Research into how the Obama and Romney campaigns used Twitter during the presidential election shows not only has the news cycle been compressed by a factor of ten, but the media echo chamber is also alive and well
If President Obama really wants to put Wi-Fi in every U.S. classroom, then the government will need to release more unlicensed spectrum for public use — or so says WifiForward, a spectrum lobbying group backed by Google, Microsoft, the cable companies and the Consumer Electronics Association.
WifiForward prepared a paper this week that calls for regulators to open up or lift restrictions on big swathes of the 5 GHz band so it can be used to build bigger, badder gigabit Wi-Fi networks. It also calls for the government to open up more white space spectrum and move forward with its plans to create a shared public-private band at 3.5 GHz, which could be used to link those Wi-Fi networks to the internet proper without using wires or fiber.
Obama is pushing an ambitious plan called ConnectEd to link 99 percent of all U.S. schools with high-speed broadband, and many tech companies like Apple and Microsoft and carriers like AT&T and Verizon have signed on as partners, pledging money, services and equipment to the effort. But WifiForward claims that if the administration wants to ConnectEd right, it needs to think in terms of very fat pipes.
A school of 1,000 students and staff needs at least a 1 Gbps broadband link to ensure every pupil and teacher has access to a 1 Mbps connection, according to a study by the State Educational Technology Directors Association that the paper cited. By 2018, there will be an estimated 56.5 million K-12 students in the U.S., and they will need a combined 56.5 Tbps of bandwidth. Those kind of capacities will require more spectrum than available today, WifiForward claims.
Of course, opening up more unlicensed spectrum wouldn’t just benefit schools, since that new capacity would be available to any company, organization or consumer using a Wi-Fi router. Emphasizing schools is a good way to pull on the public’s heartstrings, but WifiForward’s arguments are still valid. Unlicensed airwaves produced a tremendous amount of innovation around the world. Investing in more unlicensed technologies will keep that innovation going.
It is now legal to unlock a cell phone in the United States. As promised, President Barack Obama signed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act into law on Friday, the White House announced in a blog post. Previously, unlocking your phone — modifying its firmware — could be considered a violation of federal copyright law, although it was rarely enforced. If you want to celebrate by unlocking your device (without fear of a fine) here’s a handy tip sheet for all four big carriers’ policies and procedures.
The House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday allowing consumers to unlock their phones for the purpose of switching carriers.
President Obama will tout a wide-sweeping series of commitments and pledges from federal agencies and companies to help get more solar on the grid in the U.S.
The whistleblower has given a tentative thumbs-up to plans by the White House that will reportedly end the bulk collection of Americans’ phone call metadata.
Obama and the FCC are both calling for more unlicensed spectrum to fuel the tech economy. That kind of advocacy from the administration is just what we need in a government opposed to free-to-use airwaves.
President Obama’s speech on spying and privacy was eloquent, but it sure was long. So, very loosely, here’s what he said, section by section, in around a tenth of the words.
Barack Obama will announce on Friday that he intends to take telephony metadata out of the hands of the National Security Agency, according to a Reuters report about a scheduled speech by the President on NSA reform. The report suggests Obama has heeded some of the calls made by an advisory panel in December, but it remains unclear who will hold this metadata. Intelligence agencies will also need a “judicial finding” in order to query the database, according to the report, and Obama will apparently scale back surveillance of foreign leaders and for the first time put a public advocate into the secret court process that governs surveillance targeting.
The weekend brought a spate of updates in the ongoing NSA saga. German media reported that Barack Obama had known about the tapping of Angela Merkel’s phone for years despite claiming he hadn’t, prompting fresh denials from Washington. Der Spiegel also published a detailed look at the American agency’s Berlin spying tactics.
Meanwhile El Mundo reported that the NSA had recorded phone call details of millions of Spaniards, and the Kyodo news agency said Japan had rebuffed U.S. requests in 2011 to tap fiberoptic cables going through Japan to China.