One of the last acts of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak's tyranny before he abdicated his 30-year reign was to pull the plug on the nation's entire Internet in a failed attempt to stop youthful protests from being electronically organized. "In a span of minutes just after midnight on Jan. 28, a technologically advanced, densely wired country with more than 20 million people online was essentially severed from the global Internet," the New York Times reported February 16.
With Valentine’s Day just around and corner, finding that right gift that says “I love you” is not always so easy. For those looking to break with the traditional flowers and chocolate routine in favor of something a little savvier and more high-tech, Apple might just have the right gift — the new highly anticipated iPad 2.
A loosely affiliated network of hackers around the world known as “Anonymous” took credit for shutting down the Egyptian regime’s websites in support of anti-government protestors. The group is also targeting other tyrants in the region.
Nothing says 21st century technology like … a blimp.
According to a story published by wired.com this fall, the Pentagon plans to deploy a “giant spy blimp” floating 20,000 feet above the ground that will house a supercomputer capable of monitoring the flow of all data and communication for miles around.
If the President Obama’s plans for the Internet are implemented by the federal government, Internet anonymity may soon be a thing of the past. The whole project has been given the typically massaged moniker of “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” (NSTIC). The development of the strategy is not a sudden, recent development. (In fact, a June 2010 draft of the proposed strategy is available here from the Department of Homeland Security.) But comments last week by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke appear to indicate that the administration may be preparing to implement NSTIC.
Telecommunications and Internet companies are increasingly finding themselves in uncomfortable positions, caught between privacy laws that protect their consumers and law enforcement efforts that necessitate privacy invasion. As Internet and telecommunications services grow in popularity, law enforcement agencies have utilized them as a means to find information about individuals that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.
Big Brother may potentially be armed with yet another tool against the American populace, according to the New York Times: computers that can see and report on the behaviors of individuals. The computers may be used in prisons to analyze inmates' behavior and can alert corrections officers to potential incidents based on what the computer observes.
The United Nations and some of its most oppressive member states are clamoring for global regulation of the Internet, including possible censorship. Toward that end, the UN is working to set up an “intergovernmental task force” to figure out how to better control the web at the international level and how to “harmonize” policing of Internet content.