Category Archives: Internet

Iran expected to permanently cut off Internet by August

Millions of Internet users in Iran could soon be permanently cut off from the Web, social networks, and e-mail. In a statement released last week, Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology, announced it plans to establish a national intranet within five months in an effort to create a “clean Internet,” according to an International Business Times report. “All Internet Service Providers (ISP) should only present National Internet by August,” Taghipour said in the statement. Web sites such as Google, Hotmail, and Yahoo will be blocked and replaced by government-administered services such as like Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine, according to the report. The government has already begun a registration process for those interested in using the Iran Mail that will verify and record user’s full name and address. Taghipour told the Islamic Republic News Agency in January that a firewalled national Internet would soon become operational but no specifics were given as to when that would happen.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57411577-93/iran-expected-to-permanently-cut-off-internet-by-august/

 

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Why we’re taking Wikipedia down for a day

Over the last few weeks, the Wikipedia community has been discussing proposed actions that the community might take in protest to proposed legislation in the United States called Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) in the House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (Pipa) in the US Senate.

If passed, these laws would seriously damage the free and open internet, including Wikipedia. With more than 2,000 Wikipedians commenting on this legislation from all over the world, and a clear majority in favour of taking action, this will be the first time the English Wikipedia has ever staged a public protest of this nature, and it’s a decision that wasn’t lightly made. From midnight on America’s East Coast and from 5am in the UK, Wikipedia will go dark for 24 hours.

It was felt that both Sopa and Pipa are pieces of clumsily drafted legislation that are dangerous for the internet and freedom of speech. It provides powers to regulatory authorities to force internet companies to block foreign sites offering “pirated” material that violates US copyright laws. If implemented, ad networks could be required to stop online ads and search engines would be barred from directly linking to websites “found” to be in breach of copyright.

However, leaving to one side the fact that there are more than enough adequate remedies for policing copyright violations under existing laws in most jurisdictions, these draft bills go too far and in their framing. Sopa and Pipa totally undermine the notion of due process in law and place the burden of proof on the distributor of content in the case of any dispute over copyright ownership.

Therefore, any legitimate issues that copyright holders may have get drowned out by poorly-framed draconian powers to block, bar, or shut down sites as requested by industry bodies or their legal representatives.

Copyright holders have legitimate issues, but there are ways of approaching the issue that don’t involve censorship.

Wikipedia depends on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for us to operate. This needs other sites to be able to host user-contributed material; all Wikipedia then does is to frame the information in context and make sense of it for its millions of users.

Knowledge freely shared has to be published somewhere for anyone to find and use it. Where it can be censored without due process it hurts the speaker, the public, and Wikipedia. Where you can only speak if you have sufficient resources to fight legal challenges, or, if your views are pre-approved by someone who does, will mean that the same narrow set of ideas already popular will continue to be all anyone has meaningful access to.

All around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy — and regulate the internet in other ways — that hurt online freedoms. Our concern extends beyond Sopa and Pipa: they are just part of the problem. We want the internet to remain free and open, everywhere, for everyone.

Steve Virgin is a Board member and Trustee of Wikimedia UK (published 17 January 2011)

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2012/01/wikipedia-copyright-community  (as author I’d like to thank Staggers for agreeing to allow this to be published elsewhere)

Generic top-level internet domain name sale begins on web

A revamp of the web begins on Thursday to allow companies, organisations and individuals who can come up with USD 185,000 to buy specific words that will replace .com, .net and the other usual suffixes on their website addresses. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) will start accepting applications for “top-level domains” such as .Pepsi or .London rather than just the traditional .com and .net . Organisations that can afford it are expected to apply so they can secure their own generic top-level domain (gTLD) but law enforcement agencies are wary that the proliferation of a whole new level of addresses will further complicate policing of the web. Many corporations view the proliferation of top-level domains as a giant problem. Companies already hire lawyers to defend their trademarks online and most were forced to spend money recently to ensure trademarks were not on the sexually oriented .xxx domain when it was introduced. Verisign, which runs the registry for .com addresses, has estimated there will be up to 1,500 applications for gTLDs. Icann has said the new system will offer many ways for website owners to protect their trademarks.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jan/12/new-web-addresses-on-sale

 

Most printed newspapers will be gone in five years, says USC report

Most printed newspapers in the United States will last only another five years, says a new report from the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, reported LA Weekly. Released Wednesday, Dec. 14, the report, “Is America at a Digital Turning Point?,” looks at 10 years worth of studies from the Center for the Digital Future. According to the report, only the very largest and very smallest newspapers stand a chance: “It’s likely that only four major daily newspapers will continue in print form: The New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. At the other extreme, local weekly newspapers may still survive.” Other findings from the report include the lack of credibility in social media content, and the impending replacement of the PC by the tablet computer within three years. “At one extreme, we see users with the ability to have constant social connection, unlimited access to information, and unprecedented buying power. At the other extreme, we find extraordinary demands on our time, major concerns about privacy and vital questions about the proliferation of technology – including a range of issues that didn’t exist 10 years ago,” said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future, according to the center’s website.

http://knightcenter.utexas.edu/blog/most-printed-newspapers-will-be-gone-five-years-says-usc-report

China tightens rules for microblog users

Beijing authorities on Friday ordered Internet microblogs to require users to register with their real names, a tightening of rules aimed at controlling China’s rapidly growing social networks. An announcement posted online said all microblog companies registered in the capital had to enforce real name registration within three months. The rules, jointly issued by the Beijing government, police and Internet management office, apparently apply to all 250 million users of the hugely popular Twitter-like service Weibo.com, regardless of location, because its operator, Chinese Web portal Sina Corp., is headquartered in Beijing. Sina rival Tencent Holdings is based in the southern city of Shenzhen. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the company’s microblog service would have to comply with the same rules. China had more than 485 million Internet users as of the end of June, the most of any country in the world. The new rules explicitly forbid use of microblogging to “incite illegal assembly.” Public protests are illegal in China and are a concern for the Communist leadership

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jR04kLCZ5lL54hIDSc35xVGWX5eQ?docId=2084ff9f555d4beca812955edd8a0805

Internet domain name expansion comes under fire

A plan to expand the number of Internet domain names came under fire in the US Congress on Thursday, a day after the head of the Federal Trade Commission said it could potentially be a “disaster.” The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the global body which manages the Domain Name System that forms the technical backbone of the Web, will begin taking applications in January for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), the suffixes such as .com, .net or .org. ICANN’s plan would allow for the creation of hundreds of new gTLDs, letting companies such as Apple, Toyota and BMW, for example, apply for domain names ending in .apple, .toyota or .bmw. Esther Dyson, a former ICANN chairman, told a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee the expansion of gTLDs was unnecessary and would lead to a “profusion of domain names” that would only serve to confuse Internet users. Daniel Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, said ICANN’s plan is “fundamentally flawed.” “Companies are going to have to buy their name back to protect themselves,” Jaffe said. “Even big companies will be facing very large expenses.” Angela Williams, general counsel for the YMCA, said the new gTLD program will impose excessive costs on non-profit organizations like her youth group. ICANN plans to charge a USD 185,000 application fee for a new gTLD. ICANN, a California-based non-profit corporation, approved the expansion of gTLDs in June. While applications for new domain names are being accepted in January the first new gTLDs are not expected until next year

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gUKCvWL3rFprWlCjbJoyj8Q9WxgQ?docId=CNG.85cdacfb80b35ee0883c0c5d92b29bef.521

At least 2.3 billion people now using the Internet, says ITU

The world has seen impressive growth in areas such as Internet use, particularly in developing countries, the UN Agency International Telecommunication Union (ITU) says. An ITU mini-report, “The World in 2011”, released Tuesday at the ongoing ITU Telecom World conference in Geneva, Switzerland, also confirms that ICT growth has been equally rapid, with close to 6 billion mobile cellular subscriptions forecast by the end of 2011, and around 2.3 billion people using the Internet. Growth is fastest in the developing world, and among the young,
it says,with almost half of the world’s online population now under 25 years old. That number should continue to increase steadily as Internet penetration continues to grow in schools. The new ITU figures provide a quick snapshot of broadband deployment worldwide, revealing gaping disparities in high-speed access. While international Internet bandwidth has grown from 11,000 Gbps in 2006 to close to 80,000 Gbps in 2011, Europeans enjoy on average almost 90,000 bps of bandwidth per user compared to Internet users in Africa, who are limited
to around 2,000 bps per user. The report shows that the world’s top broadband economies are all located in Europe, Asia and the Pacific. In the Republic of Korea, mobile broadband penetration now exceeds 90 percent, with nearly all fixed broadband connections providing speeds equal to or above 10 Mbps. In comparison, broadband users in countries such as Ghana, Mongolia, Oman and Venezuela are limited to broadband speeds below 2 Mbps

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/10/26/at-least-23-billion-people-now-using-internet-says-itu.html