We have an opportunity this year to get rid of Kyl. We should take it.
(Arizona's Representatives voted much more honorably.)
I inherited my one litmus test from my father, Jim Alter, who flew 33 harrowing missions over Nazi Germany during World War II. My father is not just a veteran who by all odds should not have survived. He is a true patriot. His litmus test is the proposal to amend the Constitution to ban flag burning, which will come up for a vote next week in the U.S. Senate. For dad--and me--any member of Congress who supports amending the Bill of Rights for the first time in the history of this country for a nonproblem like flag burning is showing serious disrespect for our Constitution and for the values for which brave Americans gave their lives. Such disrespect is a much more serious threat than the random idiots who once every decade or so try (often unsuccessfully) to burn a flag.
I'll go even further than that. Hell, I'll go a lot further than that. If you're the kind of person who supports a ban on flag burning, that fact alone is enough to brand you, in my view, as either a demagogue or someone weak-minded enough to be led by demagogues who play on your most shallow and childish emotional responses. Like the flag itself, the flag burning amendment is purely symbolic. And anyone who would throw away free speech rights for symbolic achievement has no business being in any political office in this country.
I second Brayton's sentiment. Let's get rid of Arizona's demogagues, Franks, Hayworth, and Renzi.
The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) has issued a report on “Security Implications of Applying the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act to Voice over IP” (21-page PDF) by Steven Bellovin, Matt Blaze, Ernest Brickell, Clinton Brooks, Vinton Cerf, Whitfield Diffie, Susan Landau, Jon Peterson, and John Treichler. This report comes at a time when the FCC and courts have already ruled that VoIP and facilities-based broadband providers must provide lawful interception capabilities under CALEA for VoIP services that are “interconnected” with the publicly-switched telephone network (PSTN).
The report effectively argues that in order to extend CALEA compliance to VoIP, “it is necessary either to eliminate the flexibility that Internet communications allow—thus making VoIP essentially a copy of the PSTN—or else introduce serious security risks to domestic VoIP implementations. The former would have significant negative effects on
The report gives a good basic explanation of VoIP (which comes in a variety of possible flavors), an explanation of pre-CALEA wiretapping and current CALEA wiretapping (including cellular telephone wiretapping and roving wiretaps), and then describes the similarities and differences between the Internet and the PSTN.
It then describes the issues of security raised by applying CALEA to VoIP and the risks to innovation created by applying CALEA to VoIP.
Two of the key problems for applying CALEA to VoIP are:
Further problems are caused by the fact that the communications between two VoIP phones is peer-to-peer, and the routing of a call at the IP layer can change in mid-call. Because of the former issue, the call contents may not traverse the VoIP provider's network, and thus it will not be in a position to intercept (unless it behaves like the PSTN, forcing the call contents to also come through its network, using SIP proxies/RTP relays). In order to truly be able to intercept all VoIP calls using VoIP as it is designed, there would have to be cooperation between the VoIP user’s access provider of the moment (which could be any Internet provider—a WiFi hotspot, a friend’s ISP, a hotel’s Internet connection) and the VoIP provider being used—but law enforcement may not be in a position to know either of these. The kind of cooperation required would have to be very rapid, with interception equipment and systems already in place and able to eavesdrop wherever the voice traffic may flow, upon appropriate request. This would require extensive coordination across every VoIP and Internet provider in the
And the FCC has ordered that it be in place by May 14, 2007. There’s no way that’s remotely possible--note that the FCC gave ordinary wireline telephone companies over a decade to implement CALEA in the PSTN, and it has been an extremely difficult and expensive process. At best, by the deadline facilities-based VoIP providers will be able to provide interception for call traffic that goes across their own networks, and apparently be forced to do that for all traffic (or else there would be a way to distinguish calls being rerouted for interception from all other calls). And if that's the only kind of VoIP that is permitted, VoIP innovation is stifled.
One company that has been pushing hard for these extensions of CALEA is Verisign. They have been doing so because they want to act as the one-stop-shop for
We agree that the following evidence-based facts about the origins and evolution of the Earth and of life on this planet have been established by numerous observations and independently derived experimental results from a multitude of scientific disciplines. Even if there are still many open questions about the precise details of evolutionary change, scientific evidence has never contradicted these results:It goes on to give a statement about the nature of science.
1. In a universe that has evolved towards its present configuration for some 11 to 15 billion years, our Earth formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago.
2. Since its formation, the Earth - its geology and its environments - has changed under the effect of numerous physical and chemical forces and continues to do so.
3. Life appeared on Earth at least 2.5 billion years ago. The evolution, soon after, of photosynthetic organisms enabled, from at least 2 billion years ago, the slow transformation of the atmosphere to one containing substantial quantities of oxygen. In addition to the release of the oxygen we breathe, the process of photosynthesis is the ultimate source of fixed energy and food upon which human life on the planet depends.
4. Since its first appearance on Earth, life has taken many forms, all of which continue to evolve, in ways which paleontology and the modern biological and biochemical sciences are describing and independently confirming with increasing precision. Commonalities in the structure of the genetic code of all organisms living today, including humans, clearly indicate their common primordial origin.
Chairman Ted Stevens (AK), (202) 224-3004The Consumer Electronics Association has a new advertisement out that shows the lunacy of the arguments for these flags based on the past record of these industries crying wolf about the dangers of new technology:
John McCain (AZ), (202) 224-2235
Conrad Burns (MT), Main: 202-224-2644
Trent Lott (MS), (202) 224-6253
Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), (202) 224-5922
Gordon H. Smith (OR), (202) 224 3753
John Ensign (NV), (202) 224-6244
George Allen (VA), (202) 224-4024
John E. Sununu (NH), (202) 224-2841
Jim DeMint (SC), (202) 224-6121
David Vitter (LA),(202) 224-4623
Co-Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI), (202) 224-3934
John D. Rockefeller (WV), (202) 224-6472
John F. Kerry (MA), (202) 224-2742
Barbara Boxer (CA), (202) 224-3553
Bill Nelson (FL), (202) 224-5274
Maria Cantwell (WA), (202) 224-3441
Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ), (202) 224-3224
E. Benjamin Nelson (NE), (202) 224-6551
Mark Pryor (AR), (202) 224-2353
“The public will not buy songs that it can hear almost at will by a brief manipulation of the radio dials.” -Record Label Executive on FM Radio (1925)
“But now we are faced with a new and very troubling assault on our fiscal security, on our very economic life and we are facing it from a thing called the videocassette recorder.” -MPAA on the VCR (1982)
“When the manufacturers hand the public a license to record at home…not only will the songwriter tie a noose around his neck, not only will there be no more records to tape [but] the innocent public will be made an accessory to the destruction of four industries.” -ASCAP on the Cassette Tape (1982)
|Name||Technical relationship of service and connectivity||Financial relationship of service and connectivity||Examples|
|vertically integrated interactive service||Integrated||Integrated||PSTN, mobile voice, SMS|
|vertically integrated broadcast service||Integrated||Integrated||FM radio, DVB-H|
|stand-alone best-effort connectivity||Separate||Separate||dial-up, today's broadband|
|QoS and billing enhanced connectivity||Application-aware; session/control plane integrated||Integrated||IMS|
|service-funded connectivity||Application-aware; no technical integration||Integrated||Skype Zones|
|user- or community-built free connectivity||Separate||Separate||Open Wi-Fi, basic muni service, mesh|
|local unrouted connectivity||Varies||No monetary exchange||Bluetooth, Family Radio Service|
|other connectivity||Application-agnostic||Tiered||Paris Metro pricing|
The Compassionate eCommunity (Jonathan Miller)
Kentucky Progress (David Adams)
Kentucky Republican Voice
The Kentucky Democrat (Daniel Solzman)
Posted by Jim Lippard at 6/21/2006 08:07:00 AM
Back on February 23rd Authentium acknowledged that their software is blocking Craigslist but it still hasn't fixed the problem, more than three months later. That's a heck of long time to delete some text from their blacklist.Now, he says (quoted by George Ou at ZDNet):
I assumed there was a blacklist - I have no idea how Craigslist is being blockedIn fact, we know now that it's a combination of a bug in a firewall driver produced by Authentium software and unusual (but not incorrect) behavior by the Craigslist webserver setting the initial TCP window size to 0. The facts of the problem came out (at least between Craigslist, Cox, and Authentium) at the time the problem was first reported, was fixed in a beta release within weeks, and has only affected Cox customers who use Authentium's security suite.
One good outcome of this is that we flushed out a swiftboater (in the generic sense), and this helps me understand the way disinformation gangs operate. Unfortunately, in some blogs, a good guy has been linked with the swiftboater, which isn't fair, and hopefully, we can do something about that.I'm not sure who he's calling a swiftboater, who he's calling a good guy, and who he's calling a disinformation gang. So far as I can see, the disinformation gang in this incident has been the "Save the Internet" crowd, who still have yet to admit the clear facts of the matter. I asked for clarification, but Craig declined to identify who he's referring to (except that he's not referring to Matt Stoller or Timothy Karr).
Posted by Jim Lippard at 6/18/2006 12:35:00 PM
There's a pervasive myth that there has been no discrimination on the internet against content companies. That is simply untrue. For one, Craigslist has been blocked for three months from Cox customers because of security software malfunctions.Back on February 23rd Authentium acknowledged that their software is blocking Craigslist but it still hasn't fixed the problem, more than three months later. That's a heck of long time to delete some text from their blacklist. And this company also supplies security software to other large ISPs.
Without net neutrality protections, cable and telecom companies will have no incentive to fix these kinds of problems. Already, it's quite difficult to even know that this is happening because they are quite easy to disguise.
Authentium's initial response to the Craigslist.org webserver is exactly as specified by RFC 793 (which describes TCP) about the proper behavior when a host to which you initiate a TCP connection specifies a window size of 0, as others have pointed out at the Save the Internet blog:
I'm SVP Product Management at Authentium, Inc. We make the branded security suites that many Internet Service Providers, including Cox Communications, offer to their subscribers. I'd like to take this opportunity to set the story straight on the Craigslist issue that some Cox subscribers have experienced.
In February, we started receiving support calls from users of our branded ESP security suite at ISPs like Cox Communications and Patriot Media. These users had problems accessing the Craigslist.org web site.
Our engineers investigated the issue and found a glitch in our firewall driver that made the Craigslist site very slow to load, or not load at all. (Technical details below)
We contacted Craigslist to learn why only the Craigslist web site was affected and also had our engineers fix the firewall driver. The fixed driver is in QA and will be part of a new release this summer. Our support team has been offering the beta firewall driver to customers who call in and are willing to try it. The support team also assists users uninstalling the software if necessary.
Authentium is dedicated to providing the best possible Internet experience for all users of our security suite, which appears under many brand names. We applaud the efforts of ISPs that go the extra mile to provide free security software to their subscribers and will continue our efforts to make the Internet experience safer and easier.Technical details:
We found that the Craigslist.org web site sends a TCP packet with a zero-length window. A zero-length window indicates the server is experiencing congestion and cannot handle more data. Our firewall driver responds by sending data only one byte at a time, even after the server increases the TCP window size. This is the glitch we have fixed and are QA testing. Any changes to network drivers must be made carefully, tested thoroughly, and certified before general release.
Flow Control: TCP provides a means for the receiver to govern the amount of data sent by the sender. This is achieved by returning a “window” with every ACK indicating a range of acceptable sequence numbers beyond the last segment successfully received. The window indicates an allowed number of octets that the sender may transmit before receiving further permission.The bug here is that when the Craigslist.org host later attempts to increase the window size, the Authentium software fails to do so.
Kantor now says that net neutrality doesn't force Internet traffic into the slow lane, it prevents the building of a fast lane, and that there is little risk of telcos blocking competing services or content because of the principles in the FCC's August 2005 policy statement (the "four freedoms"). He concludes that
Not too long ago, I was very much on their side. "Imagine you make a phone call to a friend," I wrote then, "but instead of hearing it ring, you get a recording: We're sorry, but the person you are calling has not paid Verizon to carry his or her conversations.
But I was wrong.
I did what's easy to do: I blew things out of proportion and borrowed trouble. As I learn more, I realize that Net neutrality — at least the way it's being touted today — is a bad idea.
It pains me to say it, because many organizations I respect are fighting for a law. But I'm not.
The most a Net neutrality law should say is that A) network providers must carry any legal data regardless of the content or who it comes from, and B) network providers must offer the same services at the same prices to any customer — i.e., they couldn't charge YouTube more for a connection than they charge Disney.Hat tip to Richard Bennett's Original Blog.
More to the point, the ACLU is often right about the First Amendment's free exercise clause, taking on fights that others refuse. It might surprise some critics that the ACLU defends the free speech and free exercise rights of, well, Christians.The larger point of the article, however, is to condemn the mode of argument that characterizes those who disagree as irrational, dishonest, or evil simply in virtue of that disagreement:
I am more concerned about a habit of mind that seems to be growing among my fellow Christians, both political liberals and conservatives. That is, we seem to mimic the secular world's conflation of disagreement with wickedness, as if not sharing my worldview places my critic outside the realm of rational discourse...I've seen similar habits expressed by people on both sides of the net neutrality debate. For example, in Matt Stoller's presentation at the YearlyKos convention, he admits that he doesn't understand the relevant technical issues (and proceeds to demonstrate it by suggesting that "non-neutrality" will cause dropped calls, when in fact it's non-neutral QoS that will prevent them). He asserts that it is fun to beat up on "these bad people" and that it is very important that Mike McCurry be personally vilified. That's explicit endorsement of irrationality, of emotional demogoguery over fact and reason, and should be condemned by everyone in this debate.
But rational people, people who care about truth and accuracy, must fight this tendency. We must try and evaluate every claim using the same criteria. Does the evidence support it? Are the conclusions drawn from the evidence logical? Any claim that fails to meet those criteria should be rejected, regardless of whether it supports our agenda or not. Likewise, any claim that withstands that scrutiny should be accepted as valid, regardless of whether it supports our agenda or not. None of us will ever be Mr. Spock, but we should strive to evaluate all arguments as though we have no stake in the outcome. Some, like the STACLU crowd, make no attempt at all to do so; we should not emulate them.I agree.
It's high time to remove the FCC's ability to regulate content on the grounds that somebody might find it offensive--it has become increasingly irrelevant. (Actually, I think Peter Huber makes a strong case for doing away with the FCC completely.)
MEDIA PLATFORM / FIRST AMENDMENT STATUS
Newspapers = Full First Amendment protection
Magazine = Full First Amendment protection
Cable TV = Full First Amendment protection
Satellite TV = Full First Amendment protection
Movies = Full First Amendment protection
DVDs = Full First Amendment protection
CDs = Full First Amendment protection
Satellite Radio = Full First Amendment protection
Internet = Full First Amendment protection
Blogging = Full First Amendment protection
i-Pods = Full First Amendment protection
Podcasts = Full First Amendment protection
Video Games = Full First Amendment protection
… and then…
Broadcast TV & Radio = Second Class Citizenship Rights in Terms of the First Amendment
Under the original rules put in place in 1934, telecommunications companies can't give preferential treatment to one set of outgoing calls over another by, say, offering static-free calling to one company's telemarketers but not another's. The same rules initially applied to the Internet. Telecom companies couldn't charge website proprietors to have their content sent to consumers more expeditiously. But, last August, George W. Bush's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) exempted telecoms that provide Internet connections from these restrictions, dealing a blow to both entrepreneurship and political discourse.I've italicized the false statement. TNR has, like many others, wrongly inferred that rules which applied solely to telco telephony and last-mile networks have also applied to the Internet and Internet Service Providers, when in fact ISPs and backbone providers have been under no such constraints.
It contains the usual stock creationist crap presented at a rapid pace, full of the usual bald assertions of outright lies, intentional misinterpretations, and lots and lots of quote mining. Seriously, it looks like every paragraph contains multiple falsehoods or screwy manglings of science.(From Pharyngula.)
She claims Darwin's theory is "one step above Scientology in scientific rigor", that it is a "tautology", that there is "no proof in the scientist's laboratory or the fossil record", and the only reason it's still around is that "liberals think evolution disproves God."
That's all in the first paragraph of chapter 8, which focuses on evolution. Go ahead and follow the links up there; each one is to a short, simple refutation of Coulter's claim.
Now picture a whole 27 page chapter packed with the same nonsense. I could do a sentence by sentence dissection of this abomination, but I'd have to write nothing but Coulter exposés for the next month. Forgive me if I pass on that.
Not only is it wrong through and through, but Coulter is a plagiarist. This is the book that William Dembski thinks "will propel [their] issues in the public consciousness like nothing to date"—well, yeah. Let's propel the idea that creationists are dishonest and stupid right into everyone's consciousness.
As we’ve noted in previous posts, our critics like to call us an “astroturf” organization, which would imply that we’re hiding the identities of the companies and organizations that are among our members, only to turn around and slam us for not even being very good astroturfers because our website lists the companies and organizations that are among our members.
Well, you can’t be friends with everybody. But the accusations of astroturfing overlook the fact that there are some unique and persuasive individuals who oppose new “neutrality” legislation. One of them is Jim Lippard, a blogger in Phoenix who works in the telecom field, and has an impressive grasp of the facts.
It so happens that he recently defended our recent Flash animation from misleading attacks by the Save The Internet campaign:
In what follows, I’ll quote directly from the “Save the Internet” response (including the quotes from the “Hands Off” cartoon they are responding to) and then respond to each point.
The big telecom companies say: “Is the Internet in Danger? Does the Internet need saving? It keeps getting faster. We keep getting more choices.”The truth: Right now AT&T and others want to take away your choices and control what you can do and watch online. They’re on their best behavior while trying to convince Congress to hand over the Internet. But if their high-priced lobbyists get their way in Washington, the Internet as we know it will be gone. Network Neutrality has always curbed the control of the network owners, invited competition and encouraged innovators. It’s what made it possible for entrepreneurs and creative thinkers to prosper online. None of the big ideas that made the Internet the innovative engine it is today came from the cable or telephone companies.
Notice that there’s no evidence supplied to support the claim that “AT&T and others want to take away your choices and control what you can do and watch online.” What the telcos want to do is build new last-mile consumer services by installing a new fiber-to-the-home infrastructure, over which they can offer services in addition to and distinct from the public Internet, just as they currently offer voice telephony as a service separate and distinct from the public Internet.
Specifically, they want to offer digital television services and potentially new services which they control, following the model of the cable industry. The telcos’ real desire is to compete with the cable industry and be regulated in much the same way. They further want to be able to charge content providers to be able to provide services over this new fiber, because they know that consumer fees alone are not sufficient to recover their costs in rolling out this new infrastructure.
He goes point by point, and does an excellent job of bringing their spin to a halt.
And if you still haven’t seen the Flash animation being discussed, you can see it right here: dontregulate.org.
Posted by Jim Lippard at 6/14/2006 05:59:00 PM
This pseudo-fact is one I've repeatedly criticized network neutrality advocates for falsely asserting. The Free Press folks are the people managing the "Save the Internet" campaign.
PSEUDO-FACT #1: Network Neutrality protections have existed for the entire history of the Internet.
REAL FACT: Actually, there is no legal precedent at all for the anti-QoS provision of the Neutrality regulations, and many commercial Internet customers use QoS today. Even the Internet2 Abilene network tried to use it.
The Snowe-Dorgan and Markey Amendments contain a poison pill that will stifle the evolution of the Internet, in the form of a prohibition against a Quality of Service surcharge:
If a broadband network provider prioritizes or offers enhanced quality of service to data of a particular type, it must prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data of that type (regardless of the origin or ownership of such data) without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhanced quality of service.
The argument in favor of this provision says that it’s needed in order to prevent the formation of a two-tier Internet, where one tier has Quality of Service and the other doesn’t, and this is somehow bad for Daily Kos and Google.
This is a false claim, because the engineering math behind Quality of Service says it can’t be applied to every stream from every user. In Lake Woebegon all the children are above average, but on the Internet all the packets can’t be above average.
Another is his comment on tomorrow's Senate hearing where Ben Scott of the Free Press will be representing the "pro-regulation side of the neutrality debate" which he suggests is "a good choice" because he's "easily confused." In the same post, he reports on Matt Stoller's (of MyDD) presentation at the Yearly Kos event, in which Stoller "had to admit that he knows nothing about the issue of Telecom policy, which was interesting because the regulations he proposes don’t actually relate to telecom policy. They’re a new and unprecedented intervention into Internet routing and service plan regulation, a totally virgin territory for government regulators. Stoller admitted that it’s just a good guys vs. bad guys issue for him, one that’s lots of “fun”."Bennett asks, "So my question is this: “should the US Congress take advice on virgin regulatory territory from someone who admits to knowing nothing about the subject matter?”"
What do you think of the tone of the debate, and the appearance of pro-Net neutrality spokespeople like and Alyssa Milano?
Tauke: I think it's one of the stranger debates I've ever been involved in. It's almost like we're debating what is beauty and how do we define it and regulate it? The problem is that everyone has a different definition of Net neutrality. If you look at the four major companies that are supporting the Net neutrality arguments, there are three distinct definitions of what Net neutrality should mean.
The question becomes which way do you think the market will better develop? If government sets policy today that dictates how the market develops? We think it should develop in the free market space, and government regulation should come in when a problem becomes apparent.
He's right on the money here. Most net neutrality advocates don't even seem to know what they are advocating, let alone understand the current legal or technological structure of the Internet in the U.S. (or elsewhere). They just think the telcos are somehow trying to take control of the Internet, block their access to websites, redirect them to different sites than they request, and intentionally degrade their service to make things slow, and they need to be stopped.
Secure Carrier Infrastructure in the IP NetworkMore information about this event at the MassNetComms site.
When customers talk to the suppliers of network services, whether VoIP, or broadband, or wireless, their most important requirements are associated with network security. Breaches in network security impact reliability and availability, with devastating revenue and competitive consequences. Service providers who demonstrate cost-effective security at all layers of the network and applications will be able to differentiate their services in an increasingly competitive market. The need for security is creating more demand for outsourced managed services, and thus a business opportunity for the carrier. Are carriers recognizing that security is integral to the value proposition? As the major carriers continue to invest in infrastructure, how does the architecture support network security?
Posted by Jim Lippard at 6/12/2006 10:02:00 AM
Hat tip to Richard Bennett at the Original Blog.
I’ll say this loud and clear; QoS is a reordering of packets that is an essential part of network traffic engineering. Take the following example where A represents VoIP packets and b represents webpage packets.
No enhanced QoS policy
With enhanced QoS policy
Now note that there are only 5 A packets in the entire stream for either scenario and you still get the exact same throughput for the b packets with or without prioritization for the VoIP A packets. The difference is that the A packets are now a lot more uniform which makes sound quality go up and the webpage b packets don’t really care about uniformity since all they care is that they get there at all intact. With this QoS example, you can improve VoIP without affecting the average throughput of web surfing. More precisely, QoS has ZERO throughput effect on non-prioritized when there is zero congestion on the pipe. If it had been a congested network, then QoS will have minimal effect on non-prioritized traffic.