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It is very quickly becoming clear that if you want the FCC to avoid enforcing their network neutrality rules, all you have to do is throw some half-assed, vague-sounding technical jargon at the agency to bog them down in inactivity indefinitely. With yesterday's news that AT&T is blocking yet another video chat application
in order to drive users to more expensive data plans, it's rather clear that the FCC lacks the stomach to actually enforce the rules they designed.
The FCC's net neutrality rules already weren't worth much
, given they were based on an outline designed by Google and Verizon. As such, they are filled with all manner of carefully engineered loopholes aimed at protecting the potential billions both were making via their mobile partnership.
However, the rules are worth even less with an FCC that's too timid or incompetent to enforce them.
While the FCC is clearly on shaky legal ground given Verizon's lawsuit to overturn the rules
, that doesn't prohibit the FCC from at least publicly singling out and commenting on poor carrier behavior when it happens. The agency's inaction is tacit approval of the use of gatekeeper power to behave anti-competitively.
You might recall that back in September of last year FCC boss Julius Genachowski addressed AT&T's Facetime blockade, promising
that if good faith negotiations "doesn't lead to a resolution and a complaint is filed, we will exercise our responsibilities and we will act."
A complaint was filed, no action was taken, and Genachowski's now on his way out the door for a new career in think tank life, about to be replaced by a former lobbyist for the wireless industry
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.
A post over at the Skype blog
proudly proclaims that Skype users are collectively using the communications platform for more than 2 billion minutes each day. "Thats enough time to travel to the moon and back over 225 thousand times, walk around Earth more than 845 times or travel to Mars more than 5,400 times," proudly proclaims the company. The total of course includes voice, video, and people staring at the screen using instant messaging, so it's likely a very generous number. Skype has certainly had help on numerous fronts, from the death of the PSTN to Microsoft's announcement that they'll be closing Windows Live Messenger.
Google's not making friends today. The company has angered a lot of loyal users with their sudden decision to "retire" Google reader
as part of a broader house cleaning.
If you live in the United States, you may be familiar with the common sentiment that you generally cannot take your favorite cellular enabled device (tablet, smartphone, Sony PlayStation Vita, etc.) and use it on any carrier you like. With GSM carriers, this is referred to as a SIM lock. story continues..
The Baltimore Sun
(via Ars Technica
) notes that Verizon contacted police after they noticed a Baltimore Deacon was quite happily storing his significant child pornography collection in the cloud. The Deacon apparently thought it was a great idea to store this content in his Verizon Online Backup and Sharing account; Verizon noticed the content and contacted the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who in turn contacted law enforcement. 67-year-old William Steven Albaugh was released on $75,000 bond while the investigation continues. Aside from the obvious discussion on disgusting child porn, priests, and stupidity -- the incident raises some obvious questions about just how extensively Verizon monitors cloud content.
Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Google; there have been no limit of companies eager to disrupt the pay TV ecosystem, though every one of them have run face first into licensing restrictions imposed by a pay TV sector that very much doesn't want to be disrupted. That doesn't seem to stop the tech press from getting blindly bubbly and enthusiastic every time another company says they're going to try. story continues..
Verizon has been trying to justify their blocking of Google Wallet on Verizon phones
, insisting the app is blocked because Google Wallet uses the "secure element" on devices to store a user's Google ID. In response to complaints filed with the FCC, Verizon insists the unending blockade has nothing to do with the fact Verizon (in conjunction with AT&T and T-Mobile) is working on their own competing mobile payment platform named Isis.
You might recall that iiNet
, one of Australia's largest ISPs, was sued
by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and the Australian arms of various movie studios for failing to stop the transfer of pirated content across their network. iiNet fought back and won; Company CEO Michael Malone at the time argued the industry's demands for iiNet to play traffic cop were unreasonable if not impossible, and that "these guys are asking us to be judge, jury and executioner."
iiNet's making headlines once again for balking at industry demands, this week walking out of discussions
with the Australian government and the entertainment industry over continued efforts to make ISPs responsible for the pirated transfers occurring on their networks.
You may have read my other article
on the various cloud storage services that are available. While that is a fine solution for most people, some want to have a little more control and flexibility over their files and what they can do with them.
Microsoft continues to take heat on all fronts for enabling "do not track" as default in Internet Explorer 10. A letter to Microsoft from the Association of National Advertisers
(which has numerous corporations as members, including AT&T and Verizon) insists that by enabling opt-out by default in the latest version of their browser, they're effectively destroying the known universe.
by Revcb Friday 31-Aug-2012
by Revcb Friday 31-Aug-2012
by Revcb Thursday 30-Aug-2012
I've been primarily a Mac user for the past 8 years, but I'm not a Mac "fan boy." I don't defend every decision that the company makes; I'm not one of these people who thinks Verizon was somehow a lesser or even inferior cellular provider because they didn't carry the iPhone for the first three-and-a-half years of its existence. story continues..
I'm extremely bothered by the creeping in of Apple's sandboxing requirements, trying to force everyone to use iCloud, and just the looming theme of Apple knows best which seems more pronounced than before.
The folks at Mozilla are getting ready to launch their new HTML5-based Firefox OS for smartphones, and Sprint appears to be one of seven global carriers
who'll be initially offering the devices to consumers. The new devices will be manufactured by TCL Communication Technology (Alcatel) and ZTE, and will first be made available on Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor. "Due to the optimization of the platform for entry-level smartphones and the removal of unnecessary middleware layers, mobile operators will have the ability to offer richer experiences at a range of price points including at the low end of the smartphone price range, helping to drive adoption across developing markets," says Mozilla of the project. The first devices are expected to launch in early 2013 on Telefónica's Vivo service.
It's important not to forget that we are just a month beyond what was the worst week for security in the Macintosh platform's history. It is estimated that at one point over 600,000 Macs were infected. story continues..
Users in our security forums
direct our attention to the fact that users of any of the paid versions of Avira
's various antivirus and security programs are now dealing with crippled PCs after an update went terribly awry yesterday
. The latest update to the software's AntiVirProActiv component -- not included in the free version -- identified critical Windows processes as malware and automatically terminated them.
by Revcb Monday 14-May-2012
by Revcb Friday 04-May-2012
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