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Berlin Bans Car Service Uber 341

An anonymous reader is just one of many who have pointed out that things don't look good for Uber in Berlin. Berlin has banned car service Uber, which allows users to summon a ride on their smartphone, for not offering drivers and vehicles licensed to carry passengers, or full insurance cover, the German capital said. The ban takes immediate effect and Uber risks fines of up to 25,000 euros each time it violates the city's Public Transport Act, Berlin authorities said in a statement. Uber said on Thursday it would appeal against the decision, accusing Berlin of denying its people choice and mobility. "As a new entrant we are bringing much-needed competition to a market that hasn't changed in years. Competition is good for everyone and it raises the bar and ultimately it's the consumer who wins," said Fabien Nestmann, German General Manager at Uber. Undaunted by the setback in Berlin, Uber has launched uberTAXI in Hong Kong.

California Regulators Tell Ride-Shares No Airport Runs 314

An anonymous reader writes in with news about ride-share crackdowns in California. California regulators are threatening to revoke permits for on-demand ride companies UberX, Lyft, Sidecar, Summon and Wingz unless they stop giving rides to and from airports within two weeks. The move could lead to the state shutting down the companies' operations. Flouting the airport rules also flouts regulations that the CPUC set up for the new generation of ride companies to operate in California. In a clear rebuttal to an argument often made by the ride companies, Peevey wrote: "These safety requirements should not hinder your creativity nor should they impede your innovation."

White House Worried About Discrimination Through Analytics 231

Cludge writes "Describing concerns about the potential for big data methods to inadvertently classify people by race, religion, income or other forms of discrimination, the White House announced it will release a report next week that reviews the adequacy of existing privacy laws and regulations in the era of online data collection. The review, led by Obama's senior counselor, John Podesta, will outline concerns about whether methods used for commercial applications may be inherently vulnerable to inadvertent discrimination. 'He described a program called "Street Bump" in Boston that detected pot-holes using sensors in smartphones of citizens who had downloaded an app. The program inadvertently directed repair crews to wealthier neighborhoods, where people were more likely to carry smartphones and download the app.' 'It's easy to imagine how big data technology, if used to cross legal lines we have been careful to set, could end up reinforcing existing inequities in housing, credit, employment, health and education,' he said."

A Call For Science Policy Debate Among Presidential Candidates 375

Marissa Fessenden writes about a campaign to get Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to address important scientific issues in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. and Scientific American have posed a set of questions to the candidates, as well as congressional leaders, and they're rallying support for those questions to be answered before the election. The responses will be published and graded for citizens to see. The questions include topics such as biosecurity, climate change, the safety of food and water supplies, vaccination, and environmentally sustainable energy. This comes at a time when the basic scientific literacy of elected officials is under heavy scrutiny.
The Internet

Where the Candidates Stand On Net Neutrality 420

nmpost writes "Net neutrality is one of the biggest issues with regard to the internet today. At the heart of the issues is how much control ISPs will be allowed to have over their networks. Each candidate has come out with a strong position on the matter, and whoever wins will have a drastic effect on the future of the internet. Barack Obama has been a proponent of net neutrality. Under his watch, the FCC has implemented net neutrality rules. These restrictions did not apply to wireless networks, though; a gaping loophole that will be problematic in the future, as mobile internet is exploding in popularity. Until it is addressed, Obama can only be given a barely passing grade with regard to net neutrality. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has come down on the other side of the issue. The former Massachusetts governor strongly opposes net neutrality. According to Politico, Romney believes net neutrality will restrict ISPs, and that they alone should govern their networks. The governor has stated that he wants as little regulation of the internet as possible."
United States

Congresswoman Writes On Broadband, Net Neutrality 125

An anonymous reader writes "Anna G. Eshoo, a California Democrat representing parts of Silicon Valley, has written an op-ed defending net neutrality and pushing the administration to take more steps to speed up US broadband. From the article: 'A climate of openness and innovation has been the hallmark of the Internet. A decade ago, it's what allowed a startup named Google to compete with better-funded, less technologically advanced competitors. Today, Congress has the responsibility to preserve this climate for the next Google, and for the consumers and the economy that will benefit from its success.'"

FCC To Propose Net Neutrality Rules 110

wiredog writes "From The Washington Post comes news that the FCC is preparing to propose net neutrality rules on Monday. Quoting: '[FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski] will discuss the rules Monday during a keynote speech at The Brookings Institute. He isn't expected to drill into many details, but the proposal will specifically be for an additional guideline on how operators like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast can control what goes on their networks. That additional guideline would prevent the operators from discriminating, or act as gatekeepers, of Web content and services. ... The agency is expected to review what traffic management is reasonable and what practices are discriminatory. The guidelines are known as "principals" at the agency, which some public interest groups have sought to codify so that they would clearly be enforceable.'"
The Internet

FCC Declares Intention To Enforce Net Neutrality 343

Unequivocal writes "The FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, told Congress today that the 'Federal Communications Commission plans to keep the Internet free of increased user fees based on heavy Web traffic and slow downloads. ...Genachowski... told The Hill that his agency will support "net neutrality" and go after anyone who violates its tenets. "One thing I would say so that there is no confusion out there is that this FCC will support net neutrality and will enforce any violation of net neutrality principles," Genachowski said when asked what he could do in his position to keep the Internet fair, free and open to all Americans. The statement by Genachowski comes as the commission remains locked in litigation with Comcast. The cable provider is appealing a court decision by challenging the FCC's authority to penalize the company for limiting Web traffic to its consumers.' It looks like the good guys are winning, unless the appeals court rules against the FCC."

Windows 7 To Be "Thoroughly" Tested For Antitrust Compliance 364

CWmike writes "Technical advisers to the antitrust regulators who monitor Microsoft's compliance with the 2002 antitrust settlement will test Windows 7 'more thoroughly' than earlier versions of the operating system were tested, according to a new status report filed with the federal judge watching over the company. Microsoft is also facing renewed scrutiny from the EU, which two weeks ago filed preliminary charges against the company over bundling IE with Windows, and said more recently that Microsoft 'shields' IE from competition."

EU Could Force Bundling Firefox With Windows 650

Barence writes "The European Commission could force Microsoft to bundle Firefox with future versions of Windows. The revelation came as part of Microsoft's quarterly filing with the Security and Exchange Commission. Among the statements is a clause outlining the penalties being considered by the European watchdog, which recently ruled that Microsoft is harming competition by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. The most interesting situation outlined in the filing would see either Microsoft or computer manufacturers forced to install Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari by default alongside Internet Explorer on new Windows-based PCs."

Stimulus Bill Contains Net Neutrality Provision 129

visible.frylock writes "Cnet is reporting that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (PDF), currently in the House Appropriations Committee, contains Net Neutrality provisions: 'The so-called stimulus package hands out billions of dollars in grants for broadband and wireless development, primarily in what are called "unserved" and "underserved" areas. ... The catch is that the federal largesse comes with Net neutrality strings attached. ... recipients must operate broadband and high-speed wireless networks on an "open access basis." The FCC, soon to be under Democratic control, is charged with deciding what that means. Congress didn't see fit to include a definition.' The broadband grants appear to begin in SEC. 3101 (pg. 49) of the PDF."

US Broadband Policy Called "Magical Thinking" 287

eWeekPete writes "Is the pipe half full or half empty? Not surprisingly, the talk at the second annual Tech Policy Summit was decidedly mixed. 'The US is still the most dynamic broadband economy in the world,' said Ambassador Richard Russell, the associate director of the White House's Office on Science and Technology Policy. 'As opposed to being miles ahead, though, we're only a little ahead.' But Yale Law School's Susan Crawford called Russell's position 'magical thinking. We're not doing well at all.' She proceeded to call the White House's effort 'completely inadequate on broadband competition.'"
United States

Congress Turns Up The Heat on FCC's Chairman 148

Fletch writes "FCC Chairman Kevin Martin could be in for an uncomfortable spring, as House Energy Committee Chair John Dingel (D-MI) has requested a truckload of FCC paperwork relating to some controversial decisions Martin has made. Those include the FCC's reversal on the a la carte cable issue and newspaper-television cross-ownership restrictions. 'This request has got to be turning the FCC completely upside down. Significantly, it appears to reflect a bipartisan discontent with Martin's performance. Democrats and some Republicans are upset over his recent move to relax one of the agency's key media ownership rules, as well as the rushed manner in which he handled the matter late last year. Other Republicans dislike what they see as Martin's persecution of the cable industry, especially Comcast.' The Committee originally announced its intention to investigate the FCC in January."

Windows 7 Eyed For Antitrust Violations 290

Preedit writes "The committee that oversees Microsoft's compliance with the 2002 antitrust settlement now has its hands on Windows 7. The Technical Committee is checking to see if the software meets the settlement's terms. Among other things, it's looking at whether Windows 7 favors Microsoft apps over third party programs, according to InformationWeek. The story also notes that Vista SP1 includes a number of changes that were added to satisfy the committee. For instance, it eliminates several browser overrides where Vista ignored users' default preferences and automatically launched Explorer. Windows 7 is due sometime around 2010."
The Internet

New 'Net Neutrality' Bill Introduced 145

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Reps Ed Markey (D-MA) and Chip Pickering (R-MS) introduced the 'Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008' (HR 5353) this week. The proposed legislation [PDF] would not legislate what is and is not 'neutral'. Instead, it would add a section to the 'Broadband Policy' section of the Communications Act which spells out principles the FCC is expected to uphold, in addition to having them hold summits which would 'assess competition, consumer protection, and consumer choice issues related to broadband Internet access services' and make it easy for citizens to submit comments or complaints online."

There is very little future in being right when your boss is wrong.