Internet Archives — Page 9 of 15 — LIRNEasia


The value of the Internet

Posted on July 10, 2013  /  0 Comments

It’s very difficult to measure the true value of the Internet. It’s not that one Internet search is equal to another in value. Information obtained from the Internet does not always lead to good or bad outcomes, by itself. It is combined with other inputs. And so on.
We used to talk about the hegemony of Wintel, the ironclad command exercised by Microsoft and Intel. The world changed. Internet came center stage. Mobile became the new thing. People like Jobs figured it out.

Trust in electronic space

Posted on June 24, 2013  /  0 Comments

With the commencement of work on the privacy aspects of big data in 2013, I found myself going back to a line of research and teaching I had thought of in the past tense. In terms of citations as recorded by Scholar.Google, a privacy piece from 1997 is still occupying 2nd place. So it was not too much of a stretch to respond to a request from the organizers of the 2013 Cyber Security Summit in Colombo on 25th June 2013. The overview piece is not that dependent on slides, so the slideset is quite small.
Someone forwarded an email that said that Jeff Bezos should now add Spymaster to his titles because Amazon had won a contract to supply cloud services to the CIA. My immediate response was “I fail to see what the problem is. Firms have been selling computers to the CIA and NSA for years without their CEOs being called spymasters. Why the excitement about the sale of a service? What is the conceptual difference between Cray and IBM selling computers and Amazon selling cloud services?
In our work on Asian backhaul capacity, we had noticed the decline of traffic to North America. One of the results of the WCIT deliberations was an added focus on national and regional Internet Exchange Points, the natural result being more intra-regional traffic and less routing through the US. The PRISM exposure will accelerate these processes. At some point the changes in the Internet architecture will translate into changes in the policy architecture. For a decade, the United States has fought to position itself as a neutral party that could be trusted to administer the internet in a manner that was beneficial to all parties.
It has been business as usual in Istanbul, the largest gateway of Eurasian telecoms traffic. Turkey, unlike Egypt, has not killed the goose that lays golden eggs in terms of telecoms revenue and reputation, despite civil unrest. Jim Cowie, the CTO of Renesys Corporation, has written in his company’s blog: We examined the reachability of social networking sites from our measurement infrastructure within Turkey, and found nothing unusual. We examined the 72-hour history of measurements from inside Turkey to these sites, and found no change in normal behavior. In short: Turkey’s Internet does not appear to have changed significantly in reaction to the current protest events.

Signs of desperation in Syria?

Posted on May 8, 2013  /  0 Comments

Gyanendra’s Law states that those who pull the killswitch do not remain in power too long. Supporting this thesis, Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad has kept his hands off the killswitch for the most part, except at the start of the civil war, and today. Four physical cables connect Syria to the Internet — three under the sea, and the fourth over land through Turkey. For outsiders to cause Tuesday’s outage, security experts say, they would have had to physically cut all four cables simultaneously. That does not appear to have happened in this case, according to security experts.
Bangladesh is connected with the world through only one submarine cable system (SEA-ME-WE4). Nearly four months back, Douglas Madory of Renesys Corporation has analyzed the significance of terrestrial cables for the backup of Internet. He wrote: The Internet of Bangladesh has been connected to the world by a single submarine cable, Sea-Me-We 4 (SMW4), since this 18,800 kilometer-long optical-fiber system made its landing at Cox’s Bazar in 2006. However, in the nearly seven years since SMW4’s activation, national Internet outages have plagued Bangladesh with some regularity. When their portion of this system is sabotaged, suffers a failure or is down for maintenance, virtually all Internet bandwidth for the 7th most populous country in the world disappears, forcing local providers to fall back to slow and expensive satellite services or to simply wait for restoration.
There were no training programs on how to use mobile phones, even for the villagephone ladies in Bangladesh. But they think training programs are needed in the US. What does this mean for our part of the world? According to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, one in five American adults — about 62 million people — do not use the Internet. The 2012 Pew Internet and American Life Project said the main reason these people “don’t go online is because they don’t think the Internet is relevant to them.

No hypocrisy on Internet

Posted on March 16, 2013  /  2 Comments

Ron Diebert is a friend and colleague. He gets his hands dirty looking at what actually happens on the Internet. And he thinks all governments have to rethink the way they approach Internet security. “I think Canada, like many liberal, democratic countries, is caught in a bit of a contradiction,” said Diebert, director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies at the University of Toronto. “We can’t accuse other countries of violating people’s human rights when there is no protection in our own country when it comes to law enforcement accessing data through Internet service providers.

How much is the Internet worth?

Posted on March 9, 2013  /  0 Comments

The Economist has an interesting discussion of several academic papers addressing aspects of the question. Shane Greenstein of Northwestern University and Ryan McDevitt of the University of Rochester calculated the consumer surplus generated by the spread of broadband access (which ought to include the surplus generated by internet services, since that is why consumers pay for broadband). They did so by constructing a demand curve. Say that in 1999 a person pays $20 a month for internet access. By 2006 the spread of broadband has lowered the real price to $17.
The country with the worst ICT connectivity happens to be in our region, the Asia Pacific. But Google’s Eric Schmidt, again demonstrating the value of engagement, appears to have opened the door another few milimeters, according to IHT: North Korea will finally allow Internet searches on mobile devices and laptops. But if you’re a North Korean, you’re out of luck — only foreigners will get this privilege. Cracking the door open slightly to wider Internet use, the government will allow a company called Koryolink to give foreigners access to 3G mobile Internet service by March 1, The Associated Press reported. The decision, announced Friday, comes a month after Google’s chairman, Eric E.
One of the great ironies of the present discourse on Internet/broadband is the appointment of Carlos Slim Helu, the world’s richest man and possibly the single most significant barrier to greater Internet access in Latin America, to serve as the Co-Chair of the ITU-UNESCO Broadband Commission. It is widely recognized that Telmex exerts significant market power to keep prices up, users out, and its profits high. I co-authored a few pieces on Mexico’s early reforms in the 1990s so I have some knowledge of the subject. Now the government has set its sights on telecoms. According to Aurelio Nuño, the president’s chief of staff, within two months the PRI will present a bill to attack the “great problem of concentration” in telephony, internet and television.
The irony was palpable. At the recent talk I gave on telecom sector reforms at the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, I used Khan Academy to illustrate what Digital Bangladesh would give the people of Bangladesh. Everybody was very happy, since Salman Khan has Bangladeshi roots. But I knew, and they knew, that the government bans YouTube at the drop of a hat and at that moment, it was blocked for all users of BTCL connectivity. So no Khan Academy.

How the killswitch really works

Posted on February 14, 2013  /  0 Comments

Renesys report how Egypt went dark. They have worked out a way to tell which countries are easiest to cut off from the Internet and which are harder. How many phone calls does it take to kill the internet? It seems like an odd question to ask about a network once thought to be strong enough to withstand a nuclear attack. However, first-strike mushroom clouds aren’t the biggest threat to the internet anymore.
Today I delivered the keynote at well attended workshop on how the Telecom Sector could contribute to Digital Bangladesh. It was organized by the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute. Attendees included the Ministers of Post and Telecom, ICT and Information. The Chair of BTRC and the Secretary of the Ministry of ICT, a key actor in Bangladesh’s e gov activities, spoke. The government envisions a Digital Bangladesh that makes the full potential of the Internet available to its people, but appears unclear about how they will be connected.