Politicians Team With Tech Industry on Internet Bill of Rights

Given compelling issues of privacy breaches and data hacks, Senator Nancy Pelosi became convinced that a set of principles that everyone in the tech industry agreed to would be a good step toward adhering to values. She asked Democratic legislator Ro Khanna, who represents Silicon Valley, to create such a list. He consulted with Apple, Facebook, Google, think tank Center for Democracy and Technology and individuals including Nicole Wong and Tim Berners-Lee, and just recently released the resulting Internet “Bill of Rights.” Continue reading Politicians Team With Tech Industry on Internet Bill of Rights

Critics Argue GDPR’s Article 13 Threatens Future of Internet

A European Parliament committee just voted on Article 13, a controversial provision in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that wasn’t in the final draft but was re-introduced on May 25, the day it went into effect. Article 13 requires Internet platforms to vet uploads such as news articles and music videos for copyright infringement. Such filters could encourage platforms to block more content and place an undue burden on smaller platforms, argue the critics. Worse, they continue, filters could be modified to block content critical of governments. Continue reading Critics Argue GDPR’s Article 13 Threatens Future of Internet

Tech Pioneers Submit Open Letter in Support of Net Neutrality

A group of 21 notable Internet pioneers and technology experts have drafted an open letter requesting that the Federal Communications Commission preserve current net neutrality rules. The group — which includes high-profile individuals such as Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee and Steve Wozniak — is asking that the FCC cancel the December 14th vote scheduled by chair Ajit Pai to repeal net neutrality regulation. “It is important to understand that the FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology,” suggests the letter. Continue reading Tech Pioneers Submit Open Letter in Support of Net Neutrality

W3C Approves the EME Standard for DRM-Protected Video

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees standards for the web, approved a new system for handling DRM-protected video. Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) work by letting DRM systems connect directly to the user’s browser. EME lets streaming video services protect their content without forcing users to install plugins that can be insecure. But not everyone is happy. Some researchers and advocates of the open Internet believe EME will give browser developers and content providers too much power. Continue reading W3C Approves the EME Standard for DRM-Protected Video

World Wide Web Consortium Proposes HTML5 DRM Standard

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has formally moved its Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) anti-piracy mechanism to the stage of Proposed Recommendation. The decision of whether or not to adopt the EME standard now depends on a poll of W3C’s members, which have until April 19 to respond. Although the proposed standard has many critics, W3C director/HTML inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has personally endorsed it. Engineers from Google, Microsoft and Netflix created EME, which has been under development for some time. Continue reading World Wide Web Consortium Proposes HTML5 DRM Standard

Internet Allies Unite to Create More Secure, Future-Proof Web

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, most recently Google’s chief Internet evangelist, co-created Internet server protocols in 1973. Since then, he’s helped the Internet to mature, but one problem he didn’t foresee was the ephemeral nature of storage media, from floppy disks to Zip drives. Tomorrow’s browsers may be incompatible with today’s webpages. Worried about what he calls “a coming digital dark ages,” Cerf has now turned his attention to making the Internet more secure and future-proof. Continue reading Internet Allies Unite to Create More Secure, Future-Proof Web

FCC Commissioner Says the Internet is Not a Human Right

Speaking before the Internet Innovation Alliance about the appropriate role of regulators in a growing broadband economy, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly suggested that the Internet is not a necessity or human right, as many tech leaders have suggested. “It is important to note that Internet access is not a necessity in the day-to-day lives of Americans and doesn’t even come close to the threshold to be considered a basic human right,” he said. “I am not in any way trying to diminish the significance of the Internet in our daily lives.” Continue reading FCC Commissioner Says the Internet is Not a Human Right

Where Would We Be Today if the World Wide Web had Been Patented?

  • August 6 marked the 20th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee publishing the first website at CERN. Techdirt provides a few guesses regarding where we might stand today had Berners-Lee sought and received a patent for the World Wide Web.
  • The article suggests that innovation would be dramatically limited and rather than an open World Wide Web, we would be using proprietary, walled gardens such as AOL, Compuserve and Prodigy. The idea of open Internet development would be hampered by lawsuits.
  • Search functionality would most likely be dismal (no Google, for example), and limited to proprietary systems. We may also not have seen the meteoric rise of smartphones without the Web.
  • And try to imagine this: “Most people’s use of online services would be more about ‘consumption’ than ‘communication.’ There would still be chat rooms and such, but there wouldn’t be massive public communication developments like blogs and Twitter. There might be some social networking elements, but they would be very rudimentary within the walled garden.”
  • What are your thoughts? If Berners-Lee had not been so generous, would innovation be stalled in patent hell? Or would we have moved forward with other systems in development at the time?