Friday, February 28, 2014

OpenStack 03/01/2014 (a.m.)

  • Tags: legislation, cell-phone-unlocking

    • On Feb. 25, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 295-114 under suspension of the rules a bill aimed at creating a statutory right for owners of cellphones to be able to “unlock” their phones so that they can use the same phone with a different service provider.

      The Unlocking Consumer Choice Act (H.R. 1123), which was introduced in March by Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was widely supported by members on both sides of the aisle.

      However, some representatives expressed objections to the current form of the legislation and even suggested that statutory protection of unlocking was no longer necessary, given that the Federal Communications Commission had in December persuaded the wireless industry to allow unlocking on a voluntary basis (241 PTD, 12/16/13).

    • On the morning of the day that the vote was to take place, several representatives who had previously supported the bill, issued a letter to their colleagues urging that H.R. 1123 be defeated on the floor of the House. The letter--signed by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Thomas H. Massie (R-Ky.), and Jared S. Polis (D-Colo.)--objected to a provision added to the bill after its approval by the full committee in July (148 PTD, 8/1/13).

      The new provision would exempt from protection “bulk unlocking” of phones. This provision might have something to with concerns expressed by some members of the Judiciary Committee in last year's hearings on the bill that permitting individual consumers to unlock their phones should not extend to businesses who charge consumers to unlock their phones for them.

      The letter referred to statements by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge, consumer groups that had both supported the bill in the past, in which they withdrew their support because of the appearance of the new provision.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

OpenStack 02/27/2014 (a.m.)

  • Tags: internet, internet-access, Outernet, satellite broadband

      • An ambitious project known as Outernet is aiming to launch hundreds of miniature satellites into low Earth orbit by June 2015
      • Each satellite will broadcast the Internet to phones and computers giving billions of people across the globe free online access
      • Citizens of countries like China and North Korea that have censored online activity could be given free and unrestricted cyberspace
      • 'There's really nothing that is technically impossible to this'
    • You might think you have to pay through the nose at the moment to access the Internet.

      But one ambitious organisation called the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) is planning to turn the age of online computing on its head by giving free web access to every person on Earth.

      Known as Outernet, MDIF plans to launch hundreds of satellites into orbit by 2015.

      And they say the project could provide unrestricted Internet access to countries where their web access is censored, including China and North Korea.

    • Using something known as datacasting technology, which involves sending data over wide radio waves, the New York-based company says they'll be able to broadcast the Internet around the world.

      The group is hoping to raise tens of millions of dollars in donations to get the project on the road.

    • The company's plan is to launch hundreds of low-cost miniature satellites, known as cubesats, into low Earth orbit.

      Here, each satellite will receive data from a network of ground stations across the globe.


      By June of this year the Outernet project aims to begin deploying prototype satellites to test their technology

      In September 2014 they will make a request to NASA to test their technology on the International Space Station

      By early 2015 they intend to begin manufacturing and launching their satellites

      And in June 2015 the company says they will begin broadcasting the Outernet from space

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

OpenStack 02/20/2014 (p.m.)

  • Tags: google-fiber, gig-per-sec, internet

    • There continues to be huge interest from consumers and communities in faster broadband. That’s why we want to bring more people access to Google Fiber — Internet that’s up to 100 times faster than basic broadband. We’ve started early discussions with 34 cities in 9 metro areas around the United States to explore what it would take to bring a new fiber-optic network to their community.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

OpenStack 02/19/2014 (p.m.)

  • A series of eleven pages discussing Bitcoin and the extraordinary impact it will have on the world economy. Excellent article and a worthy follow up to the previous Marc Andressen discussion of Bitcoin.

    Tags: Bitcoin, Marc-Andreessen

    • . In this research paper we hope to explain that the bitcoin currency itself is ‘just’ the next phase in the evolution of money – from dumb to smart money.

      It’s the underlying platform, the Bitcoin protocol aka Bitcoin 2.0, that holds the real transformative power. That is where the revolution starts. According to our research there are several reasons why this new technology is going to disrupt our economy and society as we have never experienced before:

    • From dumb to smart money
    • The Bitcoin protocol is the underlying platform that holds the real transformative power and is where the revolution starts. According to our research there are several reasons why this new technology is going to disrupt our economy and society as we have never experienced before:
      • Similar to when the TCP/IP, HTTP and SMTP protocols were still in their infancy; the Bitcoin protocol is currently in a similar evolutionary stage. Contrary to the early days of the Internet, when only a few people had a computer, nowadays everybody has a supercomputer in its pocket. It’s Moore’s Law all over again. Bitcoin is going to disrupt the economy and society with breathtaking speed.
      • For the first time in history technology makes it possible to transfer property rights (such as shares, certificates, digital money, etc.) fast, transparent and very secure. Moreover, these transactions can take place without the involvement of a trusted intermediary such as a government, notary, or bank. Companies and governments are no longer needed as the “middle man” in all kinds of financial agreements.
      • Not only does The Internet of Things give machines a digital identity, the bitcoin API’s (machine-machine interfaces) gives them an economic identity as well. Next to people and corporations, machines will become a new type of agent in the economy.
      • The Bitcoin protocol flips automation upside down. From now on automation within companies can start top down, making the white-collar employees obsolete. Corporate missions can be encoded on top of the protocol. Machines can manage a corporation all by themselves. Bitcoin introduces the world to the new nature of the firm: the Distributed Autonomous Corporation (DAC).
      • This new type of corporation also adds a new perspective to the discussion on technological unemployment. The DAC might even turn technological unemplyment into structural unemployment.
      • Bitcoin is key to the success of the Collaborative Economy. Bitcoin enables a frictionless and transparent way of sharing ideas, media, products, services and technology between people without the interference of corporations and governments.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

OpenStack 02/16/2014 (p.m.)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Friday, February 14, 2014

OpenStack 02/14/2014 (p.m.)

  • Tags: surveillance state, NSA-blowback, NSA-reform

    • The Day We Fought Back: by the numbers

      Thanks to everyone who participated on Tuesday. Together we demonstrated that activists, organizations, and companies can work in unison to fight mass surveillance, and laid a foundation for escalation over months to come.

      Below are some numbers that quantify how we did* on Tuesday.

  • Tags: hyperlinking, copyright law, EU, Court-of-Justice

    • Does publishing a hyperlink to freely available content amount to an illegal communication to the public and therefore a breach of creator's copyrights under European law? After examining a case referred to it by Sweden's Court of Appeal, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled today that no, it does not.
    • One such case, referred to the CJEU by Sweden’s Court of Appeal, is of particular interest to Internet users as it concerns the very mechanism that holds the web together.

      The dispute centers on a company called Retriever Sverige AB, an Internet-based subscription service that indexes links to articles that can be found elsewhere online for free.

      The problem came when Retriever published links to articles published on a newspaper’s website that were written by Swedish journalists. The company felt that it did not have to compensate the journalists for simply linking to their articles, nor did it believe that embedding them within its site amounted to copyright infringement.

      The journalists, on the other hand, felt that by linking to their articles Retriever had “communicated” their works to the public without permission. In the belief they should be paid, the journalists took their case to the Stockholm District Court. They lost their case in 2010 and decided to take the case to appeal. From there the Svea Court of Appeal sought advice from the EU Court.

      Today the Court of Justice published its lengthy decision and it’s largely good news for the Internet.

  • The new publishing empire launched by Glenn Greenwald and Pierre Omidyar is now online, The Intercept. 

    Tags: Greenwald, Omidyar

  • Tags: smartphone, kill=switch, legislation

    • Pressure on the cellphone industry to introduce technology that could disable stolen smartphones has intensified with the introduction of proposed federal legislation that would mandate such a system.
    • Pressure on the cellphone industry to introduce technology that could disable stolen smartphones has intensified with the introduction of proposed federal legislation that would mandate such a system.
    • Senate bill 2032, "The Smartphone Prevention Act," was introduced to the U.S. Senate Wednesday by Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat. The bill promises technology that allows consumers to remotely wipe personal data from their smartphones and render them inoperable.

      But how that will be accomplished is currently unclear. The full text of the bill was not immediately available and the offices of Klobuchar and the bill's co-sponsors were all shut down Thursday due to snow in Washington, D.C.

    • The co-sponsors are Democrats Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.

      The proposal follows the introduction last Friday of a bill in the California state senate that would mandate a "kill switch" starting in January 2015. The California bill has the potential to usher in kill-switch technology nationwide because carriers might not bother with custom phones just for California, but federal legislation would give it the force of law across the U.S.

      Theft of smartphones is becoming an increasing problem in U.S. cities and the crimes often involve physical violence or intimidation with guns or knives.

      In San Francisco, two-thirds of street theft involves a smartphone or tablet and the number is even higher in nearby Oakland. It also represents a majority of street robberies in New York and is rising in Los Angeles.

      In some cases, victims have been killed for their phones.

      In response to calls last year by law-enforcement officials to do more to combat the crimes, most cellphone carriers have aligned themselves behind the CTIA, the industry's powerful lobbying group. The CTIA is opposing any legislation that would introduce such technology.

      An outlier is Verizon, which says that while it thinks legislation is unnecessary, it is supporting the group behind the California bill.

    • Some phone makers have been a little more proactive.

      Apple in particular has been praised for the introduction of its activation lock feature in iOS7. The function would satisfy the requirements of the proposed California law with one exception: Phones will have to come with the function enabled by default so consumers have to make a conscious choice to switch it off. Currently, it comes as disabled by default.

      Samsung has also added features to some of its phones that support the Lojack software, but the service requires an ongoing subscription.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Monday, February 10, 2014

OpenStack 02/11/2014 (a.m.)

  • DoD announces that they want to go beyond Google. Lots more detail in the proposal description linked from the article. Interesting tidbits: [i] the dark web is a specific target; [ii] they want the ability to crawl web pages blocked by robots.txt; [iii] they want to be able to search page source code and comments. 

    Tags: surveillance state, DARPA, internet, search_

    • The scientists at DARPA say the current methods of searching the Internet for all manner of information just won't cut it in the future.

      Today the agency announced a program that would aim to totally revamp Internet search and "revolutionize the discovery, organization and presentation of search results."

      Specifically, the goal of DARPA's Memex program is to develop software that will enable domain-specific indexing of public web content and domain-specific search capabilities. According to the agency the technologies developed in the program will also provide the mechanisms for content discovery, information extraction, information retrieval, user collaboration, and other areas needed to address distributed aggregation, analysis, and presentation of web content.

    • Memex also aims to produce search results that are more immediately useful to specific domains and tasks, and to improve the ability of military, government and commercial enterprises to find and organize mission-critical publically available information on the Internet.

      "The current one-size-fits-all approach to indexing and search of web content limits use to the business case of web-scale commercial providers," the agency stated. 

      • The Memex program will address the need to move beyond a largely manual process of searching for exact text in a centralized index, including overcoming shortcomings such as:

        • Limited scope and richness of indexed content, which may not include relevant components of the deep web such as temporary pages, pages behind forms, etc.; an impoverished index, which may not include shared content across pages, normalized content, automatic annotations, content aggregation, analysis, etc.
        • Basic search interfaces, where every session is independent, there is no collaboration or history beyond the search term, and nearly exact text input is required; standard practice for interacting with the majority of web content, which remains one-at-a-time manual queries that return federated lists of results.

        Memex would ultimately apply to any public domain content; initially, DARPA  said it intends to develop Memex to address a key Defense Department mission: fighting human trafficking. Human trafficking is a factor in many types of military, law enforcement and intelligence investigations and has a significant web presence to attract customers. The use of forums, chats, advertisements, job postings, hidden services, etc., continues to enable a growing industry of modern slavery. An index curated for the counter-trafficking domain, along with configurable interfaces for search and analysis, would enable new opportunities to uncover and defeat trafficking enterprises.

    • DARPA said the Memex program gets its name and inspiration from a hypothetical device described in "As We May Think," a 1945 article for The Atlantic Monthly written by Vannevar Bush, director of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) during World War II. Envisioned as an analog computer to supplement human memory, the memex (a combination of "memory" and "index") would store and automatically cross-reference all of the user's books, records and other information.

      This cross-referencing, which Bush called associative indexing, would enable users to quickly and flexibly search huge amounts of information and more efficiently gain insights from it. The memex presaged and encouraged scientists and engineers to create hypertext, the Internet, personal computers, online encyclopedias and other major IT advances of the last seven decades, DARPA stated.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

OpenStack 02/10/2014 (a.m.)

  • Thankfully, there's buddying technology to block computer facial-recognition algorithms. On the other hand, used Hallowe'en masks can usually be purchased inexpensively from some nearby school kids at this time of year. Now if I could just put together a few near-infrared LEDs to fry a license plate-scanner's view ...  

    Tags: surveillance state, Google-Glass, NSA, facial-recognition

    • eOnline reports:

      A new app will allow total strangers to ID you and pull up all your information, just by looking at you and scanning your face with their Google Glass. The app is called NameTag and it sounds CREEPY.

      The “real-time facial recognition” software “can detect a face using the Google Glass camera, send it wirelessly to a server, compare it to millions of records, and in seconds return a match complete with a name, additional photos and social media profiles.”

      The information listed could include your name, occupation, any social media profiles you have set up and whether or not you have a criminal record (“CRIMINAL HISTORY FOUND” pops up in bright red letters according to the demo).

    • Since the NSA is tapping into all of our digital communications, it is not unreasonable to assume that all of the info from your digital glasses – yup, everything – may be recorded by the spy agency.

      Are we going to have millions of mini NSAs walking around recording everything … glassholes?

      It doesn’t help inspire confidence that America’s largest police force and Taser are beta-testing Google Glasses.

      Postscript: I love gadgets and tech, and previously discussed the exciting possibilities of Google Glasses.

      But the NSA is ruining the fun, just like it’s harming U.S. Internet business.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

OpenStack 02/05/2014 (p.m.)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Monday, February 03, 2014

OpenStack 02/04/2014 (a.m.)

  • Tags: encryption, obfuscation

    • “A program obfuscator would be a powerful tool for finding plausible constructions for just about any cryptographic task you could conceive of,” said Yuval Ishai, of the Technion in Haifa, Israel.

      Precisely because of obfuscation’s power, many computer scientists, including Sahai and his colleagues, thought it was impossible. “We were convinced it was too powerful to exist,” he said. Their earliest research findings seemed to confirm this, showing that the most natural form of obfuscation is indeed impossible to achieve for all programs.

      Then, on July 20, 2013, Sahai and five co-authors posted a paper on the Cryptology ePrint Archive demonstrating a candidate protocol for a kind of obfuscation known as “indistinguishability obfuscation.” Two days later, Sahai and one of his co-authors, Brent Waters, of the University of Texas, Austin, posted a second paper that suggested, together with the first paper, that this somewhat arcane form of obfuscation may possess much of the power cryptographers have dreamed of.

      “This is the first serious positive result” when it comes to trying to find a universal obfuscator, said Boaz Barak, of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, Mass. “The cryptography community is very excited.” In the six months since the original paper was posted, more papers have appeared on the ePrint archive with “obfuscation” in the title than in the previous 17 years.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

OpenStack 02/02/2014 (a.m.)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Open Web group favorite links are here.