Q: How does the family-friendly indecency filter work? Who can turn off the filter?
A: M2Z's filter will operate at the network level and block sites based on their domain names -- similar to what many schools and public libraries provide to protect children. It is a superior solution to software based systems that require parents to act as IT administrators and are also easy to manipulate and circumvent. People who subscribe to the premium service will establish their age and identity and therefore, can turn off the filter if they wish.
Backers of "white spaces" devices got a major boost today as FCC Chair Kevin Martin came out in support of the effort to open empty TV spectrum for unlicensed wireless use... A vote on Martin's plan will come on election day, November 4, according to tentative FCC agenda released today. Commissioners Copps and Adelstein are understood to be generally supportive of white spaces, so Martin's vote may create a bipartisan majority regardless of whether Commissioners Tate and McDowell hop aboard the white spaces train.
"I've been waiting 40 years, and thought nobody would ever ask me to come celebrate the Carterfone decision," declared former Federal Communications Commissioner Nicholas Johnson, speaking at a conference on said ruling held on Friday at Santa Clara University's High Tech Law Institute. Johnson is a big, lanky Iowan who obviously likes to hold forth. Not that he didn't deserve center stage—he wrote Carterfone for the FCC's majority in 1968.
"As you sit here with your Blackberrys and your iPhones and your cell phones and whatever else may connect you wirelessly to Mother Earth's store of information, I think it's useful to take ourselves back to world in which Tom Carter struggled," Johnson continued. That world was one in which if you wanted to connect something to the nation's telecommunications system, you had to get permission from its owner, AT&T.
"You could have an AT&T phone in any color, back in those days, as long as it was black," another conference panelist recalled. In the late 1950s, entrepreneur Thomas Carter defied that rule. He sold a device that allowed users to pipe their phone conversations through a small radio network—perfect for keeping the supervisors of Texas sized oil fields in touch with their workers.
Needless to say, AT&T hated the Carterfone, and demanded that the FCC put an end to the "foreign attachment," as the company called it. Instead, the Commission stood up for the little guy, voting to deny Ma Bell the right to block devices that did not harm its network. Johnson cheerfully summarized this regulatory drama for his audience of economists and legal scholars, there to present their own talks on the decision. A few developers attended, too.
"The stories that you are telling involve the later chapters in this book of Tom Carter and his accomplishment," Johnson concluded. "I must say that I'm relieved that I'm not going to have to worry about this, because you're really on top of it and you're going in the right direction."
What a difference nine months makes. In December of 2007, activists reviled Federal Communications Commission Chair Kevin Martin as the ruthless champion of big media, thanks to his efforts to relax the agency's restriction on newspaper/TV station cross-ownership. They all but booed Martin off the stage at a November Commission hearing about the proposal held in Seattle, Washington.
But an hour after Martin explained on Friday, August 1, why the FCC will enforce its net neutrality policies against Comcast for P2P blocking, Free Press, Public Knowledge, and Vuze held a telephone press conference on the decision. The subject inevitably moved to the FCC's Chair.
"What do you think that Kevin Martin's motives were in making this call?" one reporter asked. "Because as most of you know, he has not exactly portrayed himself as a friend of the consumer. His decisions have generally been pro-business. What made him make this switch?"
Gigi Sohn, of Public Knowledge, quickly responded to the query. "I think it's a little unfair to characterize Kevin Martin as being anti-consumer in all but this decision," she said, a little impatience in her voice. "I can name several other decisions coming out of his FCC that I would consider to be pro-consumer, including the denial of some of the big forbearance petitions by some of the telephone companies. So I think it's unfair to pigeonhole him in that way."
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