Mar 14

@techLatino Agrees with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr and U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto Next Generation Wireless Deployment to Modernize Federal Process.

jamAs previously described by TechLatino, wireless deployment is of particular value to Latino communities, who are outsized users of mobile services when compared to other groups. As the wireless industry continues efforts to enhance networks across the country, a series of reforms have been underway to modernize federal processes to make that easier. Commissioner Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission has released an order to streamline federal processes governing deployment of small cell antennas and macro towers, while respecting the authority of state and local governments. The Carr Order, in addition to legislation proposed by America’s first Latina Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, provides necessary updates required to deliver next-generation wireless service to communities nationwide.

Commissioner Carr has traveled across many regions of the country and consulted the views of minority communities to show how the Order will enhance deployment by updating federal historic preservation and environmental protection procedures. Specifically, the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”) and the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) contain fee structures now unsuitable for the digital age, applying cost structures and procedural timelines associated with large towers in ways that negatively affect the costs and ability to the deploy small cell antennas. Increasing the costs to roll out the small cells needed over the next three to four years to enhance networks will harm communities that rely on wireless connectivity.

Pew Research data shows that mobile devices are important to Latinos across all income levels, who are less likely to own a computer or have home internet access. Latino smartphone owners are twice as likely to rely on their mobile devices to access the internet for their everyday needs. Access to mobile broadband brings with it many benefits, including employment, educational, and capital access opportunities. At the same time, next-generation wireless is slated to create 3 million new jobs.

The Latino community cannot afford to miss opportunities that this streamlining initiative will offer. Missed opportunities are exactly what will occur if our government leaders fail to pass these changes. The massive amount of funds that would be saved by these NEPA/NHPA streamlining reforms could instead be used to enhance the service that our community depends on. The Carr Order will help ensure that Latino communities across the country are not held back. TechLatino’s mission is to empower Latino communities everywhere, and therefore we support these efforts to ensure wireless network improvements become a reality.

About TechLatino: The National Association of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology.

Through its network of 15 affiliated community-based councils, association and partnerships with non-profit organizations, LISTA advocates on behalf of the millions of Latinos in 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, South America and Spain.

To achieve its mission, to educate, motivate and empower, LISTA conducts workshops and seminars, national business series, research, policy analysis, and technology awareness programs in order to provide a Latino perspective in many key areas in technology — development of the 21st century workforce, coding, health information technology, STEAM education, employment/economic status, business development cell and broadband.

In addition, it provides workshops and training to technology professionals and students in health it, big data and other technology opportunities for individuals small businesses and families. Helping Close the digital divide and giving opportunity to all.

Dec 13

@techlatino Guest Blogger: Rosa Mendoza on Net Neutrality Misconceptions

RM-picCriticism of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new proposal to reform its net neutrality rules has significantly intensified recently and gotten extremely politicized to the point of ignoring salient points in favor of the upcoming proposal. Last week, some protesters even put signs on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s lawn and claimed his children would realize one day that he “murdered Democracy in cold blood.”

Beyond the lack of decency in targeting families, this misguided anger from some unfortunately obscures the issues at the foundation of the debate and undermines any possible merits their viewpoint might have. In addition, the uncompromising stance that many are taking ignores significant data points that indicate at least a correlation, if not direct causation, between the 2015 order to classify broadband service providers as utilities under Title II and a decline in infrastructure investment that poses a large problem within the Internet ecosystem, especially for many in the Latino community. Those who insist that the FCC continue with its costly decision to regulate the Internet as a utility under Title II of a 1934 telephone law must face an unpleasant fact: There is strong evidence that the FCC’s 2015 action has significantly slowed progress on closing the digital divide since one of the main ways to do so is to deploy additional broadband infrastructure to underserved areas.

Even today, after $1.6 trillion invested in broadband deployment during the past two decades, the digital divide remains a serious problem. It hinders access to healthcare, education, workplace training and the ability to be full participants in a society that finds itself more and more integrated into the online world. The FCC’s Title II decision has created confusion, uncertainty and significant new legal costs on broadband service providers. Some of these costs are inevitably passed on to consumers. But Title II’s legal uncertainties are also curbing broadband investment, which is vital to closing the digital divide.  Since the FCC’s action, broadband investment has been on a two-year decline, dropping nearly 6%. According to the FCC, this is the first time a decline has happened outside of a recession.

The lack of investment in deployment hits especially hard in rural areas and there is significant evidence that problems stemming from the FCC’s 2015 Title II action are, in fact, hitting rural areas the hardest, which are most in need of expanded broadband access and have a higher proportion of Latinos. Within weeks of the FCC’s action, the Commission began receiving documented cases from across the country of small Internet providers pulling back from upgrades because of new legal costs from the Commission’s new rules. Last April, nearly two dozen small Internet providers explained in an open letter to the FCC how Title II regulations have “slowed, if not halted, the development and deployment of innovative new offerings which would benefit our customers.” These providers are from places like Chaparral, NM (80+% Latino) and Warner Robins, Georgia (45% Latino & African-American). Less investment in deployment of infrastructure hits those in rural areas the hardest and maintains or widens the digital divide every day there is no action.

Recognizing the costs and problems of the FCC’s Title II Internet regulation is crucial because it shows the pressing need to reform these rules.  Doing nothing is not an option. Failure to reach a better solution for all stakeholders means millions of Americans who lack modern broadband will have less chance for more reliable and accessible Internet service. The Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) is on record and vehemently maintains that a free and open Internet is the best environment for all Internet users, but regulating broadband service providers using an outdated regulatory framework is certainly not the answer. Hence, there is always a middle ground to consider.

Investment in infrastructure deployment aside, it is important to also examine the merits of the FCC’s proposed plan with regard to consumer protections. The FCC’s plan continues protections but does so through the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has been on the front lines in legal fights against telemarketerstext spammers and other bad actors online . Under the new system, net users still have online protections and these protections will come not only from the FTC but also from existing federal and state laws. These laws and their protections will not change, even with reform of the net neutrality/Title II process. With this in mind, HTTP strongly urges the FTC and state and local authorities to continue to create and enact proactive, comprehensive consumer protections.

This month, the FCC is likely to approve its proposal for reversing the order that classified broadband service providers as utilities under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. This will ideally help boost infrastructure investment levels that current rules have likely hindered and promote a more reliable and accessible Internet for all. HTTP has and will continue to advocate for an open Internet and one that is accessible to all Americans, especially Latinos who continue to be on the wrong side of the digital divide, to be able to thrive in the online world. 

Read More on telecom issues by Rosa Mendoza, Executive Director, HTTP

Dec 08

Google/YouTube is cutting access to Amazon Fire TV on Jan. 1

wersm-netflix-youtube-cover-657x360Google, which owns YouTube, and Amazon are going to war over streaming services and plenty more. YouTube is also disappearing again from Amazon’s Echo Show video device.

If you’ve got an Amazon Fire TV, say goodbye to using it to watch YouTube.

The Google-owned video service is cutting access to the Amazon device on Jan. 1, a Google spokeswoman said Tuesday. YouTube is also cutting access Tuesday for a second time to Amazon’s Echo Show video device.

The moves signal that the ongoing battle between the world’s biggest search engine and the world’s largest online retailer may get bigger and messier in 2018.

“We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other’s products and services,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “But Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest’s latest products.

“Given this lack of reciprocity,” she added. “We are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

Amazon representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google and Amazon have been in an intensifying competition on multiple fronts, with Amazon pushing deeper into Google’s turf of online advertising and Google moving into Amazon’s territory of e-commerce and smart speakers. This competition over the years has spilled out into public view and often resulted in fewer options for customers. Still, it’s unclear whether Google’s latest move should be seen as a negotiating move by the search giant or a sign of more fighting between the two companies.

In one of the most recent spats between the two companies, YouTube vanished from Amazon’s Echo Show device in September. The Show, unveiled in May, is essentially an Amazon Echo smart speaker with a built-in touchscreen display. YouTube returned to the Show last month – just in time for Black Friday — by directing users to YouTube’s website, but Google is cutting access again.

At the time, Google said Amazon’s implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violated its terms of service.

Two years, ago, Amazon banned Google’s Chromecast and Apple TV from its website, helping Amazon direct its customers toward its own Fire TV and away from competing devices. Amazon at the time said the move was to ensure its customers were buying the best devices for watching its Prime Video service and help “avoid customer confusion.”

Apple said earlier this year that Prime Video is coming to Apple TV. Prime Video isn’t available on a Google Chromecast or Android TV devices, but is on mobile Android devices.

Google and Amazon have been in a high-stakes battle to get their devices into your home. Amazon released the Echo, a voice-controlled speaker and smart home hub, in 2014. Google followed suit last year with its rival Google Home. Apple plans to join the market with its $350 HomePod. Still, Amazon is the dominant leader in the smart speaker world, with Echo devices owning 73 percent of the market. Google is far behind with 27 percent, according to a report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

In September, Amazon unveiled a new line of Echo devices, including an updated Echo, the Echo Plus and the Echo Spot. The next month, Google unveiled a new slew of hardware products to get its Assistant, a digital helper akin to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, to more users. The new devices include an updated version of the Google Home smart speaker and a Google Home Mini device.

Despite the direct competition between the Google Home and Amazon Echo, the two companies continue to work together for some connected home devices. For instance, Google’s parent company Alphabet continues to allow people to control their Nest thermostats and cameras using an Echo. The Nest thermostat is available on Amazon, but last month other Nest product disappeared from the site, including the Nest Thermostat E, a cheaper version of the device, and the Nest Secure alarm system.

Right now, Google Home can’t be bought on Amazon either. Neither can its Chromecast video streaming device. Google has been in negotiations with Amazon to try to get both company’s products on each of their platforms, a person familiar with Google’s thinking told CNET. For example, that could mean having Prime Video, Amazon’s streaming video service, on Google’s Cast streaming products.

“It should be about users of Google and Amazon, not Google and Amazon,” said the person familiar.

Nov 21


AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson vowed to fight the government suit and complete the acquisition of Time Warner

AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson vowed to fight the government suit and complete the acquisition of Time Warner

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT filed a lawsuit Monday to block AT&T’s planned $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, in a move that could signal tougher scrutiny for tech companies.

The lawsuit breaks with the recent DOJ tradition of approving mergers between companies that don’t directly compete, such as AT&T and Time Warner. The government followed that traditional thinking in allowing Comcast to acquire NBCUniversal in 2011.

AT&T is the nation’s largest provider of traditional pay television service thanks to its acquisition of DirecTV. Time Warner, meanwhile, owns popular content outlets like CNN, HBO, TBS, and Warner Brothers. According to its complaint, the DOJ worries that if AT&T were allowed to buy Time Warner, the combined company could raise fees for Time Warner content to pay-TV competitors such as Comcast and Charter. That could drive up costs for consumers, or prod them into switching to AT&T’s own pay-TV services to access the programming they want.

It’s not unusual for the DOJ to determine that consumers might be harmed by a so-called vertical merger, between companies that don’t compete against each other. What’s unusual is how the DOJ decided to deal with it. In the Comcast/NBCUniversal merger, for example, Comcast agreed to continue licensing NBCUniversal content to other digital video providers and to not block or throttle content for its internet subscribers. Berin Szóka, president of the pro-market advocacy group TechFreedom, said in a statement that the the DOJ’s new lawsuit marked the first time since 1978 that a vertical merger has ended up in court.

Daniel Birk, a partner at the law firm Eimer Stahl, says merger conditions, known as “behavior remedies” tend to be favored by left-leaning government officials who are more comfortable regulating industries. But the DOJ’s new head of antitrust Makan Delrahim told the New York Times he doesn’t like these sorts of agreements and would prefer to see companies sell or spin off divisions that pose competition concerns before a merger is approved.

One catch is that last year, before he was nominated to the DOJ, Delrahim told the Business News Network that he saw no problem with the AT&T/Time Warner merger. That will inevitably lead to questions about whether the DOJ is moving to block the merger because of President Trump’s well known dislike of CNN’s coverage of him.

AT&T vows to fight the suit and complete the acquisition. “Today’s DOJ lawsuit is a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent,” AT&T general counsel David R. McAtee said in a statement. “Vertical mergers like this one are routinely approved because they benefit consumers without removing any competitor from the market. We see no legitimate reason for our merger to be treated differently.”

During a press conference Monday evening, McAtee said any evidence that shows the government pursued the case for reasons other than applying the law would hurt the DOJ’s case.

Even if the DOJ wins this case, it won’t necessarily be able to apply the same legal theories to tech companies. But the fact that the Justice Department is willing to break with recent precedent suggests a tougher line on antitrust enforcement and doesn’t bode well for Silicon Valley.

Tech companies are under increasing pressure from across the political spectrum. A growing number of expertsquestions whether the enormous amounts of data that the largest tech companies have amassed is justification for government action.

Some writers have suggested that the government take a tougher line on deals where tech giants acquire promising startups; such deals have generally received little scrutiny. Last month, technology analyst and blogger Ben Thompson argued that the government had failed the public by approving Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp and should block future acquisitions, even small ones, unless the company agrees to more stringent conditions.

“I am optimistic that [Delrahim] will pursue strong enforcement,” says Anant Raut, a former Justice Department lawyer who now works for the advocacy group Public Knowledge. “There’s the assumption that an administration that leans to the right might not be as aggressive on vertical mergers. If they do choose to challenge this one it’s an indication that enforcement will be as strong or stronger than it has been the last few years.”

Nov 15

A New Phone Comes Out. Yours Slows Down. A Conspiracy?

Phone-Slows-Down-Featured-994x400It happens every year: Apple releases new iPhones, and then hordes of people groan about their older iPhones slowing to a crawl.

Just look at the recent data. Between September and early November — when Apple made the iPhone 8 available, followed by the iPhone XGoogle searches for the keywordsiPhone slowjumped about 50 percent.

The phenomenon of perceived slowdowns is so widespread that many believe tech companies intentionally cripple smartphones and computers to ensure that people buy new ones every few years. Conspiracy theorists call it planned obsolescence.


That’s a myth. While slowdowns happen, they take place for a far less nefarious reason. That reason is a software upgrade.

“There’s no incentive for operating system companies to create planned obsolescence,” said Greg Raiz, a former program manager for Microsoft who worked on Windows XP. “It’s software, and software has various degrees of production bugs and unintended things that happen.”

Here’s what happens: When tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and Google introduce new hardware, they often release upgrades for their operating systems. For example, a few days before the iPhone 8 shipped in September, Apple released iOS 11 as a free software update for iPhones, including the four-year-old iPhone 5S.

The technical process of upgrading from an old operating system to a new one — migrating your files, apps and settings along the way — is extremely complicated. So when you install a brand-new operating system on an older device, problems may occur that make everything from opening the camera to browsing the web feel sluggish.

“It’s like changing the plumbing of the house without changing anything else,” said Scott Berkun, an author and a former manager for Microsoft who oversaw engineers that worked on Windows operating systems and web browsers.

The good news is that because tech companies are not intentionally neutering your devices, there are remedies for when you think your three-year-old iPhone or your seven-year-old Windows computer has become slow or short-lived. Here’s a guide to speeding up your troubled gadgets, based on interviews with information technology professionals and operating system experts.

Start Fresh

Tech companies make it simple to upgrade to a new operating system by pressing an “update” button, which seamlessly migrates all your apps and data over. While that’s convenient, it isn’t the best way to ensure that things will continue running smoothly.

A better practice is backing up all your data and purging everything from the device before installing the new operating system. This “clean install” works more reliably because the engineers developing operating systems were able to test this condition more easily, Mr. Raiz said.

Let’s say, for example, you have an iPhone 6 with 100 apps installed, four email accounts and 2,000 photos. It is more likely that a quality-assurance engineer tested installing a new operating system on a blank iPhone 6, rather than an iPhone 6 with the same setup as yours.

So if you want to minimize the chances of something going awry, resist the easy update path and opt for a clean install. For smartphones, I recommend backing up your data to your computer. For computers, you could back up your data to an online service or a portable drive. After the operating system installation is complete, you can then safely restore your data and apps to the device from the backup.

Remove the ‘Cruft’

Sometimes you can do some light maintenance to speed up your device. Over the long term, an operating system accumulates system files, settings, logs and other data; I.T. experts call this “cruft.” This can bog down your device.

For computers, there are some apps for cleaning up your system. Mac users can download a free app called Onyx, and Windows users can run a cleanup utility included in the system. For iPhones and Android devices, you can open the settings app and select reset settings. (Just make sure you back up first in case there are important settings you may lose.)

Be Mindful of Your Storage

Here’s something many people don’t realize: Just because your iPhone or Samsung phone has 64 gigabytes of storage doesn’t mean you should fill it all the way up. The device will generally run faster if more of its storage is available.

That’s partly because your device needs space to move data around and download software updates. But it’s also related to how the storage technology works inside smartphones and modern laptops.

Smartphones and newer laptops rely on flash storage, which stores data in the cells of semiconductor chips. When data is stored on a flash drive, it is scattered across the drive. So when you are pulling data to open an app or a document, you are retrieving it from multiple parts of the drive. If lots of space is occupied, the data gets crowded and the device may feel sluggish.

“If you fill these things up, it doesn’t get to operate as well,” said Brian Denslow, a technician for TechCollective, an information technology consulting company in San Francisco. Mr. Denslow said a good rule of thumb is to buy more storage than you think you will use. If you think you are going to use 64 gigabytes on an iPad, for example, buy the 256-gigabyte model.

I also recommend freeing up a huge amount of space by managing your photo library in the cloud. You can upload all your albums to a service like Google Photos and periodically purge all the images from the device itself. I did this recently on my iPhone 7 that was nearly full and seemed to be slowing down; purging the photos freed up about 50 gigabytes of data, and the iPhone feels as good as new.

Invest in Your Infrastructure

Your device may seem slower for reasons unrelated to the device. Mr. Denslow, the technician, said many apps relied on an internet connection, so a shoddy Wi-Fi router might be the real bottleneck.

To get a nice boost, invest in a modern Wi-Fi system. I recommend products like Google WiFi and Eero, which are so-called mesh networking systems that help you seamlessly set up multiple Wi-Fi stations to get a strong signal throughout the home. They are pricey, but upgrading your infrastructure will do more than buying a new phone.

“Instead of spending $1,000 on a phone every year, spend $500 on networking,” Mr. Denslow said. “It’s not sexy, but it provides more benefits over a long period of time.”

Consider Upgrading

At the end of the day, there are many reasons your device may feel slow. New operating systems carry more powerful features that were designed to work better on new devices. In addition, developers of third-party apps typically prioritize making software for newer handsets, and sometimes they even discontinue support for old gadgets. If there are important tasks that your older device cannot do proficiently, consider an upgrade.

Mr. Raiz, the former Microsoft program manager, said he had recently encountered problems after updating his iPhone 6S to iOS 11. Some functions, like the ability to search for an app, no longer worked. Resetting the device’s settings fixed the problem, but he said he would most likely buy a new iPhone soon anyway to keep up with the latest technologies.

“There’s only so much you can do if your device is multiple release cycles behind,” he said.

Nov 14

With the Advent of 5G, Latinos stand to win as the Next Generation of U.S Workforce.

Cell-Phones-People-e1305301639164From healthcare to transportation, public safety to energy management, wireless connectivity is changing the way our communities live, modernizing how our businesses thrive, and creating new opportunities for us as consumers. 5G is the next generation of wireless connectivity that will support smart communities. “Smart” includes enhanced capacity to enable more efficient transportation services, consistently up-to-date information on public services, and dynamic healthcare practices allowing more people able to keep track of their medical data and doctors to remotely monitor time-efficient and more immersive patient care.

Senators John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Brian Schatz (D–Hawaii) have circulated a discussion draft intended to accelerate U.S. efforts to deploy 5G and get enhanced wireless service in the hands of consumers. 5G, the next generation of advanced wireless service, will power the connectivity that our world is approaching.  

5G will also change how consumers and local businesses operate within their communities. Specifically, Latinos in the United States are one such community experiencing a dramatic increase in mobile device usage. It was reported in 2016 that 80% of Latino adults access the internet via a mobile device such as a cellphone or tablet. This year, a Pew Research study revealed that smartphones play an especially prominent role in providing online access to Latinos, even those living in lower-income households. As overall U.S. businesses continue to integrate mobile platforms, such cost-saving solutions that will become mainstream with 5G technologies will also directly benefit Latino consumers and businesses who connect with mobile.

Additionally, Latinos currently make up for less than 10 percent of the U.S. science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce. While industries continue to rely on technology to improve their core functions, more organizations will be looking for staff who demonstrate next-generation technological skills. According to a report by Accenture, next-generation 5G wireless technology will create 3 million new jobs. So this means, for example, that small- to medium-sized cities with populations between 30,000-100,000 residents could experience roughly 300 to 1,000 new jobs.

“Because Latinos represent a significant percentage of the future U.S. workforce, this creates clear opportunities for Latinos interested in pursuing STEM careers” says, Jose A. Marquez-Leon CEO of TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association. “Job opportunities will increase across the board as the demand for 5G connectivity expands.”

Expertise will also be needed to build out these faster, more complex networks. 5G networks will rely on a robust workforce, with crews that can install and regularly maintain this infrastructure. The economic and consumer benefits that will come from the arrival of enhanced wireless networks will directly affect the Latino community.

The Thune-Schatz discussion draft would help speed up the process for 5G deployment so that communities can start to feel the direct benefits of smart technologies—both as consumers and as STEM professionals. Simply put, the bill encourages best practices for state and local authorities as well as industry stakeholders to work together to ensure that installation of 5G small cells and infrastructure can be conducted in a reasonable and timely manner. This makes it easier to activate and upgrade service in the communities where it is needed. In addition to these consumer opportunities, 5G innovation will also improve job prospects for minority communities. We applaud efforts by policymakers like Senators Thune and Schatz because we realize that our communities within the United States benefit when our country continues to remain a leader in wireless advancement. 

Sep 30

Why Are Some Tech Companies Silent on the Fate of Dreamers?

1President Donald Trump’s decision to end the program that blocked deportation of Dreamers – the young undocumented immigrants brought into the United States by their parents – drew an instant rebuke and fierce opposition from a broad swath of American business leaders who represent a diverse range of companies. Tech and communications companies have been particularly active. Many companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon and AT&T all expressed their support, but Sprint and T-Mobile have been curiously silent. Why aren’t these two major wireless carriers standing with our Dreamers, many of whom are their customers — or even their employees?

Recipients of former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are commonly called “Dreamers,” but they’re not just dreamers, they’re doers. The roughly 780,000 young people who signed up for DACA are overwhelmingly either in school or the workforce. Almost three-quarters of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies in America have DACA recipients on their payrolls.

The ambitious young men and women in DACA are undoubtedly contributing to our economy and living the American dream, with 5 percent staring their own business, 16 percent buying a home, and 65 percent purchasing a vehicle. If they were to be deported, annual U.S. gross domestic product would take a $460 billion hit and Social Security and Medicare tax revenues would decrease by $24.6 billion.

All those statistics were referenced in an open letter to Trump and congressional leaders that was signed by AT&T and an incredibly long list of major U.S. businesses. Verizon, like many other tech companies, released an individual statement in support of DACA.

But nothing from Sprint and T-Mobile. Why are they not willing to speak out on such an important issue? Bolivian-born Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure is an immigrant himself. He didn’t learn English until the ninth grade and got his start in the wireless business delivering phones to clients from the trunk of his car. As the leader of the one of America’s top wireless providers, he is an inspiration to Latinos.

Then there’s T-Mobile CEO John Legere. To say the “un-carrier’s” un-CEO-like style is unique is an understatement. He’s unfiltered, loves attention, and has no problem getting into public feuds, including one with Trump after complaining about noise outside a Trump hotel window while living the life of luxury. But when it comes to DACA, Legere and his boisterous tweets have been nowhere to be found. Maybe his T-Mobile phone couldn’t find a signal.

It’s no secret that the tech industry in general, in spite of the flashy graphics and rhetoric you can find on most companies’ websites (including T-Mobile and Sprint), still lacks the diversity that characterizes the American workforce. Google’s problems with diversity made news again not long ago, and employment and leadership roles for African-Americans and Hispanics at Silicon Valley’s tech giants also lag far behind opportunities for whites and Asians.

But the lack of response to Trump’s DACA cancellation from T-Mobile and Sprint is likely all about preparing for a long-rumored merger at the expense of standing up for the value of Dreamers. It might indicate a willingness on the part of their leaders to put diversity to the side in favor of rebuilding shaky relationships with a President and an Administration who would ultimately decide the fate of the very lucrative merger should the two telecom giants move forward.

On- and off-again rumors about a potential merger have been swirling for a while. In essence, T-Mobile and Sprint leaders could be keeping a low profile on DACA because they don’t want to risk stirring up trouble with this president before their plans are a fait accompli. Not exactly examples in morale courage. Remember this in mind the next time you’re shopping for a new mobile phone plan.

This is probably the same reason some speculate a T-Mobile spokesperson said “We’re not talking about this issue right now,” in response to a question about Trump’s travel ban, another immigration policy many tech companies opposed.

Whether T-Mobile and Sprint decide to get on board or not, renewing protections for Dreamers should still be one of our nation’s top priorities. Of all the issues under the umbrella of immigration reform, none have more widespread, bipartisan support than allowing Dreamers to stay in the country they have always called home. DACA was a temporary fix; it is time for Congress to step up and create a permanent legislative solution for this hardworking, law-abiding group of young Americans.

This is not merely a policy debate for our group, our friends and our allies. Indeed, many Dreamers are members of our organization — and potentially the next generation of tech entrepreneurs. We wonder why Companies like T-Mobile and Sprint have done nothing to speak up against the move by the Trump administration to end DACA.

For the sake of our nation, @TechLatino urges leaders in Washington to stand up for the Dreamers.

 Jose A. Marquez is the national president, CEO, and founder of  @techlatinoThe National Association of  Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology, a National nonprofit organization that advocates on state and federal issues related to the role of Latinos in the technology sector.

Aug 29

TechLatino Guest Blogger: Jeremy Straub – Artificial intelligence cyber attacks are coming – but what does that mean?



The next major cyberattack could involve artificial intelligence systems. It could even happen soon: At a recent cybersecurity conference, 62 industry professionals, out of the 100 questioned, said they thought the first AI-enhanced cyberattack could come in the next 12 months.

This doesn’t mean robots will be marching down Main Street. Rather, artificial intelligence will make existing cyberattack efforts – things like identity theft, denial-of-service attacks and password cracking – more powerful and more efficient. This is dangerous enough – this type of hacking can steal money, cause emotional harm and even injure or kill people. Larger attacks can cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, shut down hospitals and even affect national security.

As a scholar who has studied AI decision-making, I can tell you that interpreting human actions is still difficult for AI’s and that humans don’t really trust AI systems to make major decisions. So, unlike in the movies, the capabilities AI could bring to cyberattacks – and cyberdefense – are not likely to immediately involve computers choosing targets and attacking them on their own. People will still have to create attack AI systems, and launch them at particular targets. But nevertheless, adding AI to today’s cybercrime and cybersecurity world will escalate what is already a rapidly changing arms race between attackers and defenders.

Faster attacks

Beyond computers’ lack of need for food and sleep – needs that limit human hackers’ efforts, even when they work in teams – automation can make complex attacks much faster and more effective.

To date, the effects of automation have been limited. Very rudimentary AI-like capabilities have for decades given virus programs the ability to self-replicate, spreading from computer to computer without specific human instructions. In addition, programmers have used their skills to automate different elements of hacking efforts. Distributed attacks, for example, involve triggering a remote program on several computers or devices to overwhelm servers. The attack that shut down large sections of the internet in October 2016 used this type of approach. In some cases, common attacks are made available as a script that allows an unsophisticated user to choose a target and launch an attack against it.

AI, however, could help human cybercriminals customize attacks. Spearphishing attacks, for instance, require attackers to have personal information about prospective targets, details like where they bank or what medical insurance company they use. AI systems can help gather, organize and process large databases to connect identifying information, making this type of attack easier and faster to carry out. That reduced workload may drive thieves to launch lots of smaller attacks that go unnoticed for a long period of time – if detected at all – due to their more limited impact.

AI systems could even be used to pull information together from multiple sources to identify people who would be particularly vulnerable to attack. Someone who is hospitalized or in a nursing home, for example, might not notice money missing out of their account until long after the thief has gotten away.

Improved adaptation

AI-enabled attackers will also be much faster to react when they encounter resistance, or when cybersecurity experts fix weaknesses that had previously allowed entry by unauthorized users. The AI may be able to exploit another vulnerability, or start scanning for new ways into the system – without waiting for human instructions.

This could mean that human responders and defenders find themselves unable to keep up with the speed of incoming attacks. It may result in a programming and technological arms race, with defenders developing AI assistants to identify and protect against attacks – or perhaps even AI’s with retaliatory attack capabilities.

Avoiding the dangers

Operating autonomously could lead AI systems to attack a system it shouldn’t, or cause unexpected damage. For example, software started by an attacker intending only to steal money might decide to target a hospital computer in a way that causes human injury or death. The potential for unmanned aerial vehicles to operate autonomously has raised similar questions of the need for humans to make the decisions about targets.

The consequences and implications are significant, but most people won’t notice a big change when the first AI attack is unleashed. For most of those affected, the outcome will be the same as human-triggered attacks. But as we continue to fill our homes, factories, offices and roads with internet-connected robotic systems, the potential effects of an attack by artificial intelligence only grow.

 Assistant Professor of Computer Science, North Dakota State University    

Aug 29

TechLatino Congratulates Alejandra Y. Castillo as the New CEO of YMCA USA

alejandracastillospotlightYWCA USA today announced its board of directors has selected Alejandra Y. Castillo as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective September 18, 2017.

“This is the perfect time for Alejandra Castillo to become YWCA USA’s next CEO. We have selected a bold leader who will further our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women,” said Sylvia Hill Fields, YWCA USA national board chair. “Alejandra’s ability to navigate complex systems, develop public-private partnerships, and advocate for women and girls, especially those of color, is exactly what YWCA USA needs as we enter our next chapter of leading systemic social change.”

With over two decades of policy, legal and political experience in Washington, D.C., Castillo has dedicated her life to public service. She has been instrumental in driving key federal legislative and public policy initiatives focused on civil rights, economic development, children and family law, and health policy. In her most recent role as national director of the Minority Business Development Agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, she secured financing and capital of over $19 billion for businesses owned by people of color, creating or retaining over 33,000 jobs.

“I am honored to take the reins of such an iconic organization,” said Castillo. “YWCA has a long history of being at the forefront of racial justice and gender equity issues while working for institutional change. From leadership training, STEM education, and entrepreneurship to advocacy days on Capitol Hill and support for survivors of domestic violence, YWCA continues to change lives every day.”

“I have known Alejandra for quite some time and have seen her grow at every level of her career,” said Jose Marquez, CEO of TechLatino. ” We are very excited for both her and the YMCA as she will be instrumental in driving key initiatives and setting a foundation for YMCA to  go into the future.”

“Alejandra is a change agent. She has the expertise, vision and bold leadership skills needed to elevate YWCA’s voice in the national policy arena and strengthen our network of 215 associations to enhance the day-to-day services we provide women and girls  especially those of color  to regenerate families and communities, and enable individuals to achieve their hopes and dreams,” said Fields.

Castillo’s family immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic in the 1960s. She was born in the New York City borough of Queens and considers herself a true New Yorker, but she has also lived in TexasPortugal and the Dominican Republic. Castillo is fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese. She has been a Washington, D.C. resident for over two decades, where she has raised her two nieces who are now both enrolled in college.

Alejandra Y. Castillo’s bio and photo.


YWCA USA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. We are one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls, and their families.

YWCA has been at the forefront of the most pressing social movements for more than 150 years — from voting rights to civil rights, from affordable housing to pay equity, from violence prevention to health care reform. Today, we combine programming and advocacy in order to generate institutional change in three key areas: racial justice and civil rights; empowerment and economic advancement of women and girls; and health and safety of women and girls. Learn more:

Contact: Cindy Hoffman  
202.524.5330 |

Aug 21

TechLatino, Univision and Fusion TV announced The Creative Thread Foundation.

creative HHF

Through this foundation, they have brought together passionate, marquee talent to help us identify the next generation of content creators and build a pipeline of diverse talent that is representative of the diversity of our country. The announcement furthers the network’s commitment to delivering enriching content that authentically represents today’s America.

It is bringing together a cross-section of marquee talent—actors, filmmakers, academics, and musicians—to form the FUSION TV Creative Board (see video announcement here). The FUSION TV Creative Board will work to identify the next generation of creators and build a pipeline of diverse talent the network can tap into. Members of the Board will also play a role in FUSION TV’s content development process, helping to curate some of the best untold stories that connect with the passions and values of the country’s diverse youth. The announcement furthers the network’s commitment to delivering enriching content that authentically represents today’s America.

Founding members of the FUSION TV Creative Board collectively have been recognized with 7 Academy Awards, 5 Emmys and 25 Grammy Awards among other prestigious honors. Members include:

  • Viola Davis has won rave reviews for her intriguingly diverse roles and is the only black actor to have won an Academy Award, Emmy Award and Tony Award in an acting category – known as the Triple Crown of Acting. Viola and her husband Julius Tennon, who will join her on the board, formed JuVee productions. Through JuVee they are giving a voice for the voiceless through premium character-driven stories in film, television, theater and digital content across all spaces of narrative entertainment. “We at JuVee believe that every voice needs to be heard. Quality is our mantra. Inclusive is our reality,” said Tennon.
  • Ezra Edelman is an Oscar-winning documentary producer and director. He recently won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for directing “O.J.: Made in America,” which put a fresh and honest spotlight on the infamous case that divided America along racial lines. Edelman is the son of children’s rights activist Marian Wright Edelman and Georgetown University law professor Peter B. Edelman.
  • Jodie Foster is an Oscar-winning actress and filmmaker who has had a tremendous impact within the LGBT community. Throughout her incredible career Foster has won two Academy Awards, three BAFTA Awards, three Golden Globe Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award among other notable honors.
  • Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Chair) has repeatedly been recognized as one of the most influential African Americans in the country. He is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic and institution builder. Gates currently serves as a professor of African and African American studies at Harvard and is the founder and chairman of The Root, Fusion Media Group’s leading African American news and culture publication. Gates has produced more than 15 films and documentary series about African, Afro-Latino, and African American history including “Finding Your Roots” and the six-part PBS documentary series, “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,” which he wrote, executive produced and hosted. “Many Rivers to Cross” was honored with an Emmy Award, Peabody Award, NAACP Image Award and an Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award.
  • Meryl Streep is one of the most recognized actresses in the world with 20 Academy Awards nominations, more than any other actor or actress. President Barack Obama awarded her the 2010 National Medal of Arts and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2017, when she was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes, Streep used her platform for a purpose, reminding the country that “when the powerful use their position to bully, we all lose.”
  • Residente (a.k.a. René Perez Joglar) is a Puerto Rican rapper, writer, producer and the co-founder of alternative rap duo ‘Calle 13’. He also is the recipient of a Nobel Peace Summit Award and 25 Latin Grammys – the most ever awarded to a Latin artist. Throughout his career Residente has been recognized for his social contributions. He has consistently defended education in Latin America and the rights of the natives and serves as the face of campaigns for UNICEF and Amnesty International.

“To start addressing the challenges the media industry faces when it comes to the diversity gap, we need to bring together people who are champions of genuine change. People who, in terms of diversity and access to the media, are committed to transforming what is, and are inspired by what could be,” said Gates, who will lead the Creative Board. “The individuals who have committed to serving on the FUSION TV Creative Board are unafraid to color outside the lines or think beyond the script, so together we have an incredible opportunity to find and affirm the next generation of creative talent who will truly represent today’s America. We hope the rest of the industry will support and join us in our efforts.”

A central part of FUSION TV’s mission is to provide resources and a platform to creators—those who span different ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, genders and religions—to tell authentic stories that represent the shared values and passions of America’s diverse youth.

“Whether we are talking about pop culture or politics, technology or sports, we are in the business of representing and amplifying the voices of multicultural communities in the United States. The group who will lead our Creative Board understands the need for greater diversity in media, often from firsthand experience, and are passionate about doing something about it,” said Daniel Eilemberg, President of FUSION TV. “We look forward to collaborating with them to ensure that the stories we tell on our network and platforms resonate with our audience because they are representative of who they are as individuals.”

“The need for greater diversity in media and entertainment is a must” said Jose Marquez, CEO of the Georgia Latino Film Alliance, “we must ensure that more of our communities of color are represented in front of and behind the camera. We must have platforms that will tell our stories and that of the next generations.”

Recognizing that it takes more than one company to move the dial, Univision, Fusion has put together an alliance of over 60 Corporations, like-minded companies and non-profits to join us in forming a 501(c)(3) dedicated to promoting diversity in media and entertainment and serving as an independent voice to educate policymakers on this important issue, while also amplifying the efforts of government leaders focused on diversity and inclusion. CBS Corporation // Central American Resource Center // Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights // Color of Change // Computer and Communications Industry Association // Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute // Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute // Disney // Eastmont Community Center // El Rey Network // Entravision Communications // Entertainment Software Association // Green 2.0 //GreenLatinos // Fusion Media Group // Fusion TV // The Georgia Latino Film Alliance // Hispanas Organized for Political Equality // Hispanic Heritage Foundation // Interactive Advertising Bureau // Latino Memphis // @techLatino: The National Association of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology // Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law // Miami Dade College// Mi Familia Vota // Mnet America, Motion Picture Association of America // Multicultural Media // Telecom and Internet Council // National Action Network // National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education // National Association for the Advancement of Colored People // National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters // National Association of Broadcasters // National Association of Hispanic Journalists // National Association of Hispanic Publications // National Association of Latino Independent Producers // National Council of Asian Pacific Americans // National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts // National Hispanic Media Coalition // National Hispanic Medical Association // National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health // National Urban League // Native Public Media // Nielsen // Northwest Side Housing Center // Pandora // Para Los Niños // Scripps Networks Interactive // Solutions Project // Spotify // UnidosUS // United Farm Workers // Univision Communications Inc. // Urban Health Plan // U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute // Valle del Sol // Viacom // Lady Parts Justice // The Group

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