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As we've noted previously
, Obama and intelligence/law enforcement agencies are working on a new domestic surveillance expansion plan that would fine ISPs and companies who don't cooperate with wiretap requests. The FBI and DOJ have spent the last year or so whining about the fact that despite all their immense (and often legally dubious) wiretapping powers, they're having a hard time accessing encrypted services. As such, they're looking for special backdoor access to many of these services, and fines for companies who don't provide those backdoors on a set timetable.
now notes that this new push is seeing rising opposition from some increasingly influential technology companies, including the Internet Association
, whose membership includes Google, Facebook and Amazon. As you'd expect, civil liberty and privacy advocates aren't all too impressed, either:
It would require a "fundamental re-architecting" of many Internet services, said Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology, as it tried to establish "a point of wiretap ability." "I think some members [of Congress] are surprised at the notion that the FBI believes new technologies should be engineered to be less secure than they are now," Nojeim continued. "That strikes many legislators and CDT as fundamentally wrongheaded."
Expansion in wiretap authority and the quest to force ISP to store more user records
are an almost constant drum beat, regardless of party or administration. So is the response to these pushes by some companies and privacy advocates. What appears more likely to create an unfriendly political climate for this latest push is the snooping on the Associated Press
and IRS misbehavior
stories that are currently giving the White House fits.
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.
This picture (click to enlarge) says it all, though Dan Frommer says some more
Efforts in several countries to block user access to the Pirate Bay haven't gone particularly well, in large part thanks to the fact that users are simply using proxies and VPNs to access the website and its linked content. According to Torrent Freak
, around 8% of the traffic hitting the controversial website is now via proxied IP addresses, a percentage the website argues could be potentially higher. "The 8% is just what goes through the dedicated IP-address, a lot of proxies use the sites domain name instead," a Pirate Bay spokesman tells Torrent Freak. There has also been an uptick in VPN services in the States, as users hide from the entertainment industry's new six strikes initiative
As noted yesterday, the FCC has selected former cable and wireless industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler to replace Julius Genachowski as the head of the FCC
. Wheeler has been a top fundraiser for the Obama campaign during the last two election cycles, and it appears he's now getting his political reward for being a loyal foot soldier.
Sprint's launch of HD voice had to be delayed slightly to work out some "kinks," though the company now says HD voice should make an appearance sometime in the next two months. "We had a few things that came out of our FIT [field integration testing] testing in Q4 that we needed to resolve to ensure a really good customer experience," a Sprint spokeswoman tells Light Reading
. "Those have been resolved and now were planning the roll-out." When it does launch, it won't work if users call friends on other carriers -- or even other users different network gear made by various Sprint OEMs Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung. Sprint says it will take "several months to achieve interoperability" after launch, meaning the actual
Sprint launch of HD voice is much later this year.
After a few initial delays, AT&T today announced
that they're launching their new "Digital Life
" home automation and security platform in fifteen markets: Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Boulder, Colo., Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Riverside, Calif., San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and select areas of New York and New Jersey.
Germany's incumbent broadband provider Deutsche Telekom is taking immense heat this week for the announcement that they'll not only be capping and throttling its broadband subscribers, but that the company's own video content will not be hindered by the cap. The company announced
on Monday announced that they'll be imposing caps as low a 75 GB per month on users starting May 1, and if exceeded, users will find themselves throttled back to a paltry 384 kbps unless they pony up an unspecified fee for additional bandwidth.
According to an announcement from the IETF
, over 25% of Verizon Wireless traffic is now IPV6, making Verizon the first wireless carrier to reach the 25% mark (at least of all the companies being tracked as part of the group's World IPv6 Launch measurements). The full measurement page
is worth a look if you're looking to see which participating companies are making headway. The group notes that other conversion leaders include Gustavus Adolphus College with 62.17% of their traffic being IPv6, and the U.S. Navys SPAWAR network at 41.30%. Dreamhost and Hurricane Electric are the only hosting providers in the top ten, ranked at 29% and 25%, respectively.
According to Prolexic, a company that sells DDoS protection, the average DDoS attack strength has jumped 718% in a very short period of time. According to the company's latest annual attack report
, the average DDoS attack went from 5.9Gbps to 48.25Gbps in just one quarter. Ten percent of all attacks clocked in at 60Gbps, and the biggest attack Prolexic saw was 130 Gbps. The company believes that last month's claimed attack of 300 Gbps was over-inflated nonsense
, even if attack size and scope is surging. Why the soaring potency? Prolexic blames two things: cheaper botnets for hire and open and misconfigured DNS resolvers
Comcast continues to lead the telecom industry push toward IPv6 while many broadband providers nap. The company this week announced that they're planning on expanding their IPv6-based business offerings with the launch of commercial broadband and Metro Ethernet services supporting IPv6 later this year. "We've completed the rollout of IPv6 on half of our broadband network," Comcast Engineer John Brzozowski tells Network World
. "Wherever we've upgraded our network, that's where we are going to start with our commercial broadband service." Residential broadband IPv6 deployment should be finished this year, with Comcast saying 3% of those users are actively using IPv6.
The tech specs for Google Glass were unveiled this week
, highlighting how the device won't have a cellular radio -- or even 802.11N support in an effort to save battery life and lower the unit's weight. Wired noted another interesting tidbit in the Glass terms of service
: once you've purchased your $1,500 glasses, you are technically prohibited from loaning them or selling them to another person.
Like so much of the software and other content you buy, you technically won't own your expensive new toy and risk device deactivation if your buddy uses the gear:
The companys terms of service on the limited-edition wearable computer specifically states, you may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Googles authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty."
Granted terms of service are always packed with restrictions, and outside of the eBay sale ban, it's unclear if Google actually intends to try and enforce some of these sillier provisions -- which is obviously going to be an uphill battle.
After the Boston bombings earlier this week the Associated Press incorrectly reported
that cell carriers in Boston had been told by the government to shut down their cellular networks "to prevent any potential remote detonations of explosives." That story wound up being false and was ultimately deleted by the AP as it quickly became clear that some Boston cellular networks were simply struggling (as usual) under heavy load during emergency.
While the government didn't force carriers to pull the plug, Mother Jones
explores that the government technically does have the power to do so under SOP 303:
"No one in Washington or in any statehouse or bunker anywhere can press a button and shut down phone service," explains Harold Feld, vice president at Public Knowledge, an advocacy group focused on communications and technology policy.
Our friends over at TMONews
point out that T-Mobile will be sending out an over-the-air update from Apple that will provide LTE connectivity for unlocked iPhones on T-Mobile's network starting on April 5. According to the leaked internal screenshot, the over-the-air update will also provide those users with other awaited functionality like visual voicemail and MMS.
According to documents obtained by CNET
, the DEA is upset because the encryption used by Apple's iMessage foils their ability to snoop on those communications. Even with a warrant (increasingly seen as optional these days by law enforcement and intelligence agencies) and the fact that carriers let the NSA snoop on everything in real time
, "it is impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices."
Well not entirely impossible; the memo notes that sometimes interception is possible, but it would require the government to conduct man in the middle attacks using spoofed cell towers, something the feds just got busted for using for years without properly informing Judges
According to a new survey by the Fiber to the Home Council
, running a fiber to the home network isn't just great for consumers and businesses looking for more bandwidth, but it can save a medium or small scale telco up to 20% in savings annually. "On average, respondents estimated those savings to be 20.4 percent, largely because of a decrease in ongoing repair and maintenance," says the group.
According to the Council (which is comprised of companies selling fiber gear), the number of homes that can access FTTH networks has jumped 17.6 percent over the last year to 22.7 million. Granted most small to mid-sized telcos aren't
installing fiber -- not because they don't realize potential cost savings, but because they either don't have the funds to do so, or there's such pathetic competition across their footprint there's simply nothing driving them to
Google today announced
that the company is conducting a new trial of white space broadband technology in Cape Town, South Africa. The trial will use three base stations to ten local schools, in the process both proving that interference concerns have been dramatically over-stated by opponents of the technology (read: carriers, broadcasters), while also testing Google's new white spaces database
. Google is one of several companies tasked with maintaining a database that will allow white space broadband powered devices to detect and avoid nearby potential unlicensed spectrum interference. Microsoft is currently conducting a similar trial in Kenya we discussed at length last month
Ars Technica offers up an interesting read
on how the folks planning the San Francisco Forty Niners new stadium claim they'll be installing a Wi-Fi network capable of connecting all 68,500 stadium attendees simultaneously -- with no bandwidth caps for anyone. The designers plan to embed access points literally everywhere, then use eight non-overlapping 20MHz channels in the 5GHz range. The designers get a little less confident when asked if all 68,500 attendees can still connect to the network if the majority of them are using 2.4GHz-only devices, but note that problem should be less of one by the time the stadium's done in 2014.
by Revcb Thursday 14-Mar-2013
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..
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , telcodad , JKukiewicz , swintec