Showing posts with the label government

New Survey on Privacy and Tailored Advertising

The NY Times has posted a recent survey on tailored advertising (“ Contrary to what marketers say, Americans Reject Tailored Advertising and Three Activities that Enable It ”) released by professors from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkley. It was not a surprised to learn that 2/3 (66%) of Americans do not want online tracking. It was a surprise to learn how many did not understand our privacy laws – most assumed they provided more protection. First I want to dig into the perceptions of our privacy laws as reported in the survey. If a website had a privacy policy, 62% of the respondents thought that meant that your collected data couldn’t be share with other companies. Another 16% didn’t know. Therefore, only 22% knew that a privacy policy was information the website provides on how they may or may not be using collected data about you. Other misconceptions in regards to privacy policies were as follows. If a website has a privacy policy… 54% assum

CADNA reports on House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on New TLDs

In a CADNA newsletter released today, they shared with us the results of the House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on New TLDs. In addition, CADNA has called for a full-scale audit of ICANN. For history on this issue, see my two prior blog posts here and here .) Congressional members who were in attendance expressed skepticism about the benefits that the potential TLD rollout... ICANN held their position that by adding the new, "potentially unlimited" TLDs, will promote innovation and competition. Further they stated that "protection mechanisms are being actively considered." If protection mechanisms are being considered, doesn't that indicate that even ICANN knows there's a problem with this? And if protection mechanisms are needed, wouldn't they wait and finish the work to have appropriate protection BEFORE rolling this out? Members of Congress pressed witnesses with questions about ICANN’s operations—many raised doubts regarding the benefits of

Lawmakers asking for information from ICANN

In July 2009 I wrote about ICANN's plans to expand the Internet's top-level domains (TLDs), and how I and others believes this will have a significant negative impact on companies, big and small. [TLDs are the .COMs, .ORGs, etc at the end of URLs.] "...companies are already losing over $1 billion annually due to cybersquatters misrepresenting and redirecting traffic on the Internet through taking advantage of URLs not purchased by companies. The proposal being made by ICANN can skyrocket those losses and increase expenses..." As reported by , 'Judiciary ranking member Lamar Smith and Courts and Competition Subcommittee ranking member Howard Coble, R-N.C., said they are worried that a vast expansion of domains will carry "serious negative consequences"...' in a letter to ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom. Smith and Coble have reiterated the concerns over ICANNs plans for the additional TLDs and have asked for a reponse by September 22, 2009. Whil

Has ICANN Gone Too Far?

ICANN was formed in 1998 . It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN is pushing to expand the Internet's Top Level Domains (TLD or gTLD) from its current 21 to some staggering, unspecified new number. TLDs are the .COMs, .ORGs, etc at the end of URLs. "The advantage of all this is there will be many more ways for sites to be described. The question is whether it will really help Internet users or confuse them." asks Saul Hansell in a recent NY Times article. But that's just scratching the surface of the issue. According to CADNA (Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse), companies are already losing over $1 billion annually due to cybersquatters misrepresenting and redirecting traffic on the Internet through taking advantage of URLs not purchased by companies. The pr

Time Warner wants to put restrictive usage caps on your Internet access

The cable providers are scared of losing their cash cow by people watching TV over the Internet. In the latest volley from the cable companies, Time Warner is rolling out restrictive caps that are high priced, and extremely high if you go over. Sure, $15 a month for Internet sounds good, until you realize it's for 1 GB of data and an additional $2 for each gig you go over . As Wired points out (in "Congressman Wants to Ban Download Caps"), that's 3 hours of Hulu video or half a standard definition movie delivered online. For a mere (cough, cough) $75 per month, you can get 100 GB per month, and only pay $1 penalty for each gig over. It sure makes Comcasts 250 MB cap at $50 - $55 per month look good. I've heard some folks defend the caps, claiming we don't need that much bandwidth, but each argument has been based on 1 user. The typical claim has been from 50 to 90 GB average usage. Multiply that by a family of 4 and now you're at 200 to 360 GBs. And if t

The Interent fails for Sprint and Cogent customers

If you're a Sprint or Cogent customer, relying on them for your Internet connectivity, you're probably already aware of this article from Scott Woolley of Forbes. In late October, due to differences between these companies, Sprint severed the Internet backbone connection between them. The result was customers on both sides not being able to reach all parts of the Internet. The feud goes back several years, with what appears that Sprint is being a bit of a bully. It is common practice for the Internet backbone carries to exchange traffic between them for no cost. The rationale is that it benefits both companies' customers and the traffic is even enough both ways where there is no profit to be made by one company or the other. In this case, "...Sprint stood to gain $1.5 million or so in annual revenue, which would add .004% to the company's $40 billion in annual revenue." (Note that this was based on Sprint's billing justifications; there's nothing to s

Net Neutrality looks more promising than ever before

Save the Internet reports on the change in position around Net Neutrality with the change of the guard in Washington. With President-Elect Barack Obama understanding of technology, our "representatives" need to finally get-in-the-game and not just sellout to big business. I hope this is just the beginning of much more attention and spending on technology, so the U.S. can be recognized as a leader again.

Obama, McCain, and Net Neutrality in Popular Mechanics

In an effort to tell the stories of Obama and McCain and their positions of Net Neutrality, Popular Mechanics put together a great article describing the various issues involved in the Net Neutrality debate. Though too late in the game for Obama and McCain to devote time to sitting down and discussing with Popular Mechanics, they did get enough information to know the general positions -- Obama wants enough regulation by government to provide an open Internet while McCain does not want government involvement. Popular Mechanics summarized it as "John McCain is against Net neutrality and Barack Obama is for it." The Popular Mechanics article does a good job describing the role of the ISP and the so called "last mile". We're reminded about the ethical issues around conflict in interest the ISPs have. For example, the ISP can provide a slower or throttled bandwidth, which would impact VoIP (Internet telephone) from 3rd parties while making sure their own VoIP solu

DRM hits you coming and going

If you re unfamiliar with the term DRM, it stands for digital rights management. The record (RIAA), movie (MPAA), and software industry has used forms of DRM to prohibit you from sharing your purchased digital goods with others. This continues to be a headache for the honest, while the less honest folks are able to find free "cracked" version of the same materials. Take for example if you purchased music from the likes of Microsoft or Yahoo! You were notified (hopefully) this past year that they will no longer support these services. For reasons that appear to agree with what has been argued all along -- that DRM only impacts honest, paying customers -- Microsoft, Yahoo!, and now Wal-Mart are reversing their business models by discontinuing the DRM practice. Microsoft and Yahoo! have easied up some what on their position, to give you more time to find a work-around, but nevertheless you are left either with losing the music once your current PC dies or the burden of transf

Your biggest privacy concern could be from your own ISP

Over the last 6 to 12 months there has been several battles between ISPs, users, and the government. ISPs want to choose what type of content can run on their network and how fast it should be delivered. One such example is Comcast's blocking of P2P traffic . During their FCC investigation, Comcast changed this practice, though after being ruled that it was actually illegal practice, Comcast is now challenging the ruling . For Comcast to block just P2P traffic, it had to scan all the activity on your connection to identify what part of the traffic was P2P. In the Comcast ruling, the FCC implied that it would be legal to monitor user traffic so that illegal content could be blocked such as child pornography and copyrighted material. While we would all like to see child pornography and other nefarious activity stopped, this would require the ISP to inspect everyone's content, from banking to love letters to new job applications and everything in between. It would be interesting t

How safe is your laptop?

Dell recently release a report (30-Jun-08) on loss of laptops at airports, and a whopping 12,000 are lost every week. For class B airports such as LAX, JFK, Dulles, the average is 286 laptops per week per airport. In addition, over 50% of those surveyed said their laptop contained sensitive information. Sixty-five percent of the same survey group said they do not take any special precautions to protect their data. In addition, 42% of the respondents do not have their data backed up. What are you doing to protect your laptop and its data when you travel? Of course if you are a Dell customer, the now have some offerings to help address this problem. offers 8 tips for travelers with laptops . The rules for inspecting your laptop when coming in and out of the country has recently changed too. Did you know that your laptop can be seized at the border for inspection for no reason at all? International travelers entering the United States face potential inspection and seizure of t

User Generated and Indie, or just Big Media?

Check out this 10 minute video that does a great job in putting the Internet and Net Neutrality in perspective. The big media, telcos, and cable companies are lining the pockets of Washington, so they can control the Internet medium like they already have with TV, Radio, and Newspapers. This will affect us all, whether you're a tech geek, an independent content producer, or just a consumer. Give this 10 minutes of your time, and then pass it on.

FCC Hearing on Network Management; Comcast Fills the Seats

The FCC held a hearing on Network Management at Harvard on February 25, 2008. Under scrutiny is Comcast's practice of blocking BitTorrent P2P traffic. Comcast claimed to only delay P2P traffic during congested periods -- but they are accomplishing this "delay" through terminating the P2P traffic. This "delay" of the P2P traffic is counter to the service Comcast sells its customers -- Comcast sells a throughput rate ("... 4 times faster than 1.5 Mbps DSL,...") for upload and download of Internet traffic, regardless of protocol being used. You can visit the FCC site to view the entire hearing . Comcast must know its in trouble, as they hired folks to take up all the space at the hearing -- keeping the public from being heard. It's hard to say what will happen next; big business seems to win all too much. Each of us can do our part -- don't use Comcast, when you have a choice; tell your congressman to fight for net neutrality; and join the Sav

Are you ready for digital broadcast TV?

We're just a little more than a year away from the end to analog TV broadcasts. After February 17, 2009, your old analog TV will no longer be able to pickup analog TV broadcasts, as the government is freeing this bandwidth up for new usage. There are many options for your old TVs, if you're not ready to replace it. You can apply for a $40 coupon from the government to go towards a digital tuner. Go to the TV Converter Box Program website, ran by the Department of Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to find out more -- you have until March 31, 2009, or until coupons run out (the site does not list how many coupons are available). The TV Converter Box Program website is full of good information (try the FAQs ), as well as there are many other sites with good information. You might start with the Dallas Morning News' Tech Writer, Andrew D. Smith and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association . If you have cable or satelli

Net Neutrality is still an issue

As Time-Warner puts packet-shaping technology in place to throttle service, Senators Snowe and Dorgan are still fighting for the public's right for Net Neutrality. Wouldn't it be nice to have more Senators representing the public instead of the huge corporate contributors? -- oh, that's for different blog. For all intents an purposes, Time-Warner's RoadRunner service just change their offering (June 6). Now, regardless of the bandwidth package you purchased, during busy times, they will slow down or throttle back certain traffic. So regardless of the service, instead of improving their infrastructure, Time-Warner will limit your bandwidth of certain tasks. "...implemented for newsgroup applications, regardless of the provider, and all peer-to-peer networks and certain other high bandwidth applications not necessarily limited to audio, video, and voice over IP telephony." I think it's high-time that the government steps-in to at least regulate that the ser

Senate Tries Net Neutrality, Again

After recent concessions for net neutrality by AT&T, " Senators Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, and Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act Tuesday. " This is a repeat of the bill that failed last May in a republican controlled Congress. CNet describes net neutrality as, " ...the idea that network operators such as AT&T and Verizon should be prohibited from prioritizing any content or services that travel across their pipes... " If we are lucky, this will get passed this time through.

Still Confused About Net Neutrality?

Bill Moyers, Moyers on America, has developed an extremely informative piece on the current risk to open access on the Internet call The Net @ Risk . Moyers and his team dig into big media, telco, cable, and government, and shine a spotlight on how we risk losing open Internet access for everyone. Let us not forget how in as little as two years from rule changes by the FCC , big media bought all the little radio stations, and now we have little to no local programming. That could just as easily happen to the Internet. Take a company like Google. Eight years ago, Google was two guys in graduate school -- the Internet has allowed founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin start their own company and compete against incumbents Alta Vista, Yahoo! and Microsoft. With net neutrality, telco and cable companies could make it more expensive to get Internet telephone companies like Vonage and Skype , then it would be to buy it from them -- they would do this by forcing Vonage and Skype to pay them hi

1.2 Million Jobs / $500 Billion to the U.S. Economy

Michael J. Copps wrote a great article yesterday, America's Internet Disconnect , on the impact of not having broadband Internet access. Mr. Copps claims that some experts believe we could ..."add $500 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.2 million jobs" with universal broadband adoption. In addition, we are being over charged by $8 billion. Here is a few more facts... the government is supposed to have universal broadband in the U.S. by 2007, yet we are not even close. The U.S. ranks 15th in the world in broadband penetration, while Europeans and Asians are getting 25 to 100 megabits to their homes. Oh, but "the FCC still defines broadband as 200 kilobits per second." Who knows, maybe we will see some changes with the recent election. CNet posted an article describing some of the possible benefits to technology with the control of the House and possibly the Senate going to Democrats. I would expect at a minimum that we finally get some support on Net Neutra