netwit 2.01

Battle for the internet – Guardian series

Battle for the internet

7 day series in the Guardian

Why not try starting with:

How tiny Estonia stepped out of the USSR’s shadow to become and internet titan

Patrick Kingsley, Sunday 15 April


wiki:Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence

wiki: ACTA [Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement ]

April 15, 2012 Posted by | ACTA, CCDCOE, Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, Cyber Defence League [Estonia], cybersiege [Estonia], Estonia, Estonian Internet Community (EIC), Skype, Uncategorized, WiFi | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Technology abuse blamed for spying on users to define their identity and worth

Technology abuse blamed for spying on users to define their identity and worth

February 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Glad-handing government dishing us up to US copyright bullies

Glad-handing government dishing us up to US copyright bullies

Myles Peterson,, January 24, 2012

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reflections on Trusting Trust by Ken Thompson

Reflections on Trusting Trust

Ken Thompson

Communication of the ACM, Vol. 27, No. 8, August 1984, pp. 761-763.

pdf version

Billy (BK) Rios reflects briefly on Reflections on Trusting Trust

January 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Moroccan Initiative

The Moroccan Initiative

This is one hell of a story from the AP, uncovering CIA collaboration with the NYPD to do obsessive spying on Muslim communities in New York — and in particular shops owned by Moroccan immigrants.

The Arabist blog : 23 September 2011

We in Britain would run and run with this one. Moroccans? Why Moroccans? Ah, the Fez. Easy to identify. Or do they wear them? Oh, perhaps that’s Egyptians? Aaaaah! The Road to Morocco starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. Now we get it! Road to Guantanamo. (I’m off adopting the cheeky-chappy ‘voice’ of a stand-up comedian we find here in Britain). Do the words Hollywood and stereotypical come to mind?

And so on.

How would they know a Moroccan from an Algerian, Tunisian, Libyan, Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Saudi, Bahraini, Qatari, UAE-rie, Omani, Yemeni or indeed Palestinian?

A Syrian – there must be quite a few in New York: what do I know – might like going to Moroccan barbers. And an Egyptian (there are many, many thousands in the US, particularly in places like California) might love Moroccan cuisine. And even go to New York all the way from Los Angeles, say, especially as a treat just to eat Moroccan food.

This blog isn’t reall meant to be for defending the freedom of people all over the world as and when they appear to be losing it, but more a voyage of discovery out into the world – via the internet mainly to see what the Web might provide in way of generalised answers about society operates through networks, and specifically how a digital network that was based on principles of neutrality might be used by governments and businesses to control people even more efficiently that they did in days gone by.

What I’ve learnt so far – and there are tons more things to find out – is politics has two strong countervailing pulls: one freedom under the law, the other progress and change. The latter – most often collected, collated and analysed through the world of the web – provides examples all over the place. Its very complicated now to see wood for tree, with the diversity of ideas and views, which the internet makes readily accessible to so many.

Several people have suggested this very complexity can only really be dealt with by tackling diversity. In ordinary language this means we have to keep looking at lots of different stuff in order to come any near formulating some general rules about where things are going. How to predict the future and adapt to it. Animals and plants adapt to things, but they do it in real time. Humans can plan ahead for what might happen and be ready to have an idea for any number of different situations.

The Web is itself pulled in two directions:

One interesting area is the idea of collective intelligence. This is not something thought up because of the internet and web. It’s been around since humans. But the way things have developed – such as social media – mean that ideas of how people might cooperate have taken flight.

Is there any more chance people will cooperate and make great strides socially and politically just because of digital networks. Techie-guys of all sorts of hues get carried away forgetting that humans are instinctively uncooperative: they are competitive as individuals, families, sports teams, employees, members of political parties, before they act communally. If you watch very carefully in a supermarket, you will see few signs of the shoppers showing group intelligence to make the experience of buying food and other necessaries easier and quicker for starts in he car-park, where drivers are obviously out for themselves, and often obstruct other road users.

Supermarkets of all shopping places are where people show distinct antagonism towards others. People don’t smile and greet in these great consumer warehouses. In their genes is the deep-seated instinct to make sure they get the food before someone else. Sometimes when someone is hogging the pasta section, mulling over the varieties of ready-made sauces, with complex arrangements of trolleys slewed across isles to make it impossible for you to pass, one knows this must be so. Although we now pay for things at check out and don’t run around in tribal groups hunting for it, the tribal instincts are still there.

The Internet and Web and all the new social medias have shown to be good for cooperation, but at the same time it is a bed of anger and vitriol. We get Julian Assange saying Facebook is the greatest spying machine ever invented. The recent revelations that on average each FaceBook account has about 800 pages of records on it on the FaceBook severs, does not inspire confidence.

The Twitterati are running with the latest FaceBook revelations. I’ve tweeted to say that no one gets free to use software for nothing. Google search engine is not ‘free’ nor is Gmail. G+ is bound to be even less ‘free’ There are bound to be sets of trade-offs. We supply lots of data about ourselves and our friends in social media, in return we get to connect with them. But we know when we state another personal fact or interconnection or express an opinion we’ve given something away. We have to judge if it’s wise or not. Just as when we register for a site and have to put a name and email address. We always have given things away in the past in other media. A letter to the editor of a newspaper usually had our name and address or town at the bottom. It showed strangers who we had no knowledge of what our deeply held opinions were.

We don’t hand out addresses and telephone numbers willy-nilly in the street. Why should it be different in ICT-land? If Universities in the u.S. have been trawling FaceBook pages to assess prospective candidates are we really surprised? They don’t have to register to access a lot of this stuff. Any one can do keyword searching on Twitter as if it was Google.

Since the Arab Spring we have learnt how governments use social media to find out about their opponents.

September 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WikiLeaks Confidentiality agreement

This pdf purports to be a confidentiality agreement form that an earlier Wikleaks helper James Ball refused to sign.

James Ball’s recent account:

WikiLeaks, get out of the gagging game
I refused to sign Julian Assange’s confidentiality agreement because it would have been not just ironic, but dangerous

Guardian, 12 May 2011

May 15, 2011 Posted by | James Ball, Uncategorized, WikiLeaks | Leave a comment

#Ellsberg draws parallels between Pentagon Papers and WikiLeaks [video]

At Harvard Law School, Ellsberg draws parallels between Pentagon Papers and WikiLeaks

30 March 2011

‘….governments go to great lengths to conceal information that could lead to accountability, embarrassment, or blame.’

‘…“Avoiding blame is sort of the major number one principle in a bureaucracy or a politician, for that matter,” said Ellsberg. “So in this case, almost nothing is more secret than a warning within the government that a given policy which is going to be found out might be dangerous, or criminal, or wrong, (or) reckless.” ‘

‘…He posited that in fact, most U.S. Government decisions to keep information secret are directed at keeping secrets not from other nations but from Congress, public courts, and citizens—“the ones who have the votes and vote the budgets, and might possibly prosecute, and the ones whose blame is to be feared.”

‘…Although some information, such as data on nuclear stockpiles, communications intelligence, and identities of covert CIA agents should indeed remain classified, Ellsberg said, secrets about government actions that affect public opinion and safety should not be kept.’

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MICROBLOGGING #Microblogging: A #Semantic and Distributed Approach

Microblogging: A Semantic and Distributed Approach

Alexandre Passant1, Tuukka Hastrup2, Uldis Bojars, John Breslin

1 LaLIC, Université Paris-Sorbonne,

28 rue Serpente, 75006 Paris, France

2 DERI, National University Of Ireland,

Galway, Ireland

…..Twitter users have adopted certain short-hand conventions in their writing called hash tags6, but their semantics are not readily machine-processable thus raising the same ambiguity and heterogeneity problems that tagging causes. For example, the hash tag #paris could mean various things (cities, people etc.) depending on the context, and so cannot be automatically processed by computers. This lack of data formal-ism also makes finding relevant content difficult. While some services provideplain-text search engines, there is no way to answer queries like ”What are thelatest updates talking about a programming language” or ”What is happening now within ten kilometres from here”.


Thus, there is a need to (semi-)automatically extract those URIs or con-cepts from plain text or to let users annotate it similarly to what they can already do on Twitter with hash tags, but with more powerful processing thatcan extract and define URIs based on those tags. For example, rather than


writing ”Visiting #Eiffel Tower in #Paris”, someone could microblog ”Visiting#dbp:Eiffel Tower in #geo:Paris France” so that the processor would be able to extract the two hash tags and thanks to a predefined prefix mapping process,query DBpedia [1] and GeoNames10 to retrieve URIs of the related concepts.Thus, the updates would be automatically linked to existing URIs rather than to simple and meaningless – from a software agent point of view -text strings.

January 10, 2011 Posted by | Semantic Web, social media, social networks, Tim Burners-Lee, Uncategorized, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment


Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality

– The Web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our continued prosperity—and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it needs defending

Tim Berners – Lee, Scientific American, 22 November 2010

Social-networking sites present a different kind of problem. Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendster and others typically provide value by capturing information as you enter it: your birthday, your e-mail address, your likes, and links indicating who is friends with whom and who is in which photograph. The sites assemble these bits of data into brilliant databases and reuse the information to provide value-added service—but only within their sites. Once you enter your data into one of these services, you cannot easily use them on another site. Each site is a silo, walled off from the others. Yes, your site’s pages are on the Web, but your data are not. You can access a Web page about a list of people you have created in one site, but you cannot send that list, or items from it, to another site.

The isolation occurs because each piece of information does not have a URI. Connections among data exist only within a site. So the more you enter, the more you become locked in. Your social-networking site becomes a central platform—a closed silo of content, and one that does not give you full control over your information in it. The more this kind of architecture gains widespread use, the more the Web becomes fragmented, and the less we enjoy a single, universal information space.

A related danger is that one social-networking site—or one search engine or one browser—gets so big that it becomes a monopoly, which tends to limit innovation. As has been the case since the Web began, continued grassroots innovation may be the best check and balance against any one company or government that tries to undermine universality. GnuSocial and Diaspora are projects on the Web that allow anyone to create their own social network from their own server, connecting to anyone on any other site. The project, which runs sites such as, allows you to operate your own Twitter-like network without the Twitter-like centralization.

January 9, 2011 Posted by | information silos, silo effect, social media, social networks, social silos, Tim Burners-Lee, Uncategorized | Leave a comment