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In early 2011 MetroPCS joined Verizon in suing the FCC
to overturn the agency's already fairly-flimsy network neutrality rules. With MetroPCS and T-Mobile now merged, T-Mobile announced late last week that it would be withdrawing the lawsuit against the FCC they acquired as part of the deal. Groups like Public Knowledge quickly issued statements
applauding the move, and urging Verizon to do the same (not likely). "While they're not perfect, they reassure Internet companies that they will be able to reach users, they give ISPs a framework under which they can manage their networks, and they provide a mechanism for working out disputes," said the group. Disputes like, oh, when T-Mobile blocks Google Wallet
to the benefit of their own, Isis mobile payment platform -- and the FCC does nothing about it.
Verizon's attempt to hang up on their copper networks in Sandy-impacted areas
has gotten more complicated after the NY Public Service Commission last week indicated hesitation at letting Verizon disconnect users state wide without first understanding the repercussions. According to regional Long Island news reports
, the PSC has granted Verizon temporary approval to pull DSL on Fire Island, NY, replacing it with Verizon's Voice Link wireless service.
As part of many announcements at Google's I/O Conference this week, Google announced that they would now be integrating video chat within Google Hangouts
across platforms and devices. Well, unless you use AT&T.
Canipre is a Canadian company that helps runs anti-piracy campaigns, and is helping Voltage Pictures in their efforts to extort money out of pirates using settlement-o-matic mass lawsuits. They've most recently been helping Voltage target easier marks like Canadian ISP TekSavvy
. As such, it's interesting to note that this week a company so concerned about propriety has been accused of using other people's photos on their website without proper attribution
. "Our collective goal is not to sue everybody...but to change the sense of entitlement that people have, regarding Internet-based theft of property," Canipre Director Barry Logan stated in a recent interview.
Back in February, after more than a year of delays, the entertainment and most major ISPs launched their "six strikes" anti-piracy initiative
. The program integrates warning letters with graduated response punishments that range from being temporarily blocked off from the Internet to having your connection throttled.
As I've been discussing a lot lately
(because it's the most important issue facing the broadband sector right now), both AT&T and Verizon are in the process of gutting regulations that require they continue offering copper landlines -- and by proxy DSL -- to tens of millions of Americans. Both companies insist that they're simply interested in "modernizing regulations" and ushering us into an "all IP age." In reality, both companies simply want to exit the fixed-line market in areas they're unwilling to upgrade.
According to a company insider, additional Verizon customers impacted by Sandy will soon be informed -- some seven months after the fact -- that they too will never have their DSL lines repaired. As we've seen in New York and New Jersey
, the telco is foisting a service upon those customers called "Voice Link," which connects user home phones to the Verizon wireless network.
The Justice Department is under fire for obtaining two months of telephone records for twenty different lines used by reporters and editors for The Associated Press. Said data included phone numbers, names, calls made, and potentially call duration. story continues..
ISPs including AT&T, Cox, Bright House and Verizon have filed an appeal
in their ongoing battle against porn copyright troll AF Holdings. AF Holdings has accused 1,058 broadband users of illegally sharing adult movies on BitTorrent, and last year won their initial legal attempt to force the ISPs to hand over the identities behind those IP addresses.
A federal judge this week refused to grant class action status to a Comcast customer complaining that Comcast failed to inform him about the fact the company charges a $7 modem rental fee (unless users buy a modem). Most of the complaints about the fee were dismissed back in January
, the Judge insisting that the plaintiff wasn't specific enough about which markets saw misleading Comcast marketing in relation to the fee.
Since around 2004
I've talked about the significant amount of fraud involved in the government's IP Relay service, which is intended to help the hearing impaired communicate with phone users via the Internet with the help of paid transcription workers (I remember talking with my grandfather over TRS versions of the service as a child). Unfortunately, for the better part of a decade the service has been abused by scammers and other assorted technoscumbags, with carriers doing nothing about it because they're paid by the FCC (aka you) about $1.50 per minute to carry this traffic.
BitTorrent has been absurdly sensitive about how people might confuse the protocol Cohen created and the business he's trying to create, with the fact that it has been used for years for piracy. Yesterday I noted how the company won't even let BitTorrent proxy and VPN services like TorGuard
advertise within the BitTorrent client, fearing it might be seen as supporting piracy.
As the entertainment industry and ISPs launch their new six strikes plan
, more and more users are fleeing to BitTorrent VPN and proxy services like Torguard or BTguard in order to avoid the prying eyes of their ISPs. Meanwhile, Bram Cohen's BitTorrent, which for years has been trying unsuccessfully to monetize his invention
, is looking to distance itself from such services.
As I've been discussing
, law enforcement and intelligence agencies are making a strong new push to mandate backdoors in e-mail, cloud storage services, social networking websites and other encrypted services to make real-time wiretapping easier. As part of this effort to overhaul CALEA, the DOJ has even gone so far as to propose that ISPs be fined for failure to comply
Things are going from bad to worse for copyright troll Prenda Law, who tried to make a revenue stream out of threatening copyrighted porn downloaders to net cash settlements. The firm ran afoul of U.S.
We've noted repeatedly how privacy technology discussions often have a bizarre and amusing lack of context, the press getting borderline hysterical about every NebuAD
scandal, while all-but ignoring that carriers and the government buy, sell and trade all user information daily with a total disregard (and often disdain) for law. Your iPhone tells Apple you went to Costco? Unified outrage.
directs our attention to the fact that for the first time, a Comcast user has been sued three different times for one download of an animated film. "Plaintiffs technical monitoring personnel failed to notice the repeat entries of the identical IP address after sorting and filtering and filed 3 different federal lawsuits," the John Doe writes in his own defense. "This calls into question their accuracy in managing their cases properly." Torrent Freak
and the plaintiff speculate that he was sued three times in the hopes nobody would notice, thereby increasing the chance of getting a subpoena from at least one of the three Judges. Instead, all three cases landed on the desk of one Judge.
Over the years we've seen the entertainment industry try to float the idea of a "piracy tax" several times. They've long dreamed of a fee levied on top of already-high broadband bills that would go to the entertainment industry -- just because -- whether you pirate content or not. story continues..
The EFF this week released their latest privacy report card, which grades companies on how well they help protect your data from government over-reach. The full report
(pdf) explores which companies require a warrant to access content, inform users about government data requests, publishes transparent government interaction guidelines and fights for user privacy in the courts and Congress.
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , telcodad