Reuters

Elderly may have trouble accessing online health records

Electronic medical records will let patients access their health information over the Internet, but a new study suggests some of the most vulnerable older Americans may be left behind.

While Internet use doubled among seniors in general over the past decade, researchers found, there was little growth among people with physical impairments -- suggesting a new digital divide could be forming. Functional impairments, including physical disabilities such as the loss of a sense or the ability to walk, make it difficult for people to live in their community, take care of personal finances and coordinate transportation.

“If you look at the subgroup of people functionally impaired, there was also a doubling (of Internet use) there but it was still remarkably low,” said the study's lead author, Dr S Ryan Greysen, from the University of California, San Francisco.

Verizon CEO says not interested in Dish, focus on online streaming

Verizon's CEO Lowell McAdam shot down rumors that the company was in potential merger talks with satellite operator Dish Network, days after rival AT&T announced plans to buy no 1. US satellite operator DirecTV.

"I know there are reports out there that we are talking to Dish. I can tell you now that is someone's fantasy. There were not, and there are not, discussions going on with Dish," McAdam told investors at the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference.

"I don't think owning a satellite company is something I'm interested in at this point," he said adding the company's focus was on over-the-top programming, meaning content utilized over a network, but not offered by a network operator.

Post-Snowden, the NSA's future rests on Admiral Rogers' shoulders

As National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers seeks to repair the damage to the agency caused by leaks about its electronic spying programs, the abuses of government revealed in the wake of the Watergate scandal are very much on his mind.

While Rogers dismissed direct comparisons -- noting that the NSA programs exposed by former contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 had all been deemed lawful -- he said he understood the concerns that have been raised about balancing individual privacy rights against security needs.

"We have been down that road in our history, and it has not always turned out well. I have no desire to be part of that," Admiral Rogers, 54, told the Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington. Still, Admiral Rogers' declaration that he wants to continue the NSA's controversial search of phone records, known as metadata, has prompted critics to question if the new director really favors change at all.

In his first interview since taking office, Admiral Rogers, a four-star Navy admiral, stressed the need for transparency and accountability. To repair the agency's ties with Internet and telecommunications firms, as well as US allies, the NSA has to shed some of its secretive culture and be more candid about what it is doing, he said.

Liberty Media announces new cable spin-off

Liberty Media Corp is spinning off its cable assets, including a stake in Charter Communications, into a new publicly traded company called Liberty Broadband.

"We believe a separate Liberty Broadband will offer investors greater choice and transparency, and is well-timed with Charter's agreements with Comcast, which will result in Charter owning or serving over eight million video customers," Liberty Media Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei said.

The plan announced will be a hard spin-off of Liberty Broadband, similar to how Liberty spun off television and movie channel Starz in 2013.

Liberty Broadband will house Liberty's stake in Charter Communications, which was worth $3.31 billion as of March 31, as well as investments in Time Warner Cable and the small location technology company True Position Technologies.

Wiretap claims fail against Facebook, Zynga in disclosure lawsuit

A US appeals court dismissed federal wiretap claims against Facebook and Zynga in a civil lawsuit over disclosure of user information to advertisers. In a separate ruling, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals also revived breach of contract claims under state law against Facebook over the information disclosures.

Representatives for Facebook and Zynga could not immediately be reached for comment. Users of Facebook and Zynga filed separate class action lawsuits against the companies in 2010 that have been consolidated on appeal.

The plaintiffs claimed that when they clicked on a Zynga game or a Facebook ad, advertisers and other third parties received their Facebook IDs and Facebook page address, court filings show. In its opinion, a unanimous three-judge 9th Circuit panel ruled that the plaintiffs could not bring civil wiretap claims against the two companies because the information allegedly disclosed to advertisers did not qualify as the "contents of a communication" under the law.

Comcast to bring its X1 service to LA, New York within year of merger

Within a year after its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable closes, Comcast aims to make its advanced X1 cable service available in areas such as New York and Los Angeles and other markets where it will gain a commanding new presence.

"We'll be within the first markets in a year," said Neil Smit, president and chief executive of Comcast's cable unit.

The new technology would "bring considerably higher Internet speeds to Time Warner Cable customers" in those cities, Smit said, and give them access to such X1 services as Internet applications, viewing recommendations and voice control. Features offered by the cloud-connected X1 cable box system could help Comcast pick up subscribers in major cities where Time Warner Cable's growth has stalled in recent years.

Gaining entry to the New York and Los Angeles markets was part of the strategic rationale behind Comcast's offer to buy TWC.

Netflix brings net neutrality concerns to US regulators

After weeks of public outcry, Netflix brought its concerns about Internet neutrality directly to US regulators in meetings with Federal Communications Commission staff, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Netflix recently agreed to pay such fees to Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications to ensure smooth delivery of its videos, but it argues they weaken the principle of net neutrality, which says all Internet traffic should be treated equally.

Netflix's representatives brought that message to the FCC commissioners' offices in meeting with advisers over the course of several days, the sources said, as the agency prepares to rewrite so-called Open Internet rules that regulate net neutrality by setting limits to how Internet providers treat web traffic crossing their networks.

Verizon to FCC: Restrictions on airwaves auction are unjust

Verizon Communications has urged the Federal Communications not to restrict how much it can buy in the 2015 auction of wireless spectrum, saying such a limit would subsidize the smallest national carriers and their foreign owners.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently proposed rules for the complex sale of valuable airwaves scheduled for mid-2015. The rules would reserve part of the spectrum in each market for wireless carriers that do not already have dominant blocks of low-frequency airwaves there. That would benefit the No. 3 and No. 4 carriers, Sprint and T-Mobile US, by limiting the two biggest carriers, Verizon and AT&T, which dominate the highly valued low-band spectrum.

The sale is considered one of the most complex undertakings by the FCC. It would first involve TV stations' giving up airwaves they exclusively use and the FCC then auctioning them off to wireless carriers. Congress has mandated that the FCC raise enough money to pay broadcasters for their lost spectrum and fund a new $7 billion public safety network.

Putin foes fear Internet crackdown as 'blogger law' sails through

Russia's upper house of parliament approved a law that will impose stricter rules on bloggers and is seen by critics as an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to stifle dissent on the Internet.

The Federation Council overwhelmingly approved the tighter controls on Russian blogs and websites that attract more than 3,000 daily visits, under legislation the government says is needed to formalize the definition of blogging in Russian law. Opponents say the law will enable Putin to silence opponents who are rarely given air time on the mostly state-controlled or pro-Putin television channels, and have instead used the Internet to organize protests against the former KGB spy.

"The new policy is to restrict free information exchange, restrict expression of opinion, be it in written text, speech or video. They want to restrict everything because they're headed towards the 'glorious past'," Anton Nosik, a prominent Russian blogger and online media expert, told Reuters.

With 61 million users, Russia is Europe's fastest-growing Internet audience, according to a 2013 report by industry body comScore, and blogs have been seen by Putin's opponents as one of the few popular platforms beyond the Kremlin's reach.

Bipartisan group slams US SEC for resisting email privacy reform

A coalition of liberals and conservatives is lashing out at the US Securities and Exchange Commission for pushing back against legislation that would force government agencies to get warrants before they access the e-mail of people under investigation.

The group, Digital 4th launched www.notwithoutawarrant.com, a website urging the public to lobby the White House to support sweeping changes to federal privacy laws proposed in Congress in 2013.

In a conference call with reporters, the group singled out the SEC for stalling the reforms. It also called on President Barack Obama to respond to a petition with more than 100,000 signatures in support of the bill, saying the SEC's opposition has caused the White House to ignore a groundswell of support.