Saturday, January 29, 2011

If Shakespeare was writing today, he would have said, “The first thing we do, let's kill all the Internet providers.”

Egypt Shut Down Its Net With a Series of Phone Calls

… While the world has seen net filtering and disruption in places like Burma and Iran following social and political unrests, Egypt’s decision to shutter it is different, according to Craig Labovitz, the chief scientist at Arbor Networks, a computer security firm that has nearly unequaled real data on international internet traffic.

“What’s different with Egypt is the scale,” Labovitz told “By that I mean that Egypt has fairly significant internet infrastructure with a diversity of paths — satellite, microwave and fiber links — a number of large providers and hundreds of smaller providers. It is one of the more significant internet infrastructures in the Middle East and certainly within Africa. Egypt has a very well-developed economy with a significant reliance on the internet, this is very different from Burma.”

(Related) Think it couldn't happen here?

Internet ‘Kill Switch’ Legislation Back in Play

Legislation granting the president internet-killing powers is to be re-introduced soon to a Senate committee, the proposal’s chief sponsor told on Friday.

The resurgence of the so-called “kill switch” legislation came the same day Egyptians faced an internet blackout designed to counter massive demonstrations in that country.

The bill, which has bipartisan support, is being floated by Sen. Susan Collins, the Republican ranking member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The proposed legislation, which Collins said would not give the president the same power Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak is exercising to quell dissent, sailed through the Homeland Security Committee in December but expired with the new Congress weeks later.

The bill is designed to protect against “significant” cyber threats before they cause damage, Collins said.

(Related) Maybe it is too good?

Does Obama’s ‘Net Freedom Agenda’ Hurt The U.S.?

On Thursday, President Obama declared access to social networks to be a “universal” value, right alongside freedom of speech. But when those networks helped weaken Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, one of the U.S.’ strongest allies in the Middle East, the Obama team demanded Mubarak turn the Egyptian Internet back on — but didn’t abandon support for him, either. Maybe this “Internet Freedom Agenda” wasn’t so well thought out?

For more than a year, the White House has been pushing the idea that online connections are a good thing — no matter what’s said using those tools. It’s a way of signaling to wired people, not just governments, that the U.S. is on their side. The Obama administration called for Twitter to stay online during 2009 protests in Iran, and U.S. cash for new social networks like Pakistan’s Humari Awaz and SMS relief webs for Haitian earthquake victims. “The very existence of social networks,” State Department tech adviser Alec Ross said, “is a net good.”

(Related) What was different in Tunisia? They didn't understand that they could shut it down...

Exclusive: Tunisia Internet Chief Gives Inside Look at Cyber Uprising


Egypt Cuts the Net, Net Fights Back

GMGruman writes

"Egypt's cutoff of the Net enrages the Netizenry, who are finding a bunch of ways — high tech and low tech — to fight back, from dial-up to ham radio, from mesh networks to Twitter. Robert X. Cringely shows how the Net war is being waged, and asks, Could it happen at home, too?"

Sure, it could. On the same topic, reader dermiste writes

"In reaction to the Egyptian government crackdown on the Internet, the French non-profit ISP French Data Network set up a dial-up Internet access. This way, anyone in Egypt who has access to a analog phone line and can call France is able to connect to the network using the following number: +33 1 72 89 01 50 (login: toto, password: toto)."

Just in time for Privacy Day?

Data retention push confirms DOJ hypocrisy

January 29, 2011 by Dissent

Chris Soghoian writes:

As I described in a lengthy blog post a couple days ago, the US law enforcement community is yet again pushing for mandatory data retention laws, which would require internet service providers to keep records detailing the IP addresses issued to their customers.

At the hearing last Tuesday, Jason Weinstein of the Department of Justice argued that the government needed this data to be able to effectively investigate serious crimes, such as terrorism and child exploitation.

In what truly is a bit of Orwellian doublespeak Mr. Weinstein told the Congressional committee that retaining this data would actually protect privacy….

Read more on slight paranoia.

[From the argument:

Imposing greater retention requirements would raise legitimate concerns about privacy, and these concerns should be considered. However, the absence of strong data retention requirements introduces different privacy risks, as the government may be less effective at targeting malicious activities that threaten citizens’ private data. [Sounds remarkably like, “In order to save the village, it was necessary to destroy it.” Bob]

Not as easy as “do not call” because the technology is based on a network intended to route around roadblocks?

Is True Do-Not-Track a Pie in the Sky?

January 28, 2011 by Dissent

Richard Adhikari writes about recent browser developments addressing “do not track.” Of particular interest to me, this part of his discussion:

Further, the requirements of do-not-track guidelines might create problems, Greenhouse told TechNewsWorld.

“An ad that is well-targeted based on other factors that don’t fall under do-not-track could be misinterpreted by the consumer as a violation,” Greenhouse explained. “I would anticipate that anyone responsible for enforcement will have to wade through mountains of false positives.”


“Ultimately, someone who’s very technology-savvy will have to draft a very clear, detailed set of guidelines that are mindful of the realities of Web application architecture,” Greenhouse said.

Those guidelines will still depend on implementation by websites and ad networks, Greenhouse remarked. “It’s just not something that a Web browser can accomplish on its own,” he added.

Read more on TechNewsWorld.

Will this be banned in the US?

UK ISPs Consider VPN To Avoid Piracy Crackdown

"Broadband internet providers in the UK are considering whether or not to follow the example of a Swedish ISP, Bahnhof, which recently put all of its customers behind a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) in order to circumvent new European Data Retention and Internet Copyright Infringement laws. By doing this is makes their logs less useful to outside forces (e.g. rights holders) and allows customers to use the internet anonymously. However several UK ISPs, including business provider AAISP (Andrews and Arnold), have suggested that there may be better solutions than sticking everybody behind a costly VPN. AAISP's boss, Adrian Kennard, claims, 'something ISPs will be doing anyway, carrier grade NAT, will create a similar anonymity as there is no requirement to log NAT sessions.' Meanwhile, Timico's CTO, Trefor Davies, warns, 'It would be a pretty costly project for all ISPs to implement such a system. It would also bring with it risks – suddenly it becomes a lot easier for governments to start monitoring all your traffic because it all goes through a single point (or at least a few points) on the network.'"

I wonder how much will reach Facebook users?

Facebook Spammer Fined $360 Million

"Facebook has been awarded $360,500,000 in damages against spammer Philip Porembski, who phished the login details of at least 116,000 Facebook users and sent more than 7.2 million spam messages to victims' online friends. Facebook claimed it received more than 8,000 complaints from users as a result of the spam campaign, and more than 4,500 users had deactivated their accounts."

(That's Wharton) Interesting, but nothing earth shattering.

January 27, 2011

Whaton Knowledge: On the Move: Adapting to a New Global Economy

The Lauder Global Business Insight Report 2011 - On the Move: Adapting to a New Global Economy:

  • "In this special report, students from the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management & International Studies analyze some of the more far-reaching changes affecting people, industries and regions around the world. The articles offer new perspectives on trends that will shape the coming year, including the emergence of a high-tech sector in Russia, the growth of private equity in Brazil and China, and the rise of social investing in France. Industries undergoing significant change are analyzed in articles about new media-driven ventures in the Middle East, improvements in educational opportunities for lower- and middle-class Mexican students, the rise of solar power in France, China's push to speed up the manufacture of electric cars and Mexico's initiatives to promote sustainable housing. Other articles look at the production of unique regional products in Japan, and an innovative French company that offers clients opportunities to become wine experts. The sports business is explored by examining new forces shaping China's approach to promoting basketball, and the ways in which Brazil may, or may not, benefit from the 2014 World Cup. The rise of German patriotism, the economic impact of the drug wars in Mexico, and how new urban prosperity in parts of China is affecting the strategy of multinational retailers are also analyzed."

You only need to backup the things you can't do without... Translations: Personal – backup anything you don't want to re-create or re-purchase. Business – backup anything your manager would fire you for losing, delete everything else.

Backup Your PC With Ease For Free Using Easeus Todo Backup [Windows]

Backing up your data is one of those things in life that you really won’t understand until disaster strikes, by which time it’s too late. For most people who haven’t experienced data-loss, the task of backing up just seems like such a good idea in theory, but so much effort in reality.

But take my advice, use this incredible free Easeus Todo Backup software and it’ll be so easy you won’t even have to think about it.

There are also full guides on the site for every type of backup operation you could want.

For my students...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Quicklyst - A Quick Way to Create Outlines

Quicklyst is a nice tool for taking notes and creating outlines. Quicklyst provides a simple outline template that you can use to take notes. There are two neat features of Quicklyst that really stand out. First, you can do basic web searches within the framework of taking notes. To do a search just type a question mark (?) before a word then press enter. Quicklyst will then fill-in that line with some basic information about that word. For example, when I typed ?egypt that line on my outline was filled with some basic information about Egypt. The other useful feature offered by Quicklyst is the option to search within your notes. If you've created a lot of outlines in your Quicklyst account you can use the search function to quickly locate your notes about a particular topic.

Quicklyst can be accessed from your computer, your Kindle, your iOS device, or your Android device. You can also download and print your notes from Quicklyst.

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