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Tag Archives: USA

In 90 days, a report on “big data” and privacy from the White House

John Podesta is no stranger to privacy issues. I can remember some interactions with him in the context of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) during the Clinton Presidency. He has now been tasked with producing a big data-privacy report in 90 days. We are undergoing a revolution in the way that information about our […]

Tim Wu on the future of the FCC

Following the Court of Appeals ruling against its net neutrality order, the FCC is facing an existential challenge, says Tim Wu in an interview with the Washington Post. What could the FCC have done differently? The obvious alternative would have been to do what the FCC should have done and — in the future tense […]

Net neutrality in the US on the ropes?

An old workaround bites back. Seems little alternative but to classify broadband as a utility. In a decision signed by two judges and joined in part by a third, the appeals court acknowledged that the F.C.C. has the authority “to promulgate rules governing broadband providers’ treatment of Internet traffic.” But because, several years ago, the […]

Internet balkanization, courtesy of NSA

One of the reasons we opposed the ill-considered efforts by ETNO and others to impose sending-party-network-pays charging on Internet traffic was the danger of balkanization: differential access to the Internet from different countries or splinternet. We beat back that effort in a temporary alliance with the US State Department, but little did we know that […]

Why don’t Americans think about what Hong Kong has achieved?

There was a time when voice telephony was seen as a public utility, requiring government involvement in supply. In most parts of the world, the end result was waiting lists and poor service. Now the same refrain is being sung re broadband. Why not take a look at Hong Kong? Here is where to start. […]

Anywhere but the USA?

In a recent contribution to a just-published UNCTAD report on cloud computing we said: The other aspect of the problem is whether data are subject to the laws of the jurisdictions where the cloud computing companies are located. For example, take the case of a company in Country A using the services of a cloud […]

Have people’s relationships with their phones changed qualitatively since 1979?

This was a central claim in the highly significant ruling made by Federal District Court in Washington DC: In a 68-page ruling, Judge Leon said the N.S.A. program that systematically gathers records of Americans’ phone calls was most likely unconstitutional, rejecting the Obama administration’s argument that a 1979 case, Smith v. Maryland, was a controlling […]

Finally, a positive innovation story from a developed-country telco

When US competition regulators turned down the AT&T-T-Mobile merger, many thought that would be the end of T-Mobile. Instead, it was the end of business as usual. T-Mobile branded and marketed all this as the “Un-carrier,” rolling out new versions of its plans — already five and counting — even as competitors have struggled to […]

The age-old attraction of spy agencies to communication facilities

To me, the biggest question arising from the Snowdon affair is why everyone is acting so surprised. “Everyone was so focused on the N.S.A. secretly getting access to the front door that there was an assumption they weren’t going behind the companies’ backs and tapping data through the back door, too,” said Kevin Werbach, an […]

What’s good for the NSA is not good for US companies

I remember tweeting several months back about the negative fallout of the drip drip of the Snowden revelations on cloud companies and even on the routing of data traffic (why is it so difficult to find something you’ve written in social media?). In my interactions with industry people across Asia, I could sense the unease […]

Itching to rid themselves of copper

That actually was said by a Verizon executive. Is this the future? Verizon’s move on this sliver of land is a look into the not-too-distant future, a foreshadowing of nearly all telephone service across the United States. The traditional landline is not expected to last the decade in a country where nearly 40 percent of […]

Benefits of technological progress difficult to trace

The US is where most ICTs were invented and put to use. But, it is proving difficult to clearly specify how the benefits flow. If it is difficult in the US, it cannot be easy in our countries. We also have access to far more sophisticated consumer goods, from the iPhone to cars packed with […]

Absolutist versus pragmatic net neutrality debated in US court

Can the telcos work out deals with OTTs about the traffic they carry? Or do they have to be absolutely neutral? These are the questions. The outcome will reverberate across the world. The case, which is expected to be decided late this year or early next year, has attracted enormous interest. On Monday, telecommunications lawyers […]

Another dysfunctional e subsidy program, this time in America

The money comes from everyone with a telecom connection in the US. And the government has trouble pushing it through. Five billion USD is a lot of money to keep unspent. Here, we’ve been griping about India’s USD 4 billion and Brazil’s USD 4 billion plus. The E-Rate program has been faulted for inadequately allocating […]

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