FCC abides by GOP request, deletes everything from meeting agenda
Wheeler’s attempt to impose new set-top box rules that help consumers avoid paying cable box rental fees may also be doomed. Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge sent a letter to Trump today urging him to side with consumers instead of “cable and Hollywood lobbyists” on the issue.
Another blow to deceptively marketed “unlimited” data plans
Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica:
The FCC’s new rules ban throttling except in cases of “reasonable network management.” AT&T could argue that the throttling is necessary to keep its network running smoothly, but FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has objected to throttling of plans that are supposed to be unlimited and forced Verizon Wireless to back down from a throttling plan last year.
I have no problem with good-faith network management, but if a plan is subject to throttling, it can’t be marketed and sold as “unlimited.” The FTC is sending the right signal here in choosing to pursue this case, and Judge Edward Chen of the US District Court in Northern California has demonstrated that he understands the issue.
The network that can provide real unlimited data at usable speeds with no fine print has an opportunity to significantly increase its user base, but I haven’t found one yet. Let me know if you have.
FBI Director dislikes encryption on Apple and Google devices
Encryption of data on mobile devices is a big selling point in our post-Snowden world. But FBI Director James Comes isn’t happy about it:
What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law.
David Kravets of Ars Technica reports Comey has “reached out” to the companies about the issue. Absent new or amended legislation, though, there is little he can do about it, precisely because there is such a sales incentive to marketing encryption these days.
Porn troll Prenda Law angers judge with shady behavior
Earlier this week I mentioned that the EFF was going to represent a couple of anti-trolling websites in a case brought by porno copyright troll Prenda Law.
The Ars Technica article by Megan Geuss is well-written and really conveys the absurdity of the situation in which Prenda has put itself. I urge you to click the link in this post’s title to go give her piece a full read.
Also, if you’re interested in keeping up with the latest in potential troll-stomping, consider keeping an eye on the Ars series “Who’s behind Prenda Law?”. They always do great work at Ars and this series is no exception.
EFF will represent targets of copyright troll Prenda Law
Copyright trolls sue lots of people to extract settlements from those who can’t afford to litigate in the face of potentially massive statutory damages. Their claims are often facially lacking in merit and instead leverage intimidation and poorly-constructed federal copyright damages provisions to bankrupt people for profit.
I’m impressed by WordPress’ parent company, Automattic, who refused to respond to the troll’s fishing expedition. And it’s good to see EFF lend a hand here in the form of representation, but eventually Congress needs to step in and fix the statutory damages provisions that incentivize copyright trolls to this vile abuse of our legal system in the first place.
For some great background and reporting on trolls and those who fight them, read this Ars Technica piece by Timothy B. Lee.
Antivirus pioneer John McAfee spying on Belize
Nate Anderson, at Ars Technica:
You will not be shocked to learn, dear reader, that McAfee’s massive spy operation didn’t just reveal some petty corruption or embarrassing secrets but rather the existence of a Hezbollah trafficking network that funneled 11 Lebanese men a month into America. And, of course, these were probably terrorists; one man had plans to make deadly ricin from plants being grown in a Nicaraguan training camp.
I would have linked directly to McAfee’s post in my headline, but as of this post’s publication the page throws an error that reads “Error 320 – Reverse BrowserSpy Java redirect – Session Username_: Session interrupt: invalid table.” Is he really logging our keys? Is he?
Crazy, crazy stuff.
At least one Ars Technica reader agrees: Rdio > Spotify
Ars Technica reader jamieskella, contributing to Chris Foresman’s reader recommendation round-up for all those newly-gifted iPads out there:
How and why is Spotify still being recommended when Rdio (free) boasts 18 million songs and is available in so many regions globally? The supremely intuitive app experience leaves Spotify in the dust, the social features add to the already first-rate discovery options, while the method of cataloguing your favourite music is far superior.
Yup, it still pains me that so many people got hooked on Spotify via Facebook and never learned of Rdio’s obvious superiority.
USPTO director defends software patents
Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos, quoted by Timothy B. Lee at Ars Technica:
In a system like ours in which innovation is happening faster than people can keep up, it cannot be said that the patent system is broken.
Of course, he’s wrong, but what else would he argue?
“The work my directorate does is under-funded and based upon a flawed patchwork of case and statutory law that frustrates our Constitutional mandate!”