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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (April 4, 2017)
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 2017
Founded in 1873
DAVID F. PERO, Publisher & Editor
LAURA SELLERS, Managing Editor
BETTY SMITH, Advertising Manager
CARL EARL, Systems Manager
JOHN D. BRUIJN, Production Manager
DEBRA BLOOM, Business Manager
takes a wallop
ongress did American consumers a great disservice last
week when it dismantled an online privacy regulation that
would have prevented internet service providers such as
Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from selling the browsing habits and
other information about their customers.
The move came in a bill sent to President Donald Trump that
will kill a Federal Communications Commission rule that was
issued in October and was designed to give consumers greater
control over how internet service providers share information. The
rule was scheduled to go into effect later this year, and the deci-
sion essentially reverts to the status quo rather than giving con-
sumers additional protections that the Obama administration
sought before leaving office.
The decision was decried
by consumer groups and
Democrats but lauded by
most Republicans and tele-
com companies. The 215-205
vote in the House, though, was
closer than many expected
with 15 Republicans sid-
ing with the Democrats in
the failed effort to keep the
rule in place. The Senate had
already voted to repeal it and
Trump is expected to sign the
bill despite the American Civil
Liberties Union’s populist
appeals for a presidential veto.
their ISP and
Opponents of the rule
argued that ISPs like Comcast
and AT&T should not face
opt out of data
more stringent privacy rules
than online companies such as
Facebook and Google, which
collect user information and
generate billions of dollars selling it.
Privacy proponents, however, countered that ISPs are far dif-
ferent because they have access to users’ full web browsing hab-
its, what devices and applications they use, their online locations
along with their physical addresses, their financial information and
even whom they exchange emails with. That robust amount of
information is particularly useful for marketers to craft highly-tar-
geted ads, which is part of the fundamental business model of
many online companies.
With the repeal, Internet providers won’t be required to notify
customers they collect data about or even ask permission beyond
a user’s initial approval of the terms of service agreement. As a
result, many people may not even realize their patterns and pro-
files are being brokered.
So what steps should online users and consumers take?
Privacy experts recommend consumers thoroughly familiarize
opt out of data collection.
Another potential option is to use a Virtual Private Network,
which provides private end-to-end internet connections and are
typically used to keep out snoops when using public Wi-Fi. There
are free and paid-for VPN providers, but they are also in a posi-
tion to track online activities. Choosing a trustworthy provider,
as Wired.com points out, can be a “tricky thing to confirm.”
Additionally, VPN privacy protections are limited because once a
user logs into a website like Netflix or Amazon, those sites track
users’ activities so they can suggest tailored products and services.
According to Nuala O’Connor, president and CEO of the
Center for Democracy & Technology, a non-profit digital rights
group, the best course of action for those concerned about what’s
collected about them is to practice “digital privacy hygiene” by
giving as little information as possible when doing things online,
to minimize the digital footprint available to companies.
Importantly, if there was any question before, consumers
should now know that Congress isn’t on the side of their online
WHERE TO WRITE
• U.S. Rep. Suzanne
Bonamici (D): 2338 Rayburn
HOB, Washington, D.C., 20515.
Phone: 202- 225-0855. Fax
202-225-9497. District office:
12725 SW Millikan Way, Suite
220, Beaverton, OR 97005.
Phone: 503-469-6010. Fax 503-
326-5066. Web: bonamici.house.
• U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D):
313 Hart Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20510. Phone:
202-224-3753. Web: www.merk-
• U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D):
221 Dirksen Senate Office Build-
ing, Washington, D.C., 20510.
Phone: 202-224-5244. Web:
Seismometer gives early
warning of ground motion
By R.J. MARX
The Daily Astorian
ho do you call when
you need to upgrade a
That’s easy: the Pacific North-
west Seismic Network, a part-
ner of the U.S. Geological Survey,
the University of Washington and
the University of Oregon among
The Seaside seismometer is one
of many along the
coast of Oregon
state to provide
early warning sys-
tem. Hidden in an
equipment room in the back of the
R.J. Marx/The Daily Astorian
Seaside Museum and Historical
Lynn Simmons of the U.S. Geological Survey works with the Pacific North-
Society, the seismometer may have west Seismic Network to install this seismometer in the Seaside Museum.
a crucial role in history of its own
in the not-so-distant future.
in Seaside in March equipped
“A seismometer is an instrument with tools, wires and equipment to
that detects ground motion in the
upgrade the original seismometer
form of acceleration of the ground
at the museum, installed in 2004.
itself,” the University of Oregon’s
All were affiliated with the Pacific
field technician and ShakeAlert
Northwest Seismic Network, with
Project Manager Leland O’Driscoll headquarters at the University of
Washington and has operations sup-
Is it a predictor?
port at the University of Oregon in
“Not at all,” O’Driscoll said.
“Prediction is not cur-
In a rear room behind
rently feasible by sci-
the museum library, geo-
ence, so it is strictly an
physicist Lynn Sim-
mons, research engi-
neer Marc Biundo and
draw deductions from
field technician Brendan
Pratt upgraded the strong
“Yes, that’s the
point,” he said. “When
a sensor that measures
we see energy arise
acceleration like a speed-
that looks like an earth-
ometer measures speed.
R.J. Marx/The Daily Astorian
quake, first we confirm
This information is fed
Members of the Pacific North-
that it is. Then we look
by the seismometer to a
west Seismic Network adjust a
at nearby sensors to have
live data feed.
GPS antenna outside the Seaside
cross-verification. Once we have
Outside, standing on a ladder
Museum and Historical Society.
that, we measure the size and loca- near the back of the museum build-
tion of the earthquake’s epicenter.” ing, field technician Sara Meyer
original communications director
worked with outreach coordinator
knew Seaside’s city planner at the
Lindsey Walsh to upgrade the unit’s time, O’Driscoll said. “It was chosen
global positioning satellite.
The ShakeAlert program began
because there’s internet access on
Data is filtered by sensors that
in 2006 and first sent alerts to test
site, there’s a quiet room on the side
compare results of other seismom-
of the building, and there’s a need to
users in 2012.
eters to determine if shaking is due
have a sensor in Seaside.”
When ShakeAlert detects a
to an earthquake or some other fac-
quake, a map pops up on a user’s
Costs to complete the earthquake
tor, like a jackhammer or truck.
early warning system are estimated
screen to show the location of the
If sensors respond all along the
at $36 million, O’Driscoll said, and
epicenter and of waves moving
coast, “We know we have an earth- an additional $16 million for ongo-
toward the user. Also shown is the
quake,” O’Driscoll said.
time remaining until waves reach
If sensors are to be installed on
the user’s location and an estimate
of the intensity of shaking.
the ocean bottom or offshore, “we’re
“We can provide an advance
The network started at Univer-
looking at the order of $200 million
sity of Washington in the 1970s.
to $300 million,” he said.
warning that earthquake will be
arriving at a remote location during After the Mount St. Helens erup-
“I’d like the public to know
an event,” O’Driscoll said. “What
tion in 1980, the network “dramat-
we’re building out a system that
ically expanded,” O’Driscoll said.
will build out the resiliency to lead
this will facilitate is a warning to
a user that they can have tens of
Now there’s a seismometer every
to earthquake preparedness in the
seconds or minutes before ground
20 miles from southern Oregon
state,” O’Driscoll said. “As soon
to the northern Washington bor-
as we learn what to do with this
motion actually starts.”
If it happened here, we wouldn’t der. In Cannon Beach, a seismom-
advance warning for a quake, we
have much time. But if it happened eter is stored in an IT room at the
can take effective actions to reduce
in the Northern California region,
the loss of life and reduce the loss of
O’Driscoll said, we’d have roughly
Locations are “very tricky,”
property and damage.”
1 1/2 to 2 minutes to react.
Biundo said. “Where’s the power?
While we live in a hazardous
This early warning — although
Where’s the signal? How do you
region, the programs offer steps to
get the electrical energy to power
hardly enough time to make a run
living in a safer and more resilient
for it — could be life-saving if
broadcast to hospitals, building
In case of a power outage, a
Meanwhile, the team is looking
four-day battery accompanies the
operations teams and other critical
to expand the network.
“We go as fast as we can,”
“The concept of 10 seconds of
For decades now the network has O’Driscoll said. “There’s a series
advance ground motion is daunt-
tracked seismicity, including tectonic of stages. Finding good viable loca-
ing when thinking what can I do,”
earthquakes generated by faults and
tions, permits, going through the
Cascadia Subduction Zone quakes
O’Driscoll said. “But when you
avenues, all the prep — we can
think of multiple minutes, you
where the fault zone is offshore.
put in a dozen new sensors a year.
have more options. Hospitals can
Seismometers charted the 1993
We have a goal of 15 to 20 sensors
Salem “Spring Break Quake” and
say ‘stop surgery.’ An elevator
this year to reach our final goal of
can open its doors before ground
the 6.8 magnitude Nisqually Quake
of 2001 in the southern Puget Sound
R.J. Marx is The Daily Astori-
an’s South County reporter and edi-
The Seaside site was chosen by
tor of the Seaside Signal and Cannon
O’Driscoll and his team arrived
the University of Washington. The