The FCC has published a very interesting report. The report which is called Measuring Broadband America is a survey of broadband companies in the US that spanned several months. The purpose is to gauge how well these companies are meeting the speeds their customers are paying for. Overall the industry has done quite well with most true broadband providers meeting or exceeding their advertised speeds even at peak hours. There is one company that, well let’s just say is not doing what it should be. The fact that they have been in the news about this lately only makes the information more damning.
Netflix just can’t seem to stop pissing off ISPs. At a recent panel they took a few shots at both AT&T and Comcast, just for fun. Things got started when Netflix went after AT&T’s paid peering program. This is where content providers have to pay extra to ensure proper service levels to customers on an ISP’s network. AT&T says that Netflix has always paid these, it is just that the name has changed and well they are really not charges anyway.
When last we left our arguing couple Verizon had a few demands for Netflix, including a cease and desist letter that had some pretty strong wording. In the letter Verizon was trying to shift blame from themselves to Netflix and their choice of backbone carriers. On top of that Verizon demanded to know exactly who Netflix had sent messages to and the data that justified them. The message we are talking about is one that claimed “The Verizon network is crowded right now”. Failure to comply with the demands, so the letter went, would result in Verizon seeking legal remedies.
The “debate” over net neutrality has gotten a little heated between two players in the struggle. These two players are Netflix and Verizon and has reached the lawsuit threatening stage. The story goes like this: Netflix decided to change the message they present to customers when there movie streaming needs to adjust. Instead of the usual “we are adjusting the quality” message that was previously used the video streaming company decided to drop in messages that specifically call out the ISPs that they are running over. In the case of Verizon the message stated “The Verizon Network is crowded right now”.
Verizon and a few other broadband companies are out to alter the way you view content on the internet. Ever since the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) put regulations in place to prevent broadband providers from block, throttling or altering content as it passes over their networks (2010) these companies have been fighting back. They argue that the regulation prevent internet expansion and investment. They would like to be able to broker deals with websites and content providers to provide them with different levels of access at different price scales. The FCC feels this type of behavior is anti-consumer and wants to make sure that all content is treated equally.
After the public release of the NSA’s PRISM program we are hearing that they have an open account with at least one cell service provider. The provider that we know about so far is Verizon and the NSA has quite the hold on them. It seems that Verizon must hand over the metadata for all calls made inside the US as well as calls that are to destinations outside the US. This type of wholesale spying is being granted under section 215 of the Patriot Act. These requests have to be processed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court with DoJ oversight to prevent abuse. At least that is how the system is supposed to work.
Every once in a while a producer of pornographic content starts trying to take legal action against pirates. They typically focus on users of BitTorrent and similar protocols. Practically any person who has downloaded any content through BitTorrent could automatically be considered a pirate [Although this is far from reality as there are many legitimate uses for BitTorrent – Ed]. However, due to procedural and other errors they are somehow unsuccessful in their intentions.
Verizon has published their results for Q3 2013 and they are doing pretty good. They managed to sell 6.8 million smartphones, which means that now more than 53% of Verizon users are smartphone owners. These sales brought them a 7.5% year-on-year rise and around 1.8 million new customers; which is the most in the last 4 years. In only three months they made $16.2 billion in revenue and the average amount of money spent on their services per account has also increased by 6.5% making it $145.42 monthly.
So if you are still nervous about the new iPhone, and want to buy it ASAP here are the official prices of unlocked models. 16GB version will go for $649, 32GB one for $749 and last one 64GB for $849. All of the devices are unlocked so you won’t have to sign a 1 or 2 year contract with any carriers. This is desirable if you want to swap to another network in case they just popped up a new super attractive offering. Also this means that you will be able to use iPhone on the T-mobile network who is working on deploying the 1900 MHz spectrum which should help iPhone achieve some of the fastest mobile broadband speeds.
One of my favorite quotes (relating to security) is “what man can lock, man can unlock”. Another quote that I like is “they all break when you apply enough pressure”. Both of these are crucial to an understanding of security as it relates to just about everything. This includes physical security, data security; you name it… if you try to hide it or lock it up someone can get at it with enough time and resources. One place that this is often overlooked is in the department of DRM (Digital Rights Management).