29 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for April 18, 2011
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Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2011 18:21:39 -0700 From: Sam Spade <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: After Breach, Companies Warn of E-Mail Fraud Message-ID: <QbWdnSzIl_g-3TfQnZ2dnUVZ_q2dnZ2d@giganews.com> Telecom Digest Moderator wrote: > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > The Internet has as much or as little privacy as its users are willing > to demand. We get the conveniece of email at a price, and those whom > insist on keeping their emails private have several different options > available: [snip] > But ... > > If you have a perfectly implemented, well designed, and unbreakable > cipher, then anyone who wants the data badly enough will simply bypass > the codebreaking process and resort to rubber-hose cryptography. The > information is only as secure as the people, and the adage about a > secret being so only so long as only one person knows it comes to mind. The U.S. Treasury wants to get rid of paper. Their Treasury Direct accounts have security no one else offers me, certainly not Bank of America on-line banking. I doubt anyone could bust into a Treasury Direct account unless they broke into the account holder's residence.
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2011 22:22:37 -0500 From: John Mayson <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: After Breach, Companies Warn of E-Mail Fraud Message-ID: <BANLkTin9-Gu+1JfXyG3cURPOfhYutQoD1g@mail.gmail.com> On Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 10:53 AM, Fred Atkinson <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > There is no privacy on the Internet because we've never incorporated > encryption in any acceptable manner. My hunch is in the early days of the net, privacy and security weren't issues. In fact openness and was encouraged. Richard Stallman famously refused to password protect his login because he believed his coworkers had the right to access his account. > PGP didn't catch on like it could have. And I find that to be too > bad. I am a huge geek and I hopped on the PGP bandwagon in the early 90s (mid 90s?). The problem was I had no one to play with so to speak. I couldn't convince anyone I knew to adopt it, so me using it became rather pointless. My the late 90s I adopted GnuPG and started using it a lot because an acquaintance of mine started spoofing emails from me and managed to get me in hot water with my shell account provider, Yahoo!, and my ISP. Thankfully my ISP helped me resolve the issue. Even though I didn't know anyone else who used GnuPG, I could at least digitally sign my emails and claim anything not signed wasn't from me. The hole in this was I didn't 100% sign all emails making my argument worthless. Telecom Digest Moderator wrote: > The Internet has as much or as little privacy as its users are willing > to demand. We get the conveniece of email at a price, and those whom > insist on keeping their emails private have several different options > available: Users can run Tor, or similar services, that make tracking virtually impossible. I must note though I saw a blurb that the Iranian government had cracked this and could identify users. > If you have a perfectly implemented, well designed, and unbreakable > cipher, then anyone who wants the data badly enough will simply bypass > the codebreaking process and resort to rubber-hose cryptography. The > information is only as secure as the people, and the adage about a > secret being so only so long as only one person knows it comes to mind. I'm fairly certain I have brought this up in the past. I recall reading that when companies force employees to create very cryptic passwords security actually decreases. This is because an employee is more likely to write the password down and otherwise have it out in the open. So "LaSSie92!" might be better than "yH7^p31x.tT21". And how many times do we hear of a laptop full of Social Security numbers in plain text being left on a subway? I originally wasn't going to reply to this thread, but an article in the May 2011 "Wired" got me thinking. There are three services that will share your browsing habits with your friends and/or the world. http://voyurl.com/ http://sitesimon.com/ http://dscover.me/ Which brings me to a related topic. The people I personally know who scream the loudest about losing their privacy, usually in the context of speed enforcement cameras, are the same ones who post far too much information about themselves on social networking sites. I honestly, I wouldn't want to know what sites some friends of mine visit. Some information is better left unknown. And in another related topic, I know people who fear Google and claim Google knows too much about them. What they don't understand is Google knows about them because they themselves put the information online in the first place. And it's the offline world people should really be afraid of. Credit reporting firms, marketing companies, to name a few know more about you than you think. John -- John Mayson <email@example.com> Austin, Texas, USA
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2011 23:53:16 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Keep Your Thumbs Still When I'm Talking to You Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Keep Your Thumbs Still When I'm Talking to You By DAVID CARR April 15, 2011 YOU are at a party and the person in front of you is not really listening to you. Yes, she is murmuring occasional assent to your remarks, or nodding at appropriate junctures, but for the most part she is looking beyond you, scanning in search of something or someone more compelling. Here's the funny part: If she is looking over your shoulder at a room full of potentially more interesting people, she is ill-mannered. If, however, she is not looking over your shoulder, but into a smartphone in her hand, she is not only well within modern social norms, but is also a wired, well-put-together person. Add one more achievement to the digital revolution: It has made it fashionable to be rude. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/fashion/17TEXT.html A Guide to Smartphone Manners By DAVID CARR April 15, 2011 A Modest Proposal for a Digital Détente: 10 Rules to Make Sure Smartphones Don't Make Us Stupid http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/fashion/17TEXTSIDEBAR.html
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2011 00:11:45 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: How To Fix 911 Message-ID: <email@example.com> How To Fix 911 By Christine Kenneally Saturday, Apr. 16, 2011 Time The phone rang at 4:43 a.m. on March 27, 2007. Patty Michaels, a dispatcher at a 911 call center in Belleville, Ill., picked up. On the other end, a woman screamed for help. She said her husband had attacked her. Michaels heard a baby crying in the background. The caller's address appeared on Michaels' screen: it was in O'Fallon, Ill., less than 10 miles away. Michaels asked the woman to confirm it. "That's when it got really tricky," she says. The caller wasn't in Illinois. She was in South Korea. Two days earlier, the woman and her baby had left O'Fallon to join her husband, an Army serviceman posted in Seoul. She was locked in her bedroom, afraid for her life. But because the woman had dialed 911 from a VOIP - voice over Internet protocol - service, using a computer, Michaels had no way of finding her. The 911 system doesn't locate computers; it shows only the address that the phone service is registered to, and when Michaels' caller left the country, she didn't update her address. That small lapse underlies the fundamental problem of 911: it was developed for landlines back in the days when copper wires ran between a telephone and a central switch. But since 1968, when the first 911 call, a ceremonial test case, rang in Haleyville, Ala., the service has grown to cover 96% of the U.S. and now receives some 240 million calls a year - less than half from landlines in many communities. Americans assume we can connect to 911 in all the ways we connect to each other. Our GPS-enabled smart phone, Google and Foursquare may know exactly where we are at any given time, but unfortunately, these technologies aren't compatible with standard 911. Traditional emergency services don't take texts, photos, Skype calls or videos either. Then there are social media like Twitter and Facebook, which work when our phones don't. After the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, millions of people communicated through social networks when landlines went down and mobile networks were overwhelmed. Within an hour of the earthquake, more than 1,200 tweets a minute were coming from Tokyo, including video updates on the scene. But a system like 911 - the first first responder - is out of the loop. ... http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2062452,00.html
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2011 19:51:56 -0700 From: AES <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer? Message-ID: <siegman-F942BA.firstname.lastname@example.org> > >> "How do we know that anything causes cancer?" What a dopey question! > > > > Not dopey at all, but a perfectly reasonable question. The article by Dr. > > Mukherjee (a cancer researcher, not a Times reporter) didn't ask "DOES > > anything cause cancer?" It didn't even ask "Do we KNOW that anything > > causes cancer?" Rather, it asked the more interesting question: HOW do we > > know that something causes cancer? It then proceeds to answer that > > question, explaining the scientific and statistical techniques used to > > identify something as a carcinogen, and briefly covering the major studies > > that have attempted to answer the question of whether mobile phone usage > > can be thus identified. I do recommend actually reading the article > > instead of just flippantly dismissing it. > > > > Bob Goudreau > > Cary, NC I'd join in recommending this very well done NYT article. In addition to the statistical or epidemiological problems that arise in attempting to answer this question, there are a set of questions like: 1) "What physical mechanisms or agents have been identified that we know with some certainly will cause potentially damaging cellular or genetic changes ("damage" if you like) in biological organisms?" UV or higher-energy radiation, for example, or certain highly active chemical agents, have been identified as such agents; and we have considerable basic physical and chemical understanding as to why and how these agents can cause such damage. But then it's reasonable to ask: 2) "Do cellphones or cellphone technology generate or create any of these known and well identified damaging agents or mechanisms in the process of using them?" And since the answer to this question is widely accepted to be "No, not in any way," one then needs substantially stronger statistical evidence that cellphones may be causing serious damage, before one launches a major investigation looking for some new, unknown, and mysterious way in which cellphones may cause cancer.
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2011 23:20:17 -0500 From: email@example.com (Robert Bonomi) To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer? Message-ID: <Ru6dndC6S-sc9zfQnZ2dnUVZ_uWdnZ2d@posted.nuvoxcommunications> In article <email@example.com>, John Levine <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: >>A 'statistical correlation' is not proof of CAUSATION, unless the >>correlation is exactly 1.0 (or -1.0). > >Don't be silly. Take your own advice, > I knew a guy who shot himself in the head and >survived. (He died from other causes about 50 years later.) >Therefore shooting people in the head at close range doesn't cause >them to die. Yes, despite the fatally (pun intended) flawed reasoning you employed, that is correct. You draw an invalid conclusion by assuming/implying that 'lack of proof of causation' is equivalent to 'proof of lack of causation'. JUST being shot in the head does NOT invariably cause death. > On the other hand, if you survey the population of >people born before 1896, every single one of them who drank any water >is now dead. Therefore, drinking water killed them all. "Figures don't lie, but liars can figure" applies. <grin> Available evidence is that drinking water kept them alive for years. OTOH, everyone from that time who stopped drinking water is dead. Aside: there have been more than a dozen deaths in the U.S., in the last decade, for which the official cause of death was identified as the excessive consumption of water. These are not 'drownings', they are what is clinically known as 'acute water intoxication'. >Biological processes are complicated and subtle, and figuring out >what's a cause and effect rather than a coincicence, or a correlation >with some other cause is tricky. It requires both a good >understanding of statstics and a good understanding of the biological >processes. Simplistic misstatements of statistics don't help. My point, precisely. *NOBODY*KNOWS* the entire process that leads cancer to develop. If they did, one could predict exactly "who" would develop cancer,and when it would appear. Further, eliminating any one of the 'critical' causative factors would prevent the cancer from developing. >Like I said, if there's any biological effect of cell phones, it's >subtle, since there's tons of data and at least so far, that data >hasn't said anything clear one way or the other. Based on what I've >seen, any risk of cancer is swamped by the risk of stepping into the >street without looking while you're talking on the phone and being hit >by a bus. Agreed. Other forms of radio transmitters, at more-or-less similar (within an octave plus/minus) frequencies, emit radiation at power levels so much higher than a cell phone that the 'equivalent' exposure is at a distance from the transmitter that is measured in miles. Everyone within that radius of said transmitters is so exposed, and that exposure has occurred for decades longer than cell phones have been popular. The scaremongers mostly claim "we don't know enough to say there isn't any danger", and want things restricted/banned "until shown to be _absolutely_safe_".
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2011 15:56:13 +0000 (UTC) From: Paul <email@example.com.INVALID.telecom-digest.org> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer? Message-ID: <Xns9ECA797112431Senex@18.104.22.168> David Clayton <email@example.com> wrote in news:firstname.lastname@example.org: > You may well be right, I took the context of the question as just > another dopey media comment aimed at misleading the great unwashed > (i.e, most of us) rather than the context you explained. > > If indeed it does explain how we indeed do KNOW then all well and > good, and in the original context of determining if Cellphones are > a cancer factor then it should explain how this determination may > eventually be made. >From observation, I have concluded that a good number of cell phone users have been subjected to brain damage. Some symptoms are loss of navigational and social skills... -- Paul
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2011 17:54:51 -0400 From: Eric Tappert <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer? Message-ID: <email@example.com> On Thu, 14 Apr 2011 17:48:19 -0400, Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: [Moderator snip] >Allow, then, a thought experiment: what if Susan Reynard was given a >diagnosis of astrocytoma in 2011 - but this time, we armed her with >the most omniscient of lawyers, the most cutting-edge >epidemiological information, the most powerful scientific evidence? >Nineteen years and several billion cellphone users later, if Reynard >were to reappear in court, what would we now know about a possible >link between cellphones and her cancer? > >To answer these questions, we need to begin with a more fundamental >question: How do we know that anything causes cancer? > >http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17cellphones-t.html After reading all the responses, I have a better idea. Let's start an internet rumor that cell phones only cause cancer when used while driving an automobile. We can make up something like the reflections of the radiation from the metal in the car concentrates the bad effect in the driver's brain. Since everything on the internet is true for a lot of folks, we probably could impact the number of deaths and injuries resulting from talking or texting drivers, which is very probably much larger than the brain cancer cases. Just a thought.... ET
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2011 17:51:47 -0400 From: Ernest Donlin <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer? Message-ID: <BANLkTim65GYH9XM0oa-VWWD76qKZiM8Nmg@mail.gmail.com> On Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 4:43 PM, John Levine <email@example.com> wrote: > Based on what I've seen, any risk of cancer is swamped by the risk > of stepping into the street without looking while you're talking on > the phone and being hit by a bus. That doesn't make sense to me: when I was in the Army, some of the troops smoked cigarettes, and said "this is nothing compared the chances I'll get killed by <taliban, morters, artillery, giant cannons hidden inside nearby mountains, etc.>. I never smoked, and I don't think I should have just because there were other risks to watch out for. It cuts both ways, doesn't it? ED ***** Moderator's Note ***** > Moderator, please spam-proof my return address. I can't change the > subject line on Google mail. OK, I didn't know that could happen: if you can't change the subject line on a post you want to reply to, try using the "Forward" option instead. If that doesn't let you change the subject line, then let me know and I'll find a way around the problem. Bill Horne Moderator
TELECOM Digest is an electronic journal devoted mostly to telecom- munications topics. It is circulated anywhere there is email, in addition to Usenet, where it appears as the moderated newsgroup 'comp.dcom.telecom'. TELECOM Digest is a not-for-profit, mostly non-commercial educational service offered to the Internet by Bill Horne. All the contents of the Digest are compilation-copyrighted. You may reprint articles in some other media on an occasional basis, but please attribute my work and that of the original author. The Telecom Digest is moderated by Bill Horne.
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