Columbia School of Journalism: Getting Media Right: A Call to Action

Getting Media Right: A Call to Action” was hosted by the Columbia School of Journalism on December 2, 2010. It opened with an introduction by Bill Moyers and a clip from his 2003 show on media consolidation.

Then FCC Commissioner Copps addressed the session (the video is archived at the link above). He opened by thanking the Columbia School of Journalism and the “pathbreaking research of the New America Foundation.”

Copps pointed out that Reagan’s FCC Commission chief had called the television “a toaster with pictures” by which he meant to say that it did not need to be regulated. Most of our current problems can be traced back to the Reagan administration. As Copps has noted in an article in The Nation, Reagan’s FCC “went on to dismantle nearly every public-interest obligation on the books and to enable a tsunami of media consolidation. The results have been disastrous — reporters fired, newsrooms shuttered and our civic dialogue dumbed down to fact-free opinions and ideological bloviation.”

Copps noted that the urge to be a monopoly appears again with every new technology. In order to prevent the re-monopolization of the information industies, Copps proposed:

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Wikileaks News

With even the White House trying to block Wikileaks and conspiracy theorists saying that the CIA orchestrated false rape charges that have already been dropped once, you may be wondering where to get your wikileaks news.

Try WL Central.

Note: by posting this leak, I’m told I have lost the ability to ever work for the government. This is a poorly managed and heavy handed intimidation campaign.

Susan Crawford Says That The US Could Become a Backwater In Broadband

Susan Crawford spoke today at NYU at Evan Korth’s Computers and Society class. I was thrilled to attend. She is an enthusiastic speaker, blogger, and activist. A professor at Cardozo Law School, she founded OneWebDay and was recently Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy. The video is available here.

She warned that key decisions being made about the internet now could harm the U.S. forever.

Crawford opened her speech by recommending the new movie “Inside Job,” which is about the banking industry and about how regulators failed to stop it from taking risks that caused the current recession.

“There is a constant flow of people, a revolving door back and forth between the industry and the regulators. The banking industry, therefore, places key people in DC, as fundraisers as well as regulators.”

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ISOC-NY: Building Tomorrow’s Broadband, Part II: All Infrastructure Projects Are Corrupt

(For Part I of this report, see: ISOC-NY: Building Tomorrow’s Broadband, Part I: The Networks)

While everyone in theory understands that the internet brings wealth and business and tax dollars, far too many governments are trying to tax it in ways that could kill it in their area. Recently, the state of North Carolina lost a lawsuit in which it tried to collect taxes on sales to North Carolina residents by Amazon, which is based in Washington state.

Newby’s Allied Fiber avoids very serious government regulation by providing only the core of the network and not trying to build the last mile. Few appreciate the scale of regulation in the last mile. Donny Smith of Jaguar Communications in Minnesota has a fiber network covering almost 10,000 square miles (a 100 mile by 100 mile area). He told me a few years ago that he had to deal with:

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ISOC-NY: Building Tomorrow’s Broadband, Part I: The Networks

A meeting of the Internet Society of New York (ISOC-NY), Building Tomorrrow’s Broadband, three speakers presented alternative methods for building the broadband that America needs.

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The Public Good: Fred Benenson Explains the Rights and Wrongs of Copyright

Fred Benenson, currently of Kickstarter, presented the history and current state of copyright law to Evan Korth’s Computers & Society class at NYU. I was lucky to be allowed to sit in.

Prof. Korth noted that Benenson started the Free Culture chapter at NYU. After college and an ITP masters degree, Benenson joined Creative Commons.

“Copyright law is a balancing act,” Benenson said. “It balances fair use and the rights of the public with the private rights granted to copyright holders.”

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Interop NY: Strategies to Reduce PC Energy Consumption

Doug Washburn of Forrester Research brought together two opposing viewpoints concerning the best way to reduce energy consumption in a large enterprise and the result was an interesting session with constant back and forth arguments that remained polite and on topic.

Sumir Karayi, CEO of 1E, runs a company that makes software that will turn off your PCs when they’re not in use. He says it’s easy to implement and delivers rapid ROI, always within 12 months and sometimes even within 6 months.

Jeff McNaught, chief marketing and strategy officer for Wyse, says he co-invented the thin client. His company helps organizations remove PCs from the office, replacing them with terminals accessing a cloud computing suite. The system takes longer to implement but can deliver larger savings.

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The Internet’s Three Principles

This is the text of the speech I gave at NYU on OneWebDay. I want to thank OneWebDay and the Internet Society of New York for their support. Streaming video includes the Q&A session, which was excellent. The Q&A starts at 25:28.

Thanks to Joly MacFie for the video.

Text of the speech:


Today, on OneWebDay, we want to urge the FCC to assert its right to protect the three key principles of the internet, principles that have made it friendly to innovation and competition. We want the FCC to insist that the internet be open, that computers be connectible from end to end without interference, and that internet management be open and transparent — not secret and in the service of the companies who pay for it to be the way it is.

OneWebDay was founded in 2006 to celebrate the internet, a uniquely organized piece of infrastructure that has become critical to all of our lives, directly for those who use it, and indirectly for those who use the services that now depend on it, such as education and banking and healthcare.

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Preparing a Small Business Wireless Internet Service Provider for Grant Writing

Big businesses that depend on government money, such the phone company, have large and well paid staff to handle the quirks of government rules, changes, and deadlines — but small businesses do not.

Grant opportunities are all too often funded late, and the rules fixed close to the deadline for grant submission. This puts small business at a disadvantage. Yes, you have a few weeks to get the grant written, but you also have a small business to run, and unlike Verizon, you don’t have $400 per hour lawyers and accountants to do the work for you.

So it makes sense to prepare for the grant writing process before the rules are fixed.

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Verizon DBIR Report Has Another Cash Prize

Ryan Naraine reports that the Verizon DBIR report again has some nifty clues.

I had a lot of fun with last year’s.

This year’s report is here. And, oh yes, it will also contain fascinating information as last year’s did.