Category Archives: FCC

The Debate Over Net Neutrality Has Its Roots in the Fight Over Radio Freedom


By Clive Thompson – The idea of transmitting sound waves through the air caught on especially after the experiments of the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi [2, 3, 4, 5, 6] in the late 19th century.

With relatively small amounts of power, someone at home could broadcast for dozens of miles. Magazines printed schematics. “Any boy can own a real wireless station, if he really wants to,” urged The Book of Wireless.

The early amateurs had no fixed schedules. They’d broadcast a song—and then go silent for minutes, even hours, because they had nothing else lined up.

At first, the idea of making money off radio seemed profane.

This attitude did not last, however. By the mid-1920s, larger and more professional stations and networks, such as AT&T’s National Broadcasting System, were emerging. They realized advertising could be a gold mine. On August 29, 1922, the large Manhattan station WEAF ran one of the world’s first radio ads. more> http://tinyurl.com/krta3q7

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Financialization in telecom


By George Mattathil – With all these things going on, one would think that there would be an earnest effort to find out what is wrong.

Instead, the preoccupation in the media and industry is with “net neutrality” confusion, which the FCC Chairman summed up: “the idea of net neutrality has been discussed for a decade with no lasting results.” more> http://wp.me/p4erPG-5j

A Principled Fight Against Surveillance


By Katitza Rodriguez – Years before Edward Snowden leaked his first document, human rights lawyers and activists have been concerned about a dramatic expansion in law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies’ efforts to spy on the digital world.

It had become evident that legal protections had not kept pace with technological – that the state’s practical ability to spy on the world had developed in a way that permitted it to bypass the functional limits that have historically checked its ability to spy.

  • It’s time to move beyond the fallacy that information about communications (metadata) does not pose as serious a threat to privacy as the content of communications
  • In a world of highly integrated digital networks, where individual interactions and data routes defy any semblance of territorial correspondence, such distinctions are meaningless
  • “Law” implies certain minimum qualitative requirements of clarity, accessibility, and predictability. Laws limiting human rights cannot be secret or vague enough to permit arbitrary interference
  • Laws should only permit communications surveillance by specified State authorities to achieve a Legitimate Aim that corresponds to a predominantly important legal interest that is necessary in a democratic society
  • Any restrictive measure which undermines the essence or core of a right is inherently disproportionate and a violation of that right
  • No law should impose security holes in our technology in order to facilitate surveillance
  • Notification must be the norm, not the exception. Individuals should be notified that access to their communications has been authorized with enough time and information to enable them to appeal the decision, except when doing so would endanger the investigation at issue
  • Governments should not bypass national privacy protections by relying on secretive informal data sharing agreements with foreign states or private international companies. Individuals should not be denied privacy rights simply because they live in another country from the one that is surveilling them. Where data is flowing across borders, the law of the jurisdiction with the greatest privacy protections should apply

It’s clear that under the cloak of secrecy, malfunctioning oversight and the limited reach of outdated laws, the practice of digital surveillance in countries from the far north to the far south, have overrun the bounds of human rights standards. more> http://tinyurl.com/l7qj7td

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How Verizon lets its copper network decay to force phone customers onto fiber


By Jon Brodkin – Not everyone wants fiber, because, when it comes to voice calls, the newer technology doesn’t have all the benefits of the old copper phone network.

In particular, fiber doesn’t conduct electricity, where copper does. That means when your power goes out, copper landlines might keep working for days or weeks by drawing electricity over the lines, while a phone that relies on fiber will only last as long as its battery. That’s up to eight hours for Verizon’s most widely available backup system.

“Verizon’s efforts to force people off copper in my area of Rhode Island rise to the level of harassment,” Verizon customer Karen Anne Kolling of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, told Ars. more> http://tinyurl.com/o5jvv5n

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Net neutrality sounds good, but it’s worse


By Ev Ehrlich – Think about a newspaper – it works the same way. The Chronicle attracts readers so it can attract advertisers. It also attracts advertisers so it can attract readers. What if The Chronicle weren’t allowed to accept money from advertisers because “newspaper neutrality” made it impossible to let some stores advertise and others not? The price of the paper would go up, because the reader would have to carry the entire cost of the paper.

The Internet works the same way. Users – you and I – carry more than our fair share, while the mega-sites pay less than they should given the congestion they cause and the value of a connection to them.

That’s part of the reason why the profit margins of companies like Google and Facebook and Yahoo are six to eight times those of the companies such as Verizon or AT&T or Comcast.

When you get right down to it, you and I and Selby are subsidizing these behemoths; no wonder they’re the biggest proponents of neutrality. more> http://tinyurl.com/n7wxlnw

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Tragedy of Internet Commons


By George Mattathil – The logical structure of the conflicting area is shown in Internet Commons Architecture. The conflict arises due to the multiplicity of ownership, and lack of commonly accepted sustainable practices.

Unlike the medieval grasslands, different parts of the Internet Commons are owned by different parties. The Internet Commons Architecture is one instance of a simplified logical representation of connections in a data center that is shared. more> http://wp.me/p4erPG-4i

Internet Fast and Slow Lanes


By George Mattathil – Now the economics regarding retail and whole connections. The cost involved in the retail connection is on a per subscriber basis. But the cost of wholesale connections is distributed over all the potential users of the wholesale connection. So wholesale connection is very cost effective, while the retail connections are very cost sensitive.

About performance, which is what the “fast lane” and “slow lane” controversy is about. Depending on the technology, the performance (peak speed, sustained speed, average speed) vary widely. more> http://wp.me/p4erPG-3T