Friday, January 31, 2014

Obama's January 31, 2014 Net Neutrality Comments

Question from Art Hernandez in Tempe: 

… I have two daughters who currently live on the east coast and as you might expect I can't afford to visit them as frequently as I'd like to. So the only opportunity that we get to spend time together is through the Internet on video chats such as this one.

My question today has to do with Net Neutrality and the recent US court of appeals ruling almost disregarding the rule of a fair and neutral Internet.

I'm curious to know if you support Net Neutrality and how you feel about the court's decision and how that decision will impact the U.S. Economy and the Internet as we currently know it?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Coming Clean on Net Neutrality

I’m relieved that Net Neutrality’s opponents have finally come clean.

Sort of.

For years a lineup of phone and cable industry mouthpieces had called Net Neutrality “a solution in search of a problem.” The principle that prevents online censorship and blocking by service providers is irrelevant, they claimed, as these companies would never lift a finger to harm the open Internet.

But then they changed their tune.

In September’s oral arguments in Verizon vs. FCC, Verizon admitted that it did indeed plan to charge new Internet tolls and favor certain content at the expense of other sites and services.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Information Counter-Revolution

Photo: Sasha Maksymenko

Many people in Kiev awoke Tuesday morning to a frightening text message on their phones. “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance,” it read.

Using cellphone technology, Ukraine’s dominant carriers have reportedly helped the government pinpoint the locations of their customers. Anyone with a cellphone in the vicinity of recent protests was added to a government watch list and sent the intimidating text.

The incident is just one in a growing number of attacks on Internet users. It’s a troubling sign that the information age has entered a new era — one where our rights to connect and communicate are under constant siege by governments and corporations.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Net Neutrality Solution

In the wake of this week's devastating court decision on Net Neutrality, a consensus is emerging as to how the FCC can clean up its mess.

Tuesday's federal appeals court decision stripped the agency f its ability to stop companies like AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner Cable from blocking websites and degrading Internet access.

More and more people are calling for a specific fix: To protect the open Internet, the FCC must reclassify broadband access as a telecommunications service.

The New York Times editorial board wrote on Wednesday that the court decision against the Open Internet Order could turn the Internet into a domain controlled only by powerful corporations:
"If this ruling stands, broadband providers would be free to strike deals with companies like Netflix and Apple to pay to have their movies, software and other data streamed to customers faster than or ahead of other content. Such deals would hurt smaller businesses or start-ups that cannot afford to pay for preferential treatment."
During oral arguments, Verizon's top legal counsel told the courts that this is exactly what the company plans to do. Their intentions are no secret, despite contradictory statements made this week by ISP executives and their lobbyists, who say we should trust carriers not to tamper with the Internet.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Will Murdoch Succeed in Burying his Past?

It’s a new year for News Corp. But the recently rebranded media colossus can’t seem to shake off a 2013 hangover.

Rupert Murdoch is plotting his empire’s expansion — growth that could include purchases of Tribune Company newspapers and, reportedly, Time Inc. But will 2014 be the year that the media mogul, who’s skilled at reinventing himself and burying old mistakes, is finally held to account?


The News Corp phone-hacking scandal became front-page fodder in the summer of 2011, but its principal defendants went before British courts just last fall. In the months since the trial began, we‘ve learned more about the alleged “culture of corruption” that pervaded News Corp’s London operation, infecting many top executives. The outlook for former Murdoch colleagues Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson looks bleak.

Murdoch has distanced himself and his companies from these and other lead actors in the scandal — with the possible exception of his son James. And he just plunked down a multi-million-dollar sum for a 30-year lease on new headquarters at London Bridge, indicating his intent to stick around.