Topic internet

San Jose could be first California city to get Google Fiber service

in internet on (#SJP0)
Google is moving forward with plans to expand Google Fiber into the heart of Silicon Valley, potentially making San Jose the first city in California and fourth in the nation to carry the Mountain View technology giant's lightning-fast fiber Internet and TV service.

San Jose leaders remained tight-lipped about the expansion plans Tuesday, but Google has applied for permits to build two of the shed-like shelters -- called "Fiber Huts" -- to house its fiber cables on Santa Teresa Boulevard, near Thornwood Drive, and Bird Avenue, near Virginia Street. The company plans to build at least eight more, city documents show.

City Hall sources say an official announcement about Google Fiber's expansion into San Jose could come as early as late November or early December.

Google's bid to bring Fiber to the city, which comes after more than a year of courtship between Google and City Hall, would make San Jose one of the largest cities to offer the fiber-optic service, which promises faster Internet with a connection of up to 1,000 megabits per second.

Today, Google Fiber is only available in Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Provo, Utah -- but rollout plans are underway in six other major cities, including Nashville, Atlanta and Salt Lake City. Google is also in talks with city officials in Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and its home base of Mountain View about installing Fiber infrastructure. San Diego and Irvine are the only two other California cities being considered for the service.

ESPN videos forced off Youtube by new subscription service policy

in internet on (#RVEN)
story imageYouTube on Wednesday unveiled its long-discussed paid subscription service. Dubbed YouTube Red, the new service will offer ad-free versions of all current YouTube videos, as well as access to music streaming and additional exclusive content from some of the site's top creators. It will cost $9.99 per month and launch on Oct. 28. With YouTube Red, subscribers will be able to save YouTube videos for offline play, listen to videos in the background while browsing other mobile apps and watch all videos without ads. Youtube has grown into an advertising behemoth, pulling in a reported $4 billion in revenue in 2014. However, YouTube still isn't profitable, so a subscription play could make sense as a way of improving Google's bottom line.

But where we consumers have the freedom of choice to stay with a free version of YouTube or upgrade to a paid subscription for it, YouTube Creators have seemingly been left without that same choice. It appears that YouTube played a heavy hand in pushing Creators to join the company behind their Red paywall. If a Creator chooses to continue on their own without joining the Red bandwagon, YouTube will mark their videos as "private" and will only be viewable to the Creators themselves. In short, Creators not on Red will also not be on a public YouTube. And the first notable victim is ESPN.

The majority of ESPN's video content has been pulled off of YouTube in the US, as the sports network currently can't participate in the YouTube Red service due to rights issues surrounding its content. Out of ESPN's 13 featured channels - including Grantland, SportsNation, ESPNU and others - only two still have videos, notes Mashable: X Games and NacionESPN. Some channels simply have messages reading, "This channel has no content," while over on the main ESPN channel, the most recent videos are from three years ago.

Advertisers admit causing uptick of ad blocking

in internet on (#RBRR)
story imageThe Interactive Advertising Bureau issued a remarkable mea culpa last week about the state of online advertising. In response to the rise of ad-blocking software, IAB VP Scott Cunningham said digital advertisers should take responsibility for annoying people and driving them to use ad blockers:

"We messed up. As technologists, tasked with delivering content and services to users, we lost track of the user experience".

"We build advertising technology to optimize publishers' yield of marketing budgets that had eroded after the last recession. Looking back now, our scraping of dimes may have cost us dollars in consumer loyalty"

"The consumer is demanding these actions, challenging us to do better, and we must respond."

The IAB goes on to introduce new advertising principles called L.E.A.N. (Light, Encrypted, Ad choice supported, Non-invasive ads) as a start.

This is a fundamental shift in vantage point for the Ad Tech world. In 2013, LUMApartners famously created its first LUMAscape capturing all of the fragmented, disparate Ad Tech players involved in the processing of serving up an ad to a consumer. It's an industry organized around itself, not around the needs of the consumer. Thus we see retargeting ads for sweaters we've already bought, video ads that auto-play with sound, and pop-ups that take over your screen.

Should People Be Able to Demand That Websites 'Do Not Track' Them?

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Via Soylent
"A universal do-not-track feature has been advocated by privacy groups after being introduced by the Federal Trade Commission in 2010. But the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C) - composed of software companies, academics, privacy groups, and others who determine international Web-browsing standards - has long struggled to develop a unified approach for the feature.

The somewhat-arcane debate over Internet tracking has mostly simmered quietly, but now some lawmakers are arguing that a working group the consortium set up to develop the standard has become overly influenced by tech industry concerns, putting those interests ahead of protecting consumers from the possibility of privacy invasion. The group is currently chaired by representatives from Adobe and Intel.

"Unfortunately, the group's composition no longer reflects the broad range of interests and perspectives needed to develop a strong privacy standard," Sen. Edward Markey (D) of Massachusetts, Sen. Al Franken (D) of Minnesota, and Rep. Joe Barton (R) of Texas wrote in a letter on Wednesday to the consortium. "The 'Do Not Track' standard should empower consumers to stop unwanted collection and use of their personal data. At the same time, the standard should not permit certain companies to evade important consumer protections and engage in anticompetitive practices."

Google will let companies target ads using your email address

in internet on (#PE67)
Google will soon let advertisers tap into one of the most lucrative types of ad targeting: email addresses. The search giant is rolling out a new tool called Customer Match, which lets advertisers use a list of email addresses to target specific users across Google services. To be targeted through this technique, you only need to be logged into your Google account and have given your email address to a retailer, perhaps by buying something from their website or giving it out to sign up for a loyalty program. Google will also be compiling lists with general customer habits like YouTube viewing and Google search histories to target ads with.

By tapping into email addresses, as both Facebook and Twitter have already long been doing with their own respective products, Google can take higher cuts of the more costly and better targeted ads being served even from within the Gmail and YouTube apps on mobile devices. Google calls Customer Match a "privacy-safe" product, but that may not quell the concern of users who feel that advertisers are getting even more specific with their ad targeting.

BBC Russia wants to expand, but faces challenges

in internet on (#P0NR)
In July, the BBC announced proposals to "invest" in BBC World Service. This includes a desire for a "bigger digital presence" in Russian through a new digital service. But BBC satellite TV for Russia is problematic. Very few Russians have rotatable satellite dishes. About 25% of Russian homes have fixed Ku-band satellite dishes to receive direct-to-home services such as TricolorTV and NTV+. Western news channels are not included and are legally not welcome.

So far, Russia has not blocked the Internet content of Western international broadcasters, at least not on a continuous basis. Recent press accounts indicate that Russian authorities may even try to ban anonymizers and other methods used to work around online censorship. Circumvention would become more difficult. In an extreme scenario, Russia could physically cut off the landlines of Internet traffic into the country. Then no circumvention would be possible.

This could bring BBC Russia back to the venerable but unfashionable medium of shortwave radio. Shortwave is no longer used for domestic broadcasting in Russia and BBC Russian eliminated its shortwave broadcasts in 2011. But, if need be, Russians could dust off their Cold War era shortwave radios or purchase inexpensive Chinese-made portable radios. In addition to voice broadcasts, text, images, and even formatted web pages can be broadcast and received by any shortwave radio connected to a PC or mobile device running appropriate software. This has been demonstrated in VOA Radiogram experiments.

If Russia blocks Internet content from abroad, it may try to jam shortwave radio content from abroad, too, but most jamming transmitters of the Cold War era have been dismantled or have fallen into disrepair. Many of the jamming transmitters are outside of Russia, in former Soviet republics. Reviving a shortwave jamming apparatus would be a much more expensive proposition than blocking Internet content. Various Cold War anti-jamming tactics, using various tricks of ionospheric propagation, can be employed. Text via shortwave would be even more resistant to jamming than voice broadcasts.

ARIN finally runs out of IPv4 addresses

in internet on (#NP8M)
In the next week, the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) will have exhausted their supply of IPv4 addresses. The metaphorical IPv4 cupboards are bare. The Internet will continue to operate, but all organizations must now accelerate their efforts to deploy IPv6. At this point, the rules for how IPv4 address resources are allocated will change. Request might not get fulfilled and applicants might be offered a smaller block or the choice to be added to a waiting list for IPv4 addresses that become available.

As the Internet began to grow, techniques like Classless Interdomain Routing (CIDR) and Network Address Translation (NAT) were used to extended life-support for IPv4 for almost two decades. Some enterprise organizations still have not given IPv6 much thought and are not aggressively moving to implementing it. They are playing a dangerous "game of chicken" by ignoring IPv6. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should already be well on their way through their IPv6 deployments, or are in serious danger of falling far behind competitors.

Verizon rejects federal money to build rural broadband

in internet on (#MVXC)
story imageThe Federal Communications Commission recently announced which telecom companies will receive federal subsidies through the Connect America Fund to bring 10Mbps Internet service to parts of rural America. Surprisingly, Verizon Communications refused the funds entirely, in comparison to chief competitor AT&T, which will receive $427 million in funding even though it argued last year that rural customers don't need Internet service better than the old standard of 4Mbps downstream. Verizon Communications turned down a reported $568 million (over six years) in federal funds to bring broadband to 270,000 locations in Washington, DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia."

The Communication Workers of America noted this is not the first time Verizon has rejected subsidies aimed at serving poor communities. The company previously rejected over $500 million from the New York Broadband Fund, which offered up to 50% subsidies to companies willing to build high-speed service in underserved areas. CWA noted in its press release, "For years, Verizon has steadfastly refused to bring its high-speed internet service (or FiOS) to areas like Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Rome, Utica and numerous other upstate New York cities, as well as much of Eastern Suffolk." CWA is currently embattled in an ongoing labor dispute with Verizon over the contract renewal of the 39,000 Verizon employees it represents. But whatever the source, between Verizon's announcement that it won't continue its FIOS deployments in new cities, it's refusal of federal money, opposition to FCC rules on allowing copper networks to decay, and selling-off its assets in California, Texas and Florida, it's clear Verizon doesn't consider its wired communications part of the company's future.

Copyright holders must consider fair use exceptions before sending DMCA takedown notices

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A federal appeals court in San Francisco today affirmed that copyright holders must consider whether a use of material is fair before sending a DMCA takedown notice. The ruling came in Lenz v. Universal, often called the "dancing baby" lawsuit. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) represents Stephanie Lenz, who-back in 2007-posted a 29-second video to YouTube of her children dancing in her kitchen. The Prince song "Let's Go Crazy" was playing on a stereo in the background of the short clip. Universal Music Group sent YouTube a notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), claiming that the family video infringed the copyright in Prince's song. EFF sued Universal on Lenz's behalf, arguing that Universal abused the DMCA by improperly targeting a lawful fair use.

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that copyright holders like Universal must consider fair use before trying to remove content from the Internet. It also rejected Universal's claim that a victim of takedown abuse cannot vindicate her rights if she cannot show actual monetary loss. Universal will now have to face a trial over whether it "knowingly misrepresented" its "good faith belief the video was not authorized by law." The judges have made clear that copyright owners "must consider fair use before sending a takedown notification" before forming that "good faith belief." The fair use consideration doesn't have to be "searching or intensive," Tallman clarified. But it can't be trivial, either.

Today, DMCA notices are automated, and large copyright holders demand that thousands of links be removed at a time. Internet sites like Google remove millions of URLs each year in response to these massive DMCA notices. While today's ruling undoubtedly strengthens EFF's view of fair use, it's unlikely to change much about the millions of takedown notices now being sent each year to Internet intermediaries.

Verizon, T-Mobile oppose delaying LTE-U to test WiFi interference claims

in internet on (#M5FX)
story imageThe debate over LTE-Unlicensed is heating up after the Wi-Fi Alliance asked the Federal Communications Commission to postpone equipment testing that uses unlicensed spectrum until the Wi-Fi industry group can run its own tests to make sure that the technology does not interfere with traditional Wi-Fi. Recently, U.S. carriers Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US teamed up with major equipment manufacturers Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Qualcomm to write its own letter urging the FCC to oppose the Wi-Fi Alliance's proposal, which could halt Verizon Wireless' plans to begin deploying LTE-U in the 5 GHz band beginning in 2016, as well as T-Mobile US' goal of using the technology in its smartphones by the end of this year.

Companies such as Microsoft and big cable companies support further testing. Microsoft said it worries that the LTE-U signal could "degrade the performance of services delivered over Wi-Fi." Big cable TV and Internet companies are worried that their investments in Wi-Fi hot spots throughout the country could be greatly impacted if there is interference from LTE-U. "Research demonstrates that both LTE-U and LAA would severely decrease the performance of any nearby Wi-Fi network. Widespread deployment of LTE-U or LAA would therefore harm American consumers, schools, and innovators by dramatically reducing the utility of the unlicensed bands for everyone but the companies that already hold licensed spectrum," the NCTA said in its letter to the FCC. "Furthermore, there is already a growing amount of research, such as that published by Google and CableLabs"indicating that Wi-Fi networks will be negatively impacted by the current version of LTE-U technology. The risk to users who depend on Wi-Fi every day for their connectivity needs is too great."