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Old 25-06-21, 06:43 AM   #1
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Default Peer-To-Peer News - The Week In Review - June 26th, ’21

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June 26th, 2021

Supreme Court Says Over 200 Patent Judges Were Improperly Appointed

A fractured coalition of justices limited the effect of the decision, saying a larger role for an executive branch official would address the matter.
Adam Liptak

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that more than 200 administrative judges who hear patent disputes, some of them over billions of dollars, had been appointed in violation of the Constitution.

The solution, a fractured majority of the court ruled, was to give the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office the power to review the judges’ decisions in cases brought under a 2011 law that made it easier to challenge questionable patents.

Supporters of the procedure, called inter partes review, which is Latin for “between the parties,” say it helps combat patent “trolls,” or companies that obtain patents not to use them but to demand royalties and sue for damages. Opponents say the procedure is skewed toward the cancellation of valid patents.

The decision on Monday means the challenges will largely proceed as before, without changes to how the judges are appointed. The court’s narrow fix, subjecting the judges to additional supervision, fell well short of upending the current system.

The case, United States v. Arthrex, No. 19-1434, arose from a challenge filed by Smith & Nephew, a medical technology company, against patents held by a competitor, Arthrex, on a medical device. A panel of judges on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, an administrative tribunal in the executive branch created by the 2011 law, ruled that Arthrex’s patents were invalid.

Arthrex appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a specialized court in Washington, saying that the patent judges’ decision should be thrown out because they had not been properly appointed.

The appeals court agreed, ruling that the judges performed important work without supervision and so were “principal officers” under the Constitution, meaning that they had to be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The appeals court’s solution to the constitutional problem was to strike down a part of the law that protected the patent judges from being fired without cause. This effectively demoted them from “principal officers,” the appeals court said.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for five justices on Monday, agreed that there was a constitutional problem with the fit between how the judges had been appointed and their duties. “The unreviewable executive power exercised” by the judges, he wrote, “is incompatible with their status as inferior officers.”

“Only an officer properly appointed to a principal office may issue a final decision binding the executive branch in the proceeding before us,” the chief justice wrote.

Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joined that part of the chief justice’s opinion.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote for only four justices in another part of his opinion, this one concerning what the court should do about the constitutional problem it had identified. He said the judges’ decisions must be made subject to the director’s review. Justice Gorsuch did not agree with that part of the ruling, saying it was up to Congress to address how to fix the constitutional flaw.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissented from the first part of the chief justice’s opinion. “Today’s decision,” he wrote, “is both unprecedented and unnecessary, and risks pushing the judiciary further into areas where we lack both the authority to act and the capacity to act wisely.”

But those three justices nonetheless said they accepted Chief Justice Roberts’s solution to the problem the majority had identified.

Justice Clarence Thomas issued a separate dissent, joined in large part by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. “The court today draws a new line dividing inferior officers from principal ones,” he wrote. “The fact that this line places administrative patent judges on the side of ambassadors, Supreme Court justices and department heads suggests that something is not quite right.”

Trudeau’s Party Passes Bill to Regulate Social Media, Streaming
Kait Bolongaro

• Move would prioritize Canadian content, echoing broadcast law
• But critics say it threatens free speech on user-driven sites

Canadian lawmakers passed a controversial bill that aims to regulate programming distributed by media streaming services and social platforms like Facebook and YouTube, a measure that critics warn could infringe on individual speech.

The legislation drafted by Justin Trudeau’s government, known as Bill C-10, is meant to subject tech giants to the same requirements as traditional broadcasters -- effectively compelling companies like Netflix Inc. and TikTok Inc. to finance and promote Canadian content. It’s among the most far-reaching plans by governments anywhere to regulate the algorithms tech companies use to amplify or recommend content.

And, in an age when everyone is a potential publisher, the Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act could affect individual expression on social media and other digital platforms that rely on user-generated content.

It’s unclear whether the bill will become law, however. The legislation needs to win passage through the Senate, a process that could be pre-empted by an election later this year that would effectively kill the bill. If that happens, a new government would have to put it through the legislative mill again if it wants the rules to come into effect.

Trudeau’s government hailed its passage. “There are other issues we have to address when it comes to broadcasting and creation, and we will,” Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said during the final debate Monday evening. “Bill C-10 is a first step in that direction.”

Tech Titans

Governments around the world are grappling with how to modernize their legal frameworks to account for the global reach of the digital economy, reshaping how policy makers think about issues as varied as monopoly power, taxation and worker rights.

In Canada, an additional worry is how to protect domestic cultural industries as more Canadians turn to internet companies for music and video programming, which is the focus of the new law.

Stunting the influence of U.S. culture, in particular, is a core principle of modern Canadian media law. For decades the government has required radio and television broadcasters to produce and distribute local content.

That stance has irked trading partners, because it means that the media sector is often exempted from agreements meant to give foreigners access to Canadian markets. It also means that global media companies like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. can’t own newspapers or television stations in Canada.

Under the existing law, a regulatory body known as the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission certifies what is and what is not Canadian. It can also issue fines for violations starting at C$250,000 ($202,500) or even suspend a broadcaster’s license to operate. The new law would give the CRTC that same kind of power over internet companies.

The challenge is how to regulate content on the internet without undermining individual freedom of expression. The bill’s language is ambiguous on this point, according to its critics. Some of it can be interpreted as saying that user activity won’t be regulated, while other parts suggest that content produced on user-driven sites will be.

“It is not at all clear how this would be implemented. Would Canadians be required to disclose that they’re Canadian to meet these requirements?” asked Michael Geist, an internet law professor at the University of Ottawa and a prominent critic of the legislation. “It’s hard enough frankly to identify what constitutes Canadian content for conventional broadcast.”

The bill would effectively add three requirements for digital media companies: They must provide information about their revenue sources, give a portion of their profits to a fund to support Canadian content and increase the visibility or “discoverability” of Canadian content. It would be the first modernization of the country’s broadcasting legislation since 1991.

Discoverability has emerged as the most contentious part of the legislation, with outsize effects on YouTube because it relies so much on user-generated videos. Supporters say the requirement falls well short of censorship, because users could continue to post content freely. That misses the point, critics say, because controlling which content is amplified or drowned out still constitutes government controlling speech.

“From my view, that’s pretty clear government regulation of speech, saying some content gets prioritized and other content get deprioritized,” Geist said.

‘Complex’ Rules

YouTube, a unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., portrays its opposition to the legislation as a defense of independent content producers.

“The rules around what is considered Canadian content are complex and it is very difficult to qualify,” Jeanette Patell, head of public policy at YouTube Canada, wrote in a June 2 blog post. “This stands to impact all creators but we are especially concerned about the impact on new and emerging creators as they will be up against players who have been following these rules for decades.”

Kevin Chan, the head of public policy for Facebook Canada, said by email: “We know that creating rules to govern speech online is complex and important work, and we look forward to being consulted in support of this work.” Netflix declined to comment, and a spokesman for TikTok didn’t reply to a request for comment.

The bill is popular in Quebec, a French-speaking province where cultural protection is paramount and often an election issue. That’s why the Trudeau government was helped by the Bloc Quebecois, a party that supports Quebec independence, in fast-tracking the legislation through parliament.

The Conservatives, the main opposition, have come out publicly against Bill C-10, and its members voted against it. The bill was passed by legislators on Tuesday morning at about 1:30 a.m. Ottawa time in a 196 to 112 vote.

Canada is drawing inspiration for its broadcasting overhaul from allies like the European Union. Under its local content rules, the EU requires platforms to promote European cultural productions, and at least 30% of their catalogs must be made in the bloc. The EU also requires video-on-demand services to prioritize local content.

Trudeau’s new broadcasting reforms are the first of a multi-pronged plan by the governing Liberals to regulate and tax digital firms. They also plan to require social media platforms to fund Canadian news outlets and crack down on online hate speech.

The Canadian government also is threatening to implement a digital services tax of 3% on Canadian revenue starting next year.

“We all know that the American cultural invasion is powerful and that it can steamroll any culture on the planet,” Guilbeault said in the legislature.

Parties Unite to Deliver Greater Internet Censorship Powers to Government-Appointed Official

The controversial Online Safety Bill will give broad censorship powers to the eSafety commissioner, and experts warn that it could harm those it purports to save.
Cam Wilson

The federal government’s controversial Online Safety Bill is set to become law, with senators from both major parties supporting legislation that considerably expands Australian eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant’s ability to censor the internet.

Late on Tuesday night the Senate passed the bill with support of Coalition, Labor and One Nation senators.

The bill gives a variety of new powers to the government appointed commissioner, including:

• Ordering websites or apps to take down online abuse, image-based abuse and seriously harmful online content within 24 hours, or face removal from search engines and app stores
• Rapidly blocking websites that are hosting abhorrent violent and terrorist content
• Increasing the maximum penalty for using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence to five years
• Demanding online R18+ content to be removed from platforms
• Implementing a “restricted access system” that could force Australians to prove their age by uploading identifying documents or agreeing to facial recognition.

While stakeholders have generally agreed with the stated aims to reduce online abuse, the bill has been widely criticised for giving to an unelected official broad powers which could — if used to their full extent — seriously limit what Australians can do and see online.

The government has promoted the Online Safety Bill as both proof of its willingness to crack down on tech giants (à la the news media bargaining code) and to bolster its credentials as willing to help women and other marginalised groups who face abuse online.

But privacy advocates and representatives for the sex industry say the law could actually do the opposite: it could encourage tech giants to crack down on the online presence of women and marginsalised groups to avoid the penalties in the bill.

What can’t be ignored is the version of the bill that was left on the floor of the Senate. The Senate voted to reject amendments that included:

• Carve-outs for sex education and harm reduction content, works of art and sexual minority material
• A requirement that platforms shouldn’t unnecessarily remove content (to combat the overzealous censorship to pre-empt takedown notices)
• And a compulsory independent review of the act.

While Labor supported some of these amendments and made its displeasure known about the rushed nature of the bill, it ultimately waved it through all the same.

What we’re left with is a law that relies on the discretion and grace of the government and platforms. That will worry those whose lives and livelihoods depend on the internet freedoms that this bill could curtail.

Biden's New $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Includes $65B for Universal Broadband

It falls short of the $100B broadband plan from March.
Corinne Reichert

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday agreed to a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan that includes building out high-speed universal broadband across the nation. The infrastructure framework will invest two-thirds of the resources from Biden's proposed American Jobs Plan, and also includes provisions for clean transportation, clean water infrastructure, renewable energy infrastructure and climate change resilience.

Under the plan, $65 billion will be invested in broadband for all. It proposes state and local investment in broadband infrastructure as well as using the proceeds from 5G spectrum auctions.

Read more: What the US can learn from Europe about broadband affordability

It's a step back from the $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan proposed by Biden in March, which included $100 billion for broadband infrastructure. In March, Biden spoke about the digital divide, and how more than 30 million Americans have no access to broadband, while those living in urban and suburban markets face broadband bills that are too expensive.

"Democracy requires compromise," the White House said in a fact sheet published Thursday. "The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will make life better for millions of Americans, create a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth and position the United States to win the 21st century."

The new infrastructure framework also includes spending $7.5 billion to build a national network along highways of electric vehicle chargers as part of Biden's plan to build 500,000 EV chargers.

The infrastructure plan has yet to be voted on by Congress.

Altice is Reducing Cable-Internet Upload Speeds by up to 86% Next Month

Altice cuts uploads from 35Mbps to 5Mbps to bring them "in line with other ISPs."
Jon Brodkin

Altice is slashing its cable-Internet upload speeds by up to 86 percent starting on July 12. Altice Optimum Online plans that currently have advertised upload speeds of 35Mbps will be reduced to uploads of either 5Mbps, 10Mbps, or 20Mbps, depending on the plan. Altice did not announce any immediate price changes on the plans that are getting upload-speed cuts.

The only good news for users is that the change will not affect existing customers as long as they stay on their current service plans, an Altice spokesperson told Ars. But new customers will have to accept the lower upload speeds, and existing customers would have to take the lower upload speeds whenever they upgrade, downgrade, or change service, Altice said.

Altice claimed that its cable network isn't having any trouble offering its current advertised speeds. "Our network continues to perform very well despite the significant data usage increases during the pandemic and the speed tiers we offer," the company said. The upload-speed change is apparently being implemented not to solve any network problem but to match the slower upload speeds offered by other cable ISPs. Altice told Ars that it is changing its cable upload speeds to bring them "in line with other ISPs and aligned with the industry."

Altice's 100Mbps download plan currently comes with 35Mbps uploads. But those uploads will be dropped to 5Mbps, an 86 percent cut. The 200Mbps plan with 35Mbps uploads today will get only 10Mbps uploads after the July 12 changeover date. The 300Mbps and 500Mbps-download plans that currently have 35Mbps uploads will be cut to 20Mbps on the upload side. Download speeds will remain the same.

Additionally, Altice's 400Mbps-download plan is being cut from 40Mbps uploads to 20Mbps, while the gigabit-download plan's upload speeds are being cut from 50Mbps to 35Mbps. As a Stop the Cap article on Monday noted, Altice listed the upcoming changes in a chart on its website:

Altice touts fiber but is still mostly cable-only

Altice notes that its fiber-to-the-home service provides symmetrical speeds, with uploads as high as downloads. When asked why it isn't raising cable-upload speeds instead of lowering them, Altice told Ars, "Over the last few years, we have been investing in building a 100 percent fiber network. We are hyper-focused on our fiber expansion, which is currently available to over 1 million homes—and growing quickly—and offers symmetrical speeds up to 1Gbps."

But "a 100 percent fiber network" doesn't mean that Altice will upgrade all or even most of its cable customers to fiber. It's "100 percent fiber" in the sense that customers who are in the fiber footprint won't be limited by old cable wires.

Those 1 million homes with fiber are reportedly just 20 percent of Altice's footprint, so most of its customers can't get symmetrical speeds. Altice told investors that it will add 500,000 more homes to its fiber network this year. Including cable and fiber, Altice offers service in 21 states and had 4.4 million Internet customers at the end of Q1 2021.

Altice purchased Suddenlink in 2015 and Cablevision in 2016, becoming the fourth-largest US cable operator after Comcast, Charter, and Cox. The upload-speed changes will be rolled out to all parts of Altice's network, as the company told Ars that it is "aligning speed tiers across our footprint."
Cable keeps teasing higher uploads without delivering

For years, the cable industry has been teasing future upgrades that would let cable networks deliver symmetrical download and upload speeds just as fiber networks do. But despite upgrades to DOCSIS, the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, major cable providers generally still do not provide upload speeds higher than 35Mbps.

Altice cutting its cable upload speeds while building out symmetrical-speed fiber is another indication that fiber will maintain its superiority over cable networks for the foreseeable future. A year ago, Cox lowered upload speeds in some entire neighborhoods due to congestion, and no cable network appears close to delivering an upload-speed breakthrough to customers.

Comcast recently touted a lab test in which it used DOCSIS 4.0 to deliver 4Gbps uploads and downloads over cable, but the company gave no indication of when it will raise its commercially available cable-upload speeds. Like Altice, Comcast only offers symmetrical speeds on its fiber network, which isn't as widespread as its cable footprint.

Comcast and Charter's advertised upload speeds on their cable networks still max out at 35Mbps, and customers have to buy the gigabit-download plan to get that 35Mbps upload rate. Comcast's slowest plan has only 3Mbps uploads, and Charter's slowest plan has 4Mbps uploads.

Disclosure: The Advance/Newhouse Partnership, which owns 13 percent of Charter, is part of Advance Publications. Advance Publications owns Condé Nast, which owns Ars Technica.

WD My Book NAS Devices are Being Remotely Wiped Clean Worldwide
Lawrence Abrams

Western Digital My Book NAS owners worldwide found that their devices have been mysteriously factory reset and all of their files deleted.

WD My Book is a network-attached storage device that looks like a small vertical book that you can stand on your desk. The WD My Book Live app allows owners to access their files and manage their devices remotely, even if the NAS is behind a firewall or router.

Today, WD My Book owners worldwide suddenly found that all of their files were mysteriously deleted, and they could no longer log into the device via a browser or an app.

When they attempted to log in via the Web dashboard, the device stated that they had an "Invalid password."

"I have a WD My Book live connected to my home LAN and worked fine for years. I have just found that somehow all the data on it is gone today, while the directories seems there but empty. Previously the 2T volume was almost full but now it shows full capacity," a WD My Book owner reported on the Western Digital Community Forums.

"The even strange thing is when I try to log into the control UI for diagnosis I was-only able to get to this landing page with an input box for “owner password”. I have tried the default password “admin” and also what I could set for it with no luck."

My Book devices issued a factory reset command

After further owners confirmed that their devices suffered the same issue, owners reported that the MyBook logs showed that the devices received a remote command to perform a factory reset starting at around 3 PM yesterday and through the night.

"I have found this in user.log of this drive today:
Jun 23 15:14:05 My BookLive factoryRestore.sh: begin script:
Jun 23 15:14:05 My BookLive shutdown[24582]: shutting down for system reboot
Jun 23 16:02:26 My BookLive S15mountDataVolume.sh: begin script: start
Jun 23 16:02:29 My BookLive _: pkg: wd-nas
Jun 23 16:02:30 My BookLive _: pkg: networking-general
Jun 23 16:02:30 My BookLive _: pkg: apache-php-webdav
Jun 23 16:02:31 My BookLive _: pkg: date-time
Jun 23 16:02:31 My BookLive _: pkg: alerts
Jun 23 16:02:31 My BookLive logger: hostname=My BookLive
Jun 23 16:02:32 My BookLive _: pkg: admin-rest-api
I believe this is the culprit of why this happens…No one was even home to use this drive at this time…"

Unlike QNAP devices, which are commonly connected to the Internet and exposed to attacks such as the QLocker Ransomware, the Western Digital My Book devices are stored behind a firewall and communicate through the My Book Live cloud servers to provide remote access.

Some users have expressed concerns that Western Digital's servers were hacked to allow a threat actor to push out a remote factory reset command to all devices connected to the service.

If a threat actor wiped devices, it is strange as no one has reported ransom notes or other threats, meaning the attack was simply meant to be destructive.

Some users affected by this attack have reported success recovering some of their files using the PhotoRec file recovery tool.

Unfortunately, other users have not had as much success.

If you own a WD My Book Look NAS device, Western Digital strongly recommends that you disconnect the device from the Internet.

"At this time, we recommend you disconnect your My Book Live and My Book Live Duo from the Internet to protect your data on the device," Western Digital said in an advisory.

Unpatched vulnerability believed to be behind attacks

Western Digital told BleepingComputer that they are actively investigating the attacks but do not believe it was a compromise of their servers.

"Western Digital has determined that some My Book Live devices are being compromised by malicious software. In some cases, this compromise has led to a factory reset that appears to erase all data on the device. The My Book Live device received its final firmware update in 2015. We understand that our customers’ data is very important. At this time, we recommend you disconnect your My Book Live from the Internet to protect your data on the device. We are actively investigating and we will provide updates to this thread when they are available." - Western Digital

Western Digital further told BleepingComputer that they believe the devices were compromised using an unpatched vulnerability after they were connected directly to the Internet.

The WD My Book Live devices received their final firmware update in 2015.

Since then, a remote code execution vulnerability tracked as CVE-2018-18472 was disclosed along with a public proof-of-concept exploit.

It is believed that a threat actor performed a mass scan of the Internet for vulnerable devices and used this vulnerability to issue the factory-reset command.

Update 6/24/21: Added statement from Wester Digital
Update 6/25/21: Added information about vulnerability and recovery options.

Thx to Jol for the tip.


The Internet Eats Up Less Energy Than You Might Think

New research by two leading scientists says some dire warnings of environmental damage from technology are overstated.
Steve Lohr

The giant tech companies with their power-hungry, football-field-size data centers are not the environmental villains they are sometimes portrayed to be on social media and elsewhere.

Shutting off your Zoom camera or throttling your Netflix service to lower-definition viewing does not yield a big saving in energy use, contrary to what some people have claimed.

Even the predicted environmental impact of Bitcoin, which does require lots of computing firepower, has been considerably exaggerated by some researchers.

Those are the conclusions of a new analysis by Jonathan Koomey and Eric Masanet, two leading scientists in the field of technology, energy use and the environment. Both are former researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Mr. Koomey is now an independent analyst, and Mr. Masanet is a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. (Mr. Masanet receives research funding from Amazon.)

They said their analysis, published on Thursday as a commentary article in Joule, a scientific journal, was not necessarily intended to be reassuring. Instead, they said, it is meant to inject a dose of reality into the public discussion of technology’s impact on the environment.

The surge in digital activity spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic, the scientists said, has fueled the debate and prompted dire warnings of environmental damage. They are concerned that wayward claims, often amplified by social media, could shape behavior and policy.

“We’re trying provide some mental tools and guidelines for thinking about our increasingly digital lifestyles and the impact on energy consumption and the environment,” Mr. Masanet said.

The headline on their analysis is “Does not compute: Avoiding pitfalls in assessing the internet’s energy and carbon impacts.”

Exaggerated claims, the pair said, are often well-intentioned efforts by researchers who make what may seem like reasonable assumptions. But they are not familiar with fast-changing computer technology — processing, memory, storage and networks. In making predictions, they tend to underestimate the pace of energy-saving innovation and how the systems work.

The impact of video streaming on network energy consumption is an example. Once a network is up and running, the amount of power it uses is much the same whether large amounts of data are flowing or very little. And steady improvements in technology decrease electricity consumption.

In their analysis, the two authors cite information from two large international network operators, Telefónica and Cogent, which have reported data traffic and energy use for the Covid year of 2020. Telefónica handled a 45 percent jump in data through its network with no increase in energy use. Cogent’s electricity use fell 21 percent even as data traffic increased 38 percent.

“Yes, we’re using a lot more data services and putting a lot more data through networks,” Mr. Koomey said. “But we’re also getting a lot more efficient very quickly.”

Another pitfall, the authors say, is to look at one high-growth sector of the tech industry and assume both that electricity use is increasing proportionally and that it is representative of the industry as a whole.

Computer data centers are a case study. The biggest data centers, from which consumers and workers tap services and software over the internet, do consume huge amounts of electricity. These so-called cloud data centers are operated by companies including Alibaba, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

From 2010 to 2018, the data workloads hosted by the cloud data centers increased 2,600 percent and energy consumption increased 500 percent. But energy consumption for all data centers rose less than 10 percent.

What happened, the authors explain, was mainly a huge shift of workloads to the bigger, more efficient cloud data centers — and away from traditional computer centers, largely owned and run by non-tech companies.

In 2010, an estimated 79 percent of data center computing was done in traditional computer centers. By 2018, 89 percent of data center computing took place in cloud data centers.

“The big cloud providers displaced vastly less efficient corporate data centers,” Mr. Koomey said. “You have to look at the whole system and take substitution effects into account.”

The complexity, dynamism and unpredictability of technology development and markets, the authors say, make projecting out more than two or three years suspect. They critiqued a Bitcoin energy paper that projected out decades, based on what they said were old data and simplified assumptions — an approach Mr. Masanet called “extrapolate to Doomsday.”

But Bitcoin, the scientists say, is something different — and a worry. The efficiency trends elsewhere in tech are blunted because Bitcoin’s specialized software churns through ever more computing cycles as more people try to create, buy and sell digital currency.

“It’s a hot spot that needs to be watched very closely and could be a problem,” Mr. Masanet said.

Much is unknown about cryptocurrency mining and its energy consumption. It uses specialized software and hardware, and secrecy surrounds the big centers of crypto mining in China, Russia and other countries.

So estimates of Bitcoin’s energy footprint vary widely. Researchers at Cambridge University estimate that Bitcoin mining accounts for 0.4 percent of worldwide electricity consumption.

That may not appear to be much. But all of the world’s data centers — excluding ones for Bitcoin mining — consume an estimated 1 percent of its electricity.

“I think that’s a pretty good, high-value use of that 1 percent,” Mr. Koomey said. “I’m not sure the same is true for Bitcoin’s share.”

Until next week,

- js.

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