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Active and Passive Internet of Things

"The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it." -Mark Weiser ...The Internet of Things is a step in this very direction. And like all things new and mysterious, it has its fair share of utopian and dystopian soothsayers; with an almost certain probability that neither of their deterministic predictions will completely come to fruition in the future. more»

Consumers Are the Serfs of the Feudal Internet Companies

In one of the email conversations with my expert colleagues from around the globe, an interesting article was discussed written by Bruce Scheier in Wired: When it comes to security, we're back to feudalism. An interesting aspect of the discussion was the conclusion that Google's and Facebook's consumers are not their customers. The distinction is important, because consumers are the product being sold to their actual customers who are their advertisers. more»

End-to-End Email Encryption - This Time For Sure?

Phil Zimmerman's Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) and its offspring have been encrypting and decrypting email for almost 25 years -- but require enough knowledge and determination to use them that adoption has never taken off outside the technoscenti. Now initiatives from several quarters aim to fix that -- but will it all "just work," and will end users adopt it even if it does? more»

Building a Better WHOIS for the Individual Registrant

Today, anyone can use WHOIS to identify the organization or person who registered a gTLD domain name, along with their postal address, email address, and telephone number. Publishing this data has long been controversial, creating a system riddled with problems. On one hand, anonymous access to all WHOIS data enables misuse by spammers and criminals and raises concerns about personal privacy. On the other hand, incomplete or false WHOIS data prolongs Internet outages and leaves crime victims with little recourse. more»

Internet Governance: Why Africa Should Take the Lead

Recently during an afternoon meeting with a friend of mine, Bob Ochieng, who happens to work for ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) Africa Operations, he lamented that at online Internet Governance discussions fora such as CircleID, and 1net.org, there is no serious frequent engagements from African Voices. This got me thinking and I realized that most African Internet Stakeholders would rather use a "wait and see approach" in matters as critical as Internet Governance. more»

Extreme Vulnerability at the Edge of the Internet - A Fresh New Universal Human-Rights Problem

By design, the Internet core is stupid, and the edge is smart. This design decision has enabled the Internet's wildcat growth, since without complexity the core can grow at the speed of demand. On the downside, the decision to put all smartness at the edge means we're at the mercy of scale when it comes to the quality of the Internet's aggregate traffic load. Not all device and software builders have the skills - and the quality assurance budgets - that something the size of the Internet deserves. more»

Luddites of the 21St Century Unite?

In the past few weeks doom and gloom stories about the future were printed, discussed and opined in the press. The down and out of the message of futurists is that the middle class is going to be swept away in the coming years because of software and robotic solutions (from here on: automated processes), making humans redundant... Do Luddites of the 21st century need to rise? I want to look at the topic from a few angles. more»

Playing the Long Game at the Internet Governance Poker Table

Poker players say if you can't spot the fish within your first 15 minutes at the table, you're the fish. With that in mind, I'm tempted to ask ICANN President Fadi Chehade who's the fish in the high-stakes game of global Internet governance we're now playing. In 2013, ICANN dramatically changed its course in the global Internet governance debate. For a decade ICANN largely stayed out of the game, allowing stakeholders to defend the multi-stakeholder model where private sector and civil society are on equal footing with governments. But in 2013 ICANN went on the offensive... more»

From Wikileaks of 2012 to Snowden's NSA Leaks of 2013: Implications for Global Internet Governance

2012 will always be remembered as the Year of Wikileaks. Similarly, 2013 shall also be remembered as the year that Edward Snowden, a computer security specialist and former CIA employee and National Security Agency contractor, leaked classified information regarding the NSA global surveillance programs. Whilst Wikileaks was about US diplomatic cables, the Edward Snowden disclosure of classified NSA information to private media organizations such as the UK Guardian newspaper has had graver implications for global Internet privacy. more»

Who Uses Google's Public DNS?

Much has been said about how Google uses the services they provide, including their mail service, their office productivity tools, file storage and similar services, as a means of gathering an accurate profile of each individual user of their services. The company has made a very successful business out of measuring users, and selling those metrics to advertisers. But can we measure Google as they undertake this activity? How many users avail themselves of their services? Perhaps that's a little ambitious at this stage, so maybe a slightly smaller scale may be better. Let's just look at one Google service. more»

We Have a Paradigm for Surveillance That's Broken, Fit Only for the Analogue Past

As each day brings new revelations about surveillance online, we are starting to see increasing activity in national legislatures intended either to establish more control over what the security services can do to their nationals (in countries like the US), or to limit access by foreign secret services to the personal information of their citizens (countries like Brazil). Unfortunately, neither of these approaches address the underlying problem: we have a paradigm for surveillance that's fit for the analogue past, not the digital present, let alone the future. more»

IETF Looking at Technical Changes to Raise the Bar for Monitoring

During a speech last week at the Internet Governance Forum in Bali, Jari Arkko, IETF's chair, re-emphasized it's efforts to ramp up online security in light of recent revelations of mass internet surveillance. "Perhaps the notion that internet is by default insecure needs to change," Arkko said. Significant technical fixes "just might be possible." more»

Google DNS to Be Discontinued in Brazil Ahead of New Law

Doug Madory from Renesys reports: "In response to recent NSA spying allegations, Brazil is pressing ahead with a new law to require Internet companies like Google to store data about Brazilian users inside Brazil, where it will be subject to local privacy laws. The proposed legislation could be signed into law as early as the end of this week. However, Google's DNS service started leaving the country on September 12th, the day President Rousseff announced her intention to require local storage of user data." more»

Brazil Pushing Plans for Local Internet Data Storage Amid U.S. Spying

Brazil, seeking to protect its citizens from alleged U.S. spying, is pushing ahead with its plan to force global Internet companies to store data obtained from Brazilian users inside the country, according to a draft of the law reported by Reuters. If passed, the new law could impact the way Google, Facebook, Twitter and other Internet giants operate in Latin America's biggest country and one of the largest telecommunications markets in the world. more»

Privacy and the Future: Are We Good Trustees of the Internet?

Recently I was reminded of the words, "responsibilities and service to the community." To individuals involved in internet governance, these words should be well known. But have we lived by the code exemplified by these words? Have we lived up to the high standards that they represent? I have always been a student of history because it never fails to show me that humanity, on many occasions, tends to repeat the same mistakes. more»