The proposal in Minnesota still has a few steps before becoming state law. Proponents are definitely capitalizing on the attention garnered by the repeal of the FCC rules. ISPs may not have liked the federal rules, I can almost guarantee that if other states follow suit, they will like it even less. A state level push back could create a minefield that the larger ISPs would have to navigate, likely leading to them taking the most conservative approach rather than incurring the cost of state by state compliance.
Susan Crawford does an excellent job of demystifying a flurry of bills that on the surface are about facilitating the any-day-now, better-than-ever, but not-really-here-any-time-soon technology of 5G. I feel like we should have learned our lesson about carriers and public rights of way by now, that they rarely if ever repay the public trust. Her article contains a lot of good technical detail, as well, about what 5G will and won’t deliver and when, all important to bear in mind when carriers come knocking to your state or locality with a bushel of too good to be true promises, if only we erode or eliminate critical public oversight.
- Microsoft issues blanket license to NGOs outside the US
As Slashdot and others are reporting, this move by the Redmond giant is in direct response to the abuse of infringement claims for the purposes of suppressing speech. This is a laudable move by a company with a traditionally dour stance on intellectual property enforcement of all kinds.
- Dell releases sources for Streak, Android Spin
- Research supports notion that self-regulation has prevented commoditization of broadband, Technology Review
- Indie developer experiments with choose-your-own-price for downloadable content, Slashdot
- Appeals court guts landmark computer privacy ruling
David Kravets explains in a piece for Ars Technica how the 9th circuit caved under pressure from federal prosecutors who felt Miranda-like guidelines were crippling their investigations. I can understand how such rules can be problematic procedurally, maybe even out of proportion with the protections they are supposed to confer. Unfortunately, this is a giant step backwards, not anything that can readily be described as justifiable streamlining.
- Maximizing openness of broadband data, Google
- Register of copyrights to retire
Nate Anderson at Ars Technica explains one side of why I feel so ambivalent about the outgoing Register, Marybeth Peters. He fails to give her credit for her views on the orphan works problem, though, that balances somewhat her archaic views on new forms of expression like digital remixes. I expect this issue to heat up considerably as Big Content will no doubt do everything in their power to see a successor who leans even further towards their views. The fact that the Obama administration is lousy with appointments of former industry attorneys has me more than a little concerned.
- Tor working with Google to make Chrome better at protecting privacy, Tor
- Problems with latest version of federal ID plan
Lee Tien at EFF has a good analysis of the problems raised by the latest proposal for a federal identity scheme. Compared to past plans, it shifts the emphasis from securing transactions to defining and ensuring authentication of users on the net. This raises concerns over surveillance, identity theft and the fate of anonymous speech online.
- New FCC sponsored report paints bleak broadband picture
Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica explains how some 14 to 24 million Americans are identified as being left out in the cold by this new report. He has some details on how this large swath of under served citizens was reached and it still uses some of the wonky tallying of counties with a minimum of broadband capable residents. The fact that this is a reversal from previous reports makes it difficult to draw too compelling conclusions but I am willing to give it more credit than not as it is consistent with my sense of the lack of real competition in the last mile of service provision.
- Free speech concerns raised by shutdown of blog hosting site
- Dropping blank media sales prompts collection agency to demand levy on mobile phones
- Google’s Chinese rival, Baidu, announces plan for its own Android-like mobile OS
- EU rushing to ACTA agreed
- Report on meeting with ACTA negotiators in Lucerne
- EU action alert on ACTA
- USTR statement on ACTA makes no mention of releasing latest draft
- ACTA will reach final draft in six months
- UK rejects ACTA call to criminalize illicit file sharing
- VP8 codec coming to FFmpeg
- Flash to continue to have large role at YouTube, more so than WebM
- Bilski is affirmed though ruling is narrower than hoped
- EFF’s analysis of the Bilski decision
- Trying to divine the future of software patents in the wake of the Bilski decision
- White House wants more spectrum for wireless broadband
- King’s Quest fan project is back
- The latest between Google and China
- Google to end .cn redirect
- Congress examines US investment in Chinese censorship
- Some Google searchers now blocked in China
- EU launches its own net neutrality inquirt
- Judge orders user-friendly notices in USCG suits
- Judge rejected all of EFF’s arguments in USCG cases
- Broadband now official a legal right in Finland
- Vote to repeal Britain’s Digital Economy Act
- Internet Archive starts lending in copyright e-books
HT Tim Vollmer.
- Canadian copyright astroturfers own up to fronting US labels
- Woman accused of camcorder piracy sues theater
- Fight against telco immunity continues in appeals court
- Pirate Party will run The Pirate Bay from Swedish parliament
As Ben Jones on TorrentFreak explains, this sounds like a natural evolution for the public action aspect of the site. The fact that the site is one of the most popular and best places to locate torrents for all kinds of media has almost been a side effect of the primary goal of sparking discussion. This definitely moves that to a whole other level.
- Futures for SF writers that are not the Singularity
Rudy Rucker has been increasingly skeptical of the Singularity though not necessarily foregoing interesting possibilities for the future of cognition and computing. I am increasingly convinced the Singularity operates solely as a metaphor, not as any kind of realistic prediction. Cory at Boing Boing links to a Futurismic post contemplating and suggesting other rich futures for writers to explore that don’t invoke the Singularity.
- Facebook adds facial recognition
As Mike Melanson at RWW explains, it isn’t for specific faces but merely that any faces exist within posted photos. I have to wonder if the limitation is essential, some inherent bound, or intentional given the recent privacy scrutiny. Compare with efforts of other photo sharing services that are competing with the specific facial recognition recently included by Apple in its entry level photo management software.
- Using Bespin, in a bookmarklet, to edit almost any text on the web
Via Hacker News.
- Knuth announces successor to TeX
- Obama announces broadband grants to spur jobs
- BitTorrent only show achieves considerable success
- OpenOffice replaces Java media handling with GStreamer
- Will copyright change in the face of ubiquitous recording?
Mike Masnick at Techdirt ponders a scenario that makes the impact of technology on copyright to date appear quaint. The story he digs into is of a fellow with a prosthetic eye capable of recording and broadcasting everything it sees. I think there are parallels in research on genuine life streaming and the not entirely fictional lifebox idea suggested by Rudy Rucker. Masnick hints at these with his mention of ubiquitous, constant recording being applied to help with memory.
- Australia going all in on open access fiber
Jacqui Cheung at Ars Technica has the details of a move by the Australian government, now in cooperation with the dominant telco, Telstra, that will be well worth watching. The speeds are pretty modest for fiber but the model could provide interesting fodder for broadband access discussions elsewhere. The infrastructure itself will by run so that any ISP can pay non-discriminatory rates for access. Sounds an awful lot like what we had here until lobbying resulted in broadband being largely de-regulated.
- Flexible touch screen made from printed graphene
I am floored by how far along this research described in Technology Review is. The key advance is the production of an astonishingly large continuous sheet of graphene. They’ve even used such sheets to prototype the titular flexible display, not just modeled or suggested it could be done. There’s no mention of the heated atomic force microscope work I talked about on the podcast but that would seem like a logical effort to pair with this work for all kinds of electronics applications based on graphene.
- B&N launches cheaper WiFi Nook
The Globe and Mail was one of many carrying the story and as many others have the response from Amazon, to drop the price of the Kindle. I am really only interested in competition in the space hotting up in as far as it just might lead to dropping DRM altogether as a competitive move to get each retailer’s books onto the other’s device.
- In NJ, higher tech lowers crime
- Urgent ACTA communique to which you can add your name, by June 23
- Recent quantum random number generator record already broken
- File sharing has weakened copyright, helped society
- NSA gets geeky after dark
- VLC forced to drop shoutcast support due to AOL anti-OSS provision