Archive for the ‘telecom amnesty’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 11/14/07

November 15, 2007

County’s Rural Access to Broadband Improving
by Lee Roberts
Lincoln County News (ME)

Last week’s good news about Internet in rural Lincoln County was the state’s ConnectME granting authority funding the potential connection of 849 households in Edgecomb and Somerville. In a public-private partnership, Midcoast Internet Solutions of Newcastle and Rockland will be paid $86,450 to bring the possibility of a broadband connection to more than a thousand Lincoln County residents currently relegated to dial-up. —>

Local group files to start community radio station
by Kerry Fehr-Snyder
The Arizona Republic

A group of radio enthusiasts has filed an application to run a Southeast Valley community radio station that would broadcast unique non-commercial programming, from poetry readings to cooking shows. The non-commercial education license application is a first for the non-profit Arizona Community Media Foundation in Tempe. It wants to build a station in Chandler or Apache Junction with the power to broadcast from the farther southwestern edge to the farthest northeastern part of the Southeast Valley. A facility in either location with a directional signal would cover the whole area. “Our motto is 100,000 watts of power to the people,” said Victor Aronow, one of six foundation board members who applied for the license. —>

Minneapolis Unwired: MTN & the Portals
by Peter Fleck

Mayor Rybak has proposed that $100,000 be moved from the Minneapolis Television Network’s (MTN) budget and applied to the Minneapolis Wireless Community Portal Project. MTN helps Minneapolis residents produce television shows with local content.

You can certainly argue that the Internet and web can replace much of the usefulness of public access cable RSN (real soon now). But that “now” isn’t here yet and it looks to me that MTN is still serving a community need. I talked to MTN staff and they told me of on-air Somali talk shows where the phone rings continuously, and of people sharing cable accounts and gathering together to watch public access (not something you generally do with a computer and Internet connection).

Please read what Aaron Landry has to say over here (and check the comments where I weigh in). For a longer and more chaotic discussion, check out the eDemocracy Minneapolis Issues Forum discussion. You can find a Powerpoint presentation at the Digital Access site which is a version of the one used at the recent wireless info community meetings. Local vid blogger citizen journalist Chuck Olsen made a video of one of the presentations at his (now retired!) Minnesota Stories site.

Catherine Settanni posts at the Mpls issues forum. She is under contract with the City of Minneapolis and working on the community portals. She states that city residents see a “critical need for local, community-based Internet content to be made available via the USI Wireless Minneapolis network.” I have no reason to doubt that but I don’t think residents were ever asked if they see that need as so important that we should dismantle the current system for producing local, community-based content: MTN and public access cable.

Stakeholders in this issue have not been brought to the table for an in-depth discussion of options and how to pay for them. OK. I’m done. Read Aaron’s post at least.

Bonus Links:
MTN Needs Assessment from 2004 including surveys of who’s watching.
(Garrick Van Buren predicts the future in this 2005 post.)
Statement by MTN director Pam Colby.

AT&T still wants statewide franchises
by John Huotar
The Oakridger (TN)

AT&T is still pursuing legislation that would allow a statewide franchise for video services that could compete with cable television. —>

Boulder City Council bids goodbye to outgoing members
by Alyssa Urish
Daily Camera (CO)

—> Guy Errickson, a former board member of Community Access TV Boulder, stood silently in front of the City Council — for the three minutes he was allotted for public comment — with black tape over his mouth, holding a sign that read: “Stolen Public Access TV channel and Studio.”

Errickson was one of three people who addressed the City Council in opposition to its decision last month to cut funding for Channel 54. The public-access channel will go off the air Friday, said former Channel 54 producer Jann Scott. Scott mockingly presented the council with what he called the “Joseph Stalin Freedom Award,” saying the council has squashed his First Amendment rights by shutting down the channel.

FCC chief wants to end newspaper-broadcast ownership ban, but only in largest markets

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission wants to eliminate a ban on radio and television broadcasters owning newspapers, but only in the nation’s largest media markets – including Seattle. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin opted to focus on the newspaper ban only and declined to act on other media ownership rules up for consideration. The proposal still requires a full vote of the commission.

“I think this is both a moderate and a fair proposal,” Martin said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. He said he is optimistic there will be a vote on Dec. 18. Talk of lifting the cross-ownership ban has met with stiff resistance from public interest groups and commission Democrats as well as on Capitol Hill. —>

New social media site: The Social Times
by Jason Preston
Web Community Forum

Our buddy and conference-partner Nick O’Neill yesterday launched a brand new site called The Social Times, which is covering—you guessed it—pretty much everything in the social media space. If you’ve been paying any attention recently to Nick’s original blog, Allfacebook, you already know that Nick’s got the know-how and the gumption to really cover the space. —>

Leading BitTorrent Admins Discuss The Future of BitTorrent
by Ernesto

BitTorrent is by far the most popular way to transfer large files over the Internet, but where will it be five years from now? To get some answers to this question TorrentFreak asked the admins of Mininova, The Pirate Bay, IsoHunt and TorrentSpy what they think the future holds for BitTorrent and their websites.

It’s hard to predict the future, especially when it comes to technology. However, that didn’t put us off and we gave it a shot. We asked the people behind the 4 largest BitTorrent sites on the Internet to tell us how they envision the future of BitTorrent. Despite the differences these four guys sometimes have, they all believe that no other P2P protocol performs better than BitTorrent at the moment. However, there’s no doubt that there will be changes in the future. —>

The Truth About Telecom Amnesty
by Glenn Greenwald

Today I interviewed Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the lead counsel in the pending litigation against AT&T, alleging that AT&T violated multiple federal laws by providing (without warrants) unfettered access for the Bush administration to all telephone and Internet data concerning its customers. The Bush administration intervened in that lawsuit to argue that the “state secrets” doctrine compelled dismissal of the lawsuit, but the presiding judge, Bush 41-appointee Vaughn Walker, last year rejected that argument and ordered the case to proceed (Oral Argument on the administration’s appeal of that ruling was heard by the 9th Circuit earlier this year).

The EFF/AT&T lawsuit — based in part on the testimony and documentation of Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee — will entail an investigation into the extent to which AT&T and other telecoms enabled the Bush administration to spy illegally on their customers. As of now, these telecom lawsuits are the best (arguably, the only real) hope for obtaining a judicial ruling as to whether these surveillance programs were illegal. Precisely for these reasons, the Bush administration is demanding “telecom amnesty” — to bring a halt to EFF’s lawsuit and thus ensure that no investigation of its spying activities on Americans ever occurs, and that no ruling is ever obtained as to whether it broke the law.

I found this interview extremely illuminating, and it reveals just how much misinformation is being disseminated by amnesty advocates. I will post the entire podcast and transcript when it is available, but wanted to post some key excerpts now: —>

Home snoop CCTV more popular than Big Brother
Forget the web, we want to watch real crims
by Mark Ballard
The Register (UK)

The scheme that gave residents of Shoreditch links to local CCTV cameras through their TV sets had better viewing figures than Channel 4’s Big Brother, according to an internal report by the local authority’s rejuvenation body. The Register has learned how residents took to the Shoreditch Digital Bridge scheme in order to scan for and report anti-social behaviour. Yet the over-arching aim of the project was to bridge the digital divide and improve take-up of online public services by giving TV-internet access to people in poor areas.

According to preliminary results of the Shoreditch pilot – due to be published in January – linking people’s living-room television sets to local CCTV cameras had attracted viewing figures with an “equivalent reach of prime time, week-day broadcast programming”. Official stats showed that a higher percentage of people tuned in to look through their local CCTV cameras (about 27 per cent of those with access) than watched Channel4’s hit snoop show, Big Brother (about 24 per cent).

Atul Hatwal, project manager at the Shoreditch Trust, said the CCTV hook-up was the main reason why people wanted to get the Digital Bridge internet access through their televisions. “In focus groups, the biggest thing they said to us was it made them safer, because if you are in a public space you know someone’s watching.”

The Information Commissioner had ordered the homesnoop CCTV be handicapped by low resolution to prevent the watchers from identifying the people they were watching. “You couldn’t recognise specifics, but you could see if there was trouble happening or if someone was roaming about. It made people feel safer,” said Hatwal. Indeed, residents were bothered by the restriction and not at all worried what implications the scheme might have for civil liberties or community. “Not a single resident came back and raised [CCTV] as an issue,” he said. “It was the defining thing that made people say, ‘Oh yes, I want that’, and they wanted to see more detail [in the CCTV images].” —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media