Saturday, 27 March 2010

It's Funny, Is It, Young Cyberpuppy?

I know something important when I stumble across it.  I know something else when I see it - a journalist trying to make themselves sound all cool and trendy by mildly taking the piss out of an important issue.  "Cyber" is a scare term?  Well that's all well and good, but in actual fact I think we do need to be scared about threats to the Internet.  (And yeah - I capitalise it.  So what?)  Because the attacks are not going to go away just cos you laugh at them.

I'm just thinking about myself to begin with.  I keep in contact with people on Facebook, Skype, email, a range of chat protocols, and through their blogs and mine.  I don't buy a dead-trees newspaper nor any magazines in that same medium.  My phonebook is either in the memory of my phones and VOIP programs, or else is an online site - I refuse a physical phonebook every time I catch the delivery people, which so far has been every year for ten years.  On a trivial note, I even get my TV guide online rather than in printed form.

The list goes beyond that of course.  My electricity utility has control and billing computers, some track where to shunt power at particular times of demand, some track how much of that power went to me and then bills me for it and generates the order to shut my power off if it thinks I haven't paid.  And at least part of that system has a connection to the Internet and is a tempting target to mischief-makers and serious terrorists...

Ditto with my mobile phone - aside from being billed and routed as the above, it physically uses the same infrastructure as Internet traffic does.  Want to disable Australia's Internet?  Drop a few key routing installations.  Oh yeah and as a bonus also drop a sizeable chunk of the mobile phone network.

So I say to hell with your blase attitude, if I'm this reliant on Internet at 53, then you who has grown up knowing nothing but instant answers at your fingertips are sure as hell not going to cope if someone does perform an act of cyber-war...

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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Shutting Off The Internet 1-2-3.

Despite the amount of hype and stress surrounding things like this and the Aussie Great Communistic Repressive Firewall, the two can't really be compared.  Both are insidious and destroying of rights - but let's face it human history is composed of nothing but overtly setting up human rights and covertly removing them again, leaving a population that feels as though progress has been made, when in fact it's a regress.  That's what politics is all about, and always has been.

And in fact, both of these schemes have some positive spins that can be applied:  The Firewall shouldn't affect most people, since it supposedly blocks only material that by and large the Australian population must find offensive.  The Australian population signified this by electing the politicians that they have, because a politician with unpopular views is quickly dropped.  (Vide Mr Howard and his Industrial Relations legislation.)

Similarly, the scheme to make Internet users more accountable and identifiable would not affect the majority of people - we're already identified by SSN, bank account, credit card, driver's license, and Births Deaths & Marriages information.

Yet the Internet has vigorously resisted the adoption of IPv6 (a new scheme to replace the current scheme of Internet addresses, which we're running out of) and partly that's because it can make individual users uniquely identifiable, and the Chinese population (and now the Australian people) are quite unanimous in their dislike of being filtered and firewalled.

The reason that the general population is so against such information is simple:  They have seen a System within which it seems that the most minor crime is met with years of incarceration and deprivation of liberty, while genocide and fraud on a grand scale is met with aid and handouts.  The dimmest voter can see that there's an inequity at work here, and extra filtering, extra accountability, is going to eventually be used against them.

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