• Tag Archives internet
  • Theresa May unveils UK surveillance measures in wake of Snowden claims

    New surveillance powers will be given to the police and security services, allowing them to access records tracking every UK citizen’s use of the internet without any need for any judicial check, under the provisions of the draft investigatory powers bill unveiled by Theresa May.

    It includes new powers requiring internet and phone companies to keep “internet connection records” – tracking every website visited but not every page – for a maximum of 12 months but will not require a warrant for the police, security services or other bodies to access the data. Local authorities will be banned from accessing internet records.
    The proposed legislation will also introduce a “double-lock” on the ministerial approval of interception warrants with a new panel of seven judicial commissioners – probably retired judges – given a veto before they can come into force.

    But the details of the bill make clear that this new safeguard for the most intrusive powers to spy on the content of people’s conversations and messages will not apply in “urgent cases” – defined as up to five days – where judicial approval is not possible.

    The draft investigatory powers bill published on Wednesday by the home secretary aims to provide a “comprehensive and comprehensible” overhaul of Britain’s fragmented surveillance laws. It comes two-and-a-half years after the disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden of the scale of secret mass surveillance of the global traffic in confidential personal data carried out by Britain’s GCHQ and the US’s National Security Agency (NSA).

    It will replace the current system of three separate commissioners with a senior judge as a single investigatory powers commissioner.

    May told MPs that the introduction of the most controversial power – the storage of everyone’s internet connection records tracking the websites they have visited, which is banned as too intrusive in the US and every European country including Britain – was “simply the modern equivalent of an itemised phone bill”.

    Her recommendations were broadly welcomed by the shadow home secretary, Andy Burnham, but received a more cautious welcome from the former Conservative shadow home secretary David Davis, the former shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister.

    Source: Theresa May unveils UK surveillance measures in wake of Snowden claims

  • Elon Musk’s plan to put the Internet in space moves to launch pad

    Last month, Musk petitioned the government to launch up to eight prototype satellites into space. They would be equipped with antennas that would send an Internet signal back down to the earth’s surface.

    SpaceX said it wants to start testing out the technology in 2016. The FCC declined to comment on the application because it is currently under review.

    You can already get an Internet signal from above. But it requires special hardware. It’s spotty, slow and ludicrously expensive.

    SpaceX’s equipment would be closer to the ground than typical satellites, orbiting at around 750 miles above the surface. That allows for tighter light beams and faster Internet than geosynchronous satellites. The downside is a much smaller coverage area.

    Eventually, Musk & Co. plan to launch 4,000 satellites in order to serve a meaningful number of customers. To keep costs down, the satellites will be tiny, cheap and disposable.

    The relatively close proximity to Earth means the satellites will have to combat gravitational forces with fuel, and when they run out in six months to a year, they’ll have to be replaced. But SpaceX sees that as an opportunity to frequently update the technology it hopes to use to deploy its Internet service.

    Source: Elon Musk’s plan to put the Internet in space moves to launch pad

  • In Net Neutrality Order, The FCC Sides With Big Content Over Little Consumers

    Who will pay for the communications infrastructure of the 21st century? Will it be broadband consumers, big content providers, or some combination of the two? In its Open Internet Order released last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC ) sided with Big Content and stuck broadband consumers with the full tab.

    Before the FCC’s order, there were two possible ways by which Big Content—think Netflix or Amazon or YouTube—could contribute to the recovery of infrastructure costs by Internet service providers (ISPs). Content providers offering real-time applications (which for the most part do not yet exist) could pay for special handling of their packets or “priority delivery.” Alternatively, online video providers could pay ISPs a fee for interconnection.

    By reclassifying ISPs as public utilities, however, the FCC has foreclosed both forms of contribution. Paid priority has been banned (see para. 19), snuffing out the market for real-time applications in its infancy. And interconnection arrangements will be regulated under Title II’s “just and reasonable” standard (see para. 29), which could mean anything, including Big Content paying only the ISP’s incremental cost of adding interconnection capacity (see para. 200). If Netflix has its way, that nebulous standard could mean free interconnection for the largest content providers.

    Zero contribution is great news for Big Content. Indeed, Netflix’s stock price is up nearly $100 (a 25% increase) since President Obama came out in favor of public-utility regulations in November of 2014.

    But it is bad news for broadband consumers. In a two-sided market such as broadband, banning payments from one side of the market will likely reduce broadband adoption. The simple reason is that broadband users are more price-sensitive than Big Content. Imagine what would happen to newspaper subscriptions if contributions from advertisers were banned, and the entire cost burden fell on readers!

    Ironically, Big Content hired a team of lobbyists and activists to convince millions of consumers that corporate welfare for Big Content is somehow pro-consumer. Yet the FCC’s order will mean higher bills for broadband consumers; not necessarily higher than today, but higher than they would have been had Big Content been permitted to make some contribution.

    Full article: http://www.forbes.co … er-little-consumers/