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November 2011, Week 3

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Big Internet Service Providers dwell in tax-break
heaven, according to corporate tax study
AUTHOR: Matthew Lasar
Ars Technica
11/9/11 
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/11/big-isps-dwell-in-tax-break-heaven-according-to-corporate-tax-study.ars

A scathing new report on corporate tax breaks is out,
and telcos and media companies figure prominently. Some
280 corporations paid, on average, far less than the 35
percent corporate income tax tithe.  AT&T, Comcast, and
Verizon Communications are among the notable, and the
last company places number 19 in the survey's list
titled "30 Corporations Paying No Total Income Tax in
2008-2010."

===

FCC BREAKS LOW-INCOME BARRIERS TO BROADBAND ADOPTION
SOURCE: Federal Communications Commission 
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db1109/DOC-310924A1.pdf

In an unprecedented development brokered by the FCC,
leading Internet service providers, technology companies
and nonprofits have made a multi-billion dollar in-kind
commitment to bring broadband Internet, PCs, and digital
literacy training to millions of families, at zero cost
to tax payers.  Participating companies include: Bend
Cable, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter,
Comcast (via Internet Essentials), Cox Communications,
Eagle Communications, GCI, Insight, Mediacom,
Midcontinent, Sjoberg's Cable, Suddenlink, Time Warner
Cable.

=============



TECH INDUSTRY'S  DIVERSITY PROBLEM 
AUTHOR: Julianne Pepitone
CNN Money
11/10/11 
http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/09/technology/diversity_college_degrees/index.htm

"The pipeline problem." That's the catch-all phrase that
keeps coming up in discussions of diversity in Silicon
Valley. Tech companies say they'd love to hire more
women and minorities, but that too few qualified
candidates are graduating with technical degrees.
According to the Computing Research Association (CRA),
the 2010 undergrad class was more than 66% white and
nearly 15% Asian, a group which includes those of Indian
descent. Hispanics accounted for 5.6% of the year's
computer and information science undergrad degrees, and
blacks obtained 4.2% of them.: Only 13.4% of last year's
undergrad class were women. According to The National
Center for Women and Information Technology, the trend
is getting worse -in 1985, women earned 37% of computing
and information science degrees. By 2009, that figure
had fallen to 18%.

==============

PBS's Diversity Problem
http://www.pbs.org/ombudsman/2011/08/the_mailbag_the_faces_that_are_on_and_off_pbs_1.html

PBS viewers writing to ombudsman Michael Getler want
more diversity ("I am tired of giving money to a station
that simply refuses to represent any race except for the
white race") and Bill Moyers ("How interesting that you
have room for endless showings of Antique Roadshow ...
but no time slot for Bill Moyers!") on the air.

An example -- "I am sixty-five years old and I am tired
of giving money to a station that simply refuses to
represent any race except for the white race. Where are
the African-Americans on "Create," where are the
African-American master plumbers, construction workers,
etc on "This Old House?" I am not talking about
specials, I am talking about African Americans with
shows on PBS. We are post Oprah and PBS is still
representing America as though we are in 1950. There are
African American plumbers, people who know how to put in
furnaces, own businesses. Shame on you. Until PBS
realizes that it is time to represent the real America,
I will not donate!"

========

Internet Use Down on the Farm on the Rise, but Still
Slow Going

By GOSIA WOZNIACKA
Associated Press
From the Associated Press via the MAIN homepage,
August 26, 2011
http://www.main.nc.us

The number of farmers with Internet access on a variety
of digital gadgets has dramatically increased, changing
the way farms do business. Farmers say they're
increasingly using the Net to speed up their work flow,
improve their farming techniques, market their crops,
connect with customers and retailers, and fulfill a
variety of regulatory requirements.

=========================

Court makes it official: You have no privacy online
AUTHOR: Mathew Ingram
SOURCE: GigaOm
11/14/11
http://gigaom.com/2011/11/14/court-makes-it-official-you-have-no-privacy-online/ 

A recent U.S. court decision involving the Twitter
accounts of several WikiLeaks supporters shows when push
comes to shove, users of social networks and most online
services have virtually no expectation of privacy
whatsoever - at least, not if the entity trying to get
access to their personal information happens to be the
U.S. Justice Department.

The case in question involves the Justice Department's
repeated attempts to get personal account data from
three WikiLeaks supporters, in order to bolster its
espionage case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
for the release of diplomatic cables last year that were
stolen (allegedly) by Army intelligence agent and
whistleblower Bradley Manning.

What's particularly disturbing about this case is that
the government didn't even have to file for a
traditional warrant to get access to the personal data
- it used a special order called a 2703(d), and its
attempt to get that information might never have even
come to light if Twitter hadn't fought the order and won
the right to alert the three people who were the targets
of the investigation.

====================

Rushdie Runs Afoul of Web's Real-Name Police
By SOMINI SENGUPTA
NY Times 
11-15-11
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/technology/hiding-or-using-your-name-online-and-who-decides.html

The writer Salman Rushdie hit Twitter on Monday morning
with a flurry of exasperated posts. Facebook, he wrote,
had deactivated his account, demanded proof of identity
and then turned him into Ahmed Rushdie, which is how he
is identified on his passport. He had never used his
first name, Ahmed, he pointed out; the world knows him
as Salman.

Mr. Rushdie's predicament points to one of the trickiest
notions about life in the digital age: Are you who you
say you are online? Whose business is it - and why?

====================

Facebook Confirms It Tracks You After You Leave
By BYRON ACOHIDO
USA TODAY
Nov. 16, 2011
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/facebook-tracking-scrutiny/story?id=14960711#.TsVQXMPNltM

Facebook officials are now acknowledging that the social
media giant has been able to create a running log of the
web pages that each of its 800 million or so members has
visited during the previous 90 days. Facebook also keeps
close track of where millions more non-members of the
social network go on the Web, after they visit a
Facebook web page for any reason.

Facebook's efforts to track the browsing habits of
visitors to its site have made the company a player in
the "Do Not Track" debate, which focuses on whether
consumers should be able to prevent websites from
tracking the consumers' online activity.

===============================

A 1st Amendment victory for video
By Robin Harris
ZDNet
August 29, 2011
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/a-1st-amendment-victory-for-video/1518

A Federal court has ruled that recording public
officials, including police, performing their public
duties is a protected 1st Amendment activity.

Citizen Simon Glik was walking in nation's oldest public
park, the Boston Common, and stopped to video 3 police
officers arresting a young man. Glik was charged with
wiretapping, disturbing the peace and aiding the escape
of a prisoner.

The last was so silly the state dismissed the charge. In
summary, though not unqualified, the court affirmed a
citizen's right to film government officials, including
law enforcement officers, in the discharge of their
duties in a public space is a basic, vital, and well-
established liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment.

==================================

U.S. Moves to Block Merger Between AT&T and T-Mobile
By EDWARD WYATT
NY Times
August 31, 2011
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/technology/us-moves-to-block-merger-between-att-and-t-mobile.html


WASHINGTON - The Justice Department filed a lawsuit to
block the proposed $39 billion merger between AT&T and
T-Mobile USA on antitrust grounds, saying a deal between
the nation's second- and fourth-largest wireless phone
carriers would substantially lessen competition, result
in higher prices and give consumers fewer innovative
products.

The lawsuit sets up the most substantial antitrust
battle since the election of President Obama, who
campaigned with promises to revitalize the Justice
Department's policing of mergers and their effects on
competition, which he said declined significantly under
the Bush administration.

=========================

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