The average young American now spends practically every waking minute - except for the time in school - using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones. And because so many of them are multitasking - say, surfing the Internet while listening to music - they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours. The study's findings shocked its authors, who had concluded in 2005 that use could not possibly grow further, and confirmed the fears of many parents whose children are constantly tethered to media devices. It found, moreover, that heavy media use is associated with several negatives, including behavior problems and lower grades.
(Net Family News) If anyone had any doubts about how big the mobile Web will be, Google's release of its Nexus One phone should erase them. It's part of Google's "careful plan to try to do what few other technology companies have done before: retain its leadership as computing shifts from one generation to the next," the New York Times reports. And this shift is computing, shopping, gaming, info-gathering, communicating, photo-sharing, learning, teaching, producing, etc. on smart phones. According to Nielsen, about 18% of mobile phones were smartphones last year (up from 13% the year before, and a projected 40-50% of mobile phones sold this year will be smart phones.
(Ars Technica) Data from Opera's mobile Web proxy servers suggest mobile Web browsing is exploding among users of standard cell phones, thanks in part to demand driven by consumers that expect smartphone-like browsing as well the more advanced capabilities of mobile browsers like Opera Mini.
(Le Point) La médiatisation la semaine dernière du cas d'un habitant de Petite-Forêt, près de Valenciennes, qui a reçu une facture d'Internet de près de 46.000 euros pour le seul mois d'août a incité d'autres clients malheureux à sortir de l'ombre. Un médecin urgentiste, abonné à internet avec une clé 3G illimitée, a affirmé mardi être en contentieux avec Orange depuis six mois après avoir reçu une facture de 159.212 euros.
(Berkman Center) It has been three weeks since the FCC posted for public comment the Berkman Center?s study (PDF) of international experience with broadband transitions and policy. The FCC recently upgraded its comment facility, and we want to encourage everyone who cares about the future of broadband, and the National Broadband Plan, to take advantage of this updated system and to add their comments to the appropriate FCC dockets. The comment period for the Berkman Center study closes November 16. In the meantime, comments in the blogosphere have also emerged, and we thought it would be appropriate to respond to the ones that have received the most attention. The study is long and dense, and we hope that P.I. Yochai Benkler's responses below, that highlight some key considerations of the study?s methods, will be helpful for those who are reviewing it.
(BBC) Researchers predict that more than one billion people around the world will be using mobile broadband by 2012. However some European mobile operators claim that current levels of use are already crippling their networks. In Britain mobile operator Vodafone is doubling its mobile broadband capacity to 14.4Mbps (Megabits per second).
The new service rolling out across the UK should give users a realistic peak speed of 10.8Mbps, says the company.
(BBC) Technology addiction among young people is having a disruptive effect on their learning, researchers have warned. Their report concluded that modern gadgets worsened pupils' spelling and concentration, encouraged plagiarism and disrupted lessons. The study - Techno Addicts: Young Person Addiction to Technology - was carried out by researchers at Cranfield School of Management, Northampton Business School and academic consultancy AJM Associates
(RAPID) The European Commission has adopted Guidelines on the application of EC Treaty state aid rules to the public funding of broadband networks. The Guidelines provide a clear and predictable framework for stakeholders and will help Member States to accelerate and extend broadband deployment. The Guidelines also contain specific provisions concerning the deployment of Next Generation Access networks, allowing public support to foster investment in this strategic sector without creating undue distortions of competition. The Guidelines take account of comments received during a public consultation.
(Ars Technica) In tests where they were asked to perform tasks that required working memory and focus, people prone to consuming multiple streams of information at once failed relative to their more single-minded peers.
(Simplifydigital) There is both good news and bad news in the latest announcement from Vodafone's mobile broadband headquarters. The good news is that they have again been pushing the mobile broadband boundaries with news that they are just about to launch a 21Mbs mobile broadband package. The bad news? It's Vodafone Greece not Vodafone UK who are launching the high speed mobile broadband product and there is no news yet on when these speeds are expected to hit UK shores. Vodafone Greece have long been renowned as the pioneers of high speed mobile broadband. Earlier this year residents of mainland Greece were the first people in Europe to be offered mobile broadband speeds of up to 14Mbs
(BBC) Broadband users are not getting the speeds they are paying for, according to the largest survey of its kind ever undertaken by telecoms regulator Ofcom. Nearly one fifth of UK broadband customers on an eight Megabit per second (Mbps) connection actually receive less than 2Mbps, it found. The research showed that less than 9% of users received more than 6Mbps. see also Virgin defends broadband speeds(Ed: an odd choice of ISP for the BBC to interview, since Virgin did best in the test).
(Pew Internet & American Life Project) 56% of adult Americans have accessed the internet by wireless means, such as using a laptop, mobile device, game console, or MP3 player. The most prevalent way people get online using a wireless network is with a laptop computer; 39% of adults have done this. The report also finds rising levels of Americans using the internet on a mobile handset. One-third of Americans (32%) have used a cell phone or Smartphone to access the internet for emailing, instant-messaging, or information-seeking. On the typical day, nearly one-fifth (19%) of Americans use the internet on a mobile device, up substantially from the 11% level recorded in December 2007. See also Home Broadband Adoption 2009. 63% of adult Americans now have broadband internet connections at home.
(Christian Science Monitor) A new report from Forrester Research estimates that approximately 2.2 billion people will be online over the next few years - an increase of over 45 percent. Analysts at Forrester forecast that, by 2013, 43 percent of that 2.2 billion will be based in Asia, with 17 percent in China alone. In 2008, the United States was home to the most Internet users, followed by China, Japan, Brazil, and Germany. By comparison, in 2013, China will be in first place, followed by the US, India, Japan, and Brazil. See also chart.
(Industry Standard) Everyone's abuzz about Web 2.0, and it's no wonder. Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are some of the Internet's most popular destinations, offering users unprecedented freedom to share content, engage in conversations and exchange ideas like never before. How short our memories are. Before everyone connected to one massive Internet, a variety of smaller commercial online services with names like CompuServe, GEnie, Prodigy, Delphi and, of course, America Online (AOL) ruled the roost. Some were launched as long ago as the late 1970s, and many were text-based with nary a graphic to be found. Each charged hourly or monthly fees to a national (and sometimes international) audience in exchange for access to its private network. In addition, there were many smaller Bulletin Board Systems, or BBSs, that were also accessed by use of modems and phone lines. see also Timeline: The evolution of online communities.
(LSE) The last alert from EU Kids Online contains information about the follow-up European survey project EU Kids Online II. It has details about the wealth of analysis of research results, recommendations for research methodology and policy recommendations produced by the project. See the Final Report of main findings from the EU Kids Online network. A summary of the final report has been translated into 11 languages (Bulgarian, Czech, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovene and Spanish). The report of the international one day conference on 11th June 2009, with PowerPoint presentations, research summaries and a video of the plenary speakers can all be found on the website.
(Net Family News) A report by Morgan Stanley's 15-year-old intern Matthew Robson on his friends' media habits got "five or six times more feedback" than its European media team's usual reports, the Financial Times reports. Robson "confirmed" that teens don't use Twitter; don't watch much TV or listen to much radio, preferring music-focused social sites such as Last.fm; "find advertising 'extremely annoying and pointless'; and, as in newspapers, "'cannot be bothered to read pages and pages of text'" instead of "summaries online or on television." Teens' "time and money is spent on cinema, concerts and video game consoles which, [Robson] said, now double as a more attractive vehicle for chatting with friends than the phone." See also Dissing Matthew Robson (or was that Morgan Stanley?).
(RAPID) An average European has now at least one object that is connected to the internet, be it a computer or mobile phone. But the number of connected devices that are hardly visible, more complex and more mobile around us will multiply a hundred or even a thousand times over the next 5 to 15 years. The European Commission has announced actions to make sure that Europe can play a leading role in shaping these new networks of interconnected objects from books to cars, from electrical appliances to food ? in short the emerging 'internet of things'.
(RAPID) The European Commission has launched a public consultation on its revised proposals for the regulation of Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband networks, in the form of a draft Commission Recommendation. A previous public consultation held during the last quarter of 2008 confirmed general support for the objective of the Commission to achieve a common regulatory framework for NGA in order to foster timely investment in very high speed networks while ensuring that the competitive structure of the market is maintained. In the light of comments from stakeholders, the revised draft Recommendation includes mechanisms to allocate the investment risk between investors and operators seeking access to NGA networks. The draft Recommendation forms part of the European Broadband Strategy that the March European Council invited the Commission to develop by the end of 2009. The public consultation will be open until 24 July 2009. The Commission plans to adopt the Recommendation, taking account of comments received, before the end of 2009. See also frequently asked questions.
(BBC) Internet traffic in Sweden fell by 33% as the country's new anti-piracy law came into effect. Sweden's new policy - the Local IPRED law - allows copyright holders to force internet service providers (ISP) to reveal details of users sharing files. According to figures released by the government statistics agency - Statistics Sweden - 8% of the entire population use peer-to-peer sharing. Popular BitTorrent sharing site, The Pirate Bay, is also based in Sweden.
(BBC) Status updates on sites such as Facebook, Yammer, Twitter and Friendfeed are a new form of communication, the South by SouthWest Festival has heard. "We are all in the process of creating e-mail 2.0," David Sacks, founder of business social network Yammer said. Tens of millions of people are using social networks to stay in touch. The growth in such services is being heralded as the start of the real-time, pervasive web.
(Economist) Even industry veterans have been surprised by the rapid take-up of mobile broadband - using built-in receivers or plug-in "dongles" to provide internet access to laptops via high-speed mobile networks. The advantage of this is that it works anywhere - unlike short-range Wi-Fi technology, it is not limited to a few hotspots. In Western Europe alone, the number of mobile-broadband users will grow by 50% to 27m this year. Worldwide, there are thought to be around 100m. The growth, however, comes with a couple of big drawbacks for the operators. One is loss of control. Subscribers can do what they want: the operator is merely a "dumb pipe" to the internet. Next, rates have been falling quickly. see also
Boom in the bust.
(RAPID) Connecting the 30% of the EU's rural population that has no high speed internet access should be a priority for achieving 'broadband for all' by 2010, the Commission has said. Improved internet connectivity is a powerful tool to stimulate swift economic recovery. The Commission has outlined how it would use its own support programmes to boost internet networks and services in rural areas, and called on EU Member States to do the same. See Communication on better access for rural areas to modern ICT.
(Wired) Netbooks violate all the laws of the computer hardware business. Traditionally, development trickles down from the high end to the mass market. PC makers target early adopters with new, ultrapowerful features. Years later, those innovations spread to lower-end models. But Mary Lou Jepsen's design for One Laptop per Child trickled up. In the process of creating a laptop to satisfy the needs of poor people, she revealed something about traditional PC users. They didn't want more out of a laptop - they wanted less.
(Official Google Blog) by Vint Cerf and Stephen Stuart. When an Internet application doesn't work as expected or your connection seems flaky, how can you tell whether there is a problem caused by your broadband ISP, the application, your PC, or something else? It can be difficult for experts, let alone average Internet users, to address this sort of question. Last year we asked a small group of academics about ways to advance network research and provide users with tools to test their broadband connections. Today Google, the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, the PlanetLab Consortium, and academic researchers are taking the wraps off of Measurement Lab (M-Lab), an open platform that researchers can use to deploy Internet measurement tools.
(RAPID) The European Commission aims to achieve 100 % high-speed internet coverage for all citizens by 2010 as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan. 1 billion has been earmarked to help rural areas get online, bring new jobs and help businesses grow. On average, 93 % of Europeans can enjoy a high speed online connection but in some countries broadband covers less than half of the rural population. Broadband internet connection is expected to create 1 million jobs and boost the EU's economy by ?850 billion between 2006 and 2015.
(iptegrity.com) Pushed by an AT&T lobbyist, some revised amendments to the Telecoms Package could usher in filtering, and have rocketed net neutrality from a non-issue to one of the hottest under discussion in the Telecoms Package trialogues.
A raft of new "compromise" amendments to the Telecoms Package is circulating in Brussels. On the surface, they state that telcos, network operators and ISPs should be able to "address unjustified degradation of service", and impose "reasonable usage restrictions, and price differentiation" without any regulatory interference. The sub-agenda however, is that these legal texts could enable network operators to shrug off accountability for filtering, throttling and degrading user traffic, including access to content. With obvious implications for the neutrality of the network.
(Guardian) Children are spending increasing amounts of their lives in front of televisions, computers and games consoles, cramming in nearly six hours of screen time a day, according to research. The online activity is building barriers between parents and children, the authors say, with a third of young people insisting they cannot live without their computer. From the age of seven children are building multimedia hubs in their rooms, with games consoles, internet access and MP3 players, which they wake up to in the morning and fall asleep to at night, according to the study of five- to 16-year-olds. Girls in particular are likely to chat online to their friends at night and 38% take a console to bed instead of a book. The latest research from market research agency ChildWise finds children and young teens are more likely to socialise than do homework online. Some 30% say they have a blog and 62% have a profile on a social networking site.
(Ofcom) UK consumers receive an average broadband speed of 3.6 megabits per second (Mbit/s), comprehensive new Ofcom research reveals. That's less than the average maximum possible speed of 4.3 Mbit/s across the UK and significantly below advertised headline speeds. Speeds are slowest between 5pm and 6pm on Sundays, when use of the internet is at its highest. But most consumers say they're reasonably happy with their broadband service - although speed is the most commonly cited cause of dissatisfaction.
(FT) Deutsche Telekom has abandoned a contentious plan to build its own ultra-fast broadband network in its domestic market and has instead linked up with rival Vodafone to develop the next-generation network across Germany. The move follows years of criticism from the European Commission, which feared that DT's go-it-alone approach, linked to a demand to keep rivals off its network, would lead to a new monopoly in Europe's largest telecoms market.
(Net Family News) By 2020, the mobile phone will be the main tool for connecting to the Internet for most of the world's people, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's latest "Internet Evolution" study. The study asked a group of 'Internet leaders, activists and analysts' to forecast what they expect to be the major technology advances of the next decade. Two other interesting predictions concerned social tolerance and virtual reality, and the experts polled seem to have felt just as uncertain as the rest of us about what impact connective technology will have on human relations and social tolerance: "The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance, or forgiveness." Their prediction about virtual reality lines up with teens' approach to tech for some time: "divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations."
(Ars Technica) The Wall Street Journal, having obtained some paperwork on a potential deal between Google and major ISPs, concluded that the search giant is backing off its net neutrality stance, and claims that many other major players are joining it. Fortunately, company counsel Richard Whitt describes the system in more detail on Google's Public Policy Blog. The plans are to have Google become its own edge-caching service provider, and do what commercial companies like Akamai are already engaged in: hosting copies of content at servers with high-speed connections to major regional networks. See also Nuts and Bolts: Network neutrality and edge caching (PFF Blog) by Brett Swanson.
(Economist) The internet: Predictions that an "exaflood" of traffic will overload the internet have been doing the rounds. But will it really happen? Video killed the radio star. Might its next victim be the internet? The popularity of YouTube, BitTorrent and other online-video services has prompted many gloomy prophesies that the net is on the verge of collapsing under the load.
(Economist) How much would you pay for unlimited access to WiFi hotspots that stretched for miles instead of a few hundred feet, provided unbroken connections even deep inside buildings, and offered broadband speeds ten times faster than today's wimpy connections found in coffee shops, hotel lobbies, airport lounges and homes? How about nothing, or next to nothing? That could be on the cards within a couple of years, thanks to a decision taken by America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
(RAPID) Europe could take the lead in the next generation of the Internet. The European Commission has outlined the main steps that Europe has to take to respond to the next wave of the Information Revolution that will intensify in the coming years due to trends such as social networking, the decisive shift to on-line business services, nomadic services based on GPS and mobile TV and the growth of smart tags. The report shows that Europe is well placed to exploit these trends because of its policies to support open and pro-competitive telecom networks as well as privacy and security. A public consultation has been launched by the Commission on the policy and private sector responses to these opportunities. The Commission report also unveils a new Broadband Performance Index (BPI) that compares national performance on key measures such as broadband speed, price, competition and coverage. Sweden and the Netherlands top this European broadband league, which complements the more traditional broadband penetration index used so far by telecoms regulators.
(RAPID) Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, Conference 'Network Neutrality - Implications for Innovation and Business Online' Copenhagen, 30 September 2008.
(RAPID) The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the regulatory principles to be applied by EU Member States to Next Generation Access broadband networks (NGA). NGA optical fibre-based networks enable bitrates several times higher than those currently available on traditional copper wire networks. NGAs are required to deliver high-definition content (such as high definition television) and interactive applications. The objective of a common regulatory framework for NGA is to foster a consistent treatment of operators in the EU and thereby ensure the necessary regulatory predictability to invest. The Commission is consulting on the basis of a draft Recommendation, addressed to the regulators in the 27 EU Member States and suggesting definitions for harmonized categories of regulated services, access conditions, rates of return and appropriate risk premiums. The public consultation will be open until 14th November 2008. The Commission will then finalise the Recommendation in the light of comments received and formally adopt it in 2009.
(BBC) A US study of instant messaging suggests the theory that it takes only six steps to link everyone may be right - though seven seems more accurate. Microsoft researchers studied the addresses of 30bn instant messages sent during a single month in 2006. Any two people on average are linked by seven or fewer acquaintances, they say.
(CNET) by Declan McCullagh. Federal regulators voted 3-2 to declare that Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent traffic last year was unlawful, marking the first time that any U.S. broadband provider has ever been found to violate Net neutrality rules. The Federal Communications Commission handed Comcast a cease-and-desist order and required the company to disclose to subscribers in the future how it plans to manage traffic. Comcast had said that its measures to slow BitTorrent transfers, which it voluntarily ended in March, were necessary to prevent its network from being overrun. See FCC News Release. See also Comcast and the Internet and Comcast and "network management" by Susan Crawford. See further Reactions to FCC's Comcast decision come fast and furious (Ars Technica) by Matthew Lasar.
(Europa) eCommunications household survey: The results of a special Eurobarometer survey conducted by TNS Opinion & Social between 9 November 2007 and 14 December 2007 to measure the attitude of European households and individuals towards fixed and mobile telephony, IT equipment and Internet access, TV broadcast services, bundled offers, telephone directories and 112 emergency call number. The survey covers the 27 EU Member States, with an average of 1,000 households interviewed per country. Full ReportSummary
(OUT-LAW News) A Code of Practice to ensure that internet service providers (ISPs) offer greater clarity over customers' broadband line speeds was published by Ofcom today. The Code does not require the disclosure of average speeds, but Ofcom said that might change. Some 32 ISPs, covering over 90% of broadband customers, have already agreed to honour both the letter and the spirit of the Code to give consumers a clearer understanding of the speeds they can get. Signatories include BT Total Broadband, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Tiscali and AOL Broadband.
(RAPID) Increasing demand for Internet based services means that there would not be enough addresses to support this expected growth, if no action is taken. Encouraging internet users and providers to adopt the latest Internet Protocol (IP version 6 or IPv6) will provide a massive increase in address space, much in the same way as telephone numbers were lengthened in the 20th century. The European Commission has set Europe a target of getting 25% of EU industry, public authorities and households to use IPv6 by 2010.
(Economist) The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regularly releases a ranking of broadband penetration, speeds and prices across its 30 countries. More recently, it has begun to look at coverage and competition too. The OECD released its latest report. The number of broadband subscribers in the world's 30 biggest countries grew by 18% to reach 235m, or one-fifth of those countries' total population. Between 2005 and 2006, prices fell by an average of 19% for DSL connections and 16% for cable lines. At the end of 2004 the average speed was 2 megabits(MB) per second; in 2007 it increased to almost 9MB. But the excellent report, written by Taylor Reynolds and Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, goes beyond the numbers and examines why broadband is actually useful. And here the authors face a problem: there simply is not good data to show that broadband matters. there is little evidence to support the notion that faster is inherently better. The rankings miss something crucial about how broadband is used, regardless of where a country stands.
Does it make sense to talk about a distinctive global culture of young people - Digital Natives - who have only known life in a digital age? An academic research team - joining people from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland - is working on a research project on Digital Natives. The focus of this research is on exploring the impacts of this generational demarcation between those born with these technologies and those who were not. See also Digital Natives session at Berkman@10. List of 9 myths floating through the ether about how young people use new technologies.
(Net Family News) "America's young people spend more time using media than they do on any single activity other than sleeping," according to The Future of Children, a joint project of Princeton University and the Brookings Institution. So we all need to know how our children and students use media - the Web, phones, videogames, instant messaging, music, video, TV, etc. - and how they affect their users. The just-released new issue of the project's journal Children and Electronic Media, published semi-annually, "looks at the best available evidence on whether and how exposure to different media forms is linked to child well-being."
(BSA) New research shows that New Zealand children are savvy media users and that while there has been an explosive growth of media devices in homes in the past few years, television remains the principal form of entertainment. The research, Seen and Heard, was carried out by Colmar Brunton for the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA). It involved interviewing more than 600 children aged between six and 13 and their primary caregivers. The focus of the research was how New Zealand children use and respond to media, including television, radio, the internet, and cell phones.
(BBC) New monthly mobile price plans from Vodafone will offer unlimited internet access as a standard feature in a bid to meet the growing demand for access to email and social networking on the move. Facebook, Google and the BBC are the top three internet sites on the Vodafone Mobile Internet, according to the company.
(BBC) Tough action is required by US regulators to protect the principles that have made the net so successful, a leading digital rights lawyer has said. Professor Lawrence Lessig was speaking at a public meeting to debate the tactics some net firms use to manage data traffic at busy times. He said the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) should act to keep all net traffic flowing equally.
(RAPID) More than half of Europeans are now regular Internet users, 80% of them have broadband connections and 60% of public services in the EU are fully available online. Two thirds of schools and half of doctors make use of fast Internet connections, thanks to strong broadband growth in Europe. These are the findings of a Commission report on the results achieved so far with i2010, the EU's digital-led strategy for growth and jobs.
(Times) Blog by David Hutchinson. I have been playing online with my Xbox. The game I've been playing the most is Call Of Duty 4, which has a 16+ rating. I wonder about the whole age rating thing. The Xbox has a plug-in headphone/microphone set. Many of the players appear to be boys who can't even be into their teenage years who shout insults in their pre-adolescent high pitches. I want parents to enforce game restriction ages, so I can enjoy an evening gaming and even if I still come last, at least it will be last among my peers.
(Reuters) Google has seen an acceleration of Internet activity among mobile phone users in recent months since the company introduced faster Web services on selected phone models, fueling confidence the mobile Internet era is at hand. Early evidence showing sharp increases in Internet usage on phones, not just computers, has emerged from services Google has begun offering in recent months on Blackberry e-mail phones, Nokia devices for multimedia picture and video creators and business professionals and the Apple iPhone, the world's top Web search company said.
(Forrester) Thirty eight percent of cell phone users in Western Europe will use mobile Internet services by 2013 according to a new five year forecast by Forrester Research. The growth in adoption means that 125 million Europeans will access the Web regularly from their mobile phone ? triple the number that do so today. One of the key drivers will be the proliferation of 3.5G-enabled devices, which will overtake the number of GSM-only and GPRS phones by 2010. By 2013, one in four consumers will own a 3.5G-enabled phone. Forrester Research Analyst Pete Nuthall said "Deploying high-speed mobile networks and rolling out advanced handsets are not enough to spark demand - our data shows that less than half of 3G phone owners use the 3G capability on their phone. To drive the mobile Internet, operators will need to push flat-rate data plans, increase the number of relevant services and applications, and introduce new devices that provide a better user experience."
(MIT Press) The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning examines the effect of digital media tools on how people learn, network, communicate, and play, and how growing up with these tools may affect a person's sense of self, how they express themselves, and their ability to learn, exercise judgment, and think systematically. The full text of each volume in the Series is provided for free and open access thanks to the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation. Youth, Identity, and Digital Media; Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media; Digital Young, Innovation, and the Unexpected; The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning; Digital Media, Youth, and Credibility; Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth. See also John Palfrey's blog about Digital Young, Innovation, and the Unexpected
(New York Times) The prototypical computer whiz of popular imagination ? pasty, geeky, male ? has failed to live up to his reputation. Research shows that among the youngest Internet users, the primary creators of Web content (blogs, graphics, photographs, Web sites) are not misfits resembling the Lone Gunmen of "The X Files." On the contrary, the cyberpioneers of the moment are digitally effusive teenage girls.
(CNET News.com) by Stefanie Olsen. PBS Kids unveiled a test version of an educational game site for kids age 3 to 6, in one of the first advertising-free efforts aimed at small children and their parents online. The Web site, called PBS Kids Play, is a subscription-based service that lets children play animated games with characters like Curious George and learn basic skills in reading, listening comprehension, and problem solving. Parents can log onto the site separately to view their child's progress on various educational games based on national standards
(BBC) Firms across the Middle East, India and Bangladesh are experiencing disruption after undersea broadband cables were damaged between Egypt and Italy. India is home to an $11bn (£5.5bn) outsourcing industry, but UK firms say they have so far seen little impact. The disruption looks set to continue, with repairs to take another week, and after another broadband cable was cut between the UAE and Oman.
(Economist) China will soon boast more internet users than any other country. But usage patterns inside China are different from those elsewhere. The internet fills gaps and provides what is unavailable elsewhere, particularly for young people. More than 70% of Chinese internet users are under 30, precisely the opposite of America, and there is enormous pent-up demand for entertainment, amusement and social interaction.
(IHT) The European Union telecommunications commissioner, Viviane Reding, has distanced herself from a proposal by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France to impose a tax on Internet and mobile phone access, saying it might not be the best way to expand access to new media. At a conference in Munich, Reding said that the proposal ran contrary to her vision of a Europe where borderless and inexpensive access to Internet and cellphone networks was the standard.
(IDG) China's Internet population stood at 210 million at the end of last year, up 53 percent from the same time in 2006 when there were 137 million, the China Internet Network Information Centre said in its semi-annual report on Internet use.
(New York Times) On the opening day of Mobile Internet World in Boston, Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the World Wide Web told a packed hall that the mobile Internet needs to be fully and completely the Internet, nothing more and nothing less. It needs to be free of central control, universal, and embodied in open standards. The title of his talk was "Escaping the Walled Garden: Growing the Mobile Web with Open Standards." The "walled garden" is the metaphor that describes today's cable TV and cellular data networks, where subscribers can only use devices authorized by the carrier, and can only access content and services authorized by the carrier, the exact opposite of the World Wide Web running over the IP-based Internet, which cell phone users access from their home and work PCs.
(Pew Internet & American Life Project) Parents today are less likely to say that the internet has been a good thing for their children than they were in 2004. However, this does not mean there was a corresponding increase in the amount of parents who think the internet has been harmful to their children. Instead, the biggest increase has been in the amount of parents who do not think the internet has had an effect on their children one way or the other. Fully, 87% of parents of teenagers are online - at least 17% more than average adults. Parents check up on and regulate their teens' media use, not just in terms of the internet, but with television and video games as well. However, those rules lean slightly more towards the content of the media rather than the time spent with the media device.
(BBC) Regulator Ofcom has added its voice to the growing debate about how the UK should roll out super-fast broadband. It has launched a consultation, running until December, to probe ways to keep UK net services up to speed with those of other nations. Current broadband speeds have a natural limit which are unlikely to satisfy growing consumer demand for bandwidth. see also Ofcom opens door for 10 times faster broadband connections (Guardian).
Web's global nature makes it essential for U.K. and Europe to discuss Net neutrality, says British Computer Society president. Professor Nigel Shadbolt said that, because so much of the Internet's content is derived from the U.S., the U.K. and Europe would be affected by any Net neutrality-related decisions made across the Atlantic. Because Internet users in the U.S. tend to have a smaller range of ISPs to choose from than do users in the U.K., the consensus in the U.K. has been that Net neutrality is a U.S.-centric debate.
A Belgian court ruling would force internet service providers into conducting "invisible and illegal" checks on internet users' actions, according to Belgian ISP Scarlet, who were recently ordered by a Belgian court to block its users from engaging in illegal file-sharing. It has now lodged an appeal against that ruling. "This measure is nothing else than playing Big Brother on the Internet,'' said Scarlet managing director. "If we don't challenge it today, we leave the door open to permanent, and invisible and illegal, checks of personal data."
Advertising-supported companies have long turned to the courts to squelch products that let consumers block or skip ads: it happened in the famous lawsuit against the VCR in 1979 and again with ReplayTV in 2001. Tomorrow's legal fight may be over Web browser add-ons that let people avoid advertisements.
The US Justice Department has said that internet service providers should be allowed to charge for priority traffic. The agency said it was opposed to "network neutrality", the idea that all data on the net is treated equally. The comments put the agency at odds with companies such as Microsoft and Google, who have called for legislation to guarantee equal access to the net.
(BBC) Researchers have found a way to enforce good manners on file-sharing networks by treating bandwidth as a currency. The team has created a peer-to-peer system called Tribler in which selfless sharers earn faster upload and download speeds but leechers are penalised. Overlaid on Tribler is social networking technology that helps to police the system and encourage fair sharing. Tribler has already caught the attention of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is trying to create a standardised internet broadcasting system across Europe.
(Reuters) A 39-year-old Briton has been arrested on suspicion of using someone else's wireless Internet connection without permission, police said on Wednesday.
Officers spotted the man using a laptop as he sat on a wall outside a house in Chiswick, West London. He told officers he had browsed the Internet via an unsecured broadband link from a nearby house, Scotland Yard said. He was arrested and later released on police bail to November 11 pending further inquiries. See also Police: Wi-Fi arrest not part of a crackdown (ZDNet UK).
(BBC) The net, mobile phones and MP3 players are revolutionising how Britons spend their time, says Ofcom's annual report. It reveals that older media such as TV, radio and even DVDs are being abandoned in favour of more modern technology. Surprisingly, it also shows that women, in some age groups, are the dominant web users and older web users spend more time online than any group. Among children it showed that web and mobile phone use is growing at the expense of video games. See also Mobile phones 'eroding landlines' and More than half of UK homes have broadband (vnunet.com).
(BBC) Some of the largest broadband providers in the UK are threatening to "pull the plug" from the BBC's new iPlayer unless the corporation contributes to the cost of streaming its videos over the internet. The likes of Tiscali, BT and Carphone Warehouse are all growing concerned that the impact of hundreds of thousands of consumers watching BBC programmes on its iPlayer ? which allows viewers to watch shows over the internet ? will place an intolerable strain on their networks. Some of the companies involved have told the BBC that they will consider limiting the bandwidth available to iPlayer ? a process known as traffic shaping. The measure would limit the number of consumers who could access the iPlayer at any one time.
(Washington Post) Disney has announced the acquisition of Club Penguin, a virtual world for children that's been around less than two years but has grown to 12 million registered users, largely without marketing. Disney executives said the deal, valued at as much as $700 million depending on the company's performance, won't result in changes to the Club Penguin site, which requires parental permission for membership and doesn't have advertising. But the deal has prompted child advocates to ask whether kids are helped or harmed by exposure to the Web. There are a growing number of sites that claim to offer entertainment and education for children. Disney said it wants to invest in sites where parents can be assured of their children's safety against adult content and contact from strangers.
(Guardian) There is a huge gap between the broadband speeds providers are advertising and those that users are able to achieve at home, research by Which? showed. Which? claims that while many companies advertise speeds of up to 8Mbps (megabits per second) or faster, consumers are achieving an average speed of just 2.7Mbps, while some have experienced speeds as low as 0.09Mbps.
The US Congress really doesn't get tech. Politicians charged that peer-to-peer networks can pose a "national security threat" because they enable federal employees to share sensitive or classified documents accidentally from their computers.
(BBC) Five years after the concept was first proposed, the so-called $100 laptop is poised to go into mass production. Hardware suppliers have been given the green light to ramp-up production of all of the components needed to build millions of the low-cost machines. See One Laptop Per Child.
(BBC) Broadband users in 30 of the world's most developed countries are getting greatly differing speeds and prices. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report says 60% of its member countries net users are now on broadband. The report said countries that had switched to fibre networks had the best speeds at the lowest prices. See OECD Communications Outlook 2007
(Times) The huge expansion of online social networking sites has opened up an etiquette minefield, complete with snubs, awkward faux pas and ample opportunity to give and take offence. With networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace expanding expedientially, the rise of cyber friendships has brought with it a new set of social niceties, conventions and potential embarrassments.
(RAPID) The European Commission has fined the Spanish incumbent telecoms operator Telefónica 151 875 000 for a very serious abuse of its dominant position in the Spanish broadband market. Telefónica imposed unfair prices in the form of a margin squeeze between the wholesale prices it charged to competitors and the retail prices it charged to its own customers. In so doing, Telefónica weakened its competitors, making their continued presence and growth difficult: competitors were forced to make losses if they wanted to match Telefónica's retail prices. With high wholesale costs and weakened retail competition on the broadband market, Spanish consumers pay 20% more than the EU-15 average for broadband access. The Spanish broadband penetration rate is 20% below EU-15 average, and its growth is nearly 30% below that of the EU-15. see also frequently asked questions and Press conference on Telefónica decision introductory remarks Neelie Kroes European Commissioner for Competition Policy, Press conference, Brussels, 4th July 2007.
(BBC) Net providers (ISPs) may start charging some websites for faster access to customers, a report has predicted; It could create a 'two-tiered internet' which, while making money for providers would risk alienating consumers, Jupiter Research said. ISPs currently operate on incredibly tight margins in order to offer cheap broadband deals to the public. One way of creating a new revenue stream would be to supply faster, prioritised access to a select group of websites willing to pay.
(Economist) Internet-service providers are worried that new online-video services, such as a television-over-internet service called Joost, will overload their networks. Many ISPs have taken the less drastic measure of "throttling" the download speeds available to their heaviest users at peak times, which are between 4pm and midnight - in other words, prime-time for television. Virgin Media, a British ISP that recently introduced throttling, offers a maximum download speed of 20 megabits per second, but this is reduced once a three-gigabyte limit has been exceeded. If the connection is running at full capacity, that will take 20 minutes.
(Economist) Mobile operators and handset-makers are turning to social scientists, and in particular to anthropologists, the better to understand how telephones are used. Some of their findings are quite unexpected. A typical user spends 80% of his or her time communicating with just four other people. Despite much talk of "convergence" within the industry, people are in fact using different communications technologies in distinct and divergent ways. Even when people are given unlimited cheap or free calls, the number and length of calls does not increase significantly. Private communications are invading the workplace. Migrants are the most advanced users of communications technology.
(RAPID) Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. The International Conference "Exploring the Global Dynamics of Broadband Internet", Athens, 1 June 2007.
If you thought you could protect your privacy on the web by lying about your personal details, think again. In online communities at least, entering fake details such as a bogus name or age may no longer prevent others from working out exactly who you are.
That is the spectre raised by new research conducted by Microsoft. The computing giant is developing software that could accurately guess your name, age, gender and potentially even your location, by analysing telltale patterns in your web browsing history. But experts say the idea is a clear threat to privacy - and may be illegal in some places.
Spammers, phishers and other Internet bottom-feeders, be warned. A key Internet standards body gave preliminary approval on Tuesday to a powerful technology designed to detect and block fake e-mail messages. It's called DomainKeys Identified Mail, and it promises to give Internet users the best chance so far of stanching the seemingly endless flow of fraudulent junk e-mail.
(Reuters) Virtual reality world Second Life was born in the United States, but 61 percent of its active residents are Europeans, a study by research firm comScore said. The number of active German residents exceeds the number of active residents in the United States, although growth rates in the U.S. are the highest worldwide.
(BBC) The net is helping to close the digital divide between industrialised nations, suggests a report. The annual e-readiness rankings by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows Asian and African nations catching up with big net users such as Denmark. The report says this is partly due to broadband which is now cheap and affordable in almost every nation. But it warns that much hard work remains to be done to get the best out of the net for citizens and companies.
(CBC) Cyber-bullying is disturbingly common among Canadian teens, with a majority who responded to an online survey saying they have been bullied online, according to a report. The report, Cyber-bullying: Our Kids' New Reality, drew from nearly 2,500 responses to a survey conducted by Kids Help Phone between Dec. 20, 2006, and Jan. 20, 2007. Kids Help Phone and Bell Canada released the report in a handful of Canadian cities.
(BBC) The support for a blogger hounded by death threats has intensified with some high profile web experts calling for a code of conduct in the blogosphere. Kathy Sierra, the female blogger at the centre of the row has been shocked to discover that hers is not an isolated incident. See also Call for a Blogger's Code of Conduct (Tim O'Reilly).
(Ars Technica) Quanta, the company manufacturing the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project's XO laptops, plans to begin selling low-cost budget mobile computers for $200 later this year. The company plans to leverage the underlying technologies associated with OLPC's XO laptop to produce laptop computers that are significantly less expensive than conventional laptops. The OLPC project hopes to bring inexpensive Linux-based laptops to the education market in developing countries.
(Lawrence Lessig) One clue to this Net Neutrality debate is to watch what kind of souls are on each side of the debate. The pro-NN contingent is filled with the people who actually built the Net - from Vint Cerf to Google to eBay - and those who profit from the competition enabled by the Net - e.g., Microsoft. The anti-NN contingent is filled with the entities that either never got the Net, or fought like hell to control it ? telecom, and cable companies. see also Tim Berners-Lee blog.
(CNET News.com) More than 60 percent of Internet traffic is being taken up by peer-to-peer swaps, and about 60 percent of those swaps involve video content. And there is a growing amount of legitimate content from companies such as Apple Computer, MovieLink and Google Video. Big ISPS such as AT&T have already argued that they should be able to charge companies such as Google or Yahoo for an extra tier of service, ensuring their content arrives swiftly at its destination. Web companies and civil libertarians have bitterly criticized this idea, calling for "network neutrality" that doesn't relegate other content to a slow lane, or pass along costs to consumers.
(The Register) Vint Cerf told Congress that ideas proposed by telecoms companies for a two-tier internet were fatally flawed and, if necessary, legislation should be passed to make it impossible. Giving evidence to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee, Cerf called for a 'net neutrality' law to force broadband providers to give equal access to any website or applicahttp://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=6959&postID=113957693043920975tion. see also The End of the Internet? by
Jeff Chester and Senators Mull an Internet With Restrictions by Celia Viggo Wexler and Dawn Holian (The Nation).
(Michael Geist) Given the importance of the neutrality principle, it came as a shock to learn last week that Telus, Canada's second largest telecommunications company, was actively blocking access to Voices for Change, a website supporting the Telecommunications Workers Union.
US - Net Neutrality: Let's Look Before We Leap (NTIA) Remarks of Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nancy J. Victory to the Progress and Freedom Foundation Conference. June 27, 2003. see also FCC official: No need to regulate ISPs (Reuters) There is no need for the Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules to address concerns that high-speed Internet service providers will favor some Web sites over others, an agency official said .The FCC has been debating whether such rules are necessary amid fears that consumers could be blocked from going to Web sites that do not have a business relationship with their ISP, whether it's a cable company or a telecommunications company. 'It is not entirely clear why a regulatory openness mandate is such an imperative right now,' said Kenneth Ferree, head of the FCC's media bureau, which regulates cable operators. 'There seem to be powerful market incentives already for broadband providers to make their systems consumer-friendly, that is, to ensure their networks are largely open,' Ferree told the Progress & Freedom Foundation conference.