TLJ News from September 1-5, 2012

Pew Reports on Consumers' Mobile Phone Privacy Related Practices

9/5. The Pew Research Center released a report [pages in PDF] titled "Privacy and Data Management on Mobile Devices".

This survey based report states that "54% of app users have decided to not install a cell phone app when they discovered how much personal information they would need to share in order to use it". It also states that "30% of app users have uninstalled an app that was already on their cell phone because they learned it was collecting personal information that they didn’t wish to share".

This report also states that "32% of cell owners have cleared the browsing history or search history on their phone". It also states that "19% of cell owners have turned off the location tracking feature on their cell phone because they were concerned that other individuals or companies could access that information".

"Smartphone owners are especially vigilant when it comes to mobile data management. Six in ten smartphone owners say they back up the contents of their phone; half have cleared their phone’s search or browsing history; and one third say they have turned off their phone’s location tracking feature."

The report adds that "Yet despite these steps, smartphone owners are also twice as likely as other cell owners to have experienced someone accessing their phone in a way that made them feel like their privacy had been invaded."

Rep. Eshoo Opposes NCTA CALM Act Petition

9/5. September 4 was the deadline to submit initial comment to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's (NCTA) Petition for Partial Reconsideration [7 pages in PDF] of the FCC's Report and Order [62 pages in PDF] implementing the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM Act, which was S 2847 [LOC | WW] in the 111th Congress.

The NCTA argues that the FCC incorrectly included promotions of television programming within commercial advertisements.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), the sponsor of the House version of this bill, wrote in a letter to the FCC opposing the NCTA petition that "The FCC correctly defined a commercial advertisement".

Rep. Anna EshooRep. Eshoo (at left) added that "The goal of the CALM Act is very simple -- to make the volume of commercials and programming uniform so that spikes in volume do not affect the consumer's ability to control sound. The distinction between promotion materials and other forms of advertising would not be readily apparent to a consumer and thus should not be treated differently in the context of the Commission's rules."

Reply comments are due by September 14. See, notice in the Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 161, August 20, 2012, at Page 50071.

FCC Announces Program and Meeting Regarding Measurement of Mobile Broadband Speeds

9/5. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice (PN) regarding measuring mobile broadband service performance. It announces a meeting, to be held at the FCC, on September 21, from 1:30 to 3:30 PM.

This PN does not request written comments. It states that the purpose of the meeting is to "discuss a new program to measure mobile broadband service performance in the United States".

It elaborates that "The FCC now proposes a program to develop information on mobile broadband service performance in the United States utilizing the collaborative model underlying the success of its fixed broadband program."

See, August 2, 2011, report "Measuring Broad Band America -- August 2011", and story titled "FCC Releases Performance Report on the 13 Largest Wireline BIAS Providers" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,277, August 2, 2011.

See also, July 19, 2012, report titled "A Report on Consumer Wireline Broadband Performance in the U.S.", and story titled "FCC Releases Report on Broadband Performance" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,411, July 25, 2012.

This PN is DA 12-1442 in CG Docket No. 09-158.

Berners-Lee's Web Foundation Ranks Nations on Their Progress and Use of Web

9/5. The World Wide Web Foundation released a report [52 pages in PDF] titled "WebIndex 2012". It contains and discusses an index that rates 61 nations on their "progress and use of the Web".

The Web Foundation also released the index, which lists the 61 nations and their ranks and scores overall and on numerous categories, a document that lists the 85 variables used and their sources, and a short release [2 pages in PDF].

This report states that this index "is a composite measure that summarizes in a single (average) number the impact and value derived from the Web in various countries". (Parentheses in original.)

This report states that the index is based upon measures each nation performance in the categories of web content, social impact, communications infrastructure, economic impact, political impact, institutional infrastructure, and web usage.

The Web Foundation's category most related to government laws and policies is "institutional infrastructure". It includes opinion survey variables that attempt to measure laws regarding censorship ("To what extent does the government impose restrictions on access to websites?"), cyber crime ("To what extent are there laws against cybercrime in your country?"), technology education ("To what extent would you regard your country as being among the world's best in terms of training computer engineers?"), and civil liberties. It also included this question: "Does the government have a specific open data initiative?"

The US ranked 1st in this category, but 2nd overall.

The most quantifiable of the categories in this study is "communications infrastructure". It includes variables regarding pricing of cell phone service, penetration of cell phone service, pricing of broadband service, penetration of broadband service, penetration of computer ownership, and backbone capacity.

The US ranked 10th in this category. Other nations with geographically dispersed populations, including Canada and Australia, ranked even lower. Of all of the categories, the US scored the lowest on "communications infrastructure".

This report is steeped in academic survey research jargon. It also states that it "aims to establish a baseline to help policy-makers, international organizations, NGO’s, investors and interested stakeholders identify some of the areas where investment in the Web could yield substantial positive impacts."

This study identifies lofty aspirations, such as the political and social impact of the web, and then attempts to quantify each nation's attainment of such goals. While some components of this index lend themselves to imperfect quantitative analysis, such as cell phone and broadband penetration, this study also attempts to quantify things that are not only unmeasurable, but even undefinable.

In the end, the Web Foundation used some proxy variables that rate nations on the extent to which they share the Anglo culture, institutions and ideologies of the British and Bostonian elites who designed and conducted this study.

As a consequence, the UK ranks number three in the world. English speaking nations of European origin account for six of the top ten. Scandinavian states and Switzerland round out the top tier.

In contrast, Japan is rated 20th out of 61. Korea is 13th. The People's Republic of China (PRC) is 29th.

The authors are Hania Farhan (Web Foundation) and Debra D’Agostino and Henry Worthington of Oxford Economics.

The Web Foundation was founded by Tim Berners-Lee (KBE) in 2009. Its Board of Directors is half British, including Berners-Lee, Gordon Brown (former UK Prime Minister), Helen Alexander (DBE and Chancellor of the University of Southampton), Nigel Shadbolt (University of Southampton), and Rick Haythornthwaite (Chairman of the UK Network Rail). Another quarter of its Directors are Bostonian.

The top ten nations, according to this index, are Sweden, US, UK, Canada, Finland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, and Ireland..

The second ten are Singapore, Iceland, Korea, France, Israel, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Chile, and Japan.

The nations ranked 21st through 30th are Qatar, Mexico, Italy, Brazil, Poland, Columbia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, PRC, and Tunisia. The nations ranked 31st through 40th are Russia, Philippines, India Indonesia, Jordan, South Africa, Thailand, Argentina, Egypt, Venezuela. The bottom tier is populated by African, South American, and south Asian nations.

The Web Foundation left Taiwan out of the index. Much of Europe is left out too, including Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and most of Baltic, central, eastern and Balkan Europe. Most of the Middle Eastern and Islamic nations are left out, including Saudi Arabia and all but one of the prosperous Gulf states.

The index is based upon the use of 85 variables or indicators. Many of these are not actual quantitative measurements of something, but rather opinion survey results. For example, rather than measuring the amount of news available on the web in each nation, the Web Foundation prepared a questionnaire that included the question, "To what extent is there relevant and useful content in the local official languages of the country in general news -- both local and international?"

This index ranks 61 nations on, among other categories, their "web content". However, content on the web is available to anyone with a web connection in any nation. Moreover, this study does not attempt to assign nationality of location or authorship of web content. Rather, this study merely counts, for numerous types of content, such as Wikipedia articles, the quantity in each language.

English is a widely spoken language, especially among nations with high levels of literacy. This causes English speaking nations to be ranked more highly in this index on web content, than nations with unique languages. New Zealand ranks number four overall. Its web content ranking is boosted, not because lots of people from New Zealand are writing web content, but because lots of other English speaking people in other nations are.

The Web Foundation index for this category ranks the US 1st. The top seven nations in this category are English speaking, or use English as one of two of more official languages (Canada and Singapore). Sweden, which is ranked 1st overall, dropped out of the top ten on the web content category.

The Web Foundation states that this index is a guide for policy makers. But, the coincidence of language usage is not the result of governmental policy.

This index also ranks nations with several censorship related variables. It might be noted that the US and UK, which are ranked 2nd and 3rd overall, adhere to notions of freedom of expression for everything from politics to pulpits to pornography that are not shared across the world. Yet, the index ranks nations according to their adherence to this Anglo America view.

This index also ranks nation on the "political impact" of the web. To do this, the Web Foundation used survey questions, such as, "Do the main political parties campaign through the Web ...?" Hence, nations in which people are bombarded with inane and inaccurate You Tube ads would score highly by this measure.

This question does not measure the impact of the web in non-electoral political activities, such as in informed policy degate, or in organization of protests, such as has occurred in Arab Spring. However, the Web Foundation also asked "To what extent has the Web been used for political mobilisation in your country ..."

Pai Says Governments Should Facilitate Access to ROWs and Poles for Broadband

9/5. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, to examine examine "Google’s investment in high-speed IP infrastructure in Kansas City, better known as Google Fiber".

He also released a statement in which he argued that "It is critically important that states and local communities adopt broadband-friendly policies when it comes to rights-of-way management. When broadband service providers seek to construct next-generation networks, they need to access government-controlled land, poles, and conduits in order to lay fiber and install other infrastructure. Currently, too many providers who try to obtain such access are confronted with daunting sets of federal, state, and/or municipal regulations that often delay and sometimes deter infrastructure investment and broadband deployment."

Paid said that in Kansas City "local governments made a significant upfront commitment to expedite and simplify the permitting process. Indeed, this was one of the main reasons that Google selected Kansas City."

He concluded that "to enable the nationwide deployment of next-generation networks like Google Fiber, we need to eliminate regulatory barriers to innovation and investment at all levels of government." Moreover, the FCC "should work with stakeholders to develop model regulations, guidelines, or best practices for rights-of-way management that facilitate fiber deployment while safeguarding legitimate government interests."

USPTO Releases Patent Fees NPRM

9/5. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released a notice [213 pages in PDF] to be published in the Federal Register (FR) on September 6, 2012, that announces, describes, and recites proposed rules to adjust patent fees, pursuant to Section 10 of the America Invents Act.

This notice states that "In all, the routine fees to obtain a patent (i.e., filing, search, examination, publication, and issue fees) will decrease by 22 percent under this NPRM relative to the current fee schedule. Also, despite increases in some fees, applicants who meet the new micro entity definition will pay less than the amount paid for small entity fees under the current fee schedule for 88 percent of the fees eligible for a discount under section 10(b)." (Parentheses in original.)

Also on September 5, the USPTO published a notice in the FR that announces, describes, recites, and sets the effective date for, its rules changes that adjust certain patent fees for fiscal year 2013 to reflect fluctuations in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The effective date is October 5, 2012. See, FR, Vol. 77, No. 172, September 5, 2012, at Pages 54360-54367.

See, full story.

People and Appointments

9/5. Jacqueline Reses joined Yahoo as EVP for People and Development. She will be responsible for leading human resources and talent acquisition as well as corporate and business development globally. She will report to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. See, Yahoo release.

More News

9/5. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) that announces that the ODVA filed a notification of a change in its membership, pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993, which pertains to limiting antitrust liability of standard setting consortia. See, FR, Vol. 77, No. 172, September 5, 2012, at Page 54612.

9/5. The NIST CSD released its draft SP 800-90 C [50 pages in PDF] titled "Recommendation for Random Bit Generator (RBG) Constructions". The deadline to submit comments is December 5, 2012.

9/5. The NIST CSD released its draft SP 800-90 B [78 pages in PDF] titled "Recommendation for the Entropy Sources Used for Random Bit Generation". The deadline to submit comments is December 5, 2012.

9/5. The NIST CSD released its draft SP 800-40 Rev. 3 [26 pages in PDF] titled "Guide to Enterprise Patch Management Technologies". The deadline to submit comments is October 5, 2012.

9/5. Comcast announced in a release that "Effective October 1, we will introduce a new Internet data usage plan in the Tucson area that increases the data usage allowance for all XFINITY Internet customers subscribing to the Economy tier through the Performance tier from 250 GB to 300 GB. For those customers subscribed to the Blast! tier, the data usage allowance will be increased to 350 GB, while the allowance for Extreme 50 will be increased to 450 GB, and the allowance for Extreme 105 will be increased to 600 GB".

Libin Joins Wilkinson Barker Knauer

9/4. Nancy Libin will join the law firm of Wilkinson Barker Knauer (WBK) on October 1, 2012. She will focus on privacy, data protection and cyber security issues.

She previously worked at the Department of Justice (DOJ) as Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer. Before that, she was a Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) counsel to former Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) (2007-2009). And before that, she worked for the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) (2005-2006).

WBK stated in a release that she worked at the DOJ on cyber security, location privacy, cloud computing, electronic surveillance, data breach, and international data privacy. She also represented the DOJ on the Executive Office of the President's (EOP) National Science and Technology Council's (NSTC) Privacy and Internet Policy Subcommittee.

WBK is a Washington DC based law firm, with an office in Denver, Colorado, that focuses on information and communications technology related areas of law.

Some memoranda co-authored by Libin while employed by the CDT remain online. See, for example:

Libin worked for the Kerry 2004 presidential election campaign. Federal Election Commission (FEC) records disclose that she has contributed to Democratic candidates.

Before that, she worked for the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), an industry self regulatory body. In 2007 it merged with other self regulatory bodies to form the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

People and Appointments

9/4. The White House news office issued a release that announces the appointment of White House Fellows. The list includes Amen Ra Mashariki. This release states that he is a computer scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. His LinkedIn page states that his title is a "Senior BioInformatics Researcher". He previously worked as a software engineer at Motorola.

More News

9/4. Hyung Lim pled guilty in the U.S. District Court (SDNY) to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud. The Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York stated in a release that both counts relate to insider trading. With respect to the securities fraud count, Lim "obtained inside information from an employee of NVIDIA Corporation ... and passed that information to an analyst at a wealth management company who then traded in NVIDIA stock." With respect to the wire fraud count, Lim passed "inside information that he obtained while working at Alterra Corporation".

9/4. The Copyright Office (CO) published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) that extends the deadline to submit reply comments in response to the CO's original notice in the FR in May in which it proposed rules changes regarding the definition of a claimant for purposes of copyright registration. The reason for the extension is that there was an error in the CO's online submission form. The CO has proposed to eliminate the footnote to the definition of a claimant codified at 37 CFR § 202.3(a)(3)(ii), which provides that a claimant includes individuals or entities that have obtained the contractual right to claim legal title to copyright in an application for copyright registration. See, original notice, FR, Vol. 77, No. 96, Thursday, May 17, 2012, at Pages 29257-29259, and extension notice, FR, Vol. 77, No. 171, September 4, 2012, at Page 53829. See also, story titled "Copyright Office Proposes to Change Definition of Claimant" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,386, May 30, 2012. The deadline to submit reply comments was August 15. The extended deadline is 5:00 PM on October 4, 2012.

9/4. The Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology published a notice in the Federal Register (FR) that announces, describes, recites, and sets the effective date (October 4, 2012) for, its final rule that adopts certification criteria that establish the technical capabilities and specify the related standards and implementation specifications that Certified Electronic Health Record Technology must include. See, FR, Register, Vol. 77, No. 171, September 4, 2012, at Pages 54163-54292.

9/4. The U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission published a second notice in the Federal Register (FR) announcing a series of meetings leading up to its release of its 2012 annual report to Congress. See, original notice in the Federal Register (FR), Vol. 77, No. 143, July 25, 2012, at Pages 43662-43663, and second notice in the FR, Vol. 77, No. 171, September 4, 2012, at Pages 53965-53966. The just released notice does not changes the dates, times, or places of events.

More News

9/3. James Waterworth joined the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) as head of its Brussels, Belgium office. See, CCIA release. He has previously worked for Nokia, Cable and Wireless, and Telefonica.

Go to News from August 26-31, 2012.