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Category Archives: Internet

EFF Explains Research on How Internet Users Were Caught in Traffic Slowdown

EFF – “Almost any time you access the Internet, your computer transmits and receives data that travels across not only your own Internet provider’s network, but also the networks of Internet backbone providers and other ISPs before reaching its final destination. This is what puts the “inter” in the “Internet”: independent networks connected together physically at interconnection points. But this same feature that makes the Internet so powerful can also be a weakness. If the interconnection between two networks doesn’t have the capacity to handle the traffic being sent across it, then that interconnection can become a point of congestion, leading to slower speeds and dropped packets. A report released earlier this week published by M-Lab, a research consortium focused on measuring global Internet performance, studied this problem. They were curious how interconnection affected US Internet users’ connection quality, and how particular interconnections between “access” ISPs (e.g. Comcast, Verizon, Cox, Time-Warner Cable, etc.) and “transit” ISPs (Internet providers that connect between access ISPs and websites or other Internet services) were performing. Sadly, the results were not encouraging. M-Lab’s data showed that the interconnections between certain access ISPs and transit ISPs were subject to consistent congestion, causing customers to experience sub-broadband speeds, more latency, and more dropped packets. In particular, for a period of nine months from May 2013 to February 2014, customers of Time-Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and CenturyLink all experienced degraded connections to the transit ISP Cogent. For those following the net neutrality debate, this should be no surprise. It was during this period that transit ISPs like Cogent and Level 3 accused access ISPs like Verizon and Comcast of refusing to upgrade their interconnections to handle the increased traffic load, unless transit ISPs agreed to pay substantial fees above and beyond the cost of upgrading the interconnection infrastructure. In return, the access ISPs claimed that transit ISPs were at fault for trying to send so much traffic (primarily Netflix video) onto their networks. While much of the congestion subsided once Netflix acceded to the access ISPs’ demands and paid up, the fact remains that for nine months, ISPs did not deliver the speeds they promised to many of their customers.”

Another Facebook Experiment on Users is Revealed to Focus on Voting

Micah L. Sifry – Mother Jones: “On Election Day, political campaigns, candidates, consultants, and pollsters pay close attention to who votes and why—and so does Facebook. For the past six years, on every national Election Day, the social-networking behemoth has pushed out a tool—a high-profile button that proclaims “I’m Voting” or “I’m a Voter”—designed toContinue Reading

Cost of Connectivity 2014

Open Technology Institute: “The Cost of Connectivity is an annual report that examines the cost and speed of broadband Internet access in 24 cities in the United States (U.S.) and abroad. Overall, the data that we have collected in the past three years demonstrates that the majority of U.S. cities surveyed lag behind their internationalContinue Reading

Guide to Cyber Threat 6 Information Sharing (Draft) – NIST

NIST Special Publication 800-150 (Draft) Guide to Cyber Threat Information Sharing (Draft). Chris Johnson, Lee Badger, David Waltermire – Computer Security Division – Information Technology Laboratory, October 2014: “In today’s active threat environment, incident detection and response is an ongoing challenge for many organizations. This publication assists organizations in establishing computer security incident response capabilities that leverage the collective knowledge, experience, and abilities ofContinue Reading

The False Promise of Anonymity – CDT

Sarah St.Vincent and Alex Bradshaw: “In recent weeks, multiple apps promising “secret” messaging have had sensitive data exposed by breaches and the apps’ not-so-secret data-sharing practices. This news makes one thing clear: the term “anonymity,” as used by apps that ostensibly enable individuals to post updates anonymously, often promises too much. Many applications promising anonymityContinue Reading

Pew Report – Cyber Attacks Likely to Increase

Cyber Attacks Likely to Increase BY LEE RAINIE, JANNA ANDERSON AND JENNIFER CONNOLLY “The Internet has become so integral to economic and national life that government, business, and individual users are targets for ever-more frequent and threatening attacks. In the 10 years since the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center first asked expertsContinue Reading

California Data Breach Report

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, California Department of Justice, October 2014 “California is the birthplace of the digital revolution that has transformed nearly every aspect of the world in which we live. Yet even as technological innovation and advances bring us greater convenience, efficiency, and productivity, they are also generating new vulnerabilities. The Internet has created aContinue Reading

Victims of Online Harassment Describe Their Experiences

Pew – Online Harassment – 73% of adult internet users have seen someone be harassed in some way online and 40% have personally experienced it. Interactive: Personal Experiences of Online Harassment

FTC Says AT&T Has Misled Millions of Consumers with ‘Unlimited’ Data Promises

News release: “The Federal Trade Commission filed a federal court complaint against AT&T Mobility, LLC, charging that the company has misled millions of its smartphone customers by charging them for “unlimited” data plans while reducing their data speeds, in some cases by nearly 90 percent. The FTC’s complaint alleges that the company failed to adequately discloseContinue Reading

FOIA request reveals extensive government monitoring of US mail

New York Times: “In a rare public accounting of its mass surveillance program, the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies and its own internal inspection unit to secretly monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations. The number of requests, containedContinue Reading

Communications carriers using browser codes to monetize customer site visits

Forbes – Kashmir Hill: “The generally accepted trade-off on the Internet is that you give up your privacy to get free stuff. It’s summed up by a frequently repeated adage, “If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product.” But sometimes you’re paying for it, and you’re still the product. Verizon and AT&T customers are paying anContinue Reading

JPMorgan Data Breach Involves Information on 76 Million Households

JPMorgan Data Breach Involves Information on 76 Million Households, 7 Million Small Businesses, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 23, 2014 “JPMorgan did not provide individual customers with notice of the breach because it believed that it had no obligation to do so because no “sensitive customer information” was involved in the data breach. This means thatContinue Reading