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EFF Explains Research on How Internet Users Were Caught in Traffic Slowdown

EFF – “Almost any time you access the Internet, your computer transmits and receives data that travels across not only your own Internet provider’s network, but also the networks of Internet backbone providers and other ISPs before reaching its final destination. This is what puts the “inter” in the “Internet”: independent networks connected together physically at interconnection points. But this same feature that makes the Internet so powerful can also be a weakness. If the interconnection between two networks doesn’t have the capacity to handle the traffic being sent across it, then that interconnection can become a point of congestion, leading to slower speeds and dropped packets. A report released earlier this week published by M-Lab, a research consortium focused on measuring global Internet performance, studied this problem. They were curious how interconnection affected US Internet users’ connection quality, and how particular interconnections between “access” ISPs (e.g. Comcast, Verizon, Cox, Time-Warner Cable, etc.) and “transit” ISPs (Internet providers that connect between access ISPs and websites or other Internet services) were performing. Sadly, the results were not encouraging. M-Lab’s data showed that the interconnections between certain access ISPs and transit ISPs were subject to consistent congestion, causing customers to experience sub-broadband speeds, more latency, and more dropped packets. In particular, for a period of nine months from May 2013 to February 2014, customers of Time-Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and CenturyLink all experienced degraded connections to the transit ISP Cogent. For those following the net neutrality debate, this should be no surprise. It was during this period that transit ISPs like Cogent and Level 3 accused access ISPs like Verizon and Comcast of refusing to upgrade their interconnections to handle the increased traffic load, unless transit ISPs agreed to pay substantial fees above and beyond the cost of upgrading the interconnection infrastructure. In return, the access ISPs claimed that transit ISPs were at fault for trying to send so much traffic (primarily Netflix video) onto their networks. While much of the congestion subsided once Netflix acceded to the access ISPs’ demands and paid up, the fact remains that for nine months, ISPs did not deliver the speeds they promised to many of their customers.”

Second GPFI/BIS conference explores implications of rapid progress on digital financial inclusion

News release: “The Financial Stability Institute of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) hosted the second G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) Conference on Standard-Setting Bodies and Financial Inclusion on 30-31 October. The conference’s theme was “Standard-setting in the changing landscape of digital financial inclusion.” An estimated 2.5 billion people currently have no access to formalContinue Reading

Basel III: the net stable funding ratio (Basel Committee)

“The NSFR is a significant component of the Basel III reforms. It requires banks to maintain a stable funding profile in relation to their on- and off-balance sheet activities, thus reducing the likelihood that disruptions to a bank’s regular sources of funding will erode its liquidity position in a way that could increase the riskContinue Reading

New GAO Report – Government Efficiency and Effectiveness

GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS: Inconsistent Definitions and Information Limit the Usefulness of Federal Program Inventories, GAO-15-83: Published: Oct 31, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 2014. “GAO’s reports over the past 4 years have found more than 90 areas where opportunities exist for the executive branch or Congress to better manage, reduce, or eliminate fragmentation, overlap, and duplication.Continue Reading

Another Facebook Experiment on Users is Revealed to Focus on Voting

Micah L. Sifry – Mother Jones: “On Election Day, political campaigns, candidates, consultants, and pollsters pay close attention to who votes and why—and so does Facebook. For the past six years, on every national Election Day, the social-networking behemoth has pushed out a tool—a high-profile button that proclaims “I’m Voting” or “I’m a Voter”—designed toContinue Reading

Cost of Connectivity 2014

Open Technology Institute: “The Cost of Connectivity is an annual report that examines the cost and speed of broadband Internet access in 24 cities in the United States (U.S.) and abroad. Overall, the data that we have collected in the past three years demonstrates that the majority of U.S. cities surveyed lag behind their internationalContinue Reading

Doing Business 2015

“Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency, a World Bank Group flagship publication, is the 12th in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 189 economies—from AfghanistanContinue Reading

Guide to Cyber Threat 6 Information Sharing (Draft) – NIST

NIST Special Publication 800-150 (Draft) Guide to Cyber Threat Information Sharing (Draft). Chris Johnson, Lee Badger, David Waltermire – Computer Security Division – Information Technology Laboratory, October 2014: “In today’s active threat environment, incident detection and response is an ongoing challenge for many organizations. This publication assists organizations in establishing computer security incident response capabilities that leverage the collective knowledge, experience, and abilities ofContinue Reading

The False Promise of Anonymity – CDT

Sarah St.Vincent and Alex Bradshaw: “In recent weeks, multiple apps promising “secret” messaging have had sensitive data exposed by breaches and the apps’ not-so-secret data-sharing practices. This news makes one thing clear: the term “anonymity,” as used by apps that ostensibly enable individuals to post updates anonymously, often promises too much. Many applications promising anonymityContinue Reading

OIG’s List of Major Management Challenges for the CFPB

Major Management Challenges for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, September 2014 Management Challenge 1: Improving the Operational Efficiency of Supervision Management Challenge 2: Building and Sustaining a High-Performing Workforce Management Challenge 3: Implementing New Management Operations

What Drives U.S. Gasoline Prices?

EIA, October 30, 2014: “U.S. oil production has grown rapidly in recent years. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, which reflect combined production of crude oil and lease condensate, show a rise from 5.6 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2011 to 7.4 million bbl/d in 2013. EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) projects continuing rapidContinue Reading

Dynamics of Economic Well-Being 2009-2012

Survey of Income and Program Participation: Dynamics of Economic Well-Being 2009-2012 Detailed Tables Release Number: CB14-TPS.82: “This table package traces a sample of U.S. residents and examines how many of them were poor during at least some portion of the four-year period as well as how long their poverty spells lasted. It also looks at how manyContinue Reading