FROM Timothy Lee
The ransomware outbreak continues The so-called “ransomware outbreak” continues. Starting last Friday, Windows computers subject to the latest "ransomware outbreak" displayed an ominous message. It said, "Your important files are encrypted... nobody can recover [them] without our decryption service… and you need to pay." Timothy B. Lee, who writes for Vox, says particularly vulnerable are older institutions running older versions of Windows as well as smaller organizations that don’t have the IT capabilities to keep their software updated.
Round One Goes to Net Neutrality After massive lobbying, and four million public comments, the Federal Communications Commission has endorsed "net neutrality." That means your cable or telephone company has to treat all Internet traffic the same way. It can't deliver some content at a higher speed for a higher price. Content providers — from Netflix and Facebook to teenage bloggers — are big winners. Comcast and Verizon are among the losers. Speaking of yesterday's ruling , which reclassified ISP's for regulation as public utilities, Commission Chair Tom Wheeler called the Internet, "the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet" simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field." But the FCC was divided between three Democrats and two Republicans, and the battles are far from over in the courts and in Congress.
Silicon Valley and Regulation New apps pop up nearly every day that aim to make our lives easier. Uber, AirBnB and now an app that shows you open parking spots in San Francisco... for a price. But that’s where the government comes in, and the tension between the free market Silicon Valley developers and government regulators is coming to a head.
The FCC Green-lights Paid Priority on the Internet The issue of "net neutrality" brought protesters to today's meeting of the Federal Communications Commission. By a vote of 3 to 2, the Commission moved forward anyway with a proposal for "paid priority." FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler cautioned , "The potential for there to be some kind of ‘fast lane' available to only a few has many people concerned. Personally, I don't like the idea of dividing the Internet into 'haves' and 'have-nots,' and I will work to see that that does not happen." Timothy Lee is senior editor of the online news site Vox , where he covers technology.
Does 'Net Neutrality' Have a Future? "Net neutrality" is the principle that Internet service providers, including Verizon and AT&T, treat all web traffic on their networks equally. But the providers say they've invested billions in the "pipes" that keep electronic information flowing, and they've sued to end "net neutrality." A virtual crowd of corporate lobbyists, financial analysts, and consumer advocates has been waiting since early September for the federal appeals court in Washington, DC to issue a decision. If established players, like Google and Facebook can pay to get in an Internet fast lane, would that freeze out small start-ups that might provide competition? The case has implications for everybody who goes online. We hear about a pending court decision that could make a big difference to online users now and in the future.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?