Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Net Neutrality: Obama Observes the Obvious

November 11, 2014

Net Neutrality: Obama Observes the Obvious

The USA, which invented the Internet, is 43rd in world Internet speed, behind Estonia. High-speed broadband access costs three times as much in the US as in the UK and France, more than five times as much as in South Korea. There are only a few broadband providers in the US, and 30% of Americans can only choose one due to monopoly local access rules. So naturally, instead of upgrading their networks to world standards, American Internet Service Providers plan to selectively slow down Web access unless customers cough up even more dough.

The FCC has been considering allowing the “Internet Fast Lanes” and opened proposed regs for public comment. 4 million outraged citizens told them to shove it.

President Obama has reasonably observed that Web access is a basic utility today and should be regulated like a utility. Naturally Comcast, VerizonTime Warner Cable, and AT&T are foaming at the mouth. They argue that regulation would stifle innovation, as if their strong-arm tactics haven’t clearly done that already (see “Estonia,” above). Republicans are raging against the Net Neutrality proposal, partly because big corporations fund campaigns but mostly because Obama is for it. But the FCC is an independent agency, theoretically insulated from presidential and congressional pressure, but a few protesters sat at the foot of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s driveway, blocking his car, so he’d have a better understanding of bandwidth throttling.

More:

“President Obama Urges FCC to Implement Stronger Net Neutrality Rules,” Ezra Mechaber, White House Blog

“Obama’s big net neutrality announcement, explained,” Timothy B. Lee, Vox

“Tim Wu says Obama’s net neutrality plan is ‘bold, courageous, and just obvious,’” Nilay Patel, The Verge

“Ted Cruz’s Net Neutrality Take Isn’t Just Dumb, It’s Dangerous,” Kate Knibbs, Gizmodo

“The legal arguments against a leading net neutrality proposal are weak,” Timothy B. Lee, Vox

Obama to the FCC: Adopt ‘the strongest possible rules’ on net neutrality, including Title II,” Brian Fung , Washington Post

“President Obama urges FCC to ban paid internet ‘fast lanes,’” Anne Flaherty, AP via PBS

“Obama calls for more regulation of Internet providers, industry fires back,” Fox News

“Obama’s Net Neutrality Push,” Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly

“Obama’s Plan to Save the Internet,” Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo

“Barack Obama’s support for net neutrality sets precedent for the rest of the world,” Alex Hern, The Guardian

“The FCC Fires Back At the President’s Net Neutrality Plan,” Alex Wilhelm, TechCrunch

“Obama’s Net Neutrality Statement Will Start a War on K Street,” John B. Judis, The New Republic

“Why the Public Utility Model Is the Wrong Approach for Internet Regulation,” Larry Downes, Harvard Business Review

“By Backing Net Neutrality, Obama Delivers Blow to Corporate Giveaways,” Rebecca Leber, The New Republic

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Putin May Be Planning to Shut Off the Internet

September 25, 2014

Putin May Be Planning to Shut Off the Internet

“The Kremlin is considering radical plans to unplug Russia from the global internet in the event of a serious military confrontation or big anti-government protests at home, Russian officials hinted on Friday.

President Vladimir Putin will convene a meeting of his security council on Monday. It will discuss what steps Moscow might take to disconnect Russian citizens from the web “in an emergency”, the Vedomosti newspaper reported. The goal would be to strengthen Russia’s sovereignty in cyberspace. The proposals could also bring the domain .ru under state control, it suggested.”

– “Putin considers plan to unplug Russia from the internet ‘in an emergency,’” Luke Harding, The Guardian

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Internet fast lanes: ‘It’s bribery.’

September 22, 2014

Internet fast lanes: ‘It’s bribery.’

 

Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in 1989, recently spoke with the Washington Post‘s Brian Fung about proposed FCC rule changes that would allow Internet Service Providers to charge content companies for higher speed access to consumers, so-called “fast lanes.”

 “If businesses are to move here and start here rather than start in Europe or Brazil or Australia — they’re going to look around and make sure, ‘Oh, does the power stay up?’ And they’ll look for other things. ‘Is the Internet open?’ Will they have to effectively bribe their ISPs to start a new service? That’s what it looks like from the outside. It’s bribery.”

– “World Wide Web inventor slams Internet fast lanes: ‘It’s bribery.’” Brian Fung, Washington Post

Related:

“We Can Win the Fight for an Open Internet — If We Keep up the Pressure,” Michael Copps, Moyers & Company

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Coffee Cups

August 10, 2014

Coffee Cups

Take-out coffee cups. We’re partial to the 1963 New York diner classic designed by Leslie Buck (above), but there are others. Now there’s a blog that explores them in photos, Coffee Cups of the World. It’s curated by Henry Hargreaves. If you think he’s missing any you can submit them.

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Sarah Palin Launches TV Network

July 28, 2014

Sarah Palin Launches TV Network

Sarah Palin, former Miss Wasilla, once part-time Temp-Governor of Alaska, losing GOP Vice Presidential candidate and failed Fox News commentator, is launching her own on-line TV network, the Sarah Palin Channel. Run on free-market principles, it’ll cost you $9.95 a month or $99.95 a year. A comment on Gawker suggests you go monthly, since Palin will probably quit after 6 months, like she did as Governor of Alaska.

More:

“Sarah Palin Launches Her Own Channel Online,” Todd Spangler, Variety

“Sarah Palin begins her own online channel,” Catalina Camia, USA Today

“Sarah Palin Launches Subscription-Based Online Video Channel,” Andrew Kirell, Mediaite

“Millions Pay for Rare Opportunity to Hear Sarah Palin Speak,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

(more…)

Free College for the Rich

December 7, 2013

Free College for the Rich

“Most people taking free online courses worldwide are among the best-educated and wealthiest of the population, casting doubt on the idea that the classes will benefit the disenfranchised, a survey showed.

More than half of those taking massive open online courses, or MOOCs, were men and the majority were already employed, according to Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the authors of the correspondence piece in today’s journal Nature.”

– “Survey: Rich kids reap benefits of online courses,” Nicole Ostrow, Bloomberg via Salon [link added]

(more…)

The Stalker Economy

December 4, 2013

The Stalker Economy

“Surveillance is the business model of the Internet ….”

– “‘Stalker economy’ here to stay,” Bruce Schneier, CNN

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Health Care Website Gets a Second Opinion

October 25, 2013

Health Care Website Gets a Second Opinion

In a generous effort to help beleaguered Republicans regain face, President Obama handed them a punchline. He’s having the Obamacare website fixed by the guy who overhauled Cash for Clunkers.

 More:

“Who is Jeffrey Zients, and how is he qualified to fix HealthCare.gov?” Josh Hicks, Washington Post blog

“Meet Jeff Zients: The Man Charged With Fixing Obamacare’s Broken Site,” Abby D. Phillip, ABC News

Who is Jeffrey Zients? Ask his mom,” Jayne O’Donnell, USA Today

Related:

“Could Obama’s Campaign Tech Gurus Fix Healthcare.gov? Let’s Ask ‘Em!” Tim Murphy, Mother Jones

“Here’s the Obama administration’s plan to fix HealthCare.gov,” Sarah Kliff, Washington Post blog

“QSSI, contractor chosen to fix HealthCare.gov, faced questions from lawmakers last year,” Jia Lynn Yang, Washiongton Post

“Why We Need a Healthcare.gov Witch Hunt,”  John Dickerson, Slate

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Image (“ACA Website Fix, after Andreas Vesalius”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Instagram Gun Deals

October 23, 2013

Instagram Gun Deals

Firearms enthusiasts like shooting snapshots of their guns almost as much as shooting the guns themselves. And a cell phone photo is worth a thousand tweets … and a thousand bucks to an illegal gun dealer. Brian Ries explains:

“Users of Instagram, which has no explicit policy prohibiting the sale of firearms, can easily find a chrome-plated antique Colt, a custom MK12-inspired AR-15 tricked-out with ‘all best of the best parts possible,’ and an HK416D .22LR rifle by simply combining terms like #rifle or #ar15 with #forsale. These are handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, and everything in between being sold in an open, pseudo-anonymous online marketplace. With no federal law banning online sales and differing, loophole-ridden state laws, many gun control advocates are concerned about the public safety consequences of this unregulated market.”

(more…)

Stop Spying!

October 21, 2013

Stop Spying!
More than 570,000 people have signed the StopWatching.Us petition demanding that Congress probe the NSA’s Internet spying programs and reform the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA< Amendments Act that allow it.

StopWatching.Us is broad bipartisan coalition of organizations including the ACLU, American Library Association,  the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Freedom Works, the Libertarian Party, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, MoveOn.org, Mozilla, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, PEN American Center, RootsAction.org, Women in Media & News, World Wide Web Foundation, Writers Guild of America West, and many others. They’re all gathering in Washington DC on Saturday, October 26th to protest against mass surveillance. Participants will gather at Columbus Circle in front of Union Station at Noon and march to the Capitol Reflecting Pool. More here.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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