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FCC chief plans to ditch net neutrality rules

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The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission unveiled plans on Tuesday to repeal landmark 2015 rules that prohibited internet service providers from impeding consumer access to web content in a move that promises to recast the digital landscape.

I don’t understand how they think this is a good thing.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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mxm23
19 hours ago
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It’s simple, Jim. They were paid off by the telcos.
San Rafael, CA
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tingham
16 hours ago
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I love, too, that it's a Republican plan, to disallow States from establishing their own rules.

Seems pretty federalist to me, ymmv.
Cary, NC

Paul Kafasis’s Apple Dumbwatch

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Paul Kafasis was on pace to hit an ambitious activity goal for October (3,347 exercise minutes for the month). But then he updated to iOS 11.1 on his phone and WatchOS 4.1 on his watch yesterday, and, somehow, the numbers add up differently. Very strange bug — computers are usually pretty good at math.

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mxm23
20 days ago
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Definitely read the linked article: “It required me to get moving even more than I already was, but the weather looked nice, it was good for my health, and THE ANGRY WATCH GOD MUST BE APPEASED.”
San Rafael, CA
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1 public comment
tingham
20 days ago
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"Counting is difficult" ¬ Newsblur
Cary, NC
MotherHydra
20 days ago
Made me laugh audibly. Well played Sir.
samuel
20 days ago
Nailed it.

State Borders

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A schism between the pro-panhandle and anti-panhandle factions eventually led to war, but both sides spent too much time working on their flag designs to actually do much fighting.
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mxm23
35 days ago
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Give Point Roberts, WA to Canada too. Unconnected peninsula.
San Rafael, CA
wreichard
39 days ago
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New Mexico's bootheel is not proportionate.
Earth
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daanzu_alt_text_bot
13 days ago
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A schism between the pro-panhandle and anti-panhandle factions eventually led to war, but both sides spent too much time working on their flag designs to actually do much fighting.
satadru
37 days ago
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Let's be honest, that Alaskan border would make a whole lot more sense if we had just taken 54° 40' or Fight in another direction.
New York, NY
Covarr
39 days ago
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Something needs to be done about that giant canadian gap between maine and minnesota.
Moses Lake, WA
stefanetal
39 days ago
3 wars and that gap is still there. And we never got to use War Plan Red, even once the UK stopped plans for this eventuality. And at least one of my ancestors faught on the Canadian side against the Fenian raids. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenian_raids https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Plan_Red

‘KRACK’ WPA2 Wi-Fi Exploit Already Fixed in iOS, MacOS, tvOS, and WatchOS Betas

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Good roundup by Jerry Hildenbrand for iMore on the severe Wi-Fi exploit that was announced today.

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mxm23
35 days ago
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What about discontinued AirPort base stations? Do they need the fix?
San Rafael, CA
satadru
34 days ago
The problems are primarily on the client side.
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Nikon Selects 32 Pro Photographers for Promotion: None Are Women

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Jason Vinson, writing for Fstoppers:

The only problem with such an amazing monster of a camera is that Nikon thinks it’s too much for women to handle.

I know what you are thinking. No way Nikon would ever make such a claim. It seems absurd that only men could handle the D850. I myself can think of a large number of women photographers that would be more than capable of producing spectacular images with any camera, let alone this camera. But when Nikon created a team of 32 professional photographers to be the faces of the Nikon D850, they didn’t choose a single woman photographer.

This is just astonishingly bad. It would be worth complaining about if there were only a handful of women in the group, but zero? How did that ever get approved?

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mxm23
66 days ago
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Nikon is a Japanese company.
San Rafael, CA
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On the Equifax Data Breach

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Last Thursday, Equifax reported a data breach that affects 143 million US customers, about 44% of the population. It's an extremely serious breach; hackers got access to full names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver's license numbers -- exactly the sort of information criminals can use to impersonate victims to banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, and other businesses vulnerable to fraud.

Many sites posted guides to protecting yourself now that it's happened. But if you want to prevent this kind of thing from happening again, your only solution is government regulation (as unlikely as that may be at the moment).

The market can't fix this. Markets work because buyers choose between sellers, and sellers compete for buyers. In case you didn't notice, you're not Equifax's customer. You're its product.

This happened because your personal information is valuable, and Equifax is in the business of selling it. The company is much more than a credit reporting agency. It's a data broker. It collects information about all of us, analyzes it all, and then sells those insights.

Its customers are people and organizations who want to buy information: banks looking to lend you money, landlords deciding whether to rent you an apartment, employers deciding whether to hire you, companies trying to figure out whether you'd be a profitable customer -- everyone who wants to sell you something, even governments.

It's not just Equifax. It might be one of the biggest, but there are 2,500 to 4,000 other data brokers that are collecting, storing, and selling information about you -- almost all of them companies you've never heard of and have no business relationship with.

Surveillance capitalism fuels the Internet, and sometimes it seems that everyone is spying on you. You're secretly tracked on pretty much every commercial website you visit. Facebook is the largest surveillance organization mankind has created; collecting data on you is its business model. I don't have a Facebook account, but Facebook still keeps a surprisingly complete dossier on me and my associations -- just in case I ever decide to join.

I also don't have a Gmail account, because I don't want Google storing my e-mail. But my guess is that it has about half of my e-mail anyway, because so many people I correspond with have accounts. I can't even avoid it by choosing not to write to gmail.com addresses, because I have no way of knowing if newperson@company.com is hosted at Gmail.

And again, many companies that track us do so in secret, without our knowledge and consent. And most of the time we can't opt out. Sometimes it's a company like Equifax that doesn't answer to us in any way. Sometimes it's a company like Facebook, which is effectively a monopoly because of its sheer size. And sometimes it's our cell phone provider. All of them have decided to track us and not compete by offering consumers privacy. Sure, you can tell people not to have an e-mail account or cell phone, but that's not a realistic option for most people living in 21st-century America.

The companies that collect and sell our data don't need to keep it secure in order to maintain their market share. They don't have to answer to us, their products. They know it's more profitable to save money on security and weather the occasional bout of bad press after a data loss. Yes, we are the ones who suffer when criminals get our data, or when our private information is exposed to the public, but ultimately why should Equifax care?

Yes, it's a huge black eye for the company -- this week. Soon, another company will have suffered a massive data breach and few will remember Equifax's problem. Does anyone remember last year when Yahoo admitted that it exposed personal information of a billion users in 2013 and another half billion in 2014?

This market failure isn't unique to data security. There is little improvement in safety and security in any industry until government steps in. Think of food, pharmaceuticals, cars, airplanes, restaurants, workplace conditions, and flame-retardant pajamas.

Market failures like this can only be solved through government intervention. By regulating the security practices of companies that store our data, and fining companies that fail to comply, governments can raise the cost of insecurity high enough that security becomes a cheaper alternative. They can do the same thing by giving individuals affected by these breaches the ability to sue successfully, citing the exposure of personal data itself as a harm.

By all means, take the recommended steps to protect yourself from identity theft in the wake of Equifax's data breach, but recognize that these steps are only effective on the margins, and that most data security is out of your hands. Perhaps the Federal Trade Commission will get involved, but without evidence of "unfair and deceptive trade practices," there's nothing it can do. Perhaps there will be a class-action lawsuit, but because it's hard to draw a line between any of the many data breaches you're subjected to and a specific harm, courts are not likely to side with you.

If you don't like how careless Equifax was with your data, don't waste your breath complaining to Equifax. Complain to your government.

This essay previously appeared on CNN.com.

EDITED TO ADD: In the early hours of this breach, I did a radio interview where I minimized the ramifications of this. I didn't know the full extent of the breach, and thought it was just another in an endless string of breaches. I wondered why the press was covering this one and not many of the others. I don't remember which radio show interviewed me. I kind of hope it didn't air.

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mxm23
69 days ago
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How can I force Equifax to delete all their data that they have about me?
San Rafael, CA
CrystalDave
69 days ago
Lobby Congress to require an opt-out, I'd imagine. As the article notes, we're products rather than customers. Something like the EU's General Data Protection Directive should do the trick
zippy72
66 days ago
I don't think the EU's GDPR will - they will just roll consent into the terms and conditions of the financial products, which is what they currently do now.
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