Union Reveals Snails Pace of U.S. Broadband

Thank the Communications Workers of America for lobbying for high-speed Internet access via the SpeedMatters Web site. After months of collecting data from thousands of visitors to their Speed Test tool, the CWA today published an interactive (also PDF) state by state and even county by country analysis of average speed test results based on their (moderately small) data samples.

Bottom line — the InterTubes are molasses-slow. The below is a screenshot of the SF county data…

slow internets

USC Center on Public Diplomacy Awarded MacArthur Grant

The New York Times just broke the news that the Center on Public Diplomacy won a generous MacArthur grant to further its research, presence, and to produce future events in the Second Life virtual world. Josh Fouts and Doug Thomas are the co-principal investigators on this $550,000 grant.

Check out the first MacArthur / CPD event at 9 PT this morning. more info here.

(Disclosure: I have been the Center’s Web editor since 2005.)

photo from the public diplomacy flickr stream.

You Can Hide, but You Can’t Run

Today Google responded to scrutiny regarding its privacy policies by decreasing the length of time that a user’s search records will be connected to their IP to 18 months (before it becomes “anonymous”). Privacy International’s study is neither surprising, nor especially revealing. But as difficult as it may be to define “privacy” in the open information age, the term “anonymous” may be even more cloudy, because it seems that on the Internet, everything leaves a fingerprint. 24 months, 18 months… I’m not buying it.

Speaking of fingerprinting, Google’s YouTube is partnering with Time-Warner and Disney to test video recognition software that essentially will automatically remove uploaded content that is detected as copyrighted, according to an “accurate enough and scalable enough” tool, said YouTube Partner Development Director Chris Maxcy.

Using Google to it’s fullest requires a definite privacy trade off, but one that is worth it. I expect to be identifiable. But if “anonymizing” data is to lead to greater privacy, I’d hate for it to come at the expense of personalization and as part of deal-making to satisfy only corporate partners.