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Was Net Neutrality Truly Neutral? Here’s the Score Card

Was Net Neutrality Truly Neutral? Here’s the Score Card

The number of IPOS, pre and post Net Neutrality, from Statista

There’s currently a push on to reinstate Net Neutrality (U.S. Democrats unveil legislation to reinstate net neutrality rules). “The bill mirrors an effort last year to reverse the FCC’s December 2017 order that repealed rules approved in 2015 that barred providers from blocking or slowing internet content or offering paid “fast lanes,” says the Yahoo piece.

The stated promise of Net Neutrality was a “free and open internet” and maintaining “the last mile.” That’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.

In case you haven’t noticed, with the reversal of Net Neutrality in 2017, we haven’t witnessed “blocking or slowing down of internet traffic” by ISPs. Read More...

140 Characters Who Helped Shape the Tech World

140 Characters Who Helped Shape the Tech World

It was Peter Thiel who said, “We were promised flying cars. Instead we got 140 characters.” It looks like flying cars may be slowly rolling out, with Singapore’s flying taxi trial set to begin in the second half of 2019, but who the hell are those 140 characters to whom Theil might have been referring? As a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp and Quora, he certainly knows what sorts of characters tech can breed.

We’ve been involved in the tech world since the nascent days of Web 1.0 in New York City – with monthly trips to Silicon Valley at the time, as well – and over the years, have encountered many of those characters, upfront and personal, for better or for worse. Of course we have stories to tell, but that’s for a later date and a much longer opus.

Some were true innovators who created platforms and software and devices that forged an entirely new industry. You may not be familiar with their names, but their contributions should never be forgotten. Some forgot their original drivers, whether it was to not be evil or to connect the world, tracked the world’s population in ways and to an extent to which it had never been tracked before, storing it and parsing out that information to the highest and/or any and all bidders, and paying no heed to the concept that we might have the right to be forgotten. Read More...

Don’t ask, don’t tell: Have Google and Facebook provided the tools for world censorship?

Don’t ask, don’t tell: Have Google and Facebook provided the tools for world censorship?

The expression may have been around forever, but the tech cartel certainly gives it a new spin.

We know that Google tracks your movements (without your permission), like it or not. Last week, ZDNet reported that an API bug in Google+ exposed 500,000 users. Google admitted that it had suffered a security breach and hadn’t bothered to tell anyone because it wasn’t legally required to. Now the company is shutting down one time potential ‘Facebook killer’ Google Plus, and the wags certainly had a field day with the virtually ignored platform, reporting that G+ users were inconsolable – both of them. Read More...

If the News is Too Good to be True, Chances Are…

If the News is Too Good to be True, Chances Are…

Credit: onsizzle.com

 

Jeff Bezos seems to have made certain people in Washington (DC) quite happy last week. Of course, our red flags always go up with any announcement.

The big news was that Amazon has agreed to give all warehouse workers a $15 an hour minimum wage, thus satisfying Bernie Sanders, who had been after the company – and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos – for quite some time. As the AP reported, Amazon jumps out ahead of its rivals and raises wages to $15, and Sander (D, VT), hailed it as “a shot heard round the world.” Read More...

Life After Google Has a Solid Foundation

Life After Google Has a Solid Foundation

Google, et al, testified in Washington last week before the Senate Commerce Committee over issues ranging from election meddling to transparence. Apple, Amazon, Google and Twitter, alongside AT&T and Charter, were all there. In case you were distracted by yet another Senate hearing that was taking place, Ex-Google Employee Urges Lawmakers to Take On Company. Said The New York Times, “In a harshly worded letter sent this week, the former employee, Jack Poulson, criticized Google’s handling of a project to build a version of its search engine that would be acceptable to the government of China. He said the project was a “catastrophic failure of the internal privacy review process,” adding that ‘that there is a “broad pattern of unaccountable decision making.”

“We acknowledge that we have made mistakes in the past, from which we have learned, and improved our robust privacy program,” Keith Enright, Google’s chief privacy officer, said in his opening statement. Read More...

Control and Censorship: What Has Big Tech Become?

Control and Censorship: What Has Big Tech Become?

Is there really such a thing as too big to fail? Mark Zuckerberg’s Augustus Caesar syndrome aside, there was a time when the Roman Empire dominated the then civilized world.

Page Not Found

Google, the biggest of the big, did not feel the need to send anyone (Larry Page’s presence was requested) to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee – an empty seat was left for Page, complete with placard. Yet Google has no problem cooperating with the Chinese government (Google China Prototype Links Searches to Phone Numbers, making it easier for the Chinese government to monitor people’s queries. Ed: and note to Android owners: wonder where they are or have been beta testing). Read More...

Net Neutrality and How the Tech Cabal Just Shot Themselves in the ISP

Net Neutrality and How the Tech Cabal Just Shot Themselves in the ISP

The Senate Intelligence Committee is meeting this week about foreign influence on tech platforms. In the hot seat: Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Google refuses to make an appearance, even though the committee specifically requested Larry Page’s presence. Google no doubt prefers not to come under too much scrutiny. Just last week The Intercept reported that Google Executives Misled (Their Own) Staff on China Censorship. With so many balls in the air/fronts to defend, the cabal (Google, Facebook, Twitter, in this instance) have become such hydras with so many tentacles – and fronts – to defend, that they may well be on the verge of falling on their own swords – and they themselves have provided the arguments and ammunition, should Congress or an oversight committee be forced to step in. Notice: we don’t necessarily suggest regulation. They did that themselves: Last week, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter and others urged a U.S. appeals court to reinstate federal “net neutrality” regulations on internet service providers, to maintain a “free and open internet.” Read More...

What If Ma Bell Had Behaved Like Facebook? The Facebook Stock Fail Explained

What If Ma Bell Had Behaved Like Facebook? The Facebook Stock Fail Explained

Facebook’s stock took a nosedive last week, sending shockwaves through the stock market. Twitter also took a big hit. Time for perspective: the price is back to where it was in May. The stock price took a big jump in July, then came back down to earth.

Are we looking at end of days, an overdue correction, or time for Facebook et al to reexamine the business model?

The tech sector has no historic perspective. They have always felt that the rules of business don’t apply to them. Tech is a mere extension of utilities we’ve seen before. Facebook, in many respects, is the telco reimagined. Only, in this case, you can reach out and touch people globally, without incurring long distance charges. Or make a conference call, when it comes to posts. Read More...

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report – and What Was Not Said

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report – and What Was Not Said

Every year, Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker gives us her look at the trends in technology. This year in 294 slides. Here are some of the points, along with follow on points that she might have conveniently neglected to mention. She is a Silicon Valley tech investor, after all:

The Gig Economy

The gig economy is growing fast, with nearly seven million people projected to be working in it in the US by the end of this year, up 26% from 2017, said Meeker. Seventy-one percent of US gig workers say they “always wanted to be their own boss,” according to a survey Intuit conducted in November 2017. As Quartz points out (People are joining the gig economy because of a powerful myth), it’s the algorithm that’s in charge, determining “where the driver will head next, who she’ll pick up, and how much she’ll be paid for that trip. In other words, many important features of the job are outside the driver’s control.” Read More...

…In Which Yours Truly Resolves the Universal Basic Income Issue

…In Which Yours Truly Resolves the Universal Basic Income Issue

Every now and then we like to flip the model – and the talking points. Seems that the model of tech is freemium. Everyone loves to get stuff for free – no one more than the tech cartel, particularly Facebook and Google. As the Wall Street Journal (Tech’s Titans Tiptoe Towards Monopoly) noted, Google and Facebook “benefit from something historically unprecedented: the ability to get users to subsidize them with enormous quantities of free labor. Their systems are fueled by personal information.”

Here’s a thought: since the cartel are such outspoken advocates of Universal Basic Income, let’s make it easy for them to literally put their money where their mouths are by having them pay users for providing information/content every time they post/share/search. These systems are built on algorithms: they can no doubt figure it out. There’s even a metric for payment to writers. On the lowest end (and far from our rate, fyi): two cents per word. Read More...

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