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FCC rules on prison telecommunications

Today, a decade after Martha Wright-Reed, now 87, became the lead signatory in a class-action protest petition that asked the Federal Communications Commission to regulate usurious prison telecommunications systems, that body has issued an order to lower prison phone rates immediately, "basing them on actual costs and cap[ping] them at 25 cents per minute while the Commission collects more data." A fifteen-minute call will now cost no more than $3.25, down from figures as high as $20. Martha Wright's grandson, imprisoned for manslaughter in 1994, was paroled in June 2012.
posted by liketitanic on Aug 9, 2013 - 25 comments

 

IRS Claims Authority to Read Your E-Mail Without A Warrant

The ACLU reports that the IRS claims in an internal document that it has the authority to access citizens' online communications without a warrant. The IRS claimed in a 2009 document that "the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications." It still retains that position even after the 2010 case of US v Warshak which determined that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 11, 2013 - 50 comments

"No one noticed, they found, until the cords had lost an entire foot."

John E. Karlin, Bell Labs' first behavioral psychologist and the father of human factors engineering, has died at the age of 94. [more inside]
posted by spitefulcrow on Feb 11, 2013 - 32 comments

on Huawei from non-Chinese in China

In light of the US House Intelligence Committee recommendation that American companies should be blocked from carrying out mergers and acquisitions involving two Chinese telecommunications firms, ZTE and Huawei, how do people in the telecommunications industry think about Huawei? And what is really going on with the Shenzhen-based ICT conglomerate? Hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn of the Sinica Podcast (recorded in Beijing) cover Huawei in depth in August at The Huawei Enigma with guests David Wolf and Will Moss.
posted by gen on Oct 8, 2012 - 39 comments

Electronic surveillance skyrockets in the US

The Justice Department, after a legal battle with the ACLU to avoid having to admit it, recently released documents showing that the federal government’s use of warrantless “pen register” and “tap and trace” surveillance has multiplied over the past decade. But the Justice Department is small potatoes. Every day, the NSA intercepts and stores 1.7 billion emails, phone calls, texts, and other electronic communications. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Oct 3, 2012 - 82 comments

"The U.S.A. Is Only A Few Minutes Wide"

Wired: "Who 'Ruled the Air' in 1910, and Who Rules It Now?". Also see: Vintage AdBrowser (Previously): Communications Ads of the: 1910's, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.
posted by zarq on Oct 25, 2010 - 9 comments

Oh, Senator!

This little news story might be slightly damaging to John McCain's campaign. You know how the press lets stuff like this slide. uno dos tres cuatro cinco sex?
posted by chuckdarwin on Feb 21, 2008 - 250 comments

LOLTELECOMZ!

Shooting the Messenger (PDF). A new report from Free Press "dispels the many myths manufactured by the telecommunications industry to excuse America's poor broadband performance compared to the rest of the world."
posted by homunculus on Jul 19, 2007 - 38 comments

Telephone Central Office / Exchange Name Histories

Telephone Central Office Histories - A fascinating collection of personal anecdotes and histories about telephony from the US and around the world, from The Telephone Exchange Name Project. Coral Cache links -1- -2- (via)
posted by loquacious on Jun 9, 2007 - 8 comments

You had to live -- did live, from the habit that became instinct and the assumption that every sound you made was overheard.

For Your Eyes Only? Allegations that the government is reading your e-mails, with the help of AT&T. The latest episode of NOW did a good piece on the NSA's domestic surveillance program (previously discussed here.) It can be viewed on their website. Meanwhile, Canadian human rights attorney Maureen Webb has written a new book on the scope of government surveillance, and found that the use of sophisticated methods to search for terrorists is not identifying the right suspects.
posted by homunculus on Feb 21, 2007 - 72 comments

Your world, delivered to the NSA

AT&T Ducks Accountability. Lawsuits, Questions Follow NSA Surveillance Approval.
posted by homunculus on Jan 21, 2007 - 14 comments

The fight continues against higher bills, bigger monopolies...

Newsfilter: The US House Committee on the Judiciary today approved the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act (HR 5417) in a vote of 20-12, helping to improve the provision of equal network service regardless of who receives it, without added surcharges, along with other antitrust measures. Carriers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon suggest no problem exists that requires this legislative solution, despite pushing their lobbyists hard to get Congress to enact opposing laws, and suggesting that prioritizing network traffic is required to develop newer products, such as high-definition video. Meanwhile, the FCC continues to encourage mergers while prices for telecommunications products continue to rise at rates manyfold higher than inflation, despite price gouging provisions enacted in the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
posted by Mr. Six on May 26, 2006 - 13 comments

Internet Freedom Under Fire - Act Now

Internet: Freedom or Privilege? David Isenberg: "Just as Freedom of Speech means that, with very few limitations, nobody has the right to tell somebody else what to say, so should Internet freedom mean that gatekeepers should not control Internet applications or content. This is essential not just as a matter of freedom, but also as a matter of commerce, because the Internet’s success is directly due to its content-blindness. If the United States fails to understand this, U.S. Internet leadership will follow U.S. leadership in agriculture, in steel, in autos, and in consumer electronics to other countries that do."
posted by sswiller on Jan 24, 2006 - 14 comments

Breaking the Speed Limit

Scientists speed up light, causing it to travel faster than "c," the long recognized speed of light in a vacuum. This, like the experiments conducted several years ago to briefly stop light, are hard for the average person to comprehend, but have important applications in fiberoptic communications.
posted by awesomebrad on Aug 23, 2005 - 38 comments

New FCC head seeks to quietly gut independent DSL carriers.

New FCC head seeks to quietly gut independent DSL carriers. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has circulated a proposal that would eliminate the requirement of phone companies to lease their phone lines to competitors, effectively cutting the throat of independent DSL carriers such as Covad, and their customers, such as EarthLink, AT&T, Concentric, AOL, and Sprint. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 gave Baby Bells the right to sell long distance service in exchange for opening up their networks to the public. Now the Bush administration are poised to undo this, killing a multibillion dollar industry, and giving monopoly control back to the Baby Bells, who aren't quite so small anymore, thanks to corporate mergers. If you like having all the broadband choices you currently have, you may want to contact the FCC commissioners, toot sweet.
posted by insomnia_lj on Jul 26, 2005 - 38 comments

MenuVista

MenuVista (Quicktime req), the thesis project of ITP (NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program) student Chia-wei Chang, gives restaurant customers a preview of their orders by projecting photos of the meal on their empty plates. The system also allows them to modify their orders by using a projected menu with a touch sensor interface which includes menu text and food images. More ITP thesis presentations from last week »
posted by jenleigh on May 9, 2005 - 6 comments

Telecomms Index

Sam's Telecomms Index.
posted by hama7 on Jul 29, 2004 - 1 comment

Gub'mint... waste money? Come now.

Over $200 million collected for future enhanced-911 service. But the 911 of the future, which was supposed to be in place now, hasn't actually arrived. The problem? The money, collected via a mandatory cell-phone tax, wasn't actually used for setting up an e911 system at all. - Wired.
posted by cinematique on Apr 18, 2003 - 8 comments

Remembering the crazy dot-com boom.

Remembering the crazy dot-com boom. In November of 1998, a small California Internet provider named AvTel Communications announced they were providing local ADSL service to the community via a typical (and innocent, at least so it was thought) corporate press release. Business wires spin completely mis-interpret the release, CNBC talks about it on air, then clueless investors hoping to get rich quick start throwing money at the stock causing the stock price to rise an amazing 1284% in one day before trading is suspended. After several class-action suits, and a company re-name, the company managed to survive the hoopla, but only barely. Now they're being de-listed like yesterday's trash. Did something like this ever happen to a company for whom you worked? Let's share! (Yeah, I worked there then.)
posted by WolfDaddy on Sep 12, 2002 - 10 comments

Interesting article about ways in which telecom companies can take what they have and make it more profitable as opposed to pie in the sky broadband/lifestyle schemes. Some cool ideas.
posted by zeoslap on Aug 27, 2002 - 7 comments

Qwest Finds Buyer For QwestDex

Qwest Finds Buyer For QwestDex The buyer is a group led by the Carlyle Group and Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe. The question is: Why does an investment firm that primarily deals in Defense Contracts want a phone directory company? Tell me I'm just being paranoid.
posted by bas67 on Aug 20, 2002 - 7 comments

Buy SBC now.

Buy SBC now. "In order to make sure the economy grows, we must bring the promise of broadband technology to millions of Americans,'' Bush said at a White House-sponsored economic forum. "Government at all levels should remove hurdles that slow the pace of deployment.''

Is the USTA happy about this type of talk? You bet. They would like to see passage of S.2430, also known as the Broadband Regulatory Parity Act of 2002. Others wouldn't. Some have studies (300K PDF) that argue local phone companies are slowing the growth of DSL for anti-competitive reasons.

Also, notice how the President said "bring the promise of broadband technology to millions of Americans", not all Americans? Might have something to do with the fact that rural DSL is really, really expensive to provide.
posted by dglynn on Aug 14, 2002 - 14 comments

What's So American About American Culture?

What's So American About American Culture? Richard Pells launches a spirited attack on the notion that American culture dominates the world, noting how almost all its sources are European, which would explain why "American culture has never felt all that foreign to foreigners". As a sideline and a Sunday provocation, I suggest to you that, apart from medicine, computers and entertainment(movies; music; web sites) Europe is either as good as America(art; literature; architecture; universities; publishing)or a damn sight better: telecommunications; TV; cars; pharmaceutical products; food and drink; luxury goods...In fact, America and Europe complement each other quite perfectly. Though we win in the end, of course, because we're much better at appreciating this symbiosis. If only because know and enjoy more American stuff than you Americans do European stuff. So there!
posted by MiguelCardoso on May 12, 2002 - 61 comments

Your Phone Number Touch Tones Are Copyrighted!

Your Phone Number Touch Tones Are Copyrighted! Not to mention the touch tone sequence to just about any other phone number you'll ever dial. You've got two choices: a) Pay a licensing fee, or b) throw all your telecommunications equipment away.

Brilliant. Wish I had thought of it.
posted by tpoh.org on Oct 4, 2001 - 15 comments


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