In a world filled with technology, it’s no surprise that even our presidential elections are being affected. Of course, we’ve been through the last few elections with an increase in technological sophistication, and social media has been quite the influence. But where does current technology in 2016 end up making a huge, groundbreaking difference in the outcome of our election? At Working Nets, technology is our passion; let’s go over the fascinating ways it influences everything, even our politics.
Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission(More commonly referred to as the FCC) took the opportunity to use his annual speech at the international Consumer Electronics Show to declare his resounding support for net neutrality, promising to work towards bringing unfettered and equal internet access to all of America. Wheeler’s remarks have a great bearing on the heated net neutrality debate and essentially signify that internet service provider’s days of charging for premium access will likely soon be over.
What is Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality is the concept that the internet should be an equal-access utility. Currently, large internet service providers allow companies to pay a premium price for what is essentially an internet “fast lane.” The argument for this practice is that it encourages investment and innovation, and creating a separate, faster internet frees up traffic to smaller businesses and websites. Net neutrality proponents argue that this is not the case and that the practice is simply used by ISPs to pocket more money. They also contend that it incentivizes ISPs to artificially slow down consumer internet traffic to force them to pay premium prices.
What is Likely to Happen?
Wheeler’s remarks confirm that the FCC’s planned unveiling of new rules for ISPs (to be revealed on Feb. 5) will include classifying ISPs as “common carriers,” under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act. The most important part of this legislation is a clause that states that “All charges, practices, classifications and regulations for and in connection with such communication services shall be just and reasonable…” This would give the FCC increased oversight over internet service providers and allow them to enforce net neutrality. In his interview with Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro, Wheeler stated “we need to propose a rule that says there will be no blocking [of internet access], no throttling, no paid prioritization. We need a yardstick against which [ISPs’] performance should be measured.” Wheeler is well-supported within the FCC and while that organization will certainly attempt to place ISPs under firmer jurisdiction, many congressional republicans and ISPs have already started drafting bills and lawsuits to attempt to stop it.
How Will it Affect Me?
In the short term we’re unlikely to see immediate change. However, if the FCC can firm up congressional support for their rules then ISPs will be forced to drop prices and offer faster speeds to many consumers. In the meantime, it’s important to keep your business and your office network in top shape. We’re a Maryland based company with years of experience managing networks of both large and small businesses, as well as a team of highly dedicated, well-trained technical experts who stay on the cutting edge of network management so you don’t have to.
To talk to someone about network management for your small business, give us a call at (443) 992-7394. We’d be happy to assist you with your professional business networking needs.
Florida lawmakers recently voted to ban all Internet cafes that offer slot machine like games in an effort to crack down on illegal gambling. More than 1,000 Internet cafes in the state were shut down immediately. Case closed, right? Well, not quite. Because of poor wording Florida not only banned Internet cafes, they also banned every computer and smartphone in the state.
The ban defines illegal slot machines as any “system or network of devices” that may be used in a game of chance. With wording that broad, the definition can be applied to any number of devices, including computers and smartphones, according to the Miami law firm of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine.
At least one Internet café owner saw the ambiguous wording as an opportunity. Consuelo Zapata, owner of Miami-Dade’s Incredible Investments, LLC, an Internet café that provides online services to migrant workers, is suing the state of Florida, claiming the new ban to be unconstitutional and passed “in a frenzy fueled by distorted judgment in the wake of a scandal that included the Lieutenant Governor’s resignation.”
“As the bulwark of a limited constitution against legislative encroachments, this Court must declare the 2013 amendments to sections 849.094 and 849.16, Florida Statutes, to be unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.”
If you have any questions about our blog, “Florida Bans Computers and Smartphones…No Seriously!,” please contact Working Nets by calling (443) 992-7394 or visit WorkingNets.com today! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
As you may or may not know, The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, sponsored by Joseph Lieberman (I–CT) and Susan Collins (R–ME), was defeated in the Senate after failing to gain the 60 votes necessary to move the bill past cloture and go up for a full vote. Obviously, the Act is still not ready, at least in the eyes of the Senate. And Senator Al Franken (D-Minn), a strong proponent for national cybersecurity, agrees. But he also acknowledges that something must be done.
“News reports and experts confirm that our nation’s critical infrastructure-such as our water systems, our power grid, and so forth-are vulnerable to attacks from hackers and foreign governments,” said Sen. Franken. “…Our nation needs to respond to those threats.”
Luckily, Franken has a solution. Rather than scrapping the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 all together, Franken believes it can be amended.
“The Cybersecurity Act is not perfect, but when it comes to striking a balance between cybersecurity and privacy and civil liberties, it is the only game in town,” said Sen. Franken. “Unfortunately, it’s hard to write a good cybersecurity bill-because when you try to make it easier for the government or Internet companies to detect and stop the work of hackers or other bad actors, you often end up making it very easy for those same entities to snoop in on the lives of innocent Americans.”
Franken has proposed several amendments that would remove provisions found in Section 701 of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 that allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) the authority to monitor and take actions against their users. It is the Senator’s hope that these amendments will alleviate many of the issues that his fellow Senators have with the Act.
“And I hope that my colleagues here in the Senate will join me in passing this amendment,” added Sen. Franken.
If you have any questions about Cybersecurity, please contact Working Nets by calling (443) 992-7394 or visit WorkingNets.com today!
Welcome to Working Nets – your virtual IT Department!
At Working Nets, we support your business by providing top-notch Information Technology (I.T.) services to companies like yours: Companies that don’t need full-time I.T. services, but do need someone to turn to, when they are having a problem. We provide services like Network Design, Monitoring and Maintenance. We troubleshoot technical issues when they arise, and give you options for solving them. We help you use your technology investment to achieve your business goals.
At Working Nets, our focus is on your needs!
Those of you who have been following my Facebook and Twitter posts, should know that I am very much against the new proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) legislation.
So I wrote to my Congressman, John Sarbanes. This is what I wrote:
I was distressed to hear that you are a supporter of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA – HR 3261), and would like to ask you to consider changing your mind.
My assumption is that the members of Congress who are supportive of this terrible piece of legislation either don’t really understand it, or are in the pocket of the Entertainment and/or Pharmaceutical industries. And they already have the DMCA and other laws to protect their interests.
But please allow me a minute to explain some of the wrongs that SOPA will cause:
SOPA has several “layers” around it. But all of them wind up by providing draconian measures against US companies, with nothing more than an allegation of wrongdoing. These measures can be put into play before the alleged wrong-doer is even informed that there is a problem. Can you imagine what damage would be done to a small business, like mine, if one day I came to work and discovered that:
– My website was down.
– My company’s web-presence were suddenly deleted from all Internet search engines.
– Payment sites, like Paypal, would suddenly no longer provide payment services for me.
And why? Because someone CLAIMED that I violated a copyright. Even if the allegation was limited to one small thing, which could easily have been removed and/or corrected if needed and asked, SOPA gives the courts the power to destroy my business.
Imagine the misuse to which this legislation could be put!
Even software companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter & Zynga, are opposed to it, with Google actually scheduled to testify against it during the congressional discussion. Even Microsoft, which makes the majority of its money licensing software, and has backed other IP legislation efforts in the past, has come out against it!
Congressman Sarbanes, we live in an increasingly litigious world, frankly, much to our detriment. HR 3261 will only compound it, making it that much easier for the “big guys” to stomp all over us “little guys”. Is that REALLY what you want to support?
Please rethink your position and stand with the rest of us; the folks not in Big Entertainment and Pharma.
Since I wrote him that letter, the vote has already taken place in the House, and the Senate version of the bill seems likely to pass. “Congressman Sarbanes” wrote back to me, as follows:
Dear Mr. Spigelman:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the prospective legislation to curb online theft of intellectual property. I appreciate hearing from you about this important issue.
Online commerce should not be a mechanism for abusive business practices, violations of individual privacy rights or copyright infringement. Intellectual property and privacy laws should apply to all forms of commerce. I am privileged to serve on the House Committee on Science and Technology, the committee with jurisdiction over technology policy, and I will be certain to keep your views in mind when the Committee or the full House of Representatives considers these issues in the future.
Again, I appreciate hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me about other issues of concern to you in the future.
Now I may be just jaded, but my read of his response is, “I’m not going to tell you what I’m going to do in the future. I’m not really that interested in your opinion. But thanks for writing me.”
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not necessarily against IP legislation. I do believe that it’s important to protect people’s work, and that if you take away the profit motive, there will be much less incentive for people to create. But I’m opposed to THIS legislation because it gives too much latitude to cause too much damage, without the subject even having the opportunity to defend themselves.
And don’t think that the companies and organizations involved won’t use that latitude to their complete advantage. They do all sorts of legally-questionable, morally-reprehensible things now, to even very small players, even without the legal backing. Take, for example, the recent behavior of Universal Music on the website Megaupload: They’re inappropriately using even the laws they DO have available, and then sitting back to see whether the victims will be able to afford to defend themselves.
That’s right. As it is, a large conglomerate can squash a small business flat, by litigating them to death. And that’s with the laws they already have. They don’t need this. And they shouldn’t have it.
To his credit, Pres. Obama has promised to veto this, if it comes to his desk, but it’s a funny thing about politics… Things change. But maybe, if enough of us start reading up on SOPA; start writing our Senators and Congress-people, we can stop this thing from actually becoming law.
Personally, I think this whole thing is going to go until the Webster’s Dictionary folks file suit against everyone in the country, including the Federal government, for unauthorized use of the words in their dictionary.