3000+ more Satellites Beyond SpaceX / Net Neutrality Attacked / Robocalls Shaken / Amazon & Google Swap Video / Antitrust vs. Big Tech / Tech News Headlines
Jon Brodkin: Amazon plans nationwide broadband — with both home and mobile service
Amazon is seeking government permission to launch 3,236 broadband satellites that would cover nearly all of the United States and much of the rest of the world… It’s not clear whether Amazon will sell broadband directly to consumers. But whether it’s a mix of direct-to-consumer and wholesale (or wholesale only), Amazon said it will build customer terminals that provide Ethernet connectivity in residences and businesses… Kuiper is wholly owned by Amazon, and its president is Rajeev Badyal, a former SpaceX vice president who was reportedly fired because SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was unsatisfied with his company’s satellite-broadband progress… Amazon will have to convince the FCC that it has a sufficient plan to avoid orbital debris after satellites go out of service. Amazon said it will take less than a year to “actively decommission and deorbit” each retired satellite, allowing them to burn up in the atmosphere. Satellites will also “be deactivated automatically if all communications to ground stations cease for a pre-determined wait period.” In those cases, a “passive deorbit” that relies on atmospheric drag will take five to seven years, Amazon said.
Read the technical details about this venture at Ars Technica.
Daniel Markuson: European Net Neutrality is Under Attack
European internet users may not have noticed, but their net neutrality and online freedom is at risk. At least 186 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the EU are using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to read their users’ traffic. That means they get to decide how much internet freedom you get…Any internet service plan involving conditions based on the websites or services you visit and use needs to be able to identify your internet traffic. If your provider offers a plan where you can use certain apps without consuming your data, that’s more than just a fundamental violation of the principles behind net neutrality. It’s also a breach of your privacy, as one way to distinguish between various traffic types is by using DPI. Once a user accepts DPI, the ISP can use it in many different ways: throttling connections, censoring content, and tracking users’ traffic in greater detail than before.
Get the rest of the story from OpenRightsGroup.org
Madeline Purdue: How T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint fight robocalls on their network
In June, the FCC mandated service providers use caller verification at the network level to verify the legitimacy of a call — known as the SHAKEN/STIR, or Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited standard. This would give providers the option to stop a call before it reaches a customer, or label the call either as a verified, good caller, or warn the customer the call might be spam. SHAKEN/STIR aims to put an end to “spoofing”, or using phone numbers similar to the person’s they’re calling to trick them into picking up thinking it’s someone they know. It must be implemented by the end of the year by all providers.
Read more about the measures carriers are undertaking to reduce spam phone calls and the add-on tools you can use to improve your privacy from phys.org
People think of net neutrality as the freedom to do as they please on the internet, to visit whatever site they like without blocking from the internet service provider. But if we look at the implementation in Europe, nothing could be farther from the truth. If we apply the ideas of no-holds-barred net neutrality to systems like phone networks, carriers would not be able to reject spam traffic or take complaints about slow speed due to congestion. If a neighbor is clobbering the shared circuit with unlimited peer-to-peer sharing and this disrupts your ability to make a phone call, there would be nothing the ISP could do as a remedy. So, it is imperative that service providers be able to identify malicious abuse, virus activity, illegal access, etc. and squash it so their customers’ experience will be better. For traffic shaping and prioritization, it is important to understand what type of internet traffic is passing through and whether or not its essential that it arrive in real-time, in the order it was sent, etc. When you’re downloading a file, and won’t use it until it is completely downloaded, it doesn’t matter if it come to you in order, in bursts, or the packets take multiple routes and arrive simultaneously. When you’re dealing with voice or video conferencing traffic, it’s essential that the communication occur in real-time, in order. Without the ability to prioritize and shape traffic, ISP’s cannot ensure good quality of services. But with that power comes the responsibility to make sure that anticompetitive practices don’t creep in. It would be unwise for an ISP such as AT&T or Comcast to deprioritize their competitors’ services to provide a bad consumer experience. But in this era of massive consolidation where the lines between content creator and carrier are muted, we’re headed for more exclusivity where content is only available if you have the right connection and device. I am glad to see Google and Amazon have reversed course to make YouTube available once again on FireTV devices and Prime Video is now streamable on Chromecast devices. Give consumers the ability to choose the device, the network and the service that fits them best at a price they like, and you have a winning multimedia space.
Adam Satariano: Big Tech ‘Knows You Better Than Your Wife.’ He Plans to Rein It In.
LONDON — Germany’s top antitrust enforcer, Andreas Mundt, recently asked a room full of lawyers, academics and regulators to imagine a wall filled with their personal information collected by Facebook and Google. He told them to picture it stocked with their data broken up into categories like finances, location, relationships and hobbies.
“That is you,” Mr. Mundt said. “And I promise you this wall knows you better than your wife.”
Few listened to Mr. Mundt when, a few years ago, he began raising alarms about the data collected by the tech giants. While online services like Facebook and Google did not charge a dime, people paid a high price by giving the companies so many personal details, he argued. And the people had no choice, because the companies had no real competitors.
But in February, his agency ruled that Facebook had broken the country’s law, and demanded that the company stop automatically sharing data among the services it owns, like Instagram and WhatsApp, or websites that use its “like” and “share” buttons. It was the first such ruling in Europe, putting in practice ideas that had never fully escaped academic and think-tank debates.
As American regulators and lawmakers intensify their scrutiny of Big Tech, there is a lot of discussion about whether or how they could accuse the companies of violating antitrust law. Often, regulators look to whether a company is causing consumer harm — a standard that can be hard to prove when a service is free.
The response from Mr. Mundt is simple. The only way to take on Facebook and some of its peers is to attack what they value most: data.
Read how Germany’s antitrust enforcer is attacking global data collection in the full article at the New York Times.
In other parts of the internet:
HelpNetSecurity has a good article on the technical details behind Astaroth malware.
Zoom has to apologize again for a flaw in its software that bypasses camera permissions on the Mac platform. Engadget has that story.
And ZDnet is talking about a hijacking vulnerability in those Logitech USB wireless dongles for your keyboard and mouse.
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