ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER HARRY REID GAFFE: Obamacare Site is Fine, Clueless Americans Don’t Know How to Use Internet

Guest post by Katrina Trinko

It’s not that HealthCare.gov is a nightmare. Instead, it’s the fault of incompetent Americans.

That’s the jist of what Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D–Nev.) said today, when asked by a reporter about the Obama administration’s decision, which was reported on last night, that people could claim they had tried to sign up before the March 31st deadline and still enroll in Obamacare in April.

“There’s no hiccup or delay,” Reid said. “We have hundreds of thousands of people who tried to sign up and they didn’t get through.”

Noting that everyone could use the Internet “like my grandchildren who can handle everything so easily on the Internet,” Reid talked about people who “need a little extra time.”

“The example they gave,” he added, referring to a Connecticut public radio station’s broadcast, “is a 63-year-old woman came into the store and said, ‘I almost got it. But every time I just about got there, it would cut me off.’ We have a lot of people just like this, through no fault of the Internet, but because people are not educated on how to use the Internet.”

Read more at The Foundry

Doug Ross @ Journal

RED SCREEN OF DEATH: White House Plans to Turn Over Control of Internet to Totalitarian Regimes

Guest post by Investor’s Business Daily

Error 404: U.S. officials plan to relinquish federal control over the administration of the Internet to something called the “global Internet community,” which is full of tyrants to whom the free flow of information is a threat.

In the wake of the NSA surveillance scandal, some might not be inclined to defend federal involvement in anything related to the flow of information between individuals.

But the decision announced Friday by the Commerce Department to give up next year its oversight of Icann, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to the “global Internet community” is a bad idea.

Under a Commerce Department contract, Icann has issued domain names since 2000. But the Los Angeles-based nonprofit has worked, encouraged by states and groups not necessarily dedicated to free expression, to transform itself into a global organization free of U.S. ties.

Since at least 2004, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has tried repeatedly to wrest power from Icann. During a meeting in Dubai last year, the ITU, the telecom branch of the United Nations, demanded rules governing the Internet be rewritten. It proposed inspection authority that would allow it to monitor and censor otherwise encrypted content on the Internet.

In 2008, the Internet trade journal Cnet reported the ITU was quietly drafting technical standards, proposed by the Chinese government, to define methods of tracing the original source of Internet communications and potentially curbing the ability of users to remain anonymous. Regimes in places such as Russia and Iran also want an ITU rule letting them monitor traffic routed through or to their countries, allowing them to eavesdrop or block access.

The Obama administration calls the move to relinquish Internet oversight the “multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance,” as announced by Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information. “We look forward to Icann convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan.”

Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the ITU, released a report in May 2013 outlining groundwork for Internet governance and regulatory topics. The report calls for the creation of “global principles for the governance and use of the Internet” and proposes the resolution of issues pertaining to “use of Internet resources for purposes that are inconsistent with international peace, stability and security.”

Just what does using the Internet in ways “inconsistent with international peace, stability and security” mean?

Would it mean a Ukrainian sending tweets telling Moscow to get out of Crimea or creating a blog documenting the assault on Ukrainian sovereignty?

Before Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, Moscow launched attacks against its Internet infrastructure with coordinated barrages of millions of requests, known as distributed denial-of-service attacks, which overloaded and effectively shut down Georgian servers.

Today, the largely self-regulating Internet means no one has to ask for permission to launch a site and no government can tell network operators how to do their jobs. The Internet freely crosses international boundaries, making it difficult for governments to censor. To many governments, the Internet is a threat to statist goals.

“While I certainly agree our nation must stridently review our procedures regarding surveillance in light of the NSA controversy, to put ourselves in a situation where censorship-laden governments like China or Russia could take a firm hold on the Internet itself is truly a scary thought,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., says in Politico.

No doubt the Obama administration views U.S. Internet control as an example of U.S. exceptionalism and bullying, for which it constantly apologizes. As Scott notes, there is great danger here, for the “global Internet community” that the Obama administration would empower has no First Amendment.


Read more at Investor’s Business Daily

Doug Ross @ Journal

CHART: Top 10 sites consuming the most Internet bandwidth

Since I’m not a gamer, I had no idea what “Twitch” is. Not Twitchy. Twitch. And it’s apparently consuming tremendous amounts of bandwidth on the intratubes.

Twitch, the startup which lets players broadcast and watch live streams of video gaming action, is not yet a huge public company. Yet it ranks among these web titans as one of the largest sources of broadband traffic during prime-time hours, according to a new study from the cloud and network infrastructure firm DeepField.

Twitch announced today that is now has more than 1 million different users broadcasting on its platform each month. That helped it push more traffic across the web than big names in the streaming video and music business like Hulu, Amazon, and Pandora. “We don’t keep track of our share of global internet traffic, so that chart was news to us,” says Matt DiPietro, Twitch’s vice president of marketing. “But I think it was gratifying for our infrastructure team to see, because they have been working like crazy to help us keep up.”

The rapid rise in broadcasters is due in part to a new platform for Twitch’s streaming service, a home-console system. Before the release of the newest Playstation and Xbox units, Twitch was for PC gaming only. “About 20 percent of our broadcasters are now coming from the Playstation 4,” says DiPietro. “That shows us there is a whole new audience with a hunger for the ability to stream their games.” Twitch also integrates with the Xbox One, though that feature has not officially rolled out yet.

In order to deal with its rapidly rising bandwidth, Twitch is upgrading its “points of presence” — locations where it owns or rents servers — so that it has enough horsepower near big audience clusters to deliver smooth video. “We just finished a 400 percent expansion to our Chicago site and the same in Stockholm. We are looking to do the same for our audience in Russia, Korea, and Brazil,” notes DiPietro. The company is using the $ 20 million it raised back in September of 2013 to fund this expansion.

But don’t worry, the forthcoming merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is bound to improve Internet performance and customer service!

Doug Ross @ Journal