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"There is a war under way for control of the Internet, and every day brings word of new clashes on a shifting and widening battlefront."

"World War 3.0" will happen in Dubai this December at their World Trade Centre and an article by Michael Joseph Gross in the May 2012 issues Vanity Fair explains why this is one of the most important events in 2012.

Diplomats from 193 countries will converge there to renegotiate a United Nations treaty called the International Telecommunications Regulations. The sprawling document, which governs telephone, television, and radio networks, may be extended to cover the Internet, raising questions about who should control it, and how.
The United States and other Western nations want to preserve the status quo for the Internet governance: "run by a small group of technical nonprofit and volunteer organizations, most of them based in the United States." While other nations, such as Russia, China, Brazil, India, Iran, and others want to place more restrictions on how the Internet can be used by people.
All of them have implemented or experimented with more intrusive monitoring of online activities than the U.S. is publicly known to practice. A number of countries have openly called for the creation of a “new global body” to oversee online policy. At the very least, they’d like to give the United Nations a great deal more control over the Internet.

The Vanity Fair article surveys the lay of the battlefield and explains what will be the issues fought over in Dubai come this December.

The first is sovereignty: by definition, a boundary-less system flouts geography and challenges the power of nation-states. The second is piracy and intellectual property: information wants to be free, as the hoary saying goes, but rights-holders want to be paid and protected. The third is privacy: online anonymity allows for creativity and political dissent, but it also gives cover to disruptive and criminal behavior—and much of what Internet users believe they do anonymously online can be tracked and tied to people’s real-world identities. The fourth is security: free access to an open Internet makes users vulnerable to various kinds of hacking, including corporate and government espionage, personal surveillance, the hijacking of Web traffic, and remote manipulation of computer-controlled military and industrial processes.


According to Vint Cerf, one of the 'fathers of the Internet', two things prevent the Internet from being secure. First, "the only technology that would have allowed for such security was still classified at the time." Second, "the system kind of got loose" before security could get implemented. So, Cerf and other Internet engineers have been playing catch-up ever since. Cerf believes many of today's problem with the Internet come from a basic design feature: the net was designed to ignore national boundaries.

The Internet was "intended to deal with a military problem", Cerf explains. It was designed to allow soldiers to communicate without disclosing their location to their enemies. The system Cerf and others fashioned created a decentralized network where messages use addresses that are not linked to a physical locale.

The only central point on the Internet is the Domain Name System (DNS). DNS saves everyone from having to type an Internet Protocol address to reach place on the Internet. So instead of typing in the web browser location, people can just type instead. DNS effectively controls where people can get to on the Internet.
Today, DNS is maintained by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and Cerf was an early chairman of the organization.

Intellectual Property

According to Jeff Moss, chief security officer for ICANN and a founder of Def Con, a yearly hackers conference in Las Vegas, the root of today's problems with the Internet stem from copyright issues. "Before the Internet, when copyrighted information existed mostly in the form of physical objects, it was inconvenient to violate copyright law, for purely practical reasons." Digitization and the Internet combined to form an easy way to share data between people, regardless of who owned its intellectual rights.

The citizen and consumer combined to "form a complicated new species". People used "free access to intellectual property to express themselves to one another" and corporations and governments use this form of expression to make money and gather intelligence.

Privacy advocates sounded alarms about the problem, but the 2009 Green Revolution protests in Iran were a major turning point. The ease with which the Iranian government spied on its own citizens—using techniques that anyone could deploy, with free and open-source software—showed the fundamental insecurity of all unencrypted data (which is almost all data) on the Internet. Iranian-government authorities were able to read citizens’ e-mails, diagram their social networks, and keep watch on almost anything else they wanted to observe. The spectacle of that violation, Moss says, underscored for everyone that the character of the Internet had fundamentally changed. It had evolved from, as he puts it, a place “to put pictures of your cat” to a place where “your liberty’s at stake.”
Governments today can hijack DNS either by blocking traffic or routing it to a more desirable location. Moss, in his role as ICANN security officer, is trying to make such blocking impossible. "I’m curious if it’s fixable," he said. "Everybody always calls it rebuilding the airplane in flight. We can’t stop and reboot the Internet."
Corporate ambitions are a huge issue, but “the real War for the Net,” Cerf believes, “is governments who want to control it, and that includes our own government. If you think about protecting the population and observing our conventional freedoms, the two are real­ly very much in tension.” Cerf cites the debate over the U.S.A. Patriot Act, enacted in 2001, which greatly expanded the U.S. government’s domestic-surveillance authority. He also cites efforts by Middle Eastern governments to control online communications, particularly as the Arab Spring began to unfold, in 2011. And then there’s the vast example of China, whose Great Firewall puts severe limits on what Chinese users can view online.
Corporations and governments want control over our Internet and most are not pleased with the changes Moss is trying to bring about. Its not just China and Iran that want more control. The United States is being pushed by some corporations to place more authoritarian controls on the Internet. Congress this past winter tried to pass Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Passage of either of those bills would have made it possible for the U.S. government to use DNS blocking "to prevent Americans from seeing unauthorized postings of copyrighted material on social-media or search-engine sites". The same techniques used by Iran to cut off their part of the 'net from the rest of the world.


Privacy and Security

Dan Kaminsky, a DNS expert, security analyst, and, so it happens — "a close friend of Jeff Moss", is working to "augment passwords with other ways for Internet users to prove their identities that are more robust, easier to use, and harder to crack."

Kaminsky and others are working to be sure that these authentication systems preserve the qualities of privacy and online anonymity—even though anonymity has contributed to, if not created, almost every problem at issue in the War for the Internet. The task at hand is finding some way to square the circle: a way to have both anonymity and authentication—and therefore both generative chaos and the capacity for control—without absolute insistence on either.

The problem is, there is no agreement on how these new standards would work, be applied, and who gets to be the gatekeeper. The world's governments have differing views on what is "civility, incivility, and invasion of privacy" making a global standard nigh impossible. "The only thing everyone agrees on," says Kaminsky, "is that the Internet is making everyone money now and it’s got to keep working."

Meanwhile, corporations and governments are walling off their own areas of the Internet "where all who enter will have to prove their real-world identities." The argument is that authenticated identity will make people "better behaved", which I translate into "less uppity", less trolling, and more paranoid. The belief is people will pay for, instead of just copy, digital content if their identity is known. Cerf scoffs at this idea:

“When I hear senators and congressmen complaining about anonymous speech, I want to stop them and say, you should read your own history. The anonymous tracts that objected to British rule and rules had a great deal to do with the American Revolution. Weren’t you paying attention in civics?”
Vint Cerf, Jeff Moss, Dan Kaminsky, and others "think that the Internet should be allowed to evolve on its own, the way human societies always have." They predict that if left alone, the Internet will "stratify". There will be the Internet of today where "anyone can enter, anonymously or not, and for free" — an Internet of risks and rewards. But, there will also be walled communities where security is traded for privacy — places where corporations and governments conduct their business. Where people go will be up to them. But —
Aside from wealth or arcane knowledge, the only other guarantor of security will be isolation. Some people will pioneer new ways of life that minimize their involvement online. Still others will opt out altogether—to find or create a little corner of the planet where the Internet does not reach. Depending on how things go, that little corner could become a very crowded place. And you’d be surprised at how many of the best-informed people about the Internet have already started preparing for the trip.

World War 3.0

So in December, the world's governments are going to try to reshape how the decentralized Internet works. There is going to be an effort to more tightly control the center.

At least three big issues are very likely to be on the table in Dubai, and there’s nothing light about them. One is taxation—a “per click” levy on international Internet traffic. Western countries and business organizations oppose such a tax, as you would expect. China and many Third World countries favor it, saying the funds would help build the Internet in developing countries.

A second issue is data privacy and cyber-security. Authoritarian governments want to tie people’s real names and identities to online activity, and they want international law to permit national encryption standards to allow government surveillance.

The third issue is Internet management. Last year, Russia, China, and some pliant allies jointly proposed a U.N. General Assembly resolution (which failed) suggesting the creation of a global information-­security “code of conduct” and—as if declaring open season on ICANN and the other non-­governmental groups currently in charge—asserting that “policy authority for Internet-related public issues is the sovereign right of states.”

The Internet is rapidly changing and it is difficult for even those plugged-in to high-level Internet policy meetings to keep up to speed. "If you’re using an analogy of Internet wars," Moss said, "the battles are coming faster." Stay informed and stay vigilant.

Originally posted to Magnifico on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 03:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by Systems Thinking.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh Great, Tax Usage (5+ / 0-)

    if China and other nations want to build out the Internet create more people that can afford a computer in your country and there will be dozens of companies offering to do it for them.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 03:19:16 PM PDT

  •  I say give control to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, Magnifico, maggiejean


    Not really, but I do say that with a strange combination of cynicism, sarcasm, and realism.

    Otherwise, excellent recap of the issues and agendas. I do think there's a high correlation between the communication and commerce of the internet with telephony so there's likely a lot to be borrowed in terms of regulation.

    But it's the digital content, among other things, that definitely makes it different. Wonder if this will be covered at all by the MSM.

    Chaos. It's not just a theory.

    by PBnJ on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 04:09:51 PM PDT

    •  Control and coverage (7+ / 0-)

      Oddly enough, Vint Cerf now works for Google as their Chief Internet Evangelist. Google doesn't quite control as much of the net as commonly believed. They have, for instance, a smaller footprint in Asia, especially China.

      As for media coverage, I think it depends. My post is a synopsis of a Vanity Fair article and I think they qualify as being in main stream. My question would be would cable news networks cover the International Telecommunications Regulations meeting in Dubai this December? I doubt it. First off, it's happening outside the lower-48 and second, the cable news outlets are owned by corporations who hope to restrict the net even more than it is now.

      •  they won't and they shouldn't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brown Thrasher, G2geek

        Most people do not know how the internet works at all.  Plus most people are stupid enough to have a facebook which means they really have no leg to stand on since they already signed away their life and have no concept or care about privacy.

        "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

        by overclocking on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 04:48:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can bet that ALEC will be there. Telecomm (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is one of the 10 areas they work in.  The current head is from Verizon too.  They are working hard to make sure the whole Internet becomes a for profit enterprise owned by a small cabal.  And that includes all the carrier and content companies.  

          Also in the crosshairs is any universal/public/municipal service concept.

          Congressional elections have consequences!

          by Cordyc on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:01:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •   no no no, Google is evil, and their propaganda... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler, blueoasis

      ... is bullshit.

      The CEO of Google is on record more than once, saying that his business model is to cozy right up to the line of "creepy."

      Google is a huge surveillance monster with a "cool, hip" wrapper around it.  Anyone who can't see that, has been mesmerized by the marketing spew.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 07:11:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Privacy was destroyed by 3 companies already (8+ / 0-)

    facebook, apple, and google.  These three companies set up the internet so you would be the product, and thousands of sheep idiotically placed themselves on the trains to the slaughterhouse and are just now getting upset.  Too late, too bad, you did it to yourself.

    facebooks product that they sell is the worlds largest relational human database of what was once private data, that is no public.  It's an intelligence goldmine.  Googles product is yours search and browsing history.  Both of these products are linked and made stronger by association of emails to accounts and all the morons who use facebook or gmail to directly post comments on websites.  apple finished off this trifecta by linking these accounts to phones and then tracking and keeping the data.

    So if you have been using gmail and google search, facebook and an iphone, great!  You already sold yourself for slaughter for free and are now bitching about it.  No sympathy at all.

    The article is right in that the most tech savvy people long ago pointed out the problems here and never got involved with this stuff.  They aren't using apple products, they don't have a facebook, and they are no longer using googles search or email functions.

    "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

    by overclocking on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 04:16:04 PM PDT

    •  Not just those three... (7+ / 0-)

      I'd add to the mix Amazon, Yahoo, credit card companies, banks, etc... Basically any company that tracks data to a specific user erodes that user's privacy. They're trading off services for their privacy. In my opinion, Facebook is the worst Trojan horse in history — people are commoditizing themselves, volunteering private information in exchange to post things to their friends. Google has some of the world's brightest engineers and developers all focused on what? Packing up users to advertisers.

      •  yes there are more but they aren't as bad (7+ / 0-)

        And yeah, facebook is hands down the worst.  But apple and google are pretty fucking horrible as well.

        What's interesting though has been the creation of two internet communities.  You have the idiots, with gmail, iphones, and facebook marching themselves to the slaughter with glee, and then those who left.  Who went back to things like usenet, IRC, connecting via VPN, using esoteric emails for their real email, and using secure android or other smart phones who have almost no internet footprint.

        It's telling that internet and cyber security experts have been quietly and rapidly unplugging themselves from the entire "web 2.0 social media editon" revolution, and at the same time working for companies to turn every other human in the planet into a commodity and their every thought into a product.

        "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

        by overclocking on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 04:46:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  except for... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Magnifico, KenBee, blueoasis, Neon Vincent

          ... plain-Jane Apple laptops & desktops still provide users with effective controls.  As I type this, I have the "#SharedObjects" folder open and a few more, so I can see when I've been "given" little "presents" by sites I've logged into.  And I can dump those unrequited "gifts" to Trash & delete immediately.

          The ONLY reason I don't use an open-source operating system for writing & internet, is that I have not been able to find a decent "text editor" for writers (as distinct for one for coders), that comes anywhere near Apple TextEdit and Microsoft NotePad and WordPad.  Those three free applications are fast, simple, effective, bloat-free, they do not try to "think for me" by changing my words or formatting, and they are cross-platform compatible in .TXT and .RTF.  

          Open Office is a nightmare of bloat, every bit as bad as MS Office for plain-Jane writing tasks such as day notes and rough drafts.  I use OpenOffice for spreadsheets, where it's basically interchangeable with MS Office.  But for writing?  Hell no.  

          I have eeBuntu (Linux) on an ASUS netbook (remember the eePC?) for certain specific tasks, but the best "text editor" I managed to find for it is still an annoying pain in the ass that's designed for coders and hostile to people who are just trying to write plain text or text with options for boldface and underline.

          The moment someone finds me a text editor for writers that works as well and as fast and as bloat-free as TextEdit, NotePad, and WordPad, I'll make the switch (and the next laptop I buy will be generic hardware on which I can run whatever flavor of Linux).  Until then, I have little choice but to stick with the commercial operating systems for desktops & laptops.  

          Any suggestions?

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 07:29:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  lol I hear you, I have an eeepc (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KenBee, G2geek

            If you're used to KDE over GNOME try KOffice?  Or try AbiWord.  I don't actually use office programs all that much.  But linux, while good, does still suffer as a whole from everything being made for tech gurus and outright hostile to anybody who is not.

            "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

            by overclocking on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 09:37:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Abiword looks like more bloat... (0+ / 0-)

              .... with a huge array of options that aren't needed and slow things down.

              KWord looks much the same.

              If you're not using anything with MacOS or Windows on it, get hold of someone's computer who is, and check out TextEdit (Mac) or NotePad (Windows).  

              Zero bloat, fast, simple, effective, easy to learn, and it keeps up with the speed of my thoughts and fingers on keyboard.  

              That's what I'm looking for.  I can't believe someone hasn't created one of those for Linux.  

              Re. hostile to everyone else: it varies, some of it is better, some worse.  Much appears to have been created by people who don't have the faintest clue about user interface design.  For those who do (understand user interfaces) there needs to be a place for them to plug into the community and post information and examples and have them taken seriously.   Improvements in the UI, more than anything, are what will increase open source market share of desktops, laptops, and mobile devices (Android doesn't cut it either: there are standard versions of standard media file types that it does not play).  

              BTW, I'm not an OS partisan; it's all about using what works for any given task.  

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 01:14:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  nah I hear you, I have both (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                OSX and Win XP/7/8 (beta) boxes at home and work.  I work in IT so I need to be up to date.  

                But then again, I'm an IT guru by trade.  I have no need at all for a text editor outside of scripting and code.  I'm sure I can find you one for linux, a friend of mine is a true fanatic and they do exist.  It's just not an area of software options I traffic in.  Shit most of my linux installs are backtrack, slackware, and SEL (should tell you a bit about what I do).

                I'll do my best to find you one though, I know a lot of fuckers on the "slim and light" side of linux, I'm on the security side.

                "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

                by overclocking on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 03:31:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  thanks, that would be helpful. (0+ / 0-)

                  A close friend suggested one that basically spawns a new instantiation of the application for each document, but I'm not sure that's the best way to go about it because it does not sound as if the documents are portable.  In any case sending people something with active code in it via email is unsafe computer sex.  Though oddly it also appears that there is a way to use .TXT to create buffer overrun attacks, so lately I've taken to just pasting plaintext into emails and letting the recipient copy it to whatever they're using.

                  Ultimately this is why I keep ranting about using the telco model for the development of a data network: it really would have been immune to the vast majority of what ails us today about the network.  But the bandwagon-jumpers (usually also those who today embrace "the social web") all like to cheer & sneer "telco is obsolete!" and all that crap, so many lessons are deliberately not-learned, even including such things as address conventions.

                  Yes I could guess a few things about your background, but then you'd have to kill me:-)   I've known people who've worked at anagram inn or one of its far-flung outposts, and there are a few here on dKos.  

                  "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                  by G2geek on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 04:30:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  instant meme: "the worst Trojan Horse in history." (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Magnifico, KenBee, blueoasis

        When Facebook and MySpace and all of those first came out, I spotted them immediately as intel collectors that were going to run huge traffic analysis engines and sell the output to corporate and government buyers.  

        Turns out they ended up being worse than even my dystopian forecasts imagined.   See also "Facebook Timeline" where every user gets an unauthorized illustrated biography, whether they like it or not.  That's what used to be called a "dossier."

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 07:18:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  hence why I never joined them (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Magnifico, KenBee, G2geek

          Most of the IT security types I know took a good look at what was coming and generally came to a "holy shit, if the government created that people would go nuts" consensus.

          At my old job there was a hilarious moment when they asked why none of the IT staff had connected to our company facebook.  The explanation as to why nobody in IT had a facebook caused some of the suits to freak the fuck out.  It was an interesting moment.  A contrast of the not so tech savy leading the charge into web 2.0 social media edition, and all the IT gurus fanatically scrubbing their online identities and moving back into the dark of IRC, and Usenet with XNAY.

          Google tried to screw xna but it just blew up in their face.

          "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

          by overclocking on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 09:57:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  exactly: "if government created that... (0+ / 0-)

            .... people would go nuts!"  

            Hell, people would go into overt revolt mode.

            Good for your IT folks seeing the threat and refusing to play.  As for me, I would not work in a place where having a Facebook page was obligatory. They may as well be asking for a webcam in my bathroom: the answer is N-O spells No.

            And yeah I had to do the scrub once.  Fortunately it occurred early on, so it was relatively easy, in the sense of only having to spend a couple of weekends at it.   An unpleasant way to learn a very important lesson, and better that I learned it at that point, than later.  

            Even that phrase "a facebook" as in "I have a Facebook" and its variants such as "my facebook," is misleading and pernicious.  The singular article "a" or possessive pronoun "my", in conjunction with anything "-book" makes it "feel as if" it's something you have, you own, you carry around with you, like a book or a "diary" in the usual sense.  When it's nothing of the sort, it's a configured webpage on someone else's server, being harvested for intel.

            I call those things "digital monkey traps."

            BTW, the name Zuckerberg in German means "sugar mountain."  Sometimes this shit gets beyond the level that would make for bad fiction.

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 01:25:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think we went over some of this before (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              But I'm ex DOD, and was still DOD when this whole "social media" honey pot started.  The running joke was "if we created this we'd all go to jail", and that still runs true.  The right was OK with it because it was a private business and giving up your life was voluntary.  The left was OK with it because tech companies paint themselves in a good light and it helped some activists.  We all laughed that finally the database we wanted yet weren't legally allowed to build existed, and it was global.

              We still do security audits.  We've yet to find a person with a facebook who's bank account we couldn't get in (ditto with their relatives) and entire life we could data dump.  Along with all political and known associations and make a spider of their life.  And that ability became an option years ago.  There is off the shelf software that anybody can download to do this.  Fuck I've tracked people via their twitters off their cell phones to cyber cafes and wifi hotspots in clubs for lifestyle checks in audits.  In the case of my targets, they allowed us to do it as part of the audit.  But this is insanely simple for a good tech to pull down to the city level, someone with high level access down to real close, they could spit down your neck.

              Most of my background is strictly in raw network areas, which translates also into security.  I know a lot of guys in my field that went to android phones, rooted them, killed the GPS and other items, left gmail, and just wiped their online ID.  I still connect to a lot of sites via a VPN and through TOR.  I often beat some sites trackers by loading off a live linux CD (backtrack for me but knoppix works for most).

              Honestly, I think the net is going to break into two factions, those who know who will avoid any issue and play in the black world, and those who don't who's entire existance will be owned and sold off in packages to the right bidders, we are pretty much there.

              Saddly part of my "lack of worry" is that I've been part of in the crowd enough my credentials aren't questioned by the establishment, and if needed I know how to be a ghost and untrackable, since I do tracking audits.

              "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

              by overclocking on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 03:48:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  exactly. (0+ / 0-)

                "Honey pot" is exactly the word for it, per USIC usage.

                I knew those sites were collectors when I first ran into them, and I stayed far far away.  Twitter is another one, though it's a LE dream come true in certain ways, and there are some interesting stories from Iran a few years ago.

                VERY interesting point about Facebook --> bank account.  Is there anything published in the open literature about that?  Seems to me that it would make people more aware.  One thing that drives me up the wall is when people post their birth dates.  Name + birthdate = identity theft.  

                BTW, if you'd like to put your talents to work for progressive causes, a good friend of mine (and former telecoms eng) is doing political intel for the Congressional Progressive Caucus.  He's got some interesting tools up his sleeve and has developed some tools of his own.  He's also been involved in some of the recent goings-on exposing Breitbart's network.  

                No cellphone here.  Ditched it years ago.  If I want 1928 audio, I have 1928 dial phones for that.  And all of them have electromechanical hookswitches that positively disconnect the microphone when the receiver is on the hook.  There's something frankly pathetic about the fact that people have tolerated audio quality regressing by more than 75 years in exchange for "convenience" with built-in surveillance.  "Oooh, shiny!"

                Another result of which has been that "having a phone conversation" becomes an aversive stimulus due to the constant garble and interruptions, so people don't have long conversations the way they used to.  

                If you can root Android, is there any way to force it to use G.711 (rather than the detestable G.729) so the audio is decent?

                Agreed, the net is going to break, but I think there'll be more than two levels, there'll be a spectrum.  I'm working on designing a telecoms utility that will embed all of this stuff in the network so end-users don't need to be tech-savvy.  

                Knowing how to disappear oneself is a highly useful skill in the world as it appears to be developing.  

                "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                by G2geek on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 04:44:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  agreed, except for "too late." (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, blueoasis

      It's never too late to rebel, revolt, and recapture what's ours.

      Anyone who cares even the slightest about their freedom, can disengage themselves from the worst violators.  Sure the data they already posted are still out there, but you can make that trail come to an END.

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 07:15:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magnifico, G2geek

    Republished by Systems Thinking.


    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 06:28:32 PM PDT

  •  fucking Dubai: slave state. (4+ / 0-)

    The fact that this is being held in Dubai is already disgusting.

    That country is an unabashed slave state.  Look up what happens to foreign construction workers who go there for jobs. It'll make your stomach churn and your heart sick to read.  And once they go there, they can't escape: as in, they are not allowed to leave.  

    And it's a slave state that caters to the worst sorts of upper-upper-class gluttony and venality.  Look up the outrageous luxury hotels and other bullshit that goes on there, to twiddle the nerve-endings of terminally bored billionaires.  

    The sheer contrast in and of itself is also enough to make you want to throw up.  

    The leadership of that regime deserve to die ignominious deaths of mad cow disease and go directly to the worst Abrahamic hell for what they've created.  And anyone with a microgram of conscience should boycott the place.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 06:39:16 PM PDT

    •  Dubai (5+ / 0-)

      Holding the meeting in Dubai effectively clamps down on dissenting voices from the uninvited. Keep all those pesky activists far away, outside the country.

      •  exactly. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Try having a protest in Dubai.  "Ha-haaa, joke's on you."  And with outdoor temperatures up in the three figures most of the time, it isn't even possible without serious health risk to participants.

        If I said in print what I think should happen to the rulers of Dubai, I'd be auto-banned from this place in short order.  Suffice to say that revolution is long overdue over there.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 07:55:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  first, get rid of DNS. (0+ / 0-)

    Telephone companies figured out that calling by NAME was impractical, some time around the 1890s, so they started assigning telephone numbers.


    Operator:  "Operator..."

    Caller:  "I'd like the drug store please."

    Operator:  "Which drug store, there are eight of them."

    Caller:  "The one that's near Main Street at First Street."

    Operator:  "Checking ... OK, that would be Gary's Apothecaries, is that right?"

    Caller: "Yeah, that's the one."

    Operator:  "One moment please"..... ringie-ringie...


    Operator:  "Number, please?"

    Caller:  "MAin 5-4321."

    Operator:  "One moment please" .... ringie-ringie.

    Calling by NAME is STUPID.

    The entire DNS concept is STUPID.

    What makes sense is to assign numbers and then let each individual keep their own list of names on their local machine.

    You want Amazon?  Dial  

    You want to dial by name?  Put it in your "auto-dial list" and put the name "Amazon" next to it, so you can click on "Amazon" or type "Amazon" into a line on your browser.  

    That will also kill off the f---ing "domain name squatters" who earn an illegitimate living by holding up every single word in the dictionary for a price.  

    And it will be the END of domain hijacking by spammers and fraudsters who send out "urgent email" from "your bank" asking you to "log in here" and type in your identifying information and passwords.  

    It was never a big deal for companies to publicize their telephone numbers in their advertising, and they still do it, and it's still no big deal.  If they're lucky they get a phone number that spells out their name.  Otherwise they put the number to music, as Sheraton Hotels famously did with "eight oh oh, three two five, three five three five!" or they repeat it twice in the ad or keep it on the screen so people can write it down.  

    It would also be trivial for companies to put a little thingie on their web pages for "click here to add us to your auto-dial list."  So you dial their number once in your browser, click the thingie, and they're added to your personal directory.

    Bottom line is, domain NAMES will be GONE within another few decades at most, replaced with numbers.  And I for one will not miss this archaic and idiotic system for a minute.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 06:57:32 PM PDT

    •  Numbers vs names (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't know if names will be gone to be replaced by numbers, but I doubt it. Words are a lot easier for many people to recognize and convey to one another. I think that's why many company's toll free numbers are translated into simple phrases.  For example, the U.S. Postal Service's customer service number is 1-800-ASK-USPS or 1-800-275-8777. What is more memorable? For me, it's the one with ASK-USPS in it.

      As for DNS, I couldn't find an IP that worked as a substitute for, for example. Web hosts seem to be serving multiple pages from a common IP these days. For example, a ping of gives as the IP, but using that as web address gets to a generic web server page.

      Personally, I think DNS names are here to stay. What I see more likely is the address bar being removed from web browsers and everything is accessed via link or portal or custom app.

      I can envision a world where there is no longer any real generic web browser and everything has its own specific app. Sort of like how it seems like every website now has its own custom app for iOS or Android. Sure the website still exists, but their energy is being funneled into the apps where they can make money through subscriptions. People are used to paying for the apps.

      •  ooh, we could have a feisty over this one! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The reason why DNS names will GO is that there is a limit to the quantity of meaningful combinations of letters.

        Telcos figured this out when they abandoned exchange names in favor of all-number dialing.  For example KLondike 5-2368 becomes 555-2368, because you can't make "exchange names" out of combinations that don't spell anything, and the entire series NXN where X = 1/0, is blocked because there are no letters above digit 1 or 0.  With all-number calling, NXN is available, along with other non-spellable combinations of NXX.  

        Once you get into non-semantic, non-syntactic combinations, letters fare worse than numbers in terms of memory and accuracy.  ALL of this is measurable in empirical tests of user interfaces, and the science on it is highly convergent.  

        Know what?  All of this shit was figured out in excruciating detail by Bell Labs in the NINETEEN-FORTIES.   And the people who run around today coming up with technological blunders like "names" frankly look like fools by comparison.  I was around at the beginning of the civilian internet, and the frequent refrain was heard "nawww, let's not do things like Ma Bell!  Ma Bell is eeeevil!  We're going to re-invent the wheel!"  Right, and re-invent it they did, disregarding everything Bell Labs had ever discovered about numbering plans, human interface design, and all the rest of it.  And it turned out to suck, and the suckage becomes more and more apparent every day.

        Here's another blunder for you: the use of variable lengths of digits in domain numbers, from one digit to three digits in each position.  That's just fucking mickey-mouse.  The last time that kind of shit was tolerated in the telephone network was the mid 20th century, where the telephone numbers in certain countries could be anywhere from three to six digits in length.  There was never a good reason, and there's even less of one now, for that crap.  Uniform numbering can use zeros for the unused positions, and it's not as if "storage" is still so expensive that "conserving bits" in a critical infrastructure is necessary.  

        The telephone numbering plan is indefinitely extensible with simple changes to switching & routing.  The same case could obtain for a domain numbering plan.

        As for 1-800-ASK-USPS, sure, those are "nice," but they're not "necessary" and they're hardly universal, and telephone numbers are also immune to squatters because they cost money to retain and they are not given away like free candy.

        In any case, under my system you'd be able to assign any name you like to a number, same as you can in a personal list of telephone numbers.  

        For example you don't have to remember 311-555-2368 to reach your buddy JoeBob whose phone is actually listed under Joseph Robert Smith, and you don't have to dial the name "Joseph Robert Smith."  You can put the phone number into your auto-dial list and then give it any name you choose, whether Joseph Robert, or Joseph, or JoeBob, or JB.  

        And the system I've proposed, whereby web sites would have clickable thingies to put their number and name into your directory, would make that process even easier.

        As for "custom apps," yeah, if you like getting Even More Surveillance (TM) along with 'em.  One more corporate flashlight seeking to get in your arse along with the rest of 'em.  No to "digital monkey traps."  No to "oooh, shiny!"

        The other day there was a diary by someone who complained that their phone bill was getting "crammed" with all of these "unauthorized charges" that they didn't understand.  Turned out that those were clever little pieces of unarmed robbery that hitch-hiked onto their "smart" phone and got 'em with hidden "clicks."  When you try to use a 4" screen device for making & receiving phone calls, sending & receiving email, using the web, and acting as a replacement for your actual plastic credit cards, and all that shit is linked together, those kinds of abuses are going to follow, like plague-fleas on rats or encephalitis in mosquitos.

        But they are not necessary, and they are not inevitable.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 08:23:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  so about copyright: (4+ / 0-)

    Back in the day, you'd buy an album, and you'd buy a box of cassettes, and you'd make tapes for five or ten of your friends.

    Using Dolby noise reduction and CrO2 tapes, the audio quality was as good as FM radio.

    The record companies initially shat in their pants that it would be the end! of their business.

    But as it turned out, for every five cassettes you gave away, three of your friends would end up buying the album, and the other two would decide they didn't like it and record something else on the tapes.  

    Same case for Xerox photocopies of books and magazine articles.  They encouraged people to buy the books and magazines.

    But now the control freaks who poo their pants at the thought of even a single extra copy getting loose, want to institute a draconian regime to prop up their dying business models.  

    They need to be dragged to the hospital kicking and screaming, and put on tranquilizers.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 07:05:19 PM PDT

    •  Copies and copyright (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nchristine, G2geek, KenBee

      The sad thing is the mp3s usually always sounded like crap — worse than 1st generation tape copies. Where they won out was in propagation and distribution. Its a lot easier to rip a song and share it with everyone, then manually copy a song to tape per person you wanted to share it with.

      Today, the bandwidth is supporting bit-for-bit full copies of digital media and legacy analog works are being digitized because the convince of having a digital copy is worth the labor. Copyright holders could have gotten a head of the game by offering subscription download or cloud services, but instead they decided to cling to an old, physical media model.

      Furthermore, their abuse of copyright has grown more egregious in the past couple of decades. Under the law that existed until 1978, works from 1955 would have entered the public domain this year. That means, for example, the complete 1955 version of The Lord of the Rings would today be public domain. But instead, it won't be until 2051 and the likelihood is that corporations will extend it indefinitely.

      Corporations have been stealing works that rightfully belong in the public domain, all the while accusing the public of stealing their copyrighted works.

      •  don't even get me started on that one! (0+ / 0-)

        I've almost run out of my stash of Righteous Rant for the night, on the whole DNS rant.  But believe me I could go on a royal rip-tear about copyright if I was so inclined.

        Suffice to say I support EFF to the tune of four figures a year in specialized volunteer labor.  I have not been inside a movie theatre since copyright fascism started, I don't have cable TV, and I don't use Netflix or any of those.  I have also never, as in not even once, done illegal file sharing for music or films, and I've worked in music production back in the day so I've had friends who earned their living on their music.

        The entire root cause of 90-year copyright was Disney's fanatical desire to protect Mickey Mouse from time & the elements.  Mickey Mouse has become emblematic of the enemy.  And 90-year copyright is also why you can't find any written works published before 1922 (as of this year, 1923 next year, etc.) online, with rare exceptions.  

        However, satire is protected speech (Supreme Court ruling) so there's something we can do about this.  We can get total and crushing revenge against Disney ("revenge" in the violent sense of the word is barbarianism, but this is hardly violent) by creating one after another totally scathing satires on Disney's character list, using adult themes.

        Mickey hits the bottle!  Minnie goes lesbian!  The rest of Disney's core characters have a great big pot party and get flying high!   And make sure they use lots of only-slightly-obscure "adult" language.  Finally, Google-bomb the territory until it looks like a Moonscape.  

        The goal is to set things up so that any attempt to find Disney content on those icons, turns up the adult themed satire instead.  Parents will recoil in horror from Mickey explaining to his pals what an orgy is and why it's so much fun to run around half-naked in all his cartoons.  Pretty quickly, Disney will discover that the value of those characters has plummeted.  

        And that method of fight-back can be used again and again, every single time.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 08:37:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  the way to fight back isn't by... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        .... distributing the original copyrighted material under the table.  That only fuels the demand for it and gives the copyright fascists an excuse.  

        The way to fight back is with a ferocious fusillade of attack-satire, and creating so much competing content that the dinosaurs finally die ignominious deaths.

        Boycotting the copyright fascists doesn't even take a whole lot of effort: there's enough good independent material out there to read, watch, and listen to, to add up to a lifetime of entertainment and information without having to give the enemy one stinking cent.

        The enemy has the money (for now!), but WE have the talent to bury them.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 08:41:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, KenBee
          there's enough good independent material out there to read, watch, and listen to, to add up to a lifetime of entertainment and information
          is the best strategy, in my opinion. Opt out of the whole system and read, listen, watch independent authors, musicians, and show makers.

          I also think there are many good works already available in the public domain. There, of course, would be more, but they were stolen from us.

  •  and about national boundaries: they're dead. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There is ultimately NO way to control the flow of information across national boundaries, other than to build nation-sized Faraday cages to block all electromagnetic radiation in and out.

    "Information wants to be free" is more than a clever slogan.

    The blunt fact is that information doesn't care about the laws of thermodynamics.  There is zero entropy penalty for meaning.   You can transmit a file of Shakespeare or an equivalent sized file of totally random noise, for exactly the same quantity of energy input (electricity consumption, measured as closely as you choose).  

    Try it and see: connect your computer to the most sensitive power-monitoring device you can find, and do the experiment.  For that matter send that file of Shakespeare a few hundred times, and note the power consumption.  Then send the equal-sized file of random garbage a few hundred times, and note the power consumption.  It's the same.  No difference. No penalty for meaning.

    So let's see about crossing those national boundaries.

    Ham radio.
    Mesh networks.
    Modulated lasers.
    Modulated infrared.
    Modulated visible light.
    Bounce the signal off the moon (really!).  
    Steganography, hitch-hiking on phone calls.
    One-time-key encryption, using any of the above.

    There is no way to stop it short of sealing off a country from the entire electromagnetic spectrum and thereby stopping the entire flow of commerce in and out of that country.

    If they want the commerce, what they get is the free speech.  Can't have one without the other.  


    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 07:42:30 PM PDT

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