Monthly Archives: March 2014

African-Americans Embrace Mobile Banking

 

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhoto.net

African-Americans are banking on the move. A recent report from Pew Research found that African American and Hispanic people are taking the lead when it comes to mobile banking. The research found that 51% of adults in the U.S. bank online and 35% of cellphone owners bank using their phone.

Among the findings in the Pew study was that the popularity of mobile banking continues to grow among minority groups, especially African-Americans, nearly doubling in two years. Forty one percent of non-whites reported using their smartphones to check their bank balances and make payments. This includes 39% of African-Americans.

Another report from the Federal Reserve Board also found that Black and Latinos were significantly more likely to use mobile banking than whites.

None of these numbers surprised the experts. African-Americans and Latinos appear to be more comfortable using mobile technology and have higher ownership rates of smartphones than whites.  In 2010 survey numbers showed that 45% of Latinos and 33% of African-Americans owned smartphones while only 27% of whites did.  That number grew to 71% by 2013, while the national average was only 62%.

The question has to be why? In a report on Diversityinc.com Assistant Professor of Communications at Rutgers University Vikki Katz said that socioeconomic factors are the reason. She highlighted additional data from Pew research showing African-Americans, compared to other groups, had less overall access to home-based broadband. “Higher rates of mobile banking are not surprising among individuals who, if they choose to do online banking, can only do so via a mobile device,” she said, “as opposed to being able to choose between doing so on a mobile phone or a PC.

A more telling factor is revealed by Dedrick Muhammad Executive Director of the Financial Freedom Center who stated; “Historically, access to brick-and-mortar banks is not as prevalent in African-American communities,” he said, adding that many banks charge higher fees to bank in person than online. “So you have a cheaper product, using a cheaper means that provides greater access to African-Americans. It makes sense that African-Americans use mobile banking more.”

Breaking It Down

African-Americans are using mobile banking for different reasons. And Mr. Muhammad hit it on the head. Many black communities simply do not have banks close by. Or grocery stores either! There are vast empty commerce deserts in black communities where businesses simply do not go. You can find the exploiters there like liquor stores and check cashing businesses but not much else. I am not blaming the businesses. There are problems in these communities. But the working black people there have discovered how to manage their money electronically. They go to their smartphones. And how many of these neighborhoods offer high speed Internet anyway? Starting to get the picture? Now let’s visit the other end of the socio-economic scale. Higher income African-Americans expects ease and convenience just like higher income whites. They have access to the technology, the high speed connections and are early adopters of mobile technology. Banking on the go offers them more freedom to manage their busy lives. Black people have to adapt and sometimes quickly. Mobile technology helps us to overcome the hurdles we encounter. And mobile banking is a big help.

Sexual Predators Hunt Online

 

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Tremain Hutchinson

On December 20th of 2013  Tremain Hutchinson, 28 of Cobb County Georgia was sentenced to life in prison for producing child pornography. A just sentence for a sexual predator but it is how he did it that black parents need to pay attention to.

Hutchinson used social media to connect to teenage girls. He gained their trust by pretending to be a 16 year old boy. He then talked them into sending him nude pictures of themselves. Two of the girls were raped by him.

Hutchinson used the website Tagged.com and threatened to put the girls pictures on Facebook and in some cases threatened their families. Hutchinson even forced one teenage girl to molest her own brother.

In another case a California computer science student by the name of Jared James Abrahams, 20 was sentenced to 18 months in prison for hacking into the computer of teenage girls, turning on their webcams and watching them undress. One of the computers he hacked was that of  Cassidy Wolf, Miss Teen USA.

Abrahams threatened to post the images online if the women did not send him more pictures or “perform” on Skype.

In another case Richard Finkbiner of Brazil, Indiana pleaded guilty to child exploitation, extortion and possession of child pornography. Finkbiner used as a video chat website, omegle.com. There he convinced teens to perform sex acts or appear nude. He would later extort them by threatening to post the images on porn websites if the did not continue to make videos. His victims were ages 12-16 years old and Finkbiner admitted to coercing at least 100 young people into making explicit videos.

Sexting is not new but it is a problem. What is it? Its the sending of sexually explicit photographs or message via mobile phone, according to Google. Statistics show that almost 25% of teenagers are actively sexting or have sexted in the past. Sexting, even among minors is illegal and when it is exposed it can very damaging to the teen.

There have been cases where teen girls have been embarrassed and bullied when the images of their naked or near naked body starts circulating on campuses. Even junior high school students have been caught sexting. In some cases  teens have even committed suicide after being exposed for sexting. Kids have even developed their own language for sexting. So if you are a parent you better learn it. NoSlang.com has a complete dictionary of sexting terms you should know to keep your child under control.

Breaking It Down

Do you know what your child is doing online? Black parents need to become more aware of what is happening behind your child’s closed door. The Internet is crawling with predators and black teens and children are just as likely to be victims as white kids.

As a parent its your job to know what your child is doing at all times. So having a teenager who goes into his or her bedroom alone with their computer or smartphone is a serious situation. I have just shown you what can happen when you don’t know exactly what your child is doing online.

Websites like Facebook, Tagged and others are where these perverts hangout. They can also be found on your child’s school’s Facebook page. Anywhere children go on the web you should believe that predators are there and working to do something really nasty even deadly to them.

Make sure you know what your child is doing online. Know what websites they visit and who they are talking to. Teach them how dangerous the web can be and don’t be gentle about it. You might want to consider if your child should have their own computer in the first place. Perhaps a family computer in an open location is better.

Black parents need to step up and get involved in what your child is doing online. There is no excuse for not knowing. Get on it!

Don’t Play That Phishing Game

 

 

Image courtesy of  David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.net

Black people have a saying “You got caught slippin’.” That is basically what a phishing attack is, catching someone off guard.

Phishing comes at you in many different ways. It can be an email, a text message, a phone call or even in the mail. It could even be a website you visit. It is designed to do one thing and that is get information that can be converted into money. That information can be a social security number, a credit card number or even a phone number. All it requires is for the person to be gullible.

Criminals use social engineering to get you to download malware or to give up information. Malware is software that damages or otherwise infiltrates your computer. Once inside it can do things like steal user names and passwords. How? By installing what is known as a key logger. This malware records everything you type into your keyboard and every site you visit and even your emails, word for word, and sends them to the criminal.

Another facet of social engineering is a person on the phone who coolly talks you into giving up valuable information. They may claim to be from your bank, credit card issuer or someone else you may or may not do business with. Be aware!

Other callers may not be so cool. They may be threatening. Phishing calls may threaten lawsuits, or to have you arrested if you don’t give up money or information. It happens all the time.

Microsoft offers a great article about what a phishing attack may look like but that is just one of many ways an attack could take place.

Phishing attacks can be super sophisticated or incredibly simple. But the bottom line is someone was not aware of what was happening and the results were disastrous. For example the breach at Target stores was the result of an email sent to a vendor who worked on the air conditioners at the stores. The vendor and the stores computer system was linked together. The malware worked its way into the Target Stores system and stole 40 million credit card numbers; all because someone clicked on an email attachment.

So here is some good advice.

If you receive an email attachment, from a friend or co-worker and you don’t expect it or you don’t know who it is from DON’T CLICK ON IT!  Call and ask them if they sent it and what is it.

Never ever click on an attachment from a bank!

Never, ever click on a CONFIRM link in an email!

Never ever share email user names and passwords with anybody!

Make a practice of scanning email attachments with a good anti-virus software.

You have to be really alert. Phishing attacks do not discriminate.  Attacks can happen to Apple or PC computers. And smartphones are the best possible platform to launch an attack.

Phishing may come in the form of a bogus webpage. There are literally thousands of phony webpages on the web. These are sophisticated copies of banks or other business webpages and look identical to the real thing. But here is the key, check that web address bar. Or use your mouse to hover over the link in the email. Check the web address that appears. Look for something funny in the name. Check the spelling and grammar in the email for mistakes. Does it have a country code at the end like RU or TZ? Is it just a group of numbers that look like this 112.005.45.67? It’s probably a fake. Avoiding a phishing attack requires knowledge, vigilance and a good dose of common sense.

Let me be straight with you; black people know a good job is not easy to come by. So if you have a good job you can kiss it goodbye if you download a virus or malware into the work computer system. Do I need to say more?

Make yourself familiar with the way your bank does business. How do they contact you? Do they use email? Regular mail? Do they call? Set up your own contact methods with them. And never use a phone number or website that appears in an email message. Get to know your banks web address and phone number by heart so you recognize the fakes immediately.

A criminal may call you pretending to be from your bank, credit card issuer or a business. Don’t answer any questions; NONE. A social engineering attack will get you to answer seemingly harmless questions but when combined they add up to good information. That is how identities get stolen. If you get a call like that then it’s you who should be asking the questions.

Here is phishing attacks that have been spreading around the web. An email from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) claims they were sent a sample of your blood and your white blood cell count is low. They suspect you may have cancer. Please print out the test results from the attachment and visit your doctor immediately. Didn’t I tell you not click on email links or attachments!

If you want to see what other phishing attacks are spreading on the web please visit Snopes.com.

And don’t get caught slippin’!

Cable Television: Are Black People Paying Too Much?

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Is that cable television bill really worth it? Black people sometimes pay too much. Sometimes by design, sometimes because we don’t explore all our options. So take a close look at your cable television bill and ask if it is really worth it. Television has changed so much in the last three years, thanks to the Internet, that you can probably shut off or at least reduce your cable television bill significantly. Let’s look at the options that can save you a lot of money.

You could just dump your cable altogether. Just get the basic channels and call it a day. But I’m willing to bet that will still cost you just shy of $100 a month. And you will probably miss some of your favorite shows that are only on cable.

Here is better option, Netflix. If you own a smart television, a television that is capable of internet connection, you’re on your way. Netflix is only $7.99 a month and you can pretty much watch whatever you want when you want on whatever device you have. Netflix offers a huge library of films and television programs and they have not ignored the African-American market when it comes to selections. You can find Tyler Perry movies and programs, stars like Kevin Hart and other popular programs like Breaking Bad. Do the math; $7.99 is a lot cheaper than the $200 a month you might be paying for premium cable.

Another popular choice is Hulu.com. This service also offers great programs that include The Voice, new programs like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Rake and yes, Scandal. You can try both Netflix and Hulu free for a trial period.

Another way to lower or eliminate that cable bill is to use devices like Chromecast or Apple TV. Both are network appliances that enable you to download content from the Internet including Netflix and Hulu. These devices are inexpensive one time purchases. How much are you paying each month to rent multiple cable boxes and DVR’s?

These services and devices do have a drawback. You probably won’t get to watch live sports and ESPN, NFL and NBA networks are not available. And we know missing the Final Four is not an option!  So some basic cable may be necessary. But again, I am willing to bet your television expenses will drop considerably.

The growing trend is television on demand. It makes sense; people are demanding more flexibility.  Black people should explore these services and devices  and keep some of that money in our pocket. I am not going to say that you will find everything you want but you should find plenty of viewing options and some you have not considered. You will discover that your television watching habits will change more to your liking. You might be surprised to find that you can subscribe to multiple services for much less than your current cable bill.

Now You Know

Cell Phone Scams: Are Black People Paying Too Much?

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A recent report from the Washington Post may reveal a pattern by pre-pay cell phone providers to overcharge customers.

Black people, minorities and low income people make up a large percentage of the pre-paid cell phone market. There are various reasons for this including credit issues. But many people, regardless of color, have decided to forego contracts and choose to go with pre-paid phones to save money.

But if the Washington Post report is correct you may be getting ripped off every time you make a call. It may only be for a few pennies but that money adds up to millions in the pocket of pre-paid providers.

“In the prepaid world, they definitely try and find ways to rip you off.”  Daniel Beringer, Telecom Analyst

The Post reported that carrier AT&T and T-Mobile may be adding seconds to each call to charge for additional minutes that the caller did not use.

The scheme works like this; each time a call is made it is normal for the service provider to round up the time to the next minute. So a call that lasts two minutes and twelve second is rounded up to three minutes. That is standard industry practice. But in the case examined by the Post call times were boosted by as much as 33 seconds. The result is that the caller’s minutes are used up more quickly causing them to have to purchase more minutes from the provider. If you are charged as much as five minutes a day more than you actually use you could be buying time more than you should.

AT&T recently received permission from the federal government to merge with Cricket Wireless adding 5 million additional customers to its pre-paid customer roles. T-Mobile claims more than 15 million pre-paid customers.

In tests conducted by the Post calls made on the AT&T phones of 49 to 59 seconds were regularly counted as two minute calls. Calls that lasted 2 minutes and 53 seconds were recorded as 3 minutes and 3 seconds resulting a charge of 4 minutes to the caller.

In response AT&T issued a statement as follows; “The time displayed on the phone does not necessarily reflect the actual start and end periods recorded for the time charged to the customer. A call’s time begins when you press the send button. And, a call’s time ends after you press the end button and your phone’s signal to disconnect is received by the network and the call disconnect signal is confirmed.”

Black people already pay too much for some things; sometimes by design, sometimes not. But if you are one of the 30 million pre-paid customers you better start watching you minutes. Lower income customer should be most alert of the scheme and lodge your complaints as some have already.

Sally Beauty Supply Hacked!

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When it comes to black women and their hair they don’t play! When it comes to black people and their money, they don’t play! So as you can imagine messing with both at the same time is a dangerous proposition but it seems that that is just what is happening.

A lot black women purchase their hair and beauty supplies from Sally Beauty Supply and it seems that the store’s payment system has been breached.

The point of sale system (POS) of Sally has suffered an intrusion resulting in the possible compromise of nearly 25,000 payment records. By payment records I mean credit card data. The company originally stated that they did not suffer any loss of data but card issuers say different.

Security Media Group reported that card issuers have reported they have detected evidence of fraud related to the cards used at Sally stores. The company has hired Verizon to investigate the breach and refuses to speculate until the forensic investigation is complete. The Secret Service is also investigating.

Sally operates 4,500 stores around the worldwide with $3.6 billion in sales reported in 2013.

Many stores that suffer data breaches are reluctant to report it immediately. Many claim that they need to maintain some secrecy in order to properly investigate. Another reason may be to protect their reputation and sales.  Target stores have been accused of hiding the true size of the breach and when it occurred from their customers.

 Breaking It Down

Point of Sale or POS breaches are occurring far too often. Target stores made big news when their system was breached and millions of credit card numbers were stolen.

Black people need to be aware of this activity because it’s your money and credit at risk. Stolen credit cards are sold in batches on underground websites and yours may be in the bunch. Constant vigilance is required if you regularly use your credit or debit cards at stores. Keep in mind that the laws about revealing data breaches vary by state. Your state may not require the merchant to report data breaches right away. That plays into the criminal hands. The card maybe used right away before the breach is reported or it may be months before you spot a fraudulent charge to your account.

Many banks and credit cards will refund fraudulent charges but the loss of your card number can do damage in other ways. It may appear on your credit report or you identity maybe stolen. Another card or duplicate maybe issued in your name resulting in you going to war with banks and credit reporting services to get it corrected.

See Also: Stores Are Not That Interested in Protecting You

 

 

 

New Android Malware Attacks Phones

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Is Android malware may be on your phone. How many black people do you know with a cell or smartphone? Pretty much everyone right? And there are two operating systems that dominate the phone OS market. These are, of course, Apple and Android. If you don’t have an Apple phone you have an Android.

African-Americans need to be aware that the Android phone OS is constantly under attack and the latest malware can do some pretty nasty things to you and your phone.  As a matter of fact 97% of new malware are directed at Android mobile operating systems. Google is not just sitting back and taking this. They have done a great job protecting their software by continuing to release regular updates. So please take advantage of this. Ask yourself this question; when was the last time you updated you Android phone software?

The newest malware threat to Android phones is called a Remote Access Toolkit or RAT. You think your conversations, pictures and other files are safe but guess again. The malware I am talking about is called Dendroid. It has made its way into the U.S. from Asia and an infected phone is a spy in your hand.

Dendroid is designed to hide inside your phone and avoid the Google malware protection system known as Bouncer.

But what can Dendroid do? The creator claims the malware can take pictures and video using the phones camera, steal any picture you have on the phone, record your phone calls and send text messages from your phone. It can also download your browser history and bookmarks. What is in your browser history or bookmarks? Probably your bank website and other financial data.  I would not hesitate to say that the malware could probably steal user names and passwords as you enter them.

Since this malware has been detected it is not expected to do too much damage but it would be wise not be one of the few victims that get got.

The best way to protect yourself is to make sure that your “Unknown Source” system setting is turned off and that you use a good mobile security app. Although I now have an Apple phone I used LookOut on my old Android phone and it worked great. You can also get it on the Google Play Store as well. I use LookOut on my Samsung tablet.

Was Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 Hacked?

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Currently the world is in the grip of a mystery. What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flt. 370? Everything we know about the flight is as follows.

12:41 AM – Flight 370 departed Kuala Lumpur airport in route to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members. Among the passengers were two Iranian men with stolen passports. The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200ER. The flight was 2,700 miles and scheduled to land in Beijing at 6:30AM.

1:30 AM – 45 minutes after take-off air traffic controllers in Subang, just outside of Kuala Lumpur, reported contact with the flight was lost somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam. At this time the aircraft transponder ceased operating.

2:40 AM – A senior Malaysian Air Force official reported that the last radar track showed Flt. 370 over the island of Pulau Perak in the Straits of Malacca. This location is hundreds of miles off course in the opposite direction of its intended destination. The validity of this information is unconfirmed. At this point radar contact was lost.

No one exactly knows what happened to Flt. 370 or where it eventually ended up.

We live in a technology driven age. Our technology has been our greatest blessing and now it may have become out greatest curse.

One of the greatest weaknesses of the technology age, specifically the age of wireless communication, is that it is vulnerable to interference. Sometimes this interference is natural such as solar flares or magnetic activity. Sometimes it’s man-made interference such a static electricity or other radio interference from the many transmitters that seem to be everywhere. And most sinister of all, intentional interception, disruption and manipulation of radio signals.

If you have ever flown on a commercial aircraft you know that flight attendants instruct the passengers to turn off all electronic devices during take-off and landing. Why? Because these instruments, such as cell phones, can interfere with aircraft equipment. This includes navigational equipment.

Many modern aircraft, including the Boeing 777, use an extensive array of computers and electronic gear. These modern aircraft no longer use the wires and pulleys to control the aircraft but instead use a computer controlled fly-by-wire technology. This technology actually takes the input from the pilots, through the aircraft controls and translates them into electronic signals that are transmitted to the wings and other control surfaces.

Modern aircraft are capable of flying with almost no human input using modern GPS technology and computer autopilots. That is the vulnerability I am about to examine.

Planesploit is an Android app that was created by Hugo Teso, a security researcher and commercial pilot. Teso claims his app can allow someone to take control of an aircraft from the ground. In March of 2013 at the Hack-In-The Box  conference in Amsterdam Teso demonstrated his app. Using an Android phone, a radio transmitter, flight management software and his knowledge of hacking he changed the flight path of an aircraft.  Teso showed that with enough skill and technology an aircraft can be hacked and controlled from outside the cockpit. “You can use this system to modify approximately everything related to the navigation of the plane,” Teso told Andy Greenberg of Forbes magazine, adding, “that includes a lot of nasty things.”

TheoryIranian men boarded the aircraft with the other passengers using stolen passports. These men are highly trained hackers with specific knowledge of the control systems of the Boeing 777 that was Flt. 370. The men were carrying all the technology they needed to take over the aircraft by hacking into its computer system. How is this possible?

The Boeing 777 is capable of transmitting and receiving numerous signals carrying data back and forth to ground and satellite receivers and transmitters. As we know the aircraft is suspected of flying for up to four hours after all contact was lost. Data from the engines was being transmitted for that long to aircraft and engine manufacturers via satellite.

Once the flight was beyond range of ground radar the men went into action. Using their radio transmitters and software they began the process of isolating the plane from the outside world. They knew of the frequencies the aircraft received data on including navigation signals for the on board GPS. Utilizing this knowledge the men disabled the radio transceiver. This prevented the pilots from calling for help. The pilots probably realized something was wrong and were trying to correct the problem.

The men then disabled the transponder. Now the plane was completely isolated.

Once the aircraft communications was muted the men then hacked into the flight control systems and downloaded instructions into the autopilot telling the aircraft to change direction and fly away from the intended path. As part of the hack the men locked all control of the autopilot from the pilots and now had complete control of the aircraft. The pilots were probably working desperately to re-gain control of the aircraft but did not realize what was happening. In all likelihood the plane flew far into the Indian Ocean until it ran out of fuel and crashed.

I should point out that this capability does indeed exist and has been used before. In  December of 2011 the Iranian government claimed to have hacked into  the control systems of an unmanned U.S. aerial reconnaissance vehicle and safely landed it. The Iranians claimed the feat was accomplished by its cyber warfare unit. U.S. officials offered several reason as to how the drone ended up in Iranian hands including engine failure and computer and guidance systems malfunction resulting in the drone crashing.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said that Teso’s app could not work. In a statement to SecurityWeek.com  the FAA stated, “The FAA is aware that a German information technology consultant has alleged he has detected a security issue with the Honeywell NZ-2000 Flight Management System (FMS) using only a desktop computer,” the statement said.

“The FAA has determined that the hacking technique described during a recent computer security conference does not pose a flight safety concern because it does not work on certified flight hardware. The described technique cannot engage or control the aircraft’s autopilot system using the FMS or prevent a pilot from overriding the autopilot. Therefore, a hacker cannot obtain “full control of an aircraft” as the technology consultant has claimed.”

This statement was issued in 2013. But it does not take into account the fanatical determination of dedicated terrorist who used Teso’s app as a starting point.

This is only a theory. I am not an expert. I am not a conspiracy theorist. But it is very, very possible.

Why the Net Neutrality Ruling Will Affect African Americans

Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

There are a lot of African Americans who haven’t heard of the net neutrality ruling or heard about it and don’t believe it will affect them. The ruling is about money and how much you pay for your Internet service. That affects everybody.

The term Net Neutrality simply means that all data traveling over the Internet is the same and is treated the same. Data travels over the Internet in what are called packets. According to net neutrality all packets are the same. So, all data is the same regardless of the sender, recipient, content, platform, application, equipment, and modes of communication. Now you know what net neutrality is.

African-Americans, like most Americans, get our Internet service from our cable or phone company. Many people pay for the famous bundle. This service allows you to get the big three, cable, Internet and phone for one price. Now that net neutrality is changing so will your bill for that bundle

The FCC was sued in federal court by Internet service provider Verizon. Verizon argued that the FCC regulations preventing the company from charging different prices for different services are invalid. The court agreed. Now you know what happened.

The result was the rule preventing broadband providers from slowing down or blocking certain traffic was invalid. This means companies like Verizon, Comcast and others could block certain traffic if they wish and charge for higher speed services. The rule also required that companies using fiber optic or other cable treat all traffic the same and reveal their network practices. All these rules were thrown out by the court.

The impact on black people is easy to understand. The era of an open and free Internet may have come to an end. The result may be that the commoditizing of entertainment and information that was at one time free or cheap.  Companies such as Netflix and Hulu may raise their prices because the Internet Service provider (Comcast, Verizon et al.) are going to charge them more. This may also include online gaming, and targeted websites such as those for the Black and Latin American community.

But the FCC has not thrown in the towel. According to the Washington Post the FCC is re-writing the rules that will prohibit cable providers from blocking or slowing down Internet traffic or charging higher prices for high speed content.

Chairman of the FCC, Tony Wheeler, has stated he will not appeal the courts’ ruling but instead sees the ruling as an invitation to re-write the rules so they conform to communications laws.

In a statement Wheeler said; “I intend to accept that invitation by proposing rules that will meet the court’s test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among Internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how Internet Service Providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition.

Breaking It Down

 In my opinion this was a set up from the beginning. How does this happen that the FCC loses a ruling that allows it to control how Internet traffic is regulated? Well first of all the head of the FCC used to work for the same companies that won the ruling.  Tony Wheeler is a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless companies (Comcast, Verizon, et al). So is it a surprise that he’s not going to appeal?

Yes, he is going to re-write the rules but you can forget the old Internet. This guy is no friend of free and open Internet. I’m betting the new rules will allow the cable companies and Internet Service Providers to charge what they want for Internet service, watch and see.

Soon you will be seeing what is being called the “cablelization’ of the Internet. This is Internet service where certain traffic is blocked or slowed because the website won’t pay for the faster service or to be preventing from crossing the last mile to your home. The last mile is a term used to describe the final stretch of wire that brings Internet service into your home.

I see a day where certain websites are charged because they do not have the minimum traffic that makes it profitable for the ISP to carry them. That means some minority focused websites may be dropped. Think African-American or Latin news sites. I know this sounds blatantly racist but these companies are not looking at race as a basis for what they charge. They are looking at hard numbers. If they can carry only web services and websites that are paying or main stream sources of information then it’s all about profit. The rest be damned! Maybe the consumer will be put in a position where you can choose Google or Yahoo services or both for a higher price. It’s called tiered pricing and you’ve seen it already with your cable television bill.

Basically the Internet service provider will give better service to those web services that pay for it and leave consumers in the lurch for their desired content. I fear that is what is going to happen and a lot of consumer groups agree with me…or I with them.