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Man To Pay $300,000 In Damages For Hacking Employer
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 11:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's guilty-as-charged department:
An anonymous reader writes: A former private security officer in California must pay nearly $319,000 in damages for attacking his employer's computer systems. Yovan Garcia accessed payroll records at Security Specialists, which provides private security patrols, to inflate the number of hours he had worked. He later hacked the firm's servers to steal data and defaced its website. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald said Garcia had used the stolen data to help set up a rival business. Security Specialists first noticed issues with Mr Garcia's pay records in July 2014, about two years after he joined. In one example, they showed he had worked 12 hours per day over a two-week period and was owed 40 hours of overtime pay, when in fact he only worked eight hours per day.

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NYU Accidentally Exposed Military Code-breaking Computer Project To Entire Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 10:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-happening department:
An anonymous reader writes: A confidential computer project designed to break military codes was accidentally made public by New York University engineers. An anonymous digital security researcher identified files related to the project while hunting for things on the internet that shouldn't be, The Intercept reported. He used a program called Shodan, a search engine for internet-connected devices, to locate the project. It is the product of a joint initiative by NYU's Institute for Mathematics and Advanced Supercomputing, headed by the world-renowned Chudnovsky brothers, David and Gregory, the Department of Defense, and IBM. Information on an exposed backup drive described the supercomputer, called âoeWindsorGreen,â as a system capable of cracking passwords.

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Apple is Bringing iTunes To the Windows Store
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 10:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's omg department:
Tom Warren, writing for The Verge: Apple is planning to bring its iTunes desktop app to the Windows Store. In a surprise announcement at the Build developer event today, Microsoft revealed it has been working with Apple to get iTunes listed in the Windows Store. It might not sound like an important addition, but iTunes is one of the most searched for apps that's currently missing in the Windows Store. USA Today veteran columnist, summing up the announcement, "Microsoft announces that iTunes (incl Apple Music and full support for iPhone) is coming to the Windows Store. Big get for Microsoft." Microsoft's communication head, summing up the situation, "Didn't see that one coming, did you!"

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Snap CEO Evan Spiegel Is Not Afraid of Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 08:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tearing-to-pieces department:
An anonymous reader writes: Snap CEO Evan Spiegel addressed on Wednesday what many have been hoping he would address for months: What he thinks about Facebook and the fact the social giant is copying all of Snapchat's best features. On Snap's Q1 earnings call Wednesday, Spiegel was asked bluntly: "Does Facebook scare you? Why or why not?" Spiegel laughed. Then talked about how important it is to be creative. Then said this: "At the end of the day, just because Yahoo, for example, has a search box, it doesn't mean they're Google." Fun fact: Yahoo is an investor in Snap.

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Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the Next Major Update To Desktop OS
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 08:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
At its developer conference on Thursday, Microsoft announced that the next major update to its desktop operating system will be called Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. It will be made available in September later this year. The update will come with several new features: Timeline, Pick Up Where You Left Off, Clipboard, OneDrive Files On-Demand, and Story Remix app among others. Timeline is a new feature that improves the Task View area to provide a list of apps and workspaces that you were using previously or on other devices. Think of it like a time machine for resuming old sessions. Timeline also combines with a new Pick Up Where You Left Off feature to let you resume sessions and apps on multiple devices. A report adds: "With Files On-Demand, you can access all your files in the cloud without having to download them and use storage space on your device. You don't have to change the way you work, because all your files -- even online files -- can be seen in File Explorer and work just like every other file on your device," says Jeff Teper, corporate vice president, Office, OneDrive and SharePoint teams. [...] Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will continue the use of Project Neon, which now has an official name of "Microsoft Fluent Design System." It is important to note that this design focus is not a Windows 10 FCU feature, but something Microsoft intends to implement in apps across platforms and device types. End users should start to experience it more with FCU, however. [...] Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will come with a new app called "Windows Story Remix." This app is designed to help users transform their existing photos and videos. This tool can be used to create stories from content in a fun way.

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Ubuntu Arrives in the Windows Store, Suse and Fedora Are Coming To the Windows Subsystem For Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 08:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's going-forward department:
At its Build developer conference today, Microsoft announced that Ubuntu has arrived in the Windows Store. From a report: The company also revealed that it is working with Fedora and Suse to bring their distributions to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in Windows 10. At the conference last year, Microsoft announced plans to bring the Bash shell to Windows. The fruits of that labor was WSL, a compatibility layer for running Linux binary executables (in ELF format) natively on Windows, which arrived with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update released in August 2016. Microsoft also partnered with Canonical to allow Ubuntu tools and utilities to run natively on top of the WSL. By bringing Ubuntu to the Windows Store, the company is now making it even easier for developers to install the tools and run Windows and Linux apps side by side. Working with other Linux firms shows that Microsoft's deal with Canonical was not a one-time affair, but rather part of a long-term investment in the Linux world.

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Keylogger Found in Audio Driver of HP Laptops, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 07:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
An anonymous reader writes: The audio driver installed on some HP laptops includes a feature that could best be described as a keylogger, which records all the user's keystrokes and saves the information to a local file, accessible to anyone or any third-party software or malware that knows where to look. Swiss cyber-security firm modzero discovered the keylogger on April 28 and made its findings public today. According to researchers, the keylogger feature was discovered in the Conexant HD Audio Driver Package version 1.0.0.46 and earlier. This is an audio driver that is preinstalled on HP laptops. One of the files of this audio driver is MicTray64.exe (C:windowssystem32mictray64.exe). This file is registered to start via a Scheduled Task every time the user logs into his computer. According to modzero researchers, the file "monitors all keystrokes made by the user to capture and react to functions such as microphone mute/unmute keys/hotkeys."

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Amazon To Build Homeless Shelter In Its New Seattle Headquarters
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 06:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's do-your-part department:
Amazon is trying to do its part to help the homelessness problem in its hometown of Seattle. The company announced on Wednesday that it would donate more than 47,000 square feet of space within its newest Seattle headquarters building as a permanent location to house homeless people. CNNMoney reports: "Mary's Place does incredible, life-saving work every day for women, children, and families experiencing homelessness in the Seattle community," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. "We are lucky to count them as neighbors and thrilled to offer them a permanent home within our downtown Seattle headquarters." Amazon is partnering with local nonprofit Mary's Place to create 65 rooms, which will house more than 200 homeless people every night. The new Mary's Place shelter will open in early 2020. It will also have a resource center like those the nonprofit offers in North Seattle and White Center, where 40-plus local nonprofits and volunteers work with staff to help families obtain employment and permanent housing.

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New IoT Malware Targets 100,000 IP Cameras Via Known Flaw
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 02:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's tape-over-your-webcam department:
Researcher Pierre Kim has found a new malware, called Persirai, that has been infecting over 100,000 Chinese-made, internet-connected cameras. According to Trend Micro, the malware has been active since last month and works by exploiting flaws in the cameras that Kim reported back in March. CSO Online reports: At least 1,250 camera models produced by a Chinese manufacturer possess the bugs, the researcher went on to claim. Over a month later in April, Trend Micro noticed a new malware that spreads by exploiting the same products via the recently disclosed flaws. The security firm estimates that about 120,000 cameras are vulnerable to the malware, based on Shodan, a search engine for internet-connected hardware. The Persirai malware is infecting the cameras to form a botnet, or an army of enslaved computers. These botnets can launch DDoS attacks, which can overwhelm websites with internet traffic, forcing them offline. Once Persirai infects, it'll also block anyone else from exploiting the same vulnerabilities on the device. Security firm Qihoo 360 has also noticed the malware and estimated finding 43,621 devices in China infected with it. Interestingly, Persirai borrows some computer code from a notorious malware known as Mirai, which has also been infecting IoT devices, such as DVRs, internet routers, and CCTV cameras, but by guessing the passwords protecting them.

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Buzz Aldrin To NASA: Retire the International Space Station ASAP To Reach Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 11:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's deal-or-no-deal department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Space.com: If NASA and its partner agencies are serious about putting boots on Mars in the near future, they should pull the plug on the International Space Station (ISS) at the earliest opportunity, Buzz Aldrin said. "We must retire the ISS as soon as possible," the former Apollo 11 moonwalker said Tuesday (May 9) during a presentation at the 2017 Humans to Mars conference in Washington, D.C. "We simply cannot afford $3.5 billion a year of that cost." Instead, Aldrin said, NASA should continue to hand over activities in low Earth orbit (LEO) to private industry partners. Indeed, the space agency has been encouraging that move by awarding contracts to companies such as SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Boeing to ferry cargo and crew to and from the ISS. Bigelow Aerospace, Axiom Space or other companies should build and operate LEO space stations that are independent of the ISS, he added. Ideally, the first of these commercial outposts would share key orbital parameters with the station that China plans to have up and running by the early 2020s, to encourage cooperation with the Chinese, Aldrin said. Establishing private outposts in LEO is just the first step in Aldrin's plan for Mars colonization, which depends heavily on "cyclers" -- spacecraft that move continuously between two cosmic destinations, efficiently delivering people and cargo back and forth.

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A Baffling Brain Defect Is Linked to Gut Bacteria, Scientists Say
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 08:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's frontier-of-human-biology department:
Gina Kolata from The New York Times writes about a baffling brain disorder that is linked to a particular type of bacteria living in the gut (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternate source) The new study, published on Wednesday in Nature, is among the first to suggest convincingly that these bacteria may initiate disease in seemingly unrelated organs, and in completely unexpected ways. The researchers studied hereditary cerebral cavernous malformations -- blood-filled bubbles that protrude from veins in the brain and can leak blood or burst at any time. When Dr. Mark Kahn, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, began this work, the microbiome was the last thing on his mind. Dr. Kahn and his colleagues studied cerebral cavernous malformations as part of a larger effort to understand the development and function of blood vessels. Three genes have been linked to the disorder, and Dr. Kahn and his colleagues tried to figure out what these mutations really do. The scientists were able to mimic the condition in mice by deleting a gene that is mutated in many patients. A year ago, the scientists moved to a new building, and something unexpected happened. The experimental mice stopped developing the brain malformations. Dr. Kahn's student, Alan T. Tang, had been deleting the gene by injecting a drug into the abdomens of the mice. Sometimes a mouse would get an infection that would lead to an abscess, and bacteria leaked from the gut into the blood. In the new building, only those mice still developed the brain defect. The other gene-deleted mice did not. He and his colleagues finally identified the culprit: Gram-negative bacteria, named for the way they stain, that carry a molecule in their cell walls, a lipopolysaccharide. Without a functioning gene, the lipopolysaccharide can signal veins in the brain to form blood bubbles.

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Call Center Operator and His Cousin Steal $645,000 From UK Water Supplier
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 06:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's partner-in-crime department:
An anonymous reader writes: "An unnamed UK-based regional water supply company lost over $645,000 in a sophisticated scam that involved social engineering, an inside man, and international bank transfers," reports BleepingComputer. According to a recently disclosed report, one of the water supplier's call center operators was taking screenshots of customer details and sending this data to his cousin in the UK. This person would trick other call center operators to reset the passwords for those accounts, add his bank account info to the account, and request a refund for previous transactions. Their operation was discovered after customers, usually small-to-medium businesses, discovered they couldn't access their accounts anymore, and also reported new bank account details. A search of the CRM logs revealed that only one call center operator had accessed those profiles, albeit he never initiated or approved refunds. When questioned, the arrogant employee signed an affidavit allowing investigators to search his home PC, thinking they would never discover anything, since he already wiped his hard drive. They did because he forgot to delete his shadow volume copies, where investigators discovered copies of emails sent to his cousin in the UK. These emails contained the screenshots of his work PC with SMB client data. In the end, the call center employee ended up helping authorities secure a conviction for his cousin.

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Zillow Faces Lawsuit Over 'Zestimate' Tool That Calculates a House's Worth
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 04:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's road-block department:
According to The Washington Post, "a homeowner has filed suit against online reality giant Zillow, claiming the company's controversial 'Zestimate' tool repeatedly undervalued her house, creating a 'tremendous road block' to its sale." From the report: The suit, which may be the first of its kind, was filed in Cook County Circuit Court by a Glenview, Ill., real estate lawyer, Barbara Andersen. The suit alleges that despite Zillow's denial that Zestimates constitute "appraisals," the fact that they offer market-value estimates and "are promoted as a tool for potential buyers to use in assessing [the] market value of a given property," shows that they meet the definition of an appraisal under state law. Not only should Zillow be licensed to perform appraisals before offering such estimates, the suit argues, but it also should obtain "the consent of the homeowner" before posting them online for everyone to see. In an interview, Andersen told me she is considering bringing the issue to the Illinois attorney general because it affects all property owners in the state. She has also been approached about turning the matter into a class action, which could touch millions of owners across the country. In the suit, Andersen said that she has been trying to sell her townhouse, which overlooks a golf course and is in a prime location, for $626,000 -- roughly what she paid for it in 2009. Houses directly across the street but with greater square footage sell for $100,000 more, according to her court filing. But Zillow's automated valuation system has apparently used sales of newly constructed houses from a different and less costly part of town as comparables in valuing her townhouse, she says. The most recent Zestimate is for $562,000. Andersen is seeking an injunction against Zillow and wants the company to either remove her Zestimate or amend it. For the time being, she is not seeking monetary damages, she told me.

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NVIDIA Unveils Tesla V100 AI Accelerator Powered By 5120 CUDA Core Volta GPU
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 04:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's next-gen department:
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang just offered the first public unveiling of a product based on the company's next generation GPU architecture, codenamed Volta. NVIDIA just announced its new Tesla V100 accelerator that's designed for AI and machine learning applications, and at the heart of the Tesla V100 is NVIDIA's Volta GV100 GPU. The chip features a 21.1 billion transistors on a die that measures 815mm2 (compared to 12 billion transistors and 610mm2 respectively for the previous gen Pascal GP100). The GV100 is built on a 12nm FinFET manufacturing process by TSMC. It is comprised of 5,120 CUDA cores with a boost clock of 1455MHz, compared to 3585 CUDA cores for the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and previous gen Tesla P100 AI accelerator, for example. The new Volta GPU delivers 15 TFLOPS FP32 compute performance and 7.5 TFLOPS of FP64 compute performance. Also on board is 16MB of cache and 16GB of second generation High Bandwidth (HBM2) memory with 900GB/sec of bandwidth via a 4096-bit interface. The GV100 also has dedicated Tensor cores (640 in total) accelerating AI workloads. NVIDIA notes the dedicated Tensor cores also allow for a 12x uplift in deep learning performance compared to Pascal, which relies solely on its CUDA cores. NVIDIA is targeting a Q3 2017 release for the Tesla V100 with Volta, but the timetable for a GeForce derivative family of consumer graphics cards has has not been disclosed.

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Azure Goes Database Crazy With One New NoSQL, Two New SQL Services
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 03:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shiny-and-new department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In its continued efforts to make Azure a platform that appeals to the widest range of developers possible, Microsoft announced a range of new features at Build, its annual developer conference. Many of the features shown today had a data theme to them. The most novel feature was the release of Cosmos DB, a replacement for, or upgrade to, Microsoft's Document DB NoSQL database. Cosmos DB is designed for "planet-scale" applications, giving developers fine control over the replication policies and reliability. Replicated, distributed systems offer trade-offs between latency and consistency; systems with strong consistency wait until data is fully replicated before a write is deemed to be complete, which offers consistency at the expense of latency. Systems with eventual consistency mark operations as complete before data is fully replicated, promising only that the full replication will occur eventually. This improves latency but risks delivering stale data to applications. Document DB offered four different options for the replication behavior; Cosmos DB ups that to five. The database scales to span multiple regions, with Microsoft offering service level agreements (SLAs) for uptime, performance, latency, and consistency. There are financial penalties if Microsoft misses the SLA requirements. Many applications still call for traditional relational databases. For those, Microsoft is adding both a MySQL and a PostgreSQL service; these provide the familiar open source databases in a platform-as-a-service style, removing the administrative overhead that comes of using them and making it easier to move workloads using them into Azure. The company is also offering a preview of a database-migration service that takes data from on-premises SQL Server and Oracle databases and migrates it to Azure SQL Database. Azure SQL Database has a new feature in preview called "Managed Instances" that offers greater compatibility between on-premises SQL Server and the cloud variant, again to make workload migration easier.

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Facebook Downranks News Feed Links To Crappy Sites Smothered In Ads
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 03:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's click-here department:
Facebook's New Feed algorithm is targeting links that send people to crappy websites filled with advertisements. According to their blog post, Facebook defines a "low-quality site" as one "containing little substantive content, and that is covered in disruptive, shocking or malicious ads." TechCrunch reports: The change could help Facebook fight fake news, as fakers are often financially motivated and blanket their false information articles in ads. High-quality sites may see a slight boost in referral traffic, while crummy sites will see a decline as the update rolls out gradually over the coming months. Facebook tells me that the change will see it refuse an immaterial number of ad impressions that earned it negligible amounts of money, so it shouldn't have a significant impact on Facebook's revenue. Facebook product manager for News Feed Greg Marra tells me Facebook made the decision based on surveys of users about what disturbed their News Feed experience. One pain point they commonly cited was links that push them to "misleading, sensational, spammy, or otherwise low-quality experiences... [including] sexual content, shocking content, and other things that are going to be really disruptive." Today's change is important because if users don't trust the content on the other side of the links and ads they see in News Feed, they'll click them less. That could reduce Facebook's advertising revenue and the power it derives from controlling referral traffic. Getting sent to a low-quality, shocking site from News Feed could also frustrate users and cause them to end their Facebook browsing session, depriving the social network of further ad views, engagement and content sharing.

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Tesla's Highly-Anticipated Solar Roofs Go Up For Pre-Order Today
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 02:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ready-when-you-are department:
Kristine Lofgren writes: Get ready: Tesla's ground-breaking Solar Roof tiles are available for order in the U.S. starting today. In typical fashion, CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter that the anticipated tech would be available to order this afternoon with installation happening later this year. Tesla's tiles look like traditional roof tiles but they soak up all that delicious sunlight in order to power your home. According to the company, the tiles will be more affordable than typical roofing and can be paired with their Powerwall battery to power a home completely using solar energy.

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'Google Is As Close To a Natural Monopoly As the Bell System Was In 1956'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 02:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's natural-causes department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ProMarket: In terms of market share and profit margins, the big digital platforms, particularly Google and Facebook, enjoy an astounding level of dominance. Google, in effect the world's largest media company, has an 88 percent market share in search advertising. Facebook (including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp) controls over 70 percent of social media on mobile devices. Together, the two firms received 85 cents of every new dollar spent in online advertising in the first quarter of 2016. Amazon has an over 70 percent share in the e-book market. Along with Apple and Microsoft, they are now the most valuable companies (in terms of market capitalization) in the world. The rise of digital platforms has had profound political, economic, and social effects, not least of which on the creators of content. While the internet brought immense benefits to consumers of content, the so-called "creative class" -- authors, journalists, filmmakers, musicians, artists -- has been particularly ravaged by the digital economy. This ravaging, and its roots in the monopolization of content delivery and data in the hands of a few digital giants, are at the heart of the new book Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by media scholar Jonathan Taplin. In the book, Taplin explores the way in which the internet came to be dominated by a handful of monopoly platforms, and the subsequent capturing of regulators that has since all but ensured their dominance would not be challenged in court. In an interview with ProMarket, Taplin said in response to a question: "I would say Google is as close to a natural monopoly as the Bell System was in 1956. If you came to me and said 'Hey, I want to start a company to compete with Google in search,' I would say you're out of your mind and don't waste your energy or your time or your money, there's just no way. Classic economics would say that if there's a business in which there are 35 percent net margins, that would attract a huge amount of new capital to capture some of that, and none of that has happened. That tells you there's something wrong."

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New York Begins Taking Applications For Self-Driving Car Tests
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 02:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's going-forward department:
An anonymous reader writes: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state is now taking applications to test self-driving cars on public roadways. The program requires licensees to have a $5 million insurance policy. Cars must also pass federal and New York automotive safety standards and all test reports must be submitted to the state by March of next year.

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How One Little Cable Company Exposed Telecom's Achilles' Heel
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 12:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's Achilles'-Heel department:
Reader mirandakatz writes: Forget net neutrality -- the real fight is over controlling price-gouging monopolies. As Susan Crawford writes at Backchannel, a little-known cable company, Cable One, just exposed the telecommunications industry's Achilles' heel: regulation. Cable One has been raising its data transmission prices quickly, and it's making cable giants very, very nervous. If people begin noticing that there's no competition, that Americans are paying too much for too little, and that the entire country is suffering as a result, that's a big problem for Big Cable. As Crawford writes, 'don't fixate on net neutrality... Even though the state of internet access is an issue that touches the bank accounts and opportunities of hundreds of millions of Americans and gazillions of businesses, very few people understand what's actually going on. Now you are among them. Do something about it.'

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