SOPA not stopped

I put on my $DAYJOB CTO hat for Midas Green Tech and facilitated a conference call with Sean McLaughlin, the Chief of Staff for the Judiciary Committee, and executives from CoreNAP and DataFoundry today.

Sad to say, it’s not dead yet.  The “Internet experts hearing” that the Oversight committee was planning has apparently been canceled, so that’s a loud voice in opposition that the House probably won’t get to hear.

http://oversight.house.gov/index.php?option=com_jcalpro&Itemid=1&extmode=view&extid=363

The requirements to force ISPs to edit DNS results are apparently out, so that’s good.

Search engines will still be required to block results.

Visa and Mastercard will still be required to stop the financial flows.

Supposedly your hosting company won’t be required to look over your shoulder to see what’s going on on your site, but some legal eagles have noted that the only way for a hosting company to avoid penalty will probably be to….Look over your shoulder.

Now, to be fair, Sean did keep pounding on the point that “this applies only to foreign web sites.”  My problem is what’s really “foreign” in these days of the Internet / World Wide Web / globalization?

The next big event is the cloture vote on the 24th in the Senate.  For more info on that see

http://www.publicknowledge.org/blog/pipa’s-january-24th-vote-and-how-filibuster-w

Not a war on computing

Former EFF-Austin Director Cory Doctorow thinks that there’s a war on general purpose computing.

Transcript at

https://github.com/jwise/28c3-doctorow/blob/master/transcript.md
But it’s not as bad as all that. It’s not a “war” on GP computers–in
fact things would grind to a halt rapidly without a continual supply of
the very speedy and infinitely mutable CPUs that make modern tech work
and progress.

What will happen–in fact is already happening–is the shift of data
storage and muscular data processing off of the commonplace
laptop/desktop model that we have today to the “cloud.” Aside from the
obvious privacy issues, this is not all bad. Take a look at the Google
ChromeOS model. Lose your ChromeBook? No big deal, just go get another
one, log in, and there’s your stuff. Viruses? Not your problem.
Apple’s Siri is another cloud app bellwether. A few milliseconds of
crunching on a CPU in a datacenter, plus some database dips provide
version 1.0 of an actual intelligent agent application that would be
impossible to implement in a meaningful way on a desktop. So the trend
is back toward centralization of data and processing, not a war on
computing. Great risks come with centralization though.

As for cars, aircraft, and the like, code signing and other security
tools _must_ be deployed in life safety and other critical applications.
Designers and developers who implement these systems using commercially
available and open source general purpose operating systems need to be
flogged. Yes, it’s cheap and fast, but it’s not good. Just ask Siemens
and the Iranians. We need to have a lot more R&D on building hardened
Real Time Operating Systems for critical applications to run on, and
have better testing and development procedures for those applications
and RTOS’s.

Centralization of personal data favors the oppressor and the marketer.
Implementing the centralization (which is going to happen, market
forces are too strong) without getting the security and privacy right
is a greater risk, and the real battle ground.

How the ‘net is put together

Ever wondered how these IntarTubes work to to build up the IntarWebzNet thingy?

Next time you run into someone who thinks of the Internet like that, you might want to point them to this video produced by TheEuroIX.  It’s simple, clear, only has a slight bias to support their business model, and makes really good points about why net neutrality is a good thing.