#388 Nov 17, 2014 – Net Neutrality Back in the Spotlight

This week’s headline story: Computers Better get Wise, for IBM’s Sake

This week’s headline story: Net Neutrality Back in the Spotlight

600px-NetNeutrality_logo.svg_President Obama has called on the FCC to develop “the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.” To that end, the President recommended that the agency reclassify ISPs so that they’re regulated more like public utilities. Echoing calls from consumer advocates, Obama has asked the FCC to explicitly ban “paid prioritization.” “Simply put: No service should be stuck in a ‘slow lane’ because it does not pay a fee,” Obama said. “That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth.”

While Obama’s new stance on net neutrality is popular with many consumers, it is despised by Internet Service Providers. “We are stunned the President would abandon the longstanding, bipartisan policy of lightly regulating the Internet and calling for extreme Title II regulation,” said President of The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), Michael Powell. AT&T has reacted by putting on hold its plans to extend high-speed fiber to 100 cities across the U.S. If the Federal Communications Commission reclassifies broadband Internet services as a utility, the matter will end up in court for the next two to three years, said AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. “We can’t go out and just invest that kind of money, deploying fiber to 100 cities, not knowing under what rules this investment will be governed,” he continued.

in other tech news…

  • IDC: Number of Data Centers To Decline After 2017 [NewsFactor]

    IDC predicts that changing IT needs will drive more enterprises away from in-house data centers to off-site facilities in coming years. The future will also see a rise in super-size “mega datacenters,” leading to a decline in the overall number of data centers around the world even as total data center space keeps growing, the IDC report states.

  • US Buying What Will Be World’s Fastest Supercomputers [NewsFactor]

    For the past two years, China has been the home of the fastest supercomputer in the world. That may soon change. The U.S. Department of Energy has chosen IBM, Nvidia and Mellanox to help it build supercomputers that are many times faster than the most advanced computing systems available today. The $325 million project aims to develop two ultra-fast computers that DOE labs will use for national security, defense and scientific research.

  • Rise of the Robot Security Guards [Technology Review]

    There may be a few places in the U.S. a person may roam unobserved, but those places are about to become scarce due to several new technologies. Startup Knightscope is preparing to literally roll out new human-size robot patrols. These sleek five-foot-tall, 300-pound shiny white robots, look more like the Daleks from Dr. Who than the Robocop featured in the movies. The robots are designed to work in teams to patrol campuses and business using cameras, sensors and navigation equipment to collect and analyze information which is sent wirelessly to a human security guard monitoring at a central station.

  • Moving cameras talk to each other to identify, track pedestrians [UW Today]

    Researchers at
    University of Washington have developed a technology that allows networked cameras to track an individual across a city. Using face recognition, the cameras first identify a person in a video frame, then follow that same person across multiple camera views.

  • Feds Using Planes To Spy on American Cellphone Users [NewsFactor]

    The U.S. Marshals Service is flying over parts of the country with devices that can collect large amounts of data from the cellphones of anyone on the ground, according to a report published Thursday in the Wall Street Journal. The devices, called “dirtboxes,” can collect registration and location information from phones by mimicking the behaviors of cellphone towers, the newspaper reported.

and in Information Security news this week..

  • ‘Darkhotel’ Tricks Business Travelers with Hotel Wi-Fi [NewsFactor]

    An espionage campaign dubbed “Darkhotel,” has been stealing sensitive data from corporate executives, typically from the U.S. and Asia who travel abroad. The technique targets individuals in hotels by impersonating the hotel’s wifi service. Once the individual logs in, the hacker installs backdoor software that provides access to all information on the user’s computer.

  • Microsoft Fixes 33 Bugs in Major Patch Tuesday [NewsFactor]

    Microsoft Patches 19-Year-Old Windows Flaw [NewsFactor]

    In last week’s Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released 14 security updates to fix 33 vulnerabilities in its software products. Four of those updates are rated “critical,” nine are rated “important” and two are rated “moderate.” One patched a security hole that has been in existence since Windows 95.

and in Tech Industry news…

and finally…

  • Device Changes Your Mood with a Zap to the Head [MIT Tech Review]

    A new startup called Thync, is working on a small device that uses electricity to change your mood at the press of a button on your smartphone. The device consists of a set of electrodes that run from your phone to your head. Reportedly, it has a short-lived energizing effect that feels a little like drinking a can of Red Bull or can produce a calming effect more potent than drinking a couple of beers.

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