Saturday, August 01, 2015

Aug. 1, 1918:: Pres. Woodrow Wilson Nationalizes All Telephone and Telegraph Networks

It's 1918.  The United States, under the command of Gen. John Black-Jack Pershing, had entered World War I.  At home, the Postmaster General had long agitated that the telephone and telegraph services should be placed under his authority, and saw an opportunity.  Meanwhile, in the Spring of 1918, communications unions threaten to strike.  On July 16, Congress passed a resolution calling on the President to nationalize the telegraph and telephone services, and eight days later the President signed the proclamation placing telegraph and telephone systems under government control.

This action was rationalized by the departure of so much of the work force to Europe to fight the war, concern over the deterioration of the service, and fear of spies. The USG agreed, during hostilities, to assume responsibility for AT&T's debt and maintain AT&T's historic shareholder dividend. AT&T's management would remain in place and continued operational control of the company. 

USG control of the telephone services went, according to reports, poorly.  The Postmaster quickly realized the complexity of the electronic communications network.  In order to maintain the operations of the network, the Postmaster raises telephone rates, something AT&T had been repeatedly sought and been denied before state commissions. One year later, after the cessation of hostilities, control of the telegraph and telephone networks were promptly returned to private hands.
By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation
July 22, 1918 

Whereas, the Congress of the United States, in the exercise of the constitutional authority vested in them, by joint resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives, bearing date July 16, 1918, resolved:
That the President, during the continuance of the present war, is authorized and empowered, whenever he shall deem it necessary for the national security or defense, to supervise or to take possession and assume control of any telegraph, telephone, marine cable, or radio system or systems, or any part thereof, and to operate the same in such manner as may be needful or desirable for the duration of the war, which supervision, possession, control, or operation shall not extend beyond the date of the proclamation by the President of the exchange of ratifications of the treaty of peace: Provided, that just compensation shall be made for such supervision, possession, control, or operation, to be determined by the President: and if the amount thereof, so determined by the President, is unsatisfactory to the person entitled to receive the same, such person shall be paid 75 per centum of the amount so determined by the President and shall be entitled to sue the United States to recover such further sum as, added to said 75 per centum, will make up such amount as will be just compensation therefor, in the manner provided for by Section 24, Paragraph 20, and Section 145 of the Judicial Code: Provided, further, that nothing in this Act shall be construed to amend, repeal, impair, or affect existing laws or powers of the States in relation to taxation or the lawful police regulations of the several States except wherein such laws, powers or regulations may affect the transmission of Government communications or the issue of stocks and bonds by such system or systems.
And, whereas, It is deemed necessary for the national security and defense to supervise and to take possession and assume control of all telegraph and telephone systems and to operate the same in such manner as may be needful or desirable:
Now, therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, under and by virtue of the powers vested in me by the foregoing resolution, and by virtue of all other powers thereto me enabling, do hereby take possession and assume control and supervision of each and every telegraph and telephone system, and every part thereof, within the Jurisdiction of the United States, including all equipment thereof and appurtenances thereto whatsoever and all materials and supplies.
It is hereby directed that the supervision, possession, and control and operation of such telegraph and telephone systems hereby by me undertaken shall be exercised by and through the Postmaster General, Albert S. Burleson. Said Postmaster General may perform the duties hereby and hereunder imposed upon him, so long and to such extent and in such manner as he shall determine, through the owners, managers, board of directors, receivers, officers, and employees of said telegraph and telephone systems.
Until and except so far as said Postmaster General shall from time to time by general or special orders otherwise provide, the owners, managers, board of directors, receivers, officers and employees of the various telegraph and telephone systems shall continue the operation thereof in the usual and ordinary course of business of said systems, in the names of their respective companies, associations, organizations, owners, or managers, as the case may be.
Regular dividends hitherto declared, and maturing interest upon bonds, debentures, and other obligations may be paid in due course; and such regular dividends and interest may continue to be paid until and unless the said Postmaster General shall, from time to time, otherwise by general or special orders determine, and subject to the approval of said Postmaster General, the various telegraph and telephone systems may determine upon and arrange for the renewal and extension of maturing obligations.
By subsequent order of said Postmaster General supervision, possession, control or operation, may be relinquished in whole or in part to the owners thereof of any telegraph or telephone system or any part thereof supervision, possession, control or operation of which is hereby assumed or which may be subsequently assumed in whole or in part hereunder.
From and after 12 o'clock midnight on the 31st day of July 1918, all telegraph and telephone systems included in this order and proclamation shall conclusively be deemed within the possession and control and under the supervision of said Postmaster General without further act or notice.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done by the President, in the District of Columbia, this 22d day of July, in the year of our Lord 1918, and of the independence of the United States the 143d.
Woodrow Wilson

Thursday, July 30, 2015

CT :: FTC Announces Workshop to Examine Online Lead Generation

Lead generators identify or cultivate consumer interest in a product or service, and sell the consumer “lead” information to third parties. For example, as consumers search the Internet for goods and services, they may express interest in specific topics, such as educational programs, mortgages, or small-dollar loans, and submit their personal information to the lead generator. The consumer leads sometimes contain sensitive personal and financial information that may travel through multiple online marketing entities before reaching the desired business.
The workshop, “Follow the Lead: An FTC Workshop About Online Lead Generation,” will gather a variety of stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer advocates, and government regulators, to discuss consumer protection issues raised by the practices of the lead generation industry, such as:
  • How online lead generation works and its variations, depending on the industry,
  • What types of lead generation conduct may be unlawful under the FTC Act’s prohibition against unfair or deceptive practices,
  • Best practices for entities that generate and sell consumer leads, and
  • How consumers can avoid unlawful conduct in the online marketplace.
The FTC is seeking research, recommendations for discussion topics, and requests for panelists in advance of the workshop. Please email any relevant information to sends e-mail) by August 25, 2015. The deadline to submit public comments about the workshop is December 20, 2015. Comments can be submitted electronically.
The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW. The FTC will publish a detailed agenda at a later date. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests should be submitted to Fawn Bouchard at sends e-mail) or 202-326-2743. Requests should be made in advance and include a detailed description of the accommodations needed and contact information.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Once Hacked, The Risk That Customer's Personal Data Will Be Misued is Immediate and Real

"Sometime in 2013, hackers attacked Neiman Marcus, a luxury department store, and stole the credit card numbers of its customers. In December 2013, the company learned that some of its customers had found fraudulent charges on their cards. On January 10, 2014, it announced to the public that the cyberattack had occurred and that between July 16, 2013, and October 30, 2013, approximately 350,000 cards had been exposed to the hackers' malware. In the wake of those disclosures, several customers..."
filed a class action lawsuit.  

In order to have standing, a plaintiff must be harmed.  But how speculative can the harms be?
What about the class members who contend that unreimbursed fraudulent charges and identity theft may happen in the future, and that these injuries are likely enough that immediate preventive measures are necessary? 
Neiman Marcus contends that this is too speculative to serve as injury-in-fact. It argues that all of the plaintiffs would be reimbursed for fraudulent charges because (it asserts) that is the common practice of major credit card companies.
In other words, sorry that your identity got stolen, and that you "must spend time and money replacing cards and monitoring their credit score."  And sorry that "that full reimbursement is not guaranteed."  According to Neiman Marcus, this harm is too speculative and thus plaintiffs lack standing.

A substantial risk of future injuries is sufficient to establish harm for purposes of standing, according to the 7th Circuit.  "The risk that Plaintiffs' personal data will be misused by the hackers who breached [defendant's] network is immediate and very real." "Neiman Marcus customers should not have to wait until hackers commit identity theft or credit-card fraud in order to give the class standing, because there is an "objectively reasonable likelihood" that such an injury will occur."

The 7th Circuit affirmed the standing of the plaintiffs, and the class action can proceed.  REMIJAS v. NEIMAN MARCUS GROUP, LLC, Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit 2015

Win one for the victims.  We have seen the story played out over and over in the media; corporation or government plays fast and loose with its security; personal data gets stolen; and the victims who had no control over the security in the first place bared the blame and the cost.  The liability for data breaches needs to be placed on the party that can prevent those data breaches, the one who collected and held the data in the first place.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Two Internet of Things Videos: In the one corner, Distopia ~ and in the other, Consumer Utopia

For extra credit, drinking game for every time you hear the phrase "Labor arbitrage."

NIST RFC :: Trusted Geolocation in the Cloud

July 15, 2015
NIST IR 7904
DRAFT (Second Draft) Trusted Geolocation in the Cloud: Proof of Concept Implementation
NIST announces the second public comment release of Interagency Report (IR) 7904, Trusted Geolocation in the Cloud: Proof of Concept Implementation. This report describes a proof of concept implementation that was designed by NIST to address challenges with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud technologies and geolocation. Since the initial public comment release, NIST IR 7904 has been extensively updated to reflect advances and changes in the proof of concept implementation technologies.

Please submit comments by August 24, 2015 to, with "IR 7904 Comments" in the subject line.
Second Draft NISTIR 7904 (2.7 MB)
Comment Template Form for NISTIR 7904

Friday, July 10, 2015

Bit :: Twenty-Fourth Quarterly Status Report to Congress Regarding BTOP


Twenty-Fourth Quarterly Status Report to Congress Regarding BTOP

July 10, 2015
Pursuant to Section 6001(d)(4) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA or Recovery Act) (Public Law No. 111-5), NTIA provides this Quarterly Report on the status of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. This Report focuses on the Program’s activities from October 1 to December 31, 2014.

Bit :: Testimony of Assistant Secretary Strickling on “Internet Governance Progress After ICANN 53”

Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Eshoo, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to testify on behalf of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regarding NTIA’s role in the Internet’s domain name system (DNS) and the transition of NTIA’s stewardship over certain DNS technical functions.  I am pleased to appear before you to update you on the current status of the transition planning process as Internet stakeholders work to develop a proposal that will ensure the stability, security, and openness of the Internet.


1962 :: Telstra I lauched

Wikipedia: "Telstar is the name of various communications satellites. The first two Telstar satellites were experimental and nearly identical. Telstar 1 was launched on top of a Thor-Delta rocket on July 10, 1962. It successfully relayed through space the first television pictures, telephone calls, faximages and provided the first live transatlantic television feed. Telstar 2 was launched May 7, 1963. Telstar 1 and 2, though no longer functional, are still in orbit as of October 2013"

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

RecordOfSuccess Grows with DOTCOM Approval

RecordOfSuccess Grows with DOTCOM Approval (House Commerce Committee)

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today approved H.R. 805, the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act, bipartisan legislation authored by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL). The DOTCOM Act aims to protect the future of the Internet by ensuring that Congressional oversight of the administration’s transition of the Domain Name System to the global Internet community.
“By advancing the DOTCOM Act, we are ensuring that the Internet - the world’s greatest platform of ideas, commerce, and social connection - continues to thrive to the benefit of folks in Michigan and every corner of the country,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Once again, our committee’s efforts demonstrate that Congress can work together to achieve meaningful results and build a bipartisan record of success.”
“We have a responsibility to see that the IANA transition is done right, and the DOTCOM Act will help to ensure that it is. This legislation reaffirms our commitment to a transition that protects a free and open Internet with appropriate oversight of NTIA,” added full committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ). “The DOTCOM Act also shows what we can accomplish when our work is bipartisan from the start. I want to thank Chairmen Upton and Walden and Representative Shimkus for working with us to craft this thoughtful, bipartisan solution. I look forward to continue working with you all and our colleagues in the Senate to see this bill become law.”
“From the time the administration announced their intent to transition the IANA functions from ICANN to the international multi-stakeholder community, the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Communications and Technology Subcommittee have been committed to thorough oversight of any path forward,” added Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “This legislation makes clear that the Administration shall not proceed without first answering to Congress. Our oversight of the transition adds a vital check to this process, and emphasizes that the United States takes this transition seriously.”
“I’ve said time and again that this is far too important to rush and that we must carefully consider all of the potential consequences and outcomes before any transition occurs,” said Shimkus. "We get one bite at the apple on this and we need to make sure it’s done correctly."
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