Wednesday, March 10
Via Salon comes the heartwarming tale of comedian Conan O’Brien, an anonymous Twitter user, and the contest O’Brien held to “change someone’s life forever.”
Massively Multiplayer Online games — think World of Warcraft — are big business in the United States. How big? According to Games Industry, in 2009 there were 46 million players. And all told, those players spent a staggering $3.8 billion.
In a surprising move — for government, anyway — the FCC has announced that it’s much anticipated national broadband plan will now be released on March 16 — a day earlier than originally scheduled.
Tuesday, March 09
Reuters reports that as part of its national broadband plan — due to be presented before Congress in just eight days — the FCC will recommend dedicating some spectrum to provide free or low-cost wireless Internet service to low-income and rural communities.
Back in 2001, an idea was hatched to create the domain .xxx specifically for adult websites. Though the domain was approved four years later, ICANN — the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — eventually reversed the plan after complaints from parents and Christian groups.
Now, Ars Technica reports, ICANN may be exploring the idea of .xxx again:
Two weeks ago, an independent panel from the International Center for Dispute Resolution said that ICANN goofed when it rejected .xxx. The decision was not a binding one, but ICANN clearly feels that the issue is worth reconsideration after all; the organization confirmed to the BBC that it would discuss the TLD again this week to decide whether it wants to move forward on it—again.
With broadband stimulus funds slowly making their way to applicants, a new wrinkle has emerged that may slow down recipients putting the money to good use. As Phone Plus reports, it comes down to the question of taxes:
[I]f the government doesn’t clarify whether the grants are considered taxable income, onlookers fear recipients won’t use the money any time soon – defeating the purpose of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
When asked whether recipients would be taxed on the stimulus funds, the Treasury Department reportedly offered no concrete answer. Stay tuned…
Via Krebs on Security, from July to September of 2009 cyber criminals bilked $25 million from businesses — $15 million more than traditional banks robbers netted during the same time period.
Monday, March 08
TechCrunch highlights a new report from Forrester Research that predicts online retail will continue to grow in the next five years — from $155 billion in 2009 to as much as $250 billion by 2014.
Via InfoTech & Telecom News, the Electronic Frontier Foundation — long supportive of net neutrality principles — is arguing against the FCC imposing new regulations:
In comments filed with the FCC in February, the San Francisco-based organization said the agency lacks the authority to issue neutrality regulations that would ban Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Comcast from favoring some forms of Internet traffic over others.
“Congress has not deputized the FCC to be a free roving regulator of the Internet,” the group argued in a filing that came as a shock to net neutrality supporters such as the intensely pro-regulation “public advocacy” groups Free Press and Public Knowledge.
“So while EFF strongly endorses the goals of this commission ... a limitless notion of ancillary jurisdiction would stand as an open invitation to future commissions to promulgate ‘policy statements,’ issue regulations, and conduct adjudications detrimental to the Internet,” EFF wrote.
Read the full Heartland Institute report, which also quotes IIA Co-Chairman Bruce Mehlman.
A new poll conducted by BBC World Service asked participants whether the Internet should be a “fundamental right.” Perhaps not surprisingly, four out of five said yes.