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Author Topic: You're only as free and private as the network YOU control  (Read 2012 times)

40hz

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You're only as free and private as the network YOU control
« on: October 04, 2011, 01:19:14 PM »
I've become increasingly concerned about all the intrusions and monitoring that goes on in our increasingly corporate and government controlled Internet.

I'm not so completely concerned that I'd unquestioningly condone things like Anonymous - or even give Wikileaks blanket approval in many instances.

But I think the battle for privacy, and possibly even legal checks and balances, is a battle already lost. Much like the first printing presses (and later radio broadcasting) there are now massive attempts to regulate the Internet far beyond what is necessary to make it safe for individuals. Because it is now deemed necessary, and far more important, to protect corporate and political interests as well.  

There used to be an old joke that said the United States government only offers constitutional protection for unfettered free speech if it can't be heard beyond the range of a man speaking in a very loud voice. Not much of a joke really, since shouting can get you arrested if you do it in public, or if your next door neighbour complains. And if you add any technology to the mix (a bullhorn, a recording, a radio or TV broadcast, a digital camera, an e-mail account, a weblink to a blog, etc.) such that your voice actually might get heard by enough people that it could matter, then out comes the legal droids to show how communicating your thoughts with anything other than your vocal-cords is not really speech - but somehow...in some way...something else.

And that "something else" is not protected by constitutional guarantees because it is not "speech." QED.

Seems those already in power are rapidly showing just how open to the notion of general public "empowerment" they really are.

But some people tend not to accept as unalterable what's been handed them by a (mostly) benign government and their (sometimes) benevolent corporate backers. Enter those who propose alternative networks to supplement or replace the Internet.

There's an interesting article on The Chronical of Higher Education's website that documents some of the efforts of what's been dubbed the "free-network movement." Well worth reading and thinking about. Link to full article here with thanks to OSNews.com for the find.

Quote
Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets
College 2.0: Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets

By Jeffrey R. Young
Washington

Quote
Yana Paskova for The Chronicle

Eben Moglen, a law professor at Columbia U., is developing the Freedom Box, a personal server that makes data harder to intercept. "The Net we have is increasingly monitored, measured, and surveilled everywhere by everybody all the time," he says. "Our Net has been turned against us."


Computer networks proved their organizing power during the recent uprisings in the Middle East, in which Facebook pages amplified street protests that toppled dictators. But those same networks showed their weaknesses as well, such as when the Egyptian government walled off most of its citizens from the Internet in an attempt to silence protesters.

That has led scholars and activists increasingly to consider the Internet's wiring as a disputed political frontier.

For example, one weekend each month, a small group of computer programmers gathers at a residence here to build a homemade Internet—named Project Byzantium—that could go online if parts of the current global Internet becomes blocked by a repressive government.

Using an approach called a "mesh network," the system would set up an informal wireless network connecting users with other nearby computers, which in turn would pass along the signals. The mesh network could tie back into the Internet if one of the users found a way to plug into an unblocked route. The developers recently tested an early version of their software at George Washington University (though without the official involvement of campus officials).

The leader of the effort, who goes by the alias TheDoctor but who would not give his name, out of concern that his employer would object to the project, says he fears that some day repressive measures could be put into place in the United States.
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So what do you think? Do you see something like a modern cousin of Fidonet in your future?

220px-FidoNet_logo-2010.png

« Last Edit: October 04, 2011, 01:26:27 PM by 40hz »

Stoic Joker

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Re: You're only as free and private as the network YOU control
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2011, 01:56:11 PM »
The downside being, who uses PSTNs anymore?? My DSL is "naked" (e.g. no phone service or even a dial tone). The wife and I have no use for a home phone...We both have cells. And after Friday I won't have the DSL any longer (I'm going fiber) so PSTN will be totally dead.

What options does that leave for Fido, and the BBSs if the internet's TCP/IP v? gets perverted into (Uber regulated) Cable Pay Channels?

40hz

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Re: You're only as free and private as the network YOU control
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2011, 02:45:49 PM »
What options does that leave for Fido, and the BBSs if the internet's TCP/IP v? gets perverted into (Uber regulated) Cable Pay Channels?

Mesh radio networks. Self-strung community copper or glass. Modems (remember them?) and standard analog phonelines. (That's all Fidonet used originally.) Point-to-point wifi and IR laser. ULF pirate radio relay...there's tons of options. Probably be better if they got off of other people's wires and networks altogether anyway.

Note: this is more geared for ensuring the free flow of data and information - not so much for gaming, media streaming or other "entertainment" type functions although that's not to say that wouldn't be possible at some point. Having a method to relay some blocked video footage or images such that they could be distributed (even if only via USB key) is important since a picture is worth a thousand words. Look at the impact of the "Officer Pepperspray" video on showing how being a peaceful demonstrator is no protection from officially sanctioned violence when the udders of sacred cows are being squeezed.
 :)

« Last Edit: October 04, 2011, 02:50:58 PM by 40hz »

f0dder

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Re: You're only as free and private as the network YOU control
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2011, 02:52:12 PM »
What options does that leave for Fido, and the BBSs if the internet's TCP/IP v? gets perverted into (Uber regulated) Cable Pay Channels?
TCP/CP.
- carpe noctem

40hz

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Re: You're only as free and private as the network YOU control
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2011, 03:20:32 PM »
The downside being, who uses PSTNs anymore??

Um...how about most residential and SMB customers in the United States last I heard?

They've got billions and billions tied up in old infrastructure. Think they're gonna scrap all that just because there's better and more efficient ways to get the job done while there's still some chance of kludging even a semi-solution together with stuff they've already got? There's still places in the US where you can't get broadband or cellular signals. And they're not all out in the boondocks either. If you go down towards the beach in one of the most exclusive areas in the town I live in, you're lucky if you can get EDGE (let alone 3G) on your smartphone. Sometimes you'll even hit NO SERVICE if you drive around too much. And this is only 45 miles outside of New York City in one of the most densely settled areas of the USA.

I'm not even sure you can get straight DSL/SDSL for a residence in most places around where I live. It's pretty address dependent. ADSL over a POTS line (self-installed) is more the norm. :-\


Stoic Joker

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Re: You're only as free and private as the network YOU control
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2011, 03:37:40 PM »
The downside being, who uses PSTNs anymore??

Um...how about most residential and SMB customers in the United States last I heard?

Could be a regional thing, but I wouldn't be too sure about that. Cable companies are and have been bundling in phone service for a while. So just because the PSTN/POTS wiring is still sticking out of the wall...don't mean it's live. Because now all the phone lines go to the cable box. The number of time I've had to have the "Why are my faxes failing all of a sudden?"... discussion is constantly on the rise because the cable companies always screw-up the fax line.

That and everybody is cutting costs, so in a standard household of 4, with everyone having a cell phone ... what the hell is the point in paying for an extra fifth phone?? ...The dog ain't gonna answer the damn thing (It's useless).

Good Ol' fashion analog phone lines are starting to get rare my friend.

40hz

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Re: You're only as free and private as the network YOU control
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2011, 04:35:55 PM »
^Could well be a regional thing as you mentioned. Can't vouch for actual POTs use, but at least half the ADSL I see around here comes in via a local phone company plug. Cablevision was doing well for a while. But that last hurricane that knocked out power for 3-5 days took the blush off the rose for a lot of VoIP users I've talked to.
 :)

app103

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Re: You're only as free and private as the network YOU control
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2011, 07:02:41 PM »
ADSL over a POTS line (self-installed) is more the norm. :-\

That's what I have here in suburban northern NJ. And I have an old PC with a 33.6k X2 data/fax/voice dilaup modem. It's kind of retired now, but I can boot it up if/when it ever becomes necessary.

40hz

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Re: You're only as free and private as the network YOU control
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2011, 08:22:00 PM »
@app103 - you're my kind of techno-wonk (as in "been there" and prudent)  :Thmbsup: