Mike Powell: 5G security impractical, cable security chiefs incompetent.  Security information has no “practical utility.” Best cable security guys could produce only, “a high enough level of generality to avoid compromising network security by providing details that create vulnerabilities, but therefore offer the FCC information with no practical use, … The FCC has not demonstrated an ‘actual, timely use for the information.’ I’m not a security expert but can think of plenty of useful information that need not create vulnerabilities. Start with who/how to contact in an emergency. Mike is $3M/year cable lobbyist

Craig Settles: “Any amount of copper slows data speeds to the home significantly.” Is 500 meg significantly slow? hits that routinely. Craig’s heart is in the right place supporting community networks but sloppy data hurts his cause.

Serious Censorship: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter collaborate on better tools

Most Americans and Europeans will support “Terrorist” censorship. The U.S. giants are under pressure from Germany’s Chancellor Merkel and soon probably President Trump to effectively censor the net. They’ve come together to create a database of hashtags that can reliably detect repostings in today’s systems. They can be worked around with a little work, but many posters are too lazy to do so or don’t have the expertise. Details in the Facebook post below.

Hillary Clinton is an example of the many “liberals” who have joined “conservatives” calling for limits on speech for those labeled “terrorists.” Unfortunately, no one can agree on who is a “terrorist.” The Turkish government labels some Kurdish groups “terrorists” while the United States sends arms to their close allies in Syria and Iraq. The term has become almost meaningless. The U.S. free speech standard – that almost everything is protected except an immediate call to violence – seems better to me. (“Clear and present danger.”) 

I doubt more than 10% of people in Europe and the United States are near-absolutist in a free speech debate. One reason I do is I have a clear perception of the slippery slope.

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Steve Crocker: Nothing really changed because of ICANN

Steve-Crocker-from-WikipediaIt always was a symbolic battle. Steve Crocker is Chair of ICANN as well as an outstanding engineer throughout Internet history. 

 “While today is an absolutely historic day for ICANN and for the success of the multi-stakeholder approach toward governance of an important portion of the Internet ecosystem, from the perspective of the Internet user community, today is a day like any other.  The transition of the stewardship of the IANA process from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to multi-stakeholder oversight of ICANN, has had and will have no impact on the orderly operation of the Internet.  Packets will continue to flow and new services will continue to be invented.  (And, of course, the multiple forms of abuse, conflict and controversy over content and other matters will also continue as before.)

Thousands of man hours and very large numbers of emails, documents and meetings tallied up between NTIA’s announcement 2-1/2 years ago on 14 March 2014 and the big event last night.  And what was the big event?  The quiet completion of the contract between NTIA and ICANN which was really vestigial in nature.  ICANN now has stronger accountability mechanisms, and the paperwork documenting the interactions with the operational communities is now more direct and does not involve the U.S. government, but otherwise it’s business as usual.”

“All Governments Lie”



“There is ample evidence even in the few papers that I have seen suggesting that there may have been systematic torture of detainees,” China’s Red Guards? Abu Ghraib? Actually, the British in Kenya. 50 year coverup described in the Guardian.

Susan Ness, Karen Kornbluh have inside track to Hillary’s FCC

Tony Romm identifies 11 telecom folks working with Clinton. Alec Ross, Ben Scott, Jennifer Pahlka, Bruce Gottlieb, Rebecca Arbogast, Kevin Werbach, Phil Weiser and Tom Power are working with the campaign. I know almost all of them; they are intelligent, experienced and hardworking insiders. They are center-left as measured in D.C., which is to the right of the Conservative Party in England. None are likely to make large changes. Blair Levin in the article projects, “When it comes to telecom, a Clinton presidency would be like ‘a third Obama term.’ He’s correct in that none of these people are radicals; I’m sure most would consider themselves “pragmatic.” I hope it’s not like the first Obama term, when the Bells walked all over Genachowski.  

I met Susan Ness in 1999 when as an FCC Commissioner she raised important questions about backbone competition in the Sprint-MCI deal. She worked with Hilary when both were out of office.

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Encryption: Free Marketers join Progressives to Protect Encryption

Ed Snowden put his life on the line to prove all larger Western countries were massively spying on their own people. Dozens of top people, including AT&T CEOs Randall Stephenson and Ed Whitacre, could have been sent to jail. The reaction in the U.S., France and England was to change the laws to allow almost all of the spying to continue. Barack Obama as a Senator and when campaigning wanted the laws enforced. As President, he decided to go along with the security agencies.

The latest battleground is encryption. The security forces want to make sure no encryption can lock them out. With 75%+ of the population scared enough to give security anything they ask, basic privacy protections are disappearing. Those who think the government shouldn’t be able to spy on everything we do on the Internet have a tough battle.

200 organizations have now signed An open letter to the leaders of the world to hold back this tide. They include the market-oriented TechFreedom group, which rarely sides with progressives. As Kevin Martin said to me, “Some issues are not Republican or Democrat, left or right.

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NY Times: Facebook “Inspires Rise in Violence” in Palestine

Totally unproven, very dangerous but common idea. Hillary Clinton believed the Internet could inspire “regime change” and the U.S. State Department spent millions supporting dissidents in Egypt, Iran and China. Angela Merkel has personally demanded Facebook heavily censor anti-immigrant comments in Germany. Now the New York Times reports “Israeli and Palestinian security services had arrested hundreds of online instigators in recent months,” but “it had done little good because ‘ideas are becoming immortal — you can take down pages but it will multiply itself.'” 

It’s too easy to blame the Internet and the above is probably overstated. There were few Internet connections in Palestine during the First and Second Intifadas but thousands chose to risk their life. It’s certainly true the Internet makes everything easier, from arranging a bowling date to fomenting a revolution. Lenin needed couriers at great risk to smuggle his papers into pre revolutionary Russia. 

There are no easy answers here.

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ITU Must Include Peering/Transit Costs in Affordability Analysis

My comments to U.S. State Department ITAC group. One of the issues at the ITU is whether the cost of peering/transit should be part of the discussion on affordability of access. Africans tell me this is perhaps the largest single impediment to bringing down the cost of the Internet in Africa. Backhaul is 10x the cost in Europe or the U.S., only a small part of which is due to the cost of undersea cables. I infer a (weak) cartel and strongly urge the ITU to produce the data to convince anyone objective something should be done.

Some people are trying to exclude this from the development agenda. They come from countries with companies that benefit from high transit prices. (Surprise.) By accident, I’m on the U.S. State Department International Telecommunications Advisory Committee and wrote this. By my choice, I do not report what anyone else says at that committee. This is my opinion.  

On Peering

Carlos Slim at the Broadband Commission told me $50 mobile phone prices will allow two billion more people to connect, a goal i know we all share. Since then, I’ve looked closely at the actual cost factors delivering Internet to the poor in emerging nations. I also discussed it with numerous people at ITU Busan. (Article below) Peering/transit costs appear the largest single international issue in affordability in Africa especially, as I report below. According to an African at the Busan Plenipot, the saving from reducing peering/transit costs is 5-10x anything likely from IXPs. Several Africans saw peering/transit costs as a key issue and welcome ITU involvement.  

It is extremely disrespectful for the U.S. to oppose the Africans getting the actual data on peering/transit, especially since U.S. companies are profiting. 

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Verizon’s Financial Filing Implies Crisis

Almost certainly not real. New York is almost certainly a highly profitable telco franchise but for a decade Verizon has been reporting major losses. If they can’t make money from the massive business base and general affluence in New York, they must be losing almost everywhere. The network would benearly valueless and the stock wildly overpriced. Lowell McAdam’s $15-20M annual earnings would be completely absurd. 

Verizon actually has been one of the most profitable companies on Earth, throwing off $10’s of billions of cash in recent years. Bruce Kushnick reports

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Dave on the decline of the West in communications

Tony Rutkowski, an American once very active in the ITU, wrote a piece for CircleID lamenting the diminished role of Western companies. His conclusion was this was a rejection of the ITU. I strongly differed and wrote this comment.

Actually, many parts of the ITU are thriving. The new DSL standard,, was almost completely developed by the ITU working group. It brings DSL speeds to hundreds of megabits and sometimes a gigabit.

Tony is right many of the Western companies are less active. In one way, that’s not a surprise. We’ve seen the end of formerly great contributors to communications like Siemens and Nortel as well as the decimation of Bell Labs. Everyone else has cut back.

Much of the slack in research – and ITU standards – is being taken up by Asian companies like Samsung, NTT and Huawei. The ITU, unlike most other groups, has done a great job of involving the new players. In other parts of the ITU, Africans and Latin Americans are deeply involved, a good thing.

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Dave in India on neutrality facts

Verizon in an article in India’s Economic Times disputes a report that they throttle their service based on the application. A far as I know, today they don’t, and neither do the other large U.S. telcos and cablecos. The big issue today is throttling at the peering point, where companies like Verizon refused ordinary connections without payment. Verizon claims that has nothing to do with neutrality and obfuscates. I asked Tim Wu, who coined the phrase, whether edge throttling was a neutrality violation. It is. 

Verizon is accurate that they do not throttle applications such as VOIP, I believe. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t violating neutrality.

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Adtran, Alcatel, Ericsson sales will fall: Scott Belcher of TIA Trade Association

Tom Stanton, Adtran (Satire) Company CFO’s haven’t confirmed. Adtran’s Tom Stanton saw his stock go down -0.73% today while the market went up +1.47%. Scott Belcher, Tom’s handpicked TIA chief, issued a press release predicting “a slowdown in capital investment,” after the U.S. Net Neutrality order. Stanton is more vulnerable to a U.S. slowdown than any other large telecom vendor because over 60% of his sales are in the U.S. Adtran has done a remarkable job winning a large vectored VDSL contract in Germany in a fierce competition with Alcatel. To grow in Europe, they’ve had to accept much lower margins than in the U.S., making any U.S. cutback even more painful. 

    The U.S. is also a crucial market for wireless suppliers Alcatel & Ericsson. Both Verizon and AT&T have covered over 90% of the U.S. with LTE and are slowing down. Any further cutbacks would be particularly painful. Ericsson has just announced 2,000 layoffs and I’ve lost track of how scott-belcher-180x146many people Alcatel has let go.  Alcatel and Ericsson are being propped up by a cartel arranged by the EU and China. Each is given about 10% of the Chinese market and Huawei is no longer bidding as aggressively for European contracts. The EU had to threaten huge tariffs to protect these “national champions.”

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News update

AT&T lawyer Kalini entangled in gov payoff scheme NY Times 

Verizon “news” site SugarString forbids writing about American spying or net neutrality. Daily Dot Verizon successfully persuaded the Internet Society not to criticze them on Net Neutrality as well.



ITU Busan, where nothing will happen

Diploroo on the Australian delegationThe U.S. likes the the way the Internet is run dislikes any substantial change. The U.S. has enough power to block anything the U.S. doesn’t like. Therefore, any substantial change will be blocked. Everything in public here is hollow talk, including an enormous amount of posturing to the folks back home. Everyone knew this months ago. Busan in the fall isn’t a tourist destination and the parties are bland. The delegates are here to meet each other for future work, just as I am.

    Diploroo, of the Australian delegation, is one of the most popular here.



Cisco: Africa in 2017 to Have More Internet Users than U.S.

true size of africa-d0d0c226300,000,000 smartphones coming soon. Carlos Slim of Telmex tells me the world is about to change. “Two billion more people will connect to the Internet when smartphones cost $50. The phone makers are promising me a $50 phone in 2014.” If Spreadtrum and Firefox deliver a $25 smartphone, as promised, that could accelerate takeover.

   ~310,000,000 Africans will be connected to the Internet in 2017, Arielle Sumits of Cisco predicts. The population of the U.S. is about 310,000,000, Africa over a billion. It’s inevitable that the U.S. will be dwarfed by the rest of the world. In Africa, there are already about 450,000,000 mobile phone users with substantial growth continuing. Most of them will get Internet-capable phones in the next few years. 

    There are fewer than 10M broadband landlines on the continent, about one line per hundred people.

Egypt has 2.5M landlines, about 14% of households. Only Egypt, South Africa and Algeria have more than a million. 

    The Internet expansion is remarkable. Kenya is calling itself “Silicon Savannah” with an estimated 12M connections for 40M people. 98% are wireless. Dr. Bitange Ndemo as Communications Minister proposed some of the most advanced spectrum policies in the world. Building a single network in 100 MHz provides an estimated 30%-70% more capacity.

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ISOC’s Brown on what the Plenipot shouldn’t do

Kathy Brown is proving far more responsive to members and is doing a remarkable job bringing people into the Internet Society. That makes it even more crucial they align policies with their slogan, “The Internet is for Everybody.” At the ITU, they are among the strongest supporters of the new U.S. position, “Hands off the Internet, ITU and governments.” (Few remember that in 2006, U.S. Ambassador Gross applauded the ITU effort to be more involved with the Internet.}

   Kathy hasn’t changed ISOC policies largely determined by the worry that ITU Governments will have too much power. We all know governments have the ability to foul things up in a major way, but corporate domination and economic power are also issues. 

    Net Policy News will work hard to present informed opinions that disagree with our point of view. Here’s Kathy’s widely distributed note and their official ITU presentation, in full.

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