Tech News

Obama Backs Net Neutrality, Google Fights Ebola, & More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 11-11-2014

Also, the Microsoft Lumia 535, edit captions with new Instagram update, The Who goes mobile, and the hour-long World of Warcraft documentary.


Obama Wants Broadband To Be A Utility

U.S. President Barack Obama has come out in favor of reclassifying broadband as a utility. This is regarded as the surest way to ensure the Internet remains open and free from interference by commercial entities. In other words, it would protect the principle of net neutrality Net Neutrality, As Explained By YouTube’s Geniuses Are you still not sure what Net Neutrality actually is? Don’t feel dumb: it’s a nuanced concept. So, we tracked down videos from some of the smartest people on the Web. Read More , which is that all traffic should be treated equally.

President Obama issued a statement saying, “To put these protections in place, I’m asking the FCC to reclassifying internet service under Title II of a law known as the Telecommunications Act. In plain English, I’m asking [the FCC] to recognize that for most Americans, the internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life.

Obama’s support for net neutrality and reclassifying broadband as a utility gained support from many, but Republicans and broadband companies united in their vehement opposition to what they claim is Internet regulation. Their view is best summed up by the following tweet from Senator Ted Cruz, which was eloquently countered by The Oatmeal.

Obama’s support for Title II reclassification of broadband as a utility doesn’t actually mean the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will comply with his wishes. It looks likely its decision on how to deal with this issue will be delayed until sometime in 2015.

While the FCC considers its next move, everybody reading this should ensure they’re fully informed about net neutrality What Is Net Neutrality & Why Should I Care? A significant number see Net Neutrality as essential to the survival of the Internet. In this article, we're going to look at why Net Neutrality matters, and why we should fight to protect it. Read More . At its core it’s a surprisingly simple ideal, but the message is being twisted by entities opposed to net neutrality being enshrined into law.


Google Donates Money To Fight Ebola


Google has donated $10 million to help fight Ebola, with the money going to non-profit organizations tackling the virus. In the blog post announcing the donation, Google CEO Larry Page named, “InSTEDD, International Rescue Committee, Medecins Sans Frontieres, NetHope, Partners in Health, Save the Children and [the] U.S. Fund for UNICEF” as organizations being given financial backing.

In addition to the $10 million already donated, Google has launched a campaign to raise funds from the public. For every $1 donated, the company will donate $2 until an additional $7.5 million has been raised. Donations of $10, $25, $50, $250, $500, and $1000 can be made at

Lumia 535 Is First ‘Microsoft’ Phone

The Lumia 535 may be just another low-end Windows Phone handset, but it’s more important than most because it’s the first Lumia to carry Microsoft branding rather than Nokia branding. The Microsoft logo is visible on the front and rear of the Lumia 535, leaving users in no doubt who made this phone.


As for the device itself, the Microsoft Lumia 535 boasts a 5-inch qHD display, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and a capable 5-megapixel camera. It also has Skype, Office, OneDrive, Cortana, and OneNote integrated into Windows Phone, making the $130 price tag sound extremely reasonable.

Instagram Update Lets You Edit Captions

Instagram has released an update which means you can now edit captions on your photos long after you post them online. This oft-requested feature is accompanied by new options for finding people to follow on Instagram New To Instagram? Top Tips For Newbies When you’re getting started on Instagram, there are a few tips and tricks to bear in mind to make sure that you hit the ground running. The popular app is part photo-sharing site and part... Read More , with the ‘Explore’ icon revealing the changes.

The new Instagram is available now on iOS (v6.2.0) and Android (v6.10), but there is no word yet on an update for the Windows Phone app. Which is shameful, quite frankly.

The Who Goes Mobile

The Who, the British rock group no one under the age of 40 is likely to have heard of, has released a free mobile app for iOS and Android. The app, released as the band celebrates 50 years in the business, features a virtual museum and information on The Who’s biggest hits.


Not content with invading smartphones and tablets, The Who is also coming to the Oculus Rift. A forthcoming virtual reality app 5 Oculus Rift Gaming Experiences That Will Blow You Away Now that the second generation of Oculus Rift development kit is out and in the hands of developers the world over, let's look at some of the best stuff that's hit the Rift so far. Read More , due to be released early in 2015, will let Oculus Rift users Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 Review and Giveaway It’s been a year since the first Oculus Rift Development Kit was released, and it’s safe to say the world of gaming will never be the same again Read More fly through a world filled with objects and themes from the band’s songs. So, expect a magic bus and a pinball table at the absolute minimum.

Watch World Of Warcraft Documentary

And finally, to celebrate 10 years of World of Warcraft Getting Started With World Of Warcraft: A Complete Newbie’s Guide Here’s what you need to know if you’ve never tried World of Warcraft before. Read More , the hour-long documentary, World of Warcraft: Looking For Group, is now available to watch for free. And it’s embedded above to save you from even having to click through to YouTube.

World of Warcraft: Looking For Group is an inside look at the epic MMORPG, with talking heads revealing its origins and how it grew into such a mainstream monster. Looking For Group is a Blizzard production, so it’s extremely biased, but it’s still a must-see for any fan of the game.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Is President Obama right to publicly support net neutrality? Will you be donating money to help fight Ebola? Does the Microsoft branding make you more or less likely to buy the Lumia 535?


Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

Explore more about: Google, Instagram, Microsoft, Net Neutrality, World of Warcraft.

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  1. dragonmouth
    November 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    "net neutrality is clearly a subject we should all have a say on, but spreading misinformation the way Howard has is dangerous."
    As ex-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."

  2. dragonmouth
    November 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    You are wrong. The government is NOT limiting the Freedom of the Press. You and anybody else has the right and the ability to say anything you want on the radio or TV, or in the papers. The government is NOT telling the media what information to disseminate, although many times it wishes it were able to. If there are any limitations put on the media, it is done by the owners of the media. They set the political and/or morall direction of their outlets. We know Ruppert Murdock is a conservative. We know that the owners of LA and NY times and the Washington Post are to the left of center.

    Net neutrality is like air neutrality, which we already exists. You have the right to disseminated any point of view over the radio and TV, and nobody can legally stop you. "Net Neutrality" means that same right will be extended to the Internet.

    If you have any concrete examples of government controlling the media, please provide them. The vague accusations you have presented so far are not evidence, they are just maunderings of a conspiracy freak.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 17, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      Hear hear. I'm all for an honest and open debate, and net neutrality is clearly a subject we should all have a say on, but spreading misinformation the way Howard has is dangerous.

      "Net neutrality is like air neutrality, which we already exists. You have the right to disseminated any point of view over the radio and TV, and nobody can legally stop you. “Net Neutrality” means that same right will be extended to the Internet." This is extremely well put.

  3. Lawrence
    November 12, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Howard Pearce,
    You only think about those 'ISPs', but doesn't even think about me, or the "Rest of us". Internet is currently Free and Open, because It was meant to be. You are only talking about 'market logic', not 'freedom of the press'.

    A fair shake of chance should be provided to everyone. And, Internet opened that door to everyone. More money, faster internet. Cannot afford to pay, slow internet? That's the start of the new 'digital divide', "inequality of opportunity". A key issue in the area of poverty (still many people out there) is inequality, right? (Except you). Web was designed with the equal access of information 'from the start'. We should not forget digital divide and equal opportunities in "an access to information". Everyone should be given equal opportunities. That's the fairness.

    Internet is truly open to everyone now, and we should protect that goodness for us, and for future generations.

    • Howard Pearce
      November 12, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Freedom of the Press/Speech/Communication is a right we all have to communicate, speak, or print what we want to free of state coercion. This right even belongs to ISP's regardless of how much you dislike them and your desire to make others print or communicate what you want.

      It is not up to the state to offer people "fair" chances but to protect their civil liberties. If a "fair"chance involves violating the civil liberties of others, then I would question just how fair that chance you want the state to give people is.

    • Lawrence
      November 12, 2014 at 10:48 am

      In some ways, you are right. But like you said in the comment, I am suspicious of ISPs. They are exists for the profit. What concerns me is that they would limit my civil liberties of the access to an information, and freedom of information access.

      In fact, I want to say "Power to the people". Not ISPs, and not even government. Internet is there for Everyone and People, not for certain ISPs. Internet is exists for the people, not for the corporations and companies. Internet is not a some company's possession, and we are all owner of the network as a user.

      I hope we can create a non-profit/non-governmental civic group for this, and government and ISPs could agree to give their power to the people. They could do the business, but they should not limit the "accessibility" for the money. Obey the dictates of conscience, ISPs!

      And, I hope the whole Internet is preserved for good as we all know it.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 17, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      It's madness that corporations are treated as individuals. Madness.

    • Lawrence
      November 18, 2014 at 3:00 am

      I agree. I can't understand how could corporations are treated as individuals.

  4. Leah
    November 11, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I have absolutely no idea where I stand on the net neutrality issue. I want everything to be equal in that I can access Netflix as easily as I access my email and all that, but I don't like the idea of the government controlling one more thing. It really does feel like we're losing freedom of speech. Heck, we're supposed to be the home of the free, but if we keep letting the government have control of things we are not free. I want to be able to come on the internet to voice my opinion without fear of being put in jail because I disagree with the government.

  5. Howard Pearce
    November 11, 2014 at 5:59 pm


    Just admit you have no problem with violating freedom of the press as long as the goals suit your needs. The end justifies the means ...... the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      The Internet and the press are two different things, and I really don't know why you keep trying to lump the two in together.

      I support freedom of the press, and I support having an open and free Internet where the ISPs cannot dictate what websites their customers can visit. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

      Let me ask you a question: Would you want your ISP to block you from visiting this website because they decide they don't like our stance on net neutrality? That is what could happen if you don't support net neutrality. Can you see which one of those outcomes allows for free speech?

    • Howard Pearce
      November 11, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Indeed they are ..... but freedom of the press is NOT a right for newspapers and radios only.
      It's a right the we all have .... even ISP's.

      The idea of supporting a right for only a certain class of people is shameful.

      I would not like a my ISP blocking a site .... does that mean I want the state to coerce them into doing it ? No ! ..... We have contractual agreements to cover what services are provided. If the ISP violates that, then it will have committed fraud.

    • Scott
      November 11, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      I'm with Howard on this one. Seems pretty darn clear that this would not be a good thing.

    • averyvh
      November 12, 2014 at 4:26 am

      Your government can already block sites if they want. That is already happening and has nothing to do with net neutrality. This is about not letting your ISP block sites.
      If you are afraid of your government you are already screwed.

    • Howard Pearce
      November 12, 2014 at 9:38 am

      I see .... so if you have a fascist government which already interferes with what you print and communicate .... let's just legalize it and do it officially but with rules that suit your needs.

  6. Howard Pearce
    November 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Obama backs a law that promotes state mandated internet printing ? And he wants to make it a utility ? That means state control , if not significant regulation, of the internet like almost all other utilities.

    Let's not forget that state mandated printing is a violation of freedom of the press.
    One of the top goals of net Neutrality is that the state mandate that ISP's print all sites.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 11, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      I was wondering when you would show up, Howard. You're wrong again, as you have been whenever you have commented on net neutrality in the past.

      If you actually listened to what Obama said instead of trotting out some nonsense line time and time again, you would know he's steadfastly against the state controlling the Internet.

      I know this will make no difference as you have an agenda and are completely disinterested in hearing anything that goes against it, but I'll try nonetheless. Net neutrality ensures all traffic is treated equally, so this is a GOOD THING, ensuring an ISP cannot block a website for some bullshit reason. I don't know about you but I would prefer we had a press which had to present both sides of an argument rather than only the one which suited their political agenda.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Perhaps you'll understand this explanation from The Verge better... "Regulating internet service under Title II would mean reclassifying it as a utility, like water. This means that internet providers would just be pumping internet back and forth through pipes and not actually making any decisions about where the Internet goes."

      This may not fit in with your agenda, but it happens to be the truth.

    • Howard Pearce
      November 11, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      Anyone who promotes making a service a public utility is necessarily asking for the state to have the power to regulate and control that service.

      Just check the wiki page on "public utility".

      The difference between me and you is that you believe what the state tells you as the reason ..... I view control over people and things with great skepticism.

      And state mandated printing IS a violation of freedom of the press !

    • Dave Parrack
      November 11, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      The Internet isn't being turned into a public utility, Obama just wants it to be treated as a utility because it is such an essential part of everybody's lives.

      No, I do not believe everything the state tells me. I have a brain and decide each individual policy on its merits. Net neutrality is good, it already exists, and the current argument is just whether we protect that or not. If obama has his way nothing whatsoever would change. If you get your way the ISPs will be able to interfere with what information flows through their tubes.

      I don't know why you keep talking about printing. You realize no one is going to print the whole of the Internet, right?

    • Howard Pearce
      November 11, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Unlike you, I realize that when the state makes mandates on newspapers as to what they have to print then we have a violation of freedom of the press ...... it works the same way when you and your followers support a state mandate on what ISP's have to print !

    • Leah
      November 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      @Dave Barrack
      The problem with requiring both sides to be presented is that you're forcing some places and people to have to present a side they aren't just against, but that is against their beliefs. It's telling the Christian radio stations they have to provide non-Christian programming in order for them to be able to provide Christian programming. You're saying you want a press that has to present both sides. In theory that is what I would want, too. In the case of the War in Iraq, you would want to hear the side of those pro-war and those anti-war. But, then what happens to the Pro-War website? Do they have to present the anti-war side? Or vice versa? Is that fair? Is that right? Would it be right for a station that only wants to air Christmas music have to play Hannukah music and Winter Solstice music if there ever is such a thing?

    • dragonmouth
      November 12, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      "The problem with requiring both sides to be presented is that you’re forcing some places and people to have to present a side they aren’t just against, but that is against their beliefs."
      You misundertand. The requirement is that no point of view should be suppressed just because somebody, or even everybody, disagrees with it. It means that if someone wants to start a radio station in the Bible Belt that preaches Satanism or Wicca, no one can LEGALLY stop it. Whether that station survives or not depends on how its message resonates with the local population.

      All of our media outlets (papers, radio, TV, not to mention Internet sites) already have obvious leanings and agendas. Think Fox and NPR. The two satisfy the requirement for opposite points of view to be aired but nobody is forcing Fox to present left-wing POV and NPR to present the right-wing POV in addition to their own.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      @Leah I'm not sure if calling me Dave Barack was intentional or not, but it's Parrack, not Barack.

      Dragonmouth countered your point very well. No one is going to force a Christian website to run atheism pieces. That isn't what net neutrality is about. Instead, keeping net neutrality in place (it's already the default) means an ISP wouldn't be able to block a Christian website because they don't like the message they're preaching.

  7. Jack
    November 11, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Obama lies about everything! Anything he's for you'd be smart to be against. The "speed of government is right" and being able to control you just a little more is an added benefit.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 11, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      He isn't lying about net neutrality. Ask anyone who understands about technology and they'll tell you net neutrality is a good thing.

    • Howard Pearce
      November 11, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      Lol, anyone who knows ? Like Obama or you ? Get serious.

      net Neutrality is about politics and your civil rights too .... not merele a question of technology !

    • Dave Parrack
      November 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      You have net neutrality completely backwards, Howard, and I fear you are a lost cause.