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US net neutrality rules to go ahead

Rules that prevent net firms from blocking or slowing down online traffic can go ahead, a US federal appeals court has ruled.

A three-judge panel said it will not postpone implementation of net neutrality rules, despite opposition from firms such as Verizon and AT&T. Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler called it "a victory for internet consumers". But it is unlikely to be the end of legal action from opponents.

Mr Wheeler, who pushed the rule changes through, welcomed the decision.

"Starting Friday, there will be a referee on the field to keep the internet fast, fair and open," he said. "Blocking, throttling, pay-for-priority fast lanes and other efforts to come between consumers and the internet are now things of the past. The rules also give broadband providers the certainty and economic incentive to build fast and competitive broadband networks." More...

06-15-2015 00:13

Your TV may be watching you

(CNN)Earlier this week, we learned that Samsung televisions are eavesdropping on their owners. If you have one of their Internet-connected smart TVs, you can turn on a voice command feature that saves you the trouble of finding the remote, pushing buttons and scrolling through menus. But making that feature work requires the television to listen to everything you say. And what you say isn't just processed by the television; it may be forwarded over the Internet for remote processing. It's literally Orwellian.

This discovery surprised people, but it shouldn't have. The things around us are increasingly computerized, and increasingly connected to the Internet. And most of them are listening.

Our smartphones and computers, of course, listen to us when we're making audio and video calls. But the microphones are always there, and there are ways a hacker, government, or clever company can turn those microphones on without our knowledge. Sometimes we turn them on ourselves. If we have an iPhone, the voice-processing system Siri listens to us, but only when we push the iPhone's button. Like Samsung, iPhones with the "Hey Siri" feature enabled listen all the time. So do Android devices with the "OK Google" feature enabled, and so does an Amazon voice-activated system called Echo. Facebook has the ability to turn your smartphone's microphone on when you're using the app. More...

02-12-2015 04:28

Tech, equipment makers join U.S. 'net neutrality' debate

(Reuters) - Regulating internet providers more like public utility companies could hurt the Internet and the U.S. economy, more than two dozen network technology and equipment makers have told U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

Thirty-three companies including Cisco Systems Inc, Intel Corp and International Business Machines Corp joined the chorus of citizens, activists, lawmakers and companies debating how the U.S. government should regulate Internet service providers (ISPs).

Other companies signing a letter to Pritzker published on Tuesday included Alcatel Lucent SA, Ericsson, Nokia Oyj's network arm NSN, Panasonic Corp of North America and CommScope Holding Co Inc.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering so-called "net neutrality" rules that would determine how ISPs such as Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc manage web traffic on their networks.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed rules that would allow ISPs to charge content companies to ensure their websites or applications load smoothly and quickly, as long as such deals are deemed "commercially reasonable." More...

09-09-2014 15:30