19 Jan

TED.com – Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea)

What does a bill like PIPA/SOPA mean to our shareable world? At the TED offices, Clay Shirky delivers a proper manifesto — a call to defend our freedom to create, discuss, link and share, rather than passively consume.

via TED.com – Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea). Clay Shirky delivers a clear and cogent history and explanation of PIPA/SOPA, walking through both the intent and what the ramifications of the bill and how it changes the entire legal system under which websites operate. Shirky also makes the very real point that even if PIPA and SOPA are killed (as appears increasingly likely) a bill similar to them will be back.

19 Jan

Electronic Frontier Foundation – The Internet at its Best

Today, we watch in awe as the Internet rallies to fight dangerous blacklist legislation, the PROTECT-IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House. The originality, creativity, and magnitude of action we’re seeing represents exactly what these bills would harm most: the value of a vibrant and open Internet that fosters these activities.

As the day goes on, we will continue to update you on Twitter (@EFF) and in this space. In the meantime, here are some of today’s #SOPAblackout highlights. Thank these organizations for their participation and go here to make your voice heard!

via Electronic Frontier Foundation – The Internet at its Best. EFF highlights some of the largest sites that participated in the SOPA/PIPA blackout.

16 Jan

ArsTechnica – Wikipedia to join reddit in SOPA blackout Wednesday

Seeking to “send Washington a BIG message,” Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has announced that the English version of Wikipedia will go dark on Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, anti-piracy bills now being considered by Congress.

“Student warning!” Wales tweeted on Monday. “Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!”

He said the blackout, which is expected to last 24 hours, was a decision of the Wikipedia community.

via ArsTechnica – Wikipedia to join reddit in SOPA blackout Wednesday. I’ll also be posting a message to protest and inform people about PIPA and SOPA, though I imagine Wikipedia will have a much larger influence. Stop American Censorship is your one stop information portal to find out more about SOPA and PIPA and how these bills hurt the internet.

06 Jan

Mike’s Lookout – SPDY of the Future Might Blow Your Mind Today

Despite its coolness, there is an aspect of SPDY that doesn’t get much press yet (because nobody is doing it). Kudos for Amazon’s Kindle Fire for inspiring me to write about it. I spent a fair amount of time running network traces of the Kindle Fire, and I honestly don’t know quite what they’re doing yet. I hope to learn more about it soon. But based on what I’ve seen so far, it’s clear to me that they’re taking SPDY far beyond where Chrome or Firefox can.

The big drawback of the previous picture of SPDY is that it requires sites to individually switch to SPDY. This is advantageous from a migration point of view, but it means it will take a long time to roll out everywhere. But, if you’re willing to use a SPDY gateway for all of your traffic, a new door opens. Could mobile operators and carriers do this today? You bet!

Check out the next picture of a SPDY browser with a SPDY gateway. Because SPDY can multiplex many connections, the browser can now put literally EVERY request onto a single SPDY connection. Now, any time the browser needs to fetch a request, it can send the request right away, without needing to do a DNS lookup, or a TCP handshake, or even an SSL handshake. On top of that, every request is secure, not just those that go to SSL sites.

via Mike’s Lookout – SPDY of the Future Might Blow Your Mind Today. The pictures give a really good sense of what is going on.

06 Sep

RScott.org – GoDaddy’s New “Selective DNS Blackouts” Policy

Since the beginning of the Internet, DNS (the protocol that converts domain names into IP addresses) has always been a sacred service. It is low cost, and mission critical. Blocking any DNS packets was always used as a last resort, only after all other options were exhausted, for fear of the consequences of what might happen. When you block DNS, you effectively block the web, E-mail, FTP, IM… just about everything.

Now that GoDaddy is a near monopoly (larger than the next 8 closest registrar competitors combined1), and just got bought out on July 1, 20112, they have decided they can defy the sacred. Customers be damned.

Less than a month after the new owners came on board, GoDaddy implemented a "Selective DNS Blackout" policy for all domains using their DNS hosting (roughly 32 million domains3). With this policy, they are choosing to allow their DNS servers to be underprovisioned4 (meaning that their servers are unable to gracefully handle their normal load). To prevent slow DNS, which would generate complaints quickly, they decided to block 100% of packets from hand-picked DNS servers based on volume and visibility. This reduces load somewhat, while making it difficult for customers to pinpoint GoDaddy as the problem.

A GoDaddy employee (who prefers to remain anonymous) confirmed that they have a policy in place to block DNS queries5, but their Advanced Technical Support Team refused to provide any details on the policy. The GoDaddy PR department declined to comment, but did not deny that the policy exists (they went silent after saying they would be happy to look into it). Perhaps the PR department realized that it will be a very controversial policy.

via RScott.org – GoDaddy’s New “Selective DNS Blackouts” Policy. As if you needed another reason to not use GoDaddy.

19 Feb

Quora – What will happen to http://bit.ly links when Gaddafi shuts down the Internet in Libya due to protests?

Should Libya block Internet traffic, as Egypt did, it will not affect http://bit.ly or any .ly domain.

For .ly domains to be unresolvable the five .ly root servers that are authoritative *all* have to be offline, or responding with empty responses. Of the five root nameservers for the .ly TLD: two are based in Oregon, one is in the Netherlands and two are in Libya.

via Quora – What will happen to http://bit.ly links when Gaddafi shuts down the Internet in Libya due to protests?. I use their bit.ly pro service to for my short links through http://jty.me/.

09 Dec

ITworld – Gov’t crackdown spurs initiatives to route around DNS

Regardless of the supposed criminal intent of the affected systems, the seizure without notice of these domain names by US authorities sent shock-waves around the Internet world. It got people’s attention in a much stronger way than version 1 of this enforcement operation had — the first iteration late last June seized the names of nine sites selling pirated first-run movies. Many people woke up to the reality of how vulnerable the DNS is to government meddling.

Within days of the ICE/DHS seizures, at least three separate initiatives to work around the DNS had been announced, and several existing alternatives were highlighted in the ensuing discussion. Let’s take a look at some of these proposals — two to route around and one to supplant the DNS — and some of the obstacles they face.

via ITworld – Gov’t crackdown spurs initiatives to route around DNS. DNS unfortunately is too easily interfered with on the basis of political decisions.

07 Dec

Electronic Frontier Foundation – Join EFF in Standing up Against Internet Censorship

Let’s be clear — in the United States, at least, WikiLeaks has a fundamental right to publish truthful political information. And equally important, Internet users have a fundamental right to read that information and voice their opinions about it. We live in a society that values freedom of expression and shuns censorship. Unfortunately, those values are only as strong as the will to support them — a will that seems to be dwindling now in an alarming way.

On Friday, we wrote about Amazon’s disappointing decision to yank hosting services from WikiLeaks after a phone call from a senator’s office. Since then, a cascade of companies and organizations has backed away from WikiLeaks. A public figure called for the assassination of Assange. PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa axed WikiLeaks’ accounts. EveryDNS.net pulled Wikileaks’ DNS services. Unknown sources continue to cripple WikiLeaks with repeated denial of service attacks. Even the Library of Congress, normally a bastion of public access to information, is blocking WikiLeaks.

There has been a tremendous backlash against WikiLeaks from governments around the world. In the United States, lawmakers have rashly proposed a law that threatens legitimate news reporting well beyond WikiLeaks. We expect to see similar efforts in other countries. Like it or not, WikiLeaks has become the emblem for one of the most important battles for our rights that is likely to come along in our lifetimes. We cannot sit this one out.

via Electronic Frontier Foundation – Join EFF in Standing up Against Internet Censorship. What more do you need to know?

18 Jul

Internet Systems Consortium – ISC Praises Momentous Step Forward in Securing the Domain Name System

ISC joined other key participants of the internet technical community in celebrating the achievement of a significant milestone for the Domain Name System today as the root zone was digitally signed for the first time. This marked the deployment of the DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) at the top level of the DNS hierarchy and ushers the way forward for further roll-out of DNSSEC in the top level domains and DNS Service Providers.

The DNS Security Extensions, DNSSEC, extends standard DNS to prove data came from an authoritative source and has not been modified, thwarting the so called ‘man-in-the-middle attack’ and enabling the development of more secure internet applications and transaction processing. DNSSEC adds new resource records and message header bits which can be used to verify that the received DNS data matches the original data, and has not been altered in transit.

via Internet Systems Consortium – ISC Praises Momentous Step Forward in Securing the Domain Name System. This is an important step towards the security of the internet. DNS is the basic address system of the internet and DNSSEC essentially allows for addresses to be validated and ensure that the website you are going to, is the correct web site.