Tag: Internet activities

Keep the Internet an open and free Internet

Petition Link

Avaaz – ITU: Hands off our Internet!

My Comments

There is currently a desire by various authoritarian states like Russia, China and Saudi Arabia to use the ITU meeting that is taking place at the moment to rewrite the rulebook for international telecommunications and the Internet. This goal is to establish a more restrictive Internet service that allows these states to have greater control of the Internet that their citizenry has access to/

But the Internet as we know it has opened up a lot of paths for people power and innovation. For example, it has facilitated events like the recent Arab Spring uprising where revolution has occurred in states like Yemen and Egypt. This has been facilitated through the Web and the social media providing a low on-ramp to publishing the material that the people need to see to make informed decisions.

Another issue is that an authoritarian state may see itself as a regional economic power and use this to control what information passes through the region. This could include being able to shut down Webhosts based in that region if they host controversial material. Similarly the censorship and surveillance ideals of these states can be dangerous to a company’s economically-sensitive data due to a breeding round for state-sponsored piracy or the ability to establish a business-hostile environment.

Here, this could also lead to the various states not becoming safe locations for one to establish a business presence in that region due to the Internet connection or Web-hosting facility not being available in a reliable and secure manner.

Simiarly, through the use of IP telecommunications services like Viber, Skype and various busines-to-business VoIP platforms, we can be able to have voice and, where applicable, video conversations across the world for pennies’ worth or for free. As well, IP-based broadcasting can provide extra content to people that is beyond the control of governments. 

I have signed this e-petition and stand behind these ideals in order to keep the Internet as a people-driven communications service which breeds innovation and competition.

How Will We Benefit From Super-Fast Broadband (BBC 5 Live interview)


BBC News – How will we benefit from super-fast broadband? (Audio – radio interview)

My Comments

I have listened to a BBC Radio 5 Live radio broadcast that was available on-demand from the BBC Website about how we will benefit from the next-generation broadband Internet technology that is being rolled out now.

The BBC Radio 5 Live interview compared the current situation with what happened 10 years ago when broadband “hot-and-cold running Internet” came on the scene. At that time, the primary method of connection to the Internet was dial-up, typically with a second PSTN phone line for Internet use. The primary personal Internet applications were emailing and Web surfing, with some instant-messaging thrown in. There were questions about whether we needed the higher bandwidth of the always-on broadband services or not.

Nowadays, the norm for Internet connectivity is an “always-on” broadband service of at least 1Mbps, more like 2Mbps and we are doing more with these services. Here we are using the Social Web, with services like Facebook and Twitter; as well as multimedia-driven computing applications like YouTube and IPTV / Web video. It would also include IP-driven telephony applications like VoIP including Skype; where you benefit from low-cost long-distance telephone calls, FM-grade voice telephony and the arrival of the videophone which was only thought of in science fiction.

This is although there is a persistent group of naysayers who continue to doubt the need for next-generation broadband. They would reckon that the current technology would satisfy current usage needs. Personally, I have seen the effects of Moore’s Law where the capacity increases and the cost decreases for a technology, thus opening up new applications or enhancing the experience of current applications.

One main application group that the broadcast talked of as being feasible with super-fast broadband was health and well-being applications mainly in the form of telehealth services. This included the idea of “independent ageing” which I would see as a reality as people live longer and the age-associated degradation takes longer to set in.

Personally, I would find that as the next-generation broadband Internet services light up in many neighbourhoods, it will be more about an enhanced and rich Internet experience.

Long-distance Internet friendships and relationships – what to be careful of

Originally published: 28 April 2009 — updated: 4 June 2009

You may want to establish an Internet-based friendship with someone who lives a long distance from you or dabble in the Internet-based dating and relationship game.

The main problem is that, with the Internet, there are many different pretenders out there. They will use “faux foreign language” and names peculiar to particular ethnicities to impress those who are looking for people from a particular ethnic background like a Continental European background. Pictures that they supply may not portray who they are. For example, they could be lifted from other photo collections or “photoshopped” to make a person appear older or younger, of a different race or at a different location. As well, the details they make available don’t match to whom they are.

The main group of people who are easily deceived by these pretenders are typically lone people, especially lone young women who are looking for a full-time relationship.

It would certainly pay to do your homework about the prospective Internet-based correspondent. If they send pictures, pay some attention to the detail and look for signs of alteration or inconsistency in the pictures. You can detect the “foreign-language” pretender by being or knowing someone who is familiar with the foreign language and looking for inconsistencies with the way they write the language.

Another good practice would be to send a postcard or letter through the post to them and have them send a postcard or letter to you through the post. You can then check for the origin of the postcard or letter by looking at the stamps and the postmark. The stamps will typically be priced in the country-of-origin’s legal tender and the postmark will have information pertaining to where the letter was posted from and when it was posted. These are protected by various laws that govern the operation of the country’s postal system and the country’s anti-counterfeiting laws.

This is a step that will need to be taken if you or they are considering travelling to meet up. It can avoid a situation which happened to a close friend where they flew to the USA to meet an American friend whom they had been in regular conversation with over the Internet. They had arranged to meet each other at the airport in the USA but the American friend didn’t show up to meet the close friend.

Similarly, it may be a good idea to engage in a voice conversation using either the classic fixed / mobile telephone service or VoIP (Skype, MSN Messenger, etc) in order to ascertain whom they are. This allows you to identify whether their voice matches the picture that they have provided by virtue of gender, age and native accent or whether they are proficient in the language they profess they are proficient in.

It also pays to visit government Websites that deal with romance scams because these sites can provide information about handling the Internet-based liars that are part of these scams.

For children, it is important to have their parents and/or another trusted adult “in the loop” when they establish an Internet-based friendship.

If we can work together to make it hard to be a pretender, then the crime rate for crimes involving the Internet like child pornography and immigration offences would reduce significantly.