Article 43


Monday, March 09, 2009

FCC To Focus On Privacy

Save The Internet

Obama Tech Adviser Lays Out Telecom Policy Roadmap

By Cecilia Kang
Washing Post I.T.
March 6, 2009

A leading technology advisor to President Obama said in a research note for his investment firm today that privacy and net neutrality will be among the biggest telecommunications issues facing the Federal Communications Commission and the administration going forward. Analyst Blair Levin, who was the co-lead of Obama’s technology and innovation team along with nominated FCC Chair Julius Genachowski, wrote in a Stifel Nicolaus research note that the economic crisis and change of administration will shift the focus of telecom policy away from traditional phone companies to “Internet/edge” players.

Indeed, Google and other Web video and voice companies like Skype have been increasingly active in recent years at the FCC, pushing particularly for net neutrality rules that would prevent carriers from blocking or charging more for certain content that travels over the Web. Levin said in a note that NET NEUTRALITY will emerge again as an issue in the new administration for WIRELESS networks.

On the other hand, there won’t likely be a push for new net neutrality rules for cable, DSL, and fiber network carriers at the FCC.

“(There is a) consensus emerging that disputes about whether a wireline network management tool is ‘reasonable’ (or is actually blocking or degrading traffic) to be resolved on a case-by-case basis,” Levin wrote in the note with analysts Rebecca Arbogast and David Kaut.

It would be a tough climb to impose rules that force wireless carriers to open their networks.

Apple and AT&T successfully argued to lawmakers and regulators to keep their exclusive iPhone contract. Skype’s petition to the FCC to force carriers to allow any handset or software to operate on any network was shot down by former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

He said the biggest “sleeper” issue will be PRIVACY. With a MAJOR OVERHAUL of HEALTHCARE RECORDS to the Web, the rise in behavioral advertising and cloud computing, where information is stored in computers strung across many geographies, consumer, business and government advertising will lead to privacy disputes at the FCC and courts.

Levin’s note also downplayed the immediate success of Obama’s push for high-speed Internet in every American household. He said the initial $8 billion in stimulus funds for constructing new high-speed Internet lines and other programs was modest and just a start. He also said the FCC’s mandate in the stimulus plan to come up with a broadband strategy for the country within one year would be “more likely to produce a volley of targeted recommendations than a silver bullet.”

He added the FCC probably wouldn’t quickly overhaul a $7 billion phone subsidy program to also include broadband Internet networks.


Posted by Elvis on 03/09/09 •
Section Privacy And Rights • Section Broadband Privacy
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Four Steps to Fix the Banking Crisis


David Goldman
Inner Workings Blog
March 6, 2009

There’s a pretty ugly picture from the credit defaults swap market this morning. Aviva (the old Commercial Union), the worst performer among European big caps this week, is out 150 bps (5 year protection costs LIBOR +710). Standard Life is out 115 to LIBOR +670, AXA is out +100 to LIBOR +360, and many of the other big European insurers are wider by 50 to 100 bps. Citigroup and Bank of America are wider by about 50 bps each, along with many of the European banks.

As things stand, most of the financial sector doesn’t have access to long-term funding, and some odd things may happen as it has to roll over long-term debt. Will the central banks guarantee new debt issues, as they already have, or buy the debt themselves?

The epic stupidity that has mismanaged the financial crisis to this point will be the subject of doctoral dissertations and screwball comedies for years to come.

The right thing to do is

1) suspend mark to mark accounting for banks. Instead of deducting mark to market losses against capital, deduct expected losses on a hold-to-maturity basis

2) determine whether a bank has a positive cash flow under present and stressed circumstances (NOT, as Treasury Secretary Geithner proposes, whether the bank has adequate capital coverage against huge mark to market losses)

3) if a bank has positive cash flow and a high degree of probability of maintaining a positive cash flow, use loan guarantees and other low-cost methods to ensure that market confidence continues

4) if a bank has little prospect of maintaining a positive cash flow, turn it over to the FDIC for liquidation.

Instead, the authorities are forcing the financial institutions to absorb most of the mark to market cost of delevering the financial system which they cannot now, as they could not have in 1981 or even 1991. Paul Volcker could explain it to them. Does anyone at the White House have his phone number?



Posted by Elvis on 03/09/09 •
Section Dying America
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How To Find Reputable Credit Counseling

By Jim
March 4, 2009

If you’re having problems with your credit and need some help, consider calling a legitimate credit counseling agency for assistance. Here’s how you find a reputable one that won’t scam you.

Credit counseling sounds like a dirty word because there are so many fraudulent outfits out there, but not all of them are bad and there are ways you can sort out the legitimate ones from the frauds. The first step is to determine whether or not you need assistance. If you’re stressed out about your financial situation, whether it’s too much credit card debt or difficulty making rent or car payments, you might want a credit counselor. If your debt burden is starting to crush you, you might want a counselor. Counselors can save you from the ugliness of bankruptcy by renegotiating your debts, reducing interest and finance costs, and help you get back on track with sound financial advice. They aren’t magic bullets, but they can certainly help. Counseling is better than bankruptcy.

How do you find a reputable organization? Contact your local or state government’s CONSUMER PROTECTION OFFICE and get a list of reputable credit counseling agencies. Never start by answering an advertisement or solicitation, always start with your local and state government’s Consumer Protection Office. They’re charged with finding the ones that won’t rip you off and put you further into debt.

Next, confirm that they are a member of the ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT CONSUMER CREDIT COUNSELING AGENCIES , a national organization of credit counselors, or the NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR CREDIT COUNSELING, a national organization of financial educators and credit counselors. Membership isn’t a guarantee, but it’s a helpful indicator.

Finally, schedule introductory consultations with several companies to get a sense of how they operate, how they are similar, and how they differ. Your internal fraud detector should be able to determine which one you’re better off working with. It’s like getting quotes for anything else, you want to get a better feel for what you should be expecting and meeting with several agencies will give you a better idea. Liz Pulliam Weston of MSN Money has a very informative article on credit counseling, including what else to watch out for.

Have you or someone you know ever met with a credit counselor or otherwise sought similar assistance? Do you have any lessons learned?


Posted by Elvis on 03/09/09 •
Section Dealing with Layoff
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