The Linux Foundation said Monday that it has lined up a number of big name tech firms behind a new AllSeen Alliance designed to ensure
easy connections among the various devices and objects that will be Internet-enabled in the coming years. Founding members of the group include: Haier, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, Silicon Image and TP-LINK. The effort is being built upon Qualcomm’s AllJoyn open source project.
Aio Wireless, a relatively new prepaid unit of AT&T, was suffering a service outage on Monday.
“We are experiencing an outage and are working to restore service as quickly as possible,” Aio said in a posting on its Twitter account. “We apologize for the trouble.”
Aio spokeswoman Kathy Van Buskirk declined to comment on the cause of the outage or give an estimate for when it would be resolved, but said the company would keep customers informed.
The unit is slated to be folded into Leap Wireless’ Cricket brand once AT&T completes its acquisition of Leap.
The news isn’t a huge shock, as AOL Ventures has been in a bit of limbo for a while, and Brod was moved there last spring after his second run heading Patch, CEO Tim Armstrong’s big and troubled bet on local news.
Sources say Brod has told AOL he is headed for a startup; AOL declined to comment.
Brod is one of the last AOL executives with longstanding ties to Armstrong. He was one of Patch’s co-founders, and joined AOL after Armstrong, an early Patch investor, bought the company in June 2009.
After that he held a variety of roles: He first ran AOL Ventures, and at one point was in charge of “integrating” Arianna Huffington and her operation after AOL bought her company. Armstrong moved him back to Patch in 2011.
A new low for “Anderson Cooper 360″: Friday’s show had 255,000 total viewers and 58,000 A25-54 viewers, its lowest ratings since moving to the 8pmET timeslot in August 2011. By comparison, Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” averaged 2,423,000 total viewers and 447,000 A25-54 viewers, and MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” averaged 557,000 and 115,000, respectively. (Here’s the full scoreboard.)
Compared to the same day last year, Cooper’s program was down -60% in total viewers and -67% in the demo.
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One of the writers who signed a letter demanding an international bill of digital rights, says 'our masters are in the grip of a delusionary nightmare'
What in principle would justify the scope of the surveillance revealed by the Snowden leak? Would it be enough, for example, if it could be shown that a specific potential act of terrorism had been prevented by, and could only have been prevented by, the full breadth and depth of what we now have learned is the playing field of the security services?
We should hesitate before we stray off the touchline. The idea that public safety, the safety of the innocent, is an absolute which trumps every other consideration, is tacitly abandoned in the way we live.
Nobody would be killed on the roads if the speed limit were 10 miles an hour. Flying would be safer if airport security demanded body searches with no exceptions and the examination of every item in every piece of luggage. On the matter of surveillance in general we have, without much discussion, learned to live with almost blanket surveillance by CCTV in our towns and cities. As a result thousand of crimes, including murder, have been solved and perhaps many more prevented. But how many more would there have been if we doubled the number of cameras, or increased them tenfold, a hundredfold?
Between that and the surveillance we are now talking about there is a qualitative as well as a quantitative difference which hardly needs pointing out. The cameras are in public places, they are not in our houses or our cars or even in our gardens. By contrast, the world of surveillance operated by the people we pay to guard us exceeds the fevered dreams of the Stasi.
Even so, let's go carefully here. The Stasi were not dealing with a global threat of murderous malignity. The constituency of everything to be feared has also been altered dreadfully by a technology which vastly underwrites a capacity for evil as it does the capacity for the social good. As for our spooks, I know what I want from them. I want them to eavesdrop on the phones, the emails, on every tap of the keyboard of anybody who comes under suspicion. Somebody somewhere has the responsibility, indeed the necessary duty, of identifying those who bear us ill. I would like there to be secret cameras in their houses. I would applaud the technological means to survey and interpret every breath they take. However, metaphors for the expansion from this selflimiting scope beggar the imagination. If the world of secrets is its own universe, here we have an expansion of the universe which brings to mind something cosmological.
It had to happen. When all that possibility of expansion became available the spooks were going to avail themselves of it as naturally as night follows day.
Imagine that some law enforcement agency received reliable information that a drug lord or a suicide bomber or a murderer on the run was at this moment hiding out in … let's say Beaconsfield. Should we have a problem with the idea that for the next few days there was going to be blanket electronic surveillance on every message or metadatum flowing in and out of Beaconsfield? Would I get worked up about that? Not much. How about Swindon? Manchester? You can see where this is going. At some point in the expansion there is a phase transition our attitude will undergo. Something that seemed OK no longer seems OK.
The impulse we are now experiencing goes back as long as we have been living in groups. How much do we owe each other? How much of our very self, our individuality, our privacy, our subjective and autonomous freedom to live as utterly unique human beings, is up for grabs on the say so of whoever is making the rules for the group, not withstanding that the rulemakers have been validated by all of us?
It is no light matter to put in jeopardy a single life when it is the very singularity of each life which underpins the idea of a just society. But it appears to me that our masters are in the grip of the delusionary nightmare of completeness: the complete annihilation of every rogue bacillus. It's as if there is a belief that in the end the virus has no riposte, that there cannot be and will not be a means to evade blanket security if it is blanket enough.
What is the society we wish to protect? Is it the society of complete surveillance for the commonwealth? Is this the wealth we seek to have in common - optimal security at the cost of maximal surveillance? Not that anybody asked us. It takes a brave newspaper to have forced the question into the open.Tom Stoppard
In a petition to the United Nations, a group of authors agree that democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space
• State surveillance of personal data is theft, say world's leading authors
A stand for democracy in a digital age
In recent months, the extent of mass surveillance has become common knowledge. With a few clicks of the mouse the state can access your mobile device, your email, your social networking and internet searches. It can follow your political leanings and activities and, in partnership with internet corporations, it collects and stores your data, and thus can predict your consumption and behaviour.
The basic pillar of democracy is the inviolable integrity of the individual. Human integrity extends beyond the physical body. In their thoughts and in their personal environments and communications, all humans have the right to remain unobserved and unmolested.
This fundamental human right has been rendered null and void through abuse of technological developments by states and corporations for mass surveillance purposes.
A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy. To maintain any validity, our democratic rights must apply in virtual as in real space.
* Surveillance violates the private sphere and compromises freedom of thought and opinion.
* Mass surveillance treats every citizen as a potential suspect. It overturns one of our historical triumphs, the presumption of innocence.
* Surveillance makes the individual transparent, while the state and the corporation operate in secret. As we have seen, this power is being systemically abused.
* Surveillance is theft. This data is not public property: it belongs to us. When it is used to predict our behaviour, we are robbed of something else: the principle of free will crucial to democratic liberty.
WE DEMAND THE RIGHT for all people to determine, as democratic citizens, to what extent their personal data may be legally collected, stored and processed, and by whom; to obtain information on where their data is stored and how it is being used; to obtain the deletion of their data if it has been illegally collected and stored.
WE CALL ON ALL STATES AND CORPORATIONS to respect these rights.
WE CALL ON ALL CITIZENS to stand up and defend these rights.
WE CALL ON THE UNITED NATIONS to acknowledge the central importance of protecting civil rights in the digital age, and to create an international bill of digital rights.
WE CALL ON GOVERNMENTS to sign and adhere to such a convention.
Signed by more than 500 writers from around the world
Click on the column headers to sort by first name, surname or nationality
Co-founder of charity says investment rules mean money must be put into schemes likely to yield best returns
The co-founder of Comic Relief has defended the charity after it was accused of investing tens of millions of pounds in tobacco, alcohol and arms companies.
Peter Bennett-Jones insisted the investments were made based on legal guidelines which state they must yield the best possible financial return.
A Panorama investigation to be shown on BBC1 on Tuesday will say that in 2007-2009, chunks of Comic Relief money was put in shares in schemes which critics say contradict the core aims of the charity. The BBC has close links to Comic Relief.
Helen Wildsmith, who manages ethical funds for charities, said of Comic Relief: "They're risking their reputation, and a charity's reputation is very precious."
But Bennett-Jones, writing on the Guardian's website, said Charity Commission guidance was clear that trustees "must invest for the best possible financial return, while taking a level of risk appropriate for money in their care".
He added: "They should only adopt an ethical investment approach with specific justification and not on the grounds of individual moral views."
Bennett-Jones stepped down this year as Comic Relief's chair of trustees after 15 years in the role. "This sounds counter-intuitive, but it is the law," he said. "The broader the issues a charity supports, the more difficult it is to justify ethically screened investment – as the range of industries that might need to be excluded would seriously impact on the fundamental requirement to maximise returns."
The controversial investigation – All in a Good Cause – will air at 10.35pm on BBC1 following interventions by the BBC's director-general, Tony Hall, and director of news. The programme was at the centre of a row that drew in Hall in October after it was postponed.
It will include testimony from alleged whistleblowers and donors who say they are deeply uncomfortable with the route taken by some charities.
Hall's personal pre-transmission intervention was prompted by claims that a string of executives had ruled themselves out of taking decisions about the programme, as a result of the BBC's longstanding ties with Comic Relief.
The programme will also criticise Save the Children, alleging the charity has "self-censored" its criticism of the energy industry so as not to upset potential and existing corporate partners – something the charity denies. "The quest for money is beginning to destroy the mission," Dominic Nutt, former head of news at Save the Children, told the programme. "Every year I would prepare a line, to go to the media, to criticise British Gas. Every year it would be quashed."
Justin Forsyth, Save the Children CEO, said in a statement released on Monday: "It is simply wrong and misleading to suggest our silence can be bought. We will continue to campaign on all the areas we think matter most to saving children's lives both at home and abroad."
Panorama also alleges that Amnesty International wasted donors' money during its Secret Policeman's Ball in 2012, which is reported to have lost the charity nearly three quarters of a million pounds.
An individual identified as "an Amnesty whistleblower" said: "The most recent Secret Policeman's Ball in 2012, which I was part of, was pretty much a disaster."
In a statement on Monday, an Amnesty International UK spokesman said: "The March 2012 Secret Policeman's Ball raised awareness of Amnesty International much more cost-effectively than advertising would have done and helped us to increase income for our human rights work. While it raises money for us, the ball's primary objective has always been to raise awareness and the fact it might not cover its costs was agreed in November 2011 when the event received final sign-off."
Critics of charity's investment strategies must remember trustees are obliged to invest for the best possible financial returns
Turning the spotlight on the governance, ethics and performance of charities, as BBC's One's Panorama, All in a Good Cause will do on Tuesday evening, is a legitimate exercise.
Charities the size of Comic Relief are, in effect, large businesses where the bottom line isn't making money but making a difference. Like any good, modern organisation, transparency and the trust of the public is right at the top of our agenda. We welcome scrutiny and always have done.
In the UK, where a higher proportion of the population gives money to charity than in almost any other country, that transparency is crucial, just as it is that the debate and discussion around how organisations like Comic Relief are run needs to be based on fact.
As someone who has had the privilege to chair the Comic Relief trustee board from 1998 until earlier this year, I'm perhaps in as good a position as anyone to outline those facts. During my time in office I was responsible for overseeing the governance of an organisation with the noble but ambitious aim of eradicating poverty.
The vast majority of the grants we make to help realise that aim are paid in instalments over a number of years so that we can monitor them and check, year by year, that the money is being spent properly.
This is widely accepted as the most professional and safest way to make grants and, perhaps more importantly, is just common sense. Spending the money as quickly as possible in one-off lump sums would be irresponsible.
This system is extremely robust and effective. I have attended and monitored scores of our expert UK and international grants committee meetings over the years to ensure that our pact with the public, our donors and partners is honoured to the full. I can assure you that it is.
This approach and the accountability it creates means we are at any one time left with large sums of money waiting to be paid out to charities – and we've thought long and hard about how best to look after and utilise these funds.
The Charity Commission guidance is quite clear that trustees must invest for the best possible financial return, while taking a level of risk appropriate for money in their care. They should only adopt an ethical investment approach with specific justification and not on the grounds of individual moral views.
This sounds counterintuitive, but it is the law. The broader the issues a charity supports the more difficult it is to justify ethically screened investment – as the range of industries that might need to be excluded would seriously impact on the fundamental requirement to maximise returns.
And for Comic Relief, whose aim is to fight poverty and social injustice, the breadth of issues we seek to address is significant.
A single-issue charity, such as those fighting climate change or supporting those facing cancer, would find it easier to justify an ethical approach as they can argue that a particular investment would run counter to its more focused mission.
That is why our trustees decided to invest in large managed funds administered by experts, as many other leading charities and pension funds do. We choose not to invest directly in individual companies, we choose not to take chances with the public's money in overly risky investments and we choose not to stick it under our mattress where it would generate no income and be eaten away by inflation. An independent analysis shows that our approach has delivered strong returns at a lower risk than any other charity assessed.
We are eternally grateful for the generosity of the public. Their astonishing support has helped us double our fundraising income in the last five years and we take enormous care when dealing with their donations.
We also put huge effort into keeping our costs under close control while remaining ambitious. Despite the tough economic environment for charities, for every £1 we spend on generating funds we bring in £6, twice the sector average.
The returns from our investments have helped us ensure that none of these costs have been paid for by money donated directly by the public. This means we can promise that every pound they have donated has gone towards making grants of more than £800m, to make real change to the lives of poor and vulnerable people.
All involved are rightly proud of this fact. We make all of our decisions with one clear aim: to turn the public's truly incredible levels of compassion and generosity into tangible action that delivers the best possible outcomes for people who need our help the most.
Something I have witnessed, numerous times, at numerous projects here in the UK and around the world.
As an organisation do we get every decision correct all of the time? Of course not; who does? But we get a lot more right than wrong and we are always well motivated and we are very effective. Do we operate in a perfect world? Clearly not, but we make decisions in good faith and with integrity.
Comic Relief, through the spirit of its supporters and its partnership with the BBC, has helped to increase charitable giving these past 25 years and make giving fun and effective to all generations. It has helped us appreciate that we can all do our bit to redress inequality in the lottery of life, close to home or far afield.
Everyone who has ever given a penny to Comic Relief should be extremely proud of what they have achieved and been part of creating. This uniquely British institution has helped transform the lives of millions and proved beyond doubt that even in today's harsh world we have the capacity to care for each other, not because we are expected to, but because it is the right thing to do.
To answer Panorama's core question, all in a good cause?
Absolutely; there simply isn't a better one.
Peter Bennett-Jones is the former Comic Relief chair of trusteesPeter Bennett-Jones
“The Cycle” co-host Abby Huntsman welcomed her father, former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman to the panel today. The former republican candidate for president said he’s never seen America more divided than today.
“We are divided, and something needs to be done,” Huntsman said. “We have to move toward problem-solving and solutions and crossing the impenetrable divide.”
Huntsman also suggested the heated healthcare issue is more complicated than political sound bites.
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