Welcome to the new internet. 

It is very possible, after today, for the internet to be separated into tiers, like cable, forcing you to pay extra to access certain sites. The world wide web won’t be so world wide if you can’t access certain sites because you don’t want to pay an extra $50 to access it. 

Paying attention now? 

Edit: Be aware that this is what COULD happen, not what is currently happening. It’s a mock up of what could come soon in the future. 

Nature vs. The Internet: How Google Protects Its Undersea Cables from Shark Attacks

Footage from a recent survey of Google’s undersea fiber-optic cables revealed that shark bites are a very real threat to global telecommunications. Indeed, a Google spokesperson noted that the company actually coats its cables in a Kevlar-like material to protect against sharks. Interestingly, sharks seem to have more of a taste for fiber-optic cables than the old-fashioned coaxial copper wires. A report from the United Nations Environment Programme and International Cable Protection Committee Ltd. speculates that sharks may be "encouraged by electromagnetic fields from a suspended cable strumming in currents." In other words, sharks, which can sense electromagnetic fields, may mistake the cables for live prey. The phenomenon highlights the ways in which technology and nature can intersect, and the strange new interconnections between the energy of the natural world and our man-made grids. 

WiFi Drones Stand Up Network During Emergencies

by Michael Keller

Some of the first responders to enter future disaster zones might be tiny drones equipped with transmitters designed to reestablish WiFi and cellphone communications. 

University of North Texas electrical engineers have unveiled prototypes of the multirotor aerial vehicles that they are designing to fly in pairs after the network goes down. One drone would land in the area—perhaps on a rooftop—and the second would be placed in line of sight of the first up to almost two miles away. 

See the video and read more below.

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Microsoft appoints first female country manager in Ghana

Microsoft which is expanding its offerings in Ghana has announced the appointment of Otema Yirenkyi to head up its Ghanaian business

Microsoft has announced the appointment of Otema Yirenkyi as the company’s first country manager for Ghana.

As the company shifts its global focus to a devices and services offering, Ghana remains one of Microsoft’s critical investment markets in Africa.

Yirenkyi, a native Ghanaian with over 14 years of ICT experience, will take the helm of its increasing investment in the country. 

Yirenkyi is Microsoft’s first female country manager on the African continent and holds a BSc degree in Industrial and Labour Relations, as well as an MA in Development Studies.

“We have seen tremendous growth in broadband availability and internet penetration in Ghana, as well as the introduction of newer devices such as tablets and smartphones, which have fundamentally changed how consumers experience and use technology,” said Yirenkyi.

Ghana’s current mobile penetration rate is at an estimated 112 percent, after the country hit the 100 percent mark at the end of 2012.


The laying of an undersea telegraph cable, courtesy of a silent 1927 movie called “A Film Lesson in General Science: Communication.” 

The first working undersea telegraph cables were laid across the English Channel in 1851. The first successful transatlantic cable was laid from 1854 to 1858. When it was complete it lowered the time to send a message from Europe to North America from a typical ship’s crossing of 10 days to a matter of minutes. Though one of the first messages sent, which contained 99 words, took almost 18 hours to send. The initial transmission speed across the wire was about two minutes per character.

From the Prelinger Archives.

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Telecommunications advance allows signals to send and receive on the same band at the same time

Researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have achieved a milestone in modern wireless and cellular telecommunications, creating a radically smaller, more efficient radio wave circulator that could be used in cellphones and other wireless devices, as reported in the latest issue of Nature Physics.

The new circulator has the potential to double the useful bandwidth in wireless communications by enabling full-duplex functionality, meaning devices can transmit and receive signals on the same frequency band at the same time.


President Obama today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify broadband service as a utility and to impose rules that prevent Internet service providers from blocking and throttling traffic or prioritizing Web services in exchange for payment. Obama also said utility rules should apply both to home Internet service and mobile broadband.

In short, Obama is siding with consumer advocates who have lobbied for months in favor of reclassification while the telecommunications industry lobbied against it.

In a plan released today, Obama said, “The time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance [as the traditional telephone system] and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act—while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone—not just one or two companies.”


Obama: Treat broadband—including mobile—as a utility | Ars Technica

His proposed rules are as follows:

  • No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player—not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP—gets a fair shot at your business.
  • No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
  • Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
  • No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

Canada’s federal police continued to snoop on Canadians’ cellphones and computers for at least a month after the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional, new documents prove.

Financial records obtained by VICE through the Access to Information Act show the extent to which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) used federal legislation to obtain information on Canadians from all major phone companies without warrants. Instead, police paid small fees for each of these requests.

The Supreme Court ruled that practise illegal in its June 13, 2014, decision on R. v. Spencer, writing that police need judicial authorization before making those sorts of requests.

However, the records show Telus and Bell both continued to fork over Canadians’ information even after that decision was handed down. […]

VICE’s analysis of the records show that the RCMP paid over $1.6 million to Canada’s cellphone companies since 2010 in order to skirt the normal process of having these requests approved by a judge.

The documents only deal with the RCMP, which is primarily tasked with federal investigations like child pornography and terrorism, but also do basic criminal investigations in many towns and cities. The documents do not include data from provincial police forces, who likely made the bulk of these Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) requests. Nor do they include the spy agencies Canadian Security Intelligence Service or Communications Security Establishment Canada, or the Canada Revenue Agency, which have also been known to use the process.

Spokespeople for both the telecommunications companies and the government deny that any sensitive information was being handed over through this process. Law enforcement often refers to the information provided as “tombstone” or “phonebook” information—usually a name, address, and phone number. All law enforcement needs to show the company in order to access this information is an IP address.

However, previous VICE investigations revealed that, thanks to the informal process and lack of oversight, police often used these powers to ask for, and obtain, users’ passwords, GPS location, and other other personal information. […]

Telus says that in 2013 it received more than 100,000 requests from law enforcement for subscriber information, and the vast majority appear to have been warrantless requests. Rogers received nearly 175,000 requests, but only half were made without a warrant. […]