FAA clears Amazon for drone delivery, researchers set a new Internet speed record and Russian disinformation again targets American voters

September 3, 2020 | Posted by: Jin Woo

Published every Thursday, The Blue Print recaps the industry’s most intriguing news, unexpected shifts and developing trends that are defining the business and technology landscape.

TechRadar: One of the largest internet outages ever recorded occurred this weekend
Following a misconfiguration in one of its data centers, the US internet service provider (ISP) CenturyLink suffered a major technical outage that spread across the internet taking down many popular sites and services on Sunday. The error at the company’s data center spread outward from its network and also ended up impacting other ISPs, which led to connectivity problems for many other companies including Amazon, Twitter, NameCheap, OpenDNS, Reddit, Discord, Hulu, Steam and others.

Why It Matters: The issue led to a 3.5% drop in global internet traffic, which would make this one of the biggest internet outages ever recorded.

Tags: CenturyLink, Internet, Amazon, Twitter, NameCheap, OpenDNS, Reddit, Discord, Hulu, Steam, CloudFlare

CNBC: Amazon wins FAA approval for Prime Air drone delivery fleet
Amazon received federal approval to operate its fleet of Prime Air delivery drones, the Federal Aviation Administration said Monday, a milestone that allows the company to expand unmanned package delivery.

Why It Matters: Amazon has been testing drones capable of carrying packages under 5 pounds to customers within a half-hour and can fly up to 15 miles and becomes the third company to be granted FAA approval for drone deliveries. According to Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer, we could be seeing drone deliveries within months.

Tags: Drones, Prime Air, FAA, Google, Wing, UPS

Network World: Researchers set a new world-record Internet speed
Researchers at University College London claim they’ve obtained a new top internet speed of 178Tbps – a fifth quicker than the prior record and fast enough to download the entire Netflix catalog in under a second, they say. To achieve that, the researchers used different bandwidth ranges than are typically used in commercial optical systems. Traditional fiber infrastructure uses bandwidth of 4.5THz with 9THz becoming more available commercially. In UCL experiments, the scientists used 16.8THz.

Why It Matters: Advancements that better utilize existing infrastructure could make fiber networks much faster and less expensive.

Tags: University College London, Internet, speed, fiber

New York Times: Russians Again Targeting Americans With Disinformation, Facebook and Twitter Say
The Russian group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election is at it again, using a network of fake accounts and a website set up to look like a left-wing news site, Facebook and Twitter said on Tuesday. The disinformation campaign by the Kremlin-backed group, known as the Internet Research Agency, is the first public evidence that the agency is trying to repeat its efforts from four years ago and push voters away from the Democratic presidential candidate, Joseph R. Biden Jr., to help President Trump. Intelligence agencies have warned for months that Russia and other countries were actively trying to disrupt the November election, and that Russian intelligence agencies were feeding conspiracy theories designed to alienate Americans by laundering them through fringe sites and social media.

Why It Matters: The White House continues to downplay foreign threats, especially from Russia, that may again impact the presidential election. While there has been less volume and reach of content using social sites, the Internet Research Agency has hired American writers and created a site called Peace Data to appear as a legitimate news organization to spread disinformation to sway voters.

Tags: Russia, Facebook, Twitter, Elections, Internet Research Agency, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Peace Data

Apple Insider: Apple, other tech firms sue to block precedent on inter partes review
Apple, Google, Intel, and Cisco on Monday filed a lawsuit that challenges a Patent Trial and Appeal Board precedent on inter partes reviews. The lawsuit, lodged Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is challenging what the tech giants are calling the NHK-Fintiv rule. In the complaint, the tech giants allege that rule was created illegally and undermines the American Invents Act.

Why It Matters: NHK-Fintiv allows the agency to decline to review patents that are also being litigated in federal court, which the tech companies say allow patent trolls to extract monopoly profits from U.S. companies.

Tags: Apple, Google, Intel, Cisco