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Censorship

Senators Bash ISP and Push Extensive Net Neutrality 427

eldavojohn writes "Remember when Verizon sued the FCC over net neutrality rules? Well, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Al Franken (D-MN) see it a bit differently and have authored a new working bill titled 'Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011 (PDF).' The bill lays out some stark clarity on what is meant by Net Neutrality by outright banning ISPs from doing many things including '(6) charge[ing] a content, application, or service provider for access to the broadband Internet access service providers' end users based on differing levels of quality of service or prioritized delivery of Internet protocol packets; (7) prioritiz[ing] among or between content, applications, and services, or among or between different types of content, applications, and services unless the end user requests to have such prioritization... (9) refus[ing] to interconnect on just and reasonable terms and conditions.' And that doesn't count for packets sent over just the internet connections but also wireless, radio, cell phone or pigeon carrier. Franken has constantly reiterated that this is the free speech issue of our time and Cantwell said, 'If we let telecom oligarchs control access to the Internet, consumers will lose. The actions that the FCC and Congress take now will set the ground rules for competition on the broadband Internet, impacting innovation, investment, and jobs for years to come. My bill returns the broadband cop back to the beat, and creates the same set of obligations regardless of how consumers get their broadband.'"
Networking

HDBaseT Supporters Hope To Kiss HDMI Goodbye 336

arcticstoat writes "HDMI's short-lived reign over the TV cable racks could soon be over, thanks to a new usurper that combines several connections into a standard Cat5e/6 network cable with an RJ-45 connector. Designed by a coalition of consumer electronics manufacturers called the HDBaseT Alliance, which includes Sony, Samsung, LG and Valens, HDBaseT promises to not only carry video and audio signals, but also provide a network connection, a USB signal and even electricity using a single cable. The Alliance predicts that we'll start seeing the first HDBaseT equipment creeping into the shops later this year, but says the bigger wave of adoption will occur later in 2011."
Communications

NZ Plan For Fiber To the Home 169

Ars has a note about New Zealand's plans for nationwide broadband access, which will induce envy in many North American readers. "New Zealand has decided not to sit around while incumbent DSL operators milk the withered dugs of their cash cow until it keels over from old age. Instead, the Kiwis have established a government-owned corporation to invest NZ$1.5 billion for open-access fiber to the home. By 2020, 75 percent of residents should have, at a bare minimum, 100Mbps down/50 Mbps up with a choice of providers. Crown Fibre Holdings Limited is the company, and it's wholly owned by the government — for now — and the company's mission couldn't be any clearer. Two of its six guiding principles include 'focusing on building new infrastructure, and not unduly preserving the "legacy assets" of the past' and 'avoiding "lining the pockets" of existing broadband network providers.'"
The Internet

Global "Last Mile" Performance Stats Going Public 233

Ookla, the company behind Speedtest.net, Pingtest.net, and the bandwidth testing apps deployed at many ISPs, has gone public with Net performance stats from 1.5 billion users (and counting). Their Net Index page displays download speed, upload speed, and connection "quality" from the EU and the G8, to countries, worldwide cities, and US states. Beginning today, the company is also making detailed (anonymized) data available to academics. "Ookla will also start surveying users about how much they pay for broadband and how much bandwidth they were promised by their ISPs. The results of those questions will go into building a Value Index, which will show how much people around the world pay per megabit-per-second for Internet access. In addition, by collecting postal codes from Speedtest users, Ookla hopes to map broadband service to local economic conditions, Apgar said. The Speedtest data could give the US government far more information to work with in setting priorities for its National Broadband Plan..."
Canada

Tech Companies Say Don't Blame Canada For Copyright Problems 104

An anonymous reader writes "The Computer & Communications Industry Association, which includes a who's-who of the tech world, including Microsoft, Google, T-Mobile, Fujitsu, AMD, eBay, Intuit, Oracle, and Yahoo, has issued a strong defense of current Canadian copyright law, arguing that the US is wrong to place Canada on the annual Special 301 list. The submission argues that the US should not criticize Canada for not implementing anti-circumvention rules (PDF) and warns against using the Special 301 process to 'remake the world in the image of the DMCA.'"
Privacy

Politicians Worldwide Asking Questions About ACTA 101

An anonymous reader writes "Legislators around the world are demanding more information on the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. US Senator Ron Wyden demanded answers in a letter to the USTR (PDF) this week, ACTA arose in the UK House of Commons yesterday, and French Deputy Nicolas Dupont-Aignan raised ACTA questions in the National Assembly late last year. All of this comes on top of earlier efforts from Swedish Member of the European Parliament Jens Holm, as well as New Zealand MP Clare Curran, who has repeatedly raised concerns about ACTA, and NDP MP Charlie Angus, who posed questions about ACTA in the Canadian House of Commons late last year."
Privacy

Massachusetts Police Can't Place GPS On Autos Without Warrant 194

pickens writes "The EFF reports that the Supreme Court of Massachusetts has held in Commonwealth v. Connolly that police may not place GPS tracking devices on cars without first getting a warrant, reasoning that the installation of the GPS device was a seizure of the suspect's vehicle. Search and seizure is a legal procedure used in many civil law and common law legal systems whereby police or other authorities and their agents, who suspect that a crime has been committed, do a search of a person's property and confiscate any relevant evidence to the crime. According to the decision, 'when an electronic surveillance device is installed in a motor vehicle, be it a beeper, radio transmitter, or GPS device, the government's control and use of the defendant's vehicle to track its movements interferes with the defendant's interest in the vehicle notwithstanding that he maintains possession of it.' Although the case only protects drivers in Massachusetts, another recent state court case, People v. Weaver in the State of New York, also held that because modern GPS devices are far more powerful than beepers, police must get a warrant to use the trackers, even on cars and people traveling the public roads."
Government

One Crime Solved Per 1,000 London CCTV Cameras 404

SpuriousLogic writes "Only one crime was solved for each 1,000 CCTV cameras in London last year, a report into the city's surveillance network has claimed. The internal police report found the million-plus cameras in London rarely help catch criminals. In one month CCTV helped capture just eight out of 269 suspected robbers. David Davis MP, the former shadow home secretary, said: 'It should provoke a long overdue rethink on where the crime prevention budget is being spent.' He added: 'CCTV leads to massive expense and minimum effectiveness. It creates a huge intrusion on privacy, yet provides little or no improvement in security. The Metropolitan Police has been extraordinarily slow to act to deal with the ineffectiveness of CCTV.'"

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