Monthly Archives: February 2008

RIAA Against Filtering?

cary-sherman-riaa.jpg Well, no. But at least the RIAA is against mandatory filtering by ISPs:
The RIAA does not support this approach in the US, opting instead to back the tradeoffs of the DMCA. That law allows ISPs a “safe harbor” for the content passing through their networks so long as they respond to takedown notices and legal requests in a timely fashion.

RIAA chief: We don’t see a need for mandatory ISP filtering, By Nate Anderson, ars technica, Published: January 30, 2008 – 11:00PM CT

This puts RIAA on the same side as Verizon, leaving AT&T out there alone. Well, except for much of the U.S. government.


Verizon Does Something Right: No Hollywood Policing

tauke.190.jpg Verizon talks sense:
We see substantial increases in the volume of traffic. Generally we see that as a good thing. We have more customers paying for more services we provide.

—Tom Tauke, executive vice president for public affairs, Verizon, quoted in Verizon Rejects Hollywood’s Call to Aid Piracy Fight, By Saul Hansell, Bits, New York Times, February 5, 2008, 3:56 pm

He’s specifically responding to requests from Hollywood to police copyright. Tauke lists at least three good reasons not to:
  1. Slippery slope. What else? Pornography? Gambling?
  2. Liability. Especially for a deep-pockets company like Verizon.
  3. Privacy:
    Anything we do has to balance the need of copyright protection with the desire of customers for privacy.
A telco concerned with its customers’ privacy? I’d call that a good thing!

There is, nonetheless, a downside. Continue reading

Centralized Back Door in Protect America Act: Fails Do No Harm Test

bellovinblaze.jpg Matt Blaze has been spreading the word about a forthcoming paper by him and a Who’s Who of Internet security experts (Steve Bellovin and Matt Blaze are pictured to the right).
Although the Bush administration calls it a vital weapon against terrorism, its domestic wiretapping effort could become a devastating tool for terrorists if hacked or penetrated from inside, according to a new article by a group of America’s top computer security experts.

Domestic Wiretapping Could Pose ‘An Awesome Risk’ to National Security, By JUSTIN ROOD, ABC News, Feb. 1, 2008—

This is about the act passed last year that the Senate is debating extending or modifying right now. It’s that bad even before the administration strongarms Congress into approving retroactive immunity for the warrantless wiretapping it perhaps legitimizes, thus sweeping a host of illegal activities and other possible misdeeds under the rug.

What’s so bad about the Protect America Act? Continue reading

Shades of NSFNet: EDUCAUSE Proposes 100Mbps Nationwide Broadband

fibre.gif Shades of NSF:
EDUCAUSE, the association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology, today proposed bringing the federal government, state governments, and the private sector together as part of a new approach to making high-speed Internet services available across the country.

The group, whose membership includes information technology officials from more than 2,200 colleges, universities, and other educational organizations, said that a new “universal broadband fund” would be necessary so that “Big Broadband” — services of 100 mbps — could be made widely available.

EDUCAUSE Proposes New Approach to Broadband Development, Wendy Wigen, Peter B. Deblois, EDUCAUSE, 29 Jan 2008

Back in the 1980s, in the time of standalone dialup Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes), the National Science Foundation (NSF) deployed a nationwide backbone network called NSFNet that eventually ran at the blazing fast for the times speed of 1.55Mbps. NSF also promoted development of NSFNet regional networks, many of which eventually figured in the commercialization of Internet that took off in 1991 when former dialup network UUNET started selling Internet connectivity and former personnel of an NSFNet regional formed PSINet and also started selling Internet connectivity.

Nowadays, when the fastest most people can get as so-called broadband is 1-3Mbps DSL from telcos or maybe 3-5Mbps from cablecos, maybe it’s time to do it again. Is this a plan that would work? Continue reading