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Tech News for 03-17-10

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has released a Internet speed test service to assist customers in comparing their actual Internet speeds to the speeds advertised by their broadband Internet provider. In preparation for the National Broadband Plan, a program by the FCC to ensure that all Americans, including those in rural regions of the country, have access to broadband Internet. The Internet speed test and information regarding the National Broadband Plan are available at www.broadband.gov.

In a recent issue, I mentioned that Google was considering ending their search engine operations in China. Last Saturday, Google stated that it is now 99.9% certain that it will end operations in China, after discussions with the Chinese government regarding censorship had not produced any results. Even if Google does decide to pull out of China, the process would take some time, as the company need to take steps to protect its Chinese employees from retaliation by Chinese authorities.

Netflix has canceled its $1 million contest for the group that can find the best method to improve its movie recommendations after researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the anonymized data released for the contest could actually be used to identify Netflix customers. The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against Netflix after the discovery was announced. A representative of Netflix stated that the FTC and Netflix had settled the lawsuit and that the video rental company would be looking into other methods to collaborate with future research programs.

~Bryan Scheiber is a Systems Administrator in Metro Detroit.
He can be reached at: bryan@bryzo.com