Canada's telcoms regulator declares internet an "essential service"

After decades of allowing anti-competitive mergers in the TV, radio, phone and internet sectors, Canada's telcoms regulator, the CRTC, has taken an important step to address the underperformance of Canada's monopolistic, bumbling phone companies and cable operators, declaring internet access to be an "essential service" and thus something that operators must offer in all territories in which they operate. Read the rest

When tech leaders meet with Trump tomorrow, here's what they need to tell him

Execs representing the biggest tech companies in America are gathering for a meeting with Donald Trump tomorrow in New York; these companies have it in their power to spy on us, locate us, censor us, and terminally compromise the free and open internet. Read the rest

Toxic Avenger creator on why we need net neutrality

Robbo writes, "Lloyd Kaufman is best known as the uber super epic producer/director who runs Troma Films, creators of such cinema icons as 'The Toxic Avenger' and 'Surf Nazis Must Die.' Lloyd is also a die-hard advocate for Net Neutrality and he has posted an article to the Huffington Post entitled: Innovation And Our Better Future Depend On Preserving Net Neutrality - and it's a good read by a passionate and intelligent individual - who also happens to make movies like 'Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead.'" Read the rest

In Africa, British spies target allied leaders, executives, and telcoms engineers

Le Monde has published a new collection of documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden, showing that the British spy agency GCHQ targeted the leaders of allied countries in Africa, as well as business executives and employees of telecommunications companies, whose accounts were a means to gaining access to communications infrastructure across the continent. Read the rest

Projecting leaked NSA docs on the side of AT&T's windowless NYC spy-center

Earlier this month, Henrik Moltke helped report the extent to which the massive, windowless, bombproof AT&T tower at 33 Thomas Street was implicated in illegal NSA surveillance of US and international communications, revealing that the tower was almost certainly the site referred to as TITANPOINTE in Snowden docs. Read the rest

What's inside the windowless AT&T/NSA spying hub in lower Manhattan?

The windowless, 550'-tall AT&T tower at 33 Thomas Street in lower Manhattan is the building referred to as TITANPOINTE in the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, and was likely the staging point for the NSA's BLARNEY operation, which illegally spied upon communications to and from "International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Bank of Japan, the European Union, the United Nations, and at least 38 different countries, including U.S. allies such as Italy, Japan, Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Mexico, and Cyprus." Read the rest

A rotary cellular phone

Mr Volt created this "artifact from somewhere else," machining the housing (with wood veneer!) and programming an Arduino controller to allow him to make rotary dial calls with his giant metal brick, which looks to have the sturdiness of an original black Bell phone (whose logo is displayed at boot-time on the small LCD); it's also an FM radio! (via JWZ) Read the rest

A fake HP printer that's actual an office-camouflaged cellular eavesdropping device

Julian Oliver is a playful and media-savvy security researcher; previously, he documented hidden cell-phone towers in bad disguises and produced a hand-grenade shaped "transparency device" that spied on everything going on in the room. Read the rest

After North Carolina Republicans banned cities selling internet, a town decided to give it away instead

North Carolina is one of many states in which telcoms lobbyists have gotten the state house to ban towns and cities from selling high-speed internet to the public -- even in places where the cable/phone duopoly refuses to supply broadband. Read the rest

AT&T developed a "product" for spying on all its customers and made millions selling it to warrantless cops

AT&T's secret "Hemisphere" product is a database of calls and call-records on all its customers, tracking their location, movements, and interactions -- this data was then sold in secret to American police forces for investigating crimes big and small (even Medicare fraud), on the condition that they never reveal the program's existence. Read the rest

Al Franken and FCC commissioner Clyburn want limits on forced arbitration

Arbitration was conceived of as a way to allow giant corporations to avoid costly court battles by meeting with a mediator and talking things out: but since the Supreme Court ruled (in a series of mid-1980s cases) that companies could force their customers and employees into arbitration by adding "binding arbitration" clauses to the fine print in take-it-or-leave contracts, the US justice system has gone dark, which an ever-larger proportion of legal action disappearing into the opaque bowels of the arbitration system, where the richest participant usually wins. Read the rest

After being outed for massive hack and installing an NSA "rootkit," Yahoo cancels earnings call

What do you do if your ailing internet giant has been outed for losing, and then keeping silent about, 500 million user accounts, then letting American spy agencies install a rootkit on its mail service, possibly scuttling its impending, hail-mary acquisition by a risk-averse, old economy phone company? Just cancel your investor call and with it, any chance of awkward, on-the-record questions. (via /.) Read the rest

I have found a secret tunnel that runs underneath the phone companies and emerges in paradise

Calyx is a famous, heroic, radical ISP that has been involved in groundbreaking litigation -- they were the first company to ever get a secret Patriot Act warrant unsealed, fighting for 11 years to overturn the gag order. Read the rest

Autocratic regimes systematically deny internet access to opposition ethnic groups

In Digital discrimination: Political bias in Internet service provision across ethnic groups (Sci-hub mirror), a new paper in Science, political scientists from the University of Konstanz and elsewhere document the practice of "ethnic favoritism" in internet provision, through which autocratic regimes use telcoms policies to discriminate against opposition groups. Read the rest

Court rules that FCC can't force states to repeal laws banning municipal ISPs

Tea Party-dominated states across America passed laws banning cities from providing high-speed internet access to their residents, even in places where the cable/telco duopoly had decided not to sell broadband; last year, the FCC issued an order stating that these laws were null and void. Read the rest

Mexican indigenous groups form co-op phone company to serve 356 municipalities

Telecomunicaciones Indígenas Comunitarias A.C. -- a nonprofit telcoms company operated by and for indigenous groups in Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Veracruz -- has received a license to operate cellular services in at least 356 municipalities. It's the first time the Mexican telcoms regulator has given a operations license to an indigenous social group. Read the rest

Time is running out for Net Neutrality in Europe: here's what you can do about it

The Net Neutrality fight in Europe epitomises everything wrong with the EU: a decision that will adversely effect the lives of hundreds of millions of people being taken by unelected bureaucrats, working in obscurity, attended by the well-paid lobbyists of the telcoms industry, which will only make continental headlines when it is a fair accompli. Read the rest

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