The Register - Ajit Pai, head of America's communications watchdog the FCC, has unveiled his "plan to repeal the Obama Administration's heavy-handed regulation of the Internet," referred to by critics as an anti-consumer giveaway to large communications companies.
The 210-page document bears the title "Restoring Internet Freedom," which echos the 2014 "Internet Freedom Act," a failed House bill floated on more than $800,000 in donations from US telecom firms seeking to gut net neutrality protections.
The proposed rules, up for a vote among the five FCC commissioners on December 14, call for internet service providers, presently designated as Title II utilities, to be reclassified under the Communications Act of 1934 and its subsequent amendments as Title I information services.
They also revise the private mobile service classification for mobile broadband internet services, removing these from regulation as utilities.
Europa - The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have delivered on commitments made during September's Digital Summit in Tallinn by ending unjustified geoblocking, one of the EU priority files for 2017
The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached a political agreement to end unjustified geoblocking for consumers wishing to buy products or services online within the EU. The new rules will boost ecommerce for the benefit of consumers and businesses who take advantage of the growing European online market.
Vice-President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, said: "Today we put an end to unjustified discrimination when shopping online. This is excellent news for consumers. With the new rules, Europeans will be able to choose from which website they wish to buy, without being blocked or re-routed. This will be a reality by Christmas next year."
The Register - Two organizations founded to help and support developers of free and open-source software have locked horns in public, betraying a long-running quarrel rumbling mostly behind the scenes.
On one side, the Software Freedom Law Center, which today seeks to resolve licensing disputes amicably. On the other, the Software Freedom Conservancy, which takes a relatively harder line against the noncompliance of licensing terms.
The battleground: the, er, US Patent and Trademark Office. The law center has demanded the cancellation of a trademark held by the conservancy.
Essentially, the SFLC, which holds a trademark on "Software Freedom Law Center", is upset the SFC holds a trademark on "Software Freedom Conservancy". This persnickety gripe is a symptom of a deep-running disagreement within the free and open-source software (FOSS) world.
The Standards Blog - Andy Updegrove - Once upon a time – oh, say fifteen years ago – the terms open standards and open source software (OSS) were often used interchangeably. Not because they were the same thing, but because many people weren't sure what either really was, let alone the differences between them. That was unfortunate, because at that time the two had little in common, and were developed for very different purposes.
Recently, many people (especially OSS developers) have begun referring to the software they develop as “a standard.” This time around they’re a lot closer to being right.
So, what’s going on here? And is it a good thing?
The answer to the last question is mostly yes. Sometimes it’s even all good, as in the case of Kubernetes, the cloud container management software developed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation under the stewardship of The Linux Foundation (disclosure: the LF is a client of mine). We’ll come back to that example a little later.
First, though, let’s talk about what open standards and open software are, what they’re used for, and how they fit together. To do that, we need to talk about proprietary software, too.
Professor Says Threats Of Retaliation By China Stopped Publication Of His Book Revealing Chinese Influence In AustraliaNovember 19, 2017
TechDirt - Glyn Moody - We've just written about how the Chinese government wanted to censor articles published by two academic publishers, Cambridge University Press (CUP) and Springer. After an initial wobble, CUP ultimately refused, while Springer by contrast decided to kowtow to the authorities. Those incidents concerned the publication in China of articles the Chinese didn't like. Now it seems the latter are extending their campaign against inconvenient facts to other countries, in this case Australia:
Prominent Charles Sturt University academic Clive Hamilton said Allen & Unwin was ready to publish his manuscript Silent Invasion, but last week informed him it could no longer proceed because it was worried about defamation action.
"Allen & Unwin said that they were worried about retaliation from Beijing through a number of possible avenues including legal threats, orchestrated by Beijing, and they decided it was too big a risk and so therefore pulled the plug and returned the rights to me," Professor Hamilton said.
As the article on ABC News explains, "Silent Invasion" is about the Chinese Communist Party's activities and growing influence in Australia -- obviously a highly sensitive topic for China. In an email to the company, obtained by ABC News, Professor Hamilton's former publishers, Allen & Unwin, wrote about what it saw as "potential threats" if it published his book:
The most serious of these threats was the very high chance of a vexatious defamation action against Allen & Unwin, and possibly against you personally as well.