Internet Archives — Page 12 of 15 — LIRNEasia


David Pogue, my favorite writer on gadgets has reviewed the first laptop made specifically for cloud computing: no hard disk, no software. Just the cloud. And the verdict is . . .
Here‘s how you enforce it. Developers caution that independent networks come with downsides: repressive governments could use surveillance to pinpoint and arrest activists who use the technology or simply catch them bringing hardware across the border. But others believe that the risks are outweighed by the potential impact. “We’re going to build a separate infrastructure where the technology is nearly impossible to shut down, to control, to surveil,” said Sascha Meinrath, who is leading the “Internet in a suitcase” project as director of the Open Technology Initiative at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan research group.

Asia Internet Coalition gets going

Posted on June 10, 2011  /  0 Comments

I recently learned that a colleague, John Ure, who has been active in telecom reforms efforts in Hong Kong for many years, has been appointed to head the Asian Internet Coalition. Appears they have been quite active in East and South East Asia, with emphasis on privacy and intellectual property issues. I hope they will link up with our friends at the Center for Internet and Society in Bangalore and become active in South Asia as well.
So it appears the al Assad government is becoming more like the Mubarak government. The Internet shutdown severely disrupted the flow of the YouTube videos and Facebook and Twitter posts that have allowed protesters and others to keep track of demonstrations, since foreign news media are banned and state media are heavily controlled. Both land lines and cellphones are so frequently monitored by Syria’s feared secret police that Skype had become a major means of communication among activists, and its loss as a tool may be a blow to the protest movement. Government Web sites, including those for the Ministry of Oil and the state news agency, SANA, remained online. Two-thirds of Syria’s Internet network went offline at 6:35 a.
One has to look to the business media for key broadband indicators in Sri Lanka. When one looks at the authoritative source, one does not see basic information such as how many fixed broadband connections have been given out, but nonsense such as “Internet and Email Subscribers.” What will it take for the TRC to report information based on the ITU’s definitions? Sri Lanka had 574,000 broadband customers by end December 2010, including 294,000 mobile broadband users. Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the country’s only wireline operator has been pushing ADSL (assymetrical digital subscriber line) aggressively since last year notching up 213,000 customers by end December.
On May 9th and 10th, LIRNEasia presented a selection of its research on Bhutan and of potential relevance to Bhutan at events organized in Thimphu. The following news report indicates that BICMA the Bhutan regulatory body is acting on one of the findings of the diagnostic tests run on broadband connectivity in Bhutan that showed poor connectivity among Bhutan ISPs. Broadband users can now self-regulate the bandwidth provided by the operators with the help of software which will be made available for free. Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA), in a move to facilitate the operators give better services and to emphasis evidence-derived regulations, tied up with LIRNEasia, an ICT policy and regulation think tank. LIRNEasia is based in Sri Lanka but works in all the South Asian countries and some South East Asian countries.

The al-Assad variation

Posted on May 23, 2011  /  0 Comments

The al-Assad government in Syria appears to be responding to the use of ICTs by citizens unhappy with the political status quo more intelligently than its fallen counterpart in Egypt. The Syrian government is cracking down on protesters’ use of social media and the Internet to promote their rebellion just three months after allowing citizens to have open access to Facebook and YouTube, according to Syrian activists and digital privacy experts. Security officials are moving on multiple fronts — demanding dissidents turn over their Facebook passwords and switching off the 3G mobile network at times, sharply limiting the ability of dissidents to upload videos of protests to YouTube, according to several activists in Syria. And supporters of President Bashar al-Assad, calling themselves the Syrian Electronic Army, are using the same tools to try to discredit dissidents. In contrast to the Mubarak government in Egypt, which tried to quash dissent by shutting down the country’s entire Internet, the Syrian government is taking a more strategic approach, turning off electricity and telephone service in neighborhoods with the most unrest, activists say.
One cannot talk about broadband these days without Australia’s massive taxpayer-funded national broadband scheme coming up. In an otherwise interesting and informed discussion of the pros and cons, Ian McAuley confuses the debate by conflating access networks, which will for the most part be wireless, and backhaul networks which will for the most part be fiber. The fourth myth is that “the Internet is becoming a wireless internet”, to quote Malcolm Turnbull, who appeared on the program with his nifty little wireless tablet computer. The claim is disingenuous, and Turnbull, of all people, knows the limits of wireless technology. Bandwidth is limited, and what works today for a few users will become the Internet equivalent of road gridlock in just a few years.
A decade ago, not having a phone was normal. Now it’s abnormal. Indian media highlight the absence of connectivity as one of the clues that identified Osama bin Laden’s hideout in a Pakistani suburb. A large mansion in a massive compound with 12 feet to 18 feet tall walls topped with barbed wire. No telephone or internet connection to the house.

Syria: The chess game

Posted on April 24, 2011  /  0 Comments

It’s fascinating how the game is getting played out in Syria, one of the most brutal Arab dictatorships. The regime learned from Egypt. But so did the resistance. The regime monitors the networks and periodically shuts/slows them down. But the counter move of smuggling in hundreds of satellite phones had already negated that move.
I had the opportunity attend the discussion by Tim Berners-Lee and Gordon Brown in Geneva, speak on the “future of the web“, a public lecture hosted by the Université de Genève, April 06, 2011. The two discussants didn’t have anything new to share; they were talking the same language of tapping in to the untapped through mobile phones; nothing new to LIRNEasia (see our Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid studies). The WWW Foundation has realized the reach of the mobile phone to deliver the web to those 80% that have not yet been exposed. What we were more eager to hear was the defense on the claim that the “web is dead, long live the internet“. In defense – “No the web isn’t dead” with the success story pointing to the Wikipedia.
TVE Asia Pacific is looking for an answer to this question: What’s the first image that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Internet’? If you’re a techie or geek, you’ll probably come up with a detailed answer that is technically accurate or precise. But most of the 2 billion plus people who use the Internet worldwide are not techies. They don’t know – or care – about the back-end technicalities. A good icon is simple, language-neutral, and can be understood across different cultures and by people with very different educational backgrounds.
Paul Baran. The history of the Internet cannot be told without mention of his name. I remember reading him while still in grad school. I was reminded of what he wrote about information utilities when engaging in debates about cloud computing in recent times. In my book, if you can have readers think about what you wrote 30 years down the road in relation to contemporary debates, you made an impact as a scholar.
In a recent piece in Himal, I summarized the ideas I have been developing on the nation state and its control of telecom networks used by its citizens. The thesis was that in countries above a certain threshold of electronic connectivity, shutting down networks was futile. The regime would fall. Now here’s a new spin. A proposal to ease the pressure of the Qaddafi’s chokehold: As a result, democracy demonstrators have had a harder time communicating with one another, while foreign correspondents in Libya have found it nearly impossible to report on events fully.

Toure supports Gyanendra’s Law

Posted on February 21, 2011  /  0 Comments

The Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union is elected every four years by governments who have paid their dues to the Union (or have had it paid on their behalf). This does not make him a natural advocate of anything revolutionary. Yet, this is what he says: There is no alternative, suggests the secretary general. “Once people have tasted the goodies of education and communication you can’t cut it off. If you cut it off you’re gone, and that’s what happened in Egypt,” says Touré.
Did China shut down the telecom system during the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989? There was no Internet to shut down back then. This time around, they seem to be adopting a gradualist response, according to NYT: The words “Jasmine Revolution,” borrowed from the successful Tunisian revolt, were blocked on sites similar to Twitter and on Internet search engines, while cellphone users were unable to send out text messages to multiple recipients. A heavy police presence was reported in several Chinese cities. In recent days, more than a dozen lawyers and rights activists have been rounded up, and more than 80 dissidents have reportedly been placed under varying forms of house arrest.