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Since 1996, the Benton Foundation has provided free, daily summaries of articles concerning the quickly-changing telecommunications policy landscape. Since September 2005, we've used individual stories to help track developments in telecommunications legislation, the media ownership debate and efforts to ensure universal broadband.

Headlines

Benton Foundation provides free, daily summaries of articles concerning the quickly-changing telecommunications policy landscape.

NSA Phone Data Collection Could Go On, Even if a Law Expires

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
2

A little-known provision of the Patriot Act, overlooked by lawmakers and administration officials alike, appears to give President Obama a possible way to keep the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records program going indefinitely -- even if Congress allows the law on which it is based to expire in 2015.

Mail Monitoring Rarely Denied, Postal Service Says

Location:
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Independence Avenue and South Capitol Street 2157 House Rayburn Building, Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
2

The United States Postal Service granted almost all of the nearly 6,700 requests from law enforcement agencies last year to monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations, Postal Service officials told a House panel.

US, Israeli companies supply spy gear to repressive regimes, report says

Location:
Privacy International, 62 Britton Street, London, EC1M 5UY, United Kingdom
Recommendation:
2

US and Israeli companies are supplying sophisticated surveillance technology to Central Asian nations with records of widespread human rights abuses, giving state security services virtually unchecked power to monitor the communications of ordinary citizens, according to a new report by Privacy International.

White House hits TV networks for skipping immigration address

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
2

The White House is exasperated with the major broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC -- for skipping out on President Barack Obama’s primetime address on his executive actions on immigration.

Cellphone tracking: Find an address? Easy. But new devices can calculate your altitude.

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Cellphones long have doubled as tracking devices, capable of revealing your location to police, paramedics, even grocery stores looking to deliver coupons to nearby customers. But there’s a measurement cellphones once struggled to make: altitude. No more. Cellphone tracking is about to go vertical as the location-services industry, prodded by the US government, solves the riddle of what experts call “the z vector.”

Netflix takes up 9.5% of upstream traffic on the North American Internet

Location:
Sandvine, 408 Albert Street, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3V3, Canada
Recommendation:
1

During peak viewing hours, Netflix accounts for about a third of all bits sent to Internet users in North America on “fixed” connections -- that is, cable, DSL, fiber, or satellite, but not cellular. But Netflix users also send a ton of data upstream, so much so that Sandvine’s latest Internet Phenomena Report puts Netflix at 9.48 percent of all peak upstream traffic on North American fixed Internet services, second only to BitTorrent's 25.49 percent.

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Benton Foundation provides free, daily summaries of articles concerning the quickly-changing telecommunications policy landscape.

NSA Phone Data Collection Could Go On, Even if a Law Expires

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
2

A little-known provision of the Patriot Act, overlooked by lawmakers and administration officials alike, appears to give President Obama a possible way to keep the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records program going indefinitely -- even if Congress allows the law on which it is based to expire in 2015.

Mail Monitoring Rarely Denied, Postal Service Says

Location:
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Independence Avenue and South Capitol Street 2157 House Rayburn Building, Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
2

The United States Postal Service granted almost all of the nearly 6,700 requests from law enforcement agencies last year to monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations, Postal Service officials told a House panel.

US, Israeli companies supply spy gear to repressive regimes, report says

Location:
Privacy International, 62 Britton Street, London, EC1M 5UY, United Kingdom
Recommendation:
2

US and Israeli companies are supplying sophisticated surveillance technology to Central Asian nations with records of widespread human rights abuses, giving state security services virtually unchecked power to monitor the communications of ordinary citizens, according to a new report by Privacy International.

White House hits TV networks for skipping immigration address

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
2

The White House is exasperated with the major broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC -- for skipping out on President Barack Obama’s primetime address on his executive actions on immigration.

Cellphone tracking: Find an address? Easy. But new devices can calculate your altitude.

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Cellphones long have doubled as tracking devices, capable of revealing your location to police, paramedics, even grocery stores looking to deliver coupons to nearby customers. But there’s a measurement cellphones once struggled to make: altitude. No more. Cellphone tracking is about to go vertical as the location-services industry, prodded by the US government, solves the riddle of what experts call “the z vector.”

Netflix takes up 9.5% of upstream traffic on the North American Internet

Location:
Sandvine, 408 Albert Street, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3V3, Canada
Recommendation:
1

During peak viewing hours, Netflix accounts for about a third of all bits sent to Internet users in North America on “fixed” connections -- that is, cable, DSL, fiber, or satellite, but not cellular. But Netflix users also send a ton of data upstream, so much so that Sandvine’s latest Internet Phenomena Report puts Netflix at 9.48 percent of all peak upstream traffic on North American fixed Internet services, second only to BitTorrent's 25.49 percent.

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