government

Thu
15
Jul
John Lister's picture

Report: FCC Broadband Definition Too Slow

A government agency says the current US definition of broadband may be too slow. It says the threshold of 25 Mbps likely isn't enough for today's needs, particularly for small businesses. The figure in question is the Federal Communication ... Commission's "benchmark" for broadband speeds. It's important because it's the figure officials use to assess what proportion of the US population has access to broadband and whether the country is meeting targets. The most recent estimate is that 96 percent of the population has broadband access under the current definition. The benchmark also plays a key ... (view more)

Mon
21
Jun
John Lister's picture

Gov't Proposes Curbing the Reach of Big Tech

The House of Representatives will examine five different proposals for curbing the power of big tech companies. The bills take very different approaches to the task, though it's unclear if any but the least dramatic has a shot at becoming law. There ... could be a couple of reasons why lawmakers have thrown out so many ideas. One is simply a numbers game with the hope that more attempts means more chance of something becoming law. Another is to present some more drastic measures that get rejected in the hope that the "weaker" bills then look more reasonable and balanced. The five bills, as ... (view more)

Fri
11
Jun
John Lister's picture

TikTok Ban Unites Senators

A bill to boost US technology has received rare bipartisan support in the Senate. The proposed law includes measures on drones, computer chips and video app TikTok. While the "Endless Frontier Act" includes many measures targeted at the US, it also ... includes several that directly target China. They are intended to address fears not just of tech competition but also security threats. The bill passed the Senate by 68 votes to 32. President Biden has indicated he would back the bill, though it's not yet certain it will pass the House of Representatives in its current form. Some critics who are on ... (view more)

Fri
28
May
John Lister's picture

$100B Gov't Broadband Expansion to be Cut Back

President Biden has offered to reduce his proposed spending on improving broadband provision by a third. It's an attempt to reach a consensus with political opponents, but the debate seems to be as much about the principle as the sums involved. Back ... in March , the White House announced plans for broadband to be a key part of a proposed infrastructure spending program. The idea was to treat it in the same way as water and electricity supplies where public money has at various times paid for extending availability to areas that private providers didn't yet serve. Budget Cut Would Slow Expansion ... (view more)

Tue
16
Mar
John Lister's picture

India to Outlaw Bitcoin

The Indian government plans to outlaw cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The measure is expected to become law, though it's unclear if it will be enforceable in practice. Politicians in the country have long been hostile to cryptocurrencies, which ... use blockchain technology. That's where all transactions are recorded on a digital "ledger" which exists as multiple copies across the Internet, removing any central control. India's government previously banned "real world" financial institutions from providing any services to cryptocurrency operators, for example in exchanging the virtual ... (view more)

Sat
13
Feb
Dennis Faas's picture

Why Indonesia Leads the World in VPN Users

Indonesia is a complex country. Something that is perhaps accentuated by the fact that it is spread across more than 17,000 islands, 6,000 of which are inhabited. 270 million people live in the world's third-largest democracy, which is fast becoming ... an economic powerhouse and is now Southeast Asia's biggest economy. Indonesia is also home to the highest percentage of VPN users in the world - 61% as of 2020 (all usage stats taken from GlobalWebIndex reports) of the world's fifth-biggest population are estimated to use VPNs. It's a huge figure: three times as much as most North American and ... (view more)

Tue
19
Jan
John Lister's picture

Google, Facebook Face News Fees

Google and Facebook could have to pay a fee to show content from Australian news organizations. The proposed laws have upset not just the tech giants, but the United States government. The Australian proposals follow a government investigation that ... concludes the two companies have too much control in the media market. It pointed to several regional newspapers closing and advertising revenue falling for publications at the same time Google and Facebook benefit from using news extracts on Google News and in Facebook posts. No Surprise Algorithm Changes Under the laws, Google and Facebook would ... (view more)

Tue
08
Dec
John Lister's picture

Feds Snooped IP Addresses Using Website Logs

The Director of National Intelligence has confirmed the government collected visitor information from a US webpage using powers stemming from the PATRIOT Act. It's reawakened political debate about whether search and browsing history should be part ... of these powers. The argument centers on Section 215 of the act which gives the government the authority to collect "tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information." In the past that's been interpreted to include electronic records such as phone logs. ... (view more)

Thu
29
Oct
John Lister's picture

Apple Working On Own Search Engine

Apple is reportedly working on its own search engine and may ditch its reliance on Google. The Apple tool could be pitched on the idea of increased user privacy. At the moment, Apple devices such as iPhones and software such as the Safari browser ... usually runs searches through Google by default. That's not just because Apple think it's the best search engine, but because Google pays Apple an annual fee reported to be in the region of $10 billion to be the default. (Source: ft.com ) That payment may be under threat with regulators looking into claims that such deals perpetuate an unfair ... (view more)

Wed
28
Oct
John Lister's picture

Zoom to Completely Encrypt Video Calls

Zoom is to completely encrypt video calls at all times for most users. It will mean neither Zoom itself nor law enforcement agents or security services can access the content of calls. At the moment, Zoom encrypts the data that flows between ... individual participants on a call. However, it's Zoom's own servers which generate the encryption key issued to each participant. That means it's technically possible for Zoom to decrypt calls. While Zoom insists it's never had any intention of doing so, it does leave it open to pressure or legal threats from law enforcement officials to get access to ... (view more)

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