U.S. Voting Infrastructure Under Attack

Carl Weinschenk

Fears of hackers attacking the United States’ voting infrastructure have been with us for years. Those fears, driven by attacks on the Democratic Party infrastructure during the primaries, have heightened the concerns about the security of the voting system for the presidential election on November 8.

Russian or Russian-supported hackers are suspected in the mischief. This week, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said that foreign hackers have gained access to state election data bases in Illinois and Arizona, according to PCWorld. The report focused on testimony by FBI Director James Comey to a House Judiciary Committee. At the hearing, Comey described various steps the bureau believes the hackers have undertaken.

In what passes for good news, Comey said that the “clunky and dispersed” nature of the voting infrastructure in the United States could make it more difficult for hackers.

Samsung and Mobile Telesystems in Wide Ranging Pact


Samsung and Mobile Telesystems this week said that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore next-generation technologies, according to ZDNet.

What is interesting about the plan is its broad nature. The companies, which have a preexisting relationship that includes providing LTE services to cities in Russia, will look at carrier aggregation; multiple-in, multiple out (MIMO) antennas, LTE broadcast; multipath transport control protocol (MPTCP); the Internet of Things (IoT); narrowband IoT; machine-to-machine (M2M) and LTE-Machine.

BlackBerry No Longer a Hardware Maker

At one point – and not too long ago, in anything other than dog or telecom years – BlackBerry was the king of the mobile device hill. This week, the company announced that it is ceasing to build the devices themselves.

Much has changed, and the survival path for the company is in software. It maintains a hardware presence for the modest profits the devices bring and for marketing purposes. Its most recent line of phone, the PRIV, runs on Android and is considered to be terrific. That wasn’t enough to save the hardware division, however. Network World reported on a written statement by CEO John Chen that said the task of building devices will be outsourced.

Less melancholy news is in the company’s quarterly report. MarketWatch said that BlackBerry “surprisingly” reported a breakeven quarter and raised its outlook for the year.

FTC to Seek Rehearing in Throttling Case

Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez on Tuesday said that the commission will appeal a recent decision concerning AT&T data throttling, according to WirelessWeek.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that AT&T is properly classified as “a status-based rather than activities-based exemption.” Ramirez said that this would create an “enforcement gap” between the FTC and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The idea is that a common carrier providing non-common carrier services could fall between the cracks of agencies charged with their oversight:

Ramirez said this loophole could potentially allow any company that has or acquires common carrier status to argue immunity from FTC action against any of its businesses. In a best case scenario, she said, the AT&T decision could result in similar services and products from two different companies – one with common carrier “status” and one without – being subject to unequal regulation.

Artificial Intelligence Is Real for Microsoft

Microsoft is making a concerted effort in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector, according to Light Reading.

The initiative includes Microsoft Research, the company’s Information Platform Group, Bing, Cortana, the Ambient Computing and the robotics team. All told, 5,000 scientists and engineers will be involved.

The story references a blog post from the Executive Vice President of the company’s research group. He says that the goal will be build “an AI stack spanning infrastructure, services, apps and agent[s]” for consumers, enterprises and developers.

Microsoft is not alone. The story mentions AI initiatives by Salesforce, Amazon and Google.

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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