Google Asks People To Speak Out Against ITU’s Attempt To Takeover Internet Governance

Politicians and companies — including telcos, tech companies, service providers and more — are all quite worried

We’ve been covering how the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has been moving forward with its plans next month to consider a number of proposals to takeover aspects of internet regulation and governance. There are, of course, a number of different proposals being submitted by different countries. The problem, of course, is that the setup of the ITU is not open to the public, and there are some special interests involved — mainly by countries with oppressive governments looking to use this as a way to gain control over the internet for the sake of censorship, as well as local (often state-run or state-associated) telcos using the process to see if they can divert money from successful internet companies to their own bank accounts. While the ITU likes to present itself as merely a neutral meeting place for all of these proposals, what’s been clear for a while is that the ITU leadership has taken an active role in encouraging, cultivating and supporting some of the more egregious proposals.

Some of this is due to the way in which the ITU leadership views the internet. Some of it is due to an organization that realizes its own mandate is obsolete and it really serves little purpose anymore, so it’s coping by pretending its mandate is much broader, but doing so in a way that shows it has little understanding of the internet other than “something we want a mandate over.”

This seems to be one situation where, in the US, pretty much everyone is aligned against this effort. Politicians and companies — including telcos, tech companies, service providers and more — are all quite worried what an ITU-governed internet would lead to (mostly funds being diverted from innovative companies to stagnant players and a much less open internet). But the US has only one vote in the upcoming WCIT event where many of these proposals will be reviewed. ITU boss Hamadoun Toure pretends that the public has a voice in this process, but ridiculously shut down the public commenting tool on the ITU’s website before telling everyone about it (nice trick, that).

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via TechDirtMike Masnick

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One Step Closer To Real Medical Tech Breakthrough

If Immigration Law Doesn’t Get In The Way

Six years ago, we wrote about Andy Kessler’s fascinating book, The End of Medicine, which got me to totally rethink how nearly every society approaches healthcare today. Even though the book is years old, I recommend it frequently. The key issue is that we still tend to treat healthcare as something driven by two key industries: pharmaceuticals and insurance. However, the book is based around the idea that, in pretty much every other industry, technology tends to (1) get better and (2) get cheaper. But that doesn’t happen much with healthcare — and that’s because it’s all about insurance and drugs. That means it’s really about treating the symptoms, rather than actually trying to prevent problems.

One story in the book that has stuck with me is the description of a possible home-based heart scanner. The argument was that we really aren’t that far off from being able to wake up in the morning, walk into the bathroom and scan your body, such that your computer (or phone?) would immediately pop up a 3D scan of key internal organs, such as your heart, allowing you to see if everything’s okay. No waiting for chest pains before you get your heart checked out. Why not check out your heart every single day, and have the 3D model immediately available?

We’re not quite there yet, but a few months ago, I was introduced to Dr. Fabien Beckers and his co-founders of the fascinating startup Morpheus Medical — and when he described the product they were working on, which some have called “a Google Earth for cardiologists”, I immediately recalled that product from Kessler’s predictions. Morpheus is building an amazing product, where a simple heart scan creates a 3D model of the heart non-invasively and shows flows and pressure. Morpheus doesn’t go quite as far as the example in Kessler’s book yet, but this is a serious team and the existing product looks amazing. You can read a bit more about the offering here. Among the key features is the fact that they can just use data from a quick MRI to build this 3D model and show all sorts of useful data to doctors at a fraction the cost of what’s out there today. A product that is cheaper, faster, better and can help keep people healthy? It seems amazing.

The team leading the company really is a bunch of all-stars. Dr. Beckers has run a series of companies, often driven by the ability to use technology to advance social good. For example, before Morpheus, he built and ran a company called Kameleon Technologies — which was initially built off the idea of helping design a better guidance system for the blind. That technology then expanded to be useful in the consumer space, using the same concept to create interactive billboards for advertising purposes, called Mobizone. And, oh yeah, he has a PhD in quantum mechanics from Cambridge University — hence the “Dr.” title. The rest of the team is equally talented. The origin of the company came from a meeting between Dr. Beckers and John Axerio-Cilies, who was working on a PhD in fluid dynamics at Stanford. Add to that Albert Hsiao who has a PhD in bioengineering, and Shreyas Vasanawala, an associate professor at Stanford whose own works is focused on pediatric MRIs, and it’s a monster team of innovators building an offering that I hope drives the healthcare revolution in the direction that Kessler described in his book.

It will not surprise some that the biggest roadblocks the company may face are regulatory, rather than technological. But the amazing thing is that the biggest one may be immigration regulations.

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via TechDirt –  Mike Masnick

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TechDirt Roundup 3

Techdirt is a fascinating blog that covers the current wars being fought around copyright, intellectual property, patents and other areas that may impede or help the free flow of information and ideas.

Innovation Toronto has been following Mike Masnick and his blog for some time and we feel that a number of the issues being covered are things most of us should know about or would like to know about.

We are thinking that a links list from time to time might help to introduce some of the ideas and topics that Techdirt covers so thoughtfully.

You are encouraged to check out some of these articles – it is the stuff of both dreams and nightmares . . . and even some whimsey 🙂

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More TV Shows Offering Reasons To Buy; Castle’s Successful Character-Written Novel

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TechDirt is one of those great thoughtful blogs commenting on the ongoing cyberwars over copyright, intellectual property rights, trademark issues etc.  This is the online coverage version of “The Great War” for an open and creative internet.,  Mike Masnick does a fine job of keeping up with the skirmishes and battles being fought out around the globe on these issues.

Our “style” at Innovation Toronto is to try and introduce the more interesting ideas and issues that may help to promote or stall out innovation by teasing our visitors to visit the sites of origin.  Tech Dirt is a very important read if you want to truly understand what is at stake in this battle.  We apologize to Mike for reproducing his entire article on a very creative approach that is being taken by ABC and others to move with the times and create terrific new value for their properties – we think it is important to showcase some of the positive creative approaches being taken to bring threatened “old” media into 21st century realities.

If you are at all interested in these issues or wonder what all of the fuss is about visit TechDirt to be enlightened – it is a great read that we look forward to daily. At Innovation Toronto we don’t “do” endorsements but we also can’t ignore important things that come along . . .

We always hear from people that certain types of digital content can’t come up with scarce “reasons to buy,” and yet we always seem to hear of new and creative ways that it’s being done anyway. Back in December we wrote about how the TV sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia had turned ridiculous on-air products into the real thing and they were selling quite well. Now, PrometheeFeu points out that the popular ABC TV show Castle has come out with a real book supposedly by the lead character in the show, who (in the TV show) is a professional writer. Not only that, but the book itself has hit the NY Times best seller list. Now, it’s not entirely clear who wrote the book (when asked, the producers of the show insist that it was the character in the program), but the book has gotten decent reviews and ABC is pitching the book on its website (including free chapter downloads). One assumes that ABC likely gets a cut of the sales as well. It’s yet another neat attempt to combine an infinite good with a scarce one to make that scarce one more valuable. I would imagine that the book wouldn’t sell nearly as well if it hadn’t been tied to such a TV program.

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