TechDirt - A few months ago, we noted that the Gates Foundation has emerged as one of the leaders in requiring the research that it funds to be released as open access and open data -- an interesting application of the money that Bill Gates made from closed-source software. Now it seems that his successor as Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, has had a similar epiphany about openness. Back in 2001, Ballmer famously called GNU/Linux "a cancer". Although he later softened his views on software somewhat, that was largely because he optimistically claimed that the threat to Microsoft from free software was "in the rearview mirror". Not really: today, the Linux-based Android has almost two orders of magnitude more market share than Windows Phone. However, there's one area of openness that Ballmer seems to have embraced whole-heartedly for his new project USAFacts, which launched this week -- open data:
The New York Times - Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, met with Facebook and other tech companies this week to seek feedback on his intention to unwind aspects of net neutrality, the rules that require broadband providers to make all internet content equally accessible for consumers.
Mr. Pai said on Thursday that his visits with executives at Facebook, Cisco, Oracle and Intel were constructive and that he believed the companies wanted to find “common ground.” Web companies have supported net neutrality, saying the protections guard them from paying tolls to get their content in front of consumers. Mr. Pai said that he agreed with the broad principles of net neutrality but that the rules, created by the commission in 2015, went too far in restricting broadband providers.
“I think they were appreciative,” Mr. Pai said of the tech companies. “I have been soliciting thoughts on online protections.”
Mr. Pai spoke at a news conference on Thursday after pushing through more rollbacks of Obama-era regulations. Appointed by President Trump in January, Mr. Pai has been on a deregulation charge. He has abolished a proposal to open the cable box market and frozen a program for broadband subsidies for low-income households. On Thursday, he passed two actions that will ease pricing restrictions on telecom giants and give broadcast television companies greater latitude to bulk up through mergers.
Mr. Pai’s biggest targets are net neutrality and the classification of broadband like a utility. He has the broad support of Republican lawmakers and is expected to introduce a plan that would weaken aspects of the net neutrality rules as soon as this month.
Mr. Pai said on Thursday that he wanted to overturn the declaration of broadband as a utility-like service, which puts stricter rules on broadband providers, akin to what phone services face today.
Facebook and Intel did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Mr. Pai’s remarks. The Internet Association, a trade group that represents Facebook, Google and Netflix, recently met with Mr. Pai and urged him to keep the rules intact.
The Register - Phishing and ransomware remain the most pressing security threats for UK business, according to a government-backed survey out Wednesday.
The survey, commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, found that the most common types of breaches are related to staff receiving fraudulent emails (in 72 per cent of cases where firms identified a breach or attack). The next most common related to viruses, spyware and malware (33 per cent), people impersonating the organisation in emails or online (27 per cent) and ransomware (17 per cent).
Among the 46 per cent of companies that detected breaches in the last 12 months, the average business faces costs of £1,570 as a result of these breaches, a lot lower than figures from comparable surveys. Losses for larger firms came out at just under £20,000.
Half of 1,500 firms surveyed (52 per cent) have enacted basic technical controls as recommended by the UK government-endorsed Cyber Essentials scheme. Nine in ten businesses regularly update their software and malware protections, configuring firewalls or securely backing up their data, but only around two-thirds (69 per cent) have guidance on acceptably strong passwords.
External reporting of breaches remains uncommon. Only a quarter (26 per cent) reported their most disruptive breach externally to anyone other than a cyber security provider.
European Commission May Join Gates Foundation And Wellcome Trust In Becoming An Open Access PublisherApril 9, 2017
TechDirt - Glyn Moody - Open access isn't a new idea -- the term was first defined back in 2002, and arguably the first examples go back even further to the founding of arXiv.org in 1991 (pdf). And yet progress towards making all academic knowledge freely available has been frustratingly slow, largely because hugely-profitable publishers have been fighting it every inch of the way. In response to that intransigence, academics have come up with a variety of approaches, including boycotts, mass cancellation of subscriptions, new kinds of overlay journals and simply making everything available with or without permission. Here's another interesting move to open up publishing, reported by the journal Science:
One of Europe's biggest science spenders could soon branch out into publishing. The European Commission, which spends more than €10 billion annually on research, may follow two other big league funders, the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and set up a "publishing platform" for the scientists it funds, in an attempt to accelerate the transition to open-access publishing in Europe.
BBC - The web's creator has attacked any UK plans to weaken encryption and promised to battle any moves by the Trump administration to weaken net neutrality.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee was speaking to the BBC following the news that he has been given the Turing Award.
It is sometimes known as the Nobel Prize of computing.
Sir Tim said moves to undermine encryption would be a "bad idea" and represent a massive security breach.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said there should be no safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online. But Sir Tim said giving the authorities a key to unlock coded messages would have serious consequences.