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working together, problem solving, team building, imagination, creativity and failure, which carries into art, math, writing, science, reading, social studies, and all other parts of the curricula. Help students gain enduring skills and knowledge for current and future challenges.
Credibility, not information, is the real currency!
Newspapers are still considered by most as credible. American Newspapers still decide what is a real story by covering it, which is makes it important and real.
“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” is an adage and meme about Internet anonymity which began as a cartoon caption written by Peter Steiner and published by The New Yorker on July 5, 1993.
The Internet democratized access to the production and dissemination of information and simultaneously destroyed the economics of high-quality journalism while leaving in place the culture and custom of credibility and truth.
Boeing’s poor information security posture threatens passenger safety, national security, researcher says
Boeing test development networks are publicly exposed to the internet, Kubecka said, and at least one of Boeing’s email servers is infected with multiple strains of malware. Kubecka believes that the infected email servers are being used to exfiltrate sensitive intellectual property including code used in both civilian passenger aircraft as well as aircraft Boeing sells to the US military.
Kubecka, a well-respected security researcher, critical infrastructure expert, and Air Force veteran, tells CSO she has struggled to report what she calls blatant, easily fixable security issues for more than six months. She also alleges that Boeing, through back channels at DEF CON, threatened her with legal action and a public relations smear campaign to prevent her from going public. Kubecka declined to identify who made the threats, when and where they were made, or how they might be associated with Boeing.
“If I saw a broken door on an aircraft, I would not get in trouble for reporting to the FAA that the plane flew,” Kubecka tells CSO. “But as a security researcher, it’s legally fraught to report security vulnerabilities.” https://www.csoonline.com/article/3451585/boeings-poor-information-security-posture-threatens-passenger-safety-national-security-researcher-s.html
Former Twitter employees charged with spying for Saudi Arabia by digging into the accounts of kingdom critics. The arrest of one of the former Twitter employees, Ahmad Abouammo, a U.S. citizen who is alleged to have spied on the accounts of three users — including one whose posts discussed the inner workings of the Saudi leadership — on behalf of the government in Riyadh.
The Justice Department has charged two former Twitter employees with spying for Saudi Arabia by accessing the company’s information on dissidents who use the platform, marking the first time federal prosecutors have publicly accused the kingdom of running agents in the United States. One of those implicated in the scheme, according to court papers, is an associate of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who the CIA has concluded likely ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last year.
In Trump’s Twitter Feed: Conspiracy-Mongers, Racists and Spies
“…The New York Times examined Mr. Trump’s interactions with Twitter since he took office, reviewing each of his more than 11,000 tweets and the hundreds of accounts he has retweeted, tracking the ways he is exposed to information and replicating what he is likely to see on the platform. The result, including new data analysis and previously unreported details, offers the most comprehensive view yet of a virtual world in which the president spends significant time mingling with extremists, impostors and spies. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/02/us/politics/trump-twitter-disinformation.html
Dark Web: 8chan returns with new name 8kun
8kun warning says ‘Any content that violates the laws of the United States of America will be deleted and the poster will be banned.’” Launched in 2013 by Fredrick Brennan as an alternative to 4chan, 8chan had been linked to harassment campaigns, racism, misogyny, neo-Nazism, pedophilia and mass shootings. It was also a hub for believers of far-right conspiracy theory QAnon, which claims that a secret cabal of “Satan-worshiping pedophiles” rules the world and that only Donald Trump can stop them. https://mashable.com/article/8chan-8kun-rebrand-return
The Pentagon is under assault every hour of the day
Microsoft’s $10 billion contract win over cloud rival Amazon for the ultra-lucrative military contact means that an intelligence-gathering apparatus among the most important in the world is based in the woods outside Seattle. These kinds of national security responsibilities once sat almost exclusively in Washington, DC. Now in this corner of Washington state, dozens of engineers and intelligence analysts are dedicated to watching and stopping the government-sponsored hackers proliferating around the world. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614646/inside-the-microsoft-team-tracking-the-worlds-most-dangerous-hackers/
Following a recent conference of foreign security and law enforcement agencies, the head of Russia’s State Security Service, the FSB, made the surprising announcement that Russia and the United States have resumed cooperation on cybersecurity.
“We are maintaining working contacts by our experts and special unit heads with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Agency,” said Gen. Alexander Bortnikov, noting that such contacts should always occur, regardless of the foreign policy situation.
Behind-the-scenes cooperation with the Trump administration, particularly when it comes to cybercrime and terrorism, is a theme the Kremlin likes to push onto center stage every so often. And according to our sources there is indeed some consultation at a practical level, but for Washington’s intelligence professionals it’s a very delicate, very dangerous game, complicated enormously by the inclinations and prejudices of President Donald J. Trump.
In response to queries about Bortnikov’s statement, spokespersons for both the CIA and the DEA told The Daily Beast that they had no comment, and the FBI has not responded at all. […]
An internal memo on cybersecurity, obtained by Axios, warns that “the White House is posturing itself to be electronically compromised once again.”
The state of play: That’s after at least a dozen top- or high-level officials have resigned or been pushed out of a cybersecurity mission that was established under Barack Obama to protect the White House from Russian hacking and other threats, according to conversations with several current and former officials.
Why Facebook Should Sit Out The 2020 Election.
American democracy is in deep trouble, social media companies have violated our trust too many times to count and, at least in the US, there’s no way to regulate digital election ads — or to even ask the Federal Elections Commission, which has been effectively shut down under Republican control, to offer guidance. Without oversight, there’s no civically responsible way to allow digital ad buys. From my experience as a political strategist for Democratic candidates and advocacy groups, I believe Facebook should adopt the same policy. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/melissaryan1/facebook-political-ads-2020-election-dorsey-zuckerberg
Why worry about the KGB when ISPs do a fantastic job lying to Congress
ISPs lied to Congress to spread confusion about encrypted DNS, Mozilla says. “Mozilla is urging Congress to reject the broadband industry’s lobbying campaign against encrypted DNS in Firefox and Chrome. The Internet providers’ fight against this privacy feature raises questions about how they use broadband customers’ Web-browsing data, Mozilla wrote in a letter sent [yesterday] to the chairs and ranking members of three House of Representatives committees.” https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/11/isps-lied-to-congress-to-spread-confusion-about-encrypted-dns-mozilla-says/
0-Day Alert! #Google is warning Windows, Mac, #Linux users to update their #Chrome browser (to 78.0.3904.87) immediately due to a security vulnerability.
Chrome, Firefox, DuckDuckGo, and Opera’s “private” browsing mode is not truly private. Brave was created with a built-in ad-blocker to give you the fastest internet browsing experience, while providing the deepest level of privacy and security protection. Brave also lets you control who profits from your data with blockchain-based tokens. Faster, Safer, Ad-Free Browsing.
This Is How the U.S. Military’s Massive Facial Recognition System Works The presentation also sheds light on how military, state, and local law enforcement biometrics systems are linked. According to Krizay’s presentation, ABIS is connected to the FBI’s biometric database, which is in turn connected to databases used by state and local law enforcement. Ultimately, that means that the U.S. military can readily search against biometric data of U.S. citizens and cataloged non-citizens. The DFBA is also currently working to connect its data to the Department of Homeland Security’s biometric database. The network will ultimately amount to a global surveillance system. In his notes, Krizay outlines a potential scenario in which data from a suspect in Detroit would be run against data collected from “some mountaintop in Asia.”
The documents, which are embedded in full below, were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. These documents were presented earlier this year at a closed-door defense biometrics conference known as the Identity Management Symposium… https://onezero.medium.com/exclusive-this-is-how-the-u-s-militarys-massive-facial-recognition-system-works-bb764291b96d
Kremlin connections to investments in Facebook and Twitter are the results of a capitalist “free market” fetish.
Paradise Papers reveal Companies controlled by the Russian government quietly invested in several major Silicon Valley startups, including Facebook.
11/5/17 Paradise Papers reveals a vast financial network—beyond the reach of most governments—maintained by the world’s wealthiest people. They include commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, Queen Elizabeth of the UK, and a close advisor to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Here’s a guide to the major revelations in the Paradise Papers https://qz.com/1120731/paradise-papers-a-guide-to-the-major-revelations/
Wilbur Ross’s business ties to Putin’s inner circle US commerce secretary Wilbur Rossmaintains a stake in a shipping company that is closely linked to the family of Russian president Vladimir Putin. According to the Paradise Papers, Ross owns between $2 million and $10 million in shipping company Navigator. The second-biggest client of Navigator is Russian gas company Sibur. Kirill Shamalov, who is Putin’s son-in-law, has been deputy chairman of Sibur’s board and until April owned more than a fifth of the company. (He has since reduced his ownership share.) @SecretaryRoss conceals business dealings with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law.
also …. Former Co-Chair of (Russian Laundromat) Bank of Cyprus
REMINDER- Paul Manafort & Rick Gates allegedly laundered money through bank accounts in Cyprus. @SecretaryRoss & @DeutscheBank former chairman Josef Ackermann served on the board of Bank of Cyprus.
Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is doing business with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law through a shipping venture in Russia.
Wall Street’s Liquidity Crisis: It’s Not Getting Better https://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/11/wall-streets-liquidity-crisis-its-not-getting-better/
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 7, 2019 ~
Deutsche Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany
This morning, Wall Street’s money spigot arm of the Federal Reserve, the New York Fed, paid out $35 billion in 14-day term loans to Wall Street’s trading houses. The problem was, this morning the banks wanted $41.15 billion or $6.15 billion or $6.15 billion more than the Fed was offering. That’s a very clear sign that liquidity remains tight on Wall Street and we have yet to enter the pivotal year-end period when banks try to dress up their books by dumping or parking their most toxic positions. Between the term loan and the overnight loan, the New York Fed paid out $115 billion this morning to unnamed securities firms on Wall Street. (The Fed won’t say who is doing all of this borrowing and Congress can’t summon the willpower to hold a hearing.) https://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/11/wall-streets-liquidity-crisis-its-not-getting-better/
Dangerous Liaisons: New York Fed and JPMorgan’s Incestuous Relationship By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (New York Fed) is just one of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks around the country. But it has amassed enormous powers for itself since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913. Three of those powers dwarf all others: the ability to create money electronically at the push of a button; the accepted right to meddle in the markets; and the supervision of some of the largest bank holding companies in America.
After Wall Street blew itself up under the indulging and incompetent supervision of the New York Fed in 2008 and it was exposed that the Fed had secretly created $29 trillion in electronic money to bail out zombie banks – most of that funneled out by the New York Fed – most rational folks would have assumed that Congress would have stripped it of supervisory and money-printing powers for bailouts. Insanely, that did not happen and here we are today with the same deeply-conflicted New York Fed creating its own money to dole out $690 billion a week in super-cheap loans to unnamed securities firms while buying up $60 billion a month in the debt of the United States. (The Fed doesn’t want you to call the $60 billion a month QE4 because that would strongly suggest that this is just Stage II of the continuing 2008 bailout of Wall Street and that QE-Infinity is coming.) https://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/11/dangerous-liaisons-new-york-fed-and-jpmorgans-incestuous-relationship/
May First Movement Technology is a non-profit membership organization that engages in building movements by advancing the strategic use and collective control of technology for local struggles, global transformation, and emancipation without borders.
We are the largest membership technology organization in the movements for fundamental change in the United States and Mexico, bringing together over 2300 activists in about 850 memberships. We share our technology (as a collaborative, non-profit service provider) and participate in (and often lead) many networks and coalitions working on various issues like net neutrality, data protection, privacy, access and alternative connection systems. We have been in existence for 15 years. email email@example.com.
May First Movement Technology is a democratic cooperative. Based on our bylaws, the members elect 16 – 20 people to the board and the workers select five.
Representatives from Mexico are allocated based on the total percentage of their membership (approximately 20% or five members).
The following board was elected in October 2019.
Join the Congressional Innovation Fellowship TechCongress places computer scientists, engineers, and other technologists to serve as technology policy advisors to to Members of Congress through our one-year Congressional Innovation Fellowship. We bridge the divide of knowledge and experience between DC and Silicon Valley for better outcomes for both.
Privacy should not be not a one-off exercise by the legal division whenever a new law comes out. It needs to be a company-wide program with ongoing policies and clear accountability for each division.
If the service is free you are in fact the product being sold.
Not collecting the data in the first place is easier than protecting it.
Privacy: Once described by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis as, “the right to be left alone,” privacy is now best described as the ability to control data we cannot stop generating, giving rise to inferences we can’t predict.
Dont reuse passwords. Ever.
One way to ensure your personal data remains private is never to give it*. Today, under #dataprivacy laws you can refuse to give that information.
Don’t use production data in pre-production environments.
Do not use Facebook, or WeChat
In addition to strong, unique passwords, use unique account usernames and sign-up email addresses.
Don’t reuse profile photos.
99.98% of Americans would be correctly re-identified in any dataset using 15 demographic attributes.
#Privacy, #Facebook Coin, Uber, PayPal, Visa to Back #Facebook’s GlobalCoin Cryptocurrency
Starting with Facebook can’t get into China and 2015 Facebook Announces a Payments Feature for Its Messenger App
2019 #WeChat has become the centerpiece of digital life in China
where people use it to order movie tickets, subway passes, food delivery and rides. If Facebook succeeds in turning its own messaging services into a platform for everything, it could ultimately threaten established services such as Snapchat, Yelp, Venmo, eBay and even Apple and Amazon.
IN CHINA THERE IS NO PRIVACY!
IN AMERICA THERE IS NONE! THANKS TO THE DEMOCRAT$ AND THE REPUBLICAN$
Facebook can’t get into China and wants to be WhatsApp China’s top app.
#Tencent-owned WeChat is China’s most popular messaging app and has a mobile payments feature known as #WeChat Pay. #Facebook Coin, which would be pegged to the U.S. dollar and allow users to transfer money through Facebook-owned messaging application WhatsApp, according to Bloomberg.
Facebook wants to be America’s version of China’s WeChat
and started developing its own digital currency to make it easier for users to send money to their messaging contacts. Facebook didn’t offer many details on its digital currency endeavors but said a “new small team” was looking for ways to make use of the type of technology powering bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
Tencent, is more than just a messaging app. It’s what some analysts dub a “super-app” because it offers everything from mobile payments to the ability to book flights and even play games — all without leaving the app. ‘WeChat of the West’
The reason why FB wants these partners. To turn every single account holder into a new banking account. Personal and business at the same time. Very centralized indeed. Multiple privacy concerns and contracts. Personal data is at risk.
Facts: 1. Facebook is issuing its own ‘cryptocurrency’
2. Evan Cheng is Facebooks’s Director of Blockchain engineering
Sarah Jamie Lewis @SarahJamieLewis
Can’t wait for a cryptocurrency with the ethics of Uber, the censorship resistance of Paypal, and the centralization of Visa, all tied together under the proven privacy of Facebook. I’ve always said the thing that cryptocurrency was missing was consortiums of corporations fully invested in the existing financial sector. Who, seriously, looked around the room and said, “shit, we really need to invite PayPal”
Do you trust 2/3 of paypal, visa, uber and facebook <insert other corps here> not to collude to publish contradictory checkpoints? What does byzantine consensus even mean in that scenario? “Facebook won’t control the coin” it will just develop the coin and then assemble the initial members of the consortium after which point the power will be distributed to the consortium members, that Facebook picked, and who are all large corporations.
See, decentralized. “Facebook won’t directly control the coin, nor will the individual members of the consortium — known as the Libra Association. Some of the members could serve as “nodes” along the system that verify transactions and maintain records of them, creating a brand-new payments network, according to people familiar with the setup.”
In the future, Paypal will verify your transaction behind the scenes as you pay for your Uber seamlessly using your phone, just top up your Facebook Libre account with Visa or Mastercard. So much innovation.
Roxana Nasoi @roxanasoi
Ever wondered how PayPal shares your Data? And to who?
Let’s go with the major funnels:
1. PayPal shares your data with Auditors. Internal and external, due to its nature.
2. PayPal shares your data with Customer Services. In the process of handling claims, customer services need access to your account history – so basically they need your historical data information. In case of disputes, they can access the last 30 to 90 days. Maybe even more?
3. PayPal shares your data with Fraud agencies and AML services. You will discover that after $1k to $2k, you need to KYC in order to continue using your account. If you use PayPal for business purposes, but your account is a personal one, you can end up with funds frozen.
4. Next is Financial Products. All those business and personal finance tools you see inside your PayPal dashboard can’t be used without your financial data. To add more, new products are created based on user data patterns. Unknown the extent of external financial products.
5. Don’t forget about your data being shared with Commercial Partnerships. Don’t worry, banks do the same. Apps do the same. Nothing new here.
6. PayPal uses your data for Marketing and PR. Need another example? Try Facebook, Google (Gmail) etc. Data sells, and we can’t really talk about performance and customer experience without backing claims with data reports.
7. PayPal (along with 95% of systems) shares your data with Operational Services.
8. Group Enterprises also have access to your data. Blame it on group dynamics if you want to or on contracts you’ll never have a say in.
9. Commercial Partners (to no surprise) can access your data, as well through a service called PayPal for Partners (Merchants use it).
10. Legal. From disputes to payment protection to lawsuits, to internal or partner legal firms – yes, they can access the data. Or have access to it in some form.
11. Other services and agencies. At some point they argued that government agencies cannot claim access to a user’s data. However, this is an overstatement. Under the premise of fraud, Gov agencies can and will get access. Based on historical examples, we know it’s possible.
This is probably the main reason why we do need crypto. A coded architecture that makes it incorruptible.
“Code is Law”.
Bitcoin has managed to provide a clear first example of incorruptibility, where growth and maturity of one system does not change the core.
Ever wondered how PayPal shares your Data? And to who? Let's go with the major funnels:
Anatomy of a Perfect Album: On Joni Mitchell’s Blue
“ONLY A PHASE, THESE DARK CAFÉ DAYS.” https://lithub.com/anatomy-of-a-perfect-album-on-joni-mitchells-blue/
Mitchell starts the record right off with wanderlust, her first words: I am on a lonely road and I am traveling, traveling, traveling, traveling, amplifying the feeling later: I am on a lonely road and I am traveling / Looking for the key to set me free. By boat, plane, foot, and ice skate, her whims and fancies take her to a Greek island, Paris (she doesn’t like it there), Spain, Las Vegas, maybe Amsterdam and Rome, and return home to her Ithaca, which is California. You hear Mitchell’s original Canadian-ness when she lands on the word “sorrow” as “soe-row” on “Little Green,” a poignant 1967 song, revived for this recording, from the perspective of a young single mother, also in the reverent way she intones the Canadian national anthem, “O Canada,” in the middle of “A Case of You.”
Friend JOEL BERNSTEIN Musician / Photographer / Writer / Archivist Compilation of Photographs – all the album covers you know
2018 IPHF FEATURES PROFILE ON JOEL FOR HIS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD [ friend during junior high / high school times ] https://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Ringleaders/joel.html
“Virality Is Dead
I’m an independent concert promoter going on 40 years now. My clients are now only a few, and I work them nationwide. Without question, Facebook “boosted posts” are quietly putting radio and print out of business in terms of how to get the word out on a cost-effective basis. And you don’t really need virality anymore in order to promote an artist or event.
I’m not talking Facebook “ads,” but “boosted posts.” Users see these posts from the artist’s page in their newsfeeds and can share them organically, unlike “ads,” which cannot be shared. I used to spend thousands of dollars breaking a show with print ads and radio. I won’t mention the act or the market, but recently I spent $1000 on a print ad in a major metropolitan market and… in a literal example of the old saying… “Did 10 tickets.” That’s right. I sold exactly 10 tickets, not even covering the cost of the ad. I spent a fraction of that amount on boosted Facebook posts and did 500 tickets. And you wonder how the Russians spent only $100k on Facebook and turned an entire election in 2016? ~ Brian Martin” https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Investors-say-promoter-owes-them-2-million-3242597.php
Online Spreadsheet Discloses Museum Workers’ Salaries http://www.artnews.com/2019/05/31/google-spreadsheet-museum-workers-disclose-salaries/
In another sign of increasing demand for transparency at art institutions across the world, museum workers have begun making public their salary rates via a Google Spreadsheet document that began circulating on Friday morning. Titled Art/Museum Salary Transparency 2019, the document allows users to add information about the terms of their employment and their rates of pay at some of the biggest museums in the world.
Overview of the ArtPlace/DAISA initiative (download a copy of the report) here: https://www.artplaceamerica.org/agriculture-food
The report argues that “integrating artistic and cultural practices with food and agriculture enables a creative and inclusive process and ensures community members see their identities, histories, and interests reflected in the work.” ~ Clifford Murphy – Folk & Traditional Arts Director | Multidisciplinary Arts National Endowment for the Arts
GPS Degraded Across Much of US
Blog Editor’s Note: Even as a Presidential Advisory Board was discussing GPS as “the Gold Standard” for satellite-based navigation last week, the system may have been operating in a degraded mode.
On Sunday the Federal Aviation Administration held a teleconference to discuss the issue that seems to have persisted for several days. While not “failing,” GPS signal quality seems to have degraded and this is impacting some equipment and services. Specifically, the aviation safety Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast system has been impacted across much of the United States. FAA has posted the following map depicting the areas impacted:
These problems have delayed and cancelled flights, possibly by the thousands. The FAA seems to have addressed some of this problem by issuing waivers for some aircraft to fly without operable ADS-B safety systems, as long as they stay on pre-planned routes and below 28,000 ft altitude.
Speculation on some on-line forums point to specific manufactures’ equipment and aircraft that are primarily effected. Previous degradation in GPS signal quality, such as the SVN-23 caused problem in January 2016, have shown that equipment from different vendors react differently to the problem. Some are unaffected, some go offline, and some just perform poorly.
The January 2016 SVN-23 degradation caused much of the nation’s ADS-B system to be unavailable for much of the day. Other receivers and systems were impacted also. Cellular networks, first responder systems, digital broadcast, and numerous other systems were impacted.
Watchstanders at the US Coast Guard Navigation Center seemed unaware of the problem early Monday morning, but promised to investigate and respond. https://rntfnd.org/2019/06/10/gps-degraded-across-much-of-us-ads-b-impacted/
This Business Insider article was originally published May 13, 2010
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his company are suddenly facing a big new round of scrutiny and criticism about their cavalier attitude toward user privacy. An early instant messenger exchange Mark had with a college friend won’t help put these concerns to rest.
According to SAI sources, the following exchange is between a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and a friend shortly after Mark launched The Facebook in his dorm room:
Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don’t know why.
EFF and more than 100 civil society organizations across the globe wrote directly to Mark Zuckerberg recently demanding greater transparency and accountability for Facebook content moderation practices. A key step, we told Facebook, is implementation of a robust appeals process giving all users the power to challenge and reverse the platform’s content removal decisions.
In the next two weeks, Russia is planning to attempt something no other country has tried before. It’s going to test whether it can disconnect from the rest of the world electronically while keeping the internet running for its citizens. This means it will have to reroute all its data internally, rather than relying on servers abroad.
The test is key to a proposed “sovereign internet” law currently working its way through Russia’s government. It looks likely to be eventually voted through and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, though it has stalled in parliament for now.
Pulling an iron curtain down over the internet is a simple idea, but don’t be fooled: it’s a fiendishly difficult technical challenge to get right. It is also going to be very expensive. The project’s initial cost has been set at $38 million by Russia’s financial watchdog, but it’s likely to require far more funding than that. One of the authors of the plan has said it’ll be more like $304 million, Bloomberg reports, but even that figure, industry experts say, won’t be enough to get the system up and running, let alone maintain it.
Not only that, but it has already proved deeply unpopular with the general public. An estimated 15,000 people took to the streets in Moscow earlier this month to protest the law, one of the biggest demonstrations in years.
So how will Russia actually disconnect itself from the global internet? “It is unclear what the ‘disconnect test’ might entail,” says Andrew Sullivan, president and CEO of the Internet Society. All we know is that if it passes, the new law will require the nation’s internet service providers (ISPs) to use only exchange points inside the country that are approved by Russia’s telecoms regulator, Roskomnadzor.
Operating hours Mon-Thu 8:30-17:30 Fri 8:30-16:15
+7 (495) 987-68-00
These exchange points are where internet service providers connect with each other. It’s where their cabling meets at physical locations to exchange traffic. These locations are overseen by organizations known as internet exchange providers (IXPs). Russia’s largest IXP is in Moscow, connecting cities in Russia’s east but also Riga in neighboring Latvia.
MSK-IX, as this exchange point is known, is one of the world’s largest. It connects over 500 different ISPs and handles over 140 gigabits of throughput during peak hours on weekdays. There are six other internet exchange points in Russia, spanning most of its 11 time zones. Many ISPs also use exchanges that are physically located in neighboring countries or that are owned by foreign companies. These would now be off limits. Once this stage is completed, it would provide Russia with a literal, physical “on/off switch” to decide whether its internet is shielded from the outside world or kept open.
What’s in a name?
As well as rerouting its ISPs, Russia will also have to unplug from the global domain name system (DNS) so traffic cannot be rerouted through any exchange points that are not inside Russia.
The DNS is basically a phone book for the internet: when you type, for example, “google.com” into your browser, your computer uses the DNS to translate this domain name into an IP address, which identifies the correct server on the internet to send the request. If one server won’t respond to a request, another will step in. Traffic behaves rather like water—it will seek any gap it can to flow through.
“The creators of the DNS wanted to create a system able to work even when bits of it stopped working, regardless of whether the decision to break parts of it was deliberate or accidental,” says Brad Karp, a computer scientist at University College London. This in-built resilience in the underlying structure of the internet will make Russia’s plan even harder to carry out.
The actual mechanics of the DNS are operated by a wide variety of organizations, but a majority of the “root servers,” which are its foundational layer, are run by groups in the US. Russia sees this as a strategic weakness and wants to create its own alternative, setting up an entire new network of its own root servers.
“An alternate DNS can be used to create an alternate reality for the majority of Russian internet users,” says Ameet Naik, an expert on internet monitoring for the software company ThousandEyes. “Whoever controls this directory controls the internet.” Thus, if Russia can create its own DNS, it will have at least a semblance of control over the internet within its borders.
This won’t be easy, says Sullivan. It will involve configuring tens of thousands of systems, and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to identify all the different access points citizens use to get online (their laptops, smartphones, iPads, and so on). Some of them will be using servers abroad, such as Google’s Public DNS, which Russia simply won’t be able to replicate—so the connection will fail when a Russian user tries to access them.
Could someone really destroy the whole Internet? YES
The Internet is more than just a technology. It is a domain similar to the domains of land, air, sea and space, but with its own distinct challenges.