Lifestyle Technosavvy the May 2015 issue

Tech Briefing

No Truce in Net Neutrality Battle
By Michael Fitzpatrick Posted on April 30, 2015

If you’ve been hearing a lot about net neutrality lately, it’s not about staying out of a new cyber war. Rather, it’s about how data gets handled as it flows over the Internet and who gets to make that decision. The basic principle behind net neutrality is that all data should get equal treatment. The battle over whether telecommunications companies can block or slow down data; reach deals to move some data more quickly or charge more for data, heated up again earlier this year when the Federal Communications Commission voted to award itself the power to regulate the Internet.

The agency, which lost prior court challenges over its attempt to impose net neutrality, essentially decided to classify broadband service as a utility that it could regulate. New court challenges are likely to follow as companies that have spent billions of dollars to roll out broadband service fight the decision.

Verizon called it an attempt to impose 1930s rules on the Internet and sought to hammer home its point by issuing its statement in Morse code and in a release written on an old typewriter. The company said the hundreds of pages of rules that the decision would impose on the Internet would hamper innovation.

The FCC quickly obliged with a 400-page document on the order. Of course, Verizon has a point in that innovation has been a hallmark of the Internet ever since a UCLA scientist sent the nascent Web’s first message in 1969. Only two letters made it before the system crashed. Data moves a lot faster today.

Cool Apps

As businesses focus on cyber security, more homeowners are turning to mobile technology to ramp up their home security. Whether it’s just keeping a mobile eye on things or making sure the doors are locked and the heat is on, there are a variety of apps that let you keep tabs on what’s going on at home while you’re away.

Home security systems from companies such as Alarm.com and ADT provide apps that let you monitor security and household systems remotely. For do-it-yourselfers, a number of apps let you leverage all those digital cameras you already have into remote monitors.

AtHome Camera lets you watch your home with your smartphone through the cameras in your other smartphones, PCs, smart TVs or set-top boxes.

Presence by People Power turns your old smartphones into home security cameras and motion detectors (Apple). Presence Pro Energy (Android) lets you monitor your home’s energy systems. It’s free for a trial, but then $50 annually.

With iCam ($5) you can monitor multiple video and audio feeds from your Apple devices.

Michael Fitzpatrick Technology Editor Read More

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