The FCC Thinks American Broadband Standards Are Way Too Fast

The FCC Thinks American Broadband Standards Are Way Too Fast

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With net neutrality effectively dead (barring long-shot lawsuits or miraculous Congressional competence), the FCC under GOP Chair Ajit Pai is turning its attention to another pressing matter — the state of America’s broadband. Specifically, the FCC thinks broadband speed in America is probably defined too aggressively and it wants to relax the overall standards carriers are allowed to meet. The issues we’ll be discussing here are up for a vote on February 3.

The FCC splits broadband providers into two groups: wireless and fixed (also sometimes called ‘wireline’). Historically, the FCC has set minimum standards that fixed broadband providers had to meet, both for marketing purposes and in order to qualify for any Connect America funding. The CA program is the spiritual descendent of federal cost-sharing agreements that subsidized the interstate system, telephony build-outs, and electricity across rural parts of the country.

Comcast Broadband

Comcast used to tell users that one person, with one device, needed at least 10Mbps service.

In 2011, the FCC declared that rural service needed to offer at least 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up. In 2014 the FCC bumped that to 10/1, and in 2015 to 25/3. At the time, the cable industry and various ISPs cried foul, claiming 25/3 was much too fast. Then-FCC chairperson Tom Wheeler pointed out that ISPs seemed to have no trouble marketing their services to people as if huge bandwidth pipes were a functional requirement of the modern internet, and that higher broadband standards would be needed with customers increasingly streaming media and adopting 4K TV.


Back in 2015, the same companies yelling about 25Mbps broadband standards were telling people 10.5Mbps service was only enough for email and shopping.

Ajit Pai, the current FCC Chair, wants to make a number of changes to the current standards. Up until now, the question of having access to broadband service has hinged on whether Americans could buy fixed/wireline service at a qualifying speed and there’s been no minimum standard set for wireless broadband deployments. Under Pai, the FCC proposes the following:

  • A new wireless broadband definition (10Mbps down, 1Mbps up), with the wired standard unchanged.
  • Broadband availability determined based on wireless or wireline service, not wireline alone.

Simultaneously implementing the 10/1 standard for wireless and allowing wireless or fixed service to qualify as broadband will reduce the number of Americans who officially lack access to affordable service and/or acceptable performance without actually doing anything to improve the problem.

Wireless and Wired Broadband Service Aren’t Fungible

The FCC’s statement of inquiry correctly notes that Americans burn enormous amounts of mobile data at ever-increasing rates, but that doesn’t mean mobile and fixed broadband service are remotely equivalent. Unlimited cellular data plans are substantially more expensive than fixed service and they aren’t actually unlimited. Every plan from every carrier reserves the right to start throttling you after a certain amount of data usage per month.

A single household with a fixed wireline connection can split that connection between four different people without difficulty and for minimal additional cost. A household with multiple users who rely on a single cell phone data plan is going to pay substantially more for the same internet access. Cellular latencies are much more varied than their wireline counterparts, and cellular connectivity can vary enormously from place to place. I’ve lived in rural areas where cellular speeds were so low, I had to buy a femtocell and backhaul cellular voice and data over a wireline network in order to use my phone for voice or data. Carrier-reported performance, as measured at the cell phone tower, is not an adequate replacement or substitute for high-speed wireline work. Wireless and wireline service are not equivalent and should not be treated as such, particularly when it comes to ensuring that all Americans have access to internet service at acceptable speeds and prices.

But changing these requirements is a fabulous boon for ISPs, which now face little scrutiny for their attempts to push consumers towards highly lucrative wireless plans with minimum performance metrics and little-to-no guarantee of acceptable service. It’s extremely common, if you live in rural parts of the US, to have 2-3 hypothetical wireless carriers and 0-1 that can actually provide a useful service. The FCC’s new rules would entrench that system even more.

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 14:17:34 +0000

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Netgear Brings Mesh Wi-Fi to Your Yard With Outdoor Orbi

Netgear Brings Mesh Wi-Fi to Your Yard With Outdoor Orbi

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Mesh Wi-Fi technology is all the rage, with just about every major consumer networking firm jumping into the fray. We’ve covered quite a few of the products, and one of the most capable continues to be the powerful Orbi units from Netgear. They have some of the best performance stats, although at a premium price. Now, Netgear is extending the reach of Orbi with a weather-resistant model for outdoor use.

Orbi Outdoor Satellite

Netgear's new Orbi picked up an Innovation award at this year's CESThe new unit is named simply the Orbi Outdoor Satellite (model number RBS50Y; See on Amazon). Netgear says it will add about 2,500 square feet to your Wi-Fi coverage. That’s only about a 30-foot radius, so I suspect that in practice those with uncluttered yards will get quite a bit more. As always, walls, wires, and other devices will eat into the coverage area. As with the indoor units, it can share an SSID, providing for easier roaming within your location.

Like the indoor Orbi Satellite, the outdoor model communicates with other Orbis over a dedicated wireless channel (called FastLane3 by Netgear), so you don’t need to wire it into your Ethernet. Netgear claims that FastLane3 provides up to 1.7Gbps backhaul between units. Of course, you will need to provide the outdoor Orbi with power. In my experience the most challenging part of outdoor electronics is running a waterproof wire to a power outlet in a non-obtrusive way.

Netgear calls the outdoor unit weather-resistant. Specifically, it is designed to withstand sub-zero temperatures, and has an IP56 rating for dust and water resistance. It can be mounted on a wall or placed on a stand.

New Satellite also works with Orbi for Small Businesses

The outdoor Orbi satellite also works with Netgear’s Orbi for Small Businesses, and supports its more advanced features, includes the ability to separate guest and employee traffic and providing a dedicated administration network. For those wanting to brighten things up at night, the unit can also be programmed to light its LEDs on schedule, or leave them off.

The new Orbi doesn’t come cheap. It’s available now at an MSRP of $330. You’ll need to already have an Orbi Router for it to connect with — either the Orbi Tri-band Whole Home WiFi or the Orbi Tri-band Wi-Fi for Small Business. If you don’t need a wireless backhaul, then you can get wired mesh access points from Unifi and others for about $100.

Published at Wed, 03 Jan 2018 21:16:23 +0000

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New Trump book: Bannon's 'treasonous' claim, Ivanka's presidential ambitions and Melania's first-lady concerns – Washington Post

New Trump book: Bannon's 'treasonous' claim, Ivanka's presidential ambitions and Melania's first-lady concerns – Washington Post

Steve Bannon referred to Donald Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with a group of Russians as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic,” according to a new book on the Trump administration. (Reuters)

President Trump is a book genre unto himself. There’s “Understanding Trump,” by Newt Gingrich, whom Trump considered as a running mate; “Let Trump Be Trump,” by former Trump campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie; “The Swamp,” by former Fox News Channel host Eric Bolling; and a forthcoming book by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer (working title: “The Briefing”).

Note that all of these authors are pro-Trump partisans. That’s why Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” out Jan. 9, is significant. Wolff, a longtime journalist who has written for Vanity Fair, the Guardian, the Hollywood Reporter and other publications, presents his new title as a major piece of reporting.

Wolff says that his book is based on 200 conversations over the past 18 months with Trump, most members of his senior staff, some of whom he talked to dozens of times, and many people with whom they had spoken. Some conversations were on the record, while others were off the record or on “deep background,” allowing him to relay a “disembodied description of events provided by an unnamed witness to them.”

He notes that many accounts he heard of the Trump White House conflicted one another. In some cases, Wolff says, he let the players offer competing versions of reality while in other cases, he said that “through a consistency in accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that “this book is filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House.”

“Fire and Fury” contains many interesting insights and claims, big and small. Some are new; others are familiar but bolstered by additional color and detail. Here are 12 that stand out:

Trump thought he would lose the election

Key excerpt: In politics somebody has to lose, but invariably everybody thinks they can win. And you probably can’t win unless you believe that you will win — except in the Trump campaign. The leitmotif for Trump about his own campaign was how crappy it was and how everybody involved in it was a loser. He was equally convinced that rival Hillary Clinton’s people were brilliant winners — “They’ve got the best and we’ve got the worst,” he frequently said. Time spent with Trump on the campaign plane was often an epic dissing experience: Everybody around him was an idiot.

Stephen K. Bannon thought Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer was ‘treasonous’

Key excerpt: “The chance that Don Jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero,” said an astonished and derisive [Stephen K.] Bannon, not long after the meeting was revealed. “The three senior guys in the campaign,” an incredulous Bannon went on, “thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the twenty-fifth floor — with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s–t, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”

(Washington Post reporters have found no evidence that Trump met with the Russians during this meeting at Trump Tower. The president fired back at Bannon on Wednesday, saying in a statement that “Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.”)

Details are slowly coming out about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during his father’s presidential campaign in June 2016, including a newly disclosed email from the lawyer to a music publicist who arranged the meeting. (Elyse Samuels,Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Trump asked Roger Ailes to lead the campaign, and Ailes declined

Key excerpt: In early August [2016], less than a month after Ailes had been ousted from Fox News, Trump asked his old friend to take over the management of his calamitous campaign. Ailes, knowing Trump’s disinclination to take advice, or even listen to it, turned him down.

Trump didn’t know who John Boehner was

Key excerpt: “You need a son of a b—h as your chief of staff. And you need a son of a b—h who knows Washington,” Ailes told Trump not long after the election. “You’ll want to be your own son of a b—h, but you don’t know Washington.” Ailes had a suggestion: “Speaker Boehner.” (John Boehner had been the speaker of the House until he was forced out in a tea party putsch in 2015.) “Who’s that?” Trump asked.

Reince Priebus froze after the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape leaked

Key excerpt: So mortifying was this development that when Reince Priebus, the RNC head, was called to New York from Washington for an emergency meeting at Trump Tower, he couldn’t bring himself to leave Penn Station. It took two hours for the Trump team to coax him across town. “Bro,” said a desperate Bannon, cajoling Priebus on the phone, “I may never see you again after today, but you gotta come to this building and you gotta walk through the front door.”

In this video from 2005, Donald Trump prepares for an appearance on “Days of Our Lives” with actress Arianne Zucker. He is accompanied to the set by “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush. The Post has edited this video for length. (Obtained by The Washington Post)

Melania Trump dreaded becoming first lady

Key excerpt: The New York Post got its hands on outtakes from a nude photo shoot that Melania had done early in her modeling career — a leak that everybody other than Melania assumed could be traced back to Trump himself. Inconsolable, she confronted her husband. Is this the future? She told him she wouldn’t be able to take it. Trump responded in his fashion — We’ll sue! — and set her up with lawyers. But he was uncharacteristically contrite, too. Just a little longer, he told her. It would all be over in November. He offered his wife a solemn guarantee: There was simply no way he would win.

Trump eats McDonald’s because he thinks the food is safe

Key excerpt: He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald’s — nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely pre-made.

Trump had little or no interest in repealing Obamacare

Key excerpt: An overweight seventy-year-old man with various physical phobias (for instance, he lied about his height to keep from having a body mass index that would label him as obese), he personally found health care and medical treatments of all kinds a distasteful subject. The details of the contested legislation were, to him, particularly boring; his attention would begin wandering from the first words of a policy discussion. . . . Prior to his presidency, he had likely never had a meaningful discussion in his life about health insurance.

Ivanka Trump has presidential ambitions of her own

Key excerpt: Jared [Kushner] and Ivanka had made an earnest deal between themselves: If some time in the future the time came, she’d be the one to run for president (or the first one of them to take the shot). The first woman president, Ivanka entertained, would not be Hillary Clinton, it would be Ivanka Trump.

Ivanka sometimes made fun of her father’s hair, in private

Key excerpt: She often described the mechanics behind it to friends: an absolutely clean pate — a contained island after scalp reduction surgery — surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray. The color, she would point out to comical effect, was from a product called Just for Men — the longer it was left on, the darker it got. Impatience resulted in Trump’s orange-blond hair color.

Ailes, before he died, hoped to launch a new TV channel with Bannon, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity

Key excerpt: A few hours after the O’Reilly [firing] announcement, Ailes, from his new oceanfront home in Palm Beach — precluded by his separation agreement with Fox from any efforts to compete with it for 18 months — sent an emissary into the West Wing with a question for Stephen K. Bannon: O’Reilly and Hannity are in, what about you? Ailes, in secret, had been plotting his comeback with a new conservative network. . . . In reply, Bannon let Ailes know that for now, he was trying to hold on to his position in the White House. But yes, the opportunity was obvious.

Trump was surprised by criticism of his decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey

Key excerpt: Trump believed that firing Comey would make him a hero. Over the next 48 hours he spun his side to various friends. It was simple: He had stood up to the FBI. He proved that he was willing to take on the state power. The outsider against the insiders. After all, that’s why he was elected.

The turmoil surrounding former FBI Director James Comey and President Trump started long before Comey was fired on May 9. Here are the pivotal moments from Comey’s time as head of the agency, including his private meetings with the president. (Jenny Starrs,Julio Negron/The Washington Post)

Published at Wed, 03 Jan 2018 17:44:56 +0000

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Late touchdown lifts No. 14 Notre Dame to second straight bowl win over No. 17 LSU –

Late touchdown lifts No. 14 Notre Dame to second straight bowl win over No. 17 LSU –

A late touchdown pass from backup quarterback Ian Book to wideout Miles Boykin  lifted No. 14 Notre Dame to a 21-17 win over No. 17 LSU in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. It was the second time in four seasons the Irish have closed the year with a bowl win over LSU; the Irish booked a 31-28 Music City Bowl defeat of the Bayou Bengals to conclude the 2014 campaign.

After a 3-0 first half, LSU took the lead on a 20-yard pass from Danny Etling to Derrius Guice, then extended its advantage to 14-6 on a 2-yard Guice run with 11:13 left in regulation. However, two missed field goals late in the first half cost LSU a chance to take complete control of the game with Guice’s scores.

With Book in the game for starter Brandon Wimbush (3-of-8 for 52 yards), Notre Dame drove 75 yards in 10 plays to score on a 5-yard Dexter Williams run, then tied the game on a Josh Adams shovel pass that was originally ruled short of the goal line but overturned upon review.

LSU moved to the Notre Dame 1-yard line with 2:03 remaining, but Ed Orgeron elected to go for a 17-yard Jack Gonsoulin rather than risk a 4th-and-1 play. Gonsoulin’s kick was good, giving the Tigers the lead.

Notre Dame needed only three plays to take the lead, when Book (14-of-19 for 164 yards with two touchdowns and one interception) found Boykin for this 55-yard score.

LSU’s last-gasp chance to win the game died on an incomplete Etling pass on a 4th-and-15 from his own 29-yard line.

LSU closed Orgeron’s first season as head coach at 9-4, while Notre Dame successfully erased the taste of last year’s 4-8 season with a 10-3 campaign. The win allowed Brian Kelly to become the fourth head coach in Notre Dame history to record three 10-win seasons.

The College Football Playoff was created in large part in response to an all SEC BCS National Championship. Four years into the new system, the CFP has its own all SEC final. No. 3 Georgia outlasted No. 2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl earlier Monday, and in the Sugar Bowl No. 4 Alabama avenged its title game loss a year ago by flattening No. 1 Clemson in a 24-6 win that wasn’t as close as the final score.

The win pushes Alabama (12-1) into its sixth national championship game under Nick Saban and its third consecutive title game.

Leading 10-3 at the half, the Tide provided Clemson a window early in the third quarter to climb back in the game and even take the lead. It started when Alabama accepted the ball to open the second half and promptly fumbled the exchange on its first snap, which Clemson recovered at the Tide’s 20-yard line. The Tigers actually went five yards backwards on its possession, but a 42-yard Alex Spence field goal cut the deficit to 10-6.

Clemson (12-2) forced a three-and-out on Alabama’s next touch, then moved to a 2nd-and-2 at the Tide 35 before Alabama defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne single-handedly ended the game. First, he caught a deflected interception and returned the ball 21 yards to the Clemson 42, and a 15-yard horse collar flag staked the ball at the Clemson 27. The Tide moved the ball to the Clemson 1, leading Alabama to put in the jumbo package. Rather than run the ball, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll called a pass, and Jalen Hurts hit Payne for the first touchdown catch of the 6-foot-2, 308-pound defender’s career.

If that wasn’t enough, Clemson’s own first-play disaster put the game out of reach. Another deflected Kelly Bryant pass landed in the arms of Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson, who raced the ball 18 yards to pay dirt to give Alabama a commanding 24-6 lead with 5:27 left in the third quarter.

Clemson could pull no closer, and an 18-play, 75-yard drive ended in a turnover on downs after Kelly Bryant threw incomplete out of the back of the end zone with 1:43 left in the game. Alabama harassed Bryant into the worst game of his career, completing 18-of-36 passes for just 124 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions while taking a season-high five sacks. Clemson managed just 64 yards on 33 carries.

Hurts hit 16-of-24 passes for 120 yards with two touchdowns and no picks while rushing 11 times for 40 yards. Damien Harris led all runners with 19 carries for 77 yards.

Looking ahead to next week, the only issue for Alabama moving forward were injuries to offensive lineman Lester Cotton and linebacker Anfernee Jennings. Both left the game with apparent leg injuries.

Alabama dominated the game from the start. After the teams exchanged three three-and-outs to open the game, the Tide opened the scoring with a 10-play, 47-yard drive capped by a 24-yard Andy Pappanastos field goal. Alabama forced another Clemson three-and-out on the Tigers’ next possession — Clemson’s third of the first quarter — Alabama started at the Clemson 46-yard line and leaned on its running game, with seven plays covering 34 yards, all of them in the hands of Hurts, Harris or Bo Scarborough before Hurts found Calvin Ridley wide open on a scramble for a 12-yard touchdown grab, putting the Tide up 10-0 to close the first quarter.

Sensing a now-or-never moment, Clemson turned to Bryant. After a 7-yard sack to open the drive, Bryant converted with runs of five and 20 yards and accounted for 53 of the Tigers’ 54 yards, setting up a 44-yard Alex Spence field goal to get the defending champions on the board at the 10-minute mark of the second quarter.

Alabama didn’t answer with points, but the Tide did chew more than four minutes off the clock and pin Clemson at its own 10 to start its next possession. It was the fourth time in five chances that Clemson started inside its own 17 (and the fifth began at the 24). Clemson moved out of the shadow of its own goal post but punted the ball back to Alabama, allowing the Tide to start a drive with the ball outside its own 40 for the fourth time in five tries. This drive covered 39 yards in 10 plays at 3:44, but Pappanastos’s 38-yard field goal doinked off the right upright with 17 seconds left in the half. 

The first half of Tide-Tigers III hasn’t lived up to the first two installments that saw Alabama and Clemson trade national championship victories with a composite score of 76-75 Alabama. Instead, it’s been a Nick Saban kind of football game, as the Crimson Tide leads 10-3 at the break in the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama completely dominated the first quarter. After the teams exchanged three three-and-outs to open the game, the Tide opened the scoring with a 10-play, 47-yard drive capped by a 24-yard Andy Pappanastos field goal. Alabama forced another Clemson three-and-out on the Tigers’ next possession — Clemson’s third of the first quarter — Alabama started at the Clemson 46-yard line and leaned on its running game, with seven plays covering 34 yards, all of them in the hands of Jalen HurtsDamien Harris or Bo Scarborough before Hurts found Calvin Ridley wide open on a scramble for a 12-yard touchdown grab, putting the Tide up 10-0 to close the first quarter.

Sensing a now-or-never moment, Clemson turned to Kelly Bryant. After a 7-yard sack to open the drive, Bryant converted with runs of five and 20 yards and accounted for 53 of the Tigers’ 54 yards, setting up a 44-yard Alex Spence field goal to get the defending champions on the board at the 10-minute mark of the second quarter.

Alabama didn’t answer with points, but the Tide did chew more than four minutes off the clock and pin Clemson at its own 10 to start its next possession. It was the fourth time in five chances that Clemson started inside its own 17 (and the fifth began at the 24). Clemson moved out of the shadow of its own goal post but punted the ball back to Alabama, allowing the Tide to start a drive with the ball outside its own 40 for the fourth time in five tries. This drive covered 39 yards in 10 plays at 3:44, but Pappanastos’s 38-yard field goal doinked off the right upright with 17 seconds left. 

Alabama out-gained Clemson 182-73 and held an 11-4 edge in first downs, but produced just 10 points in three red zone trips and, thus, leads by just seven. Hurts hit 10-of-13 passes for 87 yards and the game’s only touchdown and rushed five times for 32 yards. Harris carried a game-high 12 times for 55 yards.

Bryant completed 6-of-12 passes for 43 yards and led Clemson with eight carries for 21 yards. Running backs Tavien FosterTravis Feaster and Adam Choice combined to rush five times for 10 yards.

Alabama will receive to open the second half.

PASADENA, Calif. — If you’re going to mount an epic comeback, making history in the Granddaddy of them All isn’t a bad place to do so.

No. 3 Georgia stormed back from 17 down (and a seven point deficit in the final few minutes) against the Heisman Trophy winner and No. 2 Oklahoma to capture a dramatic 54-48 win in double overtime of the 104th Rose Bowl to book a southern homecoming to end all homecomings with a spot in the National Championship Game in Atlanta next week.

Not surprisingly, the Bulldogs used what worked all season: run the ball, play some defense and find a little luck.

Tailbacks Sony Michel and Nick Chubb both had the game of their careers on the grand stage of the College Football Playoff Semifinal and cemented their status as the best duo to share a backfield. Michel posted a 75-yard touchdown for one of his three scores on the night and scored the winner from 27 yards out on a direct snap to win the game. He finished with 181 on the ground. Chubb didn’t mind playing a little game of ‘anything you can do, I can do too’ in ripping off a 50-yarder to the house to go with his 145 yards in the game.

That helped take the pressure off of freshman quarterback Jake Fromm —  not that he needed it with an efficient 210 yards passing and two touchdowns. He never once looked overwhelmed by the moment despite the numbers and made several huge throws down the stretch and on the final drive that tied the game with just a minute left.

Though the final numbers were not something for head coach Kirby Smart to be proud about, he’ll take them given that the team left Southern California with the win. Linebacker Roquan Smith was all over the field as the team’s leader on that side of the ball and a big reason why the Bulldogs were able to emerge victorious in the first ever overtime game in Rose Bowl history.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was still dazzling with the football in his hands even if it didn’t quite get the job done. The nation’s most outstanding player threw for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also catching a score in the corner of the end zone for good measure. While he did throw an interception that contributed to Bulldogs clawing their way back in the second half, Mayfield was simply phenomenal when the pressure was cranked up the most.

It wasn’t just a one-man show for the most potent offense in college football either. Rodney Anderson made it very clear that the field was full of terrific tailbacks as he ran for 201 yards and two touchdowns — one a 45 yarder that early in the second quarter that put the SEC champs on defense that the team was here to play too.

Somewhat ironically however, the biggest play for the team may have come from a defense that allowed 527 yards and were frequently chasing players instead of tackling them. With just under seven minutes to go in the game, linebacker Caleb Kelly went low to tackle Georgia’s Sony Michel and put his helmet right on the ball to force a fumble along the sidelines. Steven Parker was in the right place at the right time though and returned it 46 yards the other way for a go-ahead score.

Michel would make up for that mistake not long after to seal the game, taking advantage of a blocked field goal in the second overtime to lock up the victory.

The night belonged to Georgia as they won the first ever meeting between the two powerhouses by capturing the first ever overtime game in Rose Bowl history. Not a bad trip out West for the Dawgs but that plane ride back to Georgia will be even sweeter.

PASADENA, Calif. — The nation’s best offense seemed to be slightly ahead of one of college football’s best defenses early on at the Granddaddy of them All.

Behind a barrage of quick passes from the Heisman Trophy winner and the terrific running of tailback Rodney Anderson, No. 2 Oklahoma took a 31-17 halftime lead over No. 3 Georgia in the best track meet in college football at the 104th Rose Bowl.

Baker Mayfield was terrific in the first half and certainly looked at 100% after dealing with an illness in the week leading up to the game. The nation’s most outstanding player was nearly perfect against the No. 1 pass defense in the FBS, throwing for 200 yards and a touchdown on the grand stage of a College Football Playoff semifinal. Incredibly, he even caught a touchdown in the corner of the end zone with six seconds left in the half to extend the team’s lead and even the simple threat of the dynamic signal-caller opened up plenty of other avenues for the Sooners to attack. Anderson in particular took advantage on nearly every drive, ripping off a pair of 40+ yard runs on his way to 125 and a pair of touchdowns at the break.

Oklahoma wound up scoring on five of their six possessions in what would be come a theme on the day of both sides racing up and down the most picturesque field in the sport.

The Bulldogs were no slouch offensively either even if their defense wasn’t living up the high billing. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm was not operating an Air Raid attack but had 109 yards on 12-of-17 passing with a touchdown and looked ready for his big moment out West.

Of course, it helps to have tailbacks like Georgia’s to turn around and hand the ball off to. Sony Michel broke off a 75 yard touchdown run in the first quarter that showed off a bit of that SEC speed while finishing the half with 95 on the ground. Teammate Nick Chubb wasn’t shabby either in adding 89 yards on six carries.

Last year’s Rose Bowl set numerous offensive records when Penn State and USC got into a track meet but it seems the Sooners and Bulldogs are well on their way to rewriting those numbers to kick off 2018. A ticket to Atlanta and the national title game is on the line in the second half and it has the makings of a classic if the SEC champs can get back into things after that dazzling show from both sides.

Published at Tue, 02 Jan 2018 00:12:57 +0000

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After Trump criticism, China denies selling oil illicitly to North Korea – Reuters

After Trump criticism, China denies selling oil illicitly to North Korea – Reuters

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China on Friday denied reports it had been illicitly selling oil products to North Korea in violation of U.N. sanctions, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was unhappy that China had allowed oil to reach the isolated nation.

China on Thursday had blocked a U.S. effort at the United Nations to blacklist six foreign-flagged ships Washington believes had engaged in illicit trade with North Korea, a U.N. Security Council diplomat said.

Trump said on Twitter on Thursday that China had been “caught RED HANDED” allowing oil into North Korea and that would prevent “a friendly solution” to the crisis over Pyongyang’s development of nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States.

In a subsequent New York Times interview, Trump explicitly tied his administration’s trade policy with China, North Korea’s neighbor and lone major ally, to cooperation in resolving the North Korea standoff.

“I have been soft on China because the only thing more important to me than trade is war,” he said. “If they’re helping me with North Korea, I can look at trade a little bit differently, at least for a period of time. And that’s what I’ve been doing. But when oil is going in, I‘m not happy about that.”

South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper this week quoted South Korean government sources as saying that U.S. spy satellites had detected Chinese ships transferring oil to North Korean vessels about 30 times since October.

U.S. officials have not confirmed details of this report but a U.S. State Department official said Washington had evidence that vessels from several countries, including China, had engaged in transhipping oil products and coal.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters she had noted recent media reports, including suggestions a Chinese vessel was suspected of transporting oil to a North Korean vessel on Oct. 19.

“In reality, the ship in question has, since August, not docked at a Chinese port and there is no record of it entering or leaving a Chinese port,” Hua said, adding that the reports “did not accord with facts.”

“China has always implemented U.N. Security Council resolutions pertaining to North Korea in their entirety and fulfils its international obligations. We never allow Chinese companies and citizens to violate the resolutions,” Hua said.

“If, through investigation, it’s confirmed there are violations of the U.N. Security Council resolutions, China will deal with them seriously in accordance with laws and regulations.”

South Korea said on Friday that in late November it seized a Hong Kong-flagged ship, the Lighthouse Winmore, suspected of transferring oil to North Korea. The ship’s registered manager, Lighthouse Ship Management, is in the Chinese port of Guangzhou.

A South Korean Foreign Ministry official said the ship transferred as much as 600 tons to the North Korea-flagged Sam Jong 2 on Oct. 19 in international waters between China and the Korean peninsula, on the order of its Taiwan-based charterer, Billions Bunker Group Corp.

Taiwan’s presidential office said the firm was not incorporated in Taiwan and China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said she did not have any information about the matter.


Both ships were among 10 vessels the United States proposed that the U.N. Security Council should blacklist for illicit trade with North Korea, documents seen by Reuters this month showed.

“China blocked six of the proposed vessels,” a U.N. Security Council diplomat said. “Four of the vessels were designated yesterday.”

FILE PHOTO: A Chinese flag is seen in front of the Friendship bridge over the Yalu River connecting the North Korean town of Sinuiju and Dandong in China’s Liaoning Province on April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo

Three of the ships designated were North Korean, while the other was the Panama-registered Billions No. 18.

The other ships included the Lighthouse Winmore, the Xin Sheng Hai; the Yu Yuan; the Glory Hope 1 (also known as Orient Shenyu), and the Kai Xiang.

The Trump administration has led a drive to step up global sanctions on North Korea and the U.N. Security Council last week unanimously imposed new sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s Nov. 29 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Those sanctions seek to further limit North Korea’s access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and Washington says the full cooperation of China, North Korea’ main trading partner, is vital if this peaceful pressure campaign is to succeed.

It has warned that all options are on the table, including military ones, if sanctions fail.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he departs the White House to visit Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, U.S., December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was asked by reporters on Friday whether the U.S. Navy might become involved in seizing vessels suspected of transferring oil to North Korea.

He said he would not speculate on future operations but added: “Obviously if a government finds that there is a ship in their port conducting trade that was forbidden under the U.N. Security Council resolution, then they have an obligation and so far we have seen nations take that obligation seriously.”

In September, the Security Council put a cap of 2 million barrels a year on refined petroleum products exports to North Korea.

The latest U.N. resolution seeks to ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year.

It also caps crude oil supplies to North Korea at 4 million barrels a year and commits the Security Council to further cuts if North Korea conducts another nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile test.

Ship tracking data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows that the Lighthouse Winmore has mainly been doing supply runs between China and Taiwan since August.

Prior to that, it was active between India and the United Arab Emirates. In October, when it allegedly transferred petroleum products to the North Korean ship, the Lighthouse Winmore had its tracking transponder switched off.

South Korea’s customs service concluded that the Lighthouse Winmore had loaded about 14,000 tons of Japanese refined petroleum products in South Korea on Oct. 11, reportedly bound for Taiwan, the South Korea official said.

“It’s unclear how much oil the ship had transferred to North Korea for how long and on how many occasions, but it clearly showed North Korea is engaged in evading the sanctions,” the official told Reuters.

It was not immediately possible to find contact information for the Taiwanese charter company.

The Hong Kong government said it was “liaising with the Korean parties concerned to obtain further information about the incident, and will take appropriate actions as necessary”.

Employees at the office of Lighthouse Ship Management declined to comment and said they had no knowledge of the situation.

Additional reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Josh Smith in Seoul, Venus Wu and Tyrone Siu in Hong Kong, Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Idrees Ali in Washington and Rodrigo Campos at the United Nations; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Bill Trott and James Dalgleish

Published at Fri, 29 Dec 2017 16:57:35 +0000

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Horowitz: Attacks on Mueller Don't Pass the Laugh Test – GoLocalProv

Horowitz: Attacks on Mueller Don't Pass the Laugh Test – GoLocalProv

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Rob Horowitz

In the wake of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea and the news that he has become a cooperating witness, right-wing media and certain House Republicans have stepped up their baseless and fact-challenged attacks on Special Counsel Bob Mueller and the FBI in a desperate attempt to discredit the investigation as it gains potency and to create political space for President Trump to fire Mueller.

Leading the charge is Sean Hannity with his fellow Fox evening prime time hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingram and weekend host Jeanine Pirro following closely behind.  Instead of praising or at least noting that Mueller removed Peter Strzok, a senior FBI agent, who had sent text messages attacking President Trump from the investigation the minute he found out about them, Hannity, whose show should be re-named ‘The Trump Hour of Power”, used this revelation to launch a vicious and completely unfounded attack on Mueller. “Let’s start off with the head of the snake. Mueller’scredibility is in the gutter tonight with these new discoveries, his conflicts of interests, his clear bias, the corruption are on full display. Mueller is frankly a disgrace to the American justice system and has put the country now on the brink of becoming a banana republic.”

As Hannity knows, Bob Mueller has a well-earned reputation for integrity and honorable service to this nation.  Serving in the Marines during Vietnam, Mueller won the Bronze Star and received a Purple Heart.  Appointed by President George W. Bush as FBI Director, Mueller was instrumental to protecting the Homeland after 9/11, earning nearly unanimous bi-partisan plaudits for his 12-year tenure.  

Perhaps, more to the point, as Hannity and the other over-heated critics well-know, Mueller is a registered Republican–which makes the charges that the investigation is rife with partisan bias laughable.  You can just imagine, if they were on the air during Watergate, what Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, and the others would be saying about Special Counsel Archibald Cox, who actually was a Kennedy-supporting, liberal Democrat.

Additionally, Mueller was not appointed by an evil cabal of liberals; he was the choice of the Trump Administration’s Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing, in which the Republican members vied to see who can most embarrass themselves in either unfairly attacking Mueller or calling on the investigation to be disbanded, Rosenstein ably defended the special counsel:  Rosenstein told the Committee, “We recognize we have employees with political opinions. It’s our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions. I believe that Director Mueller understands that, and he is running his office appropriately.”

People can and do put their professional obligations ahead of their partisan views.  That is the point being willfully ignored by the critics, who since they can’t point to any examples of actual misconduct in how the investigation is being conducted, prefer to launch a smear campaign. Additionally, even taken on its own terms, their argument falls apart because the investigation is being overseen by a registered Republican and he is being overseen by a Trump appointee.

These baseless attacks are, of course, welcomed and encouraged by President Trump. This past weekend he viciously went after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Trump tweeted, “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation. “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!”  Trump falsely stated that McCabe’s wife received the contributions while McCabe was working on the investigation, when he did not begin to be involved in it until after.  More broadly, just because his wife is running for office and receiving contributions that any Democratic candidate running in Virginia would have received from the governor and the state party in no way prevents McCabe from exercising his professional responsibilities with integrity.

Trump went after McCabe so viciously because in the Deputy Director’s testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee he confirmed that former FBI Director James Comey had told him in real time about Trump’s request for loyalty.

No one including Bob Mueller is above criticism.  But there is a difference between far-fetched smears and legitimate arguments.  Especially on Fox, now that Rupert Murdoch needs Trump to approve his pending merger with Disney, the attacks on Mueller are only likely to grow more overheated. But I am confident, despite the best efforts of President Trump and his right-wing media and Congressional allies, that most of the American people can and will be able to recognize the difference.

Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.


Sponsor: GoLocalProv

Sample: N=403

Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level

Interviewing Period: October 9-11, 2017

Mode: Landline (61%) and Mobile (39%)

Telephone Directed by: John Della Volpe, SocialSphere, Inc.


Are you registered to vote at this address?

Yes: 100%


When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

Unaffiliated: 49%

Democrat: 32%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: .4%


Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?

Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50…

Definitely be voting: 78%

Probably be voting: 13%

50-50: 9%


In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

Right track: 39%

Wrong track: 45%

Mixed: 10%

Don’t know/Refused: .6%


What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?

Jobs and economy:  21%

Education: 12%

Taxes: 12%

Roads: 12%

State budget: 9%

Corruption/Public integrity: .8%

Healthcare: 3%

Governor: 3%

Homelessness: 2%

Immigration: 2%

Other: 7%

Don’t know: .9%


Over the past three years or so, would you say the economy in Rhode Island has improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 35%

Changed for the worse: 16%

Not changed at all: 43%

Don’t know/Refused: 5%


Over the same time, has your family’s financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 26%

Changed for the worse: 19%

Not changed at all: 54%

Don’t know/Refused: 1%


Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?

Net: Approve: 28%

Definitely approve: 15%

Probably approve: 14%

Net: Reject: 67%

Probably reject: 19%

Definitely reject: 48%

Don’t know: 4%


Could you please tell me your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 15%

35-44: 15%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

Don’t know/refused: 1%


What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 2%

High school grad: 16%

Technical/Vocational school: 1%

Some college: 23%

College grad: 34%

Graduate degree: 24%

Don’t know/refused: 1%


The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

$50,000 or less: 27%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%

$150,000 or more: 13%

Don’t know/refused: 17%


What particular ethnic group or nationality – such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth – do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

American/None: 21%

English: 13%

Italian: 13%

Irish: 12%

Black or African American: 6%

Latino/Hispanic: 6%

French: 6%

Portuguese: 3%

Jewish: 3%

German: 1%


Would you say that Donald Trump has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as President?

Excellent: 13%
Good: 12%
Fair: 14%
Poor: 57%
Never heard of:  0%
Cannot rate: 3%


Would you say that Jack Reed has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 22%
Good: 29%
Fair: 23%
Poor: 15%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 6%


Would you say that Sheldon Whitehouse has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 17%
Good: 22%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 28%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 7%


Would you say that David Cicilline has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 9%
Good: 29%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 27%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate:  8%


Would you say that James Langevin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 7%
Good: 30%
Fair: 20%
Poor: 18%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 11%


Would you say that Gina Raimondo has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Governor?

Excellent: 6%
Good: 28%
Fair: 30%
Poor: 31%
Never heard of: 1%
Cannot rate: 3%


Would you say that Daniel McKee has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Lieutenant Governor?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 16%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 8%
Never heard of: 26%
Cannot rate: 25%


Would you say that Peter Kilmartin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Attorney General?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 20%
Fair: 28%
Poor: 17%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 19%


Would you say that Seth Magaziner has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as General Treasurer?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 18%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 13%
Never heard of: 21%
Cannot rate: 21%


Would you say that Nellie Gorbea has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Secretary of State?

Excellent: 5%
Good: 21%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 10%
Never heard of: 20%
Cannot rate: 23%


Would you say that Jorge Elorza has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Mayor of Providence?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 24%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 22%
Never heard of: 9%
Cannot rate: 15%

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Published at Tue, 26 Dec 2017 07:23:14 +0000

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Man planned Christmas attack on San Francisco's Pier 39, was inspired by Islamic State, FBI says – Los Angeles Times

Man planned Christmas attack on San Francisco's Pier 39, was inspired by Islamic State, FBI says – Los Angeles Times

Jameson allegedly sought from the undercover employee an assault rifle, ammunition, powder, tubing, nails, timers and remote detonators — materials that can be made into a pipe bomb. According to the FBI, he said he “did not need an escape plan because he was ready to die.” He also said he was trained in both the M-16 and AK-47 rifle, the court filing said.

Published at Sat, 23 Dec 2017 00:46:54 +0000

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DARPA, University of Michigan Team Up to Build ‘Unhackable’ Chip

DARPA, University of Michigan Team Up to Build ‘Unhackable’ Chip

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DARPA has announced a $3.6 million grant to a University of Michigan team with the goal of building an “unhackable” processor. Software-based security has proven incapable of meeting this goal, and while hardware models like Intel’s IME or ARM’s TrustZone have had better luck overall, these systems can be affected by major bugs themselves and don’t protect the entire contents of the microprocessor.

Todd Austin, leader of the Morpheus project at UM, likens his team’s design to a giant Rubik’s Cube. His architecture focuses on moving data stored within the chip to various randomized locations while also constantly re-encrypting stored passwords. Even if a hacker managed to find a memory block with a password in it that was vulnerable to decryption, the data won’t be there by the time the password-cracker finishes its work. Even modern GPUs, which are staggeringly good at password decryption, require time to work.

“We are making the computer an unsolvable puzzle,” Austin said. “It’s like if you’re solving a Rubik’s Cube and every time you blink, I rearrange it. What’s incredibly exciting about the project is that it will fix tomorrow’s vulnerabilities. I’ve never known any security system that could be future proof.”


Rowhammer targets either the single purple row to flip the yellow bits or can target both yellow rows to flip the purple bits.

What the Michigan team is describing would be an incredibly useful set of capabilities — if it can be made to work. We’ve seen exploits before, like Rowhammer, that function precisely by targeting a given area of memory and hammering adjacent rows with repeated accesses in an attempt to flip bits within the target row (hence the name). Zero-day exploits are a common and potentially devastating problem. And frankly, it’s simply downright tiresome to be forever chasing down security bulletins and updating various applications. A chip that could juggle its memory addresses and keep data safely encrypted could be useful in a wide range of security applications.

What’s less clear is how easily the technology could be integrated into modern processors or what impact these rapid-fire data shifts would have on functionality. The DARPA SSITH project (System Security Integrated Through Hardware and Firmware) specifically states that “The strategic challenge for participants in the SSITH program will be to develop new integrated circuit (IC) architectures that lack the current software-accessible points of illicit entry, yet retain the computational functions and high-performance the ICs were designed to deliver.”

DARPA’s goal is to fund initial development on a processor design capable of preventing one or more of seven security flaws: Permission and privilege escalations, buffer errors, resource management, information leakage, numeric errors, crypto errors, and code injection. These seven types of attacks supposedly comprise a whopping 40 percent of all attack types; cutting even one or two of them out could significantly reduce security issues in the military and consumer world.

(Image credit: DARPA)

Published at Fri, 22 Dec 2017 13:36:11 +0000

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Mozilla Pulls Mr. Robot Add-On From Firefox Amid Blowback

Mozilla Pulls Mr. Robot Add-On From Firefox Amid Blowback

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When Mozilla released Firefox Quantum earlier this year, I installed it and gave some thought as to whether I’d allow Firefox “Studies” to take place. They seemed reasonable, but I ultimately decided not to. Now, I’m glad I did. According to multiple reports, Firefox chose to seed various users with a Mr. Robot-themed AR game that inverted some text in-browser. While Mozilla has pulled the plugin and apologized, the foundation has taken some heat for its actions.

The company released a note in response to baffled users on Reddit, who thought they’d found some kind of malware package.

According to Mozilla, this Mr. Robot-themed add-on wasan attempt to cater to passionate fans of a game related to the show, as opposed to a commercial deal, but the organization couldn’t have handled the optics worse. The foundation writes that Firefox and Mr. Robot “have collaborated on a shared experience to further your immersion into the Mr Robot universe, also known as an Alternate Reality Game (ARG). The effects you’re seeing are a part of this shared experience.”

It goes on, since apparently Mozilla doesn’t swallow its own feet by half measures.

The Mr. Robot series centers around the theme of online privacy and security. One of the 10 guiding principles of Mozilla’s mission is that individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional. The more people know about what information they are sharing online, the more they can protect their privacy.

Mozilla exists to build the Internet as a public resource accessible to all because we believe open and free is better than closed and controlled. We build products like Firefox to give people more control over their lives online.

Translation: “We built a browser founded on themes of security and privacy, and what better way to demonstrate how flimsy these principles are on the modern internet than by showing you we can’t be trusted!”

Compare the above with the definition of a Shield Study from Mozilla’s own website:

Shield Studies is a function of the Shield project that prompts a random population of users to help us try out new products, features, and ideas… Individual studies can be opt-out or opt-in and any and all data being collected will be declared openly. After confirming willingness to participation, a self expiring add-on will be installed on the user’s machine. At the end of the study period, the add-on will expire and return the user’s system to the previous state.

There’s a galaxy of difference between opting into a foundation-approved UI or tool test, carried out only by explicit opt-in permission, in which the the study is only installed after confirming willingness to participate, and what we have here, which has every indication of a co-marketing campaign with a TV show. And honestly, that’s the only thing that makes the slightest bit of sense. “Guys, we needed money,” isn’t a great defense, but it’s better than “We randomly thought we’d include something that looks like a co-marketing campaign without getting anyone’s permission or any money.”

Luckily, Mozilla has chalked it up to a “learning experience,” the 2017 corporate equivalent of “thoughts and prayers.” “Suffice to say, we’ve learned a good deal in the last 24 hours … Although we always have the best intentions, not everything that we try works as we want,” said Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, Mozilla’s chief marketing officer.

Published at Tue, 19 Dec 2017 19:14:12 +0000

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FCC Votes To Overturn Net Neutrality Rules—Now What?

FCC Votes To Overturn Net Neutrality Rules—Now What?

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under chairman Ajit Pai has followed through on its threat to kill net neutrality. In a 3-2 vote today, the commission approved a proposal to nullify the net neutrality rules put in place by the FCC in 2015. This move frees up internet service providers like Comcast and Time Warner to manage their networks more aggressively and create preferred fast lanes for content. The vote also makes it that much harder to apply any regulatory pressure to ISPs, as it removes the Title II classification that served as the basis of the net neutrality regulations.

Ajit Pai, in his defense of the proposal, echoed the statements made by former FCC chairman Powell. He built a straw man of net neutrality, then tore it down as justification for the repeal. There was a brief delay before the vote as security evacuated the room and appeared to sweep the room with a bomb-sniffing dog. After reconvening, the vote came down along party lines. The three Republican members of the commission voted to repeal net neutrality regulations and the two Democrats voted to keep them in place.

Opponents of the change have argued that allowing ISPs a free hand will result in higher costs for consumers and businesses. Pai and his supporters claim that regulations on ISPs will hamper innovation in the future, and the internet was working fine before the 2015 rules. This argument didn’t resonate with consumers, the overwhelming majority of whom oppose the repeal when surveyed.

So, what happens now? The new rules are basically no rules. Actions like blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization that were not allowed under the previous net neutrality rules will now be permitted by the FCC. We’re basically trusting ISPs to handle things without oversight. However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can still investigate ISPs for anti-competitive practices, but there’s a lot of gray area there.

pai fcc

Chairman Ajit Pai.

It’s likely a lawsuit will be filed against the FCC in the coming days. While the commission is allowed to change rules and regulations, it’s not permitted to do so for purely political or arbitrary reasons. In court, the FCC will be forced to justify that the 2015 rules were causing harm to the internet. The large volume of fake public comments filed with the FCC will likely be a focus of the lawsuit as well.

The courts could halt the repeal of net neutrality rules, but it could be months before the new regulations are finalized. ISPs are probably already making plans to implement new, non-neutral services in the event the FCC wins the court cases. Either way, there won’t be any changes overnight.

Now read: 20 Best Privacy Tips

Published at Thu, 14 Dec 2017 19:35:02 +0000

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