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Cybersecurity

Wikileaks & Responsible Open Internet Boundaries

Julian Assange's reprehensible Wikileaks data breaches of secret, private and proprietary information to the web, endangering lives, diplomacy and peace, has thrust to the forefront of public debate: what are the responsible boundaries of an "Open Internet?"

 

  • It is an especially timely debate given that the FCC is proposing an "Open Internet Order" for FCC decision on December 21st, and given that the FCC is trying to officially define what an "open Internet" is for the first time, in order to restrict what competitive broadband Internet providers can and cannot do.

 

It is instructive that the term "open Internet" is found nowhere in law.

 

Wikileaks & The Open Internet Coalition

Julian Assange's likely-criminal dissemination of many nations' secret national security information via Wikileaks --  in posting secret, proprietary, and private information that clearly endangers lives, diplomacy and peace -- has exposed one of the darkest sides of the broad open Internet movement, which pushes radical transparency, and general disrespect for secrets, confidentiality, privacy, and intellectual property -- to varying degrees.

  • Assange tries to justify his reckless, irresponsible and destructive acts by claiming to "Keep Governments Open," without bothering to explain the problem his destructive acts are supposed to solve.

It ironic that the Open Internet Coalition is lobbying the FCC hard now to have the Government force Title II telecom utility regulation on private competitive broadband companies in the name of "openness" -- when there is no identifiable or proven problem to solve.

It is especially ironic that leading corporate proponents of the Open Internet Coalition have been so slow to condemn the obvious harm and criminality of Assange's destructive "open" Wikileaks, but are so quick to condemn competitive broadband companies for not being "open" enough -- when the coalition's  definition of "open" is fluid, and when the coalition has no evidence that broadband providers are not being "open."

If it is now so clear that Assange's Wikileaks are a serious problem, why did it take three massive wikileaks over a period of several months for Open Internet member:

 

A Google Android Botnet Problem? "Security is Google's Achilles Heel" Part X of Series

Hackers have discovered a new serious security vulnerability in certain Android smartphones that is not easily or quickly patched because of Android's open and fragmented platform -- per Joseph Menn's report in the FT.

 

  • Specifically an HTC Android browser vulnerability enables a hacker to take broad control of an Android device.

 

The potential security implications of this are even more serious than they first appear.

 

Google's mandatory location profiling/tracking

Google won't allow you to opt-out of their location tracking for search, we learn from CNET's Chris Matyszczyk's outstanding post "How Google stops you hiding your location."

  • Kudos to Mr. Matyszczyk for spotlighting this latest "creepy line" Google default mandate.

What does this mean?

First, it means that Google has not learned much from its serial privacy problems, like Google setting a default that everyone's house should be included in StreetView photographing and Spi-Fi signal recording, and everyone that signed up for Google Buzz by default should share their Gmail addresses with the public.

Second, it means that Google profiles and tracks your location by default and that you can't opt out from Google knowing where you are, you can only select what local setting Google will use to customize your search results.

 

Apple's Individualism vs. Google's Collectivism

Apple's CEO Steve Jobs is wise to publicly debunk Google's claim that: Google defines "openness" (aka -- good), and Apple defines "closedness" (aka -- evil).

 

  • As Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: Google's concept of "openness" is "much easier to understand by opposition" so he defined Google's approach as the "inverse" of Apple's.

 

Google is right that they are the inverse/opposite of Apple, but not in the way that Google claims -- being open/neutral vs. being closed.

 

Google Schmidt: "China can be best understood as a large, well-run business"

In his latest display of no-self-awareness, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt, in an interview with the Atlantic, said:

 

  • "China can be best understood as a large, well run business... and China has roughly the following objectives: It wants  to maximize its cash flow; becoming the creditor, if you will, the bank of the world. And Second it wants to maximize both its internal demand as well as export demand. And the entire country seems to be organized around that principle."

 

Is Google's CEO the only sentient being on the planet that isn't aware that China is organized around the principles of China's National Communist Party?

"If China is best understood as a large, well-run business," why does Communist China censor and imprison their Chinese "customers" if they object too much to China's products and services?

 

 

 


Big Brother Inc. Implications of Google Getting No-Bid U.S. Spy Contract

The top U.S. spy agency for mapping announced a no-bid digital mapping contract with Google on August 19th. However, after media inquiries, the agency modified the contract's no-bid format, but made clear "the agency's intention to award the contract to Google without entertaining competitive bids" -- per a Fox News story by James Rosen.

 

  • Wow. There are large and broad implications of this remarkable new development for: privacy, security, antitrust, Google's international business, and Government oversight.
  • The fact that this was announced in late August, when precious few are paying attention, should heighten everyone's Big Brother Inc. antennae.

Has anyone in a position of authority or oversight even begun to think through the irony and stupidity of contracting out the Nation's most sensitive intelligence gathering and analysis function to a company that has:

37 States now investigating Google StreetView snooping

37 States are now involved in a "powerful multi-state investigation" of "Google's Streetview snooping" per a press release from investigation leader, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who released a new follow-up letter to Google asking for more information and clarification of its representations to date. 

The letter shows the investigation is very serious. Its prosecutorial exactness strongly suggests that investigators believe Google has not been forthright in its answers to date and that it could be covering up material information to the investigation. 

  • Several questions in the letter also indicate that the investigators are seriously concerned about the integrity and completeness of Google's systems of internal controls and supervision to ensure the safety and privacy of consumers. 

What appears to be the most problematic line of inquiry is whether or not Google tested this software before it was used in public to collect private information on consumers. 

Google China License: What's the rest of the story?

In an exceptionally uncharacteristic low-key PR manner for Google, Google announced on its blog in one sentence that China renewed its license to operate in China.

  • "Update July 9:
    We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP license and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China."

What's the rest of the story here?

Google and China have been at loggerheads with one another in one of the highest-of-profile international standoffs between a private company and a superpower in modern history, since Google publicly accused China in January blogpost of being complicit in a hack of Google that resulted in the theft of Google's intellectual property, (which John Markoff of the New York Times reported was the extremely sensitive computer code for Google's password control system.) 

What is the quid pro quo here?

Google's Wanton WarDriving Scandal: Fallout & Cover-up

Google's wanton "wardriving," i.e. detecting, accessing, and recording residential WiFi networks in 30 countries for over three years, was not simply a "mistake," "inadvertent," or an "accident" as the Google's PR machine has spun it. The evidence to the contrary is overwhelming to anyone who bothers to examine it closely. 

  • Google's wanton wardriving was either: gross incompetence/negligence or wrongdoing
    • Government investigators must determine for themselves via subpoena, whether or not anyone at Google, in a supervisory or management position, knew that this private "payload" data was being collected, and whether or not this private data had been accessed, copied, analyzed, or used by Google in any way.

The case for why Google's wanton wardriving is more than just a "mistake."        

I.  Identifying the questionable practice: "Wardriving"

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