Reagan’s ‘Obamaphone’ program Expands To Include Internet

obama phone

On Thursday, the FCC moved forward with a plan that would offer subsidies so that poor Americans could get broadband access, according to Gizmodo.

The FCC voted to expand the “Obamaphone” program (real name: “Lifeline”) to include discounted Internet service for low-income households.

The federal subsidy for low-income Americans provides eligible recipients with $9.25 a month to buy phone service, according to CNN. After a controversial vote on Thursday, the FCC will allow the more than 18 million Lifeline recipients to buy broadband with their subsidy too, following a public comment period.

Recipients (who are those living at or below 135% of the poverty line) will receive the same benefit card, which will still come loaded with the $9.25 a month that they get for discount phone service.

The Hill writes that the program would provide subsidies for broadband in addition to cell and landline phone service. The Hill states The program is funded by fees paid by service providers that are generally listed on customer’s telephone bills.

The Lifeline program is an initiative dating back to the Reagan era that was expanded to include cell phones under President George W. Bush, according to CNN.

The FCC defines broadband as Internet service with speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second. It is usually accessed through in-home connections, and is roughly twice as fast as the average 4G phone connection.

(Updated article)

http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/18/technology/obamaphone-lifeline-fcc-broadband/

http://gizmodo.com/the-fcc-is-kicking-ass-1712385250

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/245412-fcc-votes-to-provide-subsidies-for-broadband-internet

What Is The ‘Charlie Charlie Challenge?’


TYT Network

What’s the Charlie Charlie Challenge and where did it come from?

The Charlie Charlie Challenge – or variants of it, known as the pencil game or Charlie pencil – has been around for some time. It’s claimed that the game is an old Mexican tradition, but there’s no information on that on the internet.  It seems to have been around for years before it took off this week.

To play the game, get a sheet of paper and draw two lines on it to make a cross, writes TYT Network.  Put a “yes” in the top right and bottom left hand corner, and a “no” in the remaining two.”

Chant the phrase “Charlie Charlie, can we play?” or “Charlie, Charlie, are you here?” If the top pencil moves to the word “yes” after the chant, a Mexican “demon” named Charlie has supposedly been called to answer questions, according to knowyourmeme.com.

To end the game, players chant the phrase “Charlie, Charlie, can we stop?”

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/charlie-charlie-challenge

New Reddit Anti-Bullying Policy


Sam Seder

Reddit is updating its policies on harassment and bullying. They will be taking a more active role to protect individuals while hoping to maintain their hands-free approach to moderation and community building, writes the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Site administrators wrote on Friday that they are changing their practices “to prohibit attacks and harassment of individuals through Reddit…”

They defined harassment as: “Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that Reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2) fear for their safety or the safety of those around them.”

Administrators praised the social media network’s growth since its launch 10 years ago and also addressed a growth in harassment directed at individuals, writs the CBC.

They addressed specifically the posting of people’s private information, or links to people’s private information, without their consent (known as doxing).

Majority Report discusses it.

(Updated article)

http://thenextweb.com/insider/2015/05/14/reddit-is-finally-introducing-an-anti-harassment-policy/

http://www.cbc.ca/news/trending/reddit-targets-bullying-sexism-and-doxing-with-new-anti-harassment-policy-1.3075928

Another Look At The Net Neutrality Critic Louie Gohmert

Majority Report

During the last in a two-week marathon of appearances by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler before lawmakers to defend his agency’s net neutrality rules, Louie Gohmert got a chance to voice his opinion.

“Gohmert (R-Tex.), an outspoken critic of the agency’s rules that prevent Internet providers from blocking Web sites or speeding some of them up over others, exploded during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday,” stated The Washington Post.

“His voice rising to a shout, Gohmert threw a stream of accusations at Wheeler, complaining that the FCC had cut off Internet providers’ ability to find new ways of making money,” states The Post.

“Before the FCC came in, everybody could explore new business models,” Gohmert said. “You’re playing God with the Internet … That’s not your job.”

Majority Report gives its take on it.

(Updated Post)

Trial To Look At The Role Of Online Bullying In Suicide Death

A 15-year-old California girl hanged herself a week after three classmates photographed themselves sexually assaulting her at a 2012 party.  She reportedly was petrified the boys would circulate the photos online and believed gossip about her was spreading widely, according to philly.com.

And perhaps it was spreading widely.

Audrie Pott’s story has captivated those concerned with teen bullying, which appears to be on the rise with the help of smartphones and social media.

A wrongful death trial this month in San Jose will determine whether bullying played a role in the girl’s suicide.  What do you think?

Lawyers are scheduled to argue Wednesday over what evidence the jury will hear, while opening statements are expected to start next week.

The three boys, now high school seniors, and other teens are expected to deliver uncomfortable and emotional testimony about the party where Audrie was sexually assaulted after passing out drunk, as well as about other events leading up to her death.

More:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/20150401_ap_c91ac5b60cfe4300b4b025211c45233a.html#ypFjfzPHVlidtX2s.99

Gohmert: ‘You’re Playing God With The Internet!’

Secular Talk

U.S. Representative from Texas Louie Gohmert got it wrong on Net Neutrality during a recent congressional hearing.  Gohmert speaks loudly and forcefully, so some people might believe him.

The FCC did not “take over the internet,” but it “classified the internet as a utility.”

The big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would like to charge more for quicker downloads and uploads for specific sites. The big ISPs could also threaten to slow down your site unless you pay more money.

The FCC classified it as a utility so that this won’t happen. The FCC wants Net Neutrality, which is keeping the internet the same as it is now.

Leaked Misogynistic Carlson Emails From ‘The Daily Caller’

TYT Network

Wikipedia: “Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson (born May 16, 1969) is an American political news correspondent and conservative pundit for the Fox News Channel. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller and formerly co-hosted CNN’s Crossfire and MSNBC’s Tucker.

The Daily Caller is an internet news site. The site has a right-wing agenda, so always double-check for other sources before citing a Daily Caller article.

Fox News states: “Tucker Carlson currently serves as co-host of FOX & Friends Weekend (weekends 6-10AM/ET). He joined FNC in 2009 as a contributor.”

Here, TYT Network discusses a misogynist e-mail exchange exposed at The Daily Caller.

The White House To Fight ISIS On Internet

ISIS, Twitter, Cybersecurity

As part of its plan to counter violent extremism throughout the world, the Obama administration is looking to fight the impact that groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have on social media, according to The Hill.

The administration will work with companies and nations and will launch campaigns to counter terrorist groups’ online propaganda, which have become a key tool in their effort to spread their message of violence to the globe.

“The U.S. government, in partnership with foreign governments, civil society, and the private sector, is working to weaken the legitimacy and resonance of violent extremist messaging and narratives, including through social media,” the White House said in a fact sheet on Wednesday.

The government is organizing “technology camps” to work with companies and community groups “to develop digital content that discredits violent extremist narratives and amplifies positive alternatives,” the White House said.

Additionally, the administration is putting a new focus on countering the extremist groups’ online messages by designating a new envoy charged with discrediting them and creating a “digital communications hub” to focus specifically on ISIS’ messaging.

Internet companies have come under some pressure to do more to block the militant organizations.

One letter currently on Capitol Hill calls on Twitter to adopt new internal policies so that it treats posts endorsing terrorism similar to posts on child pornography or pirated content.

“In light of the fact that designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations now actively use Twitter to post content depicting the murder of individuals they have kidnapped or captured, users should be afforded the option to report such content as obscene and objectionable – just as easily as they are able to flag child pornography,” lawmakers wrote in a recent draft of the letter, according to The Hill.

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/233193-white-house-aims-to-silence-terrorists-online

German Internet Guru Kim Dotcom To Start Political Party In the U.S.

KimDotcom
Kim Dotcom

Would a third viable political party be helpful or hurtful to the U.S.?

The last time a viable third-party candidate ran for president in the U.S. was in 2000, when Ralph Nader of the Green Party ran against Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush.

In the U.S., there seemed to be a general feeling that Nader siphoned votes from the center-left Democrats and actually helped Republican George Bush win a plurality for the election. That, in turn, pulled the nation to the right and eventually made the Iraq war possible.

It was as if the Green Party had an effect opposite to what the left wanted.

A party in the middle could have a different effect, however, perhaps taking votes from Republicans.

Kim Dotcom is the figure behind file-storage and -sharing service Megaupload, and he has decided to bring his Internet Party to the U.S.

The Internet Party was founded in Kim’s current place of residence, New Zealand.  Wikipedia describes the Internet Party as “A party advocating for less surveillance, copyright reform and cheap internet.”

Dotcom, who was born Kim Schmitz in Germany, announced Monday on his Twitter account that the Internet Party will arrive in the U.S. next year. Dotcom tweeted that the party will be “well-funded and run by American citizens,” adding that some of its founders come from the “music, film, and Internet” industries.

Obama Calls For Net Neutrality And To Classify The Internet As Public Utility

President Obama has called on the Federal Communications Commission to classify the Internet as a public utility. Obama said such protections would prevent Internet service providers like Comcast from blocking access to websites, slowing down content or providing paid fast lanes for Internet service. However, it is unclear whether his appointed FCC chair, Tom Wheeler, will agree to net neutrality.

Video by Democracy Now!