Eric Schmidt left Russia off his world censorship tour for a reason. Until now, the government has kept Internet freedom largely in tact. But it’s about to get a lot stricter as Russia has begun to selectively block content online that is potentially harmful to children, reports the New York Times. Read More
Internet Wants to Be Free
In Latest Attempt to Become the Most Hated Company Ever, Time Warner Plans to Charge a Monthly Modem Fee
When not pissing off the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Time Warner Cable execs apparently take to their evil lair to devise new schemes to wring every last penny out of their hapless customers. The latest pocket gouger? A monthly modem fee.
The New York Times reports that Time Warner is planning to charge a monthly fee of $3.95 to rent a modem from them. If you want to avoid paying the monthly fee, you can purchase a Time Warner-approved modem for $50-$137. Time Warner will then promise to set the modem up during the Harvest Moon but then not show up until the spring thaw. Read More
These days, newspapers will seemingly stop at nothing to boost their bottom line. Those Weekender ads are notoriously obnoxious, and we’re getting awfully tired of deleting the identification key at the end of a New York Times URL to get around the paywall. But the Wall Street Journal has finally devised a marketing scheme that we can get behind: instituting free wifi throughout our fine city (oh, and in San Francisco). Read More
The U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) announced Wednesday that it’s inviting everyone on the Internet to put down the cat videos, pause the tweeting and discuss the future of the Internet. According to the Associated Press this “follows criticism from civil society groups who say preparations for an upcoming global conference have been shrouded in secrecy.”
The grandly-named World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) will take place December 3-14 this year in Dubai. Criticism of the conference has focused on secretive talks between diplomats in preparation for the event, in which they are allegedly hashing out issues that regularly strike fear in the heart of the Internet such as “enhanced” government spying and new methods of billing for Internet service. Read More
I exercised a lot on my trip to Mexico so I totally crashed when I got home.
Oops, now the government is spying on Betabeat–at least according to this list of words the Department of Homeland Security uses to monitor social media, which was reportedly obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center under the Freedom of Information Act.
The majority of the words make sense within a security context: if you’re tweeting about “dirty bombs,” you’re probably pretty sketchy. But some of the choices are just plain random and way too generalized to excuse the government’s oddly Orwellian defense strategy: “Pork,” “response,” “incident,” “cloud,” “wave,” “power” and “smart” all make the list, the full version of which you can read here.
Are you there, government? It’s us, Betabeat. We’re just trying to report on tech news, okay? No harm intended.
Sometime in the mid-nineties, my dad got an AOL account. Roughly two seconds after that, I fell down the rabbit hole of anonymous chat rooms and never quite got out–that is when I wasn’t getting the deadly, dreaded dial-up busy signal. AOL charged by the hour back then. Until the service switched to a flat monthly rate in October, 1996, the clock was always ticking, forcing you to make the Sophie’s Choice of where to spend your time online.
Now it seems the industry is heading back in that direction. Not by-the-hour, mind you, but a usage-based pricing model that would prompt viewers to consider whether, say, spending the weekend watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix is really worth it. (Answer: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.) Read More
This should go over well with our tech-obsessed mayor. A piece of legislation proposed in both New York state houses seeks to ban anonymous commenting from New York-based websites.
As a person who writes on the Internet, this sounds amazing! How about a name to go with that thoughtless feedback, Mr. Not So Nice Guy? Of course, as a proponent of the First Amendment, we would like to tell Senator Thomas O’Mara where he can put this bill. Anonymously, of course. Read More
Do you spend a lot of time on the Internet? Yeah, us either. Haha, kidding, we are literally never not on the Internet. This reporter sleeps with her phone beside her pillow, and only shuts her Macbook when that screen glare-induced headache starts to set in. We stream and download music and videos and read tons and tons of news stories. The only reason we’re not broke is because our Verizon mobile unlimited data plan was grandfathered in. All of this is is why the news that Comcast will begin testing charging for Internet based on how much you use it is kind of the worse. Read More
This is a guest post from Cole Stryker, a writer and publicist working in New York. It is an excerpt from his book, ”Identity Wars: Online Anonymity, Privacy and Control,” which is slated for a September release from Overlook Press.
On March 27, 2012 I had the opportunity to attend a private screening of a mini-documentary called “Free the Network,” produced by Vice’s tech site, Motherboard.tv. The documentary opens at Occupy Wall Street, first depicted as a wacky, disparate band of activists which developed a curious techno-centric bent with the arrival of Anonymous, along with a more or less disorganized faction of hackers who wished to bring about social revolution through technology. The film centers on one of them, a 21-year old college dropout named Isaac Wilder, the executive director of the Free Network Foundation.
Mr. Wilder builds communications systems based around Freedom Towers, DIY kits that fit in a suitcase containing everything one would need to set up an ad hoc peer to peer network. The instructions are simple: “Plug it in. Press the big green button.” It creates a local network that stays up no matter what happens to the wider global Internet. All of this is mostly funded through private donations from family, friends, and fellow revolutionaries. Mr. Wilder estimates that the equipment required to assemble a Freedom Tower would have cost over $10,000 as recent as five years ago. Today: $2,000. And it’s completely grid-independent. That means solar powered batteries, a DC power system, a server, a router and a suite of powerful software, all contained in a suitcase. Read More
AT&T just announced free Wi-Fi service at an additional five New York City parks: Astoria Park in Queens, Herbert Von King Park and McCarren Park Field House in Brooklyn, Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan and Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island. Read More