Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is envisioning a future where the Internet will be powered by “drones, satellites, and lasers.”
The billionaire announced in a blog post Thursday the creation of Facebook Connectivity Lab, a company division working with Internet.org to bring connectivity to those currently without access.
“In our effort to connect the whole world with Internet.org, we’ve been working on ways to beam Internet to people from the sky,” Zuckerberg said. “Our goal with Internet.org is to make affordable access to basic Internet services available to every person in the world.”
Internet.org is an effort launched last year by Facebook and other groups to increase Internet accessibility around the globe. The site released two videos alongside Zuckerberg’s announcement. One simulates what a solar-powered drone capable of providing Internet might look like. Another features a Facebook employee discussing the company’s Connectivity Lab.
Facebook has been busy shelling out billions to buy other technology companies recently. Earlier this week the social-media giant bought Oculus VR, a virtual-reality headset maker, for $2 billion. Last month, it announced a purchase of mobile chat client WhatsApp for an eye-popping $19 billion.
This is the second time in the last month Zuckerberg has taken to his Facebook page to announce attention-grabbing news. He previously used the venue to express his frustration over revelations about the government’s Internet surveillance programs, which led to a summit with President Obama last week that he and other executives of big tech firms attended.
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Along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to tighten privacy standards for Internet service providers. "The regulations will require providers to receive explicit customer consent before using an individual’s web browsing or app usage history for marketing purposes. The broadband industry fought to keep that obligation out of the rules."
President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.
The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."
Evan McMullin, the independent conservative candidate who may win his home state of Utah, is quietly planning to turn his candidacy into a broader movement for principled conservatism. He tells BuzzFeed he's "skeptical" that the Republican party can reform itself "within a generation" and that the party's internal "disease" can't be cured via "the existing infrastructure.” The ex-CIA employee and Capitol Hill staffer says, “I have seen and worked with a lot of very courageous people in my time [but] I have seen a remarkable display of cowardice over the last couple of months in our leaders.” McMullin's team has assembled organizations in the 11 states where he's on the ballot, and adviser Rick Wilson says "there’s actually a very vibrant market for our message in the urban northeast and in parts of the south."