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Google Wireless Networking

Google Wants To Administer the First White Spaces 112

aabelro writes "Google proposes to the FCC to become the administrator of a White Spaces Database containing geo-location information about devices using the free channels in the radio spectrum."
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Google Wants To Administer the First White Spaces

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  • Hmmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AnotherUsername ( 966110 ) * on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @10:45AM (#30669372)
    I would much rather the FCC be the administrator of it. I know Google is the big player right now, but it is still just a corporation(especially one that profits from data mining/advertising). The government is not for profit. Google is completely for profit. The government is more likely to make access to the database free. As always, as those who know my views can guess, I trust the government more than I do corporations, and this includes corporations like Google.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jo42 ( 227475 )

      The question you have to ask yourself is "Which is the greater evil?"

      The money grubbing corporate types at Google or the lobbyist driven bureaucrats in Government?

      Since I'm on a "Just say NO! to Google" jihad, I'd have to give it to the paper shufflers in Government...

      • the answer is (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by unity100 ( 970058 )

        you dont know jack shit. what you term 'lobbyist driven bureaucrats in government' are just a storefront for really evil money grubbing corporate types, like at&t, riaa, time warner et al. had they got their way up until now, the internet you so ordinarily use would have turned into a cable network already.

        compared to them, google types come up as clean as an angel.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I don't know if google type are clean as angels, but at least with google you know up front that they are for profit. With the government, they say they are not for profit when they are all out to make a buck (or a few million) for themselves.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Google is the worst kind of corporate evil around today. To suggest they are an angel is beyond naive.

          • so, there are corporations that want to gimp internet to being a cable tv so that free expression, uncalled for political ideas, grassroots movements wont be able to flourish. so, they arent the worst corporate evil out there today.

            there are companies 'insuring' your health, but weaseling out of their obligations with dubious legal clauses when you hit the hospital, at the risk of your own life. buuut, apparently, they arent the worst corporate evil out there today either.

            there are corporations which foster

      • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MrNaz ( 730548 ) * on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @11:19AM (#30669780) Homepage

        Why is government control necessarily "evil"? It's function* is to control social institutions and infrastructure that is otherwise unprofitable to run or should not be run in a for-profit manner. Furthermore, corporations come and go, as do their agendas. Would you want AT&T to be in charge of all IP addresses that were unused back in the 70s when it was the dominant player in telecommunications? In 20 years Google will (hopefully) be just another once-were-innovators.

        If this same discussion were happening 10 years ago, the big name putting up their hand to administer it, and would probably have little competition, would be Microsoft. Who'd want that? Google will one day be what Microsoft is today; hated, feared and opposed by pretty much everyone, and all the Google fanboys today will claim then that they never really liked Google the way ex-MS lovers now claim they never liked MS.

        Corporations should *never* be given permanent power over social infrastructure. I never understood the willingness of the US population to give fundamentally transient organizations power over social infrastructure. Imagine if SCO actually *did* have control over anything important in the Unix world?

        Privatization is *not* the panacea that Americans hold it to be.

        (Oh, and I know you're not saying it is, I'm agreeing with and taking further your point.)

        * Current implementation of "government" is not what I'm talking about, I'm talking philosophically.

        • by rhekman ( 231312 )
          The fault I find with your argument is the asterisk post-script at the end -- *Current implementation of "government" is not what I'm talking about, I'm talking philosophically".

          You cannot separate a philosophic ideal of government from its real world implications. Entrusting a bureaucracy to administer infrastructure you see as vital still creates a ruling class that then becomes entrenched and seeks to protect its own interest.

          I do not see a protected bureaucracy as something superior to a corporat
          • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) *

            Therein lies your problem. You cannot give government the power to stop other citizens from encroaching your rights, without giving them the power to stop you encroaching the rights of others. Once you give them that right, you by necessity must give them the latitude to define what constitutes such an encroachment. They then define whatever they decide is in their interests as being in the interests of protecting citizens from each other. Hello, PATRIOT Act. Don't you see? You already have your minimal gov

            • Once you give them that right, you by necessity must give them the latitude to define what constitutes such an encroachment. They then define whatever they decide is in their interests as being in the interests of protecting citizens from each other. Hello, PATRIOT Act.

              That's why you have separation of powers, warrants, process rights, and other safe guards. Patriot act, the no-fly list, Germany's attempted child pornography list, Australia's internet laws are examples of governments removing safeguards w

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by D Ninja ( 825055 )

          In 20 years Google will (hopefully) be just another once-were-innovators.

          Really? I hope in 20 years Google is still innovating. While I realize there is a cycle to companies growing and dying (especially as new competitors come to the market), I do not wish for a company to become Just Another Big Company(TM).

        • It's function* is to control social institutions and infrastructure that is otherwise unprofitable to run or should not be run in a for-profit manner.

          Technically, no. It's function is to facilitate transactions between entities in an efficient, stable, and acceptable manner (within the law). Sometimes it has to assume the social responsibility itself to make that happen, but this should NOT be confused with control. There are also many social institutions that are not government controlled (churches, which many are unprofitable btw). I think you are confusing regulation with control. The first implies following some sort of rule of law, while the other

        • Propaganda (aka PR) for generations on behalf of corporations has suckered the ignorant American public into a warped view of reality.

          Even the word socialism has been destroyed; we lack even general terms for the public to use. Populism still exists but is often equated with mob rule over here. Most extremes turn out poorly, democracies are by nature more socialist and populist.

          I remember the 80s when we had the peak of anti government hype outside and inside the government (hell we had a corp spokesperson

        • by flatrock ( 79357 )

          I guess government control is no more or less evil than any other control...

          I'd would say there are some things the government does well, but having worked with and for the government most of my adult life I really can't think of any. There are however some public resources, such as the radio spectrum that need to be protected and administered in the public interest, and government is the best of the choices we have of who to to do that. So the government needs to be in charge of it. It needs to regulate

    • The problem is, if people don't like what the government is doing there is no real way for rapid change. An international boycott of Google could both change its plans quickly and perhaps put it out of business. Any time you'd try that with the government you would simply get thrown in jail.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LOLLinux ( 1682094 )

        An international boycott of Google could both change its plans quickly and perhaps put it out of business.

        And such a thing actually happens, how often?

        • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

          by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @11:52AM (#30670330) Journal

          An international boycott of Google

          Your solution advocates a
          (*) market-based
          approach to solving the Google problem.

          Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work:
          (*) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once

          Specifically, your plan fails to account for:
          (*) The enormous popularity of Google
          (*) International reluctance to engage in sweeping change
          (*) A lack of support from famous Musicians and Actors

          and the following philosophical objection also applies:
          (*) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
          (*) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by el_tedward ( 1612093 )

        We have much more of an ability to make change through the democratic process than we do by trying to scream at/boycott a corporation until we get what we want.

        Not that most people know enough about what is going on in the world to change their vote based on something technology related like this, but that'll probably change as more old people die. We have a much better chance of getting people to go out and vote than we do with getting enough people to boycott a corporation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by syzler ( 748241 )
        I believe a group of people boycotted their government a while back. They were not all thrown in jail, in fact I believe most of them are now referred to as the founding fathers of the United States of America.
        • I believe a group of people boycotted their government a while back. They were not all thrown in jail, in fact I believe most of them are now referred to as the founding fathers of the United States of America.

          The winners always get to write history. If the founding fathers of the USA were to have lost the revolution, they would have been quartered.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            Maybe that's why they enshrined the right to protest against the government? How many anti-war protesters were arrested for protesting the war (and not something else) during the Bush administration? How many Tea Party types were arrested for their protests (and again, not for something else?) Neither of those groups were really the victors (in that there's still a war and still a health care bill), but simply protesting the government isn't illegal.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Lostlander ( 1219708 )
          Bah that hasn't happened in the first world for a few hundred years how do we know if it even works anymore.
        • Lets see, how did they manage to boycott their government and win.

          A) They had the right and ability to bear arms that were comparable across the board. Having a 9MM simi-auto pistol may protect you against a robber with a handgun, knife or any other type of small arm, but its not going to do anything to a tank, a person with a fully-auto weapon with lots of ammo, a trained sniper, etc. When both groups use muskets its a lot more fair than one group's highest weapons are simi-automatic weapons and the ot
        • by g8oz ( 144003 )

          I believe there are a group of people are boycotting their government in a similar vein right now. They are commonly referred to as the Taliban.

        • by g8oz ( 144003 )

          I believe there are a group of people that are boycotting their government in a similar vein right now. They are commonly referred to as the Taliban.

    • Eric Schmidt is just one furry white cat and a cigarette-holder short of a Bond villain.

    • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrTester ( 860336 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @11:17AM (#30669750)

      Dont confuse the administrator of the database with the governor of the data therein. Google is just proposing to provide the technical solution, not decide the policies that get someone on the list.

      And if Google gets this, the goverment will certainly write into their charter limits on what and when they can charge.

      I just dont see an issue here.

      • i posted in this thread. perhaps more iditos who didnt read the article wont come barging in yelping libertarian/republican crap if they understood what was it about.

    • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Suki I ( 1546431 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @11:18AM (#30669762) Homepage Journal
      Which other firm do you propose administer it? The government is going to hire some firm to build and administer it and will have oversight over it. Google or not.
    • The FCC currently outsources a lot of activities including frequency coordination, license examinations, and so on.

      They can put rules in place in the agreement requiring free access. I had to remind one of their outsourced organizations of that when I wanted access to their database, it was granted.

    • The FCC might subcontract to Google.

      I honestly don't care who does it, as long as they do a good job of it and remain under the watchful eye of the FCC. Audits, supervision, and whatever else is needed to keep the grunts that actually handle it in line.

    • The government is not for profit.

      You have no idea how hard I'm trying to keep from falling out of my chair.

      • The government is not for profit.

        You have no idea how hard I'm trying to keep from falling out of my chair.

        As soon as I finished reading the OP (just to make sure there was no /sarcasm tag) I scrolled down to make sure someone had responded to that little nugget of hilarity. Two responses, so far. There's hope for humanity, yet...

    • I trust Corps more than I trust the Gov. I trust a Corp to act in its own self interest damn the rest, as for the Gov we live in a Republic motives change depending whose in charge.
      I'm not opposed to a Corp being in charge of the white space but I am opposed to it being Google because of the conflict of interest.

    • I'm extremely concerned at the amount of power Google is gathering, its data collection, its lack of privacy protection. BUT in this case, Google is the good guy. The FCC forced this whole database option upon the white spaces industry and then said white spaces database admins can charge fees for the service. The company with the most experience (and in Microsoft's camp) was actually partially funded by an FCC commissioner ... so the FCC could be granting a profit-making contract to "one of its own." Now t
    • The FCC is not necessarily always trustworthy, IMHO. They were scolded by a federal court when they tried to force adoption of BPL [] because they "...failed to satisfy the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act ('APA') by redacting studies on which it relied in promulgating the rule and failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its choice of the extrapolation factor for measuring Access BPL emissions." [ source ] []

      The long and short of this story is that the FCC wanted BPL deploy

    • ummm, where to you get the idea that government is not for profit?

      The only difference between government and a corporation is who gets the profit.

      Corporation - profits go to investors, private sector workers.
      Government - profits go to public sector workers, bureaucrats

      The rest is all the same. Driving business to their industry...

      Take a look at the drug war. It's a business for police officers, prison guards, lawyers...
      Or take a look at public education. it's a business for teachers and teacher unions.

    • by cellurl ( 906920 ) *
      I trust Google.
      Ten years from now when the founders leave, I may not.
      Its innovative to give Google 5years, no more, no less to do it.
      They will do a fantastic job, but it should go out to bid [], shouldn't it?

      Not all feds are good, and not all feds are bad. I didn't always believe it, but I now do. [but thats a POLL I imagine...]

      Heres something the feds won't do as well as we are. []
    • Inevitable (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Chapter80 ( 926879 )

      Didn't we know Google was after administrating white space for the past five years? []

    • by flatrock ( 79357 )

      The Database and its administration will be paid for either directly through some form of fees or indirectly through taxes. In neither case is it free, its just a matter of who gets the bill.

      It is highly unlikely the FCC is going to hire civil servants to develop and maintain such a database in any case. If they do it will take longer, cost more, and have more problems. Why? Because the government is the only entity with even more beaucracy and inefficiency than large corporations, and less direct incen

    • The government is not for profit. Google is completely for profit.

      Governments are FOR-profit organizations. Its just that they arent trying to profit from it's citizens (that would be like eating yourself). The semantics get funny because governments print money but in the true sense or the word they certainly do. [] -

      profit (prft) n. 1. An advantageous gain or return; benefit.

    • when the administration changes, fcc will become the influence area of another private interest block. it may happen to be the at&t - riaa - media cartel that seek to undermine everyone in the digital age for their own interest.

      google is there to stay. the company vision is sound and reliable. it wont just change in 4 years. brin and page dont seem to be retiring or dying anytime soon, so the vision will keep going like this and even strengthening in future.

      you would be much better off relying on google

  • ...letting Pfizer admin the FDA... oh wait, their lobbyists already do.

    These aren't the droids you're looking for, move along.
  • Perhaps they'll use a whitespace minifier to remove all of the whitespace from the electromagnetic spectrum, so our radios will load faster!
    • We see now that Google's hiring of Guido von Rossum was only the first step in their evil plan to dominate the world of white space.

      (just a joke; I love Python)

  • say it loud (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    White spaces? What about Black Spaces and Latino Spaces and Asian Spaces?

    Google is attempting to monopolize racism!

  • Fox, meet henhouse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by speedlaw ( 878924 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @10:55AM (#30669516) Homepage
    I agree that the way that broadcasters have "parked" spectrum is appalling. Did you know every FM slot is "taken" even in areas where no one uses them ? I once tried to buy a radio station-it was an education. The fact is that even here in media saturated NYC there's a lot of unused RF, and at the higher UHF allocations the fact that one market might interfere with another is greatly lessened. There is no good reason why we need to regulate the way we have been. It's like making a national park with strips of industry. The real reason is that this was a great "restraint of trade" for the established propaganda providers (see "community FM radio") Still, if I were a broadcaster, I'd be very afraid. Since the Congress is a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate america, google can't do a worse job than the FCC.
  • by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @11:05AM (#30669622) Journal
    I really like the "Google is NSA" tag. I think it's my favorite conspiracy theory yet!
  • This is *not* about gated communities; rather, it has to do with allocating the radio spectrum.

  • by Ractive ( 679038 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @11:22AM (#30669820) Homepage

    Google slogan : "Don't be evil"

    Google slogan in 5 years : "Don't be soooo evil"

    Google slogan in 10 years : "Just don't be as evil as Satan himself"

    Google slogan in 20 years : "All your arses are belong to us"

  • No. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @11:32AM (#30669980) Homepage Journal

    The FCC should have responsibility for this,and so should maintain the data.

    Google wants to get a foot in the door to be able to control/promote a wireless carrier in this spectrum.

    And that I don't much mind. But they should have to pay, or at least compete, for that space.

    In a way, this is worse than the major carriers playing tic-tac-toe with spectrum auctions.

  • They want to be one of the administrators - not the only administrator. There are many organizations that will be running databases - all flowing from a master database that the FCC controls.
  • Bad idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @12:10PM (#30670648) Homepage

    The first thing a hacker would do is use a trim() function and destroy all the data...

  • I've never been comfortable with the entire White Space approach, especially the database idea. A big problem is that primary users are only protected out to a predetermined contour, not to their actual range as used in the field. For example, TV stations are only protected out to a given contour (a specific distance out from the tower, where the station's signal strength is predicted to weaken to a predetermined threshold) specified in their license. However, many, many people in rural areas watch over-

    • You're leaving out a major stipulation of the FCC's ruling: whitespace devices must listen before transmitting, not just query the database. They can't just check the database and begin broadcasting. Not only does that potentially cause the interference with the primary user you're concerned about, it could easily run right over the top of other whitespace devices, thereby seriously limiting their utility.

      Given the listen before transmit rule, and given that the rural areas you're talking about have the l

      • by dtmos ( 447842 ) *

        You're leaving out a major stipulation of the FCC's ruling: whitespace devices must listen before transmitting, not just query the database.

        You're right, but I was trying not to complicate the argument. Consider the situation, though: The farmer needs a tall tower (30m is not unusual), a high-gain (10-15 dB), directional antenna, plus a low-noise, high-gain mast-mounted preamplifier to watch his television. What are the odds that the sensing system associated with a secondary user also will be able to de

        • I'm not so sure I believe your contention that a directional antennae on a mast is going to be more sensitive than the sensing system a whitespace device must have. The FCC rules say that sensing system must be sensitive down to -114dBm. It seems ATSC tuners aren't able to pull in a signal at less than -84dBm. But ok, let's assume the whitespace device still won't notice the TV signal. I would argue that a 30m mast and a directional antennae means there's a fair chance a whitespace device's signal won't

          • by dtmos ( 447842 ) *

            Nearby whitespace devices, broadcasting at a maximum of 100 milliwatts with non-directional antennaes, aren't likely to be heard.

            Ooohh, yes, they will -- for any number of reasons: (1) the shielding of the television set itself is finite, and certainly less than +20 dBm - (-84 dBm) = 104 dB at RF; and (2) the nulls in the antenna pattern are certainly less than 40 or 50 dB, especially when scattering from nearby objects is considered; just to think of two reasons. Try it and see.

            And here, I simply say, I

            • I think we're going to have to declare a truce here, and agree to disagree. Perhaps we can meet again in five years and see whose vision of the future came to pass?


              In my more apathetic moments, I feel sure that not even a commercial juggernaut the size of Google is capable of fixing broadband in America. The other, much more entrenched commercial juggernauts that have been busily beavering away at converting American citizens into Consumers have a long head start.

              In America's younger days, when corporations couldn't be bothered to provide electricity service to rural locations, rural people took matters into their own hands, formed co-ops, and ran wire. Lik

    • I'm curious. How is it that the Primary user with a truckload of fancy gear has no internet access to query the database but the secondary user, who is very close by, does have internet access to query the database?

      • by dtmos ( 447842 ) *

        Because the Primary user is mobile, or at least portable, and the Secondary user can be fixed (and at least tied to a landline, if nothing else). A lot of the rural US has no cell phone coverage -- trust me.

  • We don't plan to become a database administrator ourselves, but do want to work with the FCC to make sure that a white spaces database gets up and running. We hope that this will unfold in a matter of months, not years.


    Google proposes the operation of a WSDB for at least 5 years, promising to “transfer to a successor entity the Database, the IP addresses and URLs used to access the Database, and the list of registered Fixed WSDs” in case they cannot live up to it. Google proposal does not limit the possibility of existing other such databases.

    They're not proposing to do it on their own and willing to hand over everything if they fuck it up.

  • While they're at it, why don't they create a Brainfucks database. Now that would be useful.

    Looking forward to see the API bindings on Google Code.

  • by Anachragnome ( 1008495 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2010 @06:56PM (#30676322)

    This is simply a way to monetize something that was intended to be free.

    Free or not, where there is a demand, the market will create itself and Google plans on being there first. I RTFA and it seems to me that they are just trying to "grade" a whitespace based on its physical location and the devices at that location. So and so coordinates, with yada-yada using it. Check. The database is simply to let those users know who is who, and where.

    The next step would be, in my mind, to strangle the supply of whitespace by camping as many geo-locations as possible.
    (wow, that actually sounds like fun...Pitch a tent and roast marshmallows!)

    My first impulse(were I without a conscience) would be to lease/mount a transmitter on every cell tower out there, specifically to fill whitespace. It could simply broadcast old Jimmy Swaggart reruns or simply white-noise. Just keep it filled to claim priority. After all, the idea is to keep people from interfering with ANY other transmissions...even if it is someone simply camping the whitespace there. This is basically a Land-Rush on the whitespace, and the lawyers think that mapping it all will give them something to work with...some sort of claim of rights to that whitespace.

    When you have most of it camped, you are then in a position to start making deals.

    Market created.

    The problem is eventually that "non-existent" market will drive use to the point it actually WOULD interfere with adjacent frequencies...exactly what was trying to be prevented by the creation of whitespaces.

    Back to square one with Google making truckloads of cash in the process.

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre