pfir | 1 Jun 04:19 2011

Blinded by the Light: The Internet Enemy Within


              Blinded by the Light: The Internet Enemy Within

                http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000860.html

Truth can be painful.  In a relative sense today, most of what you, I,
and pretty much everyone else writes, says, and thinks about the
Internet is, frankly, pretty much crap.

Please don't misunderstand!

I'm not saying that we're all wrong, or that the topics under
consideration aren't interesting or even important in an absolute,
individual sense.

But on the scale of importance and relevance given current events, we
are largely whistling in the dark, missing the forest for the trees,
and yes, being blinded by the light.

The scope of topics that divert us is enormous.  We ponder the screen
brightness, battery life, and cpu speed of the latest smartphones.  We
argue about cookies and Web ads and the ever growing streams of music
and video.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO), spam, and "follower"
counts make for nearly endless speculation.  We worry over ISP
competition, bandwidth caps, and Net Neutrality.  And then of course
there's Lady Gaga.

All issues of interest and importance, to various people, and various
organizations, in many varied ways.

(Continue reading)

pfir | 1 Jun 20:44 2011

U.S. citizen jailed in Thailand over Web link to "offensive" book


U.S. citizen jailed in Thailand over Web link to "offensive" book

http://j.mp/imidtF  (Pattaya Daily News)

   The charges against Thai-born Mr. Wichaikhammat fall under lese
   majeste, which breaches section 112 of the Criminal Code as well being
   charged for subversion and uploading false information which violated
   the Computer Crime Act. Altogether, the charges could potentially add
   up to a 22-year jail sentence.

 - - -

--Lauren--
Lauren Weinstein (lauren <at> vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org
Founder:
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenweinstein 
Google Buzz: http://j.mp/laurenbuzz 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com

pfir | 2 Jun 00:55 2011

State law makes it a crime to share your password


State law makes it a crime to share your password

http://j.mp/jRUzrs  (Huffington)

State lawmakers write law so badly it could criminalize casual
password sharing among friends or relatives.

--Lauren--
Lauren Weinstein (lauren <at> vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org
Founder:
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenweinstein 
Google Buzz: http://j.mp/laurenbuzz 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com

pfir | 2 Jun 06:22 2011

Weiner, Whiners, and Social: Public Means Public!


               Weiner, Whiners, and Social: Public Means Public!

                 http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000861.html

I had hoped that it would not be necessary to spend time discussing
the Twitter controversy of a photo that (might be) of a Congressman's
underwear-laden crotch.

However, people keep asking me about this, and about another story in
the news right now, regarding a PhD student at the University of
Amsterdam, whose nose is apparently all out of joint over his ability
to create a database of (we're told) 35 million public Google
Profiles.

It's difficult for me to imagine a topic in which I'd have less
inherent interest than Rep. Weiner's photography/Twitter habits in any
likely context.  And the collecting of already public Google Profiles
is equally yawn inducing from my standpoint.

Yet there is an underlying theme.  Both of these stories have been
sucking considerable oxygen out of the current news cycles, and also
remind me of the usually rather nutty and misguided protests regarding
Google Street View, about which I've written many times (I won't clog
up the text here with associated links today, you know how to find
them).

Fundamentally, there is a complex dynamic between "privacy rights" as
most broadly defined, and other key elements of civil rights,
including free speech.
(Continue reading)

pfir | 3 Jun 19:53 2011

New Scientist: New media laws could mean jail for ordinary users


New Scientist: New media laws could mean jail for ordinary users

http://j.mp/jj3Set  (New Scientist)

Nothing new here for most of you, but it's good to see
these concerns percolating out beyond Net tech media per se.

--Lauren--
Lauren Weinstein (lauren <at> vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org
Founder:
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenweinstein 
Google Buzz: http://j.mp/laurenbuzz 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com
pfir | 3 Jun 21:34 2011

When AT&T Ma Bell Ruled: 1970s Bell System (Western Electric) "Promo" Film (Dig That Soundtrack!)


When AT&T Ma Bell Ruled: 1970s Bell System (Western Electric) 
"Promo" Film (Dig That Soundtrack!)
http://j.mp/lnyc6X  (This message on Google Buzz)

 - - -

http://j.mp/kXavgQ  (YouTube / ~8.5 minutes)

As tempting as it may be to stick with the doom and gloom meme all the
time, I wanted to offer this fun little gem as we enter the weekend,
showing Ma Bell at her peak of pre-divestiture power (a state of
affairs that AT&T seems hell-bent to recreate today).

This tightly edited and professionally scored clip was obviously made
for the Bell System's "Western Electric" manufacturing unit, probably
in the mid to late 1970s -- showing the manufacturing, testing, and
use of phones such as the WE 2500. It does not include titles or
credits, and ends abruptly. It has no narration, but the soundtrack is
pure 70s and includes spacey sci-fi sound effects, plus various
footage that might have been inspired by "2001: A Space Odyssey"
perhaps. Where else can you see a technician testing phone handsets
from inside an environmental chamber "space suit" rig?  Ma Bell at
AT&T's pre-divestiture peak of influence!

The countdown leader (apparently originally included with this clip),
is notable for the flash of a woman that appears (handy for color
correction -- I've seen this leader featuring her on other clips over
the years as well).

(Continue reading)

pfir | 3 Jun 23:18 2011

UN report say Internet access is human right; blasts "3 Strikes" disconnects


UN report say Internet access is human right; blasts "3 Strikes" disconnects
http://j.mp/jKItAl  (This message on Google Buzz)

 - - -

http://j.mp/ig5AnT  (Wired)

      A United Nations report said Friday that disconnecting people from the
      internet is a human rights violation and against international law.
      The report railed against France and the United Kingdom, which have
      passed laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the internet.
      It also protested blocking internet access to quell political unrest.

 - - -

--Lauren--
Lauren Weinstein (lauren <at> vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org
Founder:
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenweinstein 
Google Buzz: http://j.mp/laurenbuzz 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com

(Continue reading)

pfir | 4 Jun 01:45 2011

Major Risks in Apple's New "Remote Camera Disabling" Patent Application


Major Risks in Apple's New "Remote Camera Disabling" Patent Application
http://j.mp/mjtppP  (This message on Google Buzz)

 - - -

Let's keep in mind that all sorts of nonsense is patented all the
time, much that shouldn't have been patented in the first place ( Ref:
"Stop the Patent Process Madness": http://j.mp/cYeqEz [Wired] ) and
many concepts that despite being patented will never see actual
realization.

But still, Apple's newly revealed patent application for using
infrared (IR) signals to control camera operations potentially opens
up a can of worms of gigantic proportions, especially since a major
part of the patent is devoted to using IR signals to *prohibit* or
otherwise limit/control photography in specified areas:

http://j.mp/mvOdzZ  (New York Times)

This aspect of the patent application seems to focus on
concert/theater venues and such, but the range of ways that such
technology could be abused is obvious and vast.  Just replace
"theater" with anyone, anywhere, who has an interest in preventing
video documentation of their activities -- legit or not.

And since such a mechanism would of course only prohibit recording or
otherwise impact devices that implement the Apple scheme, how long
would it be before we heard calls to *require* such control technology
on all video (and perhaps other) photographically capable devices?
(Continue reading)

pfir | 4 Jun 07:18 2011

Knewton Blog: "Groupon Is a Straight-Up Ponzi Scheme"


Knewton Blog: Groupon Is a Straight-Up Ponzi Scheme

http://j.mp/jIne7x  (Knewton)

     "I would love to be wrong about this. Especially given the fallout in
      the tech economy if Groupon blows up. But isn't it really pretty
      obvious that Groupon is a massive Ponzi scheme?"

 - - -

The financial viability side of such operations is definitely outside
my area of expertise.  But I've had a lot of people ask me about
Groupon, and to date I've uniformly responded with "insufficient
data" as my reply.  I know that as a potential user, I've never found
anything on Groupon of particular interest or value to me personally.

But even with my layman's view as far as their financials are
concerned, their structure has reminded me of the proverbial
skyscraper being built on a foundation of quicksand -- interesting to
watch, but not necessarily something you want to be standing near for
too long.

--Lauren--
Lauren Weinstein (lauren <at> vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org
Founder:
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com
(Continue reading)

pfir | 4 Jun 17:31 2011

"A conversation with a Cuban telecommunication engineer"


"A conversation with a Cuban telecommunication engineer"
http://j.mp/mBCTcw  (This message on Google Buzz)

 - - -

http://j.mp/kqiyZf  (Internet in Cuba)

    "He is on point-to-point Ethernet connection to enet.cu, and is able to
     trace the route from his dial-up connection to Google via a Newcom
     International satellite link. Average ping time to Google was 683 ms.
     Ping times to other machines at enet.cu averaged 110 ms.  He did not
     want to run many tests, because he feared surveillance by CuCERT. Like
     their counterparts in other nations, CuCERT is charged with responding
     to network security incidents, but he characterizes them as being like
     "cyber-cops, who can enter your house, pick up your HDs and walk away
     without previous notification.""

 - - -

Some observers might suggest that the U.S. counterpart of CuCERT goes by
the acronym "FBI" ...

Political comment: Going back all the way to before the Cuban revolution
(circa 1959), U.S. policy related to Cuba has been inane, counterproductive,
bullheaded, stupid, dangerous, short-sighted, and generally an example of
foreign policy in its least admirable modality.  And of course, Cuba has
tended to respond in kind.  

Luckily for us all, the changing generations now show real hope that
(Continue reading)


Gmane