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Obama's Tech Stimulus Plan: Health IT, Broadband, and Smart Grid

Steve Lohr has a nice piece in the New York Times ('Technology Gets a Piece of Stimulus,' 26 Jan 2009, p. C1) this morning about the role that technology and innovation will play in the economic recovery (aka stimulus) bill supported by the Obama Administration. In the past, health IT deployment has been approached as an engineering problem: what computers have to be part of which networks exchanging which types of data? This loses sight of the purpose of electronic medical records... more

Who is Responsible in Our Cloudy World?

A number of large technology companies, including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, have announced that they have signed up to a voluntary code of conduct on how they do business in countries that curtail freedom of expression like China and Singapore... It's not surprising to see this sort of self-regulation being proposed as otherwise political initiatives like the Global Online Freedom Act, passed in one US Senate committee but currently floating in legislative limbo, could actually make it into law. more

Internet Vigilantism

Atrivo (aka Intercage), a Concord, California-based Internet hosting service, disappeared from the Internet for around two days recently. They didn't go bankrupt or suffer a physical catastrophe. Their providers simply shut them down by refusing their traffic. This might very well be the first time in history that the Internet community, a cooperative association of networks with no governing body, has collectively put someone out of business, if only briefly. more

Cloud Computing and Privacy

There has been a good deal of talk of late on the important topic of security and privacy in relation to cloud computing. Indeed there are some legitimate concerns and some work that needs to be done in this area in general, but I'm going to focus today on the latter term (indeed they are distinct -- as a CISSP security is my forte but I will talk more on this separately). more

Battling Over Clouds

More than 40 years ago, the FCC was worried about telephone companies using their power over communications to control the then-nascent (and competitive) data processing marketplace. The Bell System at that point was already banned from providing services that weren't common carriage communications services (or "incidental to" those communications services)... In a 1999 article in the Texas Law Review, Steve Bickerstaff pointed out that Computer 1 meant that no one could provide a "computer utility" service... Today, we'd call the "computer utility" something different -- we'd use the term "cloud computing." more

Storm Warning for Cloud Computing: More Like a Miasma

The approach is growing in popularity, and Google, Microsoft and Amazon are among the many large companies working on ways to attract users to their offerings, with Google Apps, Microsoft's Live Mesh and Amazon S3 all signing up customers as they try to figure out what works and what can turn a profit... In the real world national borders, commercial rivalries and political imperatives all come into play... The issue was recently highlighted by reports that the Canadian government has a policy of not allowing public sector IT projects to use US-based hosting services because of concerns over data protection. more