Posts tagged internet
Edward Snowden at TED Talks, “PRISM” program “deputizes corporate America to do the NSA’s dirty work” (Video)0
Edward Snowden at TED Talks, “PRISM” program “deputizes corporate America to do the NSA’s dirty work” (Video)
This is a fascinating video and well worth the time.
It is vital that Silicon Valley pushes back now and redeems itself while it can. It’s not only the right thing to do, it is hugely important for our trust based economy.
Video published by TED
Appearing by telepresence robot, Edward Snowden speaks at TED2014 about surveillance and Internet freedom. The right to data privacy, he suggests, is not a partisan issue, but requires a fundamental rethink of the role of the internet in our lives — and the laws that protect it. “Your rights matter,” he say, “because you never know when you’re going to need them.” Chris Anderson interviews, with special guest Tim Berners-Lee.
Government Agency: If 9 Substations Are Destroyed, The Power Grid Could Be Down For 18 Months
What would you do if the Internet or the power grid went down for over a year? Our key infrastructure, including the Internet and the power grid, is far more vulnerable than most people would dare to imagine. These days, most people simply take for granted that the lights will always be on and that the Internet will always function properly. But what if all that changed someday in the blink of an eye? According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest report, all it would take to plunge the entire nation into darkness for more than a year would be to knock out a transformer manufacturer and just 9 of our 55,000 electrical substations on a really hot summer day. The reality of the matter is that our power grid is in desperate need of updating, and there is very little or no physical security at most of these substations. If terrorists, or saboteurs, or special operations forces wanted to take down our power grid, it would not be very difficult. And as you will read about later in this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.
When I read the following statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest report, I was absolutely floored…
“Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer.”
What would you do without power for 18 months?
FERC studied what it would take to collapse the entire electrical grid from coast to coast. What they found was quite unsettling…
In its modeling, FERC studied what would happen if various combinations of substations were crippled in the three electrical systems that serve the contiguous U.S. The agency concluded the systems could go dark if as few as nine locations were knocked out: four in the East, three in the West and two in Texas, people with knowledge of the analysis said.
The actual number of locations that would have to be knocked out to spawn a massive blackout would vary depending on available generation resources, energy demand, which is highest on hot days, and other factors, experts said. Because it is difficult to build new transmission routes, existing big substations are becoming more crucial to handling electricity.
So what would life look like without any power for a long period of time? The following list comes from one of my previous articles…
-There would be no heat for your home.
-Water would no longer be pumped into most homes.
-Your computer would not work.
-There would be no Internet.
-Your phones would not work.
-There would be no television.
-There would be no radio.
-ATM machines would be shut down.
-There would be no banking.
-Your debit cards and credit cards would not work.
-Without electricity, gas stations would not be functioning.
-Most people would be unable to do their jobs without electricity and employment would collapse.
-Commerce would be brought to a standstill.
-Hospitals would not be able to function.
-You would quickly start running out of medicine.
-All refrigeration would shut down and frozen foods in our homes and supermarkets would start to go bad.
If you want to get an idea of how quickly society would descend into chaos, just watch the documentary “American Blackout” some time. It will chill you to your bones.
The truth is that we live in an unprecedented time. We have become extremely dependent on technology, and that technology could be stripped away from us in an instant.
Right now, our power grid is exceedingly vulnerable, and all the experts know this, but very little is being done to actually protect it…
“The power grid, built over many decades in a benign environment, now faces a range of threats it was never designed to survive,” said Paul Stockton, a former assistant secretary of defense and president of risk-assessment firm Cloud Peak Analytics. “That’s got to be the focus going forward.”
If a group of agents working for a foreign government or a terrorist organization wanted to bring us to our knees, they could do it.
In fact, there have actually been recent attacks on some of our power stations. Here is just one example…
The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Smith reports that a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman is acknowledging for the first time that a group of snipers shot up a Silicon Valley substation for 19 minutes last year, knocking out 17 transformers before slipping away into the night.
The attack was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred” in the U.S., Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, told Smith.
Have you heard about that attack before now?
Most Americans have not.
But it should have been big news.
At the scene, authorities found “more than 100 fingerprint-free shell casings“, and little piles of rocks “that appeared to have been left by an advance scout to tell the attackers where to get the best shots.”
So what happens someday when the bad guys decide to conduct a coordinated attack against our power grid with heavy weapons?
It could happen.
In addition, as I mentioned at the top of this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.
For example, did you know that authorities are so freaked out about the security of the Internet that they have given “the keys to the Internet” to a very small group of individuals that meet four times per year?
It’s true. The following is from a recent story posted by the Guardian…
The keyholders have been meeting four times a year, twice on the east coast of the US and twice here on the west, since 2010. Gaining access to their inner sanctum isn’t easy, but last month I was invited along to watch the ceremony and meet some of the keyholders – a select group of security experts from around the world. All have long backgrounds in internet security and work for various international institutions. They were chosen for their geographical spread as well as their experience – no one country is allowed to have too many keyholders. They travel to the ceremony at their own, or their employer’s, expense.
What these men and women control is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. This is the internet’s version of a telephone directory – a series of registers linking web addresses to a series of numbers, called IP addresses. Without these addresses, you would need to know a long sequence of numbers for every site you wanted to visit. To get to the Guardian, for instance, you’d have to enter “184.108.40.206″ instead of theguardian.com.
If the system that controls those IP addresses gets hijacked or damaged, we would definitely need someone to press the “reset button” on the Internet.
Sadly, the hackers always seem to be several steps ahead of the authorities. In fact, according to one recent report, breaches of U.S. government computer networks go undetected 40 percent of the time…
A new report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) details widespread cybersecurity breaches in the federal government, despite billions in spending to secure the nation’s most sensitive information.
The report, released on Tuesday, found that approximately 40 percent of breaches go undetected, and highlighted “serious vulnerabilities in the government’s efforts to protect its own civilian computers and networks.”
“In the past few years, we have seen significant breaches in cybersecurity which could affect critical U.S. infrastructure,” the report said. “Data on the nation’s weakest dams, including those which could kill Americans if they failed, were stolen by a malicious intruder. Nuclear plants’ confidential cybersecurity plans have been left unprotected. Blueprints for the technology undergirding the New York Stock Exchange were exposed to hackers.”
And things are not much better when it comes to cybersecurity in the private sector either. According to Symantec, there was a 42 percent increase in cyberattacks against businesses in the United States last year. And according to a recent report in the Telegraph, our major banks are being hit with cyberattacks “every minute of every day”…
Every minute, of every hour, of every day, a major financial institution is under attack.
Threats range from teenagers in their bedrooms engaging in adolescent “hacktivism”, to sophisticated criminal gangs and state-sponsored terrorists attempting everything from extortion to industrial espionage. Though the details of these crimes remain scant, cyber security experts are clear that behind-the-scenes online attacks have already had far reaching consequences for banks and the financial markets.
For much more on all of this, please see my previous article entitled “Big Banks Are Being Hit With Cyberattacks ‘Every Minute Of Every Day’“.
Up until now, attacks on our infrastructure have not caused any significant interruptions in our lifestyles.
But at some point that will change.
Are you prepared for that to happen?
We live at a time when our world is becoming increasingly unstable. In the years ahead it is quite likely that we will see massive economic problems, major natural disasters, serious terror attacks and war. Any one of those could cause substantial disruptions in the way that we live.
At this point, even NASA is warning that “civilization could collapse”…
A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.
Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”
So let us hope for the best.
But let us also prepare for the worst.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
Tim Berners-Lee: Why We Need a ‘Digital Bill of Rights’
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with “creating” the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989 and advisor to the UK government, has called for an internet user’s bill of rights (IUBR) to protect user’s rights and prevent governments and corporate influence.
Berners-Lee originally created the system that allows websites and links to be formed; a back-bone of the modern-day internet.
Fascinating contribution considering in 1969 the Department of Defense (DoD) unveiled their Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) which connected mainframe computers across the globe and gave birth to the internet we know today.
Berners-Lee said this IUBR would be a Magna Carta of sorts to ensure that the internet remain “accessible to all, from any device, and one that empowers all of us to achieve our dignity, rights and potential as humans.”
On the subject of privacy on the internet, Berners-Lee said: “These issues have crept up on us. Our rights are being infringed more and more on every side, and the danger is that we get used to it. So I want to use the 25th anniversary for us all to do that, to take the web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years.”
The Web We Want initiative (WWI), championed by Berners-Lee, endeavors to re-invent the internet with the IUBR in order to establish corroboration for national and regional campaigns to bring the internet to all citizens of every nation.
Berners-Lee explained: “The Web community – and the world at large – are wrestling with tough issues around security, surveillance, privacy, open infrastructure, net neutrality, content protection, and more.”
Two years ago, Berners-Lee spoke out against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), asserting that: “The amount of control you have over somebody if you can monitor internet activity is amazing . . . You get to know every detail, you get to know, in a way, more intimate details about their life than any person that they talk to because often people will confide in the internet as they find their way through medical websites … or as an adolescent finds their way through a website about homosexuality, wondering what they are and whether they should talk to people about it.”
Berners-Lee continued: “The idea that we should routinely record information about people is obviously very dangerous. It means that there will be information around which could be stolen, which can be acquired through corrupt officials or corrupt operators, and [could be] used, for example, to blackmail people in the government or people in the military. We open ourselves out, if we store this information, to it being abused.”
According to the Pew Research Internet Project (PRIP) 87% of Americans use the internet. Surprisingly, 90% of those polled said the internet makes their life better overall.
Obama nominates Pro-SOPA lobbiest to lead Trans Pac Partnership talks
Remember SOPA? The hiddeous beast of a bill sponsored by Hollywood which sought to jam the file content sharing genie back in the bottle? The bill that the whole Internet world rose up against and forced the politicians to back down on? Remember that? Well one of the lobbyists who headed the effort to severely restrict the Internet so that the media companies could cling to their outdated business models has now been nominated by Obama to head the effort in the secret (to us – hundreds of corporations are in on what is going on) Trans Pacific Partnership talks.
The TPP is a comprehensive trade agreement which will define how trade is done around the Pacific Rim in the years to come. There is a lot riding on the negotiations, especially for Hollywood which now sees the agreement as a way to get the restrictions on content sharing that it couldn’t get through Congress.
And Obama just helped them do it.
(From Republic Report)
This morning, President Obama nominated Robert Holleyman as deputy U.S. trade representative. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Holleyman will help lead the effort to pass the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Notably, Holleyman is a former lobbyist who led efforts to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act legislation, better known as SOPA, when he was leader of the Business Software Alliance. The SOPA debate (along with its sister legislation, PROTECT-IP, in the Senate) brought a spotlight on industry efforts to undermine Internet freedom through what many considered to be draconian intellectual property policy.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
Yes, There Are Paid Government Trolls On Social Media, Blogs, Forums And Websites
Do you want solid proof that paid government shills are targeting websites, blogs, forums and social media accounts? For years, many have suspected that government trolls have been systematically causing havoc all over the Internet, but proving it has been difficult. But now thanks to documents leaked by Edward Snowden and revealed by Glenn Greenwald, we finally have hard evidence that western governments have been doing this. As you will see below, a UK intelligence outfit known as the Government Communications Headquarters, through a previously secret unit known as the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group, has been systematically attempting “to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse”. This should be deeply disturbing to anyone that values free speech on the Internet.
It isn’t just that the British government is trying to influence what people are thinking. The reality is that this is far bigger than a mere propaganda campaign. As Greenwald recently noted on his new website, the “integrity of the Internet itself” is at stake…
By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.
So what techniques are the British using to control and manipulate discourse on the Internet? According to Greenwald, the documents that Snowden has uncovered show that they are willing to sink to despicable lows in order to get the results that they desire…
Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.
The following is a list of Internet infiltration techniques that were listed on one particular slide that Snowden leaked…
-Set Piece Operation
-False Flag Operation
-False Rescue Operation
You can check out this slide for yourself right here.
There is also evidence that the Canadian government has been involved in this sort of thing as well. The following comes from Natural News…
You’ve probably run into them before — those seemingly random antagonizers who always end up diverting the conversation in an online chat room or article comment section away from the issue at hand, and towards a much different agenda. Hot-button issues like illegal immigration, the two-party political system, the “war on terror” and even alternative medicine are among the most common targets of such attackers, known as internet “trolls” or “shills,” who in many cases are nothing more than paid lackeys hired by the federal government and other international organizations to sway and ultimately control public opinion.
Several years ago, Canada’s CTV News aired a short segment about how its own government had been exposed for hiring secret agents to monitor social media and track online conversations, as well as the activities of certain dissenting individuals. This report, which in obvious whitewashing language referred to such activities as the government simply “weighing in and correcting” allegedly false information posted online, basically admitted that the Canadian government had assumed the role of secret online police.
You can see a video news report about this activity up in Canada right here.
Are you disturbed yet?
You should be.
So what kind of people are the governments of the western world targeting online?
Well, when it comes to the U.S. government, all you have to do is to look at their official documents to see who they consider the “problems” to be. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “72 Types Of Americans That Are Considered ‘Potential Terrorists’ In Official Government Documents“.
Sadly, the reality of the matter is that the days of the free and open Internet are numbered. The governments of the world are increasing their control over the Internet with each passing day, and eventually a time will likely come when we will not be able to communicate openly like this any longer.
Things have gotten so bad in the U.S. already that even Google is spooked…
A recent court decision that endorsed a broad view of the Federal Communications Commission’s authority over the Internet has Google and other Web companies nervous.
In closed-door meetings with regulators and Capitol Hill staff, Google’s lawyers have said they’re worried how the FCC may use its newfound powers, according to multiple people familiar with the meetings.
The extent of the FCC’s authority over Google and other Web services remains unclear, and the current FCC has given no indication that it is interested in pushing aggressive new regulations. But the possibility that the commission could begin telling Google how to organize its search results or handle its users’ data is enough to spook the company’s army of Washington lobbyists.
And this is just the beginning.
If you think that the control freaks that are running things now are bad, just wait until you see the next generation of control freaks.
For example, there is one prominent student writer at Harvard that apparently believes that free speech at her university should be abolished and that any professor that does not advocate for her politically-correct version of “justice” should be fired…
A student writer at Harvard University is raising eyebrows after publishing her belief that free speech on campus should be abolished and professors with opposing views be fired.
Sandra Korn, a senior who writes a column for the Harvard Crimson newspaper, thinks radical leftism is the only permissible political philosophy, and the First Amendment only hinders colleges from brainwashing students with her viewpoint.
“Let’s give up on academic freedom in favor of justice,” states the subtitle of her Feb. 18 column, in which she insists Harvard stop guaranteeing students and professors the right to hold controversial views and conduct research putting liberalism in a negative light.
“If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals?” Korn asks.
This is what control freaks always want.
They always want to shut down those that are presenting opposing views.
They don’t believe in free speech and a “marketplace of ideas”. Rather, they believe in shoving what they believe down the rest of our throats.
And now we have solid proof that the governments of the western world are paying people to manipulate discourse on social media, blogs, forums and websites.
So will there be great outrage over this, or will the apathetic public just roll over and ignore this like they have so many other times the past few years?
This article first appeared here at the The American Dream. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://endoftheamericandream.com
On Friday the office of Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn issued the following press release regarding her renewed fight against FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules and introduction of H.R. 4070, the Internet Freedom Act.
Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chair Marsha Blackburn today renewed her fight to block the FCC’s efforts to implement new net neutrality rules. In response to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s announcement this week that the FCC would begin the process of rewriting the agency’s Net Neutrality rules, Blackburn has introduced H.R. 4070, the Internet Freedom Act of 2014.Congressman Blackburn’s legislation would block the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules from 2010 by stating they shall have no force or effect and prohibits the FCC from reissuing new Net Neutrality rules.
“In typical fashion, the Obama Administration is proving once again that they will stop at nothing to restrict our Internet freedom. Despite having their regulations rejected by a federal appeals court, Chairman Wheeler has decided to press forward with the effort to implement these overreaching rules.
“Net Neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine of the Internet. Once the FCC has a foothold into managing how internet service providers run their networks they will essentially be deciding which content goes first, second, third, or not at all. It’s time for Congress to slam the FCC’s regulatory back-door shut, lock it, and return the keys to the free market. My legislation will put the brakes on net neutrality and protect our innovators from these job-killing regulations.”
Earlier this year, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the FCC’s net neutrality rules, which were first proposed in 2010 by former Chairman Julius Genachowski. Congressman Blackburn has been leading the fight against the Obama Administration’s net neutrality rules and first introduced the Internet Freedom Act during the 112th Congress.
Also on Friday Rep. Blackburn appeared on Fox News to discuss the FCC’s efforts to control content over the broadcast airwaves and online, the First Amendment and Net Neutrality.
Absolutely True: ‘Millennials Are the Most Libertarian Generation’
The attached article comes from John Stossel who was at the International Students for Liberty conference this past weekend in Washington DC. I was there too, and John is right. Millennials are absolutely oriented toward liberty, much more so than their parents, that is for sure.
The kids at the conference were not a representative sample of course. Almost everyone kicking around the halls of the Grand Hyatt had probably read at least some Hayek and could quote you at least a couple of lines from Murray Rothbard. It was a wonky bunch. But these kids are just the tip of the liberty spear.
The current generation coming into adulthood has grown up on the Internet. The generation rising fundamentally understands the self ordering nature of markets. If an article or video is good, vote it up, and share it with friends. If an article or video isn’t good vote it down or just move on. In this process the best rises (generally) to the top.
The most important market in the world is the marketplace of ideas, and today’s new leaders live in the marketplace. The ebb and flow of the universe doesn’t scare them the way it did past generations which didn’t have the blessings of the Internet. The natural order of things is to be embraced, not feared. This is a core element of Generation Net.
So we shouldn’t be surprised by the exponential growth of libertarianism among today’s youth. It just makes sense in an open source world.
” . . . this is the most libertarian generation. The millennial generation is more social, organized, and receptive to liberty, but also the most punished by the economic misconduct of older generations.”
Old politicians and old voters may never change their minds. But libertarianism grows fastest among the young, and so groups like Students for Liberty give me hope. Those young people sure know more about liberty that I did when I was their age.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
The Comcast/Time Warner Merger and the War Between Centralization and Decentralization
Or take the right to vote. In principle, it is a great privilege. In practice, as recent history has repeatedly shown, the right to vote, by itself, is no guarantee of liberty. Therefore, if you wish to avoid dictatorship by referendum, break up modern society’s merely functional collectives into self-governing, voluntarily co-operating groups, capable of functioning outside the bureaucratic systems of Big Business and Big Government.
-Aldous Huxley, in Brave New World Revisited (1958)
Until recent years, the struggle between the forces of “centralization” and “decentralization” was more of a full on slaughter-fest than an actually battle or war. As Americans sat there blissfully asleep for decades, every facet of our lives has been carefully consolidated into the hands of a smaller and smaller group of corporations, and hence individual executives. This trend is undeniable in everything from food, banking, media and everything in between.
Myself and many others saw the financial crisis of 2008 as a gigantic wakeup call. The disasters caused by powerful financial institutions and the greedy people that ran them should have been used as a rallying cry to break these institutions up. To recognize the dangers of too much power in one particular place. This is especially important in something as crucial as banking. However, as we are all painfully aware, this is not what happened. Rather, the institutions were bailed out, the industry consolidated even more than it was before, and the perpetrators of the crisis emerged from it even more wealthy and powerful.
My personal focus on this website has been to expose the unique dangers presented by centralization in the financial industry and the monetary system. However, many others are dedicated to the equally important and disturbing trends in other industries. Consumer goods is one of these areas, and a very telling diagram went around late last year showing how 10 companies basically control everything you buy. Take a look below:
Dangerous consolidation of the media is a trend that has also been discussed by many people on many occasions, and many of us by now have heard the stat that in the U.S. just six media giants control 90% of all TV, news, radio and film. Now that Comcast is set to buy Time Warner, the situation is about to get that much worse. The International Business Times made some poignant points:
“No one woke up this morning wishing their cable company was bigger or had more control over what they could watch or download,” Aaron said. “But that — along with higher bills — is the reality they’ll face tomorrow unless the Department of Justice and the FCC do their jobs and block this merger. Stopping this kind of deal is exactly why we have antitrust laws.”
In December, the Wall Street Journal speculated about a possible merger between the two companies, quoting an FCC official who told the paper that such a deal would face “a number of hurdles.” Chief among them is the 33 percent market share of pay-TV subscribers the new conglomerate would control. That percentage exceeds the cap of 30 percent formerly imposed by the FCC.
Perhaps an even greater hurdle is the resulting influence Comcast-TWC would have over Internet services. The merger, according to Gigaom’s Om Malik, could potentially make Comcast the largest broadband provider outside of China. Such muscle would give the company greater influence in key negotiations with content creators, particularly since it already owns NBCUniversal. It’s no wonder the deal is sparking fear among media diversity advocates. While pay-TV providers will trumpet their need for negotiating power amid rising retransmission fees — particularly for sports networks — cable bills have only gone up as media consolidation has proliferated over the last two decades. Speculating about a rumored TWC sale last month, Susan Crawford of Bloomberg.com said bluntly that it will “cost us all.”
Many people write about the struggle between “liberty” and “tyranny,” including myself, but these may not be the most effective terms to use in order to explain the troubling situation we face to a wider audience. Unfortunately, when people hear the words “liberty” the knee-jerk reaction for many is to associate it with right-wing “conspiracy theorists.” Of course, it is “conspiracy fact” that a small handful of corporations and the executives that run them control more and more of our daily lives. In other words, the forces of “tyranny” use “centralization” as their primary weapon of choice in order to control us. Those of us who long for “freedom” and “liberty” must use “decentralization” as our primary tool to fight back and win.
I have no doubt that the we in the decentralization camp are on the right side of history, and I have become more and more confident of this fact with each passing day. Every year since the financial crisis I have witnessed more and more powerful tools for decentralization that the status quo simply will not be able to control. From 3D-printing to crypto-currencies, from crowd-funding to social media, it is clear to me the status quo must adapt or die. While the Comcast/Time Warner merger is a serious threat, I think it ultimately represents just another last gasp of a dying paradigm.
Follow Mike on Twitter.
Image credit: http://libertyblitzkrieg.com
The End of TV?
The cable TV business had its worst year ever in 2013, and both cable and broadcast TV have seen negative ratings growth since 2011. Why are people shutting off their cable service, and how can you do the same?
Image credit: www.affordable-online-colleges.net
The Future of Internet Governance Could Be Finalized Later This Year
The “real” owners of the internet are having a meeting to discuss how they can successfully obtain complete governance over the World Wide Web.
The US State Department (USSD), under the Office of International Communications and Information Policy (OICIP) with direction from the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB/CIP) announced earlier this month that the US “will participate in the ‘Global Multi-stakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance’ to be held on April 23 and 24, 2014” in Brazil.
The task of the EB/CIP is to ensure that information and communication technology is formulated, coordinated and overseen to the agendas of the USSD.
The USSD explained that this current administration “believes that the meeting presents an opportunity to advance the global community’s understanding of Internet governance and promote its evolution toward a more inclusive structure if: (1) the agenda is developed in a truly multi-stakeholder fashion; (2) participation at the meeting is broad and inclusive; and (3) any follow on activity is guided by, and ultimately supportive of, the multi-stakeholder system rather than an intergovernmental mechanism of centrally imposed regulation or mandates.”
According to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), this meeting in Brazil “will focus on crafting Internet governance principles and proposing a roadmap for the further evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem.”
The leadership and “technical organizations” that now possess governing control over the internet are under the guidance of the Montevideo Statement on the Future of Internet Cooperation (MSFIC) which called for “a neutral, open forum to discuss Internet challenges.”
The Net1 Initiative was created in response to the MSFIC “to provide an inclusive and open venue supporting discussion of Internet governance matters for all those interested (individuals, governments, civil societies, technicians, etc.) and to deliver the results of those discussions to the agendas of established and developing Internet governance institutions.”
In 2013, ICANN “began rolling out thousands of alternatives to the traditional .com ending used by most websites. New endings using the Latin alphabet, such as .clothing and .singles, became available in January, and hundreds of others are on the way.”
Last month, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) was announced as a “two-year initiative that will present a comprehensive stand on the future of multi-stakeholder Internet governance.”
The GCIG was created by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA).
One purpose of the GCIG is to “create and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance that can act as a rallying point for states that are striving for a continued free and open Internet.”
Using influence to foster debate, the GCIG will lobby heads of state, incorporate public relations tactics and inject pro-agenda propaganda into the mainstream ideology across the globe.
Two concerns of the GCIG are:
• Authoritarian controls by government over the Internet
• Loss of customer confidence due to revelations of widespread surveillance
The GCIG will advise on how to:
• Avoid risks
• Establish norms regarding conduct
• Initiate cybercrime cooperation
• Proliferation and disarmament
This project is supported by technological leaders who want “greater transparency” when it comes to government surveillance on citizens; with or without their knowledge.