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Technology 15 July 2019

The Week in Internet News: Amazon, Microsoft Look to Expand Internet Access

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

More access, please: Two large tech companies have announced plans to expand Internet access. First, Microsoft and Ohio-based telecom firm Watch Communications have announced an agreement to extend broadband service to underserved areas in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, the Associated Press reports, via the Jacksonville Journal Courier. The project is part of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, an effort to expand service across the U.S.

Look to the sky: Secondly, Amazon has asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for permission to launch more than 3,200 satellites, with plans to launch a global broadband network, Smart Cities Dive says. The Amazon plan would target underserved areas across the globe as well as aircraft, ships, and submarines.

That’s a long time without service: More than 350 Internet shutdowns during the last three years have caused the equivalent of 15 years of lost access, The Telegraph reports. About two-third of those shutdowns were in India, and protests or political instability were the reasons for the government actions, according to a report from Access Now.

Warning shot: Two companies, British Airways and Marriott, are facing nine-figure fines (in U.S. dollars) under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation for past data breaches, and companies like Facebook and Google should be worried, CNBC reports. Both tech companies could face even larger fines under current EU investigations.

Don’t bet against AI: Artificial Intelligence has pretty much figured out poker, with the latest algorithm able to win at six-player no-limit Texas hold ’em, ScienceNews reports. A card shark AI dubbed Pluribus has beaten more than a dozen professional poker players in the game.

Tipping the scales: During a social media summit, U.S. President Donald Trump accused large social media firms against conservative voices such as James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, which releases highly edited videos of his subjects, the Washington Post reports. Trump has promised to explore “all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech” for conservative voices.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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