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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Internet Explorer 8 To Include Privacy Mode

Microsoft has confirmed that it will add several new privacy features to its forthcoming Internet Explorer 8 browser that will allow users to cover their digital tracks while surfing the Web.

InPrivate Browsing will let users control whether IE 8 saves their browsing history, cookies, and other Internet data. InPrivate Blocking will inform users about sites that can track their browsing history, and will allow them to block such activity. InPrivate Subscriptions will let users choose which Web sites to subscribe to or block.

A fourth feature, Delete Browsing History, gives users control over their browsing history after visiting a Web site.

Many current Web browsers, including Explorer 7, leave a trail of digital breadcrumbs that can reveal a user's path across the Web. In the past, such information has been used by law enforcement officials investigating suspected criminal behavior, by employers keeping tabs on workers' browsing habits, and even by jealous spouses who suspect their partners of cheating or frequenting porn sites. IE 8's new feature could make it more difficult for interested parties to track such behavior.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Internet users may hit usage caps

Several Internet service providers are moving to curb the growth of traffic on their networks, or at least make the subscribers who download the most pay more.

Cable companies have been at the forefront of imposing and talking about usage caps, because their lines are shared between households. In a sense, caps on Internet use are no stranger than the limited number of minutes a cell phone subscriber gets each month. Internet use varies hugely from person to person, and service providers argue that the people who use it the most should pay the most. But the industry hasn't worked out where to set the limits, or how much to charge users who exceed them.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Intel Takes a Step Forward to USB 3.0

Intel announced that a draft specification of the Extensible Host Controller Interface of USB 3.0.

The draft announcement was expected, and some form of additional demonstration at the Intel Developer Forum next week is likely. USB 3.0 products probably won't be expected until next year.

USB 3.0, also known as "SuperSpeed USB," is designed to dramatically increase the bandwidth of USB, lower power consumption, and maintain backwards compatibility with the current USB 2.0 specification. SuperSpeed USB are will provide a 10X boost in transfer rate from 480 Mbits/s in USB 2.0 to 4.8 Gbits/s in USB 3.0.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

U.S. Broadband Speeds Continue To Lag

Rhode Island, the smallest state, has the fastest median download speed with 6.8 Mbps, while Alaska, the largest, has the slowest at 0.8 Mbps, says a CWA survey. While U.S. broadband providers continue to boost speeds for their subscribers, they still are falling behind the broadband deployment efforts of many other nations, according to survey of 230,000 U.S. Internet users.

Population density can be a factor in providing broadband. The median download speed in the U.S. is 2.35 Mbps. Densely populated Japan enjoys a 63.60 Mbps speed.

To improve broadband reception in rural and lower-income areas, the CWA and some government and public policy organizations have suggested that the Universal Service Fund be reformed to support build-out of broadband in undeserved communities.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Internet firms agree to code of conduct in China

Just days before the Olympic torch will reach Beijing, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft say they are close to an agreement on a code of conduct for doing business in China and other countries that censor the Internet. Senator Dick Durbin on Monday released separate letters from the companies, stating they have "reached agreement on the core components of the principles" of the code.

Those components, the letters say, include principles for promoting freedom of expression and privacy, implementation guidelines, and an accountability framework. The specifics of the code are now being reviewed by the individual organizations involved. Google said the companies are working toward "a set of clear and rigorous principles, such that restrictive governments would be unable to ignore or reject these best practices on freedom of expression and the protection of individual privacy."

The impending Olympic games have increased questions about Internet censorship in China, especially after Chinese officials tried to block journalists there for the games from accessing certain sites, even after the Chinese government assured reporters they would have full freedom to search the Internet, unlike its citizens.

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