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The Telecom Digest for July 24, 2011
Volume 30 : Issue 183 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Re: area code named beer(Paul)
Re: area code named beer(Wes Leatherock)
Re: area code named beer(Lisa or Jeff)
Re: Google Search problems(AES)
Re: Google Search problems(AES)
Re: Most cellphone voice mail is vulnerable to hackers(Thor Lancelot Simon)
Re: Automatic License Plate Readers track your every move(Koos van den Hout)
Re: Automatic License Plate Readers track your every move(Bill Horne)
Re: Automatic License Plate Readers track your every move(Pete Cresswell)

====== 29 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======

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Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2011 22:10:45 +0000 (UTC) From: Paul <pssawyer@comcast.net.INVALID> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: area code named beer Message-ID: <Xns9F2AB8F06B1FESenex@88.198.244.100> moroney@world.std.spaamtrap.com (Michael Moroney) wrote in news:j05d73$ao3$1@pcls6.std.com: > I don't know what the exchange names for Fitchburg and Leominster, > Mass. were, however many Fitchburg numbers are 34x-xxxx, and > Leominster has many 53x-xxxx. It fits being FItchburg-X-xxxx and > LEominster-X-xxxx. Yes, they used FItchburg- and LEominster. Later, they changed FItchburg- to DIamond- because operators and others were hearing "PIttsburgh." -- Paul
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 07:39:16 -0700 (PDT) From: Wes Leatherock <wleathus@yahoo.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: area code named beer Message-ID: <1311431956.57780.YahooMailClassic@web111713.mail.gq1.yahoo.com> --- On Fri, 7/22/11, Paul <pssawyer@comcast.net.INVALID> wrote: > > I don't know what the exchange names for Fitchburg and Leominster, > > Mass. were, however many Fitchburg numbers are 34x-xxxx, and > > Leominster has many 53x-xxxx. It fits being FItchburg-X-xxxx and > > LEominster-X-xxxx. > Yes, they used FItchburg- and LEominster. Later, they changed > FItchburg- to DIamond- because operators and others were hearing > "PIttsburgh." In the DFW area ARlington was originally used for the city of the same name. Later changed to CRestview (same dial pull.) The Bell System had a list of approved names for each dial pull arranged by the corresponding digits. When Anadarko, Okla. (Indian City USA) was converted to dial the local leaders wanted "CHieftain," which was not on the approved list. So SWBT got, and received, an exemption. I assume names assigned before the list was issued were grandfathered. Wes Leatherock wleathus@yahoo.com wesrock@aol.com
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 11:04:27 -0700 (PDT) From: Lisa or Jeff <hancock4@bbs.cpcn.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: area code named beer Message-ID: <bcc40aff-ddfe-42d1-a4c7-d8296adabd66@d32g2000yqa.googlegroups.com> On Jul 23, 10:39am, Wes Leatherock <wleat...@yahoo.com> wrote: > The Bell System had a list of approved names for each dial pull > arranged by the corresponding digits. When Anadarko, Okla. (Indian > City USA) was converted to dial the local leaders wanted "CHieftain," > which was not on the approved list. So SWBT got, and received, an > exemption. > > I assume names assigned before the list was issued were grandfathered. What's puzzling is that some names were grandfathered in, but others were still changed with the dial pull left the same. In Philadelphia, they had BAring 2, which was pronounced "bearing", and obviously not a good name for an exchange. But BAring 2 stayed until the end (and 222 remains to this day). When the second digit of an exchange was 9, some places used Y, as in HYacinth, HYatt, CYpress, LYric. While OYster probably wouldn't be mispelled, they did have troubles with HY dialed as HI. (One community in NJ had SWinburne, named for an old poet.) I'd like to know the last new name that was assigned to an exchange. Probably done in the 1960s. In some places, the transition was done slowly, for example, there was a TUrner 4 (884), but when 885 was opened, it was given 885 instead of TU 5); lots of examples like that (ORchard 3, 6, 7 were joined by 671).
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2011 16:06:49 -0700 From: AES <siegman@stanford.edu> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Google Search problems Message-ID: <siegman-8CDA3B.16064922072011@sciid-srv02.med.tufts.edu> In article <YIBkR7H02eKOFwxj@wisty.plus.com>, Peter R Cook <PCook@wisty.plus.com> wrote: > >Are there any newsgroups or responsible forums where one can learn > >about/discuss/complain about Google search problems? > > > >[Which are certainly becoming much more annoying/frustrating/infuriating > >in recent days!!!] > > There is an interesting book called " The Filter Bubble" by Eli Pariser > you might want to read Thanks for the lead -- although I'm not primarily concerned about the "you loop" phenomena described in Pariser's book, in which the Filter Bubble feeds back to you more and more links to sites whose viewpoints or prejudices match your own, thus leading you into an increasingly narrow intellectual world. Rather, I'm encountering an increasing number of situations where I carefully phrase my search to ask for some fairly specific piece of technical or product information and Google gives me in response not only several sponsored links, which are most often irrelevant but are at least marked as sponsored -- and then a bunch of additional links from firms or sites or organizations which actually have no useful information on my query, but try to make it look as if they do -- and want me to register, or to click on ad sites, or even pay an initial fee, for them to look for this information. Seems to me to be happening with rapidly increasing frequency, in more and more areas of knowledge. ***** Moderator's Note ***** I've noticed this as well, and here's what caused it: the Google search algorithms became semi-common knowledge, and companies started selling "Seach Engine Optimization" services that reverse-engineered Google's search method so as to advance their client's page rankings. I knew a guy who used to do the work - trust me, it's not rocket science - and he showed me some of the tricks involved. The root of the problem is that Google's algorithms work extremely well until seo comes along, and then they "fail" and deliver URL's that have been gerrymandered to appear at the top of the rankings. That means that Google took off like a rocket, and obtained "escape velocity" very quickly, because it was an extremely useful tool for searching the net WHEN IT FIRST STARTED. Now, it's usefullness has been compromised, but the Google management team was smart enough to know that they had to branch out quickly, so they used the revenue from the early years to finance the expansion, and have succeeded beyond anyone's estimates. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 08:49:27 -0700 From: AES <siegman@stanford.edu> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Google Search problems Message-ID: <siegman-6CAB7D.08492723072011@sciid-srv02.med.tufts.edu> > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > I've noticed this as well, and here's what caused it: the Google > search algorithms became semi-common knowledge, and companies started > selling "Seach Engine Optimization" services that reverse-engineered > Google's search method so as to advance their client's page rankings. > > I knew a guy who used to do the work - trust me, it's not rocket > science - and he showed me some of the tricks involved. The root of > the problem is that Google's algorithms work extremely well until seo > comes along, and then they "fail" and deliver URL's that have been > gerrymandered to appear at the top of the rankings. That means that > Google took off like a rocket, and obtained "escape velocity" very > quickly, because it was an extremely useful tool for searching the net > WHEN IT FIRST STARTED. Now, it's usefullness has been compromised, but > the Google management team was smart enough to know that they had to > branch out quickly, so they used the revenue from the early years to > finance the expansion, and have succeeded beyond anyone's estimates. Moderator: I fully agree with your explanation. Seems to me we'll have to wait and see how this battle of wits between Google and SEO-wielding advertisers will play out over coming years (or should that be "battle of nitwits"?). It's not clear to me that Google will even fight the battle all that hard. There's a view of the conflict between the forces of knowledge and the forces of commerce that I've long held. Lord Acton, a noted British philosopher (1834-1902), is remembered for his famous quote: "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Today's equivalent in my view is: "Dependence on advertising tends to corrupt. Total dependence on advertising corrupts totally." Google is of course, like so many other areas in our society, totally dependent on advertising. --AES ***** Moderator's Note ***** It's possible to "repair" Google's search engine, albeit temporarily, but to do so would mean that Google would have to dedicate resources that are more profitably used elsewhere. Of course, it's also possible that will change: M$'s "Bing" service gained traction very quickly because Redmond took the trouble to find out what bothered users about Google, and scored lots of viewers by appealing to the average Google users' "Needle in a haystack" frustration at having to wade through all the artificially-enhanced rankings in order to reach one that they can use. If enough users abandon the Google site, they will have to take steps, and that means start an arms race that pits Google's techs against well-financed SEO providers who will always have another trick up their sleeve. So long as Google is able to sell itself by reputation, then they have no motive to change: the only question is how long it will take. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 00:44:57 +0000 (UTC) From: tls@panix.com (Thor Lancelot Simon) To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Most cellphone voice mail is vulnerable to hackers Message-ID: <j0d5i9$8k6$1@reader1.panix.com> In article <j0cb31$s22$3@news.albasani.net>, Adam H. Kerman <ahk@chinet.com> wrote: >Thor Lancelot Simon <tls@panix.com> wrote: >>David Clayton <dcstarbox-usenet@yahoo.com.au> wrote: > >>>I seem to remember that Voice Mail services from network providers used >>>the secure ID data (used for 1-800 etc.), not the stuff that can be >>>spoofed and appears on your phone. > >>No. There is no "secure ID data". The number used for 800 number >>billing is delivered by a service called ANI, which delivers the BTN, >>the *Billing Telephone Number* for a given account. This is much harder >>to spoof, but will also be identical for many different phones billed to >>the same company -- so is not useful for purposes like identifying a >>voicemail customer. . . . > >I don't agree. BTN the telephone number associated with the master account >record. ANI is the line number. An account comprises a single line or >hundreds or thousands of lines, depending on the nature of the telephone >subscriber. The ANI service delivers *either*: A) The "calling party number" from the SS7 IAM message, if that number is marked as network-provided, or B) Otherwise, the BTN for the originating line, again from the SS7 IAM message. Look at the message formats -- where in there are you going to jam some third number for it to deliver? Remember, the BTN emitted in the AMA record from the originating switch may not end up being the BTN actually used to bill the account. But that all happens "magically" from the point of view of the SS7 network. Thor -- Thor Lancelot Simon tls@panix.com "All of my opinions are consistent, but I cannot present them all at once." -Jean-Jacques Rousseau, On The Social Contract
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 10:12:06 +0000 (UTC) From: Koos van den Hout <koos+newsposting@kzdoos.xs4all.nl> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Automatic License Plate Readers track your every move Message-ID: <j0e6pm$50k$2@kzdoos.xs4all.nl> Kade Crockford <kcrockford@remove-this.aclum.org> wrote in <CA4C597D.2D23%kcrockford@remove-this.aclum.org>: > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > The recent story about Automatic License Plate Reader technology > piqued my curiosity, so I sent an email to the author of the blog, > Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts, and asked her to answer > some questions for the Digest. My questions to Ms. Crockford are the > ones shown as quoted text in her email reply. >> 2. Does the ALPR technology have the capability to make certain >> license plates "invisible", so that they don't show up in traffic >> scans or other information gathering? If so, who controls which >> license plates are immune from being tracked? > To my knowledge, no, but I¹m not sure I fully understand your question. Were you trying to get to the point of certain government officials wanting to be completely exempt from any vehicle tracking? I can imagine certain types of USA government officials (FBI, Secret service, NSA) really not wanting to be tracked because otherwise they would have to trust every single person with access to this system to not leak that information. But public knowledge of such an exemption would immediately completely undermine the 'trust us, we will not abuse this' needed to get the public to accept this. If highranking government officials do not trust it, why should the public. Personally I think the only way data like this is safe from abuse is not to collect it. Koos -- Koos van den Hout Homepage: http://idefix.net/ PGP keyid DSS/1024 0xF0D7C263 Webprojects: Camp Wireless http://www.camp-wireless.org/ The Virtual Bookcase http://www.virtualbookcase.com/
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 11:16:58 -0400 From: Bill Horne <bill@QRM.horne.net> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Automatic License Plate Readers track your every move Message-ID: <20110723151658.GF9895@telecom.csail.mit.edu> On Sat, Jul 23, 2011 at 10:12:06AM +0000, Koos van den Hout wrote: > Kade Crockford <kcrockford@remove-this.aclum.org> wrote in > <CA4C597D.2D23%kcrockford@remove-this.aclum.org>: > > > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > > The recent story about Automatic License Plate Reader technology > > piqued my curiosity, so I sent an email to the author of the blog, > > Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts, and asked her to answer > > some questions for the Digest. My questions to Ms. Crockford are the > > ones shown as quoted text in her email reply. > > >> 2. Does the ALPR technology have the capability to make certain > >> license plates "invisible", so that they don't show up in traffic > >> scans or other information gathering? If so, who controls which > >> license plates are immune from being tracked? > > > To my knowledge, no, but Im not sure I fully understand your question. > > Were you trying to get to the point of certain government officials wanting > to be completely exempt from any vehicle tracking? I can imagine certain > types of USA government officials (FBI, Secret service, NSA) really not > wanting to be tracked because otherwise they would have to trust every > single person with access to this system to not leak that information. > > But public knowledge of such an exemption would immediately completely > undermine the 'trust us, we will not abuse this' needed to get the public > to accept this. If highranking government officials do not trust it, why > should the public. > > Personally I think the only way data like this is safe from abuse is not > to collect it. Koos, Knowing about abuses of a system might undermine public trust in other countries, and I wish it were so here, but (at least in the U.S.), the public chooses to be fearfully ignorant about the way the government really works. In the U.S., license plates used by undercover policemen are not kept in the regular databases: they are issued and tracked by hand(1). That means that they are immune from citations, because there is no place to send the citations to, no name to lookup, etc. Of course, there are problems with such a system: dedicated civil servants who set their minds to finding the scofflaws must be taken aside and advised that their efforts will not be productive. Since civil servants are human, and prone to talk about their work, it's inconvenient to leave such "X Files" lying around: the truth may not be "out there", but the fact that someone is looking for it can cause ripple effects which are hard to deal with. A couple of years ago, I had a gig with a company that contracted with local governments to deliver, account for, and collect payments for parking citations(2). Here's the juicy part: the portable computers used by the meter maids contained an "exception" file, which included license plate number that would receive special treatment. A certain number could be coded as "Call boot squad", or "Plate does not match VIN, alert police", etc. A registration number could also be coded as "Ignore violation, do not cite". That meant that, no matter the reason, certain plate numbers would never receive parking tickets in those towns: the hand-held computers would refuse to record the citation. You see, if the mayor of a city doesn't want to have his whereabouts tracked, he has two avenues of escape: he can use a car with a "secret" license plate, or he can arrange to prevent the plate he uses from ever being listed on a citation. From a politician's perspective, the second solution is, by far, the better choice: judges can order police departments to deliver their internal records of which "secret" plates were cited, or various functionaries might come calling to ask for favors based on their knowledge of the mayor's travels, or someone who is not "entitled" to obtain a "secret" plate number might simply notice that it adorns a car parked in the mayor's reserved parking place at the city hall. It's much more secure, and less troublesome, to prevent such chains of events from ever being started. Of course, you see where this leads: those who have a say in the contract awards for such companies are able to exert their power to prevent themselves or their friends or their coworkers from ever receiving a parking citation, at least in that city(3). If that starts, what follows is inevitable: sooner or later, only those who have no influence and no power will be the only ones who pay the fines. Bill Horne (Filter QRM for direct replies) 1. Of course, that led to an obvious conclusion: anyone who checked a license plate and found that it was not in the database could deduce that it was being used by an undercover cop. The police departments now have "dummy" records in the computer, and are thus able to take notice of anyone who is interested in the fictitious names/addresses/whatever. It's called a "Canary trap" in the spy trade: spread misleading information, and wait to see who sings. 2. Some cities even contracted with this firm to provide the personnel whom issued the citations: even though the employees wore municipal uniforms, they were not employed by the city or town they worked in, so that the local government could force every iota of the cost for citations onto the backs of the car owners, collect a percentage of the fines, and never worry about providing health care or retirement benefits to the meter maids. That is, of course, a side issue, but still germaine to this discussion: non-government employees who are working at 3 AM are less likely to think twice about taking bribes, aren't part of the day-to-day workings of the government, won't see the mayor's car in his reserved spot, etc. More to the point, there is a big difference between a hardened, experienced policeman with access to the "secret" records that show the mayor's plate number, and a poorly trained menial who is desperate to keep her job and feed her children on minimum wage. 3. It's worse than that: as a practical matter, the exception files were always shared across every area that the contracting company serviced, so that anyone whose plate number was in that file could park their car illegally near the airport, which was in a town this firm contracted to, and also at the sports arena, which was in a different city that had also hired the firm I worked at. At contract time, the firm's negotiator could choose to let this slip out, just so that those sitting across the table knew exactly what they were bargaining for. This is, of course, a hypothetical possibility and I have no direct knowlege of it ever actually happening.
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2011 12:03:35 -0400 From: Pete Cresswell <nobody@invalid.telecom-digest.org> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Automatic License Plate Readers track your every move Message-ID: <86sl27pcucna36101p83ipos0ja8j7bu5i@4ax.com> Per Bill Horne: > This is, of course, a hypothetical possibility and I >have no direct knowlege of it ever actually happening. That one made my "keepers" file. Thanks. -- PeteCresswell ***** Moderator's Note ***** Seems like a very mundane disclaimer to me. Are you reading anything else into it? Bill Horne Moderator
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