Boing Boing 

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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?")

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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. So is the likely outcome for future cases (should they arise) with subscribers left with fewer notices and information from their ISP given the costs involved and the court's decision to not compensate for those costs.

Defending Privacy Doesn’t Pay: Federal Court Issues Ruling in Voltage – TekSavvy Costs [Michael Geist]

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.

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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."

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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.

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Irish government retroactively legalizes GCHQ surveillance revealed in Snowden docs

As reported by The Irish Times on Saturday, 6th December; "Foreign law enforcement agencies will be allowed to tap Irish phone calls and intercept emails under a statutory instrument signed into law by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald."

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Vodafone made millions helping GCHQ spy on the world


A newly released Snowden doc, published in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, shows how Cable and Wireless (now a Vodafone subsidiary) made millions of pounds illegally installing fiber-taps to help GCHQ conduct its programme of mass surveillance.

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ISPs caught sabotaging their customers' email encryption


Ever since 2013, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation started shaming email providers that did not encrypt their customers' email, more and more mail providers have turned on STARTTLS, which protects email in transit from snooping, without requiring users to take any additional steps.

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Obama tells the FCC to class the Internet (including mobile!) as a "utility"

It's a surprise move in the net neutrality debate, coming on the heels of a sellout proposal from cable-lobbyist-turned-cable-regulator Chairman Tom Wheeler that would have let the carriers continue to screw Americans out of access to the services they want to use if those services hadn't paid large-enough bribes for "premium carriage."

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PSA: UK small businesses, don't get ripped off by BT's "PC Security" scam


I cancelled my small business BT account last year when they endorsed the Tory Internet censorship plan -- and to my surprise, they kept sending me bills, but that wasn't nearly so surprising as what I discovered next: a seven-year-long overbilling ripoff that took most of a year to untangle.

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Verizon's new big budget tech-news site prohibits reporting on NSA spying or net neutrality


They're positioning the new site "Sugar String" as a well-funded competitor to Wired, but reporters are not allowed to mention NSA spying (in which Verizon was an enthusiastic partner) or net neutrality (which Verizon has devoted itself to killing, with campaigns of overt lobbying and covert dirty tricks).

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