Mobile carriers make $24B/year selling your secrets


The largest carriers in the world partner with companies like SAP to package up data on your movements, social graph and wake/sleep patterns and sell it to marketing firms. Read the rest

In upsidedownland, Verizon upheld its fiber broadband promises to 14 cities


Verizon got broadband franchise agreements in cities across the USA in exchange for promises to get fiber into residential homes and businesses, arguing that without the exclusive right to wire up cities without competition, it would be unable to justify the investment in new infrastructure. Read the rest

What the Internet looks like when it's not a patent drawing


In contrast to yesterday's post about the way the Internet is depicted in patent drawings, check out these photos of the Internet's secret actual infrastructure. Read the rest

Google covertly lobbied against net neutrality in India

The company emailed members of the Government Relations committee of the Indian ISP association, asking them to support Facebook's program, which delivers "a poor Internet for poor people." Read the rest

NSA kremlinology: spooks outsourced lawbreaking to AT&T

Last weekend's bombshell report on AT&T's enthusiastic cooperation with NSA mass surveillance revealed that the NSA categorized many of its most egregious spying programs as "Partner [AT&T] Controlled." Read the rest

AT&T was the NSA's enthusiastic top surveillance partner

All the phone companies helped the NSA commit mass surveillance, but the agency singled out Ma Bell as "highly collaborative" with an "extreme willingness to help." Read the rest

Phil Gramm: "exploited worker" AT&T CEO "only" got $75m

The former Texas GOP Senator testified that AT&T CEO Edward Whitacre was an "exploited worker," whose $75 million golden handshake proved "bigotry that is still allowed in America...bigotry against the successful." Read the rest

If phones were designed to please their owners, rather than corporations

Your smartphone was designed to deliver as much value as possible to its manufacturer, carrier and OS vendor, leaving behind the smallest amount of value possible while still making it a product that you'd be willing to pay for and use. Read the rest

Comcast's top lobbyist insists he isn't a lobbyist

Though his time is mostly spent whispering in politicians' ears, David L. Cohen narrowly escapes the contours of the highly specialized, counterintuitive US statutory definition of a lobbyist. Read the rest

Do we really need this call?

Jessamyn West is a freelancer, and that means that she has to talk on the phone to earn her crust. This sucks. Read the rest

2.5 million data points show: America's ISPs suck, and AT&T sucks worst

Josh from the Open Tech Institute writes, "Last week, researchers published the first results from the Internet Health Test, a public tool for consumers to measure their Internet speeds and gather data on broadband providers in the wake of the FCC’s Open Internet Order. Read the rest

FCC fines AT&T $100M for throttling "unlimited" customers

The company advertised an "unlimited data" plan on its 5-12Mbps LTE network, but customers who hit a cap were throttled to 1/60th of that. Read the rest

Leetspeak, circa 1901

The telegraph operators of the early 20th century had a rich vocabulary of wrist-saving abbreviations they used among themselves: "Is tt exa tr et?" ("Is that extra there yet?") Read the rest

Canadian court hands a gimme to copyright trolls

Michael Geist writes, "Canada's Federal Court has issued its ruling on the costs in the Voltage-TekSavvy case, a case involving the demand for the names and address of thousands of TekSavvy subscribers by Voltage on copyright infringement grounds. Last year, the court opened the door to TekSavvy disclosing the names and addresses, but also established new safeguards against copyright trolling in Canada. The decision required Voltage to pay TekSavvy's costs and builds in court oversight over any demand letters sent by Voltage."

The issue of costs required another hearing with very different views of the costs associated with the case. TekSavvy claimed costs of $346,480.68 (mainly legal fees and technical costs associated with complying with the order), while Voltage argued the actual costs should be $884. The court disagreed with both sides, settling on costs of $21,557.50 or roughly $11 per subscriber name and address. The decision unpacks all the cost claims, but the key finding was that costs related to the initial motion over whether there should be disclosure of subscriber information was separate from the costs of abiding by the order the court ultimately issued. The motion judge did not address costs at the time and the court now says it is too late to address them.

With TekSavvy now bearing all of those motion costs (in addition to costs associated with informing customers), the decision sends a warning signal to ISPs that getting involved in these cases can lead to significant costs that won't be recouped. That is a bad message for privacy.

Read the rest

Age of Discovery-style map of modern submarine cables

You can explore it interactively for free and download a jumbo wallpaper JPEG, but the print edition is $250. Read the rest

One month to Net Neutrality showdown at FCC: add the countdown to your site!

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Today is exactly one month before the FCC's much anticipated vote on new net neutrality rules -- this could be the most important vote for the future of the Internet in our lifetimes." Read the rest

Tucows launching "mini-Google-fiber" to compete with Comcast

Tucows, who own two of the best Internet-infrastructure companies I know of (Hover, a domain registrar; and Ting, a mobile phone provider) have announced their own super-high-speed fiber-optic ISP in Charlottesville, Virginia, where it will compete with one of the worst infrastructure companies in the world: Comcast. Read the rest

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