Category Archives: Internet

Is .kosher Kosher?

Harold Feld is always worth reading. Usually he posts on telecoms; today he has a great read on the issues surrounding the application to ICANN for .kosher. Surprisingly, the issues include the role of he US government in bringing concerns to ICANN, and whether objections to .kosher will get the same hearing as objections to .halal.

See Is Sauce for the .Halal Goose Sauce for the .Kosher Gander At The ICANN Meeting In Durban? for the full scoop.

Posted in ICANN | 1 Comment

DRM, HTML5, and You

EFF just took its first act as a full member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C): it filed an objection to the W3C’s plans to put Digital Rights Management (DRM) into HTML5, the next version of the HTML standard. In a statement EFF said,

DRM standards look like normal technical standards but turn out to have quite different qualities. They fail to implement their stated intention – protecting media – while dragging in legal mandates that chill the speech of technologists, lock down technology, and violate property rights by seizing control of personal computers from their owners.

You can learn more at EFF’s Why the HTML5 Standard Fight Matters.

I am particularly concerned about this issue because I see a link between DRM and the undermining of anonymity — the heart of most DRM is identifying who is accessing content, and that creates systems which either directly make anonymity more difficult, or map the way for others to implement those systems.

OBDisclosure: I’m a proud member of the EFF Advisory Board.

Posted in Internet, Law: Copyright and DMCA | Leave a comment

Crawford on Telco Monopolies

Nice profile of Susan Crawford, highlighting her campaign against telco internet monopolies, by David Carr in today’s NYT.

A taste of Telecom’s Big Players Hold Back the Future:

Susan Crawford, a professor at [Cardozo School of Law], has written a book, “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age,” that offers a calm but chilling state-of-play on the information age in the United States. She is on a permanent campaign, speaking at schools, conferences and companies — she was at Google last week — and in front of Congress, asserting that the status quo has been great for providers but an expensive mess for everyone else.

Ms. Crawford argues that the airwaves, the cable systems and even access to the Internet itself have been overtaken by monopolists who resist innovation and chronically overcharge consumers.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act, which was meant to lay down track to foster competition in a new age, allowed cable companies and telecoms to simply divide markets and merge their way to monopoly. If you are looking for the answer to why much of the developed world has cheap, reliable connections to the Internet while America seems just one step ahead of the dial-up era, her office — or her book — would be a good place to find out.

‘Calm but chilling’ – that’s Susan when she’s doing business; she’s warm and funny when off duty.

Posted in Internet | 1 Comment

Loomio — Enabling Group Decision-Making

Micah L. Sifry, a canny observer of social organizing and the internet, writes a very positive article about Loomio in Can Social Software Change the World? Loomio Just Might.

A taste:

At its heart, Loomio does just two things. First, it makes it easy for anyone in a Loomio group to initiate a topic for conversation. And second, it makes it easy for any group member to offer a proposal up for a vote. You can vote yes, no, abstain, or block. The software puts the vote results into a pie-chart, so at any point in the conversation about a decision, members of the group can see what the group as a whole is thinking. That’s it. It’s also easy for a group member to form a sub-group, like a committee that works on a narrower topic area.

Group decision-making online is the vacuum in current software architectures. It’s exciting to see initiatives designed to fill this important gap.

Previously: Civilized Discourse Construction Kit.

Posted in Internet | Leave a comment

Fun With Traceroute (Updated)

[Update: It's gone. The whole thing has been DDOSed out of existence.]

Traceroute is a network tool for figuring out what route a packet takes to get from some point to your machine. This can matter when something is gumming up the works.

If you have a unix machine connected to the internet, odds are you can do traceroute [domain name or IP #] straight from a command line.

If you are on a windows machine you go to a command prompt and type tracert [domain name or IP #] (see the directions here).

For example traceroute google.com tells you about the routing of packets from a big famous internet company.

Play around with it a bit. Once you have the hang of it, on unix try

traceroute -m 200 216.81.59.173

or on windows make it

tracert -h 200 216.81.59.173

(The extra argument tells the trace not to stop after 30 hops, which is is important.)

It should produce something fun. You can also try it from a web-based traceroute interface, but I couldn’t find one that would go over 30 hops, which sort of spoils the fun.

Yes, due to the blizzard in the North East, someone has way too much time on his hands.

Posted in Internet | Leave a comment

Quote du Jour

Buying domains from GoDaddy is like going to dinner with Hannibal Lecter: you have only yourself to blame if the chicken tastes funny.

Man claims GoDaddy canceled domains after transfer unlock – Boing Boing

Bonus: Go Daddy Super Bowl ad selected as #1 most sexist by Ms. Magazine. (Predictable.)

Posted in Internet | Leave a comment

Law.tm Got Hacked — An Update

I described recently how law.tm got hacked and what I did about it.

Since then I’ve been in correspondence with Netnames who argue pretty convincingly that the problem was not on their end. They say their records show no DNS changes for the period in question, and no one else they serve has has had a similar problem.

That means the DNS change happened at my hosting company (or, theoretically, somewhere else via cache poisoning, but that’s really unlikely). Hacking my DNS via my hosting company is certainly possible, even though they don’t manage the registration. That said, it’s sort off an odd thing to think happened because any hack capable of making that change there should have been able to do far far more damage and hit at least the other domains I manage from the same machine. Indeed, depending on the vector it could theoretically have hit all of them: my domains are spread over three machines; changing the DNS would require either root-like access on one of them or access to a control panel that gives some power over all of them. Yet none of those things happened. Maybe I dodged a bullet.

Meanwhile, I’ve changed all the relevant passwords (which were already strong random ones) and am working hard to plug every hole that my host’s automated security scan says it identified. Unfortunately, I have a lot of sites covering a very wide variety of personal and professional projects that have grown up over the years, and the scan resulted in a 12-page single-spaced list of things that might need fixing. It correctly identified some outdated installs of software packages, but the list of so-called hacked files seems overwhelmingly to consist of false positives (I’ve been investigating them with a simple text editor and so far they are mostly simple HTML files created by my cache program and fitted with legitimate headers) — so this is not an easy job.

Posted in Internet | Leave a comment