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Category: Internet Freedom


It Just Got Easier To See A Cool Historical Maps Collection

 

 

Screenshot of the new viewer for USGS historical topo maps.

 

 

” It just got way, way easier to search and browse the US Geological Survey’s collection of historical topographic maps, thanks to a new online map viewer. These maps—more than 178,000 of them—date back to 1880, and they cover the entire country. Best of all, they’re free to download for anyone who wants to, say, check out the contours of the Grand Canyon or study the urbanization of the San Francisco Bay Area (see below).

Hunting for historical topo maps on the USGS site used to be confusing and annoying. It involved a lot of clicking on what you hoped was the right thing, squinting at the tiny preview maps, and twiddling your thumbs while the enormous full-sized version downloaded. And then starting over when it turned out to be the wrong thing.”

 

Read more here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FCC Commissioner: Feds Could ‘Start Tamping Down’ On Websites

 

 

 

 

” Federal Communications Commission member Ajit Pai, one of two Republicans on the five-member commission, says he’s concerned that the government will try to control websites like the Drudge Report based on their political content, CNS News reports.

  Pai, speaking Saturday at the annual Right Online conference in Washington, D.C., said he envisions net neutrality regulations passed by the agency could  result in crackdowns on websites in “the direction of content… What you’re seeing now is an impulse not just to regulate the roads over which traffic goes, but the traffic itself,” he said.

” It is conceivable to me to see the government saying, ‘We think the Drudge Report is having a disproportionate effect on our political discourse. He doesn’t have to file anything with the FEC. The FCC doesn’t have the ability to regulate anything he says, and we want to start tamping down on websites like that,'” Pai said, according to CNS.”

 

 

Video at the link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newsmax’s Top 50 Conservative Blogs Of 2015

 

 

 

 

   Although we would classify a fair amount of these blogs as libertarian rather than “conservative” the choices are sound and united in their anti-statism . Not bad for a bunch of pajama-clad basement dwellers .

 

” Newsmax is out with our 2015 list of the 50 top conservative blogs.

  The Internet now allows anyone who cares to invest the time and trouble to become a political commentator with, potentially, many times the readership of the most long-established syndicated columnists. The media elite, from the Big Three Networks to the local newspaper, have suffered a collapse in influence and a hemorrhage of revenues as Americans simply click on their favorite bookmarks for informed opinions about the events around them.

  Is it any wonder that an executive branch dominated by the big-government left is determined to let nothing stop it from converting the Internet into a regulated public utility whose ultimate destination apparently involves United Nations oversight?

  Obama administration scandals like those involving the IRS and Benghazi may not have reached critical mass — yet. But if this were the old days of near-total liberal dominance of information transmission, it would be near-impossible to bring new developments before the eyes of the public if it contradicted the wishes of newspaper editors and network anchormen.

  It would also be impossible to prevent the mainstream media from snowballing an artificial scandal like Rathergate a decade ago, which easily could have jeopardized George W. Bush’s re-election, and which Power Line and other conservative websites had a substantial role in debunking.”

  London’s Hyde Park Corner has, for nearly a century and a half, been famed for the colorful characters who stand atop soapboxes on Sundays and speak their minds, with extremists from the organized right and left well-represented, and most of the speakers solemnly serious about what they tell the assembled throngs. A good few, however, have always been entertainers, sometimes feigning political passions that the crowd eventually discovers to be disguised jokes.

  It is no exaggeration, considering the multitudes of people many of them reach, to say that the conservative blogs listed below have more greatly influenced political events than all the Hyde Park diatribes ever delivered. Personality abounds. Some of the sites feature graphics that are feasts for the eyes; many deliver laughs rivaling a P.G. Wodehouse yarn. And almost all let any reader join in and comment to his or her heart’s content.

  Conservative blogs have electrified our 223-year old First Amendment like nothing the Founding Fathers could ever have foreseen. Here are the top 50 conservative blogs:

 

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1. Instapundit – University of Tennessee law professor and hawkish libertarian Glenn Reynolds’ nearly decade-and-a-half-old powerhouse often causes “Instalanches” of Web traffic to sites to which it links articles. Reynolds posts relentlessly and the brevity and wryness of his often all-caps comments are famous, like a recent link to a Popular Mechanics report on Iran exploding a fake U.S. aircraft carrier to flex its muscles during nuclear talks. Blogged Reynolds, “WHY DON’T WE ONE-UP THEM BY BLOWING UP A REAL IRANIAN NUCLEAR RESEARCH FACILITY?” 

 

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2. Hot Air – Founded originally by firebrand columnist and TV commentator Michelle Malkin, Hot Air persuaded veteran blogger Ed Morrissey to archive his own well-established Captain’s Quarters blog and write for Hot Air. Its other stars are American Conservative Union blogger of the year Mary Katharine Ham, and the mysterious and eloquent AllahPundit, who recently posted his skeptical take on Jeb Bush’s less-than-comfortable CPAC appearance, which he theorized wasn’t to attract votes on the right, but “to prove to people who aren’t at CPAC that he’s one of them and not afraid to broadcast that fact at ground zero of the conservative movement.”

 

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3. RedState – Some of editor-in-chief and Fox commentator Erick Erickson’s recent headlines provide a sample of Red State’s pungent flavor: “Can We Impeach Now?” “Eunuch Mitch McConnell Squeals Like a Pig,” and “All the President’s Boot Lickers Still Pretend Obama is a Christian.” But the Eagle Publishing-owned site features plenty of substantive analysis for cyberspace’s hardcore right, much of it by volunteer contributors, like “Streiff” concluding that “Boehner and McConnell are negotiating with themselves over the terms of their own surrender” on Homeland Security funding and President Obama’s executive amnesty. Pointing out that a DHS shutdown endangers no one, Streiff warned that if Congress “won’t refuse to appropriate money to fund non-essential functions of DHS, it has become irrelevant and we are a dictatorship, not a constitutional republic.”

 

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4. Power Line – The law school-educated weightiness comes through in this polished, eclectic political site founded by three Dartmouth-grad attorneys. An example: A recent post from John Hinderaker diving into the technical details of the Obama administration’s new bullet regulations and demonstrating that Second Amendment fears regarding them are “not irrational; liberals have openly argued for attacks on ammunition as an indirect means of achieving gun control.”

 

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5. Free Republic – “Working to roll back decades of governmental largesse, to root out political fraud and corruption,” and “always have fun doing it. Hoo-yah!” Free Republic might just be the national bulletin board for the Tea Party, among serving other functions. Thousands of “Freepers,” with handles like Alamo Girl and cripplecreek, link to articles other sites usually miss, then post endless pithy commentaries. Typical is a recent post by GreyFriar on the FCC turning the Internet into a public utility: “The Democrat version of democracy means three unelected bureaucrats voting for something that none of us is allowed to see.”

6. The Corner – With National Review’s full arsenal represented, like the forceful mind of terrorist prosecutor Andrew McCarthy and the incisive reporting of Joel Gehrke, conservative political junkies fly to “the one and only” Corner for anything-but-amateur rapid response analysis on just about anything that’s happening. Washington Editor Eliana Johnson (whose father, Scott, co-founded Power Line), for instance, crashed the garden party for the latest “anti-Jeb” with her recent “Two Scott Walkers” post, reporting that hundreds of donors at the Club for Growth’s winter conference in West Palm Beach were eager to see “the man who has slayed Wisconsin’s public-unions and delivered a boffo performance” at CPAC. “Instead, they got the Walker who is shaky, unsure of himself, and hazy on policy details.”

7. Avik Roy – Forbes magazine opinion editor and Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Avik Roy’s knowledge of the maze of legislative language that makes up ObamaCare is unrivaled, and as it inevitably declines in effectiveness, the blog written by Roy, former House Budget Committee Chairman Bill Frenzel, and a half dozen other experts is the place to check in often and watch its slow death.

8. NewsBusters.org – With all the resources of Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center at its disposal, NewsBusters watches the mainstream media’s every move and skewers its chronic bias, sloppiness, inaccuracies, and even outright deceit. A Matthew Balan post recently pointed out how the evening news shows of all the Big Three networks ignored the Treasury Department’s new “active investigation” into IRS “potential criminal activity,” yet “all devoted full segments to the viral photograph of a dress that appears to be either black and blue or gold and white.”

9. Café Hayek – “The Road to Serfdom” author F.A. Hayek would be delighted with the undiluted capitalism served at the blog bearing his name. One recent post by Don Boudreaux linked to a YouTube clip of the “Price is Right” game show from 1972 to demonstrate that the conventional wisdom about stagnant living standards is wrong. One of the show’s prizes was a “30-inch electric kitchen range priced at $385.” Boudreaux pointed out: In 1972, the average hourly earnings of a production or nonsupervisory private-sector worker in America was $3.90. So, such a worker in 1972 had to toil for 99 hours to earn enough income to buy that range.” But today, Home Depot sells a 30-inch range for $349, with the average hourly wage $20.80. “So, today’s ‘ordinary’ worker can earn enough income to buy a 30-inch electric kitchen range in just 16.8 hours — a mere 17 percent of the work time required in 1972.”

10. Big Government – It’s undoubtedly insulting to call the best-known section of the multi-faceted Breitbart website a blog; the late and legendary Internet pioneer Andrew Breitbart’s baby is fast growing into a professional journalistic global empire, opening bureaus everywhere from Texas to London to the Mideast. But the whole massive operation, launched to destroy the “old media guard” dominated by the left, has always had a blogger’s rebellious soul. The trademark Breitbart cheekiness was on full display in a recent post by C-FAM president Austin Ruse, who asked the head of American Atheists if the president is faking being a Christian and got this agnostic response: “Obama was raised by an atheist and a skeptic, so he at least knows the arguments.” “

 

 

Click through to see where your favorite blog ranks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Google Skewed Search Results

 

 

 

 

” A previously undisclosed report by staffers at the Federal Trade Commission reveals new details about how Google Inc. manipulated search results to favor its own services over rivals’, even when they weren’t most relevant for users.

  In a lengthy investigation, staffers in the FTC’s bureau of competition found evidence that Google boosted its own services for shopping, travel and local businesses by altering its ranking criteria and “scraping” content from other sites. It also deliberately demoted rivals.

The report’s insight into Google’s business practices is still relevant as Google expands its own offerings. Just this month, it launched a search tool for car-insurance quotes, which competes with similar tools offered by Allstate Corp.’s Esurance, among others. It has beefed up hotel listings that compete with TripAdvisor Inc. and Expedia Inc.”

 

 

    Gee , is anyone really surprised that Google manipulates the search results of it’s users ? If ever there was a monopoly that could use a little trust-busting … and remember , this is coming from the corporation that wants to rank it’s search results by “truthiness” …  Continue reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The FAA Says You Can’t Post Drone Videos On YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

 

” If you fly a drone and post footage on YouTube, you could end up with a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration.

  Earlier this week, the agency sent a legal notice to Jayson Hanes, a Tampa-based drone hobbyist who has been posting drone-shot videos online for roughly the last year. 

  The FAA said that, because there are ads on YouTube, Hanes’s flights constituted a commercial use of the technology subject to stricter regulations and enforcement action from the agency. It said that if he did not stop flying “commercially,” he could be subject to fines or sanctions.

” This office has received a complaint regarding your use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (aka drone) for commercial purposes referencing your video on the website youtube.com as evidence,” the letter reads. “After a review of your website, it does appear that the complaint is valid.” “

  The hobby use of drones and other model aircraft has never been regulated by the FAA, but the agency has been adamant about making a distinction between hobby and commercial use, which has led to much confusion over the last couple years.

  Where, exactly, does commercial use begin and hobby use end, for instance? If you fly for fun, but happen to sell your footage later, were you flying for a “commercial purpose?” What if you give it to a news organization that runs it on a television station that has ads on it? What if you upload it to YouTube and Google happens to put an ad on it? What if you decide to put an ad on it?

  The letter makes clear that at least some in the FAA (this one was sent by Michael Singleton, an aviation safety inspector in the FAA’s Tampa office) take a very wide view of what is “commercial.” “

 

Read the rest at Motherboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here Are All 400 Pages Of The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules

 

 

 

” The Federal Communications Commission has finally published its full net neutrality rules on its Web site. And they’re not for the faint of heart. Together with the dissents from the agency’s Republican commissioners, the document adds up to 400 pages.

  The release of the rules comes two weeks after the FCC voted to approve them in a historic, polarized vote at the commission. Now begins the next chapter in the story. Expect Internet providers to comb through the publication, probing the rules for legal weaknesses they can take to court.”

 

    The above Washington Post article is surprisingly short on details but the Daily Caller is more forthcoming on which group was cited dozens of times :

 

” New internet regulations finally released by the Federal Communications Commission make 46 references to a group funded by billionaire George Soros and co-founded by a neo-Marxist.

  The FCC received more than 4 million public comments as it was weighing the net neutrality initiative, but Free Press and other activist groups have received the most attention by pressuring the FCC and the White House on behalf of their cause.

  One argument made against the FCC’s regulatory push is that the general public is largely happy with its internet service. Support for net neutrality was seen as the domain of special interest groups like Free Press.

  The activist group has big money behinds its effort. It has received $2.2 million in donations from progressive billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations and $3.9 million from the Ford Foundation.”

 

   If you only have time to read one article then choose the Caller’s as you will learn a lot more than you will from the Post .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naked Man Caught Jumping Out Of Buckingham Palace Window In Internet Hoax

 

 

 

” A video clip that claims to show a naked man climbing out of a window at Buckingham Palace using a bed sheet has started an online debate as to whether it is real or not.

  The video shows some Swedish tourists watching the Changing of the Guard near Green Park.

  Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the video and the Metropolitan Police said they have had no reports of the incident.”

The Telegraph

5 Most Dangerous Hackers Of All Time

 

 

 

” As you may know Hackers aren’t inherently bad — the word “hacker” doesn’t mean “criminal” or “bad guy.”, it means someone who tries to find solutions or alternative solutions to a problem. Geeks and tech writers often refer to “black hat,” “white hat,” and “gray hat” hackers. These terms define different groups of hackers based on their behavior.

  A white hat hacker is someone working for corporations like anti-virus or firewall companies or in general trying to help society like most Anonymous Hackers.

  A Gray Hat Hacker is someone who usually doesn’t work for any company and is neither good or bad, meaning that he hacks systems kinda illegally, but still not doing any harm to the system or anyone else.

  A Black Hat Hacker is usually considered as the ‘typical’ bad guy who is doing harm, either financially or by just exploiting and hacking systems to push his own limits or better to day ego. “

 

Thanks to AnonHQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mises Institute Presents The Truth About “Net Neutrality” 

 

 

AF Branco

 

 

” Yet again, the government wants to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. According to the Obama administration and the FCC, it is necessary to regulate internet service providers so that they don’t interfere with people’s access to the web. The claim immediately prompts one to ask: Who is being denied access to the web?

  In the past twenty years, access to the internet has only become more widespread and service today is far faster for many people — including “ordinary” people — than it was twenty years ago, or even ten years ago. Today, broadband in Europe, where the internet is more tightly regulated, has less reach than it has in the United States.

  The administration’s plan is rather innocuously called “net neutrality,” but in fact it has nothing at all to do with neutrality and is just a scheme to vastly increase the federal government’s control over the internet.

What is Net Neutrality?

  We don’t know the details of the plan because the FCC refuses to let the taxpayers see the 300-page proposal before the FCC votes on it today. But, we do know a few things.

  Currently, ISPs are regulated by the FCC, but as an “information service” under the less restrictive rules of so-called Title I. But now, the FCC wants to regulate ISPs as utilities under the far more restrictive Title II restrictions. For a clue as to how cutting edge this idea is, remember this switch to Title II regulation would put ISPs into the same regulatory regime as Ma Bell under the Communications Act of 1934.

  So what does this mean for the FCC in practice? According to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, “It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works.” More specifically, Gordon Crovitz at the Wall Street Journal writes:

  [With Net Netruality,] bureaucrats can review the fairness of Google’s search results, Facebook’s news feeds and news sites’ links to one another and to advertisers. BlackBerry is already lobbying the FCC to force Apple and Netflix to offer apps for BlackBerry’s unpopular phones. Bureaucrats will oversee peering, content-delivery networks and other parts of the interconnected network that enables everything from Netflix and YouTube to security drones and online surgery.

  The administration insists these measures are necessary because — even though there is no evidence that this has actually happened — it is possible that at some point in the future, internet service providers could restrict some content and apps on the internet. Thus, we are told, control of content should be handed over to the federal government to ensure that internet service providers are “neutral” when it comes to deciding what is on the internet and what is not.

Can Goods Be Allocated in a “Neutral” Way?

  The problem is that there is no such thing as “neutral” allocation of resources, whether done by government or the marketplace.

  In the marketplace, goods and services tend to be allocated according to those who demand the goods the most. Where demand is highest, prices are highest, so goods and services tend to go to where they are most demanded. This makes perfect sense, of course, and also reflects the inherent democracy of the markets. Where larger numbers of people put more resources is where more goods and services will head.

  It is this mechanism that drives the marketplaces for food, clothing, and a host of other products. Consequently, both food and clothing have become so plentiful that obesity is a major health problem and second-hand clothing stores, selling barely-worn discarded clothing, are a boom industry, even in affluent neighborhoods. Similarly, cell phones have only become more affordable and more widespread in recent decades.

  For industries where new firms may freely enter, and customers are not compelled to buy, companies or individuals that wish to make money must use their resources in ways that are freely demanded by others. Unless they have been granted monopoly power by government, no firm can simply ignore its customers. If they do, competing firms will enter the marketplace with other goods and services.

  Although goods allocated in this fashion are — according to the administration — not being allocated “neutrally,” the fact is that more people now have more service at higher speeds than was the case in the past. Furthermore, even if firms (or the government) attempted to allocate goods in a neutral manner, it would be impossible to do so, because neither society nor the physical world are neutral.

  In his recent interview on new neutrality, Peter Klein used the analogy of a grocery store. In modern-day grocery stores, suppliers of food and drink will negotiate with stores (using so-called “slotting allowances”) to have their goods advertised near the front of the store or have goods placed on store shelves at eye level.

  If government were to tell grocery stores to start being more “neutral” about where it places goods, we can see immediately that such a thing is impossible. After all, somebody’s goods have to be at eye level or near the front of the store. Who is to decide? A handful of government bureaucrats, or thousands of consumers who with their purchases control the success and failure of firms?

  In a similar way, bandwidth varies for various ISP clients depending on the infrastructure available, and the resources available to each client. And yet, in spite of the administration’s fear-mongering that ISPs will lock out clients of humble means, and the need to hand all bandwidth over to plutocrats, internet access continues to expand. And who can be surprised? Have grocery stores stopped carrying low-priced nutritious food such as bananas and oatmeal just because Nabisco Corp. pays for better product placement for its costly processed foods? Obviously not.

Who will Control the FCC?

  All goods need not be allocated in response to the human-choice-driven price mechanism of the marketplace. Goods and services can also be allocated by political means. That is, states, employing coercive means can seize goods and services and allocate them according to certain political goals and the goals of people in positions of political power. There is nothing “neutral” about this method of allocating resources.

  In the net neutrality debate, it’s almost risible that some are suggesting that the FCC will somehow necessarily work in the “public” interest. First of all, we can already see how the FCC regards the public with its refusal to make its own proposals public. Second, who will define who the “public” is? And finally, after identifying who the “public” is, how will the governing bodies of the FCC determine what the “public” wants?

  It’s a safe bet there will be no plebiscitary process, so what mechanism will be used? In practice, bureaucratic agencies respond to lobbying and political pressure like any other political institution. Those who can most afford to lobby and provide information to the FCC, however, will not be ordinary people who have the constraints of household budgets and lives to live in places other than Washington, DC office buildings. No, the general public will be essentially powerless because regulatory regimes diminish the market power of customers.

  Most of the interaction that FCC policymakers will have with the “public” will be through lobbyists working for the internet service providers, so what net neutrality does is turn the attention of the ISPs away from the consumers themselves and toward the regulatory agency. In the marketplace, a firm’s customers are the most important decision makers. But the more regulated an industry becomes, the more important the regulating agency becomes to the firm’s owners and managers.

  The natural outcome will be more “regulatory capture,” in which the institutions with the most at stake in a regulatory agency’s decisions end up controlling the agencies themselves. We see this all the time in the revolving door between legislators, regulators, and lobbyists. And you can also be sure that once this happens, the industry will close itself off to new innovative firms seeking to enter the marketplace. The regulatory agencies will ensure the health of the status quo providers at the cost of new entrepreneurs and new competitors.

Nor are such regulatory regimes even “efficient” in the mainstream use of the term. As economist Douglass North noted, regulatory regimes do not improve efficiency, but serve the interests of those with political power:

Institutions are not necessarily or even usually created to be socially efficient; rather they, or at least the formal rules, are created to serve the interests of those with the bargaining power to create new rules.

  So, if populists think net neutrality will somehow give “the people” greater voice in how bandwidth is allocated and ISPs function, they should think again.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute. “

Thanks to Ryan McMaken and the Mises Institute

Record-Breaking 1Tbps Speed Achieved Over 5G Mobile Connection

 

 

” New Generations usually bring new base technologies, more network capacity for more data per user, and high speed Internet service, for which Internet service providers usually advertise. However, it is believed that the fifth generation (5G Technology) of mobile network will be beyond our thoughts.
  Security researchers from the University of Surrey have just achieved Record-Breaking data speeds during a recent test of 5G wireless data connections, achieving an incredible One Terabit per second (1Tbps) speed – many thousands of times faster than the existing 4G connections.
  After 4G, 5G is the next generation of mobile communication technology that aims at offering far greater capacity and be faster, more energy-efficient and more cost-effective than anything that has seen before. The boffins say 5G will be different – very different.
  The 5G test was conducted at the university’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), which was founded by a host of telecoms industry partners including Huawei, Fujitsu, Samsung, Vodafone, EE, Aircom, BT, Telefonica, Aeroflex, BBC and Rohde & Schwarz.
 
  1Tbps of speeds are far faster than previously announced 5G tests – Samsung’s 7.5 gigabits per second (Gbps) record, which was 30 times faster than 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) speed and just less than 1% of the Surrey team’s speed.

” We have developed 10 more breakthrough technologies and one of them means we can exceed 1Tbps wirelessly. This is the same capacity as fiber optics but we are doing it wirelessly,” 5GIC director Prof Rahim Tafazolli told the news website V3.

  With 1Tbps, it is possible to download a file 100 times the size of a feature film in just three seconds. This incredible speed is over 65,000 times faster than the current 4G download speeds.
  The test was carried out over a distance of 100 meters using equipment built at the university. The head of the 5GIC said he planned to demonstrate the technology to the public in 2018. It’s believed that 5G could possibly be available in the UK by 2020.”
    Read more about the latest development in internet technology , possibly ready for prime time in 2020 … assuming the State hasn’t destroyed the web by then .
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Republicans Fear Net Neutrality Plan Could Lead To UN Internet Powers

 

 

 

 

” The U.S. government’s plan to enact strong net neutrality regulations could embolden authoritarian regimes like China and Russia to seize more power over the Internet through the United Nations, a key Senate Republican warned Wednesday.

  Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune of South Dakota argued that by claiming more authority over Internet access for net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission will undermine the ability of the U.S. to push back against international plots to control the Internet and censor content.

  Countries like Russia already have made it clear that they want the International Telecommunications Union or another United Nations body to have more power over the Internet, Thune said.

” It seems like reclassifying broadband, as the administration is doing, is losing a valuable argument,” Thune said at his panel’s hearing on Internet governance. “How do you prevent ITU involvement when you’re pushing to reclassify the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, and is everyone aware of that inherent contradiction?”

  On Thursday, the FCC is set to vote on net neutrality regulations that would declare Internet access a “telecommunications service” under Title II. Advocates, including President Obama, argue that the move is the only way the FCC can enact rules that will hold up to legal challenges in court. The rules aim to prevent Internet providers from acting as “gatekeepers” and controlling what content users can access online. 

  David Gross, a partner at the law firm Riley Wein who advises tech and telecom companies, agreed with Thune’s warning.

  The U.S. has consistently argued that the Internet is not a “telecommunication service” and therefore outside of the authority of the International Telecommunications Union, he explained. “If they were to find that Internet service is a telecommunications service, that would undoubtedly make the job of my successors much more complicated,” Gross, a former ambassador to the ITU during the George W. Bush administration, said.

  A top Obama administration official dismissed the comparison between net neutrality and UN control of the Internet.”

   Read the rest at National Journal and see how confident in the Obama administration’s assurances you are . It’s not like they’ve ever lied to us .

Cybergeddon: Why The Internet Could Be The Next “Failed State”

 

 

 

 

 

 

” In the New York City of the late 1970s, things looked bad. The city government was bankrupt, urban blight was rampant, and crime was high. But people still went to the city every day because that was where everything was happening. And despite the foreboding feelings hanging over New York at the time, the vast majority of those people had at most minor brushes with crime.

  Today, we all dabble in some place that looks a lot like 1970s New York City—the Internet. (For those needing a more recent simile, think the Baltimore of The Wire). Low-level crime remains rampant, while increasingly sophisticated crime syndicates go after big scores. There is a cacophony of hateful speech, vice of every kind (see Rule 34), and policemen of various sorts trying to keep a lid on all of it—or at least, trying to keep the chaos away from most law-abiding citizens. But people still use the Internet every day, though the ones who consider themselves “street smart” do so with varying levels of defenses installed. Things sort of work.

  Just like 1970s New York, however, there’s a pervasive feeling that everything could go completely to hell with the slightest push—into a place to be escaped from with the aid of a digital Snake Plissken. In other words, the Internet might soon look less like 1970s New York and more like 1990s Mogadishu: warring factions destroying the most fundamental of services, “security zones” reducing or eliminating free movement, and security costs making it prohibitive for anyone but the most well-funded operations to do business without becoming a “soft target” for political or economic gain.

  That day is not yet nigh, but logic suggests the status quo can’t continue forever. The recent rash of major breaches of corporate networks, including the theft of personal information from the health insurer Anthem and the theft of as much as a billion dollars from over 100 banks are symptoms of a much larger trend of cybercrime and espionage. And while the issue has been once again raised to national importance by the White House, it could be argued that governments have done more to exacerbate the problem than address it. Fears of digital warfare and crime are shifting budget priorities, funding the rapid expansion of the security industry and being used as a reason for proposals for new laws and policy that could reshape the Internet.

“ If we think our kids and grandkids are going to have as awesome and free an Internet as the one we have, we really have to look at why we think that,” Jason Healey, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council of the United States, told Ars.”

 

Read the whole thing at ArsTechnica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eleventh-Hour Drama For Net Neutrality

 

These three political appointees hold the key to the future of the internet … WTF ?

 

 

 

” A Democrat on the Federal Communications Commission wants to see changes that could narrow the scope of new net neutrality rules set for a vote on Thursday.

  Mignon Clyburn, one of three Democrats on the FCC, has asked Chairman Tom Wheeler to roll back some of his provisions before the full commission votes on them, FCC officials said.

  The request — which Wheeler has yet to respond to — puts the chairman in the awkward position of having to either roll back his proposals, or defend the tough rules and convince Clyburn to back down.

  It’s an ironic spot for Wheeler, who for months was considered to be favoring weaker rules than those pushed for by his fellow Democrats, before he reversed himself and backed tougher restrictions on Internet service providers.

  Clyburn’s objections complicate the highly anticipated vote and add an extra bit of drama to the already high tensions on the five-member commission.  

  Wheeler will need the votes of both Clyburn and Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to pass the rules, since the two Republicans on the commission are expected to vote against anything he proposes.  

  Clyburn’s changes would leave in place the central and most controversial component of Wheeler’s rules — the notion that broadband Internet service should be reclassified so that it can be treated as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, similar to utilities like phone lines.

  The full text of the rules will not be revealed to the public until after the FCC’s vote on Thursday morning.”

 

The Hill has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FCC Chief Pressed To Release Net Neutrality Rules

 

 

 

 

” A key Republican lawmaker in Congress called for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to make proposed net neutrality regulations public before a planned Thursday vote on the measure.

  In the latest wrinkle in the Republicans’ battle to quash Wheeler’s proposals, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who’s also the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter today to Wheeler, questioning whether the FCC has been “independent, fair and transparent” in crafting the rules to protect content on the Internet.

” Although arguably one of the most sweeping new rules in the commission’s history, the process was conducted without using many of the tools at the chairman’s disposal to ensure transparency and public review,” he said.

  Chaffetz urged Wheeler to publicly release the 332-page draft order that was given to the other four commissioners nearly three weeks ago and appear at a House Oversight hearing Wednesday before a vote at the FCC’s monthly meeting Thursday.

  Also today, FCC commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly too asked for Wheeler to release the proposal to the public and postpone the Thursday vote to allow for 30 days of public comment.”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FBI Digital Search-Warrant Plan A ‘Monumental’ Constitutional Threat, Says Google

 

 

 

 

” Tech giant Google submitted court documents this week charging that a new FBI plan for obtaining digital search warrants is a “monumental” constitutional threat.

  Richard Salgado, Google’s director for law enforcement and information security, wrote Tuesday that the Justice Department’s plans for remotely accessing computer files “raises a number of monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal, and geopolitical concerns that should be left to Congress to decide.”

  National Journal reported Wednesday that the federal government wants to make changes to a criminal procedure provision known as Rule 41, which would allow judges to approve warrants outside their jurisdictions.

“ The serious and complex constitutional concerns implicated by the proposed amendment are numerous and, because of the nature of Fourth Amendment case law development, are unlikely to be addressed by courts in a timely fashion,” Mr. Salgado wrote.

  Google fears the federal government is using vague language that would permit it to spy on millions of Americans simultaneously.”

More at Washington Times

Republican Lawmakers Investigate White House Net Neutrality Push

 

 

 

” Congressional Republicans are demanding to know how much the White House influenced the Federal Communications Commission while the agency crafted net neutrality rules.

  The FCC has until Monday afternoon to produce unredacted email messages, focused on net neutrality rules, between FCC staff and officials with the Obama administration, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz said in a letter to the FCC Friday. The Utah Republican is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

  Chaffetz’s committee is “investigating the potential involvement of the White House” in the creation of proposed net neutrality rules that the FCC is scheduled to vote on next Thursday, he said in the letter. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will propose regulations that would reclassify broadband as a regulated telecommunications service instead of a lightly regulated information service.

Chaffetz’s letter to the FCC came just two days after Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee told Wheeler they were expanding an investigation into agency rule-making processes.”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DDoS Attacks Against Governments More Powerful And Popular Than Ever

 

 

 

” When the protesters hit the streets, expect DDoS attacks to hit the Web. 

  Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are being used against government targets more than ever before, according to new research from Internet infrastructure firm Verisign. The attacks are increasingly powerful, cheap, and easy to deploy.

  DDoS attacks work by flooding a target—a bank, for instance, or a popular website—with data in order to make it crash or unusable for users. It’s not only an easy-to-use, cheap, and effective weapon for hackers, it’s also a goldmine for security firms paid to defend against the attacks.

  DDoS attacks against public-sector targets grew to account for 15 percent of all attacks recorded by the company at the end of 2014. The average size of attacks grew in size by 245 percent, Verisign found.

  DDoS-for-hire services can cost as little as $2 per hour, delivering an easy-to-use but potentially powerful punch to any Internet-connected devices on earth. 

  The DDoS defense market—where Verisign is a major player—is projected to hit $1.6 billion within two years.”

 

Daily Dot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Can’t The Public See Obama’s Proposed Internet Regulations?

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Republican senators Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, and Rand Paul have all been high profile opponents of the Obama administrations current plan to regulate the internet — in particular, Lee has called the regulation a government “takeover” of the internet and says it amounts to a “a massive tax increase on the middle class, being passed in the dead of night without the American public really being made aware of what is going on.”

  And when Lee says that the American public isn’t aware of what’s going on, that is in no way hyperbole. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has emerged as a hero for those opposed to the regulation because Pai has been taking to the airwaves decrying the fact that the public is not allowed to see 332 pages of proposed internet regulation before they are potentially passed. Pai’s crusade to make the proposed regulations public is the theme of the the latest ad from Protect Internet Freedom: ” (see above)

 

 

Thanks to Mark Hemingway and the Weekly Standard . Whatever happened to Obama’s promise of “all laws will be published on web for five days before a vote” ?

 

 

Promise Broken

 

    Like every other promise from the most “honest , open and transparent” administration ever , it’s bull***t . For those with selective memory the video below contains all the promises on transparency and openness in one convenient location:

 

 

 

All we seem to get from this wondrous administration is lies , lies and more lies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russian Researchers Expose Breakthrough U.S. Spying Program

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.

  That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyber-espionage operations.

  Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. (http://reut.rs/1L5knm0)

  The firm declined to publicly name the country behind the spying campaign, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, the NSA-led cyber-weapon that was used to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment facility. The NSA is the agency responsible for gathering electronic intelligence on behalf of the United States.”

 

Lots more on the latest State spying revelations at Yahoo News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Internet Groups In Tricky Position Over US Net Neutrality

 

 

 

 

The problem comes with the form the rules will take. With heavy nudging from the White House, the FCC has opted to repurpose an authority it was given under an old telecoms law, known as Title II, to make it apply to the internet era.

  Like all deeply technical issues that become political footballs, it has not been hard for the rival camps to turn this into opposing talking points. Depending on where you stand, it is either bold action to protect an open internet or inappropriately sweeping, utility-style regulation.

  What is indisputable is that the legislation the FCC is relying on was designed for circuit-switched telephone networks in a different age. The only way to adapt it to modern times is to suppress certain parts of Title II and implement it piecemeal. The FCC promises a light touch: in particular, it says it will avoid price regulation or any requirements that might force operators to unbundle their networks.

  If history is any guide, a challenge in the courts will follow. There is simply too much at stake for the regulations not to be tested. And, as was the case with the last approach to net neutrality, it is not beyond the courts to reject the FCC’s compromise as unduly arbitrary.

  This is where things could become dicey for companies such as Google and Facebook. Who knows how some future FCC would interpret its new Title II powers, or whether a court would order a different implementation of the law. Price regulation of the internet’s interconnection agreements would always be a looming threat.

  It is not just the impact in the US itself that is at stake. There is also the question of what message US regulators are about to send to the rest of the world. The risk is that Washington will be seen to be giving a nod of approval to the idea of extending traditional telecoms rate regulations to the internet.”

 

 

Read the whole piece at Financial Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning we have been surprised to find a popup at the bottom of our page advocating FCC control of the internet . This popup banner was not put up by our staff and we cannot find any way of deleting it . We have to assume that this is something that WordPress has taken upon itself to put on our page and we are not happy about it in the least . We have two questions for our fellow bloggers : Is this Statist banner on your page against your will as well and does anyone know how to get rid of it ? 

Republican FCC Commissioner Slams ‘Obama’s 332-Page Plan To Regulate The Internet’

 

 

Net Neutrality Plan

Click the pic for Mr Pai’s Twitter post and read the comments

 

 

” Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai on Friday raised the first of many criticisms to come about FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s aggressive net neutrality plan distributed to commissioners Thursday, which Pai described as “President Obama’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet.”

  In a statement released Friday, Pai lamented the fact that the 332-page plan, which he tweeted a picture of himself holding next to a picture of Obama, won’t be released to the public until after the commission votes on its implementation later this month.

President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works,” Pai said. “The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband… These new taxes will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.

  In his initial cursory overview of the plan, the commissioner said it would hinder broadband investment, slow network speed and expansion, limit outgrowth to rural areas of the country and reduce Internet service provider (ISP) competition.

The plan saddles small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs with heavy-handed regulations that will push them out of the market,” Pai said. “As a result, Americans will have fewer broadband choices. This is no accident. Title II was designed to regulate a monopoly. If we impose that model on a vibrant broadband marketplace, a highly regulated monopoly is what we’ll get.” “

 

Daily Caller has more on the secret plans for State control of the internet 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massive Utah Cyberattacks — Up To 300 Million Per Day — May Be Aimed At NSA Facility

 

 

 

” Five years ago, Utah government computer systems faced 25,000 to 30,000 attempted cyberattacks every day.

  At the time, Utah Public Safety Commissioner Keith Squires thought that was massive. “But this last year we have had spikes of over 300 million attacks against the state databases” each day: a 10,000-fold increase.

  Why? Squires says it is probably because Utah is home to the new, secretive National Security Agency computer center, and hackers believe they can somehow get to it through state computer systems.

” I really do believe it was all the attention drawn to the NSA facility. In the cyberworld, that’s a big deal,” Squires told a legislative budget committee Tuesday. “I watched as those increases jumped so much over the last few years. And talking to counterparts in other states, they weren’t seeing that amount of increase like we were.” “

Read more

Does Your State Protect Your Privacy In The Digital Age?

 

Privacy Rights In The Digital Age

 

 

 

” New technologies make it possible for state and local law enforcement agencies to engage in surveillance that used to be prohibitively expensive and/or effectively impossible. The ACLU has been working with legislators across the country to put in place rules to ensure that we can take advantage of these new technologies without becoming a surveillance society in which our every movements are tracked, monitored, and scrutinized by the authorities. Much of our work to that end focuses on: law enforcement access to electronic communications content, location tracking,automatic license plate readers, and domestic surveillance drones.

  If we can address these four issue areas, we will go a long way toward protecting privacy in the digital age. This map provides a snapshot of the states that have already provided privacy protections for some or all of them. Of course, the devil is in the details of these laws, and we encourage you to review the bill text or to check out the ACLU’s blog for more information on just how much protection there is in your state.”

 

Thanks to the ACLU