Sunday, August 12, 2012

8.12 :: Continually Improving :: We're Improving :: Very Very Average :: Actually an Improvement :: Now the Hard Part Begins :: A Nightmare ::

CyberTelecom News  Weekly
Federal Internet Law and Policy :: An Educational Project

“By 1990 75-80 percent of IBM compatible computers will be sold with OS/2." Bill Gates, founder and CEO of Microsoft (January, 1988)

On January 12, 2012, the Commission adopted the IP Closed Captioning Order, which adopted rules governing the closed captioning requirements for the owners, providers, and distributors of video programming delivered using Internet protocol (“IP”), as well as rules governing the closed captioning capabilities of certain apparatus on which consumers view video programming.1 Those rules became effective on April 30, 2012, except for the rules that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”).2 The information collection was submitted to OMB for review under 47 U.S.C. § 3507(d) and was approved by OMB on July 24, 2012.3 The Commission in the IP Closed Captioning Order stated that these rules will become effective after the Commission publishes a notice in the Federal Register announcing OMB approval and the relevant effective date.4 The Commission has published this notice in the Federal Register, announcing an effective date of today, August 6, 2012.5 Accordingly, the rules that required OMB approval took effect on August 6, 2012.

Tests performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) show that a new method for splitting photon beams could overcome a fundamental physical hurdle in transmitting electronic data. These results* could lead to commercial systems that can help safeguard the transfer of sensitive information. The findings confirm that a prototype device developed with collaborators at Stanford University can double the amount of quantum information that can be sent readily through fiber-optic cables, and in theory could lead to an even greater increase in the rate of this type of transmission. Conventional fiber-optic systems, in use for decades, transmit data as a series of light pulses—just a step up from Morse code. Such pulse streams can be intercepted by third parties undetectably. But the photons themselves can carry data, encoded in their quantum states. Because any attempt to intercept that data alters the quantum state, eavesdroppers can always be detected.

U.S. Broadband: Continually Improving, CableTechTalk :: Keyword: [Broadband]
There have been some critical comments recently on the state of U.S. broadband. Some have claimed that there has been little improvement in broadband speeds over the past several years; others question whether there’s a path to next generation capabilities.

The latest quarterly Akamai State of the Internet Report (quick registration required, or see press release) shows that the average U.S. broadband speed was up 29% last quarter. The speed of average U.S. connection now at around 6.7 Mbps, thanks largely to continued deployment of faster DOCSIS 3.0 cable services. Globally the

Charter Communications joined the TV customer defection festivities today with an earnings report that shows the cable operator lost 66,000 video subscribers on the quarter. As with Comcast and Time Warner Cable, those losses were offset by the addition of 29,000 broadband and 6,000 voice subscribers, and the 66,000 was

A Federal Communications Commission-led initiative has launched a program that will allow U.S. organizations to donate used computers to low-income people.

Last Friday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski weighed in on the appropriate spectrum policy for the country and got it absolutely correct. The Chairman made clear he still favors clearing spectrum for auction, where appropriate, while we also explore new sharing ideas that have been developed. He correctly noted that it’s not

Cell phone usage changes, and new research could affect cell phone exposure limits, says a report by the Government Accountability Office.

The FCC issued an order designed to reduce operational costs and facilitate the use of wireless backhaul in rural areas. In particular, the commission will allow the use of smaller antennas in the 6, 18, and 23 GHz bands and will permit microwave operators to create higher capacity links by licensing 60 and 80 megahertz channels in

NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) is funding innovative programs across the nation that are working to close the digital divide. And a number of those projects are targeting a group of Americans too often left behind by today's fast-moving technology: seniors. Broadband can improve quality of life for older Americans in many ways. Online videoconferencing technology can allow seniors to see grandchildren who live on the other side of the country. Medical websites can provide easy access to everything from health and wellness tips to information about illness and disease. Telemedicine and remote monitoring can enable elderly patients too frail to travel to consult with doctors at distant hospitals. Social media tools can combat isolation and even serve as a lifeline to the outside world. What’s more, at a time when many Americans are working into their retirement years, Internet job listings and online employment applications – as well as Web-based training programs and classes - can help seniors retool for today’s economy. But not enough older Americans are sharing in the benefits of broadband. NTIA, in collaboration with the Census Bureau, conducts some of the most extensive survey work on broadband adoption trends in the U.S. Our most recent published survey, in October of 2010, found that only 45 percent of U.S. households headed by someone 65 or older had broadband. That compares with 72 percent of households headed by someone ages 45 to 64, and 77 percent of households headed by someone ages 16 to 44. BTOP is helping close this gap. Roughly 20 digital inclusion projects that receive funding through the Recovery Act program provide services targeted at seniors in some capacity

Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leading cloud platform for helping enterprises provide secure, high-performing user experiences on any device, anywhere, today released its First Quarter, 2012 State of the Internet report. Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform™, the report provides insight into key global statistics such as Internet penetration, mobile connection speeds, origins of attack traffic, and global and regional connection speeds.

A detailed look at people living with disability in the U.S. -- their demographic profile, technology status, and use of the internet for health information.

Starting last week there have been a number of sensational headlines about IPv6 user adoption using adjectives and phrases like, "explodes", "skyrocketing" and "conquering the world". Nice to hear for sure but what does that mean to vendors of IPv6 gear or anyone else studying the market?

In the you can’t make this stuff up category: last week the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on “Marketplace Fairness: Leveling the Playing Field for Small Businesses,” but failed to take testimony from a single e-commerce company that opposes the bill. (See “Wait An E-Minute” below.)

Iran plans to move several of its ministries and state agencies offline as a way of protecting them behind a secure computer wall from what it sees as online threats, the Telegraph reported. An Iranian official also said the measure is the first step in the launch of a long-rumored domestic intranet system set to start in 18 months, per the Telegraph.

The intelligence service of Syria's embattled regime is engaging in sophisticated cyber warfare against anti-regime activists. This, say expert observers, is the new reality of modern warfare.

The Internet Society’s Comments on the U.S. Government Development of the “Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement”

Yesterday we noted that government officials were seeking to suppress video and images from the raid on Kim Dotcom's home. As a bunch of folks have been sending in all day, New Zealand's 3NEWS has revealed some of the footage in a video interspersed with video from the courtroom hearings and a tour they did a few months ago of the room in which Dotcom hid. It's interesting to note that, contrary to some reports of law enforcement having to "break in" to a "safe room," the reality turned out to

We sometimes hear people say that BitTorrent as a technology is only good for infringement. We know that's not true, but then people will point to examples of how frequently it's used for infringement. Of course, that's meaningless when you look at both the larger picture and the nature of trends. When new distribution technologies

Twitter creator Jack Dorsey details how his company has had to quickly learn and adapt amidst changing times

A technical outage left millions of Wikipedia users unable to use the site for a brief stretch this morning. Wikimedia said "networking issues" were to blame.

Turner Broadcasting confirmed on Monday that it is acquiring the sports-blogging network Bleacher Report for what some estimate to be about $175 million — a deal that was first reported by All Things Digital — to help the Time Warner unit bulk up its sports coverage. Although it is sometimes seen as a second cousin to its competitor SB 

New figures showed a slight decline in overall pay-TV subscribers, intensifying the debate over whether Netflix and YouTube are causing viewers to disconnect their cable-TV service.

Speaking after a performance of Mike Daisey's one-man Steve Jobs show, Steve Wozniak says he foresees nightmares caused by data stored in remote servers.

The story of the breach of former Gizmodo staffer Mat Honan’s iCloud account took an interesting turn Sunday with news that the attacker was able to call Apple and convince a customer service employee that he was Honan. While hardly the breach of the century, the situation does highlight a couple hard truths about cloud secu

Google Inc. has agreed to pay a record $22.5 million civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it misrepresented to users of Apple Inc.’s Safari Internet browser that it would not place tracking “cookies” or serve targeted ads to those users, violating an earlier privacy settlement between the company and the FTC.
The settlement is part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts make sure companies live up to the privacy promises they make to consumers, and is the largest penalty the agency has ever obtained for a violation of a Commission order.  In addition to the civil penalty, the order also requires Google to disable all the tracking cookies it had said it would not place on consumers’ computers.

“The record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order,” said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC.  “No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.”
Google, the developer of the world’s most popular Internet search engine, generates billions of dollars in revenues annually from selling online advertising services, including the delivery of targeted ads online.  Cookies are small pieces of computer text that are used to collect information from computers and can be used to serve targeted ads to consumers.  By placing a tracking cookie on a user’s computer, an advertising network can collect information about the user’s web-browsing activities and use that information to serve online ads targeted to the user’s interests or for other purposes.
In its complaint, the FTC charged that for several months in 2011 and 2012, Google placed a certain advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network, although Google had previously told these users they would automatically be opted out of such tracking, as a result of the default settings of the Safari browser used in Macs, iPhones and iPads. 
According to the FTC’s complaint, Google specifically told Safari users that because the Safari browser is set by default to block third-party cookies, as long as users do not change their browser settings, this setting “effectively accomplishes the same thing as [opting out of this particular Google advertising tracking cookie].”  In addition, Google represented that it is a member of an industry group called the Network Advertising Initiative, which requires members to adhere to its self-regulatory code of conduct, including disclosure of their data collection and use practices.
Despite these promises, the FTC charged that Google placed advertising tracking cookies on consumers’ computers, in many cases by circumventing the Safari browser’s default cookie-blocking setting.  Google exploited an exception to the browser’s default setting to place a temporary cookie from the DoubleClick domain.  Because of the particular operation of the Safari browser, that initial temporary cookie opened the door to all cookies from the DoubleClick domain, including the Google advertising tracking cookie that Google had represented would be blocked from Safari browsers.
The FTC charged that Google’s misrepresentations violated a settlement it reached with the agency in October 2011, which barred Google from – among other things – misrepresenting the extent to which consumers can exercise control over the collection of their information.  The earlier settlement resolved FTC charges that Google used deceptive tactics and violated its privacy promises when it launched its social network, Google Buzz
More information about the FTC case can be found at the Tech@FTC blog.
Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV today commended the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for taking action on Google's violation of an earlier privacy settlement after the company misled consumers and tracked them online.

Google and the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday announced the company has agreed to a $22.5 million settlement — the agency’s largest penalty ever — on charges that Google misrepresented its actions to users of Apple’s Safari 

It was my honor today to be a panelist at a Hill event on “Apps, Ads, Kids & COPPA: Implications of the FTC’s Additional Proposed Revisions,” which was co-sponsored by the Family Online Safety Institute and the Association for Competitive Technology. It was a free-wheeling discussion, but I prepared some talking points for the event

A California District Court has dismissed with prejudice a class action lawsuit filed against LinkedIn on behalf of its registered users, finding the allegations too speculative to sustain a lawsuit. An earlier Complaint filed by one of the representative Plaintiffs was dismissed by the Court without prejudice, allowing the Plaintiff to amend the Complaint and bring the lawsuit again. In this recent decision, the Court dismissed all of the claims asserted in the Amended Complaint with prejudice, and

SNMP DDoS Attacks, BITAG :: Keyword: [Security]
A BITAG member and Internet Service Provider (ISP), Comcast, has observed large-scale Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) Reflected Amplification Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks are significant and have been observed to result in tens of gigabits to over one hundred gigabits per second of SNMP traffic sent to attack targets from multiple broadband networks. These attacks have been hours long in

China and the U.S. were the two largest sources of Internet-attack traffic in the first quarter of 2012, increasing to account for 16 percent and 11 percent respectively, according to Akamai Technologies.

President Obama is exploring the option of using his executive authority to get government agencies and critical infrastructure owners to implement better controls for protecting their computer networks.

The Fourth Circuit recently joined the Ninth Circuit in concluding that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) does not permit a civil claim by an employer against a former employee for misappropriating information that the employee was initially allowed to access. See WEC Carolina Energy Solutions LLC v. Miller, No. 11-1201,

Inescapably, the debate in the United States about law enforcement’s use of electronic surveillance is defined in terms of privacy. Whether discussed by courts, commentators, or legislators, the principal and often the only justification put forth for regulating the use of a given technology by the police is that it invades an interest somehow described as private.

Blizzard has been hacked and account information has been stolen, the World of Warcraft and Diablo III developer and publisher reports.

Online encyclopaedia Wikipedia goes offline after two cables near one of its main data centres are accidentally cut.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), the son of libertarian Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, visited the conservative Heritage Foundation on Thursday to sketch out his agenda for preserving Internet freedom. In Paul's view, this means opposing warrantless government snooping of private networks—and also opposing regulations intended to protect privacy and network neutrality.

2011 was a tumultuous year. Facing massive protests organized in part through Internet and other forms of technology, three different governments considered or took the unprecedented step of shutting down an entire medium of electronic communication. As these media increase in popularity, new methods of protesting will emerge and will become more sophisticated and widespread.

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