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Spain Considers Making Digital Copyright Law Worse: Pleasing The US Again? | Techdirt

Spain Considers Making Digital Copyright Law Worse: Pleasing The US Again? | Techdirt | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

We wrote a couple of weeks ago how some were arguing that Spain ought to go back on the "naughty" Special 301 list for failing to show any "positive developments" on the copyright front recently.

 

By an interesting coincidence, the Spanish Internet Association has just published a leaked draft of proposals to make digital copyright law in Spain even harsher. Here's how the Web site ADSL Zone describes them (original in Spanish):

 

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Doomsday Trigger for Megadrought? | Truth-Out.org

Doomsday Trigger for Megadrought? | Truth-Out.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

One of the worst North American droughts in history could be getting a whole lot worse.


According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor Map released on Tuesday, more than 58 percent of California is in an "exceptional drought" stage. That's up a staggering 22 percent from last week's report.


And, in its latest drought report released earlier today, the National Drought Mitigation Center warned that "bone-dry" conditions are overtaking much of the Golden State, and noted that, overall, California is "short more than one year's worth of reservoir water, or 11.6 million acre-feet, for this time of year."


All across California, streams are drying up, crops are dying off, and local communities are struggling to maintain access to water, thanks to three years of persistent drought conditions.


The situation is so dire that on Tuesday, California implemented state-wide emergency water-conservation measures, in an effort preserved what remaining water there is.


Under the new measures, Californians can face fines of up to $500 per day for using hoses to clean sidewalks, run decorative fountains, and other water-guzzling activities.


Unfortunately, while the situation in California is already pretty bleak, it looks like things are only going to get worse.


In fact, it's possible that all of the American southwest could soon be seeing the devastating drought conditions that Californians are facing.


That's because the largest surge of heat ever recorded moving west to east in the Pacific Ocean, often referred to as a Kelvin Wave, which was supposed to start an El Niño and bring tropical-like rains to the West Coast and southwest, just dissipated, after it was absorbed by abnormally warm ocean waters.


An El Niño is marked by the prolonged warming of Pacific Ocean surface temperatures, when compared to the average temperature. El Niños usually happen every two to seven years, and can last anywhere between nine months and two years.


As warm water spreads from the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean to the eastern Pacific, it brings rain and moisture with it, bringing rain to California and the American Southwest.


So, during an El Niño period, winters are often a lot wetter than usual in the southwest U.S., including in central and southern California, where drought conditions are currently the worst.


That's why Californians were hoping for a strong El Niño period, to bring the rains and moisture that's needed to help ease the drought.


Unfortunately, while some weather models are still predicting that an El Niño is possible, the chances of an El Niño strong enough to break the devastating drought that California is seeing are now very, very slim.


As a result, there's probably no end in sight to the current drought conditions in California.


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Alaskan Fisheries Are Not Collapsing | DailyKos.com

Alaskan Fisheries Are Not Collapsing | DailyKos.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

We have long prided ourselves in being the reality based community but there is a diary on the rec list that is not reality based. The title screams, "Alaska Fisheries in Midst of Economic Collapse"! Well folks, Alaska fisheries are not collapsing. Follow me below the purse seine and lets look at the evidence.


Are there regional fisheries that have poor returns this year? Yes, there are every year. Are they attributed to ocean acidification, well there is no evidence from the diary, just anecdotal "evidence" that claims "everybody is talking about the failure of the runs".


I am not a climate change denier and am very aware of the danger raised by ocean acidification but salmon runs in Alaska are strong this year as they have been in years past. The diarist seems to imply that since some Cook Inlet and western Alaska runs are poor this year then the rest of the state must be in the same boat. Alaska is a big place with more miles of coastline than the rest of the lower 48 states combined. Poor salmon returns happen every year somewhere on this 6,640 miles of coastline.


Are there regions where the salmon runs are booming? Yes, Bristol Bay sockeye catch was over 28 million fish with over 11 million fish escapement into regional rivers.  Southeast Alaska salmon harvests are very healthy to date with nearly a month and a half of fishing left. Last year there were over 272 million salmon harvested in Alaska. This was the largest harvest ever recorded.  Alaska Department of Fish and Game manages for escapement into rivers and streams. Regardless of the forecast they will shut down a fishery in a heartbeat if returns don't meet forecasts.


Is ocean acidification real? Yes. Are politicians fiddling while it happens? Hell yes. Are salmon runs collapsing from Barrow to Ketchikan? No. Are they at risk? Without a doubt, but fish stocks are not collapsing in Alaska. In fact, salmon runs are healthy and we continue to fight to keep mega projects like Pebble Mine from turning Alaska's great salmon runs into mere relics of their current spectacular display of the annual cycle of life.

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European Commission Consultation On Copyright Reveals Chasm Between Views Of Public And Publishers | Techdirt.com

European Commission Consultation On Copyright Reveals Chasm Between Views Of Public And Publishers | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In January of this year, we urged Techdirt readers to express their views on copyright by participating in the European Commission's consultation on the subject. It seems that many of you did, judging by the final numbers, which have just been published by the Commission(pdf):


The public consultation generated broad interest with more than 9,500 replies to the consultation document and a total of more than 11,000 messages, including questions and comments, sent to the Commission's dedicated email address. A number of initiatives were also launched by organized stakeholders that nurtured the debate around the public consultation and drew attention to it.


Some 5600 response came from the public, 2400 from authors/performers, and a thousand or so from companies. The European Commission has published an analysis of the comments on a question-by-question basis. This makes it slightly hard to get an overall sense of what the various sectors are saying, but fortunately Leonhard Dobusch has tackled that problem in an illuminating post on the Governance Across Borders blog:


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It's official: The Tesla, Panasonic massive battery factory deal is done | GigaOM Clean Tech News

It's official: The Tesla, Panasonic massive battery factory deal is done | GigaOM Clean Tech News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In advance of Tesla’s earnings this afternoon, the electric car maker announced this morning that its deal with Japanese battery giant Panasonic is officially a go.


Panasonic will invest in the battery-making equipment and occupy about half of the space, while Tesla will fund and manage the land, building and utilities and, along with other vendors, will occupy the other half of the building.


Nikkei reported the news earlier this week, as well as more details on the financing.


Tune in for Tesla’s earnings later this afternoon, and check out what I’m looking for from them.

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Switzerland: Swisscom fibre passes 1m homes and businesses | TeleGeography.com

State-backed fixed line incumbent Swisscom has announced that it has connected more than a million homes to its fibre-based access networks (FTTx), including 200,000 added since the start of the year.


Swisscom’s network features a combination of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), fibre-to-the-building (FTTB), fibre-to-the-street (FTTS) and VDSL Vectoring technologies to offer subscribers potential downlink speeds of up to 1Gbps.


Ten municipalities have been covered with FTTS technology, and the telco is currently rolling out the platform to a further 100, whilst more than 800,000 homes and businesses have been passed by Swisscom’s FTTH network in more than 80 towns and cities.


The operator plans to make its high speed broadband offerings available to 2.3 million homes and businesses by the end of 2015 and aims to double that figure by 2020.

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Ukraine: Regulator's 3G price higher than hoped for by incumbent | TeleGeography.com

Ukrainian telecoms regulator NCCIR has released its draft conditions for the planned upcoming 3G UMTS (2100MHz) licence tender, including a price range of between UAH1.72 billion to UAH2.37 billion (USD140 million-USD192 million) for each of the concessions on offer, including a UAH670 million payment for the costs of transferring the spectrum from military to commercial usage, Bizliganet reports.


However, largest cellco Kyivstar has recently declared that the licence price including the payment to the military should not exceed UAH1 billion.

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Vodafone Australia to refarm 850MHz spectrum for 4G | TeleGeography.com

Vodafone Australia has outlined plans to ‘significantly boost’ 4G coverage for more than 1.5 million customers using its 850MHz spectrum.


According to the cellco, by refarming its frequencies in the aforementioned band it expected to offer 4G coverage to 95% of the country’s metropolitan population by the end of this year.


Trials of LTE over the 850MHz band have reportedly just been completed by the operator in the greater Newcastle area in New South Wales.


During these tests the cellco said it tested a wide-range of 4G compatible devices at more than 40 sites.


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Singapore: The Social Laboratory | Shane Harris | ForeignPolicy.com

Singapore: The Social Laboratory | Shane Harris | ForeignPolicy.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

In October 2002, Peter Ho, the permanent secretary of defense for the tiny island city-state of Singapore, paid a visit to the offices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Defense Department's R&D outfit best known for developing the M16 rifle, stealth aircraft technology, and the Internet. Ho didn't want to talk about military hardware.


Rather, he had made the daylong plane trip to meet with retired Navy Rear Adm. John Poindexter, one of DARPA's then-senior program directors and a former national security advisor to President Ronald Reagan. Ho had heard that Poindexter was running a novel experiment to harness enormous amounts of electronic information and analyze it for patterns of suspicious activity -- mainly potential terrorist attacks.


The two men met in Poindexter's small office in Virginia, and on a whiteboard, Poindexter sketched out for Ho the core concepts of his imagined system, which Poindexter called Total Information Awareness (TIA). It would gather up all manner of electronic records -- emails, phone logs, Internet searches, airline reservations, hotel bookings, credit card transactions, medical reports -- and then, based on predetermined scenarios of possible terrorist plots, look for the digital "signatures" or footprints that would-be attackers might have left in the data space. The idea was to spot the bad guys in the planning stages and to alert law enforcement and intelligence officials to intervene.


"I was impressed with the sheer audacity of the concept: that by connecting a vast number of databases, that we could find the proverbial needle in the haystack," Ho later recalled. He wanted to know whether the system, which was not yet deployed in the United States, could be used in Singapore to detect the warning signs of terrorism. It was a matter of some urgency. Just 10 days earlier, terrorists had bombed a nightclub, a bar, and the U.S. consular office on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people and raising the specter of Islamist terrorism in Southeast Asia.


Ho returned home inspired that Singapore could put a TIA-like system to good use. Four months later he got his chance, when an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) swept through the country, killing 33, dramatically slowing the economy, and shaking the tiny island nation to its core.


Using Poindexter's design, the government soon established the Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning program (RAHS, pronounced "roz") inside a Defense Ministry agency responsible for preventing terrorist attacks and "nonconventional" strikes, such as those using chemical or biological weapons -- an effort to see how Singapore could avoid or better manage "future shocks." Singaporean officials gave speeches and interviews about how they were deploying big data in the service of national defense -- a pitch that jibed perfectly with the country's technophilic culture.


Back in the United States, however, the TIA program had become the subject of enormous controversy. Just a few weeks after Poindexter met with Ho, journalists reported that the Defense Department was funding experimental research on mining massive amounts of Americans' private data. Some members of Congress and privacy and civil liberties advocates called for TIA to be shut down. It was -- but in name only.


In late 2003, a group of U.S. lawmakers more sympathetic to Poindexter's ideas arranged for his experiment to be broken into several discrete programs, all of which were given new, classified code names and placed under the supervision of the National Security Agency (NSA). Unbeknownst to almost all Americans at the time, the NSA was running a highly classified program of its own that actually was collecting Americans' phone and Internet communications records and mining them for connections to terrorists. Elements of that program were described in classified documents disclosed in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, sparking the most significant and contentious debate about security and privacy in America in more than four decades.


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iPhone gets first free app for encrypting voice calls | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com

iPhone gets first free app for encrypting voice calls | Jeremy Kirk | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

An open-source project has released the first free application for the iPhone that scrambles voice calls, which would thwart government surveillance or eavesdropping by hackers.


Signal comes from Open Whisper Systems, which developed RedPhone and TextSecure, both Android applications that encrypt calls and text messages.


The application is compatible with RedPhone and eventually RedPhone and TextSecure will be combined in a single Android application and called Signal as well, according to a blog post.


Signal is notable for two reasons. First, it’s free. There are many voice call encryption products on the market for various platforms, most of which are not cheap and are aimed at enterprise users.


Second, Signal is open source code, meaning developers can look at the code and verify its integrity. That’s important because of concerns that software vendors have been pressured into adding “backdoors” into their products that could assist government surveillance programs.


The beauty of Signal is its simplicity. Setup requires verifying the device’s phone number through a one-time code that is sent by SMS. Signal displays only the contact details of the other user who has it installed.


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Tor hints at possible U.S. government involvement in recent attack | Jon Gold | NetworkWorld.com

Tor hints at possible U.S. government involvement in recent attack | Jon Gold | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Hackers attacked the infrastructure of Tor, the anonymizing service, earlier this month in an incident that may have compromised a number of hidden services, according to an announcement posted today by the Tor Project’s director, Roger Dingledine.


Dingledine said that it’s possible the attack wasn’t carried out with malicious intent, although the effect is harmful in any case, potentially weakening Tor’s encryption and making it more vulnerable to a state actor attempting to compromise it.


“If the attack was a research project, it was deployed in an irresponsible way because it puts users at risk indefinitely into the future,” he said, suggesting that the researchers behind a recently-cancelled talk scheduled for Black Hat 2014 may be behind the attack.


“In fact, we hope they were the ones doing the attacks, since otherwise it means somebody else was,” Dingledine wrote.


The researchers in question are part of a team at Carnegie Mellon University that “works closely with the Department of Homeland Security,” according to a Washington Post report by Andrea Peterson from last week on the cancellation of the Black Hat talk.


Tor operates as a large-scale proxy network, encrypting and routing web communications through a series of randomized hosts around the world to protect the identities of users and obfuscate their activities from surveillance. Tor also provides the option of so-called hidden services, which uses servers configured to only accept incoming connections from the Tor network, allowing for secure email and the like.


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Megadrought: Huge Surge of Pacific Heat Fails to Start El Nino, Heats Planet to 3 Warmest Months | DailyKos.com

Megadrought: Huge Surge of Pacific Heat Fails to Start El Nino, Heats Planet to 3 Warmest Months | DailyKos.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Chances of a western north America megadrought of an intensity not seen since before the arrival of European explorers just went up. The largest surge of heat ever recorded moving west to east in the Pacific ocean along the equator just dissipated heating the planet to the warmest 3 months in history, but failing to produce an El Nino. Strong El Nino events intensify the jet stream across the Pacific, bringing rain to California and the southwestern U.S. Although a number of climate models still predict an El Nino, the chance of a drought breaking strong El Nino has gone way down with the passing of this huge Kelvin wave.


One hundred percent of California is in severe or worse drought. The failure of this Kelvin wave to trigger a strong El Nino means that there is no end in sight to this drought. The liklihood of drought worsening across the southwestern U.S. has gone up because a strong El Nino would likely bring rains from California to Texas. Instead of a warm tropical Pacific  pulling the jet stream down, warm water in the subtropics and temperate zones has pushed north in the northern hemisphere. This movement of heat will tend to move the jet stream poleward, leaving California and the southwest in drought.


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AZ: APS wants to put free solar panels on 3,000 homes | AZCentral.com

AZ: APS wants to put free solar panels on 3,000 homes | AZCentral.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Arizona Public Service Co. wants to put free solar panels on 3,000 homes to help meet state targets for alternative-energy use and to satisfy customer demand from people who can't afford to buy or lease the power systems.


If the plan is approved by regulators, the customers would get a monthly $30 credit on their electricity bills for 20 years in exchange for allowing APS to put solar panels on their roofs.


"This is an effort to reassure our customers that this is not the staid, old, stodgy utility company," said Daniel Froetscher, senior vice president of transmission, distribution and customers. "Instead, we like to think of ourselves as somewhat creative, entrepreneurial and forward thinking."


The deal would give participating customers $7,200 each, but APS officials said the program would benefit all customers by strategically bolstering the grid. The power generated by the panels will flow to the grid, rather than providing power to the homes they are installed on.

The deal would be open to renters with consent of the property owner and not require any money down or credit check.


APS will evaluate homes of interested customers to ensure roofs are sturdy enough for panels (no clay tiles) and that the home is aligned to capture enough sunlight.


The amount of power APS would add through the program, 20 megawatts, would generate more solar output than the total production of a majority of states, including Utah, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. One megawatt is enough capacity to power about 250 homes at once, when the sun is shining on a solar plant.


State regulators require APS and other regulated utilities to get increasing amounts of power from renewable sources until 2025, when 15 percent of their electricity must be from renewable power.


Previously, the regulators at the Arizona Corporation Commission gave APS permission to build 200 megawatts of capacity through its own solar-power plants in a program called AZ Sun.


But APS has been exceeding the incremental goals for renewable energy, so in December, regulators ordered APS to hold off on building the last 30 megawatts approved in the program.


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EPA Criticized for Weak Oversight of Drillers' Toxic-Waste Disposal Wells | ScientificAmerican.com

EPA Criticized for Weak Oversight of Drillers' Toxic-Waste Disposal Wells | ScientificAmerican.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Federal environment officials have failed to adequately oversee hundreds of thousands of wells used to inject toxic oil and gas drilling waste deep underground, according to a new congressional report.


The report, released Monday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is critical of the Environmental Protection Agency's inconsistent handling of safety inspections, poor record keeping, and failure to adjust its guidelines to adapt to new risks brought by the recent boom in domestic drilling, including the understanding that injection wells are causing earthquakes.


The EPA generally agreed with the GAO's findings and characterization of the challenges the agency is currently facing.


Concerns have mounted recently about potential water contamination from injections wells. California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review of more than 100 others, out of fears that fracking fluids and other toxic waste are reaching drinking water aquifers there. Earthquakes from Ohio to Oklahoma to Texas have also been blamed on injection wells governed by the EPA's program.


The GAO's findings echo those in a 2012 ProPublica investigation which found that the nation's injection wells were often poorly regulated and experienced high rates of failure, likely leading to pollution of underground water supplies. ProPublica's investigation found that the EPA did not know exactly how many wells existed in the United States or what volume of waste was being injected into them, and that it did not possess complete records required to be collected under the Safe Drinking Water Act.


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Hacker group targets video game companies to steal source code | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com

Hacker group targets video game companies to steal source code | Lucian Constantin | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A group of attackers with links to the Chinese hacking underground has been targeting companies from the entertainment and video game industries for years with the goal of stealing source code.


The stolen intellectual property is used to “crack” games so they can be used for free, to create game cheating tools or to develop competing products, security researchers from Dell SecureWorks said in an analysis of the group’s activities.


Dell SecureWorks tracks the hacker group as Threat Group-3279 (TG-3279) and believes it has been active since at least 2009.


Information gathered by the company’s researchers while investigating compromises at affected firms suggests that the attack group uses a variety of tools for reconnaissance and persistent access on systems, some of which were developed by members of the group. These tools include an extensible remote access Trojan (RAT) program called Conpee and a rootkit called Etso for hiding network and file activity.


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UK: Hydropower illuminates a piece of history | Climate News Network

UK: Hydropower illuminates a piece of history | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Hydropower is making its return to one of the UK’s grand houses, which almost 140 years ago pioneered the use of water to provide electricity.


A modern version of an ancient device, the Archimedes screw, has been installed at the Cragside mansion, in north-east England, to harness the power of a stream in the grounds and provide lighting for the house − which in 1878 became the first in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity, provided by a turbine.


The new system, a galvanised turbine 17 metres long, will produce enough energy to light the 350 bulbs in Cragside, although not enough to power its computers, freezers, fridges and heaters. It will generate about 12kw of electricity − enough, over a year, to provide the property with around 10% of its electricity.


Cragside was built by the 19th-century inventor and innovator, Lord Armstrong, who used the lakes on his land to generate hydroelectricity. It is now in the care of the National Trust, the charity responsible for conserving historic houses and countryside across England, Wales and Northern Ireland (a separate body does the work in Scotland).


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Free, France’s T-Mobile, Wants To Acquire T-Mobile For $15 Billion | TechCrunch.com

Free, France’s T-Mobile, Wants To Acquire T-Mobile For $15 Billion | TechCrunch.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

France’s disruptive telecom company Free just announced that it wanted to acquire T-Mobile US. The WSJ first broke the story. Free then confirmed the bid in a press release.


Free (also known as Iliad) offers $15 billion in cash for 56.6 percent of the American company at $33 per share. Overall, Free says that it values T-Mobile at a 42 percent premium compared to T-Mobile’s share price of $25.4 before rumors of a Sprint acquisition started making the rounds. Shares opened at $31.02 before rumors of Free’s bid surfaced.


This deal makes a lot of sense as T-Mobile is very reminiscent of Free’s strategy. In fact, T-Mobile’s uncarrier campaign could be inspired by its French counterpart.


Now, T-Mobile investors can expect a bidding war between Sprint and Free. Many were concerned that a Sprint acquistion would create antitrust issues. The Department of Justice already blocked AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile, so it could happen again.


As Free doesn’t operate in the U.S., it doesn’t have a problem on this front. But Free is an even smaller company than T-Mobile.


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Hong Kong: SmarTone enters FTTH market | TeleGeography.com

Hong Kong cellco SmarTone has launched fixed broadband packages based on fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology for residential and office users under the ‘ST Fibre Broadband’ banner, offering symmetrical connection speed options of 200Mbps, 500Mbps and 1Gbps, TelecomAsia reports.


Each package also allows Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity via third parties, with SmarTone aiming to support over 11,000 hotspots within three months, whilst ST Fibre Broadband can be bundled with SmarTone’s mobile services at a discounted price.


SmarTone’s CEO Douglas Li said: ‘To improve the economics of our business, and to better meet customers’ rising expectations on broadband performance, we’re now re-entering the fixed broadband market with FTTH,’ and also claimed that ‘as the newest entrant to the market, we are the only fixed broadband provider with a 100% fibre broadband to the home, utilising GPON technology.’


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South Africa: City of Tshwane positions itself as major player in free Wi-Fi stakes | TeleGeography.com

The South African city of Tshwane aims to become the largest provider of free Wi-Fi services in the country, after executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa announced the launch of the second phase of the city’s Wi-Fi rollout, BusinessTech reports.


Under the ZAR150 million (USD14.14 million) project, which is being implemented in partnership with non-profit movement Isizwe, the city government will deploy 600 additional Wi-Fi hotspots, which will support a combined capacity of one million users.


Alongside Tshwane’s public spaces, connectivity will also be extended to 213 schools in Soshanguve, Mamelodi and Atteridgeville over the course of the next 18 months.


The local government plans to deploy hotspots in five locations by end-November: TUT Soshanguve Campus, University of Pretoria Hatfield Campus, Tshwane North College, Mamelodi Community Centre and Church Square in the Pretoria CBD.

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Oil refinery threatened by sea-level rise, asks government to fix problem | Ben Adler | Grist.org

Oil refinery threatened by sea-level rise, asks government to fix problem | Ben Adler | Grist.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

I pointed out last week that the major oil companies are actually much more willing than Republican politicians to admit the reality of climate change. I offered a few explanations as to why, but left out an important one: If you’re in business, you simply cannot afford to ignore the effects of climate change.


The oil industry in particular builds expensive infrastructure, and its scientists and engineers use the best available science to design, situate, and manage that infrastructure. After all, you cannot make smart plans to exploit newly accessible Arctic oil if you don’t admit that the polar ice cap is melting.


Here’s an ironic case in point, via the Sierra Club’s blog: An oil refinery in Delaware is asking taxpayers to pay for protecting it from rising sea levels. The refinery is on the waterfront, and rising tides and extreme storms could threaten it.


The federal Coastal Zone Management Act provides grants to states for projects such as building out natural barriers, like dunes, to protect against storm surges. Delaware has such a program in place. And now the oil refinery, after contributing to climate change for more than 50 years , is coming with its hand out. Amy Roe, conservation chair of the Sierra Club’s Delaware chapter, writes:


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Austria: RTR to permit cellcos to refarm 2G frequencies for 3G, 4G | TeleGeography.com

At a meeting held on 28 July, Austria’s Rundfunk & Telekom Regulierungs (RTR or Regulatory Authority for Telecoms and Broadcasting), approved plans for the country’s three wireless operators – A1 Telekom Austria, T-Mobile Austria and Hutchison Drei Austria – to refarm their existing spectrum in the GSM range (900MHz/1800MHz) for 3G and 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) use.


RTR CEO Johannes Gungl commented: ‘All three mobile operators will benefit from the liberalisation of the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands. Due to this reclassification they can use a significantly larger proportion of their existing spectrum for the provision of broadband services via UMTS and LTE. The usable [proportion] of broadband wireless spectrum will increase from 59% to almost 90%’.

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Countries don't own their Internet domains, ICANN says | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com

Countries don't own their Internet domains, ICANN says | Stephen Lawson | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Internet domain name for a country doesn’t belong to that country—nor to anyone, according to ICANN.


Plaintiffs who successfully sued Iran, Syria and North Korea as sponsors of terrorism want to seize the three countries’ ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) as part of financial judgments against them. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the Internet, says they can’t do that because ccTLDs aren’t even property.


After the plaintiffs filed papers to ICANN seeking the handover of the domains, the organization said it sympathized with their underlying claims but filed a motion on Tuesday to quash the attempted seizure.


A ccTLD is the two-letter code at the end of a country-specific Internet address, such as .us for the U.S. or .cn for China. There are more than 280 of them, all of which need to have managers, administrative contacts and technical contacts who live in the countries they represent. The domains in this case are .ir for Iran and .sy for Syria, plus Arabic script equivalents for each, and .kp for North Korea.


But the domains aren’t property and don’t belong to the countries they point to, ICANN said. Instead, they’re more like postal codes, “simply the provision of routing and administrative services for the domain names registered within that ccTLD,” which are what let users go to websites and send to email addresses under those domains, ICANN wrote. If ICANN stepped in and reassigned the domains on its own, that would disrupt everyone who uses a domain name that ends in those codes, including individuals, businesses and charitable organizations, the group said.


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BlackBerry buying German firm for voice encryption | John Cox | NetworkWorld.com

BlackBerry buying German firm for voice encryption | John Cox | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

BlackBerry has always touted its mobile devices as secure. But now it plans to make them “more secure” by acquiring a German company that specializes in voice encryption.


BlackBerry will acquire Secusmart GmbH, which offers encryption systems to scramble voice calls, and also data communications. The company was silent about the details of the transaction, except to say it hinges on regulatory approvals.


The company also announced a plan to automatically scan Android apps selected for download by BlackBerry smartphone users. BlackBerry Guardian already combines automated and manual app analysis with Trend Micro’s Mobile App Reputation Service, and continuously monitors apps in the BlackBerry World online store.


Starting with the release later this year of the square-shaped BlackBerry Passport “phablet,” Guardian will autoscan any Android app that the device downloads from any source. Suspicious apps are flagged, and the user can cancel the installation or go forward with it. 


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'Right to be forgotten' ruling is unworkable and misguided, UK Lords say | Loek Essers | NetworkWorld.com

'Right to be forgotten' ruling is unworkable and misguided, UK Lords say | Loek Essers | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The EU court ruling that gives people the “right to be forgotten” by search engines is misguided in principle and unworkable in practice, said a U.K. House of Lords subcommittee Wednesday.


A May ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) gave EU citizens the right to compel search engines to remove results in Europe for queries that include a person’s name, if the results are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive.”


Since the ruling, Google has received over 91,000 take-down requests concerning 328,000 links to Web addresses.


In a report that blasted the court ruling, the House of Lords EU Home Affairs, Health and Education subcommittee advised the U.K. government to fight to ensure that the EU data protection regulations currently being reformed will not include any provision on the “right to be forgotten” or “right to erasure,” in a report that blasted the court ruling.


The Lords heard evidence from data protection experts, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Minister for Justice and Civil Liberties, and Google. The sub-committee also noted that the ruling was based on the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive, three years before Google was founded.


“Neither the 1995 Directive, nor the CJEU’s interpretation of it, reflects the incredible advance in technology that we see today,” said Usha Prashar, the subcommittee chairman, in a statement accompanying the report.


The ruling did not take into account the effect on smaller search engines that, unlike Google, are unlikely to have the resources to process the thousands of removal requests they are likely to receive, she said.


“It is also wrong in principle to leave search engines themselves the task of deciding whether to delete information or not, based on vague, ambiguous and unhelpful criteria. We heard from witnesses how uncomfortable they are with the idea of a commercial company sitting in judgment on issues like that,” Prashar said.


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Alaska fisheries and communities at risk from ocean acidification | PHYS.org

Alaska fisheries and communities at risk from ocean acidification | PHYS.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Ocean acidification is driving changes in waters vital to Alaska's valuable commercial fisheries and subsistence way of life, according to new NOAA-led research that will be published online in Progress in Oceanography.


Many of Alaska's nutritionally and economically valuable marine fisheries are located in waters that are already experiencing ocean acidification, and will see more in the near future, the study shows. Communities in southeast and southwest Alaska face the highest risk from ocean acidification because they rely heavily on fisheries that are expected to be most affected by ocean acidification, and have underlying factors that make those communities more vulnerable, such as lower incomes and fewer employment opportunities.


The term "ocean acidification" describes the process of ocean water becoming more acidic as a result of absorbing nearly a third of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from human sources. This change in ocean chemistry is affecting marine life, particularly the ability of shellfish, corals and small creatures in the early stages of the food chain to build skeletons or shells.


Studies show that red king crab and tanner crab, two important Alaskan fisheries, grow more slowly and don't survive as well in more acidic waters. Alaska's coastal waters are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification because of cold water that can absorb more carbon dioxide, and unique ocean circulation patterns which bring naturally acidic deep ocean waters to the surface.


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Gulf Stream gold: Mining green energy from Atlantic currents | Al Jazeera America

Gulf Stream gold: Mining green energy from Atlantic currents | Al Jazeera America | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The Gulf Stream meanders clockwise from the Gulf of Mexico, past the mid-Atlantic coast toward Europe. It is one of the most powerful currents in the world, and it is full of life.


Many species of pelagic fish, endangered marine turtles and other marine organisms roam the relentless conveyor belt of warm blue water unhindered, flowing beyond the shores of Florida. Their travels were relatively unhindered — until now.


Landbound humanity is hoping to capitalize on the Gulf Stream’s fast-flowing waters, eyeing them as a potential source of endless power and a possible solution to Florida’s energy needs. A pilot project to test a variety of electricity-generating turbines right in the middle of the Gulf Stream has been given the go-ahead in the form of a five-year lease to Florida Atlantic University (FAU). The lease covers 1,000 acres right in the flow of the current.


The environmental upside is obvious. It is believed the Gulf Stream has the potential energy — from a clean and renewable source — to supply Florida with 35 percent of its electrical needs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).


However, there is also concern that there might be an ecological downside.


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