Author: David Solomonoff

Dublin abandons “illegal” muni wifi, SF “Free the Net” project surges

RTE reports that the Dublin City Council has decided that a plan to provide free wireless broadband throughout the city must be been abandoned because it would be contrary to EU law on state aid. But the Labour Party, which says it originally proposed the idea of a free wi-fi city, has accused the Council of backing down as a result of pressure from the telecommunications industry.

On this side of the pond, San Francisco’s Free the Net project has distributed 40,000 Meraki repeaters to residents, creating a redundant mesh network for free wifi.

From BoingBoing

Mozilla Labs starts new project for deeper integration with online services

Chris Beard of Mozilla Labs announced a new project for “deeper integration of the browser with online services.” The goals include:

  • provide a basic set of optional Mozilla-hosted online services
  • ensure that it is easy for people to set up their own services with freely available open standards-based tools
  • provide users with the ability to fully control and customize their online experience, including whether and how their data should be shared with their family, their friends, and third-parties
  • respect individual privacy (e.g. client-side encryption by default with the ability to delegate access rights)
  • leverage existing open standards and propose new ones as needed
  • build a extensible architecture like Firefox

This is an exciting and very necessary development for Mozilla. As personal data storage is moved from the desktop to the Net, client-side encryption is essential for privacy and security. It is inevitable that the companies offering web apps will suffer a shakeout and some will fold. And security breaches are a fact of online life.

I’m looking forward to integrating this into the ISubuntu project.

Fortune: Online chat ‘assistant’ may not be real

Fortune reports on chatbots used in online stores to talk potential customers out of abandoning their virtual shopping carts. “…A startup called UpSellit is … using live chat to act as a sales assistant …. but here’s UpSellit’s twist: That person on the other end of the live chat box isn’t a person at all. You’re chatting with software that’s designed to fool you into thinking it’s a person.” Clearly another step blurring the real and virtual that raises a few ethical and possibly legal questions. How would knowing that you’re talking to a bot change your attitude or behavior? What if you thought you were talking to a bot but it turned out be a real human being?

Court Ruling Protects Rights of Bloggers to Remain Anonymous

The anonymous blogger in question was a hospital employee in Paris, Texas who dished conditions at his workplace. Quoting from Public Citizen: “the requirement of presenting evidence provides an important measure of protection for employee whistleblowers and other anonymous critics of powerful corporations, political figures and others.”

Full Statement of Paul Alan Levy, Attorney With Public Citizen