Monday, May 15, 2017

CYBER WARS - Impact of Worldwide Attack

"Analyzing the impact of the worldwide cyber attack" PBS NewsHour 5/13/2017


SUMMARY:  Nearly 100 countries around the world worked to restore services after a massive cyber attack on Friday.  The ransomware attack appeared to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows, which was identified by the U.S. National Security Agency and later leaked to the internet.  Former Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin joins Hari Sreenivasan for more on the attack.

Monday, May 8, 2017

MEDIA - Instagram

"How Instagram pictures the world" PBS NewsHour 5/1/2017


SUMMARY:  A startup no longer, Instagram boasts 700 million monthly active users and counting.  As it grows, the free, photo-sharing mobile app is grappling with how to innovate and stay relevant, as well as how to foster a safe community.  But with 95 million uploads a day, monitoring is a tall order.  Judy Woodruff reports from California.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  The rapid rise of one of the world's biggest social media networks, Instagram.

It's building up steam, with 700 million people now using it each month, and it just took four months to pick up its latest 100 million new accounts.

But along the way, the company has faced concerns over how it can be used, and even some criticism for the way it essentially copied ideas from its rival, Snapchat.

Judy Woodruff recently got an inside look during her trip to Silicon Valley.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  One of the first things that greets you inside Instagram is, no surprise, a place to take pictures.  The free photo-sharing mobile app was born in 2010 with its first post, a foot in a flip-flop alongside a stray dog.

Turns out it was taken in Mexico by co-founder Kevin Systrom.

KEVIN SYSTROM, CEO and Co-Founder, Instagram:  It's a mixture of teams.  So, we have got design teams, we have got partnership teams, we have got a community team, and then a bunch of engineers.  We don't really have an organization.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Systrom showed us around Instagram's new offices in Menlo Park, California, designed to accommodate an ever-expanding staff.

You moved here six months ago; is that right?

KEVIN SYSTROM:  Yes, six months ago, we moved from the original campus.  And we designed this entire experience inside here to be cleaner, and a little bit more Instagrammy.  So we have got the hip wood walls, and the polished concrete floors.  It's very start-uppy, but it's in an Instagram way.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  A start-up no longer, Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for a cool billion dollars.  Then, the company had 13 employees.  Now it has more than 600 to keep up with a rapidly growing user base, 700 million monthly active users and counting, 80 percent of them outside the United States.

How do you explain the phenomenal, rapid growth of this?

KEVIN SYSTROM:  On Instagram, very early on, you would post an image, and anyone anywhere in the world could see that image, and understand what you were trying to say without speaking your language.

So, we like to say that Instagram was one of the first truly international networks in the world.  And I think that's what's allowed it to scale to the hundreds of millions of people that use it every day today.

Monday, May 1, 2017

TRUMP AGENDA - Robber Barons of the Internet

"FCC chair Ajit Pai explains why he wants to scrap net neutrality" PBS NewsHour 4/27/2017

First, as a retired Computer and IT Technician I understand the internet.  I support 'NET Neutrality' because the internet delivery businesses WILL eventually give in to greed, to wanting bigger profits, at internet users expense.

Also, the Trump Administration LIES!


SUMMARY:  Ajit Pai, President Trump's new FCC chairman, has plans to do away with net neutrality rules that have been in place for the last three years.  Pai argues the rules are too burdensome and that they stifle innovation and competition.  William Brangham discusses the changes in oversight with Pai.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  A political fight is brewing about access to the Internet.  The new head of the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, wants to clear away regulations about who controls and polices the flow of content on the Internet.

William Brangham has that.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  We're talking here about what's known as net neutrality, not the easiest concept to grasp, so bear with me.

Almost all of us in America get our Internet access via one main provider.  These are the telecom and cable giants like Verizon, Comcast, Charter, Time Warner.  They provide the infrastructure that delivers the bounty of the Web to our homes and phones; sites and apps like Google, Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, you name it.

The telecoms build the highway.  The others guys are like the cars traveling that highway.

The idea of net neutrality is that the telecoms have to treat that highway as an open road.  They can't pick and choose which Web sites or services get to you faster or slower.  The fear is that, if they do have that power, they will be tempted to favor their content, their sites, their own videos over a competitor's.

But the telecoms argue that's not fair, they should be able to control that flow, and be able to charge more for faster access.

In 2014, the Federal Communications Commission under President Obama wanted to lock in these net neutrality rules, but it faced intense pushback by the industry.

The fight even spilled into pop culture, with this from HBO's John Oliver:

JOHN OLIVER, Host, “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”:  If we let cable companies offer two speeds of service, they won't be Usain Bolt and Usain Bolt on a motorbike.  They will be Usain Bolt, and Usain bolted to an anchor.


WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  But those net neutrality rules did pass and have been in place for the last three years.

But Ajit Pai, President Trump's new FCC chairman, now wants to get rid of those rules, arguing they're too burdensome.  And this week, he began the process of rolling them back.

And FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai joins me now.

Welcome to the NewsHour.

AJIT PAI, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission:  Thank you for having me.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  So, you, I understand, are not a fan of these net neutrality rules from a few years ago.  What is your principal concern?

AJIT PAI:  Well, I favor a free and open Internet, as I think most consumers do.

My concern is with the particular regulations that the FCC adopted two years ago.  They are what is called Title II regulations developed in the 1930s to regulate the Ma Bell telephone monopoly.

And my concern is that, by imposing those heavy-handed economic regulations on Internet service providers big and small, we could end up disincentivizing companies from wanting to build out Internet access to a lot of parts of the country, in low-income, urban and rural areas, for example.

And that, I think, is something that nobody would benefit from.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  Is there evidence, though, that these rules have disincentivized those companies?  There are — businesses are doing very, very well.  They're spending billions on the spectrum.

AJIT PAI:  There is significant evidence that investment in infrastructure has gone down since the adoption of these rules.

For example, there is a study by a highly respected economist that says that among the top 12 Internet service providers in terms of size, investment is down by 5.6 percent, or several billion dollars, over the last two years.

And amongst smaller providers as well, just literally this week, 22 Internet service providers with 1,000 customers or less told us that these Title II regulations have kept them from getting the financing that they need to build out their networks.  And, as they put it, these net neutrality regulations hang like a black cloud over our businesses.

And so what we're trying to do going forward is figure out a way that we can preserve that free and open Internet that consumers want and need and preserve that incentive to invest in the network that will ultimately benefit even more consumers going forward.