Tag Archives | Network

Brazil Seeks Independence From U.S.-Dominated Internet


Ah, a world wide web, it was a beautiful dream while it lasted. Talking Points Memo writes:

Brazil plans to divorce itself from the U.S.-centric Internet over Washington’s widespread online spying, a move that many experts fear will be a potentially dangerous first step toward fracturing a global network built with minimal interference by governments.

President Dilma Rousseff ordered a series of measures aimed at greater Brazilian online independence and security following revelations that the NSA intercepted her communications, hacked into the state-owned Petrobras oil company’s network and spied on Brazilians who entrusted their personal data to U.S. tech companies such as Facebook and Google.

While Brazil isn’t proposing to bar its citizens from U.S.-based Web services, it wants their data to be stored locally as the nation assumes greater control over Brazilians’ Internet use to protect them from NSA snooping.

In December, countries advocating greater “cyber-sovereignty” pushed for such control at an International Telecommunications Union meeting in Dubai, with Western democracies led by the United States and the European Union in opposition.

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How Can We Map Cyberspace?

If the virtual world is increasingly competing with the physical one in importance, shouldn’t our maps include both? Refractal on this question, including a prescient 1945 map depicting the earth based around deep-sea cable connections:

In 2001, Martin Dodge and Rob Kitchin published An Atlas of Cyberspace. The atlas locates cyberspace along many dimensions: geographic maps of core fiber optic back bones, social maps showing the relationships between individual users in virtual worlds, hierarchy trees of web page design, etc.

“Great Circle” map designed as a bit of marketing ephemera for the Cable and Wireless Company, showing the global connectivity of its telecommunications network, with Britain centered representing its position as “hub of the world”, 1945.


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Shutting Off The Web: Who Controls The Internet’s ‘Choke Points’?

inline_NOTA In an article for the Atlantic, Andrew Blum points out that recent events in Egypt have reminded us of something oft forgotten: the networks that comprise the Internet are connected physically, and can be disconnected by snipping cables. Here in the United States, Verizon and Google have recently gained control over two such “choke points,” which should raise alarm bells:

The news Thursday evening that Egypt had severed itself from the global Internet came at the same time as an ostensibly far less inflammatory announcement closer to home. Verizon, the telecom giant, would acquire “cloud computing company” Terremark for $1.4 billion. The purchase would “accelerate Verizon’s ‘everything-as-a-service’ cloud strategy,” the press release said.

The trouble is that Terremark isn’t merely a cloud computing company. Or, more to the point, the cloud isn’t really a cloud.

Among its portfolio of data centers in the US, Europe and Latin America, Terremark owns one of the single most important buildings on the global Internet, a giant fortress on the edge of Miami’s downtown known as the NAP of the Americas.

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Are You As “Mad As Hell” As ‘Network’ Was … Over 34 Years Ago?

[Disinformation note: This is a question worth asking again with the New Year coming up.] Last week Disinformation's Raymond Wiley asked on Facebook and this website the question of what are the best conspiracy movies of all time. Regular disinfo.com commenter honu brought up the film Network, which not only with this scene below, in my mind remains as relevant a film as it was over 30 years ago:
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U.S. Electrical Grid Too Crappy to Be Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack, Say Physicists

Interesting article from Annalee Newitz on io9.com:

U.S. Electrical GridThe US government worries that terrorists could take down the country’s electrical grid just by hitting a small node in the system. But a new study reveals the grid is too unreliable for that kind of attack.

Last year, network theorists published some papers suggesting that terrorists could take down the entire US electrical grid by attacking a small, remote power station.

But new research shows that network theory models, which great for analyzing many complex systems, don’t work for patchwork systems like the US electrical grid. Basically, the grid was set up so haphazardly that you’d have to take out a major node before you’d affect the entire thing.

Science Daily sums up: [The] electric grid is probably more secure that many people realize — because it is so unpredictable. This, of course, makes it hard to improve its reliability (in another line of research, [study co-author Paul] Hines has explored why the rate of blackouts in the United States hasn’t improved in decades), but the up-side of this fact is that it would be hard for a terrorist to bring large parts of the grid down by attacking just one small part.

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A ‘Network’ Scene Classic: “There Is No Democracy” (Video)

Commenting on our site survey of the best conspiracy-minded films, regular disinfo.com commenter 5by5 suggested this scene from Network and offered these thoughts:
It's corporatist arrogance on bold display, and this is before they REALLY got cooking. This is why they need to be taken down MULTIPLE pegs. They think themselves Gods, and they need a serious reminder that they most definitely AREN'T.
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