The latest country to push for a national broadband plan? Estonia.
Bruce P. Mehlman
The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.
Monday, August 03
Close to 50% of “smart phones” now have Wi-Fi, in addition to fast access over mobile phone networks.
Swanson, Bret. “Bandwidth Boom: Measuring U.S. Communications Capacity from 2000 to 2008.” Entropy Economics, June 24, 2009.
Friday, July 31
Alcohol companies have long been restrained when it comes to advertising on television, their pitches relegated to cable—and only then during hours when kids are likely to be tucked into bed. But now, Advertising Age reports, Brown-Forman, owners of Southern Comfort, are ditching TV altogether and instead taking their advertising dollars online:
Last year, SoCo spent $6 million of its $8 million measured media outlay on cable TV, and another $1.5 million on magazine ads. This year, both those numbers will drop to zero in favor of online properties such as Facebook, Spin, Fader, Pitchfork, Thrillist and Hulu.
The move won’t just allow Southern Comfort to be advertised on more popular shows, it will help distance the brand from competitors. Whether Southern Comfort will partner with iBooze, however, remains to be seen.
As part of building a national broadband plan, the FCC has planned workshops to gather ideas and educate the public. Reports PC World:
The workshops will be open to the public and will be webcast online, the FCC said. Key stakeholders attending the workshops will include broadband service providers, equipment providers, applications providers and community groups, the FCC said.
Among the topics the FCC will explore in the workshops: e-government, opportunities for disadvantaged businesses, deployment challenges, broadband for health care, and communities that have low broadband adoption rates.
The full list of broadband workshop topics is available on the FCC’s broadband page.
The New York Times “Bits” blog on a smart new way to put telemedicine in action: online therapy for veterans and their families:
Beginning August 1 in Hawaii, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, which provides health care for a third of military service members and their families, will use American Well to put soldiers and their family members face to face with psychologists and psychiatrists over the Web.
The service is part of a program mandated by the Department of Defense to address soldiers’ mental health. Accessing mental health services quickly, conveniently and privately is important for service members, said David J. McIntyre, Jr., chief executive of TriWest.
More information on the Internet and health care can be found in the IIA Broadband Fact Book.
Thursday, July 30
With over 11 million monthly subscribers, the online game World of Warcraft is a force to be reckoned with. It’s also, for many players, an addiction. Enter Dr. Richard Graham, a London psychiatrist, who is proposing an innovative way to help treat players who just can’t get enough: Providing therapy for WoW addiction in the game itself.
Add British intelligence agency MI5—the home of James Bond—to the growing list of government agency websites that have been hacked. ZDNet has the scoop:
Last week, a hacker with the handle ‘[-TE-]-Neo’ wrote that the MI5 website was vulnerable to cross-site scripting and Iframe injection. The hacker put the post on the Team Elite hacker forum last Tuesday, claiming the site was breachable through the search engine. Team Elite notified MI5’s administrator of the flaw before posting proof-of-concept code.
MI5 says no sensitive material could be accessed through the hack, but they moved quickly to fix the problem anyway.
When it comes to the all-important search, Google still rules the roost. But now things are starting to get interesting. Via Read Write Web:
A few months from now, Yahoo’s search engine will be “powered by Bing.” After months of back and forth between Microsoft and Yahoo, the two companies finally announced a deal today that will bring Microsoft’s search engine to Yahoo’s properties, while Yahoo will become the sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers.
The agreement between Microsoft and Yahoo is for the next 10 years. As for Google’s reaction to the deal, here’s what PC World found out:
The head of Google’s search organization said the search deal announced Wednesday between Microsoft and Yahoo looked likely to be negative for competition and for consumers.
If Yahoo adopts Microsoft’s Bing search engine in place of its own, that will reduce the search market from three major players to two, said Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search and user experience. She said several groups at Google were still studying the proposed partnership, which is expected to close next year, but that it might reduce innovation.
Seems like the search battle is about to heat up again. Stay tuned…
The latest findings from the Pew Internet and American Life Project reveal online video continues to grow in popularity, Ars Technica reports:
Pew surveyed 2,253 US adults over the age of 18 and discovered that 62 percent of all Internet users watch video on sites like Hulu and YouTube—this number is up from 33 percent in December of 2006. Almost one in five say they do so on a daily basis, which Pew attributes to the continued proliferation of broadband (the firm says 63 percent of American adults have access to broadband, and we’re sure it’s no coincidence that this number seems to match up with those who watch online video). Among young adults—those between 18 and 29—online video watching is at 89 percent, with 36 percent watching every day.
The report credits broadband and mobile adoption for the increase. But the question remains: As online video continues to grow, will networks be ready?
Wednesday, July 29
First up, a scare from the Guardian, which reports that the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) is worried that terrorists may use the Internet to launch nuclear attacks from armed countries:
While the possibility of a radical group gaining access to actual launch systems is remote, the study suggests that hackers could focus on feeding in false information further down the chain – or spreading fake information to officials in a carefully orchestrated strike.
“Despite claims that nuclear launch orders can only come from the highest authorities, numerous examples point towards an ability to sidestep the chain of command and insert orders at lower levels,” said Jason Fritz, the author of the paper. “Cyber-terrorists could also provoke a nuclear launch by spoofing early warning and identification systems or by degrading communications networks.”
Next, an article from the Washington Post on how electric utilities looking for a piece of the $3.9 billion “smart grid” stimulus will need to prove that they’re working to prevent cyberattacks:
The requirements from the Energy Department come amid mounting concern from security experts that many existing smart-grid efforts do not have sufficient built-in protections against computer hacking, such as new “smart meters” that put information about consumers’ power use onto the Internet, grid-management software and other equipment.
And finally, Ars Technica warns that the current use of security certificate warnings—those boxes that pop up occasionally on sites that claim to be secure for shopping and other transactions—are falling on deaf ears:
Internet users have grown immune to security certificate warnings and are more than happy to click past them, according to a new report out of Carnegie Mellon University. Researchers found that users won’t hesitate to engage in this risky browsing behavior, especially since most warnings are for benign things like expired certificates. This behavior leaves them vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, and the report calls for a reform in how warnings are handled in both safe and dangerous situations.