• Text smaller
  • Text bigger

Federal government moving closer to grabbing control of Internet.

The noose around Internet freedom is getting tighter, and as always, the feds are using “national security” as the means to achieve its ultimate objective:complete control of the Internet through laws and regulations. The Department of Homeland Security intends to expand its reach and extend its responsibilities over all civilian agency computer networks. And never one to ignore an opportunity to insert its own governmental control, the White House is writing its own 100-page legislation that will significantly expand the DHS’ reach and control even more, folding in the Senate’s version of a similar bill to give Internet control to the feds under the guise of “national security.”

 

You can thank Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), and the Office of Management and Budget’s memo from July 2010 for expanding DHS’ authority.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is proposing an Internet sales tax.

Durbin wants to make sure that everyone “pays their fair share of taxes.” At a speech he gave last Febbruary, Durbin said, “Why should out-of-state companies that sell their products online have an unfair advantage over Main Street bricks-and-mortar businesses? Out-of-state companies that aren’t paying their fair share of taxes are sticking Illinois residents and businesses with the tab.”

Durbin’s not wasting time. He plans to submit this additional tax proposal upon Congress’ return from Easter break.

And Illinois state Rep.Jesse Jacskon Jr. is blaming the iPad for eliminating jobs. No, really!

Write, phone, and visit your House and Senate representatives to tell them your thoughts on the federal government’s determination to control, tax and rein in the Internet. You can reach them directly, person-to-person via Gradegov.com

There’s a lot of money to be made on the Internet. According to recent figures, ad revenue was at a record high $26 billion in 2010, up 15 percent from the previous year. The revenue figures are surely being eyeballed by the feds who are voraciously looking for ways to siphon off revenue generated on the Internet.

***

Major online poker sites shut down, panicked players flock to Twitter for info.

“This domain site has been seized.” Just like that. The power and swiftness of the U.S. government when it comes to the Internet is astonishing. The government showed how well prepared they are when it comes to shutting down websites when three corporations and their Internet sites were shut down in the same day, leaving players’ money on the table as well as on deposit. If you were one of those players, what do you do to get information? Go to Twitter.

Three of the largest online poker sites were shut down last week and their founders indicted for bank fraud, illegal gambling and money laundering. Reported as a possible “death blow to a thriving industry,” online poker is estimated to have attracted some 15 million Americans over the past ten years, despite the illegality of it. Congress passed a law in 2006, restricting online gambling, but several sites worked around the law.

Prosecutors want to shut down PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, recover $3 billion, and send their executives to prison.

***

Google sending YouTube violators to “copyright tutorial” school

If you’re uploading content to YouTube that isn’t yours, you’ll be sent to the Google headmaster’s office. Only half kidding. You will be sent to Google’s YouTube copyright tutorial school where you’ll be taught the do’s and don’ts of uploaded content. You’ll be asked to respond to four questions, and if after you’ve passed the course you continue to violate copyright laws? You’ll be rapped on the knuckles with a ruler and sent away, never to upload again.

Bob, bob, bobbing along

Have you ever sent an email to the wrong person? No big deal, unless the message was meant for the intended recipient’s eyes only. Then it’s red-face time. Google Gmail understands your pain and has designed a way to help prevent you from making an embarrassing mistake. It’s called “Got the wrong Bob?” On the opposite side, a related program helps you remember others you might want to include in your email send out. That one’s called “Don’t forget Bob.”

***

Trouble in Twitterville?

Name the company that two years ago was the talk of the Web but half of its account holders no longer use it. That hasn’t rolled out an exciting new product in months, and can’t seem to figure out how to convert assets into ROI, despite its 200 million account holders. If you guessed Twitter, you’d be correct. Biz Stone explains.

***

Facebook Fantasyland

Meanwhile at Facebook, T. Rowe Price has taken a hankerin’ to the social networking site and invested millions. According to a report in the LA Times, “Facebook surpassed Google last year to become the most visited website in the U.S., according to Experian Hitwise, an Internet-tracking company in New York. In February, more than a third of all online-display ads in the U.S. appeared on Facebook, more than three times as many as its closest competitor, Yahoo, according to research firm ComScore Inc.”

Facebook expanding into news reporting

Facebook is getting into the news gathering business, and has hired someone to cultivate and manage relationships with what will likely become thousands of reporters, journalists and news organizations. Launched April 5, Facebook and Journalists page has already attracted nearly 48,000 “likes,” and touts itself: “Reach your readers directly on Facebook, an audience of more than 500 million people around the world.” It’s free and provides the news industry with direct access to an international readership.

Speaking of journalists (or journolists, depending on your point of view), unpaid writers and contributors to the Huffington Post news and opinion site are not happy campers since Ariana Huffington sold the online pub to AOL for $315 million. They’ve filed a class action lawsuit in New York seeking a piece of the action, arguing that writers who have worked for free should be paid an estimated $105 million. Stay tuned.

Looking for a paid job? Help Wanted here:

According to the Wall Street Journal, “This year, magazine publisher Hearst Corp. intends to add five software engineers to its mobile development staff. Social-networking company Ning Inc. plans to nearly double its mobile development team. And Web start-up Where Inc. is on track to double its mobile staff this year after quadrupling it in 2010.” The problem? The mobile app talent pool is shallow. Name your price.

So how much does everyone else get paid? Here’s how to find out.

Facebook doing business in China?

Though Facebook, along with Twitter and YouTube, are currently banned in China, it looks like Facebook might be making inroads, reportedly teaming up with Baidu, China’s version of Facebook.

Facebook is reportedly entering into a partnership with Baidu, China’s No. 1 Web search company, to launch a new social-networking website in that country.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Facebook and Baidu reached an agreement after meetings between Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and Baidu CEO Robin Li. The Times sourced the information to an article in Sohu.com that was reported by Bloomberg.

Facebook has declined to comment on the rumored partnership.

Take a peek at Facebook’s new data center in Prineville, Oregon, reported to be the most energy efficient in the world.

***

Apple adds “do not track” feature to Safari browser

Mac OS X Lion, Apple’s newest operating system currently in development, will include a “do not track” feature to its Safari Web browser that has Google saying ‘Not so fast!’ Why? The feature will block advertisers and other websites from tracking your surfing habits. Advertising revenue is Google’s lifeblood. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, a similar feature is already in use with two other Web browsers: Mozilla’s Firefox 4 and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9.

Ironically, and despite Google’s protests, Google’s Web browser Chrome offers a plug-in called “Keep My Opt-Outs.” According to a report in Wired.com, the plug-in “prevents users from deleting opt-out cookies from advertising networks when they delete their cookies. Third-party ad networks, including Google’s Display Ad network, use cookies on the sites they advertise on to watch what users do across the Net, in order to make guesses about their interests. They then can sell ad space at a premium to advertisers, offering them the opportunity to show ads for trucks only to young men interested in sports, for instance. Google’s Chrome browser has yet to add such a consumer tool, but third-party plug-ins have been created and are free for download online and Google has promised such a feature will come soon.”

But not to worry … Sens. John Kerry and John McCain are on the job protecting our privacy too.

While the left hand of the federal government continues its encroachment on the Internet, we’ve got bipartisan support coming to the rescue in the form of the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights to “safeguard consumer information online. We know that Kerry-McCain only have our best interest at heart, right? I’m relieved. Are you?

***

Bit and Bytes

White iPhone4 will soon hit the shelves

Obama wants, needs a “cooler” Oval Office phone

“This American Life” coming to iPad

All I got was crayons and paste. I ate the paste. Maine schools proposing $200,000 outlay for iPads in kindergarten

AT&T offering pre-paid Smartphone

Live Lady Liberty Cam

Remember postcards? They’re coming back

Showyou takes TV to the next level-iPad

Looking to rent… an apartment, boat, village or an entire country?

***

***
Now playing at the Princess Theater, Urbana, Illinois.

Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Kevin Johnson of Pennsylvania and Steve Oakley of Albany, New York who were among the first to correctly guess actor Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison in JFK, the 1991 Oliver Stone-directed movie about New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison who investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, in 1963. Garrison attempted to prove that there was far more to the assassination than the FBI presented.

The quote: “About as subtle as a cockroach crawlin’ across a white rug!”

This week’s quote: “Insurance? I never been insured in my life. There’s no risk.”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!

 

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.