Weekly Technology News 2/21 Edition


Welcome to this week’s edition of my Weekly Technology News!technology

Few Gleanings from my perusing the Internet.

AT&T Offers Data Privacy for a Price – AT&T debuted its 1 gigabit-per-second service, called U-verse with AT&T GigaPower, last year in Austin Texas, and rolled it out on Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo. But the service comes with a hitch: The company tracks users as they surf the Web. Customers who want to keep their browsing habits to themselves can pay a fee to opt out of being monitored. Given that many Web companies let users opt out of sharing certain information free of charge, some have questioned whether AT&T’s privacy option was designed to discourage people from opting out of tracking. An AT&T spokeswoman characterized the GigaPower privacy option not as a charge to people who opted out of tracking but as a discount to those who didn’t. “We can offer a lower price to customers participating in AT&T Internet Preferences because advertisers will pay us for the opportunity to deliver relevant advertising and offers tailored to our customer’s interests,” she said.

TelemundoComcast Fight with Upstart Spanish Station is Grist for Merger Foes – A fight between an upstart Spanish language TV network and Comcast has provided more ammunition for critics who fear Comcast would gain too much market power if its buyout of Time Warner Cable goes ahead, antitrust attorneys said. Formed by the son of a Mexican immigrant in 2009, Estrella TV currently is distributed by Comcast in 16 markets on an unreimbursed, “must carry” basis under a contract that ends Thursday in Houston, Denver and Salt Lake City. The channel competes for viewers with Comcast’s Telemundo. Comcast, which also owns NBC Universal, has declined Estrella’s request to pay for its content and expand distribution to cities like Miami, with many Spanish speakers. Estrella is one of several independent programmers who have complained of being squeezed by Comcast. This dispute and others illustrate the challenges facing Comcast and Time Warner in winning approval for the merger.

Time Warner CableTime Warner Cable Renames Customer with a Derogatory Term – Comcast customers have complained about their billing account names being changed to insulting terms. Now, the same thing has happened to a Time Warner Cable customer named Esperanza Martinez, who said she was horrified when she received a letter from Time Warner Cable recently in which the company referred to her as “C**t Martinez.” Martinez received the letter after she called to complain about a problem with her cable box. Time Warner Cable apologized to Martinez and said it was done by “an employee at a third-party vendor. We have terminated our agreement with this vendor and are changing our processes to prevent this from happening again.”

Reuters; The Wall Street Journal (Digits blog); Electronista; SlashGear.Ars Technica; Boy Genius Report.

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