30 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for November 22, 2011
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Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2011 23:56:03 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Document Trove Exposes Surveillance Methods Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> CENSORSHIP INC. Document Trove Exposes Surveillance Methods By JENNIFER VALENTINO-DEVRIES, JULIA ANGWIN and STEVE STECKLOW NOVEMBER 19, 2011 Documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal open a rare window into a new global market for the off-the-shelf surveillance technology that has arisen in the decade since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The techniques described in the trove of 200-plus marketing documents, spanning 36 companies, include hacking tools that enable governments to break into people's computers and cellphones, and "massive intercept" gear that can gather all Internet communications in a country. The papers were obtained from attendees of a secretive surveillance conference held near Washington, D.C., last month. Intelligence agencies in the U.S. and abroad have long conducted their own surveillance. But in recent years, a retail market for surveillance tools has sprung up from "nearly zero" in 2001 to about $5 billion a year, said Jerry Lucas, president of TeleStrategies Inc., the show's operator. Critics say the market represents a new sort of arms trade supplying Western governments and repressive nations alike. "The Arab Spring countries all had more sophisticated surveillance capabilities than I would have guessed," said Andrew McLaughlin, who recently left his post as deputy chief technology officer in the White House, referring to the Middle Eastern and African nations racked by violent crackdowns on dissent. The Journal this year uncovered an Internet surveillance center installed by a French firm in Libya and reported that software made by Britain's Gamma International UK Ltd., had been used in Egypt to intercept dissidents' Skype conversations. In October, a U.S. company that makes Internet-filtering gear acknowledged to the Journal that its devices were being used in Syria. Companies making and selling this gear say it is intended to catch criminals and is available only to governments and law enforcement. They say they obey export laws and aren't responsible for how the tools are used. ... http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203611404577044192607407780.html ***** Moderator's Note ***** Here's another testimonial for end-to-end encryption. Bill "Once three people know it, it's not a secret" Horne Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 01:21:40 -0800 (PST) From: Neal McLain <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: OT: Electronics store with classic parts Message-ID: <email@example.com> On Nov 20, 7:47 pm, withh...@invalid.telecom-digest.org (HAncock4) wrote: > On Nov 18, 3:36 pm, HAncock4 <withh...@invalid.telecom-digest.org> > wrote: > > Today I passed a former AT&T Long Lines microwave antenna site. I > read that it's no longer used for that, but merely a platform for > cell phone antennas. I've seen several old intercity relay towers (not necessarily AT&T, but certainly similar) used to support cell antennas. http://antennastructures.blogspot.com/ Neal McLain
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 02:39:57 -0500 From: David Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Telephony on TV Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Tue, 1 Nov 2011 20:13:54 -0700 (PDT), HAncock4 <email@example.com> wrote: > > I wonder if there are many other examples on TV or cinema of > > reasonably obscure telephone technology being used in such an > > important manner in a plot line? <snip others> > In "The Major and the Minor", Ginger Rogers gets a boy to let her > use a school switchboard so she can make a toll call important to > the plot. She gets her own call through, but screws up other > traffic. Several movies featured women working as PBX or telco operators, but I wouldn't call that an obscure technology, nor AFAIR vital to plots. 'The Sting' relies on interception of newswire (race results). Quite a few movies showed Teletypes, either newswire, cable (e.g. WU, C&W), or business telex/TWX. They are nicely cinematic with the thudding and the dinging and the typehead moving and the words appearing. Ordinary people wouldn't encounter a Teletype but I'm not sure they're obscure. 'Fail Safe' is set almost entirely on the US-USSR hotline. 'Dr Strangelove' uses it some -- also an ordinary payphone, with the wonderful threat by Keenan Wynn "If you don't get the president on that phone, you'll have to answer to the Coca-Cola company." [Moderator snip] 'The President's Analyst' has important roles for several fictional (we hope!) telco -- but not quite telephone -- technologies. TV series 'Cannon' frequently used an IMTS (I believe) car phone at a time when they were uncommon and 'sexy' but not unknown. 'Green Acres' had Eddie Albert (often?) climb a pole to directly use the cable, but this was just a yuk, not important to plot.
Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2011 23:54:07 -0800 From: Thad Floryan <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: How 1-800-ITS-UNIX changed the world Message-ID: <4ECA039F.firstname.lastname@example.org> Background: for those who are unaware of Andrew Tanenbaum: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_S._Tanenbaum which begins: " Andrew Stuart "Andy" Tanenbaum is a professor of computer science " at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He is " best known as the author of MINIX, a free Unix-like operating " system for teaching purposes, and for his computer science " textbooks, regarded as standard texts in the field. He regards " his teaching job as his most important work. An interview several days ago with Andrew Tanenbaum can be read here in English: http://linuxfr.org/nodes/88229/comments/1291183 Several interesting passages in the interview caught my eye: " The reason MINIX 3 didn't dominate the world has to do with one mistake " I made about 1992. At that time I thought BSD was going to take over " the world. It was a mature and stable system. I didn't see any point in " competing with it, so I focused MINIX on education. Four of the BSD " guys had just formed a company to sell BSD commercially. They even had " a nice phone number: 1-800-ITS-UNIX. That phone number did them and me " in. AT&T sued them over the phone number and the lawsuit took 3 years " to settle. That was precisely the period Linux was launched and BSD was " frozen due to the lawsuit. By the time it was settled, Linux had taken " off. My mistake was not to realize the lawsuit would take so long and " cripple BSD. If AT&T had not brought suit (or better yet, bought BSDI), " Linux would never have become popular at all and BSD would dominate the " world. " " Now as we are starting to go commercial, we are realizing the value of " the BSD license. Many companies refuse to make major investments in " modifying Linux to suit their needs if they have to give the code to " their competitors. We think that the BSD license alone will be a great " help to us, as well as the small size, reliability, and modularity. and " No, Linux "succeeded" because BSD was frozen out of the market by AT&T " at a crucial time. That's just dumb luck. Also, success is relative. I " run a political website that ordinary people read. On that site " statistics show that about 5% is Linux, 30% is Macintosh (which is BSD " inside) and the rest is Windows. These are ordinary people, not " computer geeks. I don't think of 5% as that big a success story. and especially this little gem: " Also noteworthy is that Google and others are putting a huge effort to " remove much of the code from the Linux kernel and replace it with BSD " code in userland, both to make it simpler and get rid of the GPL. ***** Moderator's Note ***** I once worked for a company that is "well known" in the SCADA space, and soon realized that they were rebranding Linux to sell to the various utilities that deliver power and water, etc. They weren't the first: Red Hat showned the world (as did Bill Gates) that the average corporate IT purchasing manager is a drooling idiot. Red Hat drove the first (pun intended) hurd of cattle up main street, by rebranding Linux and adding "license" fees for products that didn't require a license. Now those who were "present at the creation" of Linux are trying to explain away the Open-Source paradigm as an accident that "those in the know" will soon recover from. Thus always the path of the revolution: it seems that some animals are more equal than others. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: 21 Nov 2011 18:27:42 -0000 From: "John Levine" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: How 1-800-ITS-UNIX changed the world Message-ID: <email@example.com> >" competing with it, so I focused MINIX on education. Four of the BSD >" guys had just formed a company to sell BSD commercially. They even had >" a nice phone number: 1-800-ITS-UNIX. That phone number did them and me >" in. AT&T sued them over the phone number and the lawsuit took 3 years >" to settle. The BSDI lawsuit was about considerably more than the phone number -- it was about how much AT&T code was in the Berkeley Unix distributions. The answer turned out to be not much, and what there was could be quickly rewritten, but he's right that the lawsuit delayed BSD long enough for Linux to get traction. R's, John, long time BSDI customer
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 08:45:46 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Rushdie Runs Afoul of Web's Real-Name Police Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Rushdie Runs Afoul of Web's Real-Name Police By SOMINI SENGUPTA November 14, 2011 SAN FRANCISCO - The writer Salman Rushdie hit Twitter on Monday morning with a flurry of exasperated posts. Facebook, he wrote, had deactivated his account, demanded proof of identity and then turned him into Ahmed Rushdie, which is how he is identified on his passport. He had never used his first name, Ahmed, he pointed out; the world knows him as Salman. Would Facebook, he scoffed, have turned J. Edgar Hoover into John Hoover? "Where are you hiding, Mark?" he demanded of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, in one post. "Come out here and give me back my name!" The Twitterverse took up his cause. Within two hours, Mr. Rushdie gleefully declared victory: "Facebook has buckled! I'm Salman Rushdie again. I feel SO much better. An identity crisis at my age is no fun." Mr. Rushdie's predicament points to one of the trickiest notions about life in the digital age: Are you who you say you are online? Whose business is it - and why? ... http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/technology/hiding-or-using-your-name-online-and-who-decides.html ***** Moderator's Note ***** -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 Now here is a can-o-worms that's been sitting on the shelf for twenty years, and Salman Rushdie is just the guy to open it. This is a debate that is long overdue, necessary, and important, and I'm going to open a facetube account just to tell him so. If Ahmed Rushdie didn't like his name, he was free to change it, and he did so. There have been thousands of precedents for both pseudonyms and renamings, some ranging back centuries: Thomas Payne wasn't the real name of the man who wrote "Common Sense", and there's serious debate over who wrote the plays William Shakespeare published. The list goes on: was "Moses" born with that name? Mao Ze dong? Nguyen Sinh Cung? What, after all, is a name? Is it a label for a person, or for a person's ideas and for his/her effect on the world? Bureaucrats, beancounters that they are, demand a label for a person, while ordinary people prefer that a label be attached to public persona or a set of ideas, and historians seek a central truth that explains how one can become the other. Each viewpoint works for the purposes intended: the bureaucrat wants to put his thumb on a body, the body politic on a belief, and the historian on a period of time. Public-key cryptography can eliminate most uncertainty caused by the use of pseudonyms: I can present a cryptographically signed key that attests to my "online" name being "Bill Horne". That, however, is just a way to make sure that nobody can steal my "online" identity, and the central question remains whether everyone in the world should be entitled to know who Nguyen Sinh Cung really was or who Bill Horne really is. Bill P.S. I have other names for "Jedger" Hoover, but that's another story. Bill Horne Moderator -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux) iEYEARECAAYFAk7KonwACgkQT6Uqg6Jtj2DjBgCfYb4UC/BRNTAg1eOdKyLxq0LY /IMAnR4SgdGs/ph7aY1ioBA6Ydm2jiCd =u1Tn -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 08:46:20 +1100 From: David Clayton <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Document Trove Exposes Surveillance Methods Message-ID: <6kiX6C.A.h3G.22tyOB@telecom> On Sun, 20 Nov 2011 23:56:03 -0500, Monty Solomon wrote: > CENSORSHIP INC. > > Document Trove Exposes Surveillance Methods ......... > The Journal this year uncovered an Internet surveillance center installed > by a French firm in Libya and reported that software made by Britain's > Gamma International UK Ltd., had been used in Egypt to intercept > dissidents' Skype conversations. In October, a U.S. company that makes > Internet-filtering gear acknowledged to the Journal that its devices were > being used in Syria. > > Companies making and selling this gear say it is intended to catch > criminals and is available only to governments and law enforcement. They > say they obey export laws and aren't responsible for how the tools are > used. That sounds awfully familiar to the justification arms manufacturers use when (continually) supplying despotic regimes with their products which are invariably used to keep the bastards in power. I suppose once we all get access to these intrusion technologies then the "playing field" will be evened out a bit(?) -- Regards, David. David Clayton Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Knowledge is a measure of how many answers you have, intelligence is a measure of how many questions you have.
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 16:51:36 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Disruptions: For Teenagers, a Car or a Smartphone? Message-ID: <TzjknC.A.53G.32tyOB@telecom> Disruptions: For Teenagers, a Car or a Smartphone? By NICK BILTON November 20, 2011 The auto industry has a lot of problems. It has to worry about workers' pension and health care costs, too-frequent recalls and the rising cost of gas. I think there is something else that should concern the automakers. It's the [smartphone]. Teenagers love smartphones, and getting one has become a rite of passage. A driver's license? Like, whatever. It seems unlikely, but at least one auto company is paying attention. ... http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/a-teenage-question-a-car-or-a-smartphone/
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 11:31:29 -0800 (PST) From: email@example.com (HAncock4) To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Police radio encryption Message-ID: <email@example.com> USA Today article discussing pros and cons of police encrypting their radio transmissions. Police say it's to keep criminals from listening, but journalists object saying it makes government less transparent. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2011-11-20/police-encrypted-radios/51319598/1
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