February 27, 2015 |
Michael Copps objected strongly a dozen years ago when then-Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell took what he considered a big wrong turn: classifying cable companies' broadband Internet business as a lightly regulated "information service. " Copps will be back Thursday, watching from the audience as the FCC comes full circle and embraces the logic of his 2002 dissent. If Powell's successor, Tom Wheeler, draws the expected votes of his two fellow Democrats, the agency will reclassify all types of broadband as "Title II" telecommunications services - a move Wheeler and Copps both call necessary to keep the Internet functioning as it mostly does today and, more important, as nearly everybody says it should.
February 27, 2015 |
Pennsylvania State Rep. John Payne, the new chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, is taking an activist approach to helping the casino industry stay competitive. One day after scheduling a series of hearings to explore ways to expand gambling and examine regulations, Payne (R., Dauphin) introduced a bill Wednesday to legalize Internet gaming. "We looked at the fact that Jersey has it, Delaware has it, Las Vegas has it," Payne said. "It would be a mistake for Pennsylvania to sit here and wait until Ohio has it, Maryland has it, New York has it, and we're the last ones coming to the game.
February 26, 2015
WHEN FEDERAL Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced Feb. 4 that he would propose rules to ensure that the Internet remains open for all users, advocates of net neutrality were ecstatic. Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should treat all Web traffic the same and not block or slow certain data streams. (Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are among the biggest ISPs.) The five-member FCC is poised to formally adopt new rules tomorrow in Washington, and Wheeler likely has the votes to pass his plan.
February 19, 2015
F ELICITE MOORMAN, 41, of East Falls, is CEO of BuLogics, which calls itself an "Internet of Things" engineering firm. Founded in 2003, the East Falls company certifies, designs and builds wireless systems connecting everyday objects for Fortune 500 clients and individuals. Q: What's BuLogics do? A: If you have a light switch or door lock or safe or smoke alarm, and you want to make it connect to the Internet in a way it never has before, we make the stuff that does that. You want a door lock to talk to your smartphone?
February 9, 2015 |
One of the small privileges of writing a consumer column - along with an endless supply of "You've got to hear this" tales - is occasionally witnessing something that doesn't fit the script. Sometimes a company will actually come clean about persistent screw-ups, or a competitor will dime out bad behaviors and impose a little market discipline. Once in a while, I've even seen government reverse course to fix an old error. That's what happened a few years back when the Fed cracked down on credit-card practices piling extra misery onto financially stressed borrowers.
February 6, 2015 |
Tom Wheeler, head of the Federal Communications Commission, proposed unambiguous rules Wednesday that would dictate how Internet providers manage their networks for consumers, but stopped short of saying the agency would also regulate the rates telecom companies charge consumers. The stakes are high - for big content providers such as Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc., and for a public that has become hugely dependent on the Internet. Supporters, who for years lobbied for the rules online and at the agency, say Wheeler's tough stance will preserve the freewheeling and open nature of the Internet by preventing telecom companies from blocking consumers from websites or slowing Internet speeds for competitive purposes.
January 14, 2015 |
Beware: Don't use the same user name and password on multiple accounts across the Internet, whether it is for Apple iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, a credit card, or a bank. You could fall prey to crooks who last month latched on to user names and passwords from some unknown website and tried them out on American Airlines and United Airlines customers' frequent-flier mileage accounts - to cash in on free travel. Thieves obtained user names and passwords and used them to log into American's AAdvantage and United's MileagePlus, guessing that the log-in information might be the same.
December 28, 2014 |
Fans of the Philadelphia rapper Beanie Sigel received a scare this week when rumors of his death from a gunshot wound he sustained three weeks ago swirled online. But it was all just a hoax. "He's not dead," Pleasantville, N.J., Police Capt. Sean Riggin said Friday, repeating it more than once. Detectives, he said, interviewed Sigel on Christmas Eve, the first time they had spoken to him since the Dec. 5 shooting. Riggin declined to say what was discussed. The rumors of Sigel's death appear to have started on a website called NahaDaily.com.
November 28, 2014 |
As his marriage began to crumble in 2010, and his job at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown hung in the balance, Anthony Elonis took to the Internet to vent his frustrations. He posted rap lyrics on Facebook in which he seemingly threatened to kill his wife, an FBI agent, and local police while also suggesting he might attack Dorney Park and even a local elementary school. He was soon arrested, tried, and convicted of making threats over the Internet, and was sentenced to 44 months in prison.
November 17, 2014 |
IT WAS a very exciting week for the Internet, space exploration and Al Roker . The European Space Agency's Philae landed on a comet - think about that for a sec - and reality TV entity Kim Kardashian was photographed in revealing poses for Paper magazine, resulting in memes galore. And the "Today" show weatherman was offering up weather info for 34 hours straight. The biggest news to emerge this week, in our esteemed estimation, had little fanfare comparatively: Matt Damon will be Jason Bourne once more for a film to be released in 2016.