"Verizon" entries

Court prods FCC in unexpected direction in this week’s Verizon ruling

Network neutrality was on the retreat shortly after the Telecom Act of 1996.

A court ruling this past Tuesday on FCC “network neutrality” regulation closes and opens a few paths in a three-way chess game that has been going on for years between the US District Court of Appeals, the FCC, and the major Internet server providers. (Four-way if you include Congress, and five-way if you include big Internet users such as Google — so, our chess game is coming closer to Chinese Checkers at this point.)

A lot of bloggers, and even news headlines, careened into histrionics (“Net neutrality is dead. Bow to Comcast and Verizon, your overlords“). The Free Press, although oversimplifying the impact, did correctly link the ruling to what they and many other network neutrality supporters consider the original sin of FCC rulings: eviscerating the common carrier regulation of broadband providers.

Even better, many commenters noted the ambiguities and double messages in the ruling. Unlike a famous earlier ruling on Comcast regulation, this week’s court ruling spends a good deal of time affirming the FCC’s right to regulate Internet providers. Notably, pp. 35-36 essentially confirm the value and validity of network neutrality (in the form of promoting innovation at the edges by placing no restraints on transmissions).
Read more…

Four short links: 18 October 2012

Four short links: 18 October 2012

Medical Data Commons, Verizon Sell You, Doctor Watson, and Weedkilling Drones

  1. Let’s Pool Our Medical Data (TED) — John Wilbanks (of Science Commons fame) gives a strong talk for creating an open, massive, mine-able database of data about health and genomics from many sources. Money quote: Facebook would never make a change to something as important as an advertising with a sample size as small as a Phase 3 clinical trial.
  2. Verizon Sells App Use, Browsing Habits, Location (CNet) — Verizon Wireless has begun selling information about its customers’ geographical locations, app usage, and Web browsing activities, a move that raises privacy questions and could brush up against federal wiretapping law. To Verizon, even when you do pay for it, you’re still the product. Carriers: they’re like graverobbing organ harvesters but without the strict ethical standards.
  3. IBM Watson About to Launch in Medicine (Fast Company) — This fall, after six months of teaching their treatment guidelines to Watson, the doctors at Sloan-Kettering will begin testing the IBM machine on real patients. […] On the screen, a colorful globe spins. In a few seconds, Watson offers three possible courses of chemotherapy, charted as bars with varying levels of confidence–one choice above 90% and two above 80%. “Watson doesn’t give you the answer,” Kris says. “It gives you a range of answers.” Then it’s up to [the doctor] to make the call. (via Reddit)
  4. Robot Kills Weeds With 98% AccuracyDuring tests, this automated system gathered over a million images as it moved through the fields. Its Computer Vision System was able to detect and segment individual plants – even those that were touching each other – with 98% accuracy.

The distinctions and controversies of net neutrality

A new wiki sorts out network neutrality's signal and noise.

"Network Neutrality: Distinctions and Controversies" appears to be the first disciplined attempt to distinguish the various definitions of network neutrality and the practices it is supposed to stop.

The network neutrality debate: It all depends on what you fear

Network neutrality confuses a lot of laypeople because of all the different levels on which it's being argued and the opposing ways language is used by different
participants. Andy Oram takes a look at the loaded words in the net neutrality debate.

Wacky Google/Verizon net neutrality theory

Nobody knew for a long time what Google and Verizon were cooking up on the network neutrality front, and after the release of their brief, two-page roadmap nobody still knows. All the usual Internet observers have had their say, and in general the assessment is negative. My first reaction was to ignore the whole thing, mainly because the language of the agreement didn't match any Internet activity I could recognize.

What I get and don't get about the Google/Verizon proposal

Andy Oram: I disdain the Google/Verizon agreement from an editor's
point of view, but don't mind it as a user. The proposal probably won't be adopted in any regulatory context — it's too vague and limited — but it's interesting for what it says about Google and Verizon.

iPhone Killers, Blackberries and Chicken Parts

While a steady stream of so-called iPhone Killers are filtering into the market, Apple’s momentum continues unabated. Inspired by his own experiences upgrading to the Blackberry Tour, the author ponders why so many solution providers confuse delivering a bunch of ‘chicken parts’ with producing an actual, living, breathing chicken. BlackBerry Storm, Palm Pre, the G2, and now Droid have all been touted as contenders to the mobile computing crown, yet the iPhone continues to kick butt.

Will Open Mobile Access Benefit Book Publishing?

If open access is truly embraced, the new spectrum could yield a host of mobile applications related to the book publishing industry.

Network neutrality: code words and conniving at yesterday's FCC hearing (Part 2 of 2)

Yesterday I

summarized the public FCC hearing

about bandwidth at the Harvard Law School, and referred readers to a

more comprehensive background article
In this article I’ll highlight some of the rhetoric at the meeting,
which shows that network providers’ traffic shaping is no more
sophisticated or devious than the shaping of public perceptions by
policy-makers and advocates.

Network neutrality: how the FCC sees it (Part 1 of 2)

The mere announcement of an FCC hearing on “broadband network
management practices” was a notch in the gun of network neutrality
advocates. Yet to a large extent, the panelists and speakers were like
petitioners who are denied access to the king and can only bring their
complaints to the gardeners who decorate the paths outside his gate. I
wrote a major
analysis two years ago
that I really think still stands as an accurate representation of the
issues. What we’ll end up getting is a formal endorsement of
non-discrimination as a policy that Internet providers must follow,
leading to continual FCC review of current practices by telecom and
cable companies.