US Archives — Page 2 of 3


Discrimination and big data

Posted on April 26, 2014  /  1 Comments

Issue of discrimination coming up in big data policy review. The value of big data is in understanding the consumer. But with understanding comes the ability to discriminate. Not all discrimination is bad. But some may be.
In 2010, the Obama Administration announced a road map to release 500 MHz of frequencies for mobile broadband. Looks like progress is being made. Perhaps the most significant move by the commission was to allow a broad swath of airwaves to be used for outdoor unlicensed broadband, clearing the way for a new generation of Wi-Fi networks and other uses of freely available airwaves. Unlike the airwaves used for mobile phone traffic, which are licensed to a specific company, unlicensed spectrum can be used by anyone. Previous establishments of unlicensed airwaves led to innovations like garage-door openers, baby monitors, wireless microphones and Wi-Fi networks.
As everyone assumes that everyone is connected to the Internet (not an assumption we have to deal with in our countries at this moment), the consequences of not using the Internet become quite serious. “As more tasks move online, it hollows out the offline options,” said John B. Horrigan, a senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “A lot of employers don’t accept offline job applications. It means if you don’t have the Internet, you could be really isolated.

Meta data not limited to telecom

Posted on July 4, 2013  /  0 Comments

President Obama makes a distinction between the contents of phone calls and the information generated by the call (he calls it meta data, we used to call it transaction-generated data, and now it falls within the scope of big data), here is the analogy that is governing his thinking: Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images. Together, the two programs show that postal mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail. The mail covers program, used to monitor Mr.
We have reiterated the need for spectrum refarming. But the most difficult part has been extracting inefficiently used spectrum from government agencies. Looks like the US government is focusing on this problem, not only focusing but applying novel thinking to it. Perhaps the most interesting and highly charged recommendation in the president’s directive is one ordering recommendations for incentives that could be used to persuade government departments to share or give up spectrum. A study released last year by a presidential advisory council on science and technology recommended that the government create a “synthetic” currency that could be used to entice federal agencies.
People ask me where cell broadcasting has been implemented. I’ve said Netherlands. But it actually had been implemented quietly in the US two years ago. The ad campaign to publicize it is being run only now. “Many people do not realize that they carry a potentially life-saving tool with them in their pockets or purses every day,” said W.
Smith v Maryland was a 1979 US case that permitted relatively easy access to phone records. Fixed phone records, because that’s all there was, back then. Mobile phone records yield a lot more information. But US law enforcement has been using the old rules to get the call records. But that may be about to change, at least in Texas.

Big data gets big funding

Posted on March 29, 2012  /  0 Comments

US government gets behind big data. We agree, we’re getting into big data too. Difference is that in our countries there are not that many big data streams. Big data refers to the rising flood of digital data from many sources, including the Web, biological and industrial sensors, video, e-mail and social network communications. The emerging opportunity arises from combining these diverse data sources with improving computing tools to pinpoint profit-making opportunities, make scientific discoveries and predict crime waves, for example.
Google sees mobiles as the future, especially in markets like India, according to Business Standard. Mobile Internet fastest growing vertical, says Google India MD. Listing a set of next big trends in the overall technology sector, Google India says mobile Internet is set to lead the way for the industry. As against 14 per cent in the US, 11 per cent in Russia, and 6 per cent in the UK, Google India sees about 40 per cent search queries from mobile phones in the country. “Mobile phones are the future.
In Sri Lanka, the window for saving the post has probably closed. According to the latest Household Survey, a Sri Lankan household spends LKR 4/month on postal services and LKR 750/month on telecom services. You cannot build a viable business on that kind of money. There will always be a need to deliver packages (until teleporting is perfected), but this can be done by agile courier services, not the bloated government post office. Now that the US postal service is almost bankrupt, everyone is looking at Europe.

Good Google? Bad Google?

Posted on September 22, 2011  /  2 Comments

My entry to telecom policy and regulation was through the AT&T Divestiture case, where the US Department of Justice broke up the world’s largest company with my advisor, Bill Melody, as a key witness. The good guys and the bad guys were clear. While I was teaching the big Microsoft antitrust case came up and Lessig was appointed as Master to assist the judge. The lines were not as clear, but I could see the leveraging of the operation system being problematic. Google’s case is much harder to take a position on.
Here‘s how you enforce it. Developers caution that independent networks come with downsides: repressive governments could use surveillance to pinpoint and arrest activists who use the technology or simply catch them bringing hardware across the border. But others believe that the risks are outweighed by the potential impact. “We’re going to build a separate infrastructure where the technology is nearly impossible to shut down, to control, to surveil,” said Sascha Meinrath, who is leading the “Internet in a suitcase” project as director of the Open Technology Initiative at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan research group.
So AT&T is claiming that it can rollout 4G networks only if it is allowed to buy T Mobile (and combine the frequencies assigned to both). So what they really want is spectrum? As smartphones and tablets proliferate, so too have apps like one by Facebook that draw in ever-rising amounts of data. Monday’s letters cite AT&T’s contention that the T-Mobile deal will allow the carrier to expand its nascent 4G network to cover 97 percent of the country and an additional 55 million Americans. “The access aspect of this is so, so important,” Fred Humphries, Microsoft’s vice president for United States government affairs, said by telephone.
We thought up the idea of crowdsourcing broadband QoSE, but could not make it work because the AT Tester was too complicated. In the US, they came with the idea two years later but made it work. Now someone has added value to that product. Given many governments in the region (e.g.
The MIT Technology Review is taken seriously by many people, especially those who see technology as part of the policy solution mix. When it more or less endorses cell broadcasting as an effective public warning technology, citing our work to boot, we cannot but be pleased. The technology is also being tested in a very different part of the world in which disaster may strike with very little warning: Israel. EViglio is working on an SMS-CB system that will warn residents of incoming rockets within seconds after they have been fired. Testing of the system will begin in June 2011.
While he was teaching at Cornell, Alfred Kahn noticed that airfares were lower and frequencies better in the San Francisco-Los Angeles route than in other route pairs in the US. The difference was that SF-LA were both in California and were thus outside the authority of the federal aviation regulatory agency. When President Carter appointed him to head the regulatory agency, he proceeded to abolish it. This was one of the main contributory factors to the spread of liberalization of network industries, including telecom, throughout the world. Kahn was former chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, and he presided over the deregulation of the airline industry — the dismantling of a system that regulated where airlines could fly and how much they could charge.