M2 TechCast April 18 — Merit’s 50th Birthday, Cybersecurity, Drone Law

FERNDALE — The 50th birthday of Michigan’s first internet service provider, cybersecurity and the law covering drones — it’s on the agenda for today’s M2 TechCast podcast.

The weekly internet radio show, hosted by veteran technology writers Mike Brennan and Matt Roush, begins at 3 p.m. Eastern time at http://www.podcastdetroit.com.

The first guest will be Joseph F. Sawasky, CEO of Ann Arbor-based Merit Network Inc. He’ll discuss the 50th anniversary celebration of the organization coming up in May. Joe Adams, Merit vice president for research and cybersecurity, will discuss Merit’s Cyber Range training center.

The security theme will continue from 3:15 to 3:45, with security experts Richard Stiennon, founder of the Birmingham cybersecurity firm IT Harvest LLC, and Dan Lohrmann, chief strategist of the Grand Ledge cybersecurity firm Security Mentor Inc., discussing the ransomware crisis and other cybercrime issues.

Finally, at 3:45, Traverse City drone law attorney Enrico Schaeffer will discuss proposed FAA rules for drones operating above 500 feet altitude, and the latest new drone laws under consideration in Congress. (More about Schaeffer’s law practice at http://www.dronelaw.pro.)

Merit, originally the Michigan Educational Research Information Triad, was founded in 1966 to connect the mainframe computers of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. It became Michigan’s first internet service provider, connecting with Telenet, a spinoff of the Defense Department’s early computer network, in 1976. Western Michigan University joined Merit in 1978. The network connected with the DoD’s ARPANET in 1983 and with supercomputer centers in San Diego and Pittsburgh in 1986.

In 1987, a Merit-led consortium including IBM, MCI, and the Michigan Strategic Fund won a $39 million grant from the National Science Foundation to re-engineer and manage the NSFNet, the first national high-speed Internet backbone for research and education. The NSFNet led directly to the growth of the commercial internet.

M2 TechCast hosts Brennan and Roush have been following the Michigan high-tech scene for more than 20 years. Brennan is founder, editor and publisher of Ann Arbor-based Michigan Technology News, and Roush is managing editor of the news bureau at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield.

The M2 TechCast is part of the Podcast Detroit network, a group of more than 30 locally produced podcasts housed in studios owned by Dave Phillips and Bob Waltenspiel, founders of the “IT in the D” podcast. For the full Podcast Detroit schedule, visit http://www.podcastdetroit.com/show-schedule/.

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