Archive for the ‘internet’ Category

Essay anthology gives context on the use, history of national identity conventions

BTC – The public is the constant witness of electronic data streaming 24/7 on the Internet. The next line of temptation for governments is to initiate power plays with cyber information and attempt to organize it into a convenient remote controlled system of rulership over the inidividual.

It may be that our base, human ethical ecology doesn’t have the bandwidth to assume such responsibility without successive, spontaneous revolutions happening. Social networking technology and the Internet are speeding up the natural process of a nation’s people dumping bad government and taking their power back. If we were to pen a verse text respecting sacred Internet cows and their boundaries, it might read like,

And ye shall know your despots by the manner they handle Internet users and their personal information.

A Wikileaks cable uncovered the role of Egyptian dictator Mosni Mubarak’s role in allowing harbor for illegal torture of US rendered prisoners.  The last straw snapped for Egyptians when Mubarak interrupted mobile communications and the Internet. Mubarak opting for an aggressive Internet kill switch is more than simply grounding Egyptians without electronic amenity. His actions now define despotism to the generations.  The net was the last bastion for Egyptian freedom of speech. Civil unrest simply errupted from the cold space of the web directly onto the hot streets of Cairo. After that, the revolution was live in real time and the web caught up later.

Egyptians have endured 30 years of dictatorship rule and a normalized “state of emergency” status to control the people. Egyptian youth lately were seen flippantly displaying their national IDs and passports to televised media, demonstrating dissent, and bonafide evidence of an oppressive totalitarian government.

National Identification Systems: Essays in Oppositon, a heavily sourced 2004 essay anthology, has been astonishingly precognitive of the times we now live in. The text gives first gives historical context of what national identity articles have been used for and then delves into its current applications and the projected effects in public affairs. It would be a profoundly effective text for professors and adjuncts to use in curriculum about why and how national identity is used to capture and restrict power of the individual.

Here’s an example of how the book illuminates current events. The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), a national digital authentication initiative, is moving ahead with hires for a national program office.  One essayist, Sunni Maravillosa, explores national identity authentication in society in the chapter titled, “National ID without Big Brother”.  After reading this, one might gather the purpose of the national program office is to provide government oversight or regulation to an existing organic national identity system designed for business.

Other important topics include the prospective use of nanotechnologies, microchips, biometric devices, computers and efforts to centralize digital data; which leads back to the identified person.

The anthology’s expository tour of government methods, history and social context is a comprehensive critical view of national identity systems in government. It is recommended reading for any identified person seeking the long view.

National Identification Systems: Essays in Opposition is available through McFarland publishing. [800-253-2187]

Remind anyone of the Real ID Act?

ALSO AVAILABLE from  McFarland
American Zombie Gothic, The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture

Government bodies see “revolting” citizens

BTC –  Facebook, MeetUp and other online groups have proven their worth as a tool for activists and organizers. While some may doubt their tweets, e-mail and calls-to-action online may have little effect on government, you should watch the following video titled, The State of the Social Net: A Catalyst for Civil and Political Revolt

Here’s a really balanced article higlighting the fears and concerns of government in the age of Social Networking by Clay Shirky.  It’s not a fix-it article but it’s intention is to keep government from flipping over their own boats.

The Political Power of Social Media
Technology, the Public Sphere, and Political Change  

c/o InternetCaucusAC

http://www.youtube.com/p/DAFF84EB7B99AE87?hl=en_US&fs=1

VIEW ALL VIDEO HERE

The 7th annual State of the Net conference was held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on January 18-19, 2011. Attracting over 500 attendees annually, the State of the Net Conference provides unparalleled opportunities to network and engage on key policy issues. The State of the Net Conference is the largest information technology policy conference in the U.S. and the only one with over 50 percent Congressional staff and government policymakers in attendance. The State of the Net Conference is the only tech policy conference routinely recognized for its balanced blend of academics, consumer groups, industry and government. Over 50% of annual attendees government policy staff.


Less than 1,000 public comments logged for national online ID proposal NSTIC

[As released from Anti-National ID Coalition]

The timeframe for public input on an online national identity system expired Monday with less than 1,000 comments on the National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace or NSTIC. The White House sought public input during a 3 week timeframe on a high concept strategy to increase cyber security. The public comment was hosted online and moderated under the seal of the Department of Homeland Security.

NSTIC would create a new national identity “ecosystem” for online users in America. Since that time, coalitions are forming and organizing around the dispensation of public interest in the program in an effort to ask the White House and Congress for more time to evaluate the impact of the program.

“There’s a lot to consider with this program. It’s scope, cost and effects on the public are largely unknowns. We need more time to gauge the impact of how the program will affect privacy and identity,” said Sheila Dean, an organizer for the anti-national ID coalition.

Privacy and identity coalitions, like the anti-national ID coalition, are working to increase dialogue. Each of their organizations will be a part of an open letter to the White House about the new proposal for an online identity system, requesting an additional 90 days to evaluate the program. Details about the technical structure and commercial contractors were difficult to pin down from a 36 page conceptual schematic issued under the DHS agency.

There was clear intent from the proposal to sell the adoption of the strategy to businesses and to encourage successive adoption by consumers. Little concrete or detailed information was available about costs, impacts to public safety, privacy and civil liberty and other ranges of concerns applied to public efficacy on the proposal’s application.

With so many unknowns, more and more questions are turning up among advocates and legal professionals who won’t be able to take a position on the national identity program without more information becoming available.

c/o CLG>>CNet

WASHINGTON–The FBI is pressing Internet service providers to record which Web sites customers visit and retain those logs for two years, a requirement that law enforcement believes could help it in investigations of child pornography and other serious crimes.
FBI Director Robert Mueller supports storing Internet users’ “origin and destination information,” a bureau attorney said at a federal task force meeting on Thursday.

c/o nzherald.co.nz

An internet service launched last week by Google to help cameraphone users to identify strangers in the street has been blocked because of alarm over its threat to personal privacy.

The new service, called Goggles, is a picture search which uses images rather than words to trawl the web. By taking a picture of an object and clicking “search”, owners of smartphones can recognise landmarks, identify a species of plant or animal, or obtain tasting notes for a bottle of wine.

Users focus their phone’s camera on the object, and Google compares elements of that picture against its database.

When it finds a match, it provides the name of the object pictured and a list of results linking through to the relevant web pages and news stories. Goggles is claimed to be able to recognise tens of millions of objects and places and is growing all the time.

But the most controversial aspect of the new visual search tool is its capacity to allow users to take a photo of a stranger to find out more about them.

With millions of people having an online presence, complete with photos, on websites such as Facebook, it is possible to use the search tool to identify people, obtain contact information, and learn about their tastes in music, their friends and their background.

Google has now confirmed that it is blocking this use of Goggles until the implications have been fully explored.

Marissa Mayer, the vice-president of Google’s search product and user experience, said: “We are blocking out people’s faces if people try to use Google Goggles to search for information about them.

“Until we understand the implications of the facial-recognition tool we have decided to block out people’s faces. We need to understand how this tool affects people’s privacy and we cannot change that decision until we do.”

Angela Sasse, professor of computer science at University College London, who is researching public perceptions of privacy, said Goggles created unease because it left people with fewer hiding places. “People manage their relationships by selective disclosure,” she said.

“Only people with certain mental-health conditions disclose everything all the time. These systems [such as Goggles] lose that. You might go somewhere on the assumption that you won’t be recognised. But if people find out who you are they can see where you have been.

“We have seen this problem on Facebook where people have uploaded pictures from a party, forgetting that their bosses can see them, too.”

She said people were prepared to accept risks attached to new technology, including a loss of privacy, provided they could see the benefits. But some developments got the thumbs down. When Facebook started broadcasting what people were buying, there was a backlash as the public judged the intrusion as a step too far.

Professor Sasse said Goggles could potentially be used as a marketing tool. When surveillance cameras identified the face of someone who regularly passed by, the business might send them details of a special offer.

“People tend to have a strong reaction to that,” she said.

Google has said it has the technology to recognise faces as well as millions of other objects but admitted the service is limited. Sceptics say existing face-recognition programmes are still basic and the capacity to discriminate different faces restricted.

Professor Sasse said: “There does seem to be a certain threshold of accuracy for face recognition that has not yet been reached. At present, you need a full-face shot. The scary thing is that the next generation [of software] will be able to use a large number of images snapped from different angles so this technology is going to get more accurate.”

If Goggles proves successful, it would mark a breakthrough in the use of the mobile internet. It has a database of more than one billion images and can recognise landmarks, CD covers, logos, barcodes, books, shop fronts and business cards.

It is less successful at identifying the natural world, but that is expected to improve. It is available on phones run by Google’s mobile-operating system Android, and will later be introduced to other smartphones.

– INDEPENDENT

WIRED ANALYSIS — FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s unsurprising affirmation of support for network neutrality is a victory for the high-minded principle of open, unfettered internet access. Too bad it means the days of all-you-can-eat, flat-rate internet access are probably over.

Net neutrality sounds like a good idea. After all, it’s the internet’s openness to any and all users, applications and content that gave it such a resounding victory over closed networks like AOL, CompuServe and Prodigy. And there’s no question that as a general business and networking principle, “anything goes” is both desirable and beneficial, to users and network operators alike. Over the long run, the most open networks attract the most customers and will be the most successful — and the most profitable.
But somewhere along the way, this principle of good network architecture turned into a political tenet that, according to some true believers, is almost equivalent to the Bill of Rights in importance.

The argument goes like this: Internet service providers have such strong motivations to restrict access to content or applications that they don’t like that the government needs to step in to ensure a level playing field. For net neutrality’s true believers, Comcast and Verizon no longer get to decide how best to configure the networks they spent billions building: Their networks are so ubiquitous, and so critical to the common good, that the government has a responsibility to ensure they are managed fairly.
It’s easy to see the merits of the argument, and when we’re talking about ISPs that are near-monopolies built in large part on the basis of government subsidy or exclusive federal licensing, it seems downright un-American to argue against net neutrality.

Unfortunately, there are at least three big problems with making net neutrality a federal mandate.

First is that bandwidth is not, in fact, unlimited, especially in the wireless world. One reason ISPs are averse to neutrality regulation, they say, is that they need the flexibility to ban or mitigate high-bandwidth uses of their network, like BitTorrent and Hulu.com, which would otherwise run amok. Take away their ability to prioritize traffic, the ISPs say, and overall service will suffer.
“As long as there have been networks, people have had to engineer them to ensure that congestion doesn’t occur,” Carnegie Mellon professor and telecom expert David Farber said Monday (he’s the co-author of a cautious anti-net neutrality opinion piece published in 2007). Farber is especially concerned about the impact of the FCC’s position on wireless networks, where bandwidth is already very limited. “When you’re operating that close to capacity, you have to do a very tricky job of managing your spectrum. If you have unconstrained loads being dumped on you, something’s going to have to give.”

Case in point: AT&T has repeatedly stumbled in its ability to provide 3G wireless capacity, thanks to the unexpected popularity of the iPhone. Those difficulties lend credence to AT&T’s (and Apple’s) reluctance to allow apps like Skype and Slingplayer unfettered access to the 3G network: If the network can barely keep up with ordinary demand, just imagine what would happen if we were all live-streaming the Emmy Awards over our iPhones at the same time.
Take away ISPs’ ability to shape or restrict traffic, and you’ll see many carriers running into AT&T-like capacity problems. Their response will almost certainly be to make consumers pay for what they’re actually using. Want to BitTorrent all 6.7GB of the uncompressed Beatles catalog via 3G? Fine, but you’ll have to pay for the bandwidth you’re taking away from your neighbor.

Second, enforcement of neutrality regulations is going to be difficult. Comcast may not be able to block Skype traffic altogether, but what’s to prevent the company from slowing it down relative to other traffic it carries? Such preferential “packet shaping” is easy to turn off and on, as network demands ebb and flow. By contrast, proving such infractions of neutrality will be complex, slow and difficult. It sets up a classic “nimble, resourceful criminal versus slow-footed, underequipped cop” scenario.

Third, the new regulations create an additional layer of government bureaucracy where the free market has already proven its effectiveness. The reason you’re not using AOL to read this right now isn’t because the government mandated AOL’s closed network out of existence: It’s because free and open networks triumphed, and that’s because they were good business.
Now the FCC is proposing taking a free market that works, and adding another layer of innovation-stifling regulations on top of that? This may please the net neutrality advocates who helped elect the current administration, but it doesn’t add up.
Net neutrality regulations make sense in closed, monopolistic situations. But outside of small, rural markets, most of the U.S. offers a high level of competitive choice. Don’t like Comcast cable internet? Switch to SpeakEasy, Astound or SBC, or look into satellite internet. Don’t care for AT&T’s spotty 3G wireless network? Try T-Mobile or Verizon. Need help finding an alternative? Check Broadband Reports’ interactive ISP finder.

hat’s why the FCC should take a very cautious, careful approach to implementing its brave, new principles. Free, unfettered innovation has been the secret to the internet’s explosive growth over the past two decades. Let’s not let a well-meaning attempt to preserve that innovation wind up doing exactly the opposite.

As Farber says, “Whatever you do, you don’t want to stifle innovation.”