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Friday, July 24, 2009

Twitter and mobile net neutrality

If its been quiet the past week, that's because I've been weaving through the rights jungle trying to watch the Ashes and Lance Armstrong on the Internet, settling for audio and delayed video of the cricket (well done, Freddie!) and video of the cycling in English and without ads, too, courtest of Versus.

I also got into Twitter, mainly to follow the cricket and cycling stars who bypass the official media this way (Armstrong has 1.6million Twitter followers).

Its interesting to me to see how Twitter is having to negotiate with UK mobile networks to secure a bulk texting contract so avoid prohibitive standard wholesale charges, and has cut deals with Vodafone (sort of) and O2. These services are fleeced by mobile networks and will not succeed without net neutral regulation or market power. Does Ofcom care, except as a user?

Anyhoo, follow me on Twitter and you'll see I'm off to Nova Scotia for a week's holidays - bonnes vacances, eh?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Supreme Court and net neutrality

Interesting Marvin Amorri post (long and detailed with excellent links) on why Sotomayor should answer Al Franken's questions with more attention on what role the First Amendment plays in net neutrality regulation/legislation. I watched the hearings, and she played a very straight bat - either she doesn't have a clue or just was briefed not to say anything interesting at all.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

British Telecom and dePHORMative social responsibility

Back in my RAND days, I wrote the following in a report for BT's corporate social responsibility unit:
"Private parties seem relatively insensitive to the consequences of, for example, privacy breaches and phishing. This lack of response and recognition by those closest to the risks can undermine such ‘public goods’ as the rule of law to international economic competitiveness. Private parties are not taking the actions necessary to minimise the risks at 'ground level' and do not see the risks as justifying the civil liberties consequences of legal action. This in turn can undermine trust in the online economy and thus harm competitiveness."
Recent revelations about Livingston and Galvin attitudes to PHORM, and contempt for customer privacy - back in 2007, exactly as we were writing these words, reveal just how useless CSR reports appear to be....

On the brighter side, the NoDPI campaign seems to illustrate "The vulnerabilities and risks associated with distributed data could inhibit economic growth and participation, but could equally trigger a multi-stakeholder response" i.e. consumer revulsion!

Democracy will not be televised or even blawged?

Searching for information on the APCOMMS inqwuiry, I realize [a] All-party groups cannot be found via the website, [2] the APCOMMS website is rarely updated, [3] there doesn't seem to be a live blog let alone an audio or video stream. Help!

Behavioural advertising: clarity from Ed Felten

I can't think of a clearer primer on behavioural advertising than Ed's testimony to Congress yesterday - see also his post mortem.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Canadian net neutrality hearings: Michael Geist coverage

Michael offers a great public service with his blogging of the CRTC hearings - as usual, great analysis and excellent summary. Its set to go on all week. Then it'll be the UK's turn with the APCOMMS inquiry.

News from home while abroad - TalkTalk follows BT away from Phorm - are they now cooked in the UK?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Canadian inquiry told DPI necessary, by DPI providers

Sandvine (yes, the Comcast FCC DPI company), and Juniper (yes, Chinese government's little helpers) have explained that net neutrality doesn't exist, that DPI is needed, and that flashmobs like those after Michael Jackson's death (how topical!) need controlling. This is in Ottawa, not Iran.

The hearing continues....on Twitter and elsewhere (probably not on your mobile)

PHORM divorced by BT

It looks like the behavioural advertising software provider is running out of partners and money in the UK. DPI remains a spooks' tool not a money-maker for ISPs.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Digital economy bill - Carter's gift before the Election

Yada yada yada...

Ensuring a world-class digital future following the Digital Britain White Paper , published on 16 June 2009, setting out the Government's ambition to secure the UK's position as one of the world's leading digital knowledge economies and take forward a new, more active industrial policy to maximise the benefits from the digital revolution by:

  • delivering a universally available broadband in the UK by 2012 through a public fund, including funds released from the digital television switchover help scheme;
  • giving the sectoral regulator, Ofcom, two new duties: first, to promote investment in infrastructure and content alongside its duties to promote competition; and second, to carry out a full assessment of the UK's communications infrastructure every two years; to ensure that the UK has a first class and resilient communications infrastructure;
  • establishing the necessary enabling powers for new commissioning bodies providing strong multi media news in the Nations, regionally and locally and update the Channel 4 Corporation's remit. This would help create the environment for continued investment in, and creation of, high quality and innovative content, including necessary changes in relation to public service broadcasting;
  • ensuring that all national broadcast radio stations are digital from the end of 2015, by making changes to the existing radio licensing regime to enable digital coverage to be extended, encourage investment by the commercial sector, alongside the BBC, in new digital content, and revise the existing regulatory and multiplex licences;
  • creating a robust legal and regulatory framework to combat illegal file sharing and other forms of online copyright infringement and give Ofcom a specific new responsibility to significantly reduce this practice, including two specific obligations on Internet Service Providers: the notification of unlawful activity and, for alleged serial-infringers, collation of data to allow rights holders to obtain court orders to force the release of personal details, enabling legal action to be taken against them;
  • implementing the recommendations of the Byron Review published in June 2008, to put age ratings of computer games on a statutory footing for ratings of 12 years and above. This will be achieved through the adoption of a new and strengthened system of classification for boxed video games with a strong UK based statutory layer of regulation, ensuring protection for children.