On the surface, little seems to have changed as the opening bell rang for the retailers’ battle that is the holiday shopping season. On Thanksgiving day we carved some 46 million turkeys and downed 50 million pumpkin pies despite a shortage of pecans created by Chinese consumers who imported the best quality nuts and bid the price too high for many bakers and American families to match. We watched some 12-15 hours of football, with 250-pound behemoths considered too light for many positions.Read more
In a speech today in South Korea, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Internet "needs rules to be able to flourish and work properly." This, according to Kerry, is necessary even for "a technology founded on freedom."
Speaking on behalf of the Obama administration, Kerry said that Internet policy is "a key component of our foreign policy."Read more
This past week I decided to change living arrangements chez Epstein. I turned my office into a den and our spare bedroom into an office. Sounds simple enough. I soon realized that I would have to hire professional movers to lug a couch, a weighty television set, and several bookcases and a few file cabinets from one room to another in our apartment. I was prepared to do so, and to pay the expense, which came to $288 plus $60 in three $20 tips for the men who did the lugging.Read more
Hillary Clinton took a strong position in support of so-called net neutrality in an appearance yesterday evening in Silicon Valley:
"For the FCC to do what they want to do, to try to create net neutrality as the norm, they have to have a hook to hang it on," Clinton said. She said it's the only hook the FCC's got. But that'd she'd vote for regulating the Internet.Read more
Republican senators Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, and Rand Paul have all been high profile opponents of the Obama administrations current plan to regulate the internet -- in particular, Lee has called the regulation a government "takeover" of the internet and says it amounts to a "a massive tax increase on the middle class, being passed in the dead of night without the American public really being made aware of what is going on.”Read more
The Commerce Department issued a low-key bureaucratic announcement on March 14: The government will not renew its contract with the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN), under which ICANN has administered the Internet’s domain name system since the mid-1990s. U.S. government supervision will be superseded next year, according to the announcement, by new arrangements to “support and enhance the multistakeholder model of Internet policymaking.”Read more
"Bitcoin" is the most widespread, cryptographically-secure Internet currency. It was created in 2009 by someone (or someones) who referred to themselves as "Satoshi Nakamoto." Once it was released into the wild, the bitcoin currency ecosystem operated on a public, inalterable schedule.Read more
At first glance, a page on the Health and Human Services (HHS) website seems to be giving that agency's official advice on the "The Health Benefits of Nootropics," a classification of purportedly memory-enhancing drugs. The page is found on the website's subdomain of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) as part of the Health System Measurement Project.Read more
The Healthcare.gov website has been plagued with problems since thelaunch.Read more
A new CNN poll finds that 66 percent of American adults believe that it's "right" for the Obama administration to analyze and collect Internet data. Only 33 percent believe the action is "wrong," and 1 percent have "No opinion."Read more
Governments everywhere are on the prowl for more revenues. French president François Hollande wants to tax incomes in excess of €1 million at a 75 percent rate. Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, has jacked up VAT.Read more
House speaker John Boehner might support the Internet tax bill. But it isn't too likely, he indicated in an interview with Bloomberg Television.Read more
In an NBC interview, Google's Eric Schmidt reminded America that "It's important to remember these 5 billion people are just like us. They're just trapped in bad poverty and bad governance and so forth." The CEO of Google was referring to those in the world who don't have smartphones:Read more
The White House today endorsed the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would be a tax hike for purchases made over the Internet. The White House claims the tax would "level playing field for local retailers."
"The Administration strongly supports S. 743, which will level the playing field for local small business retailers that are in competition every day with large out-of-state online companies," reads the Obama administration's statement on the policy.
Google chief Eric Schmidt, along with former Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson, visited a rare North Korean computer lab:Read more
Recently, Google unveiled a new feature on its website: the ability to tour, via “street view,” its Lenoir, North Carolina, data center, one of its numerous, highly guarded campuses. Google is attempting, at least partially, to lift the iron curtain—for which it has been much maligned—and show the world one of the physical strongholds where our personal data are stored. Might we trust the behemoth more if we can catch a glimpse of it from inside?Read more
In the middle of the night at a U.N. conference in Dubai, the presiding chairman of the International Telecommunication Union conference surveyed the assembled countries to see whether there was interest in having greater involvement in the U.N. governing the Internet. A majority of countries gave their approval.Read more
Two technology firms that monitor global Internet traffic report that Syria has been cut off from the Internet. Regular landline phone and cell phones services have been affected as well, Syrian opposition activist Ammar Abdulhamid told me. “Therefore, the possibility of accidental damage can be discounted,” said Abdulhamid. “This is something done intentionally by the regime, and reflects growing desperation on account of the recent advances made by rebels, especially in Damascus.”Read more
Next week the United Nations' International Telecommunications Union will meet in Dubai to figure out how to control the Internet. Representatives from 193 nations will attend the nearly two week long meeting, according to news reports.Read more
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