FCC Tightens Privacy Rules

Carl Weinschenk
Slide Show

Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017

A step toward better online privacy was taken this week by The Federal Communications Commission (FCC). WirelessWeek reports that privacy rules will require broadband providers to ask subscribers’ permission before “using or sharing” much of their data, according to the WirelessWeek.

Control will be tight, according to the story:

Under the measure, for example, a broadband provider has to ask a customer's permission before it can tell an advertiser exactly where that customer is by tracking her phone and what interests she has gleaned from the websites she's visited on it and the apps she's used.


The story says that information not considered private, such as names and addresses, will be treated in a more flexible manner. Though it is assumed that companies can use that data, customers have the right to opt out of it being released. 

Verizon, AT&T Fighting Over 5G Timing

The companies that contribute the most to the establishment of standards are the ones that truly thrive. Thus, it is not surprising that a battle is going on between groups led by AT&T on one side and Verizon on the other.

RCR Wireless looks at the issue through an interview with Michael Therlander, the founder and president of Signals Research Group, about the latest 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) meeting.

The disagreement at this point is about timing. Therlander said that the AT&T contingent is pushing for “some form of 5G standards” to be set by the end of next year. Verizon advocated the first version of the standard being set by mid-2018, which is the original timetable.

Can ISPs Reduce IoT Dangers?

The problems caused by botnets comprised of Internet of Things (IoT) devices last week had a silver lining: They focused attention on the scary issue.

A bit of marginally good news (in the world of IoT security, news that is neutral passes for good) is offered by Wired’s Mary Hay Newman. She says that ISPs have two ways in which they can help secure IoT devices. These devices are extremely vulnerable because they are inexpensive (and thus don’t have sophisticated security). IoT devices also pose long-term dangers, since they are built to be in the field for far longer than smartphones or other devices.

ISPs, she writes, can take steps to block or filter cracker access to the devices or identify patterns associated with compromised devices and alert the owner. There are challenges to the successful implementation of either idea. It is, however, a straw to grab onto.

ARM, AMD Collaborate on Low-Power IoT Processors

Though, as the Wired piece suggests, there are ways to protect the IoT without handling each device individually, an important goal of the industry is to enable IoT devices to protect themselves. The key is engineering solutions that use little energy but still are powerful enough to run security software.

A project along those lines was announced this week. Analog Devices and ARM are collaborating on ultralow power microcontrollers that the companies say will enable creation of secure and efficient IoT devices. The product will combine Analog Device’s “ultralow power mixed-signal technology” with the ARM Cortex-M33 processor. The M33, the press release says, features the ARM TrustZone technology.

AT&T To Test 400 Gigabit per Second Ethernet

The speeds keep climbing. AT&T said this will begin testing 400 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Ethernet (400 GbE) data speeds early next year.

The carrier said that the testing will be done in three phases. The first phase will use optical equipment from Coriant to carry 400 GbE traffic from New York to Washington states. That will be followed by a phase in which AT&T will send 400 GbE on a single 400G wavelength across its OpenROADM metro network. Ciena gear will be used. The final phase will test 400GbE on a “disaggregated router” platform and will use merchant silicon and open source software, the press release says.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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