A dispute between Netflix and Internet service providers about choppy video streams has drawn the attention of the Federal Communications Commission, which said today it will investigate the problem. "Consumers pay their ISP and they pay content providers like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon. Then when they don't get good service they wonder what is going on," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said today in a statement. "I have experienced these problems myself and know how exasperating it can be." Wheeler adds that the FCC is "looking under the hood," at the new interconnection agreements between Netflix and ISPs, including Comcast and …
Facebook's decision to expand its behavioral targeting program has already drawn a rebuke from one lawmaker, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who says the move "raises a major privacy red flag" for teens. "It doesn't matter where teen users are online, Facebook will create detailed digital dossiers without their permission based on what they click," Markey says in a statement. "Now more than ever, we need to put rules on the books to ensure teens are protected from being tracked."
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler didn't endear himself to many consumer advocates with his recent proposal to allow companies to create online fast lanes. But Wheeler is backing at least one idea that groups fighting to improve broadband access are likely to support: He wants to end restrictions on municipal networks.
Verizon's legal threats aren't stopping Netflix from continuing to cast blame on the telecom for poor quality streams. Last week, the online video company told Verizon users who were waiting for their videos to buffer that the network was "crowded." Verizon didn't appreciate the message, which it called a "PR stunt."
The Interactive Advertising Bureau today launched an anti-malware initiative, which aims to rid the online industry of clicks generated by robots instead of consumers. "No economic model in which a significant percentage of the goods sold are fraudulent is sustainable," IAB general counsel Mike Zaneis says in a blog post. "We must identify bot-generated, non-human traffic and remove it from the supply chain."
A recent deal between Netflix and Verizon, which was supposed to ensure smooth delivery of online video, doesn't seem to be working out that well. Earlier this week, the online video company cast blame for poor-quality streams on Internet service providers. Verizon fired back with a blog post accusing Netflix of engaging in a "PR stunt." The contested issue at the heart of the dispute is how Verizon handles traffic from the middlemen -- companies like Level 3 and Cogent -- used by Netflix and other video providers.
A proposed bill requiring companies to get people's permission before collecting information about their physical whereabouts drew support this week from the Federal Trade Commission. Jessica Rich, head of the FTC's consumer protection bureau, testified at a Senate hearing on Wednesday that the agency supports the goals of the Location Privacy Protection Act, which was introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)
The Commerce Department said today that it's seeking public input on some of the concerns raised by the White House's highly publicized Big Data report. Specifically, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is seeking opinions on how to reconcile privacy principles with the benefits of data collection.
Sixteen months ago, a group of Internet service providers, in partnership with the record industry, launched a new program aimed at curbing piracy on peer-to-peer networks. The "Copyright Alert System," better known as the "six strikes" program, calls for ISPs to penalize suspected infringers with a series of escalating sanctions, ranging from warning letters to potential throttling. The record industry now boasts in a new report that the initiative has been so successful that it should serve as a model for future collaborations between Hollywood and a host of Internet "intermediaries," including ad networks.
The Federal Communications Commission reportedly is considering redefining broadband Internet service as speeds of at least 10 Mbps downstream, up from the current 4 Mbps. The potential change appears driven largely by the explosive growth of streaming video, particularly high-quality video, which requires speedy transmission. Of course, a change in definition won't in itself change the speed that Internet service providers offer their subscribers. But it could still have an impact on how the FCC and lawmakers treat ISPs.
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