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Building the shadow Internet

by danps Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 06:11:23 AM EST

Two developments have started to fragment the Internet of late.  One looks quite a bit more benign, but both threaten the openness that has been a hallmark of the connected world.

Cross posted from Pruning Shears.


No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post

The rise of Internet-enabled mobile devices has had some interesting consequences.  On the face of it, smart phones and tablets are a boon.  They allow people to access email and web sites anywhere, not just when tethered to a desktop.  Laptops, with their greater bulk and relatively short battery life, have traditionally been business devices for those who need to work remotely.

Smaller devices changed that.  Now that consumers are used to having the Web in their pockets, or throwing a tablet into a small bag, everyone is trying to deliver a high quality mobile Web experience.  Reduced screen sizes make many pages difficult to view, which leads to mobile applications (apps) designed specifically for the new form factor.  Which then leads to app stores.

App stores have helped turn devices into unique ecosystems.  In the desktop computer world this has not been an issue: most people would choose one operating system and stick with it.  But if you own an iPhone, you'll have apps designed specifically for it.  You cannot just pick up a Blackberry and immediately start using it the same way.  Sure you can find many of the same apps (and pay for them again), but that is a hassle.  Now that carriers are starting to sign exclusive deals for content, it might become less and less an issue of what software runs on it than what agreements have been inked with whom.

All these new services will be introduced on spiffy new next-generation high speed networks.  Which, incidentally, are being rolled out with absurdly limited usage caps.  Which, incidentally, should not exist at all.  Back in the mid-90's there was lots of freaking out when AOL unveiled an unlimited dial up access plan for $19.95 per month.  The conventional wisdom was that the infrastructure would not support the increased demand.  Guess what?  ISPs built out their networks, capacity rose to meet the new demand, and all was well.  The same should happen now.  If providers are concerned about where the money will come from, they should start with the $200 billion already lavished upon them by taxpayers for just this purpose.

Speaking of AOL, here is how the folks on CNET's Buzz Out Loud talked about these new mobile environments (starts around 15:15):

Natali Morris: What they want you to think is that your computer is the Internet, not that your computer does anything else than what Google permits your computer to do, so not only do they own the Internet, they own your entire computing digital life.

Molly Wood: Well, because everyone is trying to own the connected experience, it is no longer the Web experience, it is the connected experience.  And everybody wants to own that, and have your connection happen through their app.

Benito Gonzalez: It's great - everybody wants to be AOL in the 90's.
If you were actually on AOL in the 90's you probably laughed at that last line, because AOL really did bend over backwards to get its customers to never stray from its sites.  When you connected with AOL it launched with an AOL browser and showed you the AOL home page, which contained links to sports, entertainment, gossip, etc. - all on AOL.  Many people thought AOL was the Internet because they never went anywhere else.  That is what is happening again with these increasingly self-contained systems.

Consider this in conjunction with two other items.  First, the increasing push for "cloud computing," which is just a buzz phrase for remote storage.  Instead of having a local hard drive, a provider like Google or Amazon makes their space available to you.  All your files are on their servers; as long as your mobile device has an app for it, you can get to them.  Tablet, netbook, cell phones - multiple devices all able to see the same stuff.  Sounds much more convenient than having it all on a PC and copying it everywhere right?  And they'll take care of the backups, upgrades and other administrative chores too.  What could be simpler?

Then think about the FCC's soon-to-be released standards that will largely exempt wireless carriers from net neutrality rules.  In practice it will socialize users to expect a more restricted experience with these devices (even more so than the reduced processing power and screen size already do).  Companies will be free to throttle or entirely block sites and users accustomed to a more limited Internet will accept it (perhaps without even knowing it is happening).

Now let's say all your data is on the cloud.  It is very versatile and convenient, provided you remain on good terms with your provider.  But as time goes on and more data gets on the cloud, you become more dependent on it.  You can walk away from a service that has only a handful of files hosted.  What if you put all of your data there?  All your photos, music and so on?  How long would it take to download all that if you had to without much warning?  Would doing so bust your usage cap?  How about private data like electronic tax returns?  Will you keep a smaller, separate local drive for that or trust the provider to safeguard it?  Keep them out of the cloud and you have two drives to keep track of.  What happens if there is a dispute and the provider decides you have violated its terms of service?  Will you be given the chance to retrieve your files?  If so where will you put them?

There are worries beyond customer/business ones.  What if you become troublesome to the powers that be?  We already know the government will lean hard on hosting companies to pull the plug, and companies will comply.  What guarantee is there that your files will not start getting mirrored by, say, the NSA?  Recent developments notwithstanding, there is no reason to expect it couldn't happen, and quickly.  One of the reasons the FISA Amendments Act was so damaging was because it formalized a procedure by which the Constitution may be completely circumvented.  It goes like this:

Government goes to the companies (and you better fucking play ball, mister) and says it wants absolutely everything, no warrants required.  The companies hand it over.  If it goes to court Congress will pass a law granting retroactive immunity before even discovery can begin.  Case closed, problem solved.  That is exactly how it played out in 2008.  We have seen this play before.  We know how it ends.

That is what is beginning now.  Companies are offering an attractive, convenient and high speed (albeit capped and throttled) experience.  Government sets rules privileging the handful of big providers, and an increasingly docile user base slowly funnels into one of those silos.  Federal officials can then, if need be, work with these partners (Orwellian language intended) to get whatever it thinks it has to have - no legal hassles required.  It is a very efficient way to manage an otherwise unwieldy population.

Many people are already thinking through the implications of all this.  In an email exchange a couple weeks ago with CA Berkeley WV from wvablue.com and CPCEconomy, she wrote from her smart phone (republished with her permission):

I have this gadget here, but we still have copper wires to a rotary dial in the kitchen and the intertoobs in the front room comes from that same copper wire. Not ready to lay it all on the wireless altar.
Similarly, in the wake of the government seizure of dozens of domain names a couple weeks ago, a movement has started for a peer-to-peer Domain Name Service (P2P DNS) system.  Instead of relying on domain services that bow to official pressure, activists are working on distributing their own list of names and addresses so that, for instance, WikiLeaks will resolve to 213.251.145.96 on your computer irrespective of what the US (or by proxy your ISP) might want.  This of course would be vulnerable to sabotage as well as splintering of the "Judean People's Front/People's Front of Judea" variety, but it offers a way to be independent of the plutonomy.

We are seeing the development of an increasingly bright line in how users access the Internet.  For most people, who don't know or can't be bothered, there will be an array of relatively cheap and fast wireless options that will allow them to stream media, store favorite music or picture files on remote drives, and generally live their digital lives happily in a gilded cage.  (This all assumes no one takes an interest in the DRM status of their MP3 files or becomes concerned that their pictures might show things that touch on national security.)  For those who do not want to live there - permanently, anyway - there will be another one: Wired, slower, locally stored and self-administered - that will provide access to that portion of the network that has not yet been smothered out of existence.

Display:
by danps (dan at pruningshears (dot) us) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 06:11:46 AM EST
Good diary, I'll comment when I get back from a weekend out.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 07:07:17 AM EST
I think that Internet is so big that new comers are a bit lost... or totally lost in it.

I know some user who are in face-book and tweeter that type on the google searcher to go to one place or another.

They haven't leaned that to type a www.adress.com, because google works.

But on the other hand, I can download almost anything I want from the web (programs, films, series, conferences, not too many books but coming...) just jumping to several places and a few searches.

The is a huge community of people working to spread the message: from uploading documentaries to servers and posting links, to subtitling films and series, or just cracking an pirating for pleasure.

You have big communities sharing and working together to offer lots of things, trough lots of different technical solutions: from the old e-mule networks, to torrents and links to direct servers, mirrored in lots of different ways.

I have a 12 Mbps cable connection, and I can download a film or a documentary in about 10 minutes, copy it to my USB stick and watch it on TV.

USAmerican series are normally translated in 24 hours, and you get them in the original format, with an STR made by someone in less than 16 hour into spanish, and spread out in internet.

Or you have places, where people have translated whole series of documentaries from BBC into spanish (Adam Curtis' The Century of Self, The Power of Nightmares and The Trap come to my mind).

The are tones of people working to give us access to very good things that are hidden in the ordinary places and avoided by the power that be.

So, i'm a very hard internet user and I love it!

On the other hand, I have an e-mail account in gmail, that I use to send big files and as a "cul de sac" for some things.

What I've realized is that I receive invitations to Facebook or hi5 or Tweeter from people I more or less know, but I'm not in the mood to contact them through face-book or in any way.

So, they use your info at their servers for things that you haven't given them any permission at all. But you can't probe it.

So I have a 4TB hard disk where I keep all things downloaded from the web and I use a program called Little Snitch to stop all programs in my computer from calling to the web.

And to finish, I have a first generation iPhone cracked and I pay 6€/month to have unlimited connection to the web from anywhere from my Internet/fixphone/mobile servicer: about 80€ per month taxes included, with free fixphone calls to Spain. It's money and I use the cell-phone a few hours per month. I use Skype Out to call overseas.

And the last, Apple is building a very big cloud, to offer all kind of services, from films to advertising to program downloading and computer back-uping and more, even they will set up and updating service of all of your computer services (theirs and third parties programs, print drivers, whatever,... Good for dummies, but I'll try to keep out.

They are trying to make the web the next TV, but control not only your habits, but your reading habits, your bank account and your paranoias...

Get out of it. Anyway, are enough people in the scotland yard to control the 50.000 cameras in London streets?

The message is go through other ways and try not to leave a trace behind you. Use different nicks everywhere, and enjoy the web until your IP number is closed.

I think that Adam Curtis would be proud of my service delivering his documentaries to my friends, and nephews, subtitled in spanish for free, than having them parked somewhere for not paying © royalties.

Let's keep neutral the web and teach people how to use it!

Thanks to it we know that the western wold is insolvent!

http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2008/03/08LONDON797.html

More freedom of knowledge?

Interesting post anyway!

by kukute on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 03:24:20 PM EST
Thanks for the very interesting feedback!
by danps (dan at pruningshears (dot) us) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 08:25:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An unlocked android is no less open than an off the shelf TPM laptop or desktop.  The nokia 700s are almost completely open.  My galaxy S can tether to wifi spots, I can download a completely new firmware and run that.

I'm not seeing this restriction outside of Apple land.    Even Windows mobile isn't bad.  And if you want to complain that Apple is a control-freak of a company run by a control-freak of a man, that ship sailed many years ago.  I can't take any Apple user complaining about information rights seriously.

by njh on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 05:27:47 PM EST
I think we're approaching the End of the Beginning of the Internet.

The current configuration is object/machine oriented software and protocols and based upon ICANN domain name 'root servers'. This architecture is under threat both politically - both in privacy terms and since the US has the 'off' switch - and commercially, through the end of Net Neutrality.

I think the future lies in open source 'subject-oriented' - ie individual-centric - software both on mobile devices (Android, probably), and a new generation of cheap and cheerful generic meshed set top box/ wireless routers/ home servers running Linux.

I also believe that broadcast and internet convergence is missing a simple but radical step to what I call the 'Broadcast Web'.

I worked for two years with a very interesting UK technology company which uploaded encrypted IP TV data to satellite and broadcasted it.

The resulting IP TV was therefore not delivered through the Internet, but was delivered onto PCs by 'multicasting' it onto corporate networks (which meant that unlike Web TV 3,000 JP Morgan PCs could and did use the same bandwidth to watch TV as one PC did). All the hardware that was necessary was a bog-standard satellite dish; a router box (essentially a glorified set top box) and a standard network connection.

The key was that TV permissioning/decrypting did not require a Sky type card, but a proprietary software application and an internet 'back-channel' connection back to the company's HQ. This meant that the company could actually tell the TV channels who were being broadcast exactly how many people were watching.....an advertiser's dream....

Using this tried and tested satellite technology - which was not Rocket Science - I watched the events of 9/11 unfold live on my PC using broadcast IP digital TV pictures. The relevant enabling 'browser in a box'/intelligent router technology is now a fraction of the price it was in 2001.

The point I am getting to is that - even though this realisation never dawned on the company, which made the mistake of partnering with BT, and 'died the death' - there is no reason why in a digital equivalent of Teletext the data comprised in websites should not be continually broadcast and looped/refreshed, enabling web-sites to integrated with cahnnels and to be cached literally everywhere.

Such a 'Broadcast Web' would be a true 'convergence' between Web and TV enabling the Internet to be bypassed for a great deal of IP data delivery, since broadcast bandwidth is infinite.

As for the Internet, we are already seeing plans for 'unofficial' DNS root servers accessible to anyone with a skype type application.

About 10 years ago I wrote an application to ICANN for a 'Dot Market' domain (Dot mkt actually) but the dot com who paid me then ran out of funds and the idea of a market specific domain - which I wrote about here - went no further at the time, although a strange series of coincidences may even allow it to be re-activated.

My proposal is to create domains - where the root server links IP addresses to domain-specific identities - which are neither 'Open' ICANN style nor 'closed' like any proprietary network. This is achievable by using a consensual domain membership protocol agreement for access.

The outcome is a domain which is closed, because only members may use it, but also open because anyone who consents to the agreement may join. Spam becomes a thing of the past, because IDs are known/verified as part of the membership process, and convicted spammers get membership suspended or terminated.

As I realised 10 years ago, there was no satisfactory enterprise model for utilities/monopolies. As I have been saying for 10 years, the enabler of a next generation networked market will be a partnership-based enterprise model that operates 'Not for Loss'. This would essentially be a consortium of domain/platform service providers in a partnership with a consortium of domain/platform service users paying agreed costs. Investment comes from service charges paid forward.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 05:51:21 PM EST
There are so many good ideas that could allow broad information access, spam-free and secure.
But my perhaps paranoid cast of mind pushes me to remind everyone of an aspect of net--no,communications- reality that gets discussed, acknowledged, then ignored on most forums.

Collective behavior is communications. No Com, no action.

The wheels of the neo-stazi security machine grind slowly, but exceedingly fine. Julian Assange has given it the push it needed- the clear warning of the need to regain control, to grind a far wider range of grist.
All over the world there are happy android-like functionaries, secure in their authoritarian cocoons, (I'm with the High Command! ) who apply serious brainpower to anticipating all those great ideas, and rendering them impotent to disturb the slumber of the masses of once-happy wage slaves.

For example, (recent lessons):
Innovation occurs first, at speeds that far exceed the process of restriction. At first.
Then app development, (more time needed, while the stazi-mill begins to stir, to scratch it's threat-detecting head).
Then we get to the distribution, and the need for a financing structure---whoops! There's the point where the ponderous wheels begin to really gain momentum, and regain control.

It's not just the authoritarians, the guvmint control freaks and paranoid banks who really own all the others who are a threat to a free net, it's the nature of the entire range of business models that work in a capitalist market free-for-all that structures how such stories play out.

 The above example can be easily picked apart, but I suggest that for any process you can imagine, the following will be true:
The net is fragile. All the iterations, all the innovations I've seen so far have a choke point, a place where control can be applied, or a kill switch installed. And the rule of law is impotent to guarantee any redress. Because we as a species seem to have discarded the rule of law, we cannot now seek it's protection.

Look at what Bank of America is doing today. It has declared Assange a non-person and wikileaks the enemy, and will be supported by the rest of the financial community. Utterly outside any legal structure, with overt contempt for such anachronisms, it wields immense power to protect it's hegemony.

The net is indeed a net-a collection of cobwebs that can and is likely to evaporate when the aristocracy feels real fear.
The real task is to devise a secure system without a point where either a cutoff or a cutout can be installed by people with a million times your political and financial power.

Very tall order.

 

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 10:44:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not just the authoritarians, the guvmint control freaks and paranoid banks who really own all the others who are a threat to a free net, it's the nature of the entire range of business models that work in a capitalist market free-for-all that structures how such stories play out.

And there is a proper term for it: Market Discipline. Instead of being beaten bloody with a piece of wet cane you get to see your family fall apart, loose your house, your self respect and your credibility in the world. It can be survived by some, but not all.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 01:41:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a pretty pessimistic world view, geezer.

In my 'Utopian' view, the Internet is a lot more resilient than you think. As Gilmore puts it the Internet treats Bank of America as damage and routes around it.

Skype carries almost 10% of global voice communications, and there are plenty of 'sons-of-skype' out there which are able to do more, and better, if Skype becomes unusable. Money is mainly messaging and accounting, and I don't think we are far at all from a very simple generic money messaging skype-like 'client'. The key to the viral spread of such a client, and to the routing around of the Bank of America and all the rest, is to understand that the community - which is a consensual agreement between individuals with a common purpose - IS the currency.

In the same way that BoA and its mates may consent among themselves to flout the 'law' so may anyone simply agree - consensually, within a suitable framework of trust - to accept each other's credit in settlement of obligations, or to accept other currency objects they find acceptable - which in my view will be Units redeemable in payment for energy or rental value.

There is no need to create an alternative system which 'they' may resist and clamp down on. What is emerging - as what I seen described as the 'adjacent possible' - are complementary systems which people adopt consensually because 'they work'.

The reason it is in banks' interests to migrate to the sort of credit service provision I envisage within a 'Peer to Peer' architecture is that capital requirements are minimal compared to the existing terminally broken system of credit intermediation by banks as middlemen. Those banks who do not take the service provider road will be at a disadvantage to those who do - classic Darwinism.

If Assange etc is stamped upon, it really will not matter - other than as a human tragedy - because he's just a visible flower: the root system is still there and it's spreading.

The more I have seen of the response of the 'powers that be' to the knowledge revolution going on the more I am convinced that they have totally and irrevocably (short of nuclear etc apocalypse) lost control. They are completely overwhelmed, and have no idea what is going on.

The steering wheel has come off in their hands and the more realistic - like Brzezinski - understand that there are gazillions more of us than there are of the elite. The really savvy ones will realise that a small %age of a lot is better than a large %age of not much, and they are the ones who will lead the charge, I think.

BoA and all the rest are dinosaurs - in fact they are in solvency terms already dead -  and will be pretty much extinct within two to five years, in my view.


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 05:41:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand and support your vision, Chris, as you know.
But all too often the fact that an idea or system is superior to it's predecessor has little to do with it's survival chances, in a world where communications is highly controlled.
What is emerging - as what I seen described as the 'adjacent possible' - are complementary systems which people adopt consensually because 'they work'.

Perhaps I'm too far removed from the field of play, but I see many excellent ideas that are effectively rfendered invisible to wenough of the population that they are stillborn.

If you can't see it's there, it's not.

And I fail to see social media as a solution. It's an oxymoron.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 12:06:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the ideas you don't see that will change the game, I think.

As Bismarck said, you don't need to know how the sausage is made.

But you do prefer a sausage that won't make you sick.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 03:39:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The lack of penetration of linux into the mainstream pretty much disproves this mode of change.  There we have a technically superior system routed around by just enough marketing and change from the mainstream to hold the status quo.  Why would it be any different anytech else?
by njh on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 02:43:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
geezer in Paris:

The real task is to devise a secure system without a point where either a cutoff or a cutout can be installed by people with a million times your political and financial power.

Unless you count stopping you from having a computer, that already exists:

Freenet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

While Freenet provides an HTTP interface for browsing freesites, it is not a proxy for the World Wide Web; Freenet can only be used to access content that has been previously inserted into the Freenet network. In this way, it is more similar to filesharing applications than to proxy software like Tor.

Many of the differences in how Freenet behaves at a user level are direct or indirect consequences of its strong focus on free speech and anonymity. Freenet attempts to protect the anonymity of both people inserting data into the network (uploading) and those retrieving data from the network (downloading). Unlike file sharing systems, there is no need for the uploader to remain on the network after uploading a file or group of files. Instead, during the upload process, the files are broken into chunks and stored on a variety of other computers on the network. When downloading, those chunks are found and reassembled. Every node on the Freenet network contributes storage space to hold files, and bandwidth that it uses to route requests from its peers.

But as long as censorship on the web is slight, so will usage of such technologies be, so there is not much point in publishing the wikileaks documents on Freenet. If censorship is ramped up and every kid that wants access to culture without paying installs Freenet (or something similar) usage will go up, and it will go up as a channel of information.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 07:34:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
what's to stop any gvt privately insisting that any encryption co. wants to survive as a legal business has to provide a back door to lawnforcement? seems such an obvious way to harvest the eebuldoers, after trapping their naive asses conveniently into a few traps.

maybe there's something i don't fundamentally understand here, please enlighten me!

are we going to end up in our basements with little wind up surf-mobiles, like illicit partisan radios in WW2?

will ET be our BBC?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 01:31:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
what's to stop any gvt privately insisting that any encryption co. wants to survive as a legal business has to provide a back door to lawnforcement? seems such an obvious way to harvest the eebuldoers, after trapping their naive asses conveniently into a few traps.

Nothing, which is why you should not put your faith in proprietary code delivered by a company. Even if you do not code yourself, or even read code, it is safer to use free software (or open source) where the source code is available for anyone to tinker with. This way the odds are high that if there is a backdoor some programmer will discover it and holler about it and/or create a similar program without the backdoor.

The Freenet Project - /whatis

Freenet is free software

The Freenet Project - /developer

Source Code

We are using git as our source code management system, hosted on github. We have many different git repositories for the website, freenet itself (fred), official plugins, the two installers, libraries and so on; for the list, see our page on github.

We strongly recommend that you use the official command-line git client, or the Windows port. If you want to use the Eclipse git integration, see the tutorial here.

And free software are often developed without having a company, so the only line to pressure is individuals.

Of course, there has been attempts to shoot down free software as such. IPRED2 included in early drafts to criminalise patent incursions, including jail terms. And since everything is covered by a patent, that means being able to throw free-coders in jail. But there are companies around free software, some government agencies prefer software without backdoors and so on, so this far free software is alive.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Dec 20th, 2010 at 04:23:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it is safer to use free software (or open source) where the source code is available for anyone to tinker with.

And make sure you compile it yourself and trust the compiler. See Ken Thompson's Turing Award lecture for why.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Dec 20th, 2010 at 04:30:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by njh on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 12:04:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yes, malicious code can be planted in open source too (though as some commentators on that list has stated, it would be as easy to just pose as a developer and try to hide backdoors when submitting new code). But open source is better at handling it.

May Contain Traces of Bolts: OpenBSD IPSec backdoor allegations: triple $100 bounty

OpenBSD IPSec backdoor allegations: triple $100 bounty

In case you hadn't heard: Gregory Perry alleges that the FBI paid OpenBSD contributors to insert backdoors into OpenBSD's IPSec stack, with his (Perry's) knowledge and collaboration.

If that were true, it would also be a concern for FreeBSD, since some of our IPSec code comes from OpenBSD.

I'm having a hard time swallowing this story, though. In fact, I think it's preposterous. Rather than go into further detail, I'll refer you to Jason Dixon's summary, which links to other opinions, and add only one additional objection: if this were true, there would be no "recently expired NDA"; it would be a matter of national security.

I'll put my money where my mouth is, and post a triple bounty:

  1. I pledge USD 100 to the first person to present convincing evidence showing:

    • that the OpenBSD Crypto Framework contains vulnerabilities which can be exploited by an eavesdropper to recover plaintext from an IPSec stream,
    • that these vulnerabilities can be traced directly to code submitted by Jason Wright and / or other developers linked to Perry, and
    • that the nature of these vulnerabilities is such that there is reason to suspect, independently of Perry's allegations, that they were inserted intentionally--for instance, if the surrounding code is unnecessarily awkward or obfuscated and the obvious and straightforward alternative would either not be vulnerable or be immediately recognizable as vulnerable.
  2. I pledge an additional USD 100 to the first person to present convincing evidence showing that the same vulnerability exists in FreeBSD.

  3. Finally, I pledge USD 100 to the first person to present convincing evidence showing that a government agency successfully planted a backdoor in a security-critical portion of the Linux kernel.

Checking the comments there, there are some organisations and persons matching the bounty. So the programmer that finds such a backdoor (if it exists) gets some money and more importantly fame.

The reaction when actual backdoors are in commercial code is often to scream bloody murder in the press, accuse the one that found it for hacking their safe system, and so on.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 03:41:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uh-huh. The guy is able to speak now because his NDA on NSA black ops expired. WTF?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 03:54:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My NDA with the FBI has recently expired, and I wanted to make you
aware of the fact that the FBI implemented a number of backdoors and
side channel key leaking mechanisms into the OCF, for the express
purpose of monitoring the site to site VPN encryption system
implemented by EOUSA, the parent organization to the FBI.  Jason
Wright and several other developers were responsible for those
backdoors, and you would be well advised to review any and all code
commits by Wright as well as the other developers he worked with
originating from NETSEC.

Seriously?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 03:55:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uh, I thought they used to give people security clearances, not NDAs...

Some guy at the FBI must have an MBA...

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 03:58:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jason Wright denies it on the same list (about 10 posts "next"), but lists his contributions to make it easier to check for those thus inclined.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 04:03:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's to stop the geeks/nerds working in the bowels of the government/corporate structure from inserting back doors allowing circumvention of government surveillance?

My vision of the "shadow internet" is based on that: the fact that the ethos of the people who maintain the infrastructure is surversive, and they have superior knowledge of the infrastructure.

Then again, that only works during the time period when the technology is new. Once it becomes commoditised, the technicians don't have a hacker culture.

On which, see The Jargon File: hacker

A person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks in particular.
cracker
One who breaks security on a system. Coined ca. 1985 by hackers in defense against journalistic misuse of hacker (q.v., sense 8). An earlier attempt to establish worm in this sense around 1981--82 on Usenet was largely a failure.


Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 04:48:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the main thing that prevents something like this occurring is  that If a backdoor is inserted into the software then at some point it will leak that this has happened. At that point people stop trusting any encryption software, and Internet business spirals down the tubes. The world economy doesn't need Internet sales extracting from it. And thats the most positive view. The worst case is that it leaks to hackers and scammers rather than in general, at which point crime and junk goes through the celing, with everything flagged as being properly encrypted and so legitimate.

So do  you want to bet your entire economy, (and everyone elses) on that backdoor not leaking? on a purely economic view, any possible damage that a group of terrorists and activists can do is small potatoes compared to the damage that can be done by the leak of the backdoor.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 11:22:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the Stazi mentality that enables the security apparatchiks to do things that morph into fundamentally irrational- even self-destructive.  The story of Phil Zimmerman and PGP is a good one to illustrate a pretty rational attempt to counter encryption that became positively insane.
I am endlessly amazed at the capacity of smart people who do and defend progressive or creative actions to assume that those who counter them have the brains of neanderthals.  

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 12:24:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the main thing that prevents something like this occurring is  that If a backdoor is inserted into the software then at some point it will leak that this has happened. At that point people stop trusting any encryption software, and Internet business spirals down the tubes.

Also, every major transnational corporation will spontaneously agree to join the lynch mobs, since the primary use of those backdoors will be industrial espionage. Transnats are normally opposed to making industrial espionage easy (or rather, they're normally opposed to making industrial espionage against themselves easy).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 26th, 2010 at 07:07:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One word: steganography.

Even if back doors were to be "required" for encrypted systems, you can still send encrypted messages. For example, suppose the real message I want to send you is "tonight." So I send you an email with the text "The Old Neighbor Is Getting Horribly Terrified" (or something more suitably poetic), but since I'm forced to encrypt my mail, you get a string of digits. You can decrypt it using our mutually agreed encryption-decryption system, and the back door enables somebody else to decrypt back to the text message--but the real message is still hidden in the text.

This is a crude example, but sending secret messages is pretty easy nowadays. That's not the problem...

by asdf on Sun Dec 26th, 2010 at 06:37:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there any real way to block protocol encapsulation/tunneling?

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 27th, 2010 at 05:48:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought one of the protections that such a 'freenet' offers is exactly the distributed storage. The decentralization of information means that it is harder to suppress or capture, and the 'whole picture' can only be seen when the system is working harmoniously.

Incidentally, it looks like that next 1 Tb outboard is going dramatically up in price, in Finland, soon. There's always been a tax on any kind of consumer-available memory or file storage - from hard drives, tape and digital players,  and media such as CD, DVD blanks. The tax receipts do not go into general tax coffers, but are reserved for redistribution to content creators through independent funding organizations (who channel the tax income).  So in Finland there are specialist organizations, each dealing with funding for different projects in music, theatre, film, TV, dance etc.

The organizations I know  generally have civil service people in admin tasks, but the front line people, and the people who decide where the funding goes, come from the ranks of the creators themselves. They tend to be with a funding organization for 2 - 3 years and then get back to their own projects. So there's good churn and changes of views.

There have been accusations of favouritism, but on the whole it's a good system. At least I don't mind paying for extra gigas because I know where the tax is going.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 02:40:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and I forget that they're on when I keep 'em out of sight


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 08:16:49 PM EST
and my price is going up as I'm bought and sold.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Dec 18th, 2010 at 08:18:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Communication bout truths untold
Is the one thing left worth more than gold
Being ignorant is being out in the cold
The will to share versus bought and sold
Freedom's a tonic, we use to unfold
Our hunger for knowledge needs us to be bold
Mass media lies are getting real old...


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 05:19:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All internet porn will be blocked to protect children, under UK government plan | News.com.au

THE UK Government is to combat the early sexualization of children by blocking internet pornography unless parents request it, it was revealed today.

The move is intended to ensure that children are not exposed to sex as a routine by-product of the internet. It follows warnings about the hidden damage being done to children by sex sites.

The biggest broadband providers, including BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk, are being called to a meeting next month by Ed Vaizey, the communications minister, and will be asked to change how pornography gets into homes.

Instead of using parental controls to stop access to pornography - so-called "opting out" - the tap will be turned off at source. Adults will then have to "opt in."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 06:28:37 AM EST
So teenagers will learn how to circumvent Internet filters in order to get access to porn? Is this a new approach to teaching technology?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 07:42:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with this software is that most of it is built by groups with strong links to the Religious Right in America, because they were the main people who were originally screaming for it. And as a result of that there is a preponderance of what is called Overblocking, where extra things get added to the block list. the most usual things to find are things like Womens health issues, heretical religious opinions, left leaning politics, Abortion, sex education Islamic education, paganism

Content-control software - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Many types of content-control software have been shown to block sites based on the religious and political leanings of the company owners. Examples include blocking several religious sites[23][24] (including the Web site of the Vatican), many political sites, and sites about gay/lesbians.[25] X-Stop was shown to block sites such as the Quaker web site, the National Journal of Sexual Orientation Law, the Heritage Foundation, and parts of The Ethical Spectacle.[26] CYBERsitter blocks out sites like National Organization for Women.[27] Nancy Willard, an academic researcher and attorney, reported on the close relationships between conservative Christian organizations and filtering software companies providing filters in U.S. public schools and libraries.[28] From her review of publicly available documentation, she concluded that seven of the filtering software companies were blocking Web sites based on religious or other inappropriate bias.[29] They may block sites about things like birth control, drug use and date rape.[30]

Block lists are truly a blunt instrument, and any person who suggests them as a solution to IT problems needs removing from office right now, as he obviously doesn't understand the issues


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 08:20:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention that anyone with half a brain can find their way around an IP block in seconds.

he obviously doesn't understand the issues

Worse, he has no clue about the technology.

I'm wondering if he's planning to filter the Vatican website?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 08:30:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did have a former employer whos idea was to introduce such web filtering software to attempt to avoid the public relations problem of some Arabic users lending their accounts to friends from outside the normal user group, and those friends turning out to be terrorists who used the computer access to plan an attack.

There were of course a couple of flaws in his plan. firstly some of the staff were involved in a research project on Islamic politics on the internet and so needed access to all of these sites, And it wasn't just a fixed group who were involved, so you couldn't specify a group of users. And the second and perhaps more serious problem was that the people involved in implementing this policy were unable to read Arabic, something that would have caused at least minor technical trouble if the foolishness had been implemented.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 08:51:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Le Canard Enchainé, European companies in that business have links with the Opus Dei.
by Bernard on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 02:45:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At one school I was teaching at, Eurotrib was blocked at the computer on my desktop ...

... but Crunchyroll was not.

I guess because the discussion that goes on at ET is more dangerous to a corporate "business college" than teenage to adult oriented entertainment cartoons from Japan?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Dec 20th, 2010 at 12:36:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurotrib is blocked at my local library on the grounds that it is a blog and thus a waste of time which should be devoted to learning from officially approved sources.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:21:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. I've learned more macro from ET than from my macro textbooks.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:47:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's why you're a crackpot economist :)

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:58:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure can say that again, Jake. Me too.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 12:33:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but I'm studying economics at a reasonably reputable university. Which makes it sorta worrisome.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 12:49:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The line of attack there is to start requesting access exemptions to blogs of top level academics. If they deny them, even raise a stink that students are denied access to the blogs of the top ranking academics in their fields.

That's the nose of the camel.

When they dig in their heels at offering open slather access to blogs, offer an out from, say, the blog that covers the tie worn by Brian Williams (the US NBC news anchor) in the form of criteria for judging which blogs offer "useful" information, and be sure to write the criteria so that the news roundup at EU automatically qualifies it.

That's the camel.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 11:48:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ive very rarely had that sort of problem with Libraries, generally you find Librarians are almost fanatically on your side in providing access.

Ive been the person in charge of running the filtering over a site before, which meant there was a Justify your block policy, rather than a justify your pages being open policy.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 06:20:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the hidden damage being done to children

Meh. Not even trying.

If they were really on the case they'd be forcing the kids to take out loans.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 08:27:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Im still waiting for the tax increase for those scroungers who learned to read in Infants school at vast cost to the taxpayer.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 08:53:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i know i owe royalties to someone when i hum along to the radio.

i apologise in advance for breathing hard sometimes, and thus hoovering up oxygen that could be sold to benefit the economy.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 01:35:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Needed that.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 12:48:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That last line was another "happily-I-wasn't-sipping-tea-at-the-moment" line.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 02:43:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While the infrastructure does not belong to the commons, there will be threats. I hope we will manage to get a wireless peer-by-peer infrastructure.

Speaking of wich, there is a huge campaign in Spain going on against the new internet law which will allow the government to close down any webpage they say violates copyright law without ever a judge taking a view on the matter.

You can see the campaign here http://lalistadesinde.net/

Basically teya re asking any blogger, webpage adminsitrator, etc.. to include a search of any download internet content.

My personal bog is already in the list http://avionesdecercanias.blogspot.com/

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 02:24:08 PM EST
Sorry. Nothing is easier or cheaper to disable than wireless.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 12:49:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the modern analogue of hamradio.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Dec 26th, 2010 at 06:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quand Nicolas Sarkozy veut devenir ami avec le Web françaisWhen Nicolas Sarkozy wants to befriend the French Web
Il est déjà en campagne. Nicolas Sarkozy commence à recevoir à l'Elysée les différents acteurs de la société civile. Il déjeunait ce jeudi midi avec des stars du web français.He is already on the campaign trail. Nicolas Sarkozy was receiving several members of the "civil society". He was having several stars of the French web for lunch last Thursday.

D'ailleurs, Nicolas Sarkozy s'est accroché avec ses invités à ce sujet. L'article 4 du texte, actuellement en discussion à l'Assemblée, prévoit en effet la possibilité de filtrer l'accès aux sites web sans décisions d'un juge. une mesure considérée comme liberticide par ses opposants. Le chef de l'Etat a rétorqué à ses détracteurs la nécessité de lutter contre la pédophilie.
Anyway, Nicolas Sarkozy clashed with his guests on the subject [security]. Article 4 of the text, currently under discussion at the French National Assembly, is having provisions for filtering access to web sites without a judge decision. A decision regarded as liberty-killing by its opponents. The head of state retorted with the necessity to fight pedophilia.

It's not that our politicians want to control the citizen's access to the web, you see, it's only about "protecting the children". </snark>

by Bernard on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 at 03:00:58 PM EST
Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother" published in 2008 (available for free under the creative commons licence!)

I bought it for a young relative, and was very taken with it myself. It's pitched at adolescents, and works well as an adventure story, but it also works as a blueprint for building the shadow internet.

In the story, set in the "near future", the Department of Homeland Security has staged a soft putsch by staging terrorist attacks, and clamps down on everything in sight - arbitrary arrests, waterboarding etc. As the internet is tightly monitored, the nerds fight back by building an alternative internet, using Microsoft X-Box game consoles (in the book, Microsoft gave away the consoles to gain market share, so everyone has one, but no-one uses them because the games are too expensive). They use a distro called ParanoidLinux, and build a peer-to-peer network using the consoles' wifi...

The hero is known as w1n5t0n.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 04:47:29 PM EST
And the Swedish Pirate Party provides free, encrypted email.

Which started a discussion in the Swedish Pirate Party on what it would take to provide free, encrypted email.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 05:28:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you people do decide to jump into creating a new email system ... make it secure.  The one we've got is purposely broken to enable nosy parkers snooping around.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 05:36:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thats a book I have for elderly relatives, to give them a grip on computer security

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 06:05:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hat tip to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing for this,  a Harvard report on DDOS attacks designed to silence dissent :

Our research suggests that:

  • DDoS attacks against independent media and human rights sites have been common in the past year, even outside of elections, protests, and military operations. With recent highly publicized DDoS attacks on Wikileaks, and "Operation Payback" attacks by "Anonymous" on sites perceived to oppose Wikileaks, we expect these attacks to become more common.

  • Independent media and human rights sites suffer from a variety of different types of cyber attacks, including filtering, intrusions, and defacements in addition to DDoS attacks, and those attacks interact with each other in complex ways.

  • Independent media and human rights sites suffer from both application DDoS attacks, which exhaust local server resources and can usually be mitigated by a skilled system administrator; and network DDoS attacks, which exhaust network bandwidth and can usually only be mitigated with the help of a hosting provider at considerable expense.

  • Mitigating DDoS attacks against independent media and human rights sites will likely require moving those sites closer to the core of the Internet: inside the small number of major ISPs, websites, and content distribution networks* (CDNs) that have the experience and resources to defend against these attacks, particularly network DDoS attack

Unfortunately, being close to the core makes one very directly exposed to the sort of pressure that the US government has been blatantly and shamelessly exerting in recent weeks; i.e. it's a non-starter for whistleblowing or other genuine dissident organisations...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 06:46:59 PM EST
An interesting question is this: if you were to cut all of the Internet connections between, say, American and Europe, upon which side of the ocean would "the Internet" reside?

The answer is "both," as long as both use the same database for DNS lookups. "The Internet" is not the connectivity of the systems, it's the naming system that allows your computer to translation www.eurotrib.com to 64.34.177.101.

A shadow Internet might make a different translation, but as long as you're using TCP/IP as the underlying communication protocol, it would still work pretty much the same. Of course, if it is decided to block access to 64.34.177.101 then you are hosed and must return to radio.

by asdf on Tue Dec 28th, 2010 at 01:25:53 PM EST
Who assigns IP numbers?

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 28th, 2010 at 02:36:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Afaik it is subcontracted to

Domain name registrar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A domain name registrar is an organization or commercial entity, accredited by a generic top-level domain registry (gTLD) and/or by a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registry, to manage the reservation of Internet domain names in accordance with the guidelines of the designated domain name registries and offer such services to the public.

But the ultimate power is held by

ICANN - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN, pronounced ˈaɪkæn EYE-kan) is a non-profit corporation headquartered in Marina del Rey, California, United States that was created on September 18, 1998, and incorporated on September 30, 1998[1] to oversee a number of Internet-related tasks previously performed directly on behalf of the U.S. government by other organizations, notably the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

ICANN is responsible for managing the Internet Protocol address spaces (IPv4 and IPv6) and assignment of address blocks to regional Internet registries, for maintaining registries of Internet protocol identifiers, and for the management of the top-level domain name space (DNS root zone), which includes the operation of root nameservers. Most visibly, much of its work has concerned the introduction of new generic top-level domains (TLDs). The technical work of ICANN is referred to as the IANA function.

However this power is ultimately dependent on the cooperation of ISPs and end-users.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Dec 28th, 2010 at 02:57:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thus "America controls the Internet." Which is false, to start with, because it's just a list of names and addresses. Plus, the UN is trying to take it over. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Governance_Forum
by asdf on Tue Dec 28th, 2010 at 06:02:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The yellow pages control the phones!

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 03:45:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not domain names. IPs.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 04:42:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ICANN too.

Though I don't think all of v6 is assigned.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 05:51:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, could have been more clear on that. As far as I know the blocs of IP-numbers is divided by ICANN out to domain name registrar.

I've heard (tm) that in v4 MIT had a larger bloc of IP-adresses then an ordinary country outside the US.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 03:42:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're confusing again domain names and IP addresses: domain names are indeed assigned by name registrars; IP addresses however are assigned by your ISP, or for a web site, the hosting company's ISP. Block of IP addresses are assigned to ISPs by "regional" registries: ARIN for the Americas, RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens) for Europe, etc...

These regional registries got their IP address blocks from IANA (Internet Assigned Number Authority), the whole gory details being shown here. At the beginning of the list, you'll see all the "legacy" IP addresses assignment in the 1980s: those are the class A address blocks; for instance, MIT has all 16 millions plus change of IP addresses from 18.0.0.0 to 18.255.255.255.

These legacy class A IP address blocks give each of these organizations more "public" IP addresses than say China.

IPv6 addresses are also being assigned by the same structures, but only a (very) limited number has been assigned so far.

by Bernard on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 10:14:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah, I was not confusing them. I was however wrong in thinking that they were assigned through the same organisational structure. So I thank you for enlightening me.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 10:50:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in both structures, if you go all the way up the food chain, you pretty much end up with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) that also operates the IANA.

ICANN is headquartered in Marina Del Ray, Calif., under the California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law and although it is no longer directly controlled by the US government, its present legal status and location make it difficult to be fully independent from government pressure.

by Bernard on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 01:36:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No.

DNS is built on top of the Internet, which is the IP bit.

An internet is any IP network. The Internet is the big one.

Incidentally, IP is the underlying protocol, both TCP/IP and UDP/IP (which is what DNS mostly uses) are built on top of that.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 05:54:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct, however, I would claim that in common use, "the Internet" means the combination of TCP/IP (and related protocols) and the DNS system.
by asdf on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 01:13:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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