Americans pay some of the highest prices for wireless data in the world, and it's going to get worse

In The State of 4G Pricing, Finnish researchers Rewheel identify the US as having some of the most expensive wireless data (fifth highest prices) in the world, and they predict things will get worse thanks to looming mergers in the already super-concentrated wireless sector. Read the rest

Trump's FCC seems to have ended the practice of releasing its ISP speed-tests, leaving Americans in the dark about what they're paying for

When Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai killed Net Neutrality (by deliberately ignoring comments from actual humans in favor of comments left by obvious bots), he said that removing regulation from telcos would boost investment, finally ending the US's status as the worst broadband nation in the world. Read the rest

A leaky database of SMS messages is a reminder that SMS is really, really insecure

Berlin-based security researcher Sébastien Kaul discovered that Voxox (formerly Telcentris) -- a giant, San Diego-based SMS gateway company -- had left millions of SMSes exposed on an Amazon cloud server, with an easily queried search front end that would allow attackers to watch as SMSes with one-time login codes streamed through the service. Read the rest

Canadian regulator wants your comments on ISP rules requiring simple contracts, easy switching

The CRTC has proposed a code of conduct for Canadian ISPs that would "easy to understand, and make it easier for Canadians to switch providers to take advantage of competitive offers" -- but the new plan doesn't address the epidemic of fraudulent promises made by Canadian ISPs (that's part of a separate, ongoing government inquiry). Canadians hate their ISPs, with complaints rising by 36% in 2017. Canada has one of the world's most concentrated telcoms sectors, with the big cable and phone companies routinely gobbling up each other (and many media companies) with nary a peep from Canada's asleep-at-the-wheel competition regulators. Read the rest

Swedish ISP punishes Elsevier for forcing it to block Sci-Hub by also blocking Elsevier

The Swedish ISP Bahnhof has a strong historic commitment to free speech, so when the notoriously corrupt science publishing giant Elsevier (previously) sought to force the ISP to censor connections to the open access site Sci-Hub (previously), the ISP went to court to resist the order. Read the rest

Indie UK mobile carrier announces a Tor-only SIM that blocks unencrypted data

Getting all your data to flow through the Tor network can be tricky -- the desktop Tor Browser only tunnels your web-traffic through the privacy-protecting service, and the mobile apps can be tricky and uncertain. Read the rest

After killing disaster-recovery rules, Ajit Pai can't understand why carriers aren't helping hurricane-hit Florida

Ajit Pai is a member of the Ayn Rand/James Buchanan cult that says that any government regulation is an unfair attack on the "freedom" of business, which is why his ascendancy to the Chairmanship of the FCC under Donald Trump was attended by an orgy of deregulation -- most of us know about his senseless slaughter of Net Neutrality, but that was just for starters. Read the rest

America's super-concentrated telcoms industry unites to sue California over Net Neutrality law

Competition scholar Tim Wu has described how industries over time become more concentrated and less competitive, as executives move sideways from one giant company to another, creating a web of backchannels that lets the companies unite to pursue their industry-wide goals rather than competing with each other to deliver better service at better prices to their customers. Read the rest

North Carolina Verizon customers, trapped by Hurricane Florence, say they're being throttled and upsold

Redditor AbeFroman21 posted that he and his family are without power or internet due to Hurricane Florence, and that Verizon has throttled their internet access to an unusable trickle, offering to unblock them if they pay for a higher tier of service. Read the rest

Santa Clara fire department: Verizon's pants are on fire

When Verizon's life-threatening price-gouging was introduced in a sworn statement from the Santa Clara County Fire Department as part of 22 states' lawsuits against the FCC over its dismantling of Net Neutrality rules, Verizon's crisis communications team leapt into action. Read the rest

Verizon to fire department: you're exceeding your bandwidth while you fight wildfires, so we're throttling you

The Santa Clara County Fire Department had its Verizon wireless access throttled to 0.5% of normal, in the midst of its fight against the California wildfires; Verizon said that the firefighters had been using too much bandwidth while they risked their lives racing to save the county from being engulfed in flames. Read the rest

New York City makes all prisoner calls free

The City of New York has declared that all calls from its city jails will henceforth be free; meaning the city will forego the $5,000,000 it took from prisoners and their families every year. Read the rest

UK regulators ban lies in ISP ads, advertised speeds drop by 41%

The UK Committees of Advertising Practice changed the rules for ISP advertising: where once the ISPs could advertise speeds of "Up to" some incredibly high number so long as 10% of customers ever achieved that speed, now ISPs can only advertise a speed promise if 51% of their customers attain that speed at all times. Read the rest

Fraudsters offers thousands to low-waged telco employees for help with SIM Swap scams

SIM Swapping is a powerful form of fraud in which criminals convince the phone company to switch your phone number to a SIM they control; once they have your phone number, they can bypass the SMS-based two-factor authentication protecting your cryptocurrency wallets, social media accounts, and other valuable systems. Read the rest

Your phone company's shitty security is all that's standing between you and total digital destruction

Online services increasingly rely on SMS messages for two-factor authentication, which means on the one hand that it's really hard to rip you off without first somehow stealing your phone number, but on the other hand, once someone diverts your SMS messages, they can plunder everything Read the rest

Comcast's $1.2b/year modem-rental scam picks your pocket, then exposes you to hackers, stalkers and identity thieves

For most of a century, AT&T ripped off its customers by requiring them to rent their phones, meaning that over the life of your phone subscription, you would buy your phone thousands of times over. Read the rest

Cable industry attains the impossible: makes Americans hate it even more

Comcast is America's perennial most hated company, so it's hard to imagine how it could get even less popular, but you've got to give the company credit: on the way to growing to never-seen size and profitability, it continues to lead its ever-more-unpopular industry in customer dissatisfaction! Read the rest

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