Thursday, June 25, 2009
Quote of Note: Debby Cwalina
Debbie Cwalina, Girl Scout, explaining how Girl Scouts see ASCAP, since the Scouts can't afford to license ASCAP songs at summer camp.
UPDATE: <blush> A comment by Bob, below, points out that this story is datelined 1996. I missed this little fact completely. Wonder how the Girl Scouts and ASCAP are getting along these days. </blush>
[source] [h/t Hamish MacEwan]
Genachowski & Strickling Confirmed by Senate!
More questions about WSJ claims of Iran DPI
More questions than mine [my original post here] have surfaced about the WSJ's story from a graduate student in Australia and from Wired's Threat Level Blog. Meanwhile, Free Press, the major driving force behind the Net Neutrality movement, seems to have swallowed the WSJ story hook, line and sinker accepted the major claims of the story.
Cui bono, these claims about Iran's use of DPI? Suppose the Right could co-opt US techno-leftists with claims about issues they care about, such as Net Neutrality and Internet spying, would it not further their Iran agenda? I'm not saying they ARE doing that, but suppose they were, would not the WSJ be a convenient channel for doing so?
Christopher Parsons, a doctoral student at the University of Victoria, wrote to Lauren Weinstein, who posted to Dave Farber's IP list,
I have some serious doubts that the WSJ is accurate in their depiction ofIf you follow the link above, Parsons writes, in part,
DPI. I'm doing my doctoral studies on DPI as it relates to privacy, and
neither I nor the network engineers that I have communicated with (who are
using DPI appliances) are aware of ANY DPI appliance that is actually
capable of doing what the WSJ is claiming is going on. I've written about
this, informally, here.
. . . Iran is either using DPI in incredibly complex and sophisticated ways that push the technology to its limits, or the WSJ is blowing smoke.
. . . DPI could, potentially, in an ideal world do what the WSJ is suggesting, but networking environments where admins are trying to regulate gigabytes of traffic each second are hardly these ideal environments for mass surveillance and content regulation using DPI appliances. Hopefully the pressure gets Nokia-Siemens or other network manufacturer to fess up about what they sold, but I’m not holding my breath.Whereas my doubts are largely about the article's primary source, Parsons also casts doubt on one of two named secondary sources, Bradley Anstis, director of technical strategy with Marshal8e6, when he says,
I truly wonder just how accurate the story from the WSJ is on the technical capabilities of the DPI devices that are deployed, and am also incredibly interested to know what the tests are to see if DPI is being used. I’m not saying that such tests don’t exist, but I’m not certain what, exactly, you’d be looking for. A network engineer would have a better grasp, but I haven’t found any product that Marshal8e6 offers that would give them particular insight into this. Now, if we were talking about spam or phishing I wouldn’t doubt their competencies. I also have to note that the data Marshal8e6 fed to the WSJ isn’t available on their website anywhere that I could find it.Threat Level Blog's Kim Zetter, in reporting on the WSJ story, says,
Although the Journal has published questionable “spying” stories in the past, we’re willing to go with them on this one.Zetter fails to say WHY Threat Level is "willing to go with them on this one."
Zettner also blogs Consumers Boycott Nokia, Siemens for Selling to Iran. This article is completely, totally unsourced, and seems to be the only primary information on this supposed boycott. If anybody knows anybody who is organizing this boycott, or participating in it, or a Web site for it, or any other free-standing evidence that does not originate with Zettner's story, please leave a comment or let me know!
Josh Silver, Executive Director of Free Press, an organization whose general aims I strongly support, has fallen for the dubious WSJ story. In an interview on Democracy Now, Silver says,
[The WSJ story has] been disputed by the European company, but the validity of the report seems solid.Silver fails to say why the validity of the report seems solid. He fails to note that not only did "the European Company" (Nokia-Siemens) dispute the report, but also the primary source for the story, Ben Roome, a Nokia-Siemens spokesman, denies that he said what is attributed to him.
Just before the Iran election hit the fan, Free Press released a report on the use of DPI that outlines many REAL DANGERS that DPI poses, and the bulk of Silver's interview turns on these dangers. To Silver's credit, he does state that the WSJ story on Iran "has not been completely proven." But it is too bad that Free Press can't make their points about the dangers of Internet monitoring from higher, more solid ground.
Reminder: I'm not saying that Iran isn't using DPI. I'm not saying there's no Nokia-Siemens boycott. I am saying that I'm waiting for solid evidence. Got evidence? Please let me know.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Talking Net Politics in Silicon Valley
When policy people go to Silicon Valley, they need to explain why politics is relevant to Silicon Valley jobs and companies. I just re-stumbled across a clip of my own talk from the previous EComm. I didn't make that mistake; the talk got across. Here's a substantial clip from it:
Personal Democracy Forum is next week
I'm especially looking forward to hearing from White House CIO Vivek Kundra, VRML inventor and visionary Mark Pesce, and must-read NYT Columnist Frank Rich, and also, if it is anything like last year's PDF, to the several surprises that are bound to occur.
See you there!
Monday, June 22, 2009
Questions about WSJ story on Net Management in Iran
The WSJ story, headlined Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology, says
Interviews with technology experts in Iran and outside the country say Iranian efforts at monitoring Internet information go well beyond blocking access to Web sites or severing Internet connections.Now Roome is all over Twitter denying that he said what the WSJ reports. He points to his blog, which says,
Instead, in confronting the political turmoil that has consumed the country this past week, the Iranian government appears to be engaging in a practice often called deep packet inspection, which enables authorities to not only block communication but to monitor it to gather information about individuals, as well as alter it for disinformation purposes, according to these experts.
The monitoring capability was provided, at least in part, by a joint venture of Siemens AG, the German conglomerate, and Nokia Corp., the Finnish cellphone company, in the second half of 2008, Ben Roome, a spokesman for the joint venture, confirmed.
The "monitoring center," installed within the government's telecom monopoly, was part of a larger contract with Iran that included mobile-phone networking technology, Mr. Roome said.
Nokia Siemens Networks has not provided any deep packet inspection, web censorship or Internet filtering capability to Iran.He says Nokia Siemens only provides
Lawful Intercept . . . with the capability to conduct voice monitoring of local calls on its fixed and mobile network.Chris Rhoads, the reporter who co-wrote today's story, also co-wrote a story that painted what I said to support something I didn't mean. Two other sources for that story, Larry Lessig and Rick Whitt, also felt the same way! So even though the claim that the Iranian government is using the Internet for spying and censorship is consistent with my beliefs, I have to take spokesman Roome's claim, that Rhoads' reporting goes beyond what he said, seriously! [Here's that WSJ Story and my blog post on that story.]
Today's WSJ story raises a second question. First it quotes Roome saying,
"If you sell networks, you also, intrinsically, sell the capability to intercept any communication that runs over them."But then the story reports (and Roome confirms) that Nokia Siemens
exited the business that included the monitoring equipment, what it called "intelligence solutions," at the end of March, by selling it to Perusa Partners Fund 1 LP, a Munich-based investment firm, Mr. Roome said. He said the company determined it was no longer part of its core business.So are "intelligence solutions" intrinsic to networks or not?
I would like to think that Iran's government is raising a danger flag about using deep packet inspection and other forms of Internet monitoring for anti-democratic political suppression. But if you strip away the claims attributed to Roome, which he denies, you're left with one anonymous Iranian engineer saying,
We didn't know they could do this much . . . Now we know they have powerful things that allow them to do very complex tracking on the network.and Bradley Anstis, director of technical strategy with Marshal8e6 Inc., an Internet security company in Orange, California, saying (according to the article) that, [Anstis] "and other experts interviewed have examined Internet traffic flows in and out of Iran that show characteristics of content inspection, among other measures." The article quotes Anstis directly making general claims like
[Iran is] now drilling into what the population is trying to say,and
This looks like a step beyond what any other country is doing, including China.But how would we know? The main source has denied that he said what the story reported, the other two experts are generality-rich and specifics-poor, and one co-reporter has a history of writing stories that his sources disavow.
We can see evidence that Iran is involved in wholesale Internet shutdowns. But where is the evidence that it is doing spying via packet (or header) inspection? My mind is more than open, it is *ready* to see it. Nevertheless, today's WSJ story isn't anything more than suggestive; it certainly doesn't stand on its own.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Iranian "Network Management"
Technorati Tags: NetworkNeutrality
DOD: Free Speech is Terrorism
Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism activity?
Select the correct answer and then click Check Your Answer.
O Attacking the Pentagon
O Hate crimes against racial groups
The "correct" answer is Protests.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Verizon blow out
Four hours later there are three Verizon vehicles, three fire trucks, a police car, two Environmental Clean-up Services of Vermont vehicles, and a crew of dozens. One guy is vacuuming up kitty litter soaked in hydraulic fluid. Two cops are directing traffic.
You'd think a capex-heavy company like Verizon would replace its fleet once in a while! Or at least do the preventative maintenance.
I shudder to think what this is costing. My guess is that this morning's mess is worth about half a Verizon truck. Maybe Verizon won't pay for the fire trucks and police cars and firemen and police men and women . . . but I, most assuredly, will.
Twee2Blog: Iran Election News
Rumours (and photos) of actual real, filled-in, stamped ballots found dumped out of Tehran in thousands. #iranelection #gr88 (RT @lotfan)
RT @LilyMazahery I'm getting reports that telephone communications in various parts of Tehran have now been cut off too.
Guardian on today's rallies: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2009/jun/17/iran-uprising #gr88 #iranelection
Blogs w/ good/great updates: @dailydish- http://bit.ly/HpSSc, Guardian http://bit.ly/sPKgJ, Nico Pitney, Huffpost http://bit.ly/3x210o #gr88
Clearly the best source of news on the Iran Election Fiasco is Twitter, thanks to diligent aggregators like @Katrinskaya
Friday, June 12, 2009
Wired for War
Remote-controlled and autonomous vehicles are already playing major roles. Today there are 22 different kinds of ground systems in use in Iraq alone, not to mention airborne drones like the Predator, which is responsible for controversial attacks in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, and,
"it's bigger brother, Global Hawk, which can stay in the [air] for up to 35 hours and reach an altitude of 65,000 feet."How about,
". . . the Spartan Scout, a 30 foot robotic speedboat, packing a .50-caliber machine gun."Those are deployed today. Tomorrow is even scarier. Isenberg writes,
So what happens when other countries which are even more advanced in electronics and robotics, like Japan, start investing in military robotics?[Countries? What about small groups hacking roombas, quad-copters, etc.? We gonna outlaw model airplanes? -- DSI]
As Singer notes the US is not the only player in this. And, as an early adopter, the US may well be surpassed by other countries which piggyback off US developments.
Because so much of robotic development is based on open source information [download source code for one project here -- DSI] their increased use may well hasten the global redistribution of power; not exactly the result that those hoping the use of military robots will allow continued US military hegemony.He says that author Singer believes that Murphy's Law,
And how does the US military field enough scientifically and technologically adept personnel, when it has trouble attracting sufficient high school graduates, which was the case until the recent recession eased its recruiting problems.
"Anything that can go wrong, will - at the worst possible moment,"also applies to robots.
In other words,
. . . to quote the tag line from one sci-fi movie classic (The Fly, 1986) . . . "Be afraid . . . Be very afraid."But, Isenberg says we must face what we fear if we are to deal with it. He quotes Singer:
"We embrace war but don't like to look to its future, including now one of the most fundamental changes ever in war."
It's Official: Value Moving to Edge
". . . the latest smartphones (Pre, Bold, iPhone) show that wireless applications can be separated from the underlying network. Indeed, apps must be provided separately to allow the explosive innovation required to grow as well as take advantage of global economies of scale. Applications and hardware are global, with future expense elasticity being driven primarily by their adoption in markets such as China and India, rather than the U.S. This could potentially cannibalize voice and text messaging with applications for which the service providers receive little revenues (e.g., instant messaging, Skype, Fring, Truphone and Nimbuzz are all VoIP applications now available wirelessly). The obvious conflict this creates between the service providers and the application/hardware providers will be the most important dynamic the industry will face.The carriers need to face the fact that just because something is unthinkable doesn't mean it's not going to happen. Today mobile phones. Tomorrow cable TV.
The Oppenheimer team thinks the winners will be backhaul providers, towercos and data centers -- in other words, infrastructure providers. The losers; anybody that depends on integration of infrastructure and app.
I had it right in 1997, but my timing was off. If you believe the Oppenheimer team, the time for wireless dis-integration is now.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
No wonder the big studios are scared . . .
Working with two colleagues, [Duncan] Watts designed an online music-downloading service. They filled it with 48 songs by new, unknown, and unsigned bands. Then they recruited roughly 14,000 people to log in. Some were asked to rank the songs based on their own personal preference, without regard to what other people thought. They were picking songs purely on each song's merit. But the other participants were put into eight groups that had "social influence": Each could see how other members of the group were ranking the songs.
Watts predicted that word of mouth would take over. And sure enough, that's what happened. In the merit group, the songs were ranked mostly equitably, with a small handful of songs drifting slightly lower or higher in popularity. But in the social worlds, as participants reacted to one another's opinions, huge waves took shape. A small, elite bunch of songs became enormously popular, rising above the pack, while another cluster fell into relative obscurity.
Hat tip to @kevinmarks
New Scientist Mis-Lede
The article's lede continues the deception, saying,
True or false: taking the commuter train across Boston results in lower greenhouse gas emissions than travelling the same distance in a jumbo jet. Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is false.The whole premise is false. Nobody ever takes a six mile trip on a jumbo jet. It's as meaningless as saying the average human has one testicle.
The New Scientist article is attempting to report an academic study by Mikhail V. Chester and Arpad Horvath, entitled, "Environmental assessment of passenger transportation should include infrastructure and supply chains," Environ. Res. Lett. 4 (2009) [link.pdf]. It's a pretty good attempt to look at more than just fuel use in determining how various means of transportation use energy and pollute.
The study compares the per-person-kilometer energy footprints of busses that are full with busses that are empty, but it fails to compare full and empty airplanes. It breaks out airplanes by size but not by another, more important variable, short-haul versus long haul trip. It fails to even attempt to account for the trips that *never would occur* if there were no airplanes, or if they were slower, etc. And it fails to relate that every plane trip begins and ends with a car, bus or train trip to and from the airport.
The study, and the New Scientist mis-reporting of it, it impels this rant against the apparently irresistible urge to conclude more -- and different -- than the data indicate.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
They're not gonna drive my roads for free!
Oy, oy oy! The FCC Web site . . .
I needed to call the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) Help Desk to figure out how to file the Its the Internet Stupid Comment. Fortunately, I figured out I needed to call the ECFS Help Desk before it closes at 4:30 East Coast Time. Then I needed a tutorial from a friend to figure out how to download and view the 495 comments filed to date.
If you want to view the comments filed so far, just go to this easy-to-remember URL: http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/websql/prod/ecfs/comsrch_v2.hts?ws_mode=retrieve_list&id_proceeding=09-51
Go to the bottom of the page and click on Enter New Search Criteria. Do this even if you don't have any old search criteria.
On the Search for Filed Comments page that comes up, enter the docket number. In the case of FCC GN Docket No. 09-51 you enter only this: 09-51. You've just gotta know this.
Then, if you're looking for our comment, you may enter David S. or you may enter Isenberg under "Filed on behalf of." But if you enter David Isenberg, it will return Zero Documents.
Want to find it based on key words, or a text string search? Heh. How does it feel to want, sucka? It's so 1998.
Now try to download it. Just click on the blue-fonted hyperlinked word COMMENT, and open the downloaded document, right? WRONG.
What gets downloaded is a file named -- in every case -- retrieve.cgi. Doesn't matter if it's filed by Free Press, Brett Glass or AT&T; everybody's comment is named retrieve.cgi. If you want to download ten in a row, you're S-out-of-luck. You've got to rename each file, one at a time, to have a meaningful name and a .pdf extension. With a .pdf extension, you can click-to-open the comment in Acrobat, Preview or some other .pdf reader.
Welcome to the "public" comment system at the FCC! No wonder telecom policy is an inside game around here.
Tucows CEO tells why It's the Internet Stupid
Tucows’ CEO Elliot Noss explains the "It's the Internet Stupid" initiative to focus the upcoming National Broadband Plan on “faster, more affordable, more ubiquitous, more reliable connections to the Internet.”
As a signatory to the initiative, Noss believes it’s essential not to confuse “broadband” with access to the Internet. It needs to be spelled out explicitly to make sure that the plan meets the needs of ordinary citizens.
[link to source, a tucows news item]
Monday, June 08, 2009
It's the Internet Stupid: The Press Release
FCC's National Broadband Plan Should Put Internet First
FOR: ISEN.COM, LLC
JUN 8, 2009 - 18:02 ET
COS COB, CT--(Marketwire - June 8, 2009) - A group of 41 computer scientists, network engineers, Internet business owners, legal scholars, best-selling authors and other Internet experts are telling the FCC to put the Internet at the center of its National Broadband Plan. "This is our country's big chance to make up lost ground," said spokesperson David Isenberg, Principal Prosultant(SM) of isen.com, LLC, "but a faster connection won't matter if we're not connecting to a free and open Internet." In essence, the experts are telling the FCC, "It's the Internet, Stupid." They've published their statement at http://ItsTheInternetStupid.com/.
The group points out that most of the benefits that Congress wants the National Broadband Plan to deliver -- such as job creation, civic participation, energy efficiency and health care delivery -- come from one specific use of broadband connectivity: accessing the Internet. (Broadband is also used in cable TV, cell phone and corporate networks.) The group is concerned that a focus on broadband that does not emphasize Internet connections could lead to an infrastructure that does not yield the very benefits the Broadband Plan aims to deliver.
The group includes Vint Cerf, who, with Bob Kahn, designed the TCP and IP protocols in 1973. It also includes David P. Reed, a co-inventor of one of the Internet's most important principles, Steve Crocker, who designed the process that improves and expands the definition of the Internet, and Scott Bradner, a lifelong leader of the Internet Society, the Internet Engineering Task Force and other Internet technical groups. It also includes Mitch Kapor and John Perry Barlow, who founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Robin Chase, who was recently named by Time Magazine as one of 100 most influential people of 2009, and Lawrence Lessig, a leader in Internet law and culture.
The group includes Michael R. Nelson, who worked as lead Senate staffer on the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991, which helped transform the Internet from an academic experiment to the useful utility it is today. It includes Tim O'Reilly, of O'Reilly Media, producer of many widely-respected technical books and conferences. It includes authors of formative books about the Internet such as Howard Rheingold, Clay Shirky, Doc Searls, David Weinberger and Jeff Jarvis, insider newsletter publishers Dave Burstein and Gordon Cook, and some two dozen other Internet experts of many stripes. The group was organized over the weekend by David S. Isenberg, Robin Chase and David Weinberger to address concerns about fundamental assumptions of the FCC's first document on a National Broadband Plan.
"The telephone and cable companies, who are saying 'broadband, broadband, broadband,' have money, power, lobbyists and a cash-cow business that is threatened by the Internet," says Isenberg. "The best way to get our message out is by organizing a large group of distinguished Internet experts."
The FCC was directed to produce a National Broadband Plan as a provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The ARRA tells the FCC to deliver a National Broadband Plan to Congress by February 17, 2010. The "It's the Internet, Stupid," experts and over 50 other signers are submitting their statement to the FCC in a first round of public comments that ends today.
About David S. Isenberg: Isenberg was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories until he quit in 1998 to found isen.com, LLC, a decidedly independent telecom analysis firm. He blogs at isen.com/blog and produces F2C: Freedom to Connect, a technology policy conference held in Washington, DC, every March.
About Robin Chase: Chase is currently CEO of GoLoco, a ride-sharing and social network, is also founder and former CEO of ZipCar, the world's most successful car-sharing network. Chase was named as one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people of 2009. She was an invited speaker at the prestigious TED conference in 2008.
About David Weinberger: Weinberger is co-author of the best-selling "Cluetrain Manifesto" and author of two other books that are seminal Internet works, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined," and "Everything is Miscellaneous." He is a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
About isen.com, LLC: isen.com, LLC is an independent telecom analysis firm based in Cos Cob, CT.
Prosultant is a service mark of isen.com, LLC
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact David S. Isenberg 203-661-4798 Email Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Technorati Tags: AaronSwartz, AndrewRasiej, ARRA, ARRA Stimulus Act, BB4US.net, Broadband, Content-Conduit, DavidBurstein, DavidPReed, DavidWeinberger, Democracy, DocSearls, EFF, FCC, GordonCook, GreatDepression2.0, HaroldFeld, Infrastructure, Innovation, Internet, ItsTheInternetStupid, LawrenceLessig, NetworkNeutrality, ParadoxoftheBestNetwork, PublicGoods, NationalBroadbandPlan, RobinChase, savetheinternet, ScottBradner, USBroadbandCoalition, VintCerf
Sunday, June 07, 2009
It's the Internet Stupid
This proceeding is likely be at least as important to U.S. telecommunications policy as the Telecom Act of 1996 was. It could be more powerful if we do it right.
We think the broadband connections that count are connections to the Internet! If we put "broadband" first, we risk twisting and diminishing the Internet to fit somebody's political definition of broadband. But if we put the Internet first, then it's far more likely that broadband will be defined and implemented to serve the Internet we know and love.
In other words, Broadband, schmaudband, fraudband! It's the Internet, stupid.
Please join John Perry Barlow, Scott Bradner, Dave Burstein, Robin Chase, Judi Clark, Gordon Cook, Steve Crocker, Susan Estrada, Harold Feld, Tom Freeburg, Dewayne Hendricks, Jeff Jarvis, Mitch Kapor, Larry Lessig, Sascha Meinrath, Jerry Michalski, Elliott Noss, Leslie Nulty, Tim Nulty, Tim O’Reilly, Andrew Rasiej, David P. Reed, Howard Rheingold, Roy Russell, Doc Searls, Micah L. Sifry, Dana Spiegel, Aaron Swartz, Katrin Verclas, David Weinberger, Stanton Williams, Brian Worobey, Esme Vos Yu and me by signing our comment at ItsTheInternetStupid.com.
Technorati Tags: AaronSwartz, AndrewRasiej, ARRA, ARRA Stimulus Act, BB4US.net, Broadband, Content-Conduit, DavidBurstein, DavidPReed, DavidWeinberger, Democracy, DocSearls, EFF, FCC, GordonCook, GreatDepression2.0, HaroldFeld, Infrastructure, Innovation, Internet, ItsTheInternetStupid, LawrenceLessig, NationalBroadbandPlan, NetworkNeutrality, ParadoxoftheBestNetwork, PublicGoods, RobinChase, savetheinternet, ScottBradner, USBroadbandCoalition
Monday, June 01, 2009
20% of Harvard MBAs pledge for greater good.
Nearly 20 percent of the graduating class have signed “The M.B.A. Oath,” a voluntary student-led pledge that the goal of a business manager is to “serve the greater good.” It promises that Harvard M.B.A.’s will act responsibly, ethically and refrain from advancing their “own narrow ambitions” at the expense of others.
The oath says, in part:
As a manager, my purpose is to serve the greater good by bringing people and resources together to create value that no single individual can create alone. Therefore I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term.
1) What's wrong with the other 80%?
2) Student led, where's the teachers?