been in San Antonio, Texas this week attending DistribuTECH, one of the biggest smart grid get-togethers in the U.S. We are reporting on the biggest stories, meeting with the biggest players, speaking at the biggest events and apparently eating at the biggest barbecue joints.

 

Here's a quick rundown of some of our smart grid coverage from this busy week:

 

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Wind Power Without the Blades: Big Pics : Discovery News

Wind Power Without the Blades: Big Pics : Discovery News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Noise from wind turbine blades, inadvertent bat and bird kills and even the way wind turbines look have made installing them anything but a breeze. New York design firm Atelier DNA has an alternative concept that ditches blades in favor of stalks. Resembling thin cattails, the Windstalks generate electricity when the wind sets them waving. The designers came up with the idea for the planned city Masdar, a 2.3-square-mile, automobile-free area being built outside of Abu Dhabi. Atelier DNA’s "Windstalk"project came in second in the Land Art Generator competition a contest sponsored by Madsar to identify the best work of art that generates renewable energy from a pool of international submissions.

 

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CA: Solar-power project debuts at local middle school

CA: Solar-power project debuts at local middle school | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sierra Middle School on Thursday unveiled its $200,000 solar power system courtesy of a PG&E grant that will power about 20 classrooms, lower the campus' overall energy bill and will be used as a catalyst for "green" education.

 

The school also celebrated its new title -- "California Solar Schools Model" -- the first in PG&E's Solar School Program that teaches the value of renewable energy and energy efficiency at 125 campuses throughout California.

 

Joining the campus in the ribbon cutting celebration Thursday were district administrators, elected officials and solar and energy company representatives.

 

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Australia: TPG breaks its silence over Telstra terms | Delimiter

Australia: TPG breaks its silence over Telstra terms | Delimiter | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

National broadband provider TPG has broken what has appeared to be a long-term policy of not criticising the nation’s largest telco Telstra over its supply terms to rivals, slamming the big T’s wholesale approach in a new submission filed early this year with the competition regulator.

 

Over the past half-decade and before, it has become common for Telstra rivals such as Optus, iiNet, Internode and others to regularly criticise Telstra, due to what they saw as ongoing uncompetitive behaviour by Telstra in giving customers of its wholesale division less favourable terms and pricing for access to its infrastructure than its own retail division. All of these major ISPs — and others such as Macquarie Telecom — have employed regulatory staff to engage directly with the Government and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over the issue.

 

However, in that period, TPG has notably been absent from the debate, despite being one of Australia’s top four ISPs and a major buyer of Telstra wholesale services. Some in the telecommunications industry have speculated that the ISP’s silence on Telstra’s terms has led to it receiving more favourable commercial deals from Telstra, compared with more vocal ISPs such as Internode.

 

However, in a major submission filed with the ACCC early this year (PDF), TPG appears to have dramatically changed its public stance on Telstra. The submission comes in response to an ACCC discussion paper seeking comment from the telecommunications industry on whether a wholesale ADSL service should be ‘declared’ (regulated more strictly than it currently is).

 

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GigaOM: The motion of the ocean: a look at ocean power

GigaOM: The motion of the ocean: a look at ocean power | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

With the exception of tidal energy, our focus thus far has been on land-based energy sources. Meanwhile, the ocean absorbs a prodigious fraction of the sun’s incident energy, creating thermal gradients, currents, and waves whipped up by winds. Let’s put some scales on the energetics of these sources and see if we may turn to them for help. We’ve got our three boxes ready: abundant, potent, and niche (puny). Time to do some sorting!

 

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NATOA: Listen Live to the February 1st FCC DAS and Small Cell Workshop

NATOA: Listen Live to the February 1st FCC DAS and Small Cell Workshop | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC, in cooperation with NATOA, will be holding the DAS and Small Cell Workshop on February 1st, starting at 9:30 am Eastern. The workshop grew out of comments submitted by NATOA and its national coalition partners that the Commission is well-suited to present educational forums on issues of importance to local governments.

 

During the day-long workshop, presentations will be made by industry and local government representatives on how DAS (Distributed Antenna System) is being used in public buildings, historic preservation areas, hospitals, sports stadiums, and so on. There will also be presentations on outdoor systems deployed in Philadelphia, Paradise Valley, AZ, and Charlotte.

 

NATOA President Joanne Hovis and Immediate Past President Ken Fellman will give some introductory remarks, and Joanne will co-moderate the afternoon session on DAS deployments in local communities.

 

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Bar Fight! Sony Sues Karaoke Distributor For Infringement; Gets Sued Right Back For 'Copyright Misuse'

Bar Fight! Sony Sues Karaoke Distributor For Infringement; Gets Sued Right Back For 'Copyright Misuse' | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A great many drinkers have watched helplessly as their BAC became inversely proportionate to their common sense, throwing around cash as thought it were Monopoly money before grabbing the mic to belt out Adele's latest track. Karaoke has been the go-to bar sport for thousands of people who feel the only thing keeping them back from superstardom is sobriety. It's a proven money-maker, but does it make ridiculously large damages-type money? Sony/ATV sure thinks so:

 

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Blandin on Broadband: Up to 1000 Mbps broadband available in Lakefield, MN

Thanks to John Shepard for the heads up on the update on Southwest Minnesota Broadband Service. I am impressed at how smoothly the ARRA-funded project seems to be rolling out – and just as impressed with the media attention. I think it helps to increase adoption – or at least interest – to follow the progress as closely at the SW papers have done. Here’s the latest update from the Worthington Daily Globe…

 

"By the end of January, about 300 Lakefield residents will enjoy a range telecommunication services powered by fiber-optic cables."

 

And here’s the tidbit that caught my eye this morning…

 

"Personalized higher speed Internet up to 1000 Mbps is available to customers upon request."

 

I love my house and my neighborhood – but 1000 Mbps could have me checking out open houses!

 

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MPAA Exec Admits: 'We're Not Comfortable With The Internet'

MPAA Exec Admits: 'We're Not Comfortable With The Internet' | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

There have been a ton of post mortems about the whole SOPA/PIPA fight, with many trying to figure out where and how the MPAA "went wrong." After all, this is a group that is very used to getting its way inside DC. And it got slaughtered. We've already discussed our thoughts on why the MPAA failed, but what stuns me is how every time someone from the MPAA opens their mouth, they seem to make the situation worse by demonstrating just how tone deaf they are to the online community and what their concerns were. Whether it's just blaming Google or thinking that the solution is more backroom dealing, each response just sounds like a group of people who are playing a different game, and still don't realize the rules have changed.

 

The Hollywood Reporter's version of the postmortem is a good read, even though it covers much the same ground as many other such recaps. Still, it's worth reading to get a good feel for Hollywood's view of the world. But the really stunning part is the quote from Michael O'Leary, the MPAA's number two guy, who makes what may be the most tone-deaf statement we've seen to date in this fight:

 

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Knowledge Is A Universal Natural Resource -- And Locking It Up Hurts Everyone

Knowledge Is A Universal Natural Resource -- And Locking It Up Hurts Everyone | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the more important points in understanding some of the fights over the ridiculousness of today's copyright and patent laws is to recognize how knowledge (information) is a natural resource. It is the input that makes other great things. Economist Paul Romer's famous research really showed how knowledge and information as a resource is what creates economic growth. Once you recognize that fact, you begin to run into problems when you think about locking up that natural resource. Think of other natural resources. Do we think the world is better off if there's a greater supply of each of those? An abundance? If we have an abundance of wheat, that's a good thing. If we have an abundance of energy, that's a good thing. There may be side effects of such abundances, but the overall abundance is something worth cherishing.

 

The problem, however, comes when you have a new abundance where once there was scarcity. And that's because anywhere there's a scarcity, someone has built a business model based on that very scarcity. But that is a business model issue. Years ago, most economies rejected the idea of mercantilism, where governments would purposely build up monopolies and artificial scarcities, because of the realization that, in the long run, everyone was better off with a competitive market. The guy who had the sugar monopoly may have hated it -- but everyone else was much, much better off.

 

And, so, we go back to knowledge and information. Unlike most other resources, knowledge is not just abundant... it is infinite. As Thomas Jefferson once famously wrote:

 

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Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity - Barriers to Broadband Adoption in Vermont Report issued

The Vermont Partnership for Fairness & Diversity, in collaboration with a long list of partners throughout Vermont, recently published a report titled "Barriers to Broadband Adoption Among Vulnerable Populations in Vermont." The report was prepared for the Vermont Department of Public Service and provides a list of 10 recommendations to address the critical findings and barriers to broadband adoption by vulnerable populations.

 

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GigaOM: The top 10 trends from the year’s big smart grid show

GigaOM: The top 10 trends from the year’s big smart grid show | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the year’s largest smart grid conferences — DistribuTECH — closes today in San Antonio, Texas. The event is relatively unknown in IT and web circles, but it’s like the CES for utilities, power companies and the vendors that are trying to sell them stuff.

 

However, I’m interested in what seems to be a growing number of startups and entrepreneurs at the event, and that seems to be a sign that real innovation and new business models are actually starting to happen when it comes to adding digital intelligence to the power grid and managing energy data.

 

Here are the top 10 trends that I took away from the event:

 

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Home Energy Management Takes Center Stage at CES 2012

Home Energy Management Takes Center Stage at CES 2012 | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Consumer Electronics Show is partly a playground for inventors and partly a glimpse into what technologies consumers will actually adopt in the next few years. Into the first category fall gyro-stabilized electric unicycles, a human-powered hydrofoil and 3-D pet portraits. It seems that home energy management, on the other hand, has finally landed in the second.

 

The home energy management ecosystem is rife with competition across the entire value chain, creating a range of viable solutions for consumers. Zigbee and Sigma Designs have developed standards that enable stand-alone devices to become intelligent networked nodes that can be controlled and monitored wirelessly. This enables interoperability between home entertainment, security systems, lighting, HVAC systems and appliances.

 

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GigaOM: Boulder gears up for legal battle over the grid

GigaOM: Boulder gears up for legal battle over the grid | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A tough legal showdown between the city of Boulder and utility Xcel Energy is brewing as the city prepares to force Xcel to sell its distribution network. Boulder voters approved measures last November that would allow the city to look into forming its own electric utility, which city officials said will enable them to buy more clean energy than what Xcel can provide.

 

Boulder announced this week that it’s hired Denver-based law firm Duncan, Ostrander & Dingess, which specializes in a legal process that allows a government to seize private property for projects that will benefit the public. The city would have to pay “just compensation” for the property, and that definition includes fair market value. This process is typically called “eminent domain” and is used more commonly for building roads.

 

The move to seize the distribution network should send chills down the spine of utilities and serves as one of the most extreme examples of customers pushing back against their utilities and demanding more clean energy. Ratepayers and cities have known to complain about utility programs, such as installing smart meters, but they don’t usually take the steps and money to leave their service providers.

 

The city would use the eminent domain process only if it isn’t able to successfully negotiate a price with Xcel. So far Xcel hasn’t shown an interest in selling its distribution network, so the city is gearing up for a legal fight, said Sarah Huntley, a spokeswoman for the city.

 

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President Obama's Blueprint to Make The Most of America's Energy ...

President Obama's Blueprint to Make The Most of America's Energy ... | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out a Blueprint for an America Built to Last, underscoring his commitment to an all-of-the-above approach that develops every available source of American energy. This commitment includes the safe and responsible production of our oil and natural gas resources. Today, American oil production is at the highest level in eight years and last year we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.

 

At the same time, the President believes we need to double-down on clean energy in the United States. Transitioning to cleaner sources of energy will enhance our national security, protect the environment and public health, and grow our economy and create new jobs. Over the past few years, renewable energy use has nearly doubled. In fact, in 2011, the United States reclaimed the position as the world’s leading investor in clean energy – but staying on top will depend on smart, aggressive action moving forward.

 

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Californian utilities embrace Green Button project to unleash energy data

California's largest utilities have launched a "Green Button" feature to let consumers download their own detailed energy usage information. The project, championed by US CTO Aneesh Chopra, standardises the deliver of household energy data and is seen as a catalyst to create an ecosystem for app developers to produce new services and products.

 

Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric announced they're delivering Green Button data to about six million California customers. Additional utilities, including Southern Calfornia Edison, Glendale Power & Light, Oncor, Pepco Holdings Inc, and others plan to roll out services to customers later this year. Together these utilities serve over 17 million households.

 

Chopra is widely recognised as an IT innovator in government and challenged the utility industry to develop access to consumer data in September 2011.

 

"Green Button marks the beginning of a new era of consumer control over energy use, and local empowerment to cut waste and save money," said Chopra, who also serves as associate director of Technology at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. "With the benefits of open data standards, app developers and other innovators can apply their creativity to bring the smart grid to life for families - not only in California but in communities all across the nation."

 

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National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) - Tulsa Native American Times

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) - Tulsa Native American Times | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

This message comes directly from tribal leaders. We went to them with one simple question: What can we do with what we have already – without asking for more resources – that will provide greater opportunity for Indians and create more impact for federal programs? Over and over, the answer came back: We need freedom at the local level to best use our limited resources. We know what’s best because we live in Indian Country. We know where the needs are, and we know what works for our people. No one understands Indian life better than the Indian nations themselves. Give us flexibility.

 

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota is delivering broadband services across their reservation because of governmental flexibility. The FCC’s decision to designate Standing Rock Telecom as an eligible telecommunications carrier means they are the first fully tribally owned and operated broadband company that can receive universal service funds.

 

This designation has empowered Standing Rock to own and operate essential telecommunications infrastructure. This offers avenues for economic development, opportunities to preserve tribal languages and culture, and infrastructure for distance learning programs. That, is the kind of flexibility we need in Indian Country, when only one in ten Native people have access to broadband today.

 

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Spain suspends clean power incentive program to rein in costs

Spain suspends clean power incentive program to rein in costs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Spain once symbolized a great solar boom – and then bust – as its government lowered incentives for clean power to try to rein in a fast installation rate that was way higher than anticipated. The repercussions of that boom have continued, however, and on Friday, the government announced a complete suspension of the incentive program to cut costs.

 

The announcement covers incentives for all sorts of renewable energy projects, including wind and solar power, reported Bloomberg. It will affect new projects, not those already in place. Those that have been operating all have long-term contracts to deliver electricity to utilities at guaranteed, premium prices.

 

The government approved the suspension because the incentives are saddling it with a growing debt at a time when it’s got a big deficit and needs to cut spending. The incentive policy requires utilities to buy renewable energy at rates higher than what they would pay for conventional, fossil-fueled based power.

 

But instead of allowing utilities to pass the cost onto consumers, the government has required the utilities to carry the costs as government-backed debt, according to Reuters. Spain didn’t want its residents to see a spike in utility bills during a weak economy. However, the debt created by setting the premium pricing, called feed-in tariffs, reached about €24 billion ($32 billion USD) by the end of 2011.

 

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Trinidad and Tobago Government News - UWI to host Caribbean ...

On January 26th and 27th 2012, the Faculty of Engineering, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, will host the local segment of a landmark regional initiative, “Developing the Caribbean.” As the first of its kind, the three-country event will be streamed live from the host countries: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic. The Trinidad segment comprises the Caribbean Open Data Conference and Code Sprint which will take place on the St. Augustine Campus. The event is aimed at raising awareness of the critical role that open data can play in the design and development of software solutions to address social problems indigenous to the region. The local segment is coordinated by the Faculty of Engineering’s Caribbean ICT Research Programme (CIRP).

 

The two-day event is focused on building awareness of the potential of open data, as well as on demonstrating to national audiences the types of quality services and products that can be developed by skilled Caribbean programmers with access to these open data sets. The term “open data” refers to non-personal data that is made freely available to the public for re-use without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. The goals of the open data movement are similar to those of other "open" movements such as open source, open governance, and open access. In addition to its support of greater efficiency, transparency and accountability of public offices, open data provides relevant information which developers can use to build real-world, problem-solving applications.

 

The Conference boasts an impressive selection of invited guests and knowledgeable speakers from the private and public sector, as well as the international community, all of whom have a keen interest in the open data movement.

 

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Universal Music Claims Copyright Over Song That It Didn't License, Just Because One Of Its Artists Rapped To It On A Leaked Track

Universal Music Claims Copyright Over Song That It Didn't License, Just Because One Of Its Artists Rapped To It On A Leaked Track | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last year, when Universal Music issued a very questionable takedown of a Megaupload commercial -- which involved some Universal Music artists -- UMG suggested that it had extra special rights with YouTube in which it could take down videos that it didn't even have a direct copyright on. Google later said that UMG was greatly exaggerating the details of their deal, and all UMG could do beyond issuing normal copyright takedowns was to take down live performances.

 

So a bunch of folks are scratching their heads over a highly questionable UMG takedown of a song by a Florida-based rap duo, After the Smoke (who are not signed to Universal). The details are a bit complex, and to understand what appears to have happened, you first have to go back a bit. It seems that After the Smoke recorded an instrumental "beat" which they then shopped around to various artists to potentially rap/sing over. This is pretty common, and if someone likes the beat, they'll buy it. In this case, they offered the beat to Yelawolf, who they had opened for. Yelawolf claimed to like it, and apparently did record over it... but about the same time got signed to Universal Music and nothing happened with the track (and the beat was never paid for). However, about a month ago, the Yelawolf track over the ATS beat got leaked -- leading ATS to get upset about the lack of credit (and, one assumes, payment).

 

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An Infographic Showing Just How Frequently Hollywood Has Cried Wolf About 'Piracy'

An Infographic Showing Just How Frequently Hollywood Has Cried Wolf About 'Piracy' | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A few folks have sent over this excellent infographic about the frequency with which Hollywood insists every new technology will destroy the movie business. It's based on the list that Steve Blank put together of Hollywood being totally wrong on lots of things:

 

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Hawaiian Politician Wants To Track Everyone Online Because Someone Doesn't Like Her... Backs Down After Public Backlash

Hawaiian Politician Wants To Track Everyone Online Because Someone Doesn't Like Her... Backs Down After Public Backlash | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Always beware of politicans pushing legislation because of a personal experience. Declan McCullagh has the story of an astoundingly, ridiculously broad data retention bill in Hawaii that would require anyone who provides internet access to keep a detailed dossier on every website everyone who uses their service visits (tied to their name). The bill includes a broad definition of internet access provider, such that anyone who provides free WiFi may be forced to keep this same info. Furthermore, it has no privacy provisions at all -- such as requiring the data be encrypted or even forbidding service providers from then selling the data.

 

The really stunning part of the article, however, is that when McCullagh asks the Hawaiian state Senator who introduced the Senate version about the background of the bill, it becomes clear that the politician in question doesn't appear to know what's in the bill, nor understand the implications of her own bill. Instead, it comes out she introduced it as a favor to another politician who had a "personal experience" this is intended to deal with:

 

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GigaOM: Gaiman: SOPA and PIPA are on the wrong side of history

GigaOM: Gaiman: SOPA and PIPA are on the wrong side of history | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The twin anti-piracy threats that were being considered by Congress — the SOPA bill in the House and the PIPA legislation in the Senate — have been put aside due to the storm of controversy and criticism they sparked. But the media and entertainment industries are unlikely to give up their battle so easily, author Neil Gaiman said in an interview this week, even though what they’re trying to do amounts to “trying to put genies back in bottles.” Gaiman, who recently signed an open letter protesting SOPA with over a dozen other prominent artists, says the content industries have to recognize the Internet has changed the media landscape just as fundamentally as Gutenberg’s printing press did.

 

Gaiman is probably best-known for his comics and graphic novels — including the Sandman series — as well as the novels American Gods and Coraline, and the screenplay for the film Beowulf. Although British-born, he lives in Minnesota with his wife, musician Amanda Palmer. In the interview, Gaiman said as someone who creates books and screenplays and other content, he is somewhat conflicted about what the Internet and digital media have done to traditional businesses like books and movies:

 

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