So, who owns the Internet?

first_imgA clash over who should decide which information flows through Internet networks — and at what price — is now before a Washington, D.C., federal appeals court in a landmark case that could grant Internet service providers (ISPs) the unfettered power to turn the information superhighway into a private toll road.In Verizon v. Federal Communications Commission, the telecommunications giant is challenging the FCC’s authority to regulate the delivery of high-speed, high-capacity Internet access to the public. The lawsuit stems from a December 2010 FCC rule that requires wireless and wired ISPs to remain “network neutral,” meaning they not take advantage of their role as a conduit for traffic between broadband customers and outside companies in order to favor or discriminate against any lawful content or to impose fees for linking to customers through their broadband networks.Verizon argues that because the FCC labeled high-speed Internet service as separate and distinct from two-way telephonic communications nearly a decade ago, the agency no longer has the power to impose the 2010 rule, called the Open Internet Order, or any others, to regulate what Verizon can or cannot do on its own networks. Further, the company claims, any steps by the government to constrain its ability to control or “edit” what content flows through its networks violate the company’s First Amendment rights.A decision in the closely watched case is expected early this year.Some Harvard legal and business experts say if the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decides in favor of Verizon, it could have dramatic and far-reaching implications for everyone who uses the Internet, and could open the door to other challenges by companies seeking to undermine the deference traditionally given to regulatory agencies.“Because of the legal gymnastics that the FCC has gone through over the last few years, it’s unclear whether they have labeled high-speed Internet access in such a way as to take advantage of the Congressional authority given to the agency to protect Americans from abuses,” said Susan Crawford, most recently a visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School, and Visiting Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard Kennedy School.“This matters from the nation’s perspective because if the FCC is purporting to regulate with one hand and deregulate with the other, then it’s bound to have no real authority … to say anything about high speed Internet access. That means the essential facility of our time is subject to no oversight.”Crawford compares the unilateral autonomy that Verizon and its competitors seek for themselves over an essential piece of infrastructure to that of the Gilded Age oil and railroad barons.“Just like Standard Oil, they’ve cornered the market on a commodity that’s essential for every part of American society to operate. High-speed Internet access undergirds every policy direction the country wants to take. And yet, control over this commodity is centralized in the hands of a very few providers,” said Crawford, a co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. “It’s so unbelievable and that’s why I spend so much time and so much energy talking about it.”Jonathan Zittrain, the Berkman Center’s co-founder and director, recently served as chairman of the Open Internet Advisory Committee, a panel charged with studying and assessing the impact of the current FCC rules in order to advise the agency on policies and practices that will best protect the future openness of the Internet.“What’s most striking to me is that the taxpayers paid for the copper infrastructure, paid for it through regulated, expensive telephone service with taxpayers slated to own the resulting infrastructure,” said Benjamin Edelman, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. “Now, that all got privatized in a particular way, [but] the short of it is, this is a public resource. It’s a public right of way; it was funded through public expenditures. It seems strange to declare this is actually one company’s asset to do with as they see fit.”Crawford said the debate about the FCC’s rule-making powers over Verizon and others could be resolved outside the courtroom simply by reclassifying high-speed Internet service as two-way telecommunication.“All the FCC has to do is change its mind and say, ‘We got it wrong,’” said Crawford. “It has ample political Congressional authority to do that. This is just a political battle. The FCC is concerned that if it acts to carry out this administrative relabeling, it will lose half its budget and half its staff.”‘Devastating’ consequencesMany existing and new businesses, particularly tech start-ups, are likely to suffer, as will national competitiveness, if the court decides in favor of Verizon, critics say.“A broad class of tech start-ups rely on and assume the availability of reliable, high-speed, low-cost data transfer from users to the Internet at large. That’s been a pretty good assumption for most users most of the time. But it’s not guaranteed if the broadband operators can slow down the connection because it serves their strategic interests,” said Edelman. “Then businesses that require that kind of connection will be much harder to start or perhaps impossible” to start.Companies such as Skype or YouTube that offer high-quality streaming video could likely be among the earliest targets of any effort by Verizon or other ISPs to slow down content on their networks, said Edelman. The largest, most powerful Internet companies like Google or Facebook, however, would probably avoid manipulation by ISPs because they have a “rich set of options” to choose from should network neutrality suddenly disappear.“One thing that these companies can do is they can build their own networks to get the data as close as possible [to users, so] rather than Google delivering data to Verizon in Mountain View, California, Google could deliver it right here in Cambridge if the data are intended for a Cambridge customer. And then there would be somewhat less opportunity for Verizon to delay it or slow it down,” said Edelman.“A second thing Google could do is to somehow force the network’s hand,” by bringing the issue directly to the public and notifying them that Verizon or another ISP is editing or slowing down content, as Google did during the debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act two years ago.“It could be quite an opportunity for Google to state what is really the company’s view on a political question, but to state it in a way that puts users onto Google’s side,” he said.Losing network neutrality would be “devastating” to the innovation economy that has driven the digital revolution of the last two decades, said Brad Burnham, managing partner of Union Square Ventures, a New York City venture capital firm that was the first institutional investor in Twitter, Tumblr, Etsy, Foursquare, and others.“My concern is that the explosion of innovation that we’ve seen as a result of ubiquitous connectivity and permissionless access to consumers goes away,” he said. “I think it will chill the younger start-ups, which will hurt innovation.“You are effectively putting Verizon in the position of being able to choose winners and losers by delivering a differentiated user experience and charging a fee for that,” said Burnham. “That it will make it difficult for young companies who can’t pay that fee to get into the market, so we will end up calcifying around the incumbents and Verizon will just take their piece of that. That’s the problem.”Without a viable way to regulate network monopolies like Verizon, future investors will likely walk away from the uncertainty and risk of tech start-ups. “Most investors are fairly apolitical and given a choice of tilting at the windmill of Washington or going and making money someplace else, they would probably choose to go make money someplace else,” said Burnham.Constitutional claimAs potentially troubling as it may be for consumers and the economy to permit for-profit companies to regulate the Internet, Crawford says Verizon’s “breathtaking” legal claim that it should be allowed to decide which content passes through its network has sweeping implications for all businesses, should it prevail.“Verizon is asserting, and cable companies have asserted in the past, that they’re just like The New York Times, they’re just like the Harvard Gazette: They need the discretion to function as editors and any interference by the FCC with that discretion amounts to a First Amendment, unconstitutional act,” she said.The company argues that selecting which content passes through its system, and at what cost and speed, is an expression of its free-speech rights.“This is not about speech, this is about their ability to discriminate, to in effect turn Internet access into the equivalent of a pay-TV service,” said Crawford.There are very good reasons for the government, under the Commerce Clause, to want to maintain an open Internet, said Crawford. She said Verizon’s constitutional claim is much like those made by tobacco, energy, and pharmaceutical companies that seek to avoid regulatory oversight of their activities.“The First Amendment is very much in vogue as a way to attack the power of an administrative agency. This is an A-plus example of that,” she said.“No one ever thought a telephone company had a First Amendment right to edit telephone traffic. And no court, no agency ever would have said that. But in this political climate, this argument is just going to be repeated again and again until someone takes it seriously.”last_img read more

Southern Superlatives

first_imglongest rock scrambleOld Rag, Va. There’s no denying that the nearly mile-long scramble up the side of Old Rag is one long, hand over hand, squirming jungle gym.“You’re not going to find any rock scramble as long as Old Rag,” says Andy Nichols, owner of Shenandoah Mountain Guides and founder of the Old Rag Mountain Stewards, a rescue group that “patrols” the formidable mountain. “But it’s also really crowded.”Squeezing through a slot between two boulders is fun. Waiting in line for 20 minutes to squeeze through a slot between two boulders is maddening. If you want a scramble with similar quality but none of the crowds, head to Strickler Knob on Massanutten Mountain, west of Luray, where you’ll find a good half-mile of hand over hand boulder hopping that leads to an incredible summit view.“You’re rock hopping, then the next thing you know, you’re climbing hand over hand and you feel like you need to rope in,” Nichols says of the summit approach. Once you reach the top, you have 360-degree views at your feet.Explore It Start at the Massanutten Trailhead on Crimson Hollow Road west of Luray. Begin hiking east on the orange blazed Massanutten Trail before finding the pink-blazed Strickler Knob Trail. Be prepared for double-overhead freehand climbs and tight squeezes through slots between boulders. Pink blazes do a good job of keeping you on trail. And as always when hiking and scrambling around rocks, beware of snakes.highest mountainMount Mitchell, N.C. (6,684 feet)Okay, you know Mount Mitchell is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi. But do you know it’s only 37 feet higher than the next highest mountain east of the Mississippi, Mount Craig (6,647 feet)? Craig is in the same Black Mountain Range as Mitchell. It’s even in the same state park as Mitchell and is connected by a pretty sweet trail with Mount Mitchell. But what does being 37 feet shorter than the tallest mountain in the East get you? Considerably more solitude. While Mitchell has a cafe and parking lot near its summit (you can request a golf-cart ride to the observation tower, if you like), Mount Craig is still in its wild, rugged state. No golf carts, no restrooms, and a fraction of the visitors.Explore It Park at Mount Mitchell State Park (found off the Blue Ridge Parkway at the end of NC 128) and bag the summit if you haven’t already. The observation tower offers a stellar view and Mitchell has a bizarre micro-climate and ecosystem that’s worth exploring. But spend most of your time hiking the 4.5-mile Deep Gap Trail along the crest of the Black Mountain Range. The craggy summit of Mount Craig is the first mountain you’ll cross after heading north from Mount Mitchell. From Craig’s summit, you’ll enjoy a broad view of Craig’s bigger brother Mitchell and a chunk of the Black Mountain Range of giants.Mitchell Craigwettest trailJacks River Trail, Ga.  As far as traditional trails go, Jack’s River Trail has to take the cake, with at least 42 stream crossings in under 17 miles. It’s a pain in the ass if you’re not wearing the right shoes. But consider the rise of canyoneering routes like Bonas Defeat Gorge in North Carolina, or Red Creek in West Virginia, and the sky’s the limit for river crossings. But then you get into philosophical questions like, “what constitutes a trail?” and we don’t want to go there right now. So long live Jack’s River as the King of Stream Crossings.Explore It Find the Jacks River Trailhead off of Forest Road 62, on the edge of the Cohutta Wilderness in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Other than the river crossings, the trail itself is relatively flat. You’ll find good campsites all along the river, particularly before and after Jacks River Falls. Trekking poles would help during some of the deeper crossings. And bring your fly rod. Jacks runs through the heart of the Cohutta Wilderness and is home to some feisty populations of rainbow, brown, and brook trout. With a fly rod in hand, all those stream crossings become opportunities for success.most remote spotVirginia Coast Reserve, Va.When we say remote spot, we mean specifically the piece of dirt farthest from any road in a given state. In the entire Southeast, the farthest you can get from a road with your feet on the ground is in Florida, on an island in the Marquesas Island chain, roughly 25 miles from the nearest road. If you’re looking for the most solitude in our backyard, look no further than Virginia, where you can stand exactly 8.3 miles from the nearest road. As long as you have a boat.The most remote spot in our region is on an island inside the Virginia Coast Reserve, according to Ryan and Rebecca Means, a biologist duo who’s made it their mission to find the most remote spot in all 50 states. The patch of sand that is farthest from a road in Virginia happens to be Rebecca’s favorite remote spot in the South. “We had a long, isolated beach hike to get to the spot,” says Rebecca Means. “I love a wild beach, and this one was definitely wild.”Explore It The Virginia Coast Reserve is comprised of 14 wild barrier islands between the Maryland border and the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, which are owned and protected by the Nature Conservancy. You’re going to need a boat to get there, and you’re going to need permission. Day visitation is generally kosher, but check with the Nature Conservancy’s visitation guidelines to make sure your trip fits the bill. oldest riverThe New River…or is it? Oldest river in the country, second oldest river in the world, right? Not so fast. Labeling the New as the oldest river in the country isn’t as cut and dried as you’d think, according to studies by the National Park Service and West Virginia University. Even though it’s commonly accepted that the New is damn old, and usually bantered about as the second oldest river in the world, the exact age of the New has been debated scientifically for decades, primarily because there’s no definitive way to date a river. Based on geological studies and analysis with other rivers, most scientists date the river between 3 and 320 million years old. That’s old, but an argument can be made that the French Broad River, and a number of others, are just as old if not older.Explore It Oldest, shmoldest. We love the New for the good, clean fun it offers, regardless of its age. Here are two ways to sample this river. In North Carolina, paddle a multi-day stretch of the river as it passes through New River State Park, which has launches and campsites scattered throughout a 26-mile stretch of the New designated as a National Wild and Scenic River that calmly twists through the North Carolina foothills. Or raft the much more tumultuous stretch of the New that carves the dramatic New River Gorge in West Virginia. The Lower New is a full day of class II-IV rapids. Here are the best rivers in the Blue Ridge! Raftinghardest rock climbSouthern Smoke Direct, Red River Gorge, Ky. (5.15a) You might recognize Southern Smoke (5.14c) as being the route that helped catapult D.C. native Sasha Digiulian to stardom last year when she became one of the few women to climb the 5.14 grade. Adam Taylor, a Kentucky local, recently established Southern Smoke Direct (5.15a), which takes the already formidable Southern Smoke route and adds a more direct boulder problem to the beginning. The direct start gets the climber pumped in just a few moves close to the ground. In a previous article, Taylor told BRO that sending the route was like a runner squatting heavy weight before trying to run a 5K. At 5.15a, Southern Smoke Direct is the toughest rock climbing route in the Southeast, but Taylor already has his eye on developing a route inside the gorge that might be a bit harder.Explore It There are only a handful of climbers in the country climbing 5.15 right now. If you’re one of them, you already have the beta. For the rest of us mortals, hook up with a guide at Red River Outdoors ( They can run you by Southern Smoke Direct on your way to more appropriately graded routes.steepest commercially run riverUpper Yough, Md. Just take a look at the numbers. In 10 miles, the Upper Yough (pronounced “Yock”) has 14 class IV and five class V rapids, dropping 115 feet per mile on average. The gradient maxes out at a whopping 200 feet per mile inside the canyon through a section referred to affectionately as “The Miracle Mile.”Compare that to the Upper Gauley, arguably the most beloved class IV-V romp in our region, which drops an average of 36 feet per mile with a max gradient of 48 feet per mile, and you’ll understand just how steep the Upper Yough truly is.Explore It Block off five hours between April and October and sign up for a trip with Precision Rafting, which has been running the Upper Yough since 1981. The meat of the river is five miles inside a canyon with 20 back-to-back class IV-V rapids. •Size MattersNeed More Superlatives? Try these on for size.Biggest Cave System Mammoth Cave, Ky. At 390-miles of connected passages, Mammoth Cave is the largest cave system in the world, not just the Southeast. Deepest Gorge: Nolichucky River Gorge, Tenn. It’s not your typical stone-wall canyon, but the Nolichucky gorge rises 3,000-feet from the river to the tip of Unaka Mountain, the highest mountain lining the gorge at 5,180 feet.Smallest WildernessAllegheny Islands Wilderness, Pa.371 acres. The Wilderness area is comprised of even islands in the middle of the Allegheny River. But it’s behemoth compared to the Pelican Island Wilderness, in Northern Florida, which is a tiny six acres.Largest National ForestGeorge Washington National Forest, Va./Wva. Call the G.W. a cool mill: 959,414 acres in Virginia and 104,866 acres in West Virginia. Largest Lake: Kentucky Lake, Ky. This manmade wonder covers a whopping 160,309 surface acres with 2,380 miles of shoreline. By comparison, the lake is just 30,000 acres smaller than all of Shenandoah National Park.Curviest RoadTail of the Dragon, N.C./Tenn. In a deep corner of Western North Carolina/Eastern Tennessee, an 11-mile stretch of US 129 has an astounding 318 curves as it winds its way toward the border.last_img read more

DJI Mini 2 With 4K Video Support and 31 Minutes Flight Time Launched

first_imgThere is no information about DJI Mini 2’s international availability so far.DJI Mini 2 features, specificationsDJI Mini 2 supports up to 4K video resolution, at 30 frames per second at a 100MBps bitrate. It supports HD video transmission at a distance of up to 10 kilometres. The drone has a 12-megapixel camera. You can choose from wide-angle mode, 180-degrees, and sphere panoramas. It is also possible to click RAW photos from the DJI Mini 2, not just JPGs. QuickShot Modes in the drone consist of Dronie, Helix, Rocket, Circle, and Boomerang.The drone has a maximum flight time of 31 minutes and uses a 2250mAh battery. DJI Mini 2 can resist 29-38kmph winds, as per the company, and take off at a max altitude of 4,000 metres. It weighs less than 249 grams, making it compact and convenient.- Advertisement – DJI Mini 2 has been launched, offering 4K video support and 4x optical zoom. The lightweight drone comes with OcuSync 2.0, which is the company’s data transmission technology. DJI Mini 2 has upgraded features and improved flight capabilities as compared to the DJI Mavic Mini. The maximum transmission range between the drone and controller has been extended to 10 kilometres. DJI Mini 2 has a three-axis motorised gimbal, ensuring solid stabilisation.DJI Mini 2 priceThe new drone by DJI is available for $449 (roughly Rs. 33,400) from the DJI store. You can also opt for purchasing the DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo, priced at $599 (roughly Rs. 44,500). The combo comes with a propeller holder, a two-way charging hub, DJI 18W USB charger, and a shoulder bag. It also includes two more sets of battery and spare propellers and a bunch of extra spare screws.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img When DJI Mini 2 is close to your smartphone, the DJI Fly app will automatically recognise it and synchronise selected photos and videos at 20MBps. With the trimmed download feature, you can cut out a segment of the footage to edit and download. You can also share videos directly on social media. The app can also be used to add soundtracks and filters.Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.last_img read more