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The FCC Stumbles Into Internet Filtering

What could be bad about free wireless Internet access? How about censorship by federally mandated filters that make it no longer "Internet." That's the effect of the FCC's proposed service rules for Advanced Wireless Service spectrum in the 2155-2180 MHz band, as set out in a July 20 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Acting on a request of M2Z Networks, which wants to provide "free, family-friendly wireless broadband," the FCC proposes to require licensees of this spectrum band to offer free two-way wireless broadband Internet service to the public, with least 25% of their network capacity. So far so good, but on the next page, the agency guts the meaning of "broadband Internet" with a content filtering requirement. more

Cable Operator Suspends Plan to Sell Customer Data to Advertisers

Charter Communications, the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States, announced yesterday that it has backed off a plan to monitor customers' Internet transmissions. The company had been planning to harvest the stream of data from each Internet customer for clues to their interests and then make money from advertisers who would use the information to target online pitches. The data-collection effort would have protected personal information, Charter officials said in describing the plan, but critics likened the practice to wiretapping. more

New Coalition Pushes for High-Speed Internet Access for All

U.S. Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein and several high-profile technology executives and industry advocates on Tuesday launched an initiative to make broadband access a national priority in the U.S., report Elizabeth Montalbano or IDG news service. At the Personal Democracy Forum in New York, Adelstein and others unveiled InternetforEveryone.org, a movement aimed at fostering a public dialogue among U.S. citizens to advise the government on how to set a national policy. more

Cyberattack Paralyzed Marshall Islands Email Service

Email communication in the Marshall Islands was paralysed Tuesday after hackers launched a "zombie" computer attack on the western Pacific nation's only Internet service provider, AFP reports. The attack started early Tuesday, in which hackers used zombie computers to flood country's only Internet service provider with spam emails, causing a complete shutdown of email traffic into the nation of around 55,000 people. more

The Pirate Bay Calls ISPs Around the World to Block Sweden

In a response to the new wiretapping law that was introduced in Sweden this week, The Pirate Bay is asking international ISPs to block traffic to Sweden in order to protect their customers. In addition, the BitTorrent tracker will add SSL encryption to their site, and roll out a new VPN service. Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde, has written about this issue on his blog. Sunde points out that Belgium has taken Sweden to the Strasbourg court and hopes more countries will follow suit. more

Internet Usage Control Necessary, Says Sandvine

CBC News has an interview with the CEO of Sandvine, a company notorious for providing Internet access providers the technology to manage the amount and type of traffic used by consumers. From the interview, "Q: Some people have a negative view of Sandvine -- one keynote speaker at a security conference last year referred to your company as "evil." How do you react to that perception? A: Here we are, a company founded on improving the quality of the experience of the internet and trying to make the world a better place... One of the biggest ironies is that people who might not be too happy with what we're doing are often the largest benefactors of it." more

ISPs Will Likely Try Variety of Methods to Deal With P2P Traffic

P2p traffic management was a hot topic at this year's NXTcomm convention in Las Vegas, as keynote speakers and telecom industry panelists highlighted new methods for handling P2P traffic crunches, reports Brad Reed of Network World. Ericsson North America CTO Arun Bhikshesvaran says: "In the end, ISPs are likely to try a wide variety of methods for managing P2P traffic, and users shouldn't expect one method will instantly crop up that will satisfy both their demands and those of the network. It's really more of an evolution of the service provider model than anything else. It's an evolution of the business model, and there will be more to come... hopefully not to the detriment of the users." more

Cisco: P2P Flat in North America? Some Experiencing Major Growth

North American p2p went from 370 petabytes in 2006 to only 416 petabytes in 2007 according to Cisco's figures. Since U.S. users increased 16% in the same period, that's a drop in p2p per user and a significant drop in p2p as a percentage of all traffic. There's a major margin of error in these figures, so I'm calling it "flat." That's very different from pre 2007 experience, when p2p grew rapidly. It severely contradicts what many in Washington D.C. are saying... more

No Broadband Access for Illegal Downloaders Under New Law in France

A new controversial law in France will ban anyone who persists in illegal downloading of music or films from broadband access. Under a cross-industry agreement, internet service providers (ISPs) are required to cut access for up to a year for third-time offenders. "There is no reason that the internet should be a lawless zone," President Sarkozy told his Cabinet yesterday as it endorsed the "three-strikes-and-you're-out" scheme that from next January will hit illegal downloaders where it hurts. more

Bit Caps, Consolidation, and Clearwire

The news that Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T are all considering capping use of their networks -- so that "overuse" would trigger a charge -- has prompted intense discussion of just why these network operators are moving in this direction. One camp suggests that these operators have to do *something* to manage congestion, and because any protocol-specific discrimination plan raises howls of protest from the Net Neutrality side of the fence adopting bit-usage discrimination schemes is inevitable. It's the least-bad approach, following this view. more

Google is in Process of Developing ISP Throttling Detector Tool for Consumers

In an effort to identify traffic discrimination by American ISPs, Google is prepping a suite of network analysis tools for everyday broadband users. "We're trying to develop tools, software tools...that allow people to detect what's happening with their broadband connections, so they can let [ISPs] know that they're not happy with what they're getting -- that they think certain services are being tampered with," Google senior policy director Richard Whitt said during a panel discussion. more

Experts Concerned Over U.S. Spyware Legislation Being Overly Broad

U.S. Senate bill aims at limiting spyware by seemingly allowing broadband providers, computer hardware and software vendors, financial institutions and other businesses to scan users' computers without authorization. "We think this language is overly broad and could protect activities which could be harmful to computer users," Butler told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. "It would, in effect, allow a software vendor to truly monitor everything that's on a user's computer, essentially setting [vendors] up as an ad hoc police force." more

Google, the NAB, and a Third Way in 'White Spaces' Debate

Google co-founder Larry Page came to Washington last week to take on the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the lobbying group that represents over-the-air television stations. It's a whole new adversary for the beleaguered broadcasters, who have been fighting cable and satellite television for years. The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering a proposal, by Google and other tech players. It would allow tech companies to build electronic devices that transmit wireless internet signals over the "white spaces," or the vacant holes in the broadcast television band. "We have an ambitious goal called pervasive connectivity through ubiquitous broadband networks," said Page... more

Telecom in China: After the Dust Settles

The long rumored reorganization of the telecommunications sector in China has begun. Now China will have three major companies, each with both mobile and fixed networks. The focus for fixed network growth is broadband Internet access. The focus for mobile will be continued growth in mobile subscribers and the launch of 3G services, with the three companies using three different 3G technologies. more

Canadians Rally for Net Neutrality

Hundreds of protesters are expected to descend on Canada's capital on Tuesday to urge government action on keeping the internet free from interference by service providers. The net neutrality rally is drawing together politicians, labor unions, consumer groups and internet activists, with protesters being bused in from several locations including Toronto and Montreal. At issue are the actions of big ISPs such as Bell Canada Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc., who have been slowing down the internet speeds of customers using certain applications, such as peer-to-peer software used for file sharing. more