US Judge confuses privacy and security, concludes that you should have neither

Senior US District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr., a federal judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, has ruled that the user of any computer which connects to the Internet should not have an expectation of privacy because computer security is ineffectual at stopping hackers. The ruling made on June 23rd was reached in one of the many cases resulting from the FBI’s infiltration of PlayPen, a hidden child exploitation site on the Tor network. After taking control of the site, the FBI kept it up and running, using it to plant malware on visitors’ computers, gathering identifying information that was used to enable prosecution.

Judge Morgan ruled that the FBI’s actions in hacking visitors’ computers did not violate Fourth Amendment protections and did not require a warrant, stating that the “Defendant here should have been aware that by going [on-line] to access Playpen, he diminished his expectation of privacy.” Describing the ruling as “dangerously flawed” Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Staff Attorney Mark Rumold wrote, “The implications for the decision, if upheld, are staggering: law enforcement would be free to remotely search and seize information from your computer, without a warrant, without probable cause, or without any suspicion at all.” But holds out that the ruling is “incorrect as a matter of law, and we expect there is little chance it would hold up on appeal.”

US: NSA leaks should be no excuse for local storage mandates, which harm “organic” Internet

The US State Department has warned against countries such as Russia forcing web service providers to store citizens’ data locally, even though such moves are at least in part inspired by Edward Snowden’s revelations of the National Security Agency spying on foreigners’ personal data.

“[People should not] use the Snowden revelations as an excuse for taking what are essentially protectionist measures that will harm the ability of the Internet to work in an organic way,” a State Department official said, ahead of the annual Internet Governance Forum meeting in Istanbul.

Why big data has some big problems when it comes to public policy

[Commentary] For all the talk about using big data and data science to solve the world’s problems -- and even all the talk about big data as one of the world’s problems -- it seems like we still have a long way to go.

Most obstacles standing in the way of using data science to solve society’s problems have little to do with the data itself.

It’s easier to gather and easier to analyze than ever before. Rather, the problem is that data scientists and researchers -- even those who really care about tackling important issues -- can often have a difficult time overcoming the much more powerful forces fighting against them: fear, politics and the law.

And although they’re all distinct in some ways, they’re also very closely connected.

Germany mulls ban on after-hours work emails and calls

A ban on office communications in the evening and during vacation time could become law in Germany. German labor minister Andrea Nahles said that the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health was consulting on how such a law could be made -- what thresholds would need to be mandated, and so on.

She said the first results were expected in 2015.

This Venn diagram shows which cities may get a gig (and why broadband competition matters)

The third annual Gig.U report shows how much has changed in the three years since Gig U. was created as a means to bring gigabit connectivity to university towns. It’s clear from the report that there are two things driving the expansion of gigabit services. The first is a willingness by municipalities to act as a partner, not an impediment, and work with providers to get fiber in the ground acting. And the second is competition. There are few cities getting a gig from one provider.

BART got a 10 second warning before Sunday’s Napa earthquake. Why didn’t everyone else?

At 3:20 a.m. on August 24, an alarm went off at Bay Area transit provider BART’s offices: An earthquake was approaching, and the shaking would start in 10 seconds.

12 earthquake sensors are installed for BART as a part of ShakeAlert, an early warning system created by the University of California-Berkeley Seismology Laboratory, United States Geological Survey and other partners.

ShakeAlert’s 150 users knew the Napa quake was coming. So why didn’t every single resident in the Bay Area get that same warning as BART? The answer is funding. It’s been law since 2013 that California needs to establish a state-wide earthquake early warning system. But the law states that funding won’t come from California’s general fund.

Netflix is now paying Time Warner Cable for direct access and faster streams

Time Warner Cable signed a direct interconnection deal with Netflix, making it the fourth of the big four US Internet service providers to sign paid peering agreements with the streaming video provider.

Time Warner confirmed the deal happened in June and the implementation has been rolling out in August.

What should the White House seek in its next privacy czar? Someone who can explain the Internet

[Commentary] Nicole Wong, a former top lawyer at Google and Twitter, left the White House recently after working on privacy and big data issues for a little over a year. In choosing Wong’s successor, the White House may not need to find the best technologist or tech lawyer in the country.

Instead, the Administration should look for someone with a high public profile capable of broadening the debate beyond the recondite circles of tech policy, and into the language of ordinary Internet users.

The slippery slope of FCC Internet regulation

[Commentary] Silicon Valley, take note. On August 8, the Federal Communications Commission started regulating mobile apps -- and this government foray into the app space should be of concern to tech entrepreneurs as the debate over how best to ensure the open internet continues.

CTIA-The Wireless Association and its members certainly support text-to-911 solutions, but the expansion of regulatory mandates deeper into the mobile ecosystem should give us all pause.

Digital innovators across the country should take heed of this cautionary tale of expansive FCC regulation. The development should inform all of us in our consideration of the open Internet debate, where we must be wary of the slippery slope of regulatory intrusion into every aspect of the mobile broadband ecosystem -- including apps, software, and other services.

Onerous additional regulations that don’t recognize the technical and operational challenges of mobility would undercut investment and give rise to great uncertainty -- and in the process, hamper innovation.

[Baker is president and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association]

When will voice-over-LTE matter? When it’s no longer just about voice

After years of delays, voice-over-LTE finally seems to be making its way into mobile networks and phones.

As we purchase new smartphones over the next few years, we’ll find traditional 2G phone calls receding into the past and voice or SMS becoming just another IP service. Today, however, consumers buying new VoLTE phones probably won’t notice much of a difference.

By eventually moving to an all IP network and service delivery platform, voice will just become another feature in a wide-ranging communication service, all of which can be linked to a universal ID: your ten-digit phone number.