Within hours of the disclosure that the federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.
The New York Times editorial is NOT PLEASED about the news broken by The Guardian about the federal government’s data collection on phone calls through Verizon (essentially everything but the actual conversation). The anger in the editorial is visible and sharp, and is an excellent interrogation of the necessity and effectiveness, as well as the morality, of measures like this one. (via thepoliticalnotebook)
Hold those feet to the fire!
The court order doesn’t allow the NSA to collect any information whatsoever on the contents of phone calls, or even to obtain any names or addresses of customers. What’s covered instead is known as “metadata”: the phone number of every caller and recipient; the unique serial number of the phones involved; the time and duration of each phone call; and potentially the location of each of the participants when the call happened. All of this information is being collected on millions of calls every day – every conversation taking place within the US, or between the US and a foreign country is collected.
Big data, federal-style.
Today’s action demonstrates that compliance with FCC obligations is not optional. The open device and application obligations were core conditions when Verizon purchased the C-block spectrum. The massive innovation and investment fueled by the Internet have been driven by consumer choice in both devices and applications. The steps taken today will not only protect consumer choice, but defend certainty for innovators to continue to deliver new services and apps without fear of being blocked.FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski • Regarding an FCC ruling that basically prevents Verizon from charging money for its 4G wi-fi tethering services — a big victory for people who feel like they’re getting screwed by their phone provider. Why’s that? The 4G network was set up to be open and pro-consumer, with cell phone companies having limited influence on how their customers can use it. Verizon Wireless will also voluntarily make a $1.25 million payment to the Treasury to settle the issue.
They didn’t say anything about cash or jewelry, but the SEC did side with three AT&T investors — including the Beastie Boys’ Michael “Mike D” Diamond — who believed that shareholders should have a vote in the company’s net neutrality policy, because it has become part of the national debate. AT&T argued that the vote would “directly interfere with its network management practices”, but ultimately the SEC ruled that wireless providers must now allow for shareholder votes on net neutrality proposals. Should such proposals pass, providers would be required to “operate a neutral network with neutral routing along the company’s wireless infrastructure.” source
‘Saturday Night Live’ accurately skewers Verizon 4G advertising | The Verge
This is amazing, but surprisingly, it’s only Bill Hader’s second-best performance of the night. The one that takes the cake is his parody of Clint Eastwood’s excellent “It’s Halftime In America" Super Bowl ad. Bill Hader basically was on a roll last night.