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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The ITU and the Real Threats to the Internet, Part IV: the Triumph of State Security

The ITU and the Real Threats to the Internet, Part IV: the Triumph of State Security and Proposed Changes to the ITRs « Mediamorphis: "The proposed additions and changes to the ITRs are worse than I thought. It is important that proposals now on the table for discussion at the upcoming WCIT get as much critical scrutiny as they can, and seen in that light, the WCITleaks site created by the folks at the Technology Liberation Front is a very useful tool.
That said, the analysis of the ITU and the proposed changes afoot have been largely strained through the prism of ideology, indiscriminately jumbling together overblown claims with real insights. As far as I can see, it is not the myriad of small changes to one section of the ITRs after another that constitute the major problem, but rather a set of issues that are mostly clustered in proposals by Russia, and supported by China, to add new sections to Article 8. " 'via Blog this'

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Why we are making all WCIT documents public - .nxt

Why we are making all WCIT documents public | News and analysis from .nxt: "Here is why. Contained within the WCIT documents are a number of proposals that have far greater impact and import than the system was ever designed to handle. As has been pointed out recently, several proposals, if accepted, would have a significant impact on the Internet. One proposal last week, for example, argued for an entire new set of regulations specifically focused on the Internet. But that is not the whole picture and it is important when there is such a significant global discussion happening for all the facts to be on the table." Absolutely right. 'via Blog this'

Digital Economy Act: Up to ISPs to decide whether to pursue public Wi-Fi providers over online copyright infringement, says Ofcom

Digital Economy Act: Up to ISPs to decide whether to pursue public Wi-Fi providers over online copyright infringement, says Ofcom: ""The DEA is clear: only subscribers are the legitimate recipients of notifications; communications providers are not," Le Patourel said. "It is the DEA, not Ofcom, that defines these actors. And it is for qualifying ISPs to apply such definitions. Ultimately the independent appeal body will decide whether an ISP has done this correctly by looking at the facts in each individual case brought to it."

"All Ofcom can do is offer some guidance on our interpretation of the definitions, which may play a role in the event that we consider enforcement action for failure to notify subscribers. To that end, we’ve already said that we believe that an individual who receives an internet service primarily for the purpose of using it, but who happens also to make it available to others by opening a Wi-Fi connection, is a subscriber, and can therefore legitimately receive notifications," he added. That’s different to a library or a cafe which can demonstrate that it receives an internet service predominantly for the purpose of making it available to customers. Our interpretation of the definitions is that this body is likely to act as an ISP or a Communications Provider and therefore cannot legitimately receive notifications, even where the owner also uses the service for his own needs."

My thoughts: For the record, I find it deeply objectionable that Ofcom should release this vital information in a seminar to a commercial conference, rather than directly to the affected public. That shows contempt for citizens, as does Parliament's decision that it is for the 'independent appeal body' to decide the staus of Wifi - presumably some 5 years after the Act was passed! Legislate in haste, repent at leisure  'via Blog this'

Why Is Belarus the Only Country Where Opera Is the Most Popular Browser?

Why Is Belarus the Only Country Where Opera Is the Most Popular Browser? - Tim Fernholz - The Atlantic: " all the Norwegian company behind Opera can offer is the best feature set it can craft and the fastest browser it can make. But that turned out to be the best strategy in Belarus, which remains a largely socialist state with the infrastructure to match, including a state-run communications monopoly, Beltelcom. "One of the main reasons why Opera has a large market share in Belarus is because of the Internet infrastructure in the country; it was pretty bad a few years ago," Espen André Øverdahl, one of Opera's community managers wrote in an email, pointing to features that allow users to strip out images and other bandwidth-gobbling web extras."
Net neutrality and censorship are two sides of the broadband speed coin in such environments - as with trying to run Tor in Iran...'via Blog this'

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Russians 'water down' leaked U.N. WCIT Internet proposal

Russians back down from leaked U.N. Internet proposal | Politics and Law - CNET News: "The Russian proposal is the boldest and most direct plan so far leaked from the process that would turn the ITU into an Internet regulator. The ITU and the Russians have been working closely on cybersecurity matters, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has made no effort to hide his broader agenda. Earlier this year, Putin bluntly told Toure that Russia was keen on the idea of "establishing international control over the Internet using the monitoring and supervisory capability of the International Telecommunications Union."" 'via Blog this'

Saturday, November 17, 2012

CDT, Scholars, Technologists and More Agree: ISPs Shouldn’t Have Right to Edit the Net

Center for Democracy & Technology: "ISPs’ argument that they have a right to interfere – to treat the Internet more like cable, where they select and package content for your consumption – would utterly transform the Internet as we know it. The ISPs are also wrong on the law.
Far from regulating any expressive conduct by ISPs, the Rules are better understood as governing ISPs’ conduct of transmitting information at users’ request. Our brief goes on to illustrate how that conduct – providing a general-purpose communications link over which users decide for themselves what to access – does not meet various Supreme Court tests for “expressiveness” such that the Rules merit First Amendment scrutiny. But even if the court disagrees and goes through a First Amendment analysis, a final section argues that non-discrimination rules for ISPs are a straightforward case that pass muster far more easily than controversial “must-carry” rules upheld for cable providers." 'via Blog this'

Ofcom: mobile blocking Skype but we don't care

ISPreview UK: "Ofcom used this report to keep a close eye (sic) on the issue of Net Neutrality and Traffic Management, although they found that “there are currently no substantive concerns in relation to the traffic management practices used by fixed ISPs“. The regulator noted some “concern” with how some mobile operators block Skype (VoIP) but not enough to take any action against." The traffic management section starts on p49 and includes this choice example of how ISPs are largely ignoring Ofcom's evidence-gathering:

"7.14 We asked operators to estimate the impact of traffic management restrictions. Although most told us that such calculations were too difficult to make, others told us that the impact could be significant, e.g. one fixed ISP said the estimated impact of its traffic management policies was to reduce P2P traffic to 1% of what it would otherwise be at peak times.
7.15 P2P is not the only type of traffic which is subject to traffic management. For example, O2 restricts the speed of video traffic on its lowest priced broadband package to 0.8Mbit/s, and offers higher-priced broadband packages that do not use traffic management for video traffic."
Note 0.8Mb/s is deliberately chosen as just below what is needed for BBC iPlayer services!

'via Blog this'

Virgin Media Failing to Fix Peak Time Broadband Latency and Peering Woes

ISPreview UK: Full disclosure - these clowns are my broadband provider...
"Cable ISP Virgin Media UK has so far failed to completely resolve its broadband peering problems, which re-emerged over a week ago and has left many customers to suffer from high latency (bad for multiplayer games) and video buffering problems during peak times.
The situation was originally caused when Atrato began pushing “abnormal amounts of traffic” through Virgin’s public peering links at LINX (London Internet Exchange) in October; this overloaded them and caused a spate of slow speeds and high latency (ping) woes." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cantor slams net neutrality as example of 'imperial presidency'

Cantor slams net neutrality as example of 'imperial presidency' - The Hill's Hillicon Valley: "House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) cited net-neutrality regulations as evidence of what he called President Obama's disregard for the legislative process in a report released Tuesday." Nutcase. 'via Blog this'

Friday, November 02, 2012

Virgin only 3rd fastest upload in UK with 12:1 up/download ratio

Top 8 UK Fastest Broadband ISPs by Download Speed for October 2012 - ISPreview UK: "According to, the fastest ISP for internet download speed remains Virgin Media with an impressive result of 33.430Mbps (up from 32.935Mbps last month). Meanwhile Eclipse Internet has stolen Virgin’s crown for the fastest upload speeds (3.321Mbps, up from 2.371Mbps last month)." Virgin is shocking for Skype calling... 'via Blog this'

Thursday, November 01, 2012

BT Brings FTTC Roll-out Forward to Spring 2014

BT Brings UK Superfast Broadband Rollout Forward to Spring 2014 - ISPreview UK: "BT has today confirmed that its national £2.5bn plan, which aims to deploy fibre optic based superfast broadband (FTTC , FTTP) ISP services to 66% of the UK, has once again been brought forward and will now complete during Spring 2014 (i.e. passing 19 million homes and businesses). The telecoms operator originally planned to complete its privately funded roll-out by the end of 2015" - which suggests 66% might be a soft target? 'via Blog this'

Ofcom | Speech on the internet and consumer protection in the digital age

Ofcom | Speech on the internet and consumer protection in the digital age: "Ofcom’s research on this showed that around 30% of switchers experienced an unwanted break in service when switching broadband on its own or as part of a bundle. On average, this loss of service lasted around 12 days, and a significant number of switchers (13%) had no broadband for more than 30 days. This is clearly unacceptable. Our research also shows, unfortunately but unsurprisingly, that many consumers regard switching as too much hassle to be worth the bother. This is not just bad for the consumer, it is bad for the competitive process and for the internet economy as a whole." 'via Blog this'

ASA Start Enforcing New UK Mobile Broadband Speed Advertising Rules

ASA Start Enforcing New UK Mobile Broadband Speed Advertising Rules - ISPreview UK: "Under the new guidelines mobile operators, which have had 3 months to make the necessary changes, must be able to demonstrate that any internet connection speed they promote is “achievable for at least 10% of the relevant customer base“. This must further be supported by robust, reasonable and representative data that can be “clearly explained” to customers. The changes came about after several studies, such as Ofcom’s 2011 research, revealed that actual mobile broadband performance often delivered significantly less than advertised. " 'via Blog this'