CISPA Dies in the Senate
CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011, has been successfully shot down after privacy concerns from consumers, attorneys, the President, and online businesses. This is a huge victory in terms of cyber-privacy, and shows that the lobbyists from IBM, Intel, Facebook and other corporations have a longer road ahead of them than they might have originally thought. These large tech companies support CISPA because it takes the pressure to regulate users off the private company and transfer that role and responsibility over to a government entity. This effectively protects companies from being sued if they break their Terms of Service to hand over user information if it’s deemed a “threat to cyber security”.
We know CISPA is dead for now, but we can guess that CISPA will be back in some form or fashion in the near future. For those of you that are interested in supporting a completely decentralized, encrypted, anonymous and untraceable internet I recommend you look into the TOR network . You can download the TOR Videlia browser package here.
Here is a short overview video explaining the basics of CISPA:
Judge Rejects FBI Attempt to Use Trojan on Unknown Suspect’s Computer
Judge Stephen Smith in Texas isn’t happy about an FBI request to install a spy Trojan on a computer in an unknown location in order to track down a suspected fraudster. The order rejecting the request revealed that the FBI wanted to use surveillance tools to covertly infiltrate the computer to take pictures of the user through the webcam, log internet activity, user location, email contents, chat messaging logs, photographs, documents, and password.
Smith wrote a 13-page memorandum detailing why he denied the request:
What if the Target Computer is located in a public library, an Internet café, or a workplace accessible to others? What if the computer is used by family or friends uninvolved in the illegal scheme? What if the counterfeit email address is used for legitimate reasons by others unconnected to the criminal conspiracy? What if the email address is accessed by more than one computer, or by a cell phone and other digital devices? There may well be sufficient answers to these questions, but the Government’s application does not supply them.
The most important thing to remember here is that the suspect was just that – a suspect with no evidence proving that he had any ties to illegal activity. Giving the FBI permission to attach a Trojan to any citizen’s computer to determine if they are committing illegal activities is an incredibly slippery slope. Online privacy ought to be handled with a great deal of care; thank you, Judge Stephen Smith!
FIRST WORKING 3D-PRINTED HANDGUN HAS POLITICIANS SWEATING BULLETS
American ISPs have the Lowest Satisfaction Rating of any Industry
The latest survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index has some bad news for domestic ISPs: They now have the lowest customer satisfaction rank of any industry; they are worse than insurance companies, gas stations, and even airlines.
Comcast received the lowest satisfaction index score of 62 out of 100, followed by Time Warner Cable with a score of 63, and CenturyLink with a score of 64. The only ISP to score hire than a 70 was Verizon FiOS, with a score of 71.
But how bad are these numbers? Only three other industries had averages scoring under 70: airlines, subscription television service, and Internet social media companies.
The ACSI says that “high monthly costs and problems with both reliability and speed are the main culprits” behind ISPs’ dismal customer satisfaction ratings. What’s more, given the lack of competition for home broadband services in many markets, the ACSI says that “dissatisfied customers have a difficult time leaving their provider for an alternative supplier,” although the survey does note that “options such as Google Fiber may eventually force current ISP providers to step up their customer service.”
Competition for Google Fiber emerges
Since Google’s announcement that they were taking Google Fiber to Austin, ISPs have been forced to remain competitive and offer similar services (and that was Google’s entire intention all along). Despite the fact that Time Warner seems to think that Americans don’t want gigabit internet access, ATT has responded by offering Gigabit speeds in Austin, TX as well. Comcast has not made any announcements yet on plans to roll out a gigabit network.Vermont Telephone Company’s gigabit fiber optic services are now live, costing $35/month – that’s half the price of Google Fiber.
I hope Google continues to expand Google Fiber to other cities so all domestic ISPs will feel the heat of Google’s competition. It is only when we have multiple cities completely linked up to gigabit-speed networks that we will truly be able to realize its potential.
Kim Dotcom Releases White Paper “The US Government vs You”
Kim Dotcom, founder of Megaupload and Mega, has released a white paper titled “Megaupload, the Copyright Lobby and the Future of Digital Rights: The United Stats vs You (and Kim Dotcom)”. If you weren’t already aware, the Kim Dotcom mansion was illegally raided by dozens of FBI carrying assault rifles, flying black helicopters, and riding in on tanks (here is a video of the raid, if you’re interested)
Here is a recently released interview with Kim Dotcom over cyber rights: