Dega704 writes: A brand-new social networking startup — Ello — has gone viral. At one point on Thursday, the site was acquiring 31,000 new users an hour — many of whom flocked to there because of a disagreement with Facebook over its policy requiring real names, which some say is unfair to LGBTQ and transgender users.
Ello might be the new Facebook or the new Twitter or the new social media flop. It's too early to tell. Here is everything you need to know to understand Ello and why it's popular right now:
Dega704 writes: When Syria's access to the internet was cut for two days back in 2012, it apparently wasn't the fault of dissenting "terrorists," as the Syrian government claimed: according to Wired, it was the fault of the US government. In a long profile of Edward Snowden published today, Wired writes what Snowden says is the truth about the internet outage. An elite hacking unit in the National Security Agency had reportedly been attempting to install malware on a central router within Syria — a feat that would have allowed the agency to access a good amount of the country's internet traffic. Instead, it ended up accidentally rendering the router unusable, causing Syria's internet connection to go dark.
Dega704 writes: While the network neutrality debate has focused primarily on whether ISPs should be able to charge companies like Netflix for faster access to consumers, cable companies are now arguing that it's really Netflix who holds the market power to charge them. This argument popped up in comments submitted to the FCC by Time Warner Cable and industry groups that represent cable companies. (National Journal writer Brendan Sasso pointed this out.) The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), which represents many companies including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Cox, and Charter wrote to the FCC:
"Even if broadband providers had an incentive to degrade their customers’ online experience in some circumstances, they have no practical ability to act on such an incentive. Today’s Internet ecosystem is dominated by a number of “hyper-giants” with growing power over key aspects of the Internet experience—including Google in search, Netflix and Google (YouTube) in online video, Amazon and eBay in e-commerce, and Facebook in social media. If a broadband provider were to approach one of these hyper-giants and threaten to block or degrade access to its site if it refused to pay a significant fee, such a strategy almost certainly would be self-defeating, in light of the immediately hostile reaction of consumers to such conduct. Indeed, it is more likely that these large edge providers would seek to extract payment from ISPs for delivery of video over last-mile networks."
Dega704 writes: No company has lobbied more fiercely against network neutrality than Verizon, which filed the lawsuit that overturned the FCC's rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking and discriminating against Web content. But the absence of net neutrality rules isn't just good for Verizon—it's also good for the blind, deaf, and disabled, Verizon claims.
That's what Verizon lobbyists said in talks with congressional staffers, according to a Mother Jones report last month. "Three Hill sources tell Mother Jones that Verizon lobbyists have cited the needs of blind, deaf, and disabled people to try to convince congressional staffers and their bosses to get on board with the fast lane idea," the report said. With "fast lanes," Web services—including those designed for the blind, deaf, and disabled—could be prioritized in exchange for payment.
Now, advocacy groups for deaf people have filed comments with the FCC saying they don't agree with Verizon's position.
Dega704 writes: Plenty of nightmare surveillance theories surround the million-square-foot NSA facility opened last year in Bluffdale, Utah. Any locals driving by the massive complex Friday morning saw something that may inspire new ones: A massive blimp hovering over the center, with the letters NSA printed on its side.
Activist groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Greenpeace launched the 135-foot thermal airship early Friday morning to protest the agency’s mass surveillance programs and to announce the launch of Stand Against Spying, a website that rates members of Congress on their support or opposition to NSA reform. The full message on the blimp reads “NSA: Illegal Spying Below” along with an arrow pointing downward and the Stand Against Spying URL.
Dega704 writes: Cox Communications President Pat Esser said the cable company will roll out gigabit broadband to residential customers this year.
During an interview with Bloomberg yesterday, Esser said:
Delivering gigabit speeds to business service customers has always been a high priority to us, and for years we've delivered gigabit broadband to commercial customers across the country. We're working on our roadmap now around the residential side of the business to bring gigabit speeds to customers this year.
I'm talking about plans over time for all of our customers in all of our markets having residential gigabit broadband speeds available to them, and we're excited about it. Over the next two to three weeks we'll be announcing which markets we're starting in.
Esser didn't mention whether this would be a fiber-to-the-home service, but at another point he noted, "We have this very robust network, fiber very deep in the network." Cox offers fiber-to-the-premises for business customers needing 1Gbps or 10Gbps throughput.
Dega704 writes: "The Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules that allow Internet service providers to offer a faster lane through which to send video and other content to consumers, as long as a content company is willing to pay for it, according to people briefed on the proposals.
The proposed rules are a complete turnaround for the F.C.C. on the subject of so-called net neutrality, the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose, and that no content providers should be discriminated against in providing their offerings to consumers."
It would seem that fears about Tom Wheeler's lobbyist background were well-founded after all.
Dega704 writes: Some financial services companies are looking to migrate their ATM fleets from Windows to Linux in a bid to have better control over hardware and software upgrade cycles.
Pushing them in that direction apparently is Microsoft's decision to end support for Windows XP on April 8, said David Tente, executive director, USA, of the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA).
"There is some heartburn in the industry" over Microsoft's end-of-support decision, Tente said.
ATM operators would like to be able to synchronize their hardware and software upgrade cycles. But that's hard to do with Microsoft dictating the software upgrade timetable. As a result, "some are looking at the possibility of using a non-Microsoft operating system to synch up their hardware and software upgrades," Tente said.
Dega704 writes: Crytek sent out a press release today announcing they will be showing off CryEngine Linux support. Found in a press release today, "During presentations and hands-on demos at Crytek's GDC booth, attendees can see for the first time ever full native Linux support in the new CRYENGINE. The CRYENGINE all-in-one game engine is also updated with the innovative features used to recreate the stunning Roman Empire seen in Ryse – including the brand new Physically Based Shading render pipeline, which uses real-world physics simulation to create amazingly realistic lighting and materials in CRYENGINE games."
At a Tuesday closed-door meeting with tech leaders, one unnamed participant suggested to Obama that Snowden be pardoned; Obama said he couldn't do that. During a 60 Minutes report on the leaks that aired Sunday, though, even an NSA official suggested it might be worth discussing amnesty—if and only if he returns the leaked documents securely, almost surely an impossibility at this point. (CBS news has been busy defending itself against accusations that Sunday's show was a "puff piece.")
Even that tiny, tentative olive branch seems to have crossed a line for security hawks. NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander dismissed the idea, comparing Snowden to "a hostage taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10, and then say[ing], 'You give me full amnesty and I'll let the other 40 go.'"
Former CIA director James Woolsey responded to the suggestion of amnesty even more strongly, saying in a Fox News interview that Snowden should be hanged.
"I think giving him amnesty is idiotic,” said Woolsey, who ran the CIA from 1993 to 1995. “He should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead."
Dega704 writes: DistroWatch has a very disturbing report about Canonical possibly trying to force Linux Mint to license Ubuntu binary packages.
"Clem claims he has been asked by Canonical's legal department to license the binary packages used by Ubuntu. To me this is a scary thought. Ubuntu is a base distribution for many projects, some of them (such as Mint and Kubuntu) are quite successful.
Clem's statement makes me wonder if Canonical has approached other open source projects about licensing the right to access Ubuntu's package repositories. If so, what might follow? Would derivative distributions need to pay to use Canonical's packages? How would Canonical enforce such a policy, with lawyers, by blocking access to the repositories if a user isn't using Genuine Ubuntu? "
Dega704 writes: US and British intelligence officials are concerned former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden has stored an online "doomsday" cache of extraordinarily sensitive classified information that will be unpacked in the event he is arrested or physically harmed, according to a report published Monday.
The article, headlined Spies worry over "doomsday" cache stashed by ex-NSA contractor Snowden, cited seven current and former US officials, as well as other sources briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition they not be identified. The report claimed the cache contained documents generated by the NSA and other agencies that include previously unpublished names of US and allied intelligence personnel. One of the sources described the documents as an insurance policy against arrest or harm.
Ars was unable to confirm the claims in the article, and some of the reported details sounded technically implausible, at least as they were described.
Dega704 writes: On Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee approved a spending bill to fund the National Security Agency and other intelligence organizations. Included in the bill is a provision that would set aside $75 million for the NSA to improve its internal security and mitigate insider threats to classified material. In other words, the bill seeks to prevent future Edward Snowdens.
Dega704 writes: WikiLeaks has released the draft text of a chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, a multilateral free-trade treaty currently being negotiated in secret by 12 Pacific Rim nations. The 30,000 word intellectual property chapter contains proposals to increase the term of patents, including medical patents, beyond 20 years, and lower global standards for patentability. It also pushes for aggressive measures to prevent hackers breaking copyright protection, although that comes with some exceptions: protection can be broken in the course of "lawfully authorised activities carried out by government employees, agents, or contractors for the purpose of law enforcement, intelligence, essential security, or similar governmental purposes".
Dega704 writes: A Senate bill called the "Consumer Choice in Online Video Act" takes aim at many of the tactics Internet service providers (ISPs) can use to overcharge customers and degrade the quality of rival online video services. Submitted yesterday by US Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), the 63-page bill (PDF) provides a comprehensive look at the potential ways in which ISPs can limit consumer choice, and it boots the Federal Communications Commission's power to prevent bad outcomes.