Quincy Larson, Medium, 16 Mar 2017 <https://medium.freecodecamp.com/inside-the-invisible-war-for-the-open-internet-dd31a29a3f08> There are a lot of scary things happening these days, but here's what keeps me up late at night. A handful of corporations are turning our open Internet into this: These corporations want to lock down the Internet and give us access to nothing more than a few walled gardens. They want to burn down the Library of Alexandria and replace it with a magazine rack. Why? Because they'll make more money that way. This may sound like a conspiracy theory, but this process is moving forward at an alarming rate. History is repeating itself. So far, the story of the Internet has followed the same tragic narrative that's befallen other information technologies over the past 160 years: * the telegram * the telephone * cinema * radio * television Each of these had roughly the same story arc: * Inventors discovered the technology. * Hobbyists pioneered the applications of that technology, and popularized it. * Corporations took notice. They commercialized the technology, refined it, and scaled it. * Once the corporations were powerful enough, they tricked the government into helping them lock the technology down. They installed themselves as natural monopolies. * After a long period of stagnation, a new technology emerged to disrupt the old one. Sometimes this would dislodging the old monopoly. But sometimes it would only further solidify them. This loop has repeated itself so many times that Tim Wu (the Harvard law professor who coined the term Net Neutrality) has a name for it: The Cycle. “History shows a typical progression of information technologies, from somebody's hobby to somebody's industry; from jury-rigged contraption to slick production marvel; from a freely accessible channel to one strictly controlled by a single corporation or cartel—from open to closed system.'' And right now, we're in step 4 the open Internet's narrative. We're surrounded by monopolies. The problem is that we've been in step 4 for decades now. And there's no step 5 in sight. The creative destruction that the Economist Joseph Schumpeter first observed in the early 1900s has yet to materialize. The Internet, it seems, is special. It's the ultimate information technology -- capable of supplanting the telegram, telephone, radio, cinema, television, and much more—and there's no clear way to disrupt it. But the war for the commanding heights of the Internet is far from over. There are many players on this global chess board. Governments. Telecom monopolies. Internet giants like Google and Facebook. NGOs. Startups. Hackers. And—most importantly—you.
"On the better web Berners-Lee envisions, users control where their data is stored and how it's accessed. For example, social networks would still run in the cloud. But you could store your data locally. Alternately, you could choose a different cloud server run by a company or community you trust. You might have different servers for different types of information -â€” for health and fitness data, say -â€” that is completely separate from the one you use for financial records." https://www.wired.com/2017/04/tim-berners-lee-inventor-web-plots-radical-overhaul-creation/ [Dave Farber noted a related BBC item: Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee slams UK and US net plans] http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39490324
D. Victoria Baranetsky, JIPEL <http://jipel.law.nyu.edu/>, 3 Apr 2017 Encryption and the Press Clause The NYU Journal of Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law JIPEL Vol. 6 â€“ No. 2 http://jipel.law.nyu.edu/vol-6-no-2-1-baranetsky/ Almost twenty years ago, a hostile debate over whether government could regulate encryption—later named the Crypto Wars—seized the country. At the center of this debate stirred one simple question: is encryption protected speech? This issue touched all branches of government percolating from Congress, to the President, and eventually to the federal courts. In a waterfall of cases, several United States Court of Appeals appeared to reach a consensus that encryption was protected speech under the First Amendment, and with that the Crypto Wars appeared to be over, until now. Nearly twenty years later, the Crypto Wars have returned. Following recent mass shootings, law enforcement has once again questioned the legal protection for encryption and tried to implement backdoor techniques to access messages sent over encrypted channels. In the case, Apple v. FBI, the agency tried to compel Apple to grant access to the iPhone of a San Bernardino shooter. The case was never decided, but the legal arguments briefed before the court were essentially the same as they were two decades prior. Apple and amici supporting the company argued that encryption was protected speech. While these arguments remain convincing, circumstances have changed in ways that should be reflected in the legal doctrines that lawyers use. Unlike twenty years ago, today surveillance is ubiquitous, and the need for encryption is no longer felt by a seldom few. Encryption has become necessary for even the most basic exchange of information given that most Americans share “nearly every aspect of their lives—from the mundane to the intimate'' over the Internet, as stated in a recent Supreme Court opinion.* Given these developments, lawyers might consider a new justification under the Press Clause. In addition to the many doctrinal concerns that exist with protection under the Speech Clause, the Press Clause is normatively and descriptively more accurate at protecting encryption as a tool for secure communication without fear of government surveillance. This Article outlines that framework by examining the historical and theoretical transformation of the Press Clause since its inception. * Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2490 (2014).
'Trust no one': Modernization, paranoia, and conspiracy culture Stef Aupers, Erasmus University, The Netherlands European Journal of Communication 27(1) 22-34, 2012 http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0267323111433566 Abstract Popular conspiracy theories, like those about JFK, the attacks of 9/11, the death of Princess Diana or the swine flu vaccination, are generally depicted in the social sciences as pathological, irrational and, essentially, anti-modern. In this contribution it is instead argued that conspiracy culture is a radical and generalized manifestation of distrust that is embedded in the cultural logic of modernity and, ultimately, produced by processes of modernization. In particular, epistemological doubts about the validity of scientific knowledge claims, ontological insecurity about rationalized social systems like the state, multinationals, and the media; and a relentless 'will to believe' in a disenchanted world—already acknowledged by Adorno, Durkheim, Marx, and Weber—nowadays motivate a massive turn to conspiracy culture in the West. [Thanks to Dan Geer for spotting this one. PGN]
NNSquad http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2017/04/russia_is_trying_to_copy_china_s_internet_censorship.html This is part of a larger story. Just a few years ago, Russians had a mostly free Internet. Now, Russian authorities would like to imitate China's model of Internet control. They are unlikely to succeed. The Kremlin will find that once you give people Internet freedom, it's not so easy to completely take it away.
When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange disclosed earlier this month that his anti-secrecy group had obtained CIA tools for hacking into technology products made by U.S. companies, security engineers at Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) swung into action. The Wikileaks documents described how the Central Intelligence Agency had learned more than a year ago how to exploit flaws in Cisco's widely used Internet switches, which direct electronic traffic, to enable eavesdropping. Senior Cisco managers immediately reassigned staff from other projects to figure out how the CIA hacking tricks worked, so they could help customers patch their systems and prevent criminal hackers or spies from using the same methods, three employees told Reuters on condition of anonymity. The Cisco engineers worked around the clock for days to analyze the means of attack, create fixes, and craft a stopgap warning about a security risk affecting more than 300 different products, said the employees, who had direct knowledge of the effort. That a major U.S. company had to rely on WikiLeaks to learn about security problems well-known to U.S. intelligence agencies underscores concerns expressed by dozens of current and former U.S. intelligence and security officials about the government's approach to cybersecurity. http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN17013U
http://www.governmentattic.org/ [FOIA = U.S. Freedom of Information Act]
The traditional model of hacking a bank isn't so different from the old-fashioned method of robbing one. Thieves get in, get the goods, and get out. But one enterprising group of hackers targeting a Brazilian bank seems to have taken a more comprehensive and devious approach: One weekend afternoon, they rerouted all of the bank's online customers to perfectly reconstructed fakes of the bank's properties, where the marks obediently handed over their account information. https://www.wired.com/2017/04/hackers-hijacked-banks-entire-online-operation/ Gabriel Goldberg, Computers and Publishing, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org 3401 Silver Maple Place, Falls Church, VA 22042 (703) 204-0433
[This is the item reported by krebsonsecurity in RISKS-30.22, Why I always tug on the ATM. But it is clever enough that I'm happy to include Gabe's posting as well. PGN] Not so long ago, enterprising thieves who wanted to steal the entire contents of an ATM had to blow it up. Today, a more discreet sort of cash-machine burglar can walk away with an ATM's stash and leave behind only a tell-tale three-inch hole in its front panel. https://www.wired.com/2017/04/hackers-emptying-atms-drill-15-worth-gear/
Microsoft hasn't altered its earlier position, but it all seems a little harsh. http://www.pcworld.com/article/3181814/windows/microsoft-says-its-blocking-windows-7-8-patches-on-latest-amd-intel-chips.html
NNSquad https://plus.google.com/+LaurenWeinstein/posts/HLdV23SLAaN I am convinced that the massive rise in Internet hate speech—including on YouTube in continuing conflict with Google's own terms of service—has been largely driven by ad network-based monetization systems. We made hate speech (and fake news) into profit centers. If we cut off the flow of income to these sickies on our platforms, we'll be doing humanity a great service. The hatemongers are of course still free to build their own distribution platforms and obtain funding from their own minions—away from decent people. The first amendment only applies to government actions against speech, not to private/corporate actions to stuff these vile animals back into their cages.
NNSquad https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/fake-news-real-ads?utm_term=.mja7QVeKdG#.enaOGJNbMZ More than 60 websites publishing fake news are earning revenue from advertising networks and most of them are working with major networks such as Revcontent, Google AdSense, and Content.ad, according to a review by BuzzFeed News. An additional analysis, conducted in partnership with a co-investigator on of the forthcoming project A Field Guide to Fake News, found several cases where fake news sites that were kicked out of one network simply moved to another in order to continue earning money. It shows that in spite of calls for the digital ad industry to crack down on fake news and fraud in its ecosystem, fake news publishers continue to find ways to earn money from major advertising networks. The research also reveals that content-recommendation ad units, which provide ads made to look like real news headlines, were by far the most common ad format on the sites reviewed. But banner ads are still a factor: BuzzFeed News was served an ad for the Gap right next to a fabricated story about a sex offender pretending to be a woman in order to enter a washroom, and a false story about the pope.
The irony here is that in countries with oppressive regimes, Internet companies are praised for allowing people to communicate in secret to maintain some degree of freedom and strike a blow against totalitarianism, while in democratic Western countries Internet companies are lambasted for allowing people to communicate in secret and thus threaten our freedom and national security. As ever, there's no shortage of impractical ideas, such as proposals to make it a serious criminal offence to fail to decrypt an encrypted file or message when demanded by the authorities (yeah, right). While lots of people seem to think that governments can solve any problem by passing laws, there's the small matter that many of the companies and servers involved are outside the UK, so either we'd have to get other countries to agree to similar laws, or have a Chinese-style national firewall.
And of course, cryptology, with a weakened random number generator library: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_number_generator_attack
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