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: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

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!
Mobile

5G's arrival is transforming tech. Here's everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Gaming

Here’s all the news from the Google Stadia GDC presentation

Google announced its new game streaming service Stadia during GDC 2019. Here is all the news from the event, including news on YouTube streaming and quickly accessing your favorite new games.
Mobile

Sony's Xperia 10 smartphone boasts a 6-inch screen and is now available

Sony took the wraps off of three new phones at Mobile World Congress 2019, including the new Xperia 1, which is the company's new flagship phone and the first with a 4K OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio.
Computing

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

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.
Computing

Firefox 66 is here and it will soon block irritating autoplay videos

Do web advertisements have you frustrated? Mozilla is here to help. The latest version of the browser will soon block autoplaying videos by default and will also help make web page scrolling smoother.
Business

Patreon is having another go at changing the way it charges creators

Patreon messed up pretty badly the last time it tried to change its payment system. Now it's having another go, though this time the changes mainly affect future sign-ups rather than its current community of creators.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Computing

Pinning websites to your taskbar is as easy as following these quick steps

Would you like to know how to pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 10 in order to use browser links like apps? Whichever browser you're using, it's easier than you might think. Here's how to get it done.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. But with so many subreddits to choose from, exploring them can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Computing

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Computing

Don’t be fooled! Study exposes most popular phishing email subject lines

Phishing emails are on the rise and a new study out by the cybersecurity company Barracuda has exposed some of the most common phishing email subject lines used to exploit businesses. 
Web

How much!? British Airways glitch results in $4.2M quote for family vacation

Website errors sometimes cause flight prices to display at way below the correct price. But British Airways recently experienced the opposite issue when it tried to charge a family more than $4 million for a vacation in Mexico.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.