Immigration Reform: What’s The Big Deal, And Where It All Went Wrong

immigrreformactIn 1986 Congress passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that was supposed to take care and secure the borders, provided stricter employment laws, and it also provided a pathway to citizenship for the immigrants that were already here. Here we are in 2013, the government hasn’t been able to secure the borders yet, the employment laws are laughed at, and even though amnesty was given to illegals, more than 15 million more undocumented people are residing inside US borders. Continue reading Immigration Reform: What’s The Big Deal, And Where It All Went Wrong

Enjoy Watching Your New Smart Television? What About If The Smart TV Is Watching You?

tv attack surfacesTelevisions are in virtually every home in the US. And over the years the TV just keeps improving. And now, they have improved the TV to the point that you can use TVs to surf the internet and enjoy almost everything that the internet has to offer…including Skype, chat rooms, and even take pics using built in cameras and microphones. Isn’t technology wonderful? But get this, what if your TV was watching you? Well, not really the TV, but the hacker that can even take total control of that internet connected smart television. Continue reading Enjoy Watching Your New Smart Television? What About If The Smart TV Is Watching You?

Just When You Thought You Had Privacy Under Control: The Supercookie

cookie monsterPersonally, I don’t suffer a lot of grief over cookies. I have automated processes that I have set to my liking and these do the major part of the work. Most of the people I work with, and my friends, have the same precautions in place on their machines. Today, cookies are a way of life. And, for the most part, people know how to deal with them…mostly.

The cookies are usually settings that you prefer to use when you visit a website. Things like language, region, are kept by these cookies. Then there are the cookies that will try to track you. These cookies ore often non-malevolent…recording surfing habits and information we may not want recorded. These cookies are easily found and rooted out, often software will do the trick to get rid of the unwanted stalkers.

Enter – The Supercookie

supercookieThere are websites now that have adopted the use of cookies hidden in files not usually reserved for such files. Services like HULU, Flixster, and even MSN, have been noted as using the special cookies. Due to the files being stored in a different location, detection is extremely difficult, and removal has to be done manually almost every time. Further complicating the matter is the fact that some of the cookies have been noted to also be self regenerating and will create a regular cookie if deleted to prevent the removal.

Potential For Abuse And Misuses

computer spyingUsually, a cookie is limited to what it can collect by the browser that it is contained in. The browser will only allow the issuing website to write, read, and finally remove the cookie. But supercookies operate outside of the browsers usual safeguards, and isn’t controlled in this manner. And even though keeping up with the users surfing on your own website is okay, keeping tabs of the user beyond your own website will quickly become an issue of ethics. Marketing firms will pay a lot to gain insight into internet surfing habits of individual users.

Privacy Invasions And Security Breaches

spying through blindsEven though disclaimers and user agreements could be used to give the thin appearance of permissions, many users will find these cookies objectionable. Industry heads have got together on this, in advance of legislation becoming necessary, to create a self regulatory policy. But in essence this policy does little except restrict the cookie issuers from collecting medical information. Most other information available to them is up for grabs.

Worse yet is the though of Sony losing control of their customer’s data last summer. Literally millions of people had their data compromised due to poor security measures being take by the company. The sheer number of websites that would have this information on hand is staggering. And, the thought of one, or more, of the website databases that contains all their customers and website visitors information being breached is staggering. And there will be millions of such databases to be exploited if something isn’t done to stop this.

The 5 Basic Fair Data Practices

5 rulesFor more than 25 years the industry has operated on the 5 practices that protect the public from unscrupulous types. They are: notification, choice/consent, integrity, access, and redress…here’s how that is supposed to work. First you notify your user/potential customer you are keeping the data. Then you must allow the customer to consent to the data collection or opt out. Assure to the integrity of the data you collect, and that it is clean and doesn’t contain information the user may not want broadcasted. Allow the user to access the information you have, correct it, and delete it if desired. Make yourself available to be held accountable for the info you are keeping, and the public must have a way to hold you to your promises.

Internet Privacy Is Becoming Harder Every Day

VPNReviewzThe information collected by cookies is only one way that companies and governments are attempting to keep tabs on every person in the world…tabs and control. And the only way a person can be assured that they aren’t being watched by one or the other is to use available protections, like VPN clients, private networks, and proxy servers such as the HideMyAss client and Usenet access. Only using these methods will you be able to completely control the information about you that is collected, stored, and used against you in the future.

Why People Would Choose Usenet Over Torrent

downloadsWhen first hearing about Usenet many people say “That sounds like an old kind of Bit Torrent.” In a way it is, and there are many similarities, and it is true that Usenet is a far older functioning system, but that’s part of the beauty of it. Continue reading Why People Would Choose Usenet Over Torrent

Internet Speed Slow – What Net Neutrality Has To Do With It

throttlingIn my last article I explained about how you internet speed could be choked or throttled, and even gave you a few reasonable explanations as to why an ISP would throttle a persons internet connection. But there are other reasons for throttling and censorship we didn’t cover in that Hub, greed.You see, an internet provider, like Verizon, or AT&T could censor your connection to exclude search results, web applications, and sites from their direct competitors. In other words, if AT&T doesn’t like the fact that you avoid paying for text messages by using the Google service (which is free,) then they can just keep your internet connection from displaying the websites that have this application available.

Back in December the FCC implemented some new rules on internet providers that would prevent them from choking your connection speed, and a few other unscrupulous things that ISP’s have hinted at in the past, but presently, the rule has been stopped from being enforced by Congress. The Net Neutrality rules will prevent this kind of thing from happening, but earlier this month the House of Representatives voted to throw the rules out. It isn’t over yet, the Senate still has to vote on the mandate, and the President has promised to veto any bill that crosses his desk to kill the rules, but the providers are fighting back hard…with money, the weapons that our leaders seem to bow to best.  

It’s All About The Money

cheap congressISP’s in Canada have already admitted to degrading service to some customers, and other companies, one company in particular comes to mind, MetroPCS, has announced plans to block mobile video apps from direct competitors. And, one CEO of an ISP was reported to have said that his company would be happy to provide Yahoo! faster loading and search speeds than Google…if they paid enough. But that’s not where the money stopped.

Telecommunication and internet providers have been pouring money into Congressional re-election coffers for the vote of no net neutrality. The members of the House that voted to dissolve this regulation received an average of $27,296 each to convince them to vote the regulation down. Now they are going after the Senators that are on the fence about the regulation. But in spite of their money, they still don’t have the White House. 

New Rules, But No Guarantees Either

not guaranteedAfter voting to throw out the rules that the FCC came up with our leaders threw together a set of rules that they claimed that the FCC would have the power to enforce, but many are saying that the rules aren’t comprehensive enough, and these aren’t likely to pass. The Communications, Consumer’s Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act is a republican supported bill that many Democrats in the Senate say the language isn’t strong enough. In fact, many are saying that the bill would at least double your cost of internet access.

Even though the bills against the regulation of the providers aren’t likely to be passed in the Democratically controlled Senate, the telecom companies are rallying to the cause to squash rules that would let them censor our connections. One website shows how the money was spent in the House to get the votes they needed to keep their status quo. If one considers the money the corporations have to spend, the only thing the common people have going for us is our numbers…and our ingenuity. 

Can We Still Get Past The Censorship

monkeysI explained in my last article how you can get around the censorship and throttling using a VPN client like VyprVPN, but if the net neutrality rule gets killed, it’s hard to say what will happen with these connections. ISP’s could eventually develop methods of slowing, choking, or even preventing these connections from operating correctly. But this also, is not very likely…at least not right away. The telecom companies would need to maneuver everyone into position to be forced to accept this kind of censorship.

But with the future of these rules in question, no matter how doubtful, people need to move now to secure their rights of freedom from censorship. Already telecoms have choked torrent downloads to a trickle, under the auspices of copyright protection. If this censorship continues, the telecom companies will be saying what information is good for you on their internet connection…yes, the one that you pay for. For the time being though, if you want to avoid the choking, speed killing, censorship, I would recommend a service like Giganews, or another Usenet provider that has a VPN client incorporated into their software. 

Stop The Internet Regulation

save the internetI advocate a smaller government in most cases, and would never support the creation of unnecessary regulations to eat up dwindling government resources, but in a case like this I have to agree with the FCC. And here I have only listed a few ways that this type of censorship of the internet could affect you, but in the long run killing these rules will allow the internet provider a free reign to decide what we do and do not like best.

I’ve always believed that in the capitalistic society we live in that he wo spends the most wins the election. Kind of like the guy who hosts the party, while he is spending his money and resources on his guests, he’s the life of the party. But, the hangover from all the partying the telecoms are providing is yet to come. It’s time to tell the chaperons to quit letting this party go on, so call, e-mail, or write your legislators.

Think Your Internet Speed Is Great, Did You Know About ISP Throttling

speed limitsOver the past 15 years, or so, the internet has grown by leaps and bounds…in size, scope, and speed. And, at this point in out history, we are able to say that there are better communications and information exchanging than there has ever been in all of recorded history. And, with this explosion, there was an explosion of providers…and users. So many users in fact that the service providers eventually felt that they had to start limiting the users that used or downloaded the most. This is called “Throttling.” Continue reading Think Your Internet Speed Is Great, Did You Know About ISP Throttling

Techy nerdy thoughts and random musings