How Net Neutrality Actually Ended Long Before This Week – by Farhad Manjoo – NYT

“I remember the first time I ever heard about net neutrality. It was around 2004 or 2005, and when the full idea was explained to me — hey, let’s prevent phone and cable companies from influencing the content we see online — I was surprised there was even a fight about the idea.
It seemed obvious that the internet’s great promise was that it operated outside the purview of existing communications monopolies. Because phone and cable companies couldn’t easily dictate what happened online, the internet was exploding in dozens of genuinely new ideas. Among those back then were blogs, Skype, file-sharing, YouTube, Friendster, Netflix — ideas that scrambled our sense of what was possible in media and communication, and, in the process, posed existential threats to the established giants.”

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How to Pack and Prepare Your Smartphone for Traveling This Summer – By Brian X. Chen – NYT

By Brian X. Chen

 

“Many travelers are familiar with this scenario: You are finally going on that well-earned vacation. You decide to take your smartphone on the journey. But you run into a host of tech snags after you arrive at your destination.

You might quickly burn through your cellular data limit, for instance. Or maybe you can’t log in to some apps that send you text messages to confirm your identity. Your maps may not load. And your battery runs out of juice just when you need the smartphone most.

These headaches may spoil what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation. They may even make you wish you had left your phone at home. But your smartphone is your most vital travel tool: You rely on it for navigating unfamiliar places, finding places to eat and things to do, and taking photos.

Fret not, traveler. To help you plan a smooth summer vacation, here’s an overview of the tech you should pack to use a smartphone abroad, and more important, what you need to do with your phone before you depart. (Much of this advice can also be applied to domestic travel as well. If you want to be thorough, click here for a checklist you can print out.)”

David Lindsay:  The comments are as or more valuable than the article, as is so often the case.

How a Radio Shack Robbery Could Spur a New Era in Digital Privacy

“WASHINGTON — The case that could transform privacy law in the digital era began with the armed robbery of a Radio Shack store in Detroit, a couple of weeks before Christmas in 2010. In the next three months, eight more stores in Michigan and Ohio were robbed at gunpoint.

The robbers took bags filled with smartphones. Their own phones would help send them to prison.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will consider whether prosecutors violated the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches, by collecting vast amounts of data from cellphone companies showing the movements of the man they say organized most of the robberies.

Experts in privacy law said the case, Carpenter v. United States, No. 16-402, was a potential blockbuster.

“Carpenter could be the most important electronic privacy case of the 21st century,” said Jeffrey Rosen, the president of the National Constitution Center, a nonprofit group devoted to educating the public about the Constitution.

In a pair of recent decisions, the Supreme Court expressed discomfort with allowing unlimited government access to digital data. It limited the ability of the police to use GPS devices to track suspects’ movements, and it required a warrant to search cellphones.”

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT 

Interesting story. My first reaction is that the court has to allow this criminal to go to jail, while clarifying that going forward, the government needs to get a search warrant to look into the digital fingerprints we leave by using cell phones and other digital devices, to protect the general public from governmental over reach.

F.C.C. Is Said to Plan Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules

“WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission is preparing a full repeal of net neutrality rules that require broadband providers to give consumers equal access to all content on the internet, putting more power in the hands of those companies to dictate people’s online experiences.

Ajit Pai, the chairman of the F.C.C., plans to reveal a sweeping proposal to scrap the net neutrality rules on Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the plan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details are not public. The rules, created during the Obama administration, prohibit broadband providers from blocking, slowing down or charging more for the delivery of certain internet content. The proposal will be presented in a December meeting of F.C.C. commissioners and is expected to pass in a 3-to-2 vote along party lines.”

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT 

Help, Help, Stop these people. I am not an expert on this complicated subject, but there was a terrific video on youtube by John Oliver, explaining Net Neutrality. The Obama Administration regulators decided the public needed this protection for a good reason. It will be all too easy for big corporations to stiffle competion, benefiting themselves at the expense of consumers and the ecoomy.

The Upside of Being Ruled by the Five Tech Giants – by Farhad Manjoo – NYT

“The tech giants are too big. But what if that’s not so bad?For a year and a half — and more urgently for much of the last month — I have warned of the growing economic, social and political power held by the five largest American tech companies: Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

Because these companies control the world’s most important tech platforms, from smartphones to app stores to the map of our social relationships, their power is growing closer to that of governments than of mere corporations. That was on stark display this week, when executives from two of the five, Facebook and Google, along with a struggling second-tier company, Twitter, testified before Congress about how their technology may have been used to influence the 2016 election.

Yet ever since I started writing about what I call the Frightful Five, some have said my very premise is off base. I have argued that the companies’ size and influence pose a danger. But another argument suggests the opposite — that it’s better to be ruled by a handful of responsive companies capable of bowing to political and legal pressure. In other words, wouldn’t you rather deal with five horse-size Zucks than 100 duck-size technoforces?”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval

Great reporting and analysis Farhad Manjoo. Amazon has definitely crossed the lines of propriety. Read the story of how they blackmailed Diapers.com into selling to them or going under. Amazon deserves to be broken up, and carefully regulated like a serial criminal, whose operations you often enjoy.

If the Europeans are telling the truth, Google needs severe government oversight as well. The Europeans report that Google’s searches just happen to prefer Google companies and partners.
David Lindsay blogs at InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

How Google Took Over the Classroom – The New York Times

“In the space of just five years, Google has helped upend the sales methods companies use to place their products in classrooms. It has enlisted teachers and administrators to promote Google’s products to other schools. It has directly reached out to educators to test its products — effectively bypassing senior district officials. And it has outmaneuvered Apple and Microsoft with a powerful combination of low-cost laptops, called Chromebooks, and free classroom apps.

Today, more than half the nation’s primary- and secondary-school students — more than 30 million children — use Google education apps like Gmail and Docs, the company said. And Chromebooks, Google-powered laptops that initially struggled to find a purpose, are now a powerhouse in America’s schools. Today they account for more than half the mobile devices shipped to schools.

“Between the fall of 2012 and now, Google went from an interesting possibility to the dominant way that schools around the country” teach students to find information, create documents and turn them in, said Hal Friedlander, former chief information officer for the New York City Department of Education, the nation’s largest school district. “Google established itself as a fact in schools.” “

Mark Zuckerberg: The end of smartphones and TVs is coming | World Economic Forum

“It’s no secret Mark Zuckerberg is pinning Facebook’s prospects on augmented reality — technology that overlays digital imagery onto the real world, like Snapchat’s signature camera filters.At this year’s F8 conference, taking place this week, Zuckerberg doubled down on the company’s ambitious 10-year master plan, which was first revealed in 2016. According to this timeline, Facebook expects to turn artificial intelligence, ubiquitous internet connectivity, and virtual and augmented reality into viable parts of its business over the next decade.The Facebook 10-year road map, first revealed in April 2016.Facebook”

Source: Mark Zuckerberg: The end of smartphones and TVs is coming | World Economic Forum

They once said books would disappear too. This would be more threatening, if more of us actually liked Facebook., rather than just finding it too powerful to completely ignore.