Web

Republican Congress members urge US Secretary Clinton to defend the Internet

republican congress members urge us secretary clinton to defend the internet ituAs seems to be happening on a regular basis these days, the safety of the free world – or perhaps that should be the freedom of the safe world – is again, apparently, in danger – and the only thing that can be done to defend it is the formation of a coalition with “freedom loving countries” to not only reject, but also denounce – the possibility of the United Nations having any say in the way that the Internet is regulated.

The new plan comes from twenty Republican members of Congress, who have sent an open letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding this December’s World Conference on International Telecommunications. The letter – dated July 18 and signed by W. Todd Akin, Edward Royce, Walter Jones, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Andy Harris, Diane Black, Lynn Westmoreland, Jeffrey Landry, Marsha Blackburn, Bill Posey, Michael McCaul, Howard Coble, Ken Calvert, Billy Long, John Kline, Jeff Miller, Renee Ellmers, Greg Walden, Brian Bilbray and Pete Olson – relates to the long-standing rumor that the WCIT will see a “power grab” for control of the Internet by the International Telecommunications Union on behalf of countries such as China, Russia and Iran.

“Unfortunately,” the letter explains, “it appears that this organization [the ITU] and this conference in particular [the WCIT] are being dominated by countries who oppose internet freedom and who would like to see more U.N. control over the internet. We are very concerned by this development.” Amongst their concerns are leaked proposals that “are nothing more than power grabs by totalitarian and repressive regimes.” Of course, there will be other proposals that may be more generous to Internet users, but we don’t know about those just yet, because the proposals have not been released to the public – another thing that makes the twenty Congress members nervous, apparently: “The process remains secret and thus favors authoritarian regimes who want to rein in the freedom of the internet,” the letter explains in an impressive leap of logic (How, exactly, does a secret process automatically favor any kind of regime…?).

In explaining the thinking behind the letter, Congressman Akin released a statement in which he said that he and his colleagues are “calling on Secretary Clinton to use all of the influence and power of the United States to prevent the United Nations or authoriarian regimes from increasing their control over the internet [and, if that doesn’t happen, asking that] Secretary Clinton form a coalition with other freedom loving countries to put an end to this process and prevent centralized government control over the internet.”

It’s worth pointing out at this point that the ITU has already denied having any interest in controlling the internet, and also pointed out that the easiest way to deal with troubling proposals is to simply show up at the conference and lodge a complaint. “Even a handful of dissenters is enough to stop proposals from going through,” ITU media chief Sarah Parks explained last month. “We think it’s healthy that people have the ability to raise whatever points they want to raise in a very open way. This is part of the democratic process, letting the delegations discuss anything they want to.”

Of course, the democratic process is much slower than hyperbole and coalition forming, so there’s that.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will update your OG Windows skills

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Computing

How to change your Gmail password in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Mobile

Google honors Veterans Day by highlighting military service stories

For Veterans Day, Google is honoring the heroes that served the country with a new Google Doodle that highlights the stories of five veterans from the five different branches of the military.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with 12 of the best PDF editors

There are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, and though the selection is robust, finding a solid solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here, we've rounded up best PDF editors, so you can edit no matter your budget or OS.
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Mobile

Apple to boost its Amazon presence with listings for iPhones, iPads, and more

Apple is about to start offering more of its kit on Amazon. The tech giant currently only has very limited listings on the shopping site, but the deal will see the arrival of the latest iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and more.
Computing

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

Will Chrome remain our favorite web browser with the arrival of newest version?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
News

Zoom in on famous works through the Art Institute of Chicago’s new website

Art lovers, listen up. The Art Institute of Chicago has given its website a serious makeover with new features that let you get up close and personal with more than 50,000 artworks by famous (and not so famous) artists.
Computing

Over a million veterans now eligible for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program

Comcast's low-cost Internet Essentials program, which provides internet access for just $10 per month, has expanded to include U.S. veterans. One million veterans now qualify for the service.