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Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

They Might Be Giants releases their "first album live" tour album as free download - Boing Boing - 1 views

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    "They Might Be Giants have released a 47-minute, 19-track recording of their First Album Live tour for free. The Giants took their 1986 breakout album ("the pink album") out on tour in 2013, performing it along with Avatars of They, an all-puppet TMBG tribute band, to enthusiastic crowds around the world. The free download is a gift to their fans, and it is every bit as great as it was in 1986 and 2013. First Album Live"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Facebook and Microsoft Are Laying a Giant Cable Across the Atlantic | WIRED - 0 views

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    [Facebook and Microsoft are laying a massive cable across the middle of the Atlantic. Dubbed MAREA-Spanish for "tide"-this giant underwater cable will stretch from Virginia to Bilbao, Spain, shuttling digital data across 6,600 kilometers of ocean. Providing up to 160 terabits per second of bandwidth-about 16 million times the bandwidth of your home Internet connection-it will allow the two tech titans to more efficiently move enormous amounts of information between the many computer data centers and network hubs that underpin their popular online services. ...]
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    [Facebook and Microsoft are laying a massive cable across the middle of the Atlantic. Dubbed MAREA-Spanish for "tide"-this giant underwater cable will stretch from Virginia to Bilbao, Spain, shuttling digital data across 6,600 kilometers of ocean. Providing up to 160 terabits per second of bandwidth-about 16 million times the bandwidth of your home Internet connection-it will allow the two tech titans to more efficiently move enormous amounts of information between the many computer data centers and network hubs that underpin their popular online services. ...]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

The open web's guardians are acting like it's already dead / Boing Boing - 0 views

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    "The World Wide Web Consortium -- an influential standards body devoted to the open web -- used to make standards that would let anyone make a browser that could view the whole Web; now they're making standards that let the giant browser companies and giant entertainment companies decide which browsers will and won't work on the Web of the future. "
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    "The World Wide Web Consortium -- an influential standards body devoted to the open web -- used to make standards that would let anyone make a browser that could view the whole Web; now they're making standards that let the giant browser companies and giant entertainment companies decide which browsers will and won't work on the Web of the future. "
Gary Edwards

Apple and Facebook Flash Forward to Computer Memory of the Future | Enterprise | WIRED - 1 views

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    Great story that is at the center of a new cloud computing platform. I met David Flynn back when he was first demonstrating the Realmsys flash card. Extraordinary stuff. He was using the technology to open a secure Linux computing window on an operating Windows XP system. The card opened up a secure data socket, connecting to any Internet Server or Data Server, and running applications on that data - while running Windows and Windows apps in the background. Incredible mesh of Linux, streaming data, and legacy Windows apps. Everytime I find these tech pieces explaining Fusion-io though, I can't help but think that David Flynn is one of the most decent, kind and truly deserving of success people that I have ever met. excerpt: "Apple is spending mountains of money on a new breed of hardware device from a company called Fusion-io. As a public company, Fusion-io is required to disclose information about customers that account for an usually large portion of its revenue, and with its latest annual report, the Salt Lake City outfit reveals that in 2012, at least 25 percent of its revenue - $89.8 million - came from Apple. That's just one figure, from just one company. But it serves as a sign post, showing you where the modern data center is headed. 'There's now a blurring between the storage world and the memory world. People have been enlightened by Fusion-io.' - Gary Gentry Inside a data center like the one Apple operates in Maiden, North Carolina, you'll find thousands of computer servers. Fusion-io makes a slim card that slots inside these machines, and it's packed with hundreds of gigabytes of flash memory, the same stuff that holds all the software and the data on your smartphone. You can think of this card as a much-needed replacement for the good old-fashioned hard disk that typically sits inside a server. Much like a hard disk, it stores information. But it doesn't have any moving parts, which means it's generally more reliable. It c
Paul Merrell

Spies and internet giants are in the same business: surveillance. But we can stop them | John Naughton | Comment is free | The Guardian - 0 views

  • On Tuesday, the European court of justice, Europe’s supreme court, lobbed a grenade into the cosy, quasi-monopolistic world of the giant American internet companies. It did so by declaring invalid a decision made by the European commission in 2000 that US companies complying with its “safe harbour privacy principles” would be allowed to transfer personal data from the EU to the US. This judgment may not strike you as a big deal. You may also think that it has nothing to do with you. Wrong on both counts, but to see why, some background might be useful. The key thing to understand is that European and American views about the protection of personal data are radically different. We Europeans are very hot on it, whereas our American friends are – how shall I put it? – more relaxed.
  • Given that personal data constitutes the fuel on which internet companies such as Google and Facebook run, this meant that their exponential growth in the US market was greatly facilitated by that country’s tolerant data-protection laws. Once these companies embarked on global expansion, however, things got stickier. It was clear that the exploitation of personal data that is the core business of these outfits would be more difficult in Europe, especially given that their cloud-computing architectures involved constantly shuttling their users’ data between server farms in different parts of the world. Since Europe is a big market and millions of its citizens wished to use Facebook et al, the European commission obligingly came up with the “safe harbour” idea, which allowed companies complying with its seven principles to process the personal data of European citizens. The circle having been thus neatly squared, Facebook and friends continued merrily on their progress towards world domination. But then in the summer of 2013, Edward Snowden broke cover and revealed what really goes on in the mysterious world of cloud computing. At which point, an Austrian Facebook user, one Maximilian Schrems, realising that some or all of the data he had entrusted to Facebook was being transferred from its Irish subsidiary to servers in the United States, lodged a complaint with the Irish data protection commissioner. Schrems argued that, in the light of the Snowden revelations, the law and practice of the United States did not offer sufficient protection against surveillance of the data transferred to that country by the government.
  • The Irish data commissioner rejected the complaint on the grounds that the European commission’s safe harbour decision meant that the US ensured an adequate level of protection of Schrems’s personal data. Schrems disagreed, the case went to the Irish high court and thence to the European court of justice. On Tuesday, the court decided that the safe harbour agreement was invalid. At which point the balloon went up. “This is,” writes Professor Lorna Woods, an expert on these matters, “a judgment with very far-reaching implications, not just for governments but for companies the business model of which is based on data flows. It reiterates the significance of data protection as a human right and underlines that protection must be at a high level.”
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  • This is classic lawyerly understatement. My hunch is that if you were to visit the legal departments of many internet companies today you would find people changing their underpants at regular intervals. For the big names of the search and social media worlds this is a nightmare scenario. For those of us who take a more detached view of their activities, however, it is an encouraging development. For one thing, it provides yet another confirmation of the sterling service that Snowden has rendered to civil society. His revelations have prompted a wide-ranging reassessment of where our dependence on networking technology has taken us and stimulated some long-overdue thinking about how we might reassert some measure of democratic control over that technology. Snowden has forced us into having conversations that we needed to have. Although his revelations are primarily about government surveillance, they also indirectly highlight the symbiotic relationship between the US National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ on the one hand and the giant internet companies on the other. For, in the end, both the intelligence agencies and the tech companies are in the same business, namely surveillance.
  • And both groups, oddly enough, provide the same kind of justification for what they do: that their surveillance is both necessary (for national security in the case of governments, for economic viability in the case of the companies) and conducted within the law. We need to test both justifications and the great thing about the European court of justice judgment is that it starts us off on that conversation.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Infamous "podcast patent" heads to trial | Ars Technica - 0 views

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    [# ! Patents turned into a collecting business instead of a invention promotion mechanism :/ ...] "A few years later, "monetizing" patents through lawsuits turned into an industry of its own. Logan turned his patents into a powerhouse licensing machine, beginning with a case filed against Apple in 2009. He went to trial and won $8 million. Settlements with other industry giants, like Samsung and Amazon, followed."
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    [# ! Patents a collecting business instead of a invention promotion mechanism :/ ...] "A few years later, "monetizing" patents through lawsuits turned into an industry of its own. Logan turned his patents into a powerhouse licensing machine, beginning with a case filed against Apple in 2009. He went to trial and won $8 million. Settlements with other industry giants, like Samsung and Amazon, followed."
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    [# ! Patents turned into a collecting business instead of a invention promotion mechanism :/ ...] "A few years later, "monetizing" patents through lawsuits turned into an industry of its own. Logan turned his patents into a powerhouse licensing machine, beginning with a case filed against Apple in 2009. He went to trial and won $8 million. Settlements with other industry giants, like Samsung and Amazon, followed."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

American cultural imperialism has a new name: GAFA - Quartz - 0 views

  • In France, there’s a new word on everyone’s lips: GAFA. It’s an acronym, and it has become a shorthand term for some of the most powerful companies in the world—all American, all tech giants. GAFA stands for Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.
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    [In France, there's a new word on everyone's lips: GAFA. It's an acronym, and it has become a shorthand term for some of the most powerful companies in the world-all American, all tech giants. GAFA stands for Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. ...]
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    [In France, there's a new word on everyone's lips: GAFA. It's an acronym, and it has become a shorthand term for some of the most powerful companies in the world-all American, all tech giants. GAFA stands for Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. ...]
Gary Edwards

Wolfram Alpha is Coming -- and It Could be as Important as Google | Twine - 0 views

  • The first question was could (or even should) Wolfram Alpha be built using the Semantic Web in some manner, rather than (or as well as) the Mathematica engine it is currently built on. Is anything missed by not building it with Semantic Web's languages (RDF, OWL, Sparql, etc.)? The answer is that there is no reason that one MUST use the Semantic Web stack to build something like Wolfram Alpha. In fact, in my opinion it would be far too difficult to try to explicitly represent everything Wolfram Alpha knows and can compute using OWL ontologies. It is too wide a range of human knowledge and giant OWL ontologies are just too difficult to build and curate.
  • However for the internal knowledge representation and reasoning that takes places in the system, it appears Wolfram has found a pragmatic and efficient representation of his own, and I don't think he needs the Semantic Web at that level. It seems to be doing just fine without it. Wolfram Alpha is built on hand-curated knowledge and expertise. Wolfram and his team have somehow figured out a way to make that practical where all others who have tried this have failed to achieve their goals. The task is gargantuan -- there is just so much diverse knowledge in the world. Representing even a small segment of it formally turns out to be extremely difficult and time-consuming.
  • It has generally not been considered feasible for any one group to hand-curate all knowledge about every subject. This is why the Semantic Web was invented -- by enabling everyone to curate their own knowledge about their own documents and topics in parallel, in principle at least, more knowledge could be represented and shared in less time by more people -- in an interoperable manner. At least that is the vision of the Semantic Web.
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  • Where Google is a system for FINDING things that we as a civilization collectively publish, Wolfram Alpha is for ANSWERING questions about what we as a civilization collectively know. It's the next step in the distribution of knowledge and intelligence around the world -- a new leap in the intelligence of our collective "Global Brain." And like any big next-step, Wolfram Alpha works in a new way -- it computes answers instead of just looking them up.
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    A Computational Knowledge Engine for the Web In a nutshell, Wolfram and his team have built what he calls a "computational knowledge engine" for the Web. OK, so what does that really mean? Basically it means that you can ask it factual questions and it computes answers for you. It doesn't simply return documents that (might) contain the answers, like Google does, and it isn't just a giant database of knowledge, like the Wikipedia. It doesn't simply parse natural language and then use that to retrieve documents, like Powerset, for example. Instead, Wolfram Alpha actually computes the answers to a wide range of questions -- like questions that have factual answers such as "What country is Timbuktu in?" or "How many protons are in a hydrogen atom?" or "What is the average rainfall in Seattle this month?," "What is the 300th digit of Pi?," "where is the ISS?" or "When was GOOG worth more than $300?" Think about that for a minute. It computes the answers. Wolfram Alpha doesn't simply contain huge amounts of manually entered pairs of questions and answers, nor does it search for answers in a database of facts. Instead, it understands and then computes answers to certain kinds of questions.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Tech giants, government struggle with online speech policies | ITworld - 0 views

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    " Officials with Google and State Department are struggling to craft a balanced policy that combats terrorist messages without unduly curbing Internet freedom. By Kenneth Corbin"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Google Wants Know What You Do When You're Home | ThinkProgress - 0 views

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    "Google plans to buy home surveillance startup Dropcam through Nest Labs in a $555 million deal that gives the Internet giant even more tools to collect specific data on your habits at home."
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    "Google plans to buy home surveillance startup Dropcam through Nest Labs in a $555 million deal that gives the Internet giant even more tools to collect specific data on your habits at home."
Paul Merrell

The UN Releases Plan to Push for Worldwide Internet Censorship | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization - 0 views

  • The United Nations has disgraced itself immeasurably over the past month or so. In case you missed the following stories, I suggest catching up now: The UN’s “Sustainable Development Agenda” is Basically a Giant Corporatist Fraud Not a Joke – Saudi Arabia Chosen to Head UN Human Rights Panel Fresh off the scene from those two epic embarrassments, the UN now wants to tell governments of the world how to censor the internet. I wish I was kidding. From the Washington Post: On Thursday, the organization’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development released a damning “world-wide wake-up call” on what it calls “cyber VAWG,” or violence against women and girls. The report concludes that online harassment is “a problem of pandemic proportion” — which, nbd, we’ve all heard before. But the United Nations then goes on to propose radical, proactive policy changes for both governments and social networks, effectively projecting a whole new vision for how the Internet could work. Under U.S. law — the law that, not coincidentally, governs most of the world’s largest online platforms — intermediaries such as Twitter and Facebook generally can’t be held responsible for what people do on them. But the United Nations proposes both that social networks proactively police every profile and post, and that government agencies only “license” those who agree to do so.
  • People are being harassed online, and the solution is to censor everything and license speech? Remarkable. How that would actually work, we don’t know; the report is light on concrete, actionable policy. But it repeatedly suggests both that social networks need to opt-in to stronger anti-harassment regimes and that governments need to enforce them proactively. At one point toward the end of the paper, the U.N. panel concludes that“political and governmental bodies need to use their licensing prerogative” to better protect human and women’s rights, only granting licenses to “those Telecoms and search engines” that “supervise content and its dissemination.” So we’re supposed to be lectured about human rights from an organization that named Saudi Arabia head of its human rights panel? Got it. Regardless of whether you think those are worthwhile ends, the implications are huge: It’s an attempt to transform the Web from a libertarian free-for-all to some kind of enforced social commons. This U.N. report gets us no closer, alas: all but its most modest proposals are unfeasible. We can educate people about gender violence or teach “digital citizenship” in schools, but persuading social networks to police everything their users post is next to impossible. And even if it weren’t, there are serious implications for innovation and speech: According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, CDA 230 — the law that exempts online intermediaries from this kind of policing — is basically what allowed modern social networks (and blogs, and comments, and forums, etc.) to come into being. If we’re lucky, perhaps the Saudi religious police chief (yes, they have one) who went on a rampage against Twitter a couple of years ago, will be available to head up the project. What a joke.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

MPAA says 1st Amendment protects studios from Google "fishing expedition" | Ars Technica - 1 views

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    "Google has gone too far and has undertaken a "fishing expedition" in its bid to substantiate allegations the motion picture studios and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood conspired with each other as Hood probed the search giant."
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    "Google has gone too far and has undertaken a "fishing expedition" in its bid to substantiate allegations the motion picture studios and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood conspired with each other as Hood probed the search giant."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Tech giants throw money at OpenSSL in response to Heartbleed | ITworld - 1 views

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    "Crucial open-source projects including OpenSSL will get at least $5.4 million in funding over three years. By Jared Newman, PC World | Security, openssl May 30, 2014, 10:40 AM - OpenSSL is getting funded for two full-time developers and a security audit in an attempt to prevent another devastating bug like Heartbleed. The money is coming from the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), a group of tech companies that came together last month in response to Heartbleed. At the time, CII said that each company would contribute at least $100,000 per year to crucial open-source projects over at least a three-year span, but the group didn't say how it would distribute the funds."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

French Government Starts Blocking Websites With Views The Gov't Doesn't Like - 0 views

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    "from the liberte?-egalite? dept We had been noting, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France, how the country that then held a giant "free speech" rally appeared to be, instead, focusing on cracking down on free speech at every opportunity. And target number one: the internet."
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    "from the liberte?-egalite? dept We had been noting, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France, how the country that then held a giant "free speech" rally appeared to be, instead, focusing on cracking down on free speech at every opportunity. And target number one: the internet."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Big Brother goes to school - 0 views

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    ""Data gathering includes health, fitness and sleeping habits, sexual activity, prescription drug use, alcohol use and disciplinary matters. Students attitudes, sociability and even 'enthusiasm' are quantified, analyzed, recorded and dropped into giant data systems," she wrote." [ # ! #Smile... # ! ... #You are The '#Merchandise'. # ! #Protect #Yourself, You are The(ir) '#Target'... # ! But Stay #calm: You are one of #us... #of #Many... # ! ... The #Honest and #Peaceful #citizens...]
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    ""Data gathering includes health, fitness and sleeping habits, sexual activity, prescription drug use, alcohol use and disciplinary matters. Students attitudes, sociability and even 'enthusiasm' are quantified, analyzed, recorded and dropped into giant data systems," she wrote."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

RIAA and Tech Giants Clash In Usenet Piracy Case - TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    The RIAA has joined adult publisher Perfect 10 in its appeal against Giganews. Both argue that the Usenet service is directly liable for the blatant copyright infringements on its service. Giganews is supported by several digital rights groups and tech companies, who fear that the RIAA's request endangers a free and open Internet.
Paul Merrell

The punk rock internet - how DIY ​​rebels ​are working to ​replace the tech giants | Technology | The Guardian - 0 views

  • What they are doing could be seen as the online world’s equivalent of punk rock: a scattered revolt against an industry that many now think has grown greedy, intrusive and arrogant – as well as governments whose surveillance programmes have fuelled the same anxieties. As concerns grow about an online realm dominated by a few huge corporations, everyone involved shares one common goal: a comprehensively decentralised internet.
  • In the last few months, they have started working with people in the Belgian city of Ghent – or, in Flemish, Gent – where the authorities own their own internet domain, complete with .gent web addresses. Using the blueprint of Heartbeat, they want to create a new kind of internet they call the indienet – in which people control their data, are not tracked and each own an equal space online. This would be a radical alternative to what we have now: giant “supernodes” that have made a few men in northern California unimaginable amounts of money thanks to the ocean of lucrative personal information billions of people hand over in exchange for their services.
  • His alternative is what he calls the Safe network: the acronym stands for “Safe Access for Everyone”. In this model, rather than being stored on distant servers, people’s data – files, documents, social-media interactions – will be broken into fragments, encrypted and scattered around other people’s computers and smartphones, meaning that hacking and data theft will become impossible. Thanks to a system of self-authentication in which a Safe user’s encrypted information would only be put back together and unlocked on their own devices, there will be no centrally held passwords. No one will leave data trails, so there will be nothing for big online companies to harvest. The financial lubricant, Irvine says, will be a cryptocurrency called Safecoin: users will pay to store data on the network, and also be rewarded for storing other people’s (encrypted) information on their devices. Software developers, meanwhile, will be rewarded with Safecoin according to the popularity of their apps. There is a community of around 7,000 interested people already working on services that will work on the Safe network, including alternatives to platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.
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  • Once MaidSafe is up and running, there will be very little any government or authority can do about it: “We can’t stop the network if we start it. If anyone turned round and said: ‘You need to stop that,’ we couldn’t. We’d have to go round to people’s houses and switch off their computers. That’s part of the whole thing. The network is like a cyber-brain; almost a lifeform in itself. And once you start it, that’s it.” Before my trip to Scotland, I tell him, I spent whole futile days signing up to some of the decentralised social networks that already exist – Steemit, Diaspora, Mastadon – and trying to approximate the kind of experience I can easily get on, say, Twitter or Facebook.
  • And herein lie two potential breakthroughs. One, according to some cryptocurrency enthusiasts, is a means of securing and protecting people’s identities that doesn’t rely on remotely stored passwords. The other is a hope that we can leave behind intermediaries such as Uber and eBay, and allow buyers and sellers to deal directly with each other. Blockstack, a startup based in New York, aims to bring blockchain technology to the masses. Like MaidSafe, its creators aim to build a new internet, and a 13,000-strong crowd of developers are already working on apps that either run on the platform Blockstack has created, or use its features. OpenBazaar is an eBay-esque service, up and running since November last year, which promises “the world’s most private, secure, and liberating online marketplace”. Casa aims to be an decentralised alternative to Airbnb; Guild is a would-be blogging service that bigs up its libertarian ethos and boasts that its founders will have “no power to remove blogs they don’t approve of or agree with”.
  • An initial version of Blockstack is already up and running. Even if data is stored on conventional drives, servers and clouds, thanks to its blockchain-based “private key” system each Blockstack user controls the kind of personal information we currently blithely hand over to Big Tech, and has the unique power to unlock it. “That’s something that’s extremely powerful – and not just because you know your data is more secure because you’re not giving it to a company,” he says. “A hacker would have to hack a million people if they wanted access to their data.”
Paul Merrell

Trump Declares War On Silicon Valley: DoJ Launches Google Anti-Monopoly Probe | Zero Hedge - 0 views

  • Just before midnight on Friday, at the close of what was a hectic month for markets, WSJ dropped a bombshell of a story: The paper reported that the DoJ has opened an anti-trust investigation of Alphabet Inc., which could "present a major new layer of regulatory scrutiny for the search giant, according to people familiar with the matter." The report was sourced to "people familiar with the matter," but was swiftly corroborated by the New York Times, Bloomberg and others. For months now, the FTC has appeared to be gearing up for a showdown with big tech. The agency - which shares anti-trust authority with the DoJ - has created a new commission that could help undo big-tech tie-ups like Facebook's acquisition of Instagram, and hired lawyers who have advanced new anti-monopoly theories that would help justify the breakup of companies like Amazon. But as it turns out, the Trump administration's first salvo against big tech didn't come from the FTC; instead, this responsibility has been delegated to the DoJ, which has reportedly been tasked with supervising the investigation into Google. That's not super surprising, since the FTC already had its chance to nail Google with an anti-monopoly probe back in 2013. But the agency came up short. From what we can tell, it appears the administration will divvy up responsibility for any future anti-trust investigations between the two agencies, which means the FTC - which is already reportedly preparing to levy a massive fine against Facebook - could end up taking the lead in those cases.
  • Though WSJ didn't specify which aspects of Google's business might come under the microscope, a string of multi-billion-euro fines recently levied by the EU might offer some guidance. The bloc's anti-trust authority, which has been far more eager to take on American tech giants than its American counterpart (for reasons that should be obvious to all), has fined Google over its practice of bundling software with its standard Android license, the way its search engine rankings favor its own product listings, and ways it has harmed competition in the digital advertising market. During the height of the controversy over big tech's abuses of sensitive user data last year, the Verge published a story speculating about how the monopolistic tendencies of each of the dominant Silicon Valley tech giants could be remedied. For Google, the Verge argued, the best remedy would be a ban on acquisitions - a strategy that has been bandied about in Congress.
Gary Edwards

InformationWeek 500: Monsanto's Collaborative Growth Plan -- Emerging Technology -- InformationWeek - 0 views

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    "By combining unified communications, IM, SharePoint, and blogs and wikis while protecting its IP, Monsanto is advancing teamwork." InformationWeek has posted a number of technology innovation-implementation profiles. Monsanto is one of the best "collaborative" examples, although it's very similar to the model GE presented at Office 2.0. These colalborative concepts go back 1998, and the early work Ars Digita was doing with the first "Knowledgeware" - wiki applications. The first "use case" to be published was that of the global electronics giant, Siemanns. Notice the SharePoint - MSOffice integration as a key element in the Monsanto collaboration strategy. That connection "forced" Monsanto to rebuild their document databases and portals using SharePoint and SQL Server.
Paul Merrell

EU looks into telecoms blocking Internet calls - International Herald Tribune - 0 views

  • European Union regulators are looking into whether mobile phone operators who block customers from making inexpensive wireless calls over the Internet are breaking competition rules. The European Commission, the EU antitrust authority, has sent questionnaires to phone companies asking what "tools" they use to "control, manage, block, slow down or otherwise restrict or filter" Internet-based voice calls. The EU deadline for responding to the survey was Tuesday. The questionnaire, obtained by Bloomberg News, does not identify any companies. Some mobile carriers have blocked services that use voice-over-Internet protocol, or VoIP, which allows users to make calls over the Web. Companies may be seeking to stop customers from accessing applications, like eBay's Skype, to defend voice revenue from the less expensive Internet services, Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner, the research company, said.
    • Paul Merrell
       
      Building a Connected World --- The Role of Antitrust Law and Lawyers.
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    Superficially, this sounds like an application of the principles won by DG Competition in the Court of First Instance's Commission v. Microsoft interoperability decision. But note that here we deal with an investigation into deliberately-created interop barriers rather than those maintained by withholding full communication protocol specifications from competitors. Notice that the investigation encompasses throttling of internet connections for particular uses, an increasingly common practice by Comcast and other ISPs in the U.S., where both VOIP and P2P file-sharing are targeted uses. E.U. and U.S. antitrust law are similar, as efforts to harmonize antitrust law on both sides of The Pond are now decades old; this move does not bode well for bandwidth throttling in the U.S., particularly when aimed at throttling competition. It takes no giant mental leap to apply such principles to big vendor-dominated IT standards bodies that deliberately create or maintain interop barriers in data format standards. Indeed, DG Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has already served notice that interop barriers in standards-setting is an item of interest.
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