AT&Tcrammingcase by Rob Wilson /

FTC overlooks true villains in AT&T cramming settlement

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a $105 million multi-agency settlement with AT&T Mobility LLC. The FTC, along with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and various state law enforcement officials, had accused the wireless provider of unlawfully billing customers for third-party charges – a practice known as “cramming.” The settlement is a significant milestone, not only in the government’s ongoing efforts to control cramming but also in the use of...

Truthy&Twitter by Shutterstock

Truthy’s study of tweets may be problematic, but government funding of it definitely is

Do you use Twitter? Do you like free speech?  Then this article is a must read.  FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai just wrote an eye-opening op-ed on how the government is supporting a study of your tweet content.  This time the agency of interest is not the NSA, it’s the National Science Foundation (NSF) – an institution that was founded to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense.”  According to Pai, the NSF has already spent $1 million to fund a project to collect and analyze your Twitter data – including (and perhaps focusing on) political data.
Google'sOpenPatentPledge by Denys Prykhodov /

Google’s “Open Patent Pledge” – A cooperative solution in a litigious world

While patent protection is critical for defending innovation from rapacious copyists, sometimes other concerns trump the need to bolster intellectual property. Take Google’s “Open Patent Pledge,” a program whereby Google has dedicated some 250 of its patents to the public in an effort to promote open-source (OS) software and the interoperability of its products with others. The Open Source Initiative characterizes OS software as “software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process” in order to provide “better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in.”

Will Apple Pay be the technology that finally disrupts the banking sector?

Before and after Apple’s big September event, the headlines heavily featured the larger iPhone 6s and the new Apple Watch. The more people thought about it, however, largest looming may have been the announcement of Apple Pay. But why? We’ve talked about mobile payments for years. Lots of start-ups and consortiums of big firms are working on it. Perhaps Apple will streamline the system and really, finally jumpstart the mobile pay movement. But is...