One of Puerto Ricans' most basic needs in the wake of Hurricane Maria is communication with the outside world. Cell phone companies on the island are still working to repair infrastructure after the hurricane took 95 percent of the island's cell phone towers out of service.
So X, Alphabet's company devoted to technological "moonshots," is sending a fleet of balloons to serve as cell phone towers in the sky. "We are now collaborating with AT&T to deliver emergency Internet service to the hardest hit parts of the island," writes Alastair Westgarth, who leads the company's balloon-based Internet efforts.
The idea of providing Internet service via balloons sounds crazy—indeed it has sounded crazy since Google first announced the effort, dubbed Project Loon, in 2013. But Google—now X—is deadly serious about making balloon-powered Internet access a real thing.
Twenty years ago today the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision and unanimously overturned congressional legislation that made it unlawful to transmit "indecent" material on the Internet if that content could be viewed by minors. The justices ruled that the same censorship standards being applied to broadcast radio and television could not be applied to the Internet.
"The record demonstrates that the growth of the Internet has been and continues to be phenomenal," the high court concluded. "As a matter of constitutional tradition, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we presume that government regulation of the content of speech is more likely to interfere with the free exchange of ideas than to encourage it."
The Supreme Court had decided a challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued that the section of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) at issue could criminalize too broad a swath of speech. The ACLU maintained that the CDA did not define what "indecent" meant and that the law would dumb-down the Internet in the same manner as the censorship requirements imposed on broadcasters that transmit over public spectrum. The ACLU won its case on June 26, 1997. The decision, in conjunction with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other surviving parts of the CDA, has provided one of the strongest legal tools for crafting today's Internet as we know it.
Playboy, after declaring nudity "pass
Comcast should stop saying in advertisements that it “delivers the fastest Internet in America” and the “fastest in-home Wi-Fi," according to the advertising industry's self-regulation body. The evidence Comcast uses to substantiate those claims is not sufficient, ruled the National Advertising Review Board (NARB).
Verizon had challenged Comcast's advertising claims, leading to today's ruling. Comcast said today that it disagreed with the findings but will comply with the decision.
Comcast used crowdsourced speed test data from Ookla to make its claim about Xfinity Internet speeds.
That lawyer, Charles Harder of Beverly Hills, is representing Shiva Ayyadurai, the man who claims to have invented e-mail. Ayyadurai is seeking $15 million in a federal libel suit (PDF) against Masnick and Techdirt parent company Floor64. The suit is over blog posts that labeled Ayyadurai a "fraud" and a "liar" because he claims to have invented e-mail in 1978 as a teenager in New Jersey.
Ayyadurai also sued Gawker for ridiculing him with headlines that said Ayyadurai has "pretended to invent Email" and "The Inventor of Email did Not Invent Email." After losing the Hulk Hogan case, Gawker went bankrupt, disappeared those Ayyadurai stories from the site, and agreed to pay $750,000 to Ayyadurai to settle his libel lawsuit.
Like most of his other policies, Trump's cybersecurity plan is frustratingly thin on details. It calls for an "immediate review of all US cyber defenses and vulnerabilities, including critical infrastructure, by a Cyber Review Team of individuals from the military, law enforcement, and the private sector."
What that would look like in practice, how much it would cost, how it would be funded, and how it would be different from what the government already does remains murky.
The recently agglomerated networking juggernaut Nokia-Alcatel-Lucent has managed to squeeze 65 terabits per second—about 8 terabytes per second—over a single fibre measuring 4,100 miles (6,600km).
To put that 65Tbps figure into perspective, the Faster submarine cable between the US and Asia, which is co-owned by Google and some Asian telecoms giants, pushes 60Tbps over 12 optical fibres. As of mid-2016 Faster is the fastest (!) commercially operated submarine cable, and yet it's about 13 times slower per-fibre (65Tbps vs. 5Tbps) than the Nokia-Alcatel-Lucent demo.
Another cable, Marea, being laid between the US and Spain, will carry 160Tbps over 16 fibres (10Tbps per fibre) when it's inaugurated sometime in 2017-2018. If Marea upped its per-fibre speed to 65Tbps its total capacity would be around 520Tbps, or 65 terabytes per second. That would let you transfer about 16,250 4GB Blu-ray rips per second.
In 2010, China had 420 million citizens connected to the Internet. Just six years later, that figure has soared past 710 million, according to an official government source.
Defining Internet users as anyone who has gone online at least once in the past six months, the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) also says that more 20 million Chinese have started using the Internet since December alone, a 3.1 percent rise, as the country continues a determined push to get its citizens online.
There are now more than twice as many Internet users in China as there are citizens in the US—of whom just under 287 million are online. Around 11.5 percent (37 million) of Americans remain stubbornly offline, while China, with its population of 1.38 billion, now has just over half of its citizens using the Web. As you'd expect, the country's massive rural population is the sticking point; less than a third of these are Internet users. The rest either have no knowledge of computers, or no interest in them.
Crypto backdoors, the overuse of opaque algorithms, turning companies into law enforcement agencies, and online attacks on critical infrastructure have all been attacked by the Global Commission on Internet Governance in a new report published on Wednesday.
The body, which was set up in 2014 by UK-based Chatham House and the Canadian Centre for International Governance Innovation, has presented its 140-page-long One Internet report to provide "high-level, strategic advice and recommendations to policy makers, private industry, the technical community, and other stakeholders interested in maintaining a healthy Internet."
It comes out in favour of strict legal controls on the aggregation of personal metadata, net neutrality, open standards, and the mandatory public reporting of high-threshold data breaches. Along the way, it offers opinions on areas such as the sharing economy, blockchains, the Internet of Things, IPv6, and DNSSEC.
The Internet is used more and more in the UK by child sex abuse criminals and police must be better equipped to tackle the problem, a leading charity has warned.
Roughly 3,000 cases—or eight per day—were reported in 2015, the NSPCC said on Tuesday as it revealed the findings based on so-called "cyber-flagging" figures.
The mandatory cyber flag system was implemented by the government in April 2015. It requires police forces in England and Wales to record any sexual crime committed against a child that involved use of the Internet.
If you ask the Internet what’s wrong with you when you’re not feeling well, it’s bound to break the news that you’ve probably got cancer or perhaps some rare, terminal disease. It doesn’t matter that you just have a mundane, generic symptom. You likely only have a few months left and you should start getting your affairs in order. Sincere condolences, poor Internet user.
With the Web brimming with such bum medical advice—alarming patients and irking doctors worldwide—Google is now rolling out new search tools to try to strip away the medical malarkey or at least shove it down deep in search results.
In the next few days, the Internet giant will be adding in new digital cards that should pop up above common results when you search for terms like “stomach ache” and “skin rash.” The cards are said to contain accurate medical information about common ailments, created with the help of doctors from Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic.
Singapore is planning to take 100,000 government computers off the Internet in order to boost security, according to several news reports. Government employees who need Internet connectivity to do their jobs will have access to "dedicated Internet-linked terminals," but by default the civil servants won't be able to go online using government-issued devices, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency reported today.
Government employees have received a memo about the change, which is being phased in over the course of a year. "There are some 100,000 computers in use by the public service and all of them will be affected," The Straits Times wrote.
Singapore government websites were hacked by Anonymous in 2013, apparently in response to censorship regulations imposed on news sites. The latest security measure is reportedly aimed at preventing similar attacks and the spread of malware through e-mail.
Nearly a year ago, a Silicon Valley startup called SmartCar signed up for Comcast Internet service. SmartCar founder and CEO Sahas Katta was moving the company into new office space in Mountain View, California, and there was seemingly no reason to think Comcast might not be able to offer him Internet access.
But Comcast never fulfilled its promise to hook up the business, blaming the delay on construction and permitting problems. Katta discovered that neighboring businesses were making do with painfully slow and unreliable DSL Internet from AT&T, and ultimately SmartCar reluctantly signed up for AT&T as well.
After hearing Comcast excuses for months, Katta finally got fed up and decided that he would find a new office building once his 12-month lease expires on April 20 of this year. Katta told Comcast he wanted to “cancel” his nonexistent service and get a refund for a $2,100 deposit he had paid. Instead, Comcast told him he’d have to pay more than $60,000 to get out of his contract with the company.
BT, rather unfortunately for one of the world's largest and oldest telcos, has mistakenly claimed that the UK invented the Internet.
In the ad, BT's Openreach division states that "We believe that the country that invented the Internet should have world-class access to it." The ad appeared in a few UK newspapers over the weekend and on Monday.
While British people were behind most of the world's best inventions, including the reflecting telescope, tin can, steam turbine, and the telephone, we sadly didn't invent the Internet. BT's ad is actually referring to the World Wide Web, which was created by Tim Berners-Lee (who is a Brit) while working at CERN in Geneva.
SLOAT, Calif.—Plumas County is rural, mountainous, and at the far north of the Sierra Nevada Range. In area, it is larger than the individual states of Rhode Island and Delaware, but the population here is under 20,000. It all makes for a beautiful place to live, but some amenities that are common in more densely populated areas can be hard to come by.
High-speed Internet access that’s reliable across all seasons of the year is one clear example. In 2014, the local cable TV provider (New Day Broadband) went bankrupt, taking with it the only source for cable-based Internet access in the town of Quincy, California. It was also the only tethered high-speed provider accepting new customers. AT&T used to offer DSL in the area, but the company stopped taking on new clients and does not allow existing customers to transfer service. And while both satellite Internet access and multiple WISPs (wireless ISPs) are available, both of these delivery methods face reliability challenges in stormy, snowy weather (a common occurrence for this area in the winter).
A week after saying the US should disrupt the Islamic terrorist group ISIS' online recruiting by "closing that Internet up in some way," Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was given a chance to clarify what he meant at last night's GOP debate.
"You talk freedom of speech. You talk freedom of anything you want. I don’t want them using our Internet to take our young, impressionable youth," Trump said at the debate. "We should be using our brilliant people, our most brilliant minds to figure a way that ISIS cannot use the Internet."
Trump's "our Internet" phrasing referred to the fact that Americans invented the Internet, but he said he doesn't want to shut down the Internet in the US—only in other countries.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he wants to talk to Bill Gates about "closing that Internet up in some way" in order to prevent Islamic terrorist group ISIS from recruiting kids.
Speaking at a Pearl Harbor Day rally in South Carolina yesterday, Trump said, "We have kids that are watching the Internet and they want to be masterminds... they're young, they're impressionable, they go over there, and they want to join ISIS."
Clearly, the Internet is to blame. Trump continued (see video here, Internet-related comments beginning at 22:53):
The Ranking Digital Rights project has launched its first Corporate Accountability Index, in which 16 leading Internet and telecommunications companies were evaluated on the protection they offered their users' digital rights. A total of 31 indicators were taken into account, in an attempt to rate each company's policies and practices that affect users’ freedom of expression and privacy.
For the eight Internet companies and eight telecommunications companies selected, Ranking Digital Rights says that only six companies scored at least 50 percent of the total possible points. The highest score overall was 65 percent, obtained by Google, and nearly half the companies in the Index scored less than 25 percent, "showing a serious deficit of respect for users’ freedom of expression and privacy," according to the project.
Alongside Google, the other Internet companies were (in order of their ranking): Yahoo (58 percent), Microsoft (56), Twitter (50), the South Korean mobile apps company Kakao (47), Facebook (41)—and then a big gap to the remaining two: the Chinese giant Tencent (16 percent) and the Russian Mail.Ru (13). Among the telecoms, Vodafone had the highest score (54 percent), followed by AT&T (50), Orange (37), and then a large drop to the Mexican company Am
The Internet has claimed one of its highest profile victims yet: As of March 2016, Playboy magazine will no longer feature fully nude models. This follows on from August last year, when the Playboy website also stopped publishing nude photos and videos. Yes, you'll now be able to read Hugh Hefner's flagship publication, which published its first nude centrefold way back in 1953, just for the articles.
Speaking to The New York Times, Playboy CEO Scott Flanders explained the reasoning behind the change: "You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just pass