Millions of Net Neutrality Comments to FCC Judged for Fraud

Stanford University released the findings of a study on the comments received by the FCC on its plan to end net neutrality. The FCC received millions of comments from bots that used real identities, making it difficult to determine authenticity. The research analyzed 800,000+ unique comments that were not obviously produced by bots to conclude they were overwhelmingly in favor of net neutrality. The New York attorney general is seeking to determine if false comments swayed legislators in their decision to end net neutrality. Continue reading Millions of Net Neutrality Comments to FCC Judged for Fraud

EU Data Law Soon Goes into Effect, May Spark Privacy Debate

On May 25, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect. Although the law bans companies from forcing its users to give up personal data as a condition of service, it allows for exceptions, such as when the information is necessary to fulfill a contract. Those exceptions are the new battlefield over privacy issues, including what “freely given” consent means. At the crux is “behavioral advertising,” worth billions of dollars annually, that targets users based on their Internet activity. Continue reading EU Data Law Soon Goes into Effect, May Spark Privacy Debate

Lawmakers Speak Out Against FCC’s Plans for Net Neutrality

The current Republican-majority FCC intends to end net neutrality rules, as spelled out in 2015’s Open Internet Order. Now, 10 members of Congress are fighting back with an official comment describing their position. Among the signers are Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA), ranking members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. At the same time, 15 Senate Democrats, led by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) have asked FCC chair Ajit Pai for more time for comments, given the record volume of public interest. Continue reading Lawmakers Speak Out Against FCC’s Plans for Net Neutrality

Microsoft to Provide White-Space Broadband in Rural Areas

Microsoft has a plan for providing inexpensive broadband access to underserved areas of the U.S., and its president/chief legal officer Brad Smith just declared the company’s support for that plan. The company has long advocated the use of so-called TV white-space technology — unused TV spectrum — to bring broadband especially to rural areas. As part of the plan, Microsoft would also urge the Trump administration and Congress to make sure that unlicensed white-space spectrum is available in every market in the U.S. Continue reading Microsoft to Provide White-Space Broadband in Rural Areas

Global Tech Firms Wary of China’s Broad Cybersecurity Law

China has adopted a broad and controversial cybersecurity law that places new requirements on tech companies, which foreign businesses fear may be used to negatively affect competition. The law, designed to tighten state control over technology and information while ramping up online security, addresses areas such as data storage, technical support, censorship and government certification of hardware. According to The Wall Street Journal, “The law drew criticism from foreign business groups due to the expansive list of sectors that are defined as part of China’s ‘critical information infrastructure,’ making sectors including telecommunications, energy, transportation, information services and finance subject to security checks.” Continue reading Global Tech Firms Wary of China’s Broad Cybersecurity Law

The U.S. Government Relinquishes its Control of the Internet

As of October 1, an agreement with the Commerce Department expired and the “National Telecommunications and Information Administration no longer exercises control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which has long been the manager of Internet domain names,” reports Digital Trends. ICANN will now serve as an independent non-profit that will “answer to international stakeholders across the Internet community, including a governmental advisory committee, a technical committee, industry committee, Internet users, and telecommunications experts.” A lawsuit filed by four states to block the plan “failed when a Texas federal judge refused to issue an injunction,” notes Yahoo Tech. Continue reading The U.S. Government Relinquishes its Control of the Internet

FCC to Shake Up Set-Top Box Dominance, Impact Competition

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has just proposed updating rules for television set-top boxes, in order to lower cable bills and provide more access to Internet-based programming. Consumer advocates supporting the change say the move would increase competition, giving the consumer choices over whether to use the service provider’s set-to-box/cable app or competing devices and apps. That competition could be advantageous to TiVo, Alphabet’s Google unit and other alternative STB providers. Continue reading FCC to Shake Up Set-Top Box Dominance, Impact Competition

AT&T to Discuss Smart Cities Initiative and Partners at CES

AT&T plans to reveal details regarding its “smart cities” initiative during CES 2016. The company is making a major push to turn traffic lights and other city objects into new tools for reducing expenses while efficiently managing congestion and energy. Telecoms are starting to work with municipalities to leverage data collected from sensors positioned throughout cities to help drivers find parking spaces or clear driving routes, for example. According to AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie, partners in AT&T’s initiative will be introduced in Las Vegas this week. Continue reading AT&T to Discuss Smart Cities Initiative and Partners at CES

TPP Trade Agreement Sparks Response from Tech Community

With the publication of the Trans Pacific-Partnership (TPP) international trade treaty, numerous technology and privacy rights groups are speaking up over a range of issues. Non-profit consumer rights organization Public Citizen decries what it says is “serious implications for online privacy.” Others note that the TPP would prevent member countries from requiring that companies from other member states hand over the source code of their products. And some activists believe TPP could help further net neutrality. Continue reading TPP Trade Agreement Sparks Response from Tech Community

FCC Calls for Safeguards as Telecoms Upgrade Copper to Fiber

U.S. regulators have proposed a new rule that would require major carriers such as Verizon and AT&T to maintain their current levels of service while they update aging copper networks with new fiber. The FCC’s proposal would require that the big carriers offer “reasonably comparable” services and conditions for their new technologies as well, in an effort to prevent an immediate impact on smaller carriers. The commissioners are scheduled to vote on the proposed rule next month. Continue reading FCC Calls for Safeguards as Telecoms Upgrade Copper to Fiber

FCC Chairman Announces His Plan to Ensure an Open Internet

Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has been working to create new rules to help guarantee net neutrality. Over the last year, a debate has unfolded involving the cable television and telecommunications industries, amongst others, while critics and Internet service providers have pointed to concerns regarding a potential shift toward stronger regulation. Wheeler’s plan, which was revealed yesterday and calls for Internet service to be regulated as a public utility, went even further than some analysts expected. Continue reading FCC Chairman Announces His Plan to Ensure an Open Internet

Cisco is Offering Real-Time Analysis of Network Sensor Data

Cisco Systems is now selling analytics that provide insight into the information gathered by the company’s hardware. Cisco’s “connected analysis” will rely on sensor data from its customers’ pre-installed data transmission networks, providing rapid analysis of consumer activity in a stadium or retail store, for example. Business customers will have the ability to respond to new patterns quickly because the analytics are relayed in real time. General Electric is also planning to relaunch its analytics service. Continue reading Cisco is Offering Real-Time Analysis of Network Sensor Data

New Apple-IBM Partnership Unveils First Apps for Enterprise

Apple and IBM released 10 apps this week designed for businesses and governments. The apps are the first to come out of the tech companies’ new partnership and target sectors such as air travel, banking and retail. Apple is looking to put new life into its lagging iPad sales by drawing business users, while IBM hopes to catch up in the mobile space. The two companies are working with 50 corporations to create apps for Apple mobile devices; the next round is slated for release early next year. Continue reading New Apple-IBM Partnership Unveils First Apps for Enterprise

The Future of Tablets May Be Uncertain: iPad Sales Fall Again

Unit sales of the best-selling tablet, Apple’s iPad, fell again for the second straight quarter, leaving some industry analysts wondering whether the tablet can survive in a world of bigger smartphones and smaller laptops. Microsoft and Samsung are also both losing money on their tablet devices, but cheaper Android tablets produced by smaller companies may be taking away some of the tech giants’ business. Still, many consumers do not see tablets as a must-have gadget. Continue reading The Future of Tablets May Be Uncertain: iPad Sales Fall Again

Google’s Project Loon Advances, Balloons Are 10 Times Better

Google hopes to provide Internet access to unserved areas of the world using high-altitude balloons. When the company announced Project Loon a year ago many people were skeptical. Since then, Google announced that it has been able to extend balloon flight times and add mobile connectivity to the service. Recently, Loon has been providing as much as 22MB per second to a ground antenna and 5MB per second to a handset, success that suggests there will be ways to monetize the technology. Continue reading Google’s Project Loon Advances, Balloons Are 10 Times Better

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