Recently

Frontier customer bought his own router—but has to pay $10 rental fee anyway

With FCC Chairman Ajit Pai having deregulated the broadband industry, there’s little to no chance of the commission taking action to stop fees like the one charged by Frontier.

ArsTechnica

Another example of “death by a thousand cuts”. Frontier can charge you 10 dollars for a router you don’t want or need, 5 more for a “warranty” you can’t opt out of, continue to track and sell your data because it’s in the “T & C”, and as the customer a majority of us only have one option for high speed internet, leaving little to no recourse but to complain of reddit and pay it. The alternative is to go without, which is simply not practical on any level.

☹️

July 2019

FCC lets Verizon lock cell phones to network for 60 days after activation

While the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted Verizon’s request for a partial waiver from the open-access rule, it denied Verizon’s request for a declaratory ruling “finding the handset unlocking rule already permits such temporary locking.”

ARS Technica

As T-Mobile put it, they knew what the rules were when they bought in during the spectrum auction. I’m a little surprised at even the 60 day wavier. I’m struggling to find any tangible benefit to the customer, and not just some made up problems for Verizon. 🤷‍♂️

June 2019

Bill Gates accidentally makes the case to regulate the hell out of platform companies

It’s very tricky for platforms… these are winner-take-all markets. It really is winner-take-all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90 percent as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G to company M.

Bill Gates

My hope is after reading Ben Thompson’s Aggregation Theory I will be better equipped to answer the question I have. Ok, so how best to approach the tech industry in a way that promotes competition when the network effect is so strong?

June 2019

Facebook will pay you to let it track what you do on your phone

The app will monitor which apps are installed on a person’s phone, the time spent using those apps, the country you’re in, and additional app data

The Verge

… you don’t say

June 2019

The web the world needs can be ours again, if we want it

By creating a Firefox account you can increase convenience while decreasing your exposure to some harmful parts of the web. An account unlocks the full potential of tools like Lockwise, which securely manages passwords, and Monitor, a service that notifies you when your email has been part of a known data breach.

We’re offering privacy protections by default as you navigate the web because the business model of the web is broken, with more and more intrusive personal surveillance becoming the norm. While we hope that people’s digital rights and freedoms will ultimately be guaranteed, we’re here to help in the interim.

Chris Beard, CEO of Mozilla

I like that Mozilla has put in effort to diverse their offerings and become less dependent on the money from Google for default search. The idea of privacy as a product is red hot right now, while most feel opportunistic I would say this is very much inline with what Mozilla has always strived for.

June 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says photos of travelers were taken in a data breach

Washington Post

CBP said copies of “license plate images and traveler images collected by CBP” had been transferred to the subcontractor’s company network, violating the agency’s security and privacy rules. The subcontractor’s network was then attacked and breached. No CBP systems were compromised, the agency said.

Trusted with a back door because they need it to keep us safe?

June 2019

Podcasts are coming

Podcasts as an industry is going to experience same defining change sooner rather than later.

Spotify begins testing curated podcast playlists

The bigger goal of these tests is to improve podcast discoverability, an issue that plagues the industry.

The podcast industry expected to create $1 billion in annual revenue by 2021

the industry generated an estimated $479.1 million in revenue in 2018 and is expected to produce more than $1 billion by 2021, according to a new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC

😳 that’s quite a bit of growth !!!!!

June 2019

Comcast broke law 445,000 times in scheme to inflate bills, judge finds

When we talk about regulation for tech, maybe we should review net neutrality for ISP’s ?🤷🏻‍♂️

King County Superior Court Judge Timothy Bradshaw found that “Comcast violated the Consumer Protection Act more than 445,000 times when it charged tens of thousands of Washingtonians for its Service Protection Plan without their consent,” 

ArsTechnica

Maine lawmakers have passed a bill that will prevent internet providers from selling consumers’ private internet data to advertisers.

The state’s senate unanimously passed the bill 35-0 on Thursday following an earlier vote by state representatives 96-45 in favor of the bill.

Maine passes law preventing ISPs from selling browsing data without consent

June 2019

Open Source Licenses and AWS

Lack of leadership in open source results in source-available licenses

Amazon’s behavior toward open source is self-interested and rational. Amazon is playing by the rules of what software licenses allow. But these behaviors and their undesirable results could be curbed if industry associations created standard open-source licenses that allowed authors of open-source software to express a simple concept:

“I do not want my open-source code run as a commercial service.”

It will be interesting to see how open source licensing evolves over the next couple years with the ever increasing grow of cloud services. 🤔

June 2019

Congress drops proposal to ban the IRS from competing with Turbotax

Follow up from a previous post on blocking the IRS from creating a free tax filing option to compete with Intuit.

Lawmakers are planning to drop a proposal to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from offering a free online tax-filing option, Politico and Pro Publica report. The provision was included in the Taxpayer First Act, which passed the House in April but has not passed the Senate. It was backed by the makers of private tax preparation software, including Intuit (makers of TurboTax) and H&R Block.

ArsTechnica

June 2019