industryterm:telecommunications

  • Chinese Surveillance Complex Advancing in Latin America

    In February, 2019, in a story that went almost unnoticed in Washington, the small South American nation of #Uruguay began installing the first of 2,100 surveillance cameras, donated by the People’s Republic of China to improve control of its borders with neighboring Argentina and Brazil.

    The move highlights the significant deepening of the Uruguay-PRC relationship over the last decade, including their establishment of a “Strategic Partnership” in October 2016, and the signing of a memorandum of understanding in August 2018 for Uruguay to join China’s Belt and Road initiative (despite being about as far from the PRC as is geographically possible).

    Beyond Uruguay, the development also highlights a little-discussed but important dimension of China’s advance: its expanding global sales of surveillance and control technologies. Although the press and U.S. political leadership have given significant attention to the risks of employing Chinese telecommunications companies such as Huawei the equally serious but newer issue of expanding sales of Chinese surveillance systems has been less discussed.

    The installation of Chinese surveillance systems, acquired through PRC government donations or commercial contracts, is a growing phenomenon in Latin America and elsewhere.

    Such systems began to appear in the region more than a decade ago, including in 2007, when then mayor of Mexico City (now Mexican Foreign Minister) Miguel Ebrard returned from a trip to the PRC with a deal to install thousands of Chinese cameras to combat crime in the Mexican capital. More recent examples include ECU-911 in Ecuador, a China-built national system of surveillance and communication initially agreed to by the administration of anti-U.S. populist president Rafael Correa. The system, which has expanded to currently include 4,300 cameras and a command center manned by thousands of Ecuadorans, has been built almost completely from Chinese equipment, designed for a range of otherwise noble purposes from emergency response and combatting crime, to monitoring volcanoes. Bolivia boasts a similar Chinese built system, albeit more limited in scope, BOL-110, in addition to hundreds of surveillance cameras donated by the PRC to at least four of Bolivia’s principal cities.

    In Panama, which abandoned Taiwan to establish relations with the PRC in 2017, the government of Juan Carlos Varela has agreed to allow Huawei to install a system of cameras in the crime-ridden city of Colon and the associated free trade zone. Not by coincidence, in July 2019, Hikivision, China’s largest producer of surveillance cameras, announced plans to set up a major distribution center in Colon to support sales of its products throughout the Americas.

    In northern Argentina, near where the Chinese are developing a lithium mining operation and constructing the hemisphere’s largest array of photovoltaic cells for electricity generation, the Chinese company ZTE is installing another “911” style emergency response system with 1,200 cameras.

    In Venezuela, although not a surveillance system per se, the Chinese company ZTE has helped the regime of Nicholas Maduro implement a “fatherland identity card” linking different kinds of data on individuals through an identity card which allows the state to confer privileges (such as rationing food) as a tool for social control.

    As with sectors such as computers and telecommunications, the PRC arguably wishes to support the global export of such systems by its companies to advance technologies it recognizes as strategic for the Chinese nation, per its own official policy documents such as Made In China 2025.

    The risks arising from spreading use of Chinese surveillance equipment and architectures are multiple and significant, involving: (1) the sensitivity of the data collected on specific persons and activities, particularly when processed through technologies such as facial recognition, integrated with other data, and analyzed through artificial intelligence (AI) and other sophisticated algorithms, (2) the potential ability to surreptitiously obtain access to that data, not only through the collection devices, but at any number of points as it is communicated, stored, and analyzed, and (3) the long-term potential for such systems to contribute to the sustainment of authoritarian regimes (such as those in Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and formerly Ecuador) whose corrupt elites provide strategic access and commercial benefits to the Chinese state.

    The risk posed by such Chinese architectures is underestimated by simply focusing on the cameras and sensors themselves.

    Facial and other recognition technologies, and the ability to integrate data from different sensors and other sources such as smartphones enables those with access to the technology to follow the movement of individual human beings and events, with frightening implications. It includes the ability to potentially track key political and business elites, dissidents, or other persons of interest, flagging possible meetings between two or more, and the associated implications involving political or business meetings and the events that they may produce. Flows of goods or other activities around government buildings, factories, or other sites of interest may provide other types of information for political or commercial advantage, from winning bids to blackmailing compromised persons.

    While some may take assurance that the cameras and other components are safely guarded by benevolent governments or companies, the dispersed nature of the architectures, passing information, instructions, and analysis across great distances, means that the greatest risk is not physical access to the cameras, but the diversion of information throughout the process, particularly by those who built the components, databases and communication systems, and by those who wrote the algorithms (increasingly Chinese across the board).

    With respect to the political impact of such systems, while democratic governments may install them for noble purposes such as crimefighting and emergency response, and with limitations that respect individual privacy, authoritarian regimes who contract the Chinese for such technologies are not so limited, and have every incentive to use the technology to combat dissent and sustain themselves in power.

    The PRC, which continues to perfect it against its own population in places like Xinjiang (against the Uighur Muslims there), not only benefits commercially from selling the technology, but also benefits when allied dictatorships provide a testing ground for product development, and by using it to combat the opposition, keeping friends like Maduro in power, continuing to deliver the goods and access to Beijing.

    As with the debate over Huawei, whether or not Chinese companies are currently exploiting the surveillance and control systems they are deploying across Latin America to benefit the Chinese state, Chinese law (under which they operate) requires them to do so, if the PRC government so demands.

    The PRC record of systematic espionage, forced technology transfer, and other bad behavior should leave no one in Latin America comfortable that the PRC will not, at some point in the future, exploit such an enormous opportunity.

    https://www.newsmax.com/evanellis/china-surveillance-latin-america-cameras/2019/04/12/id/911484

    #Amérique_latine #Chine #surveillance #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Argentine #Brésil
    ping @reka

  • China Restarts Purchases of Iranian Oil, Bucking Trump’s Sanctions — Bourse & Bazaar
    https://www.bourseandbazaar.com/articles/2019/5/17/china-restarts-purchases-of-iranian-oil-bucking-trumps-sanctions

    PACIFIC BRAVO is currently reporting its destination as Indonesia, but the tanker was recently acquired by Bank of Kunlun, a financial institution that is owned by the Chinese state oil company CNPC. TankerTrackers.com believes China is the ultimate destination for the oil on board.

    PACIFIC BRAVO is the first major tanker to load Iranian crude after the Trump administration revoked waivers permitting the purchases by eight of Iran’s oil customers. The revocation of the waivers, which sent shockwaves through the global oil market, was a major escalation of Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran.

    The purchase of Iranian oil in the absence of a waiver exposes the companies involved in the transaction—including the tanker operator, refinery customer, and bank—to possible designation by the U.S. Treasury Department, threatening the links these companies may maintain with the U.S. financial system.

    Bank of Kunlun has long been the financial institution at heart of China-Iran bilateral trade—a role for which the company was sanctioned during the Obama administration. Despite already being designated, Bank of Kunlun ceased its Iran-related activities in early May when the oil waivers were revoked. PACIFIC BRAVO’s moves point to a change in policy.

    China-Iran trade slowed dramatically after the reimposition of U.S. secondary sanctions in November, suggesting the Chinese government had chosen to subordinate its economic relations with Iran to the much more important issue of its ongoing trade negotiations with the United States. But these negotiations have since broken down. This week, President Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on a further $300 billion in Chinese imports in addition to punitive measures against Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which has been targeted in part for its alleged violations of Iran sanctions.

    #iran #chine #pétrole #sanctions

  • Record High #Remittances Sent Globally in #2018

    Remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached a record high in 2018, according to the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief.

    The Bank estimates that officially recorded annual remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries reached $529 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.6 percent over the previous record high of $483 billion in 2017. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, reached $689 billion in 2018, up from $633 billion in 2017.

    Regionally, growth in remittance inflows ranged from almost 7 percent in East Asia and the Pacific to 12 percent in South Asia. The overall increase was driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and a rebound in outward flows from some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation. Excluding China, remittances to low- and middle-income countries ($462 billion) were significantly larger than foreign direct investment flows in 2018 ($344 billion).

    Among countries, the top remittance recipients were India with $79 billion, followed by China ($67 billion), Mexico ($36 billion), the Philippines ($34 billion), and Egypt ($29 billion).

    In 2019, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries are expected to reach $550 billion, to become their largest source of external financing.

    The global average cost of sending $200 remained high, at around 7 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the World Bank’s Remittance Prices Worldwide database. Reducing remittance costs to 3 percent by 2030 is a global target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10.7. Remittance costs across many African corridors and small islands in the Pacific remain above 10 percent.

    Banks were the most expensive remittance channels, charging an average fee of 11 percent in the first quarter of 2019. Post offices were the next most expensive, at over 7 percent. Remittance fees tend to include a premium where national post offices have an exclusive partnership with a money transfer operator. This premium was on average 1.5 percent worldwide and as high as 4 percent in some countries in the last quarter of 2018.

    On ways to lower remittance costs, Dilip Ratha, lead author of the Brief and head of KNOMAD, said, “Remittances are on track to become the largest source of external financing in developing countries. The high costs of money transfers reduce the benefits of migration. Renegotiating exclusive partnerships and letting new players operate through national post offices, banks, and telecommunications companies will increase competition and lower remittance prices.”

    The Brief notes that banks’ ongoing de-risking practices, which have involved the closure of the bank accounts of some remittance service providers, are driving up remittance costs.

    The Brief also reports progress toward the SDG target of reducing the recruitment costs paid by migrant workers, which tend to be high, especially for lower-skilled migrants.

    “Millions of low-skilled migrant workers are vulnerable to recruitment malpractices, including exorbitant recruitment costs. We need to boost efforts to create jobs in developing countries and to monitor and reduce recruitment costs paid by these workers,” said Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank. The World Bank and the International Labour Organization are collaborating to develop indicators for worker-paid recruitment costs, to support the SDG of promoting safe, orderly, and regular migration.

    Regional Remittance Trends

    Remittances to the East Asia and Pacific region grew almost 7 percent to $143 billion in 2018, faster than the 5 percent growth in 2017. Remittances to the Philippines rose to $34 billion, but growth in remittances was slower due to a drop in private transfers from the GCC countries. Flows to Indonesia increased by 25 percent in 2018, after a muted performance in 2017.

    After posting 22 percent growth in 2017, remittances to Europe and Central Asia grew an estimated 11 percent to $59 billion in 2018. Continued growth in economic activity increased outbound remittances from Poland, Russia, Spain, and the United States, major sources of remittances to the region. Smaller remittance-dependent countries in the region, such as the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, benefited from the sustained rebound of economic activity in Russia. Ukraine, the region’s largest remittance recipient, received a new record of more than $14 billion in 2018, up about 19 percent over 2017. This surge in Ukraine also reflects a revised methodology for estimating incoming remittances, as well as growth in neighboring countries’ demand for migrant workers.

    Remittances flows into Latin America and the Caribbean grew 10 percent to $88 billion in 2018, supported by the strong U.S. economy. Mexico continued to receive the most remittances in the region, posting about $36 billion in 2018, up 11 percent over the previous year. Colombia and Ecuador, which have migrants in Spain, posted 16 percent and 8 percent growth, respectively. Three other countries in the region posted double-digit growth: Guatemala (13 percent) as well as Dominican Republic and Honduras (both 10 percent), reflecting robust outbound remittances from the United States.

    Remittances to the Middle East and North Africa grew 9 percent to $62 billion in 2018. The growth was driven by Egypt’s rapid remittance growth of around 17 percent. Beyond 2018, the growth of remittances to the region is expected to continue, albeit at a slower pace of around 3 percent in 2019 due to moderating growth in the Euro Area.

    Remittances to South Asia grew 12 percent to $131 billion in 2018, outpacing the 6 percent growth in 2017. The upsurge was driven by stronger economic conditions in the United States and a pick-up in oil prices, which had a positive impact on outward remittances from some GCC countries. Remittances grew by more than 14 percent in India, where a flooding disaster in Kerala likely boosted the financial help that migrants sent to families. In Pakistan, remittance growth was moderate (7 percent), due to significant declines in inflows from Saudi Arabia, its largest remittance source. In Bangladesh, remittances showed a brisk uptick in 2018 (15 percent).

    Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew almost 10 percent to $46 billion in 2018, supported by strong economic conditions in high-income economies. Looking at remittances as a share of GDP, Comoros has the largest share, followed by the Gambia , Lesotho, Cabo Verde, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Togo, Ghana, and Nigeria.

    The Migration and Development Brief and the latest migration and remittances data are available at www.knomad.org. Interact with migration experts at http://blogs.worldbank.org/peoplemove

    http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2019/04/08/record-high-remittances-sent-globally-in-2018?cid=ECR_TT_worldbank_EN_EXT
    #remittances #statistiques #chiffres #migrations #diaspora

    #Rapport ici :


    https://www.knomad.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/MigrationandDevelopmentBrief_31_0.pdf

    ping @reka

    • Immigrati, boom di rimesse: più di 6 miliardi all’estero. Lo strano caso dei cinesi «spariti»

      Bangladesh, Romania, Filippine: ecco il podio delle rimesse degli immigrati che vivono e lavorano in Italia. Il trend è in forte aumento: nel 2018 sono stati inviati all’estero 6,2 miliardi di euro, con una crescita annua del 20, 7 per cento.
      A registrarlo è uno studio della Fondazione Leone Moressa su dati Banca d’Italia, dopo il crollo del 2013 e alcuni anni di sostanziale stabilizzazione, oggi il volume di rimesse rappresenta lo 0,35% del Pil.

      Il primato del Bangladesh
      Per la prima volta, nel 2018 il Bangladesh è il primo Paese di destinazione delle rimesse, con oltre 730 milioni di euro complessivi (11,8% delle rimesse totali).
      Il Bangladesh nell’ultimo anno ha registrato un +35,7%, mentre negli ultimi sei anni ha più che triplicato il volume.

      Il secondo Paese di destinazione è la Romania, con un andamento stabile: +0,3% nell’ultimo anno e -14,3% negli ultimi sei.
      Da notare come tra i primi sei Paesi ben quattro siano asiatici: oltre al Bangladesh, anche Filippine, Pakistan e India. Proprio i Paesi dell’Asia meridionale sono quelli che negli ultimi anni hanno registrato il maggiore incremento di rimesse inviate. Il Pakistan ha registrato un aumento del +73,9% nell’ultimo anno. Anche India e Sri Lanka sono in forte espansione.

      Praticamente scomparsa la Cina, che fino a pochi anni fa rappresentava il primo Paese di destinazione e oggi non è nemmeno tra i primi 15 Paesi per destinazione delle rimesse.
      Mediamente, ciascun immigrato in Italia ha inviato in patria poco più di 1.200 euro nel corso del 2018 (circa 100 euro al mese). Valore che scende sotto la media per le due nazionalità più numerose: Romania (50,29 euro mensili) e Marocco (66,14 euro). Tra le comunità più numerose il valore più alto è quello del Bangladesh: ciascun cittadino ha inviato oltre 460 euro al mese. Anche i senegalesi hanno inviato mediamente oltre 300 euro mensili.

      https://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/notizie/2019-04-17/immigrati-boom-rimesse-piu-6-miliardi-all-estero-strano-caso-cinesi-spa
      #Italie #Chine #Bangladesh #Roumanie #Philippines

  • The Knesset candidate who says Zionism encourages anti-Semitism and calls Netanyahu ’arch-murderer’ - Israel Election 2019 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium.MAGAZINE-knesset-candidate-netanyahu-is-an-arch-murderer-zionism-e

    Few Israelis have heard of Dr. Ofer Cassif, the Jewish representative on the far-leftist Hadash party’s Knesset slate. On April 9, that will change
    By Ravit Hecht Feb 16, 2019

    Ofer Cassif is fire and brimstone. Not even the flu he’s suffering from today can contain his bursting energy. His words are blazing, and he bounds through his modest apartment, searching frenetically for books by Karl Marx and Primo Levi in order to find quotations to back up his ideas. Only occasional sips from a cup of maté bring his impassioned delivery to a momentary halt. The South American drink is meant to help fight his illness, he explains.

    Cassif is third on the slate of Knesset candidates in Hadash (the Hebrew acronym for the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), the successor to Israel’s Communist Party. He holds the party’s “Jewish slot,” replacing MK Dov Khenin. Cassif is likely to draw fire from opponents and be a conspicuous figure in the next Knesset, following the April 9 election.

    Indeed, the assault on him began as soon as he was selected by the party’s convention. The media pursued him; a columnist in the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Ben-Dror Yemini, called for him to be disqualified from running for the Knesset. It would be naive to say that this was unexpected. Cassif, who was one of the first Israeli soldiers to refuse to serve in the territories, in 1987, gained fame thanks to a number of provocative statements. The best known is his branding of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked as “neo-Nazi scum.” On another occasion, he characterized Jews who visit the Temple Mount as “cancer with metastases that have to be eradicated.”

    On his alternate Facebook page, launched after repeated blockages of his original account by a blitz of posts from right-wing activists, he asserted that Culture Minister Miri Regev is “repulsive gutter contamination,” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an “arch-murderer” and that the new Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, is a “war criminal.”

    Do you regret making those remarks?

    Cassif: “‘Regret’ is a word of emotion. Those statements were made against a background of particular events: the fence in Gaza, horrible legislation, and the wild antics of Im Tirtzu [an ultranationalist organization] on campus. That’s what I had to say at the time. I didn’t count on being in the Knesset. That wasn’t part of my plan. But it’s clear to me that as a public personality, I would not have made those comments.”

    Is Netanyahu an arch-murderer?

    “Yes. I wrote it in the specific context of a particular day in the Gaza Strip. A massacre of innocent people was perpetrated there, and no one’s going to persuade me that those people were endangering anyone. It’s a concentration camp. Not a ‘concentration camp’ in the sense of Bergen-Belsen; I am absolutely not comparing the Holocaust to what’s happening.”

    You term what Israel is doing to the Palestinians “genocide.”

    “I call it ‘creeping genocide.’ Genocide is not only a matter of taking people to gas chambers. When Yeshayahu Leibowitz used the term ‘Judeo-Nazis,’ people asked him, ‘How can you say that? Are we about to build gas chambers?’ To that, he had two things to say. First, if the whole difference between us and the Nazis boils down to the fact that we’re not building gas chambers, we’re already in trouble. And second, maybe we won’t use gas chambers, but the mentality that exists today in Israel – and he said this 40 years ago – would allow it. I’m afraid that today, after four years of such an extreme government, it possesses even greater legitimacy.

    “But you know what, put aside ‘genocide’ – ethnic cleansing is taking place there. And that ethnic cleansing is also being carried out by means of killing, although mainly by way of humiliation and of making life intolerable. The trampling of human dignity. It reminds me of Primo Levi’s ‘If This Is a Man.’”

    You say you’re not comparing, but you repeatedly come back to Holocaust references. On Facebook, you also uploaded the scene from “Schindler’s List” in which the SS commander Amon Goeth picks off Jews with his rifle from the balcony of his quarters in the camp. You compared that to what was taking place along the border fence in the Gaza Strip.

    “Today, I would find different comparisons. In the past I wrote an article titled, ‘On Holocaust and on Other Crimes.’ It’s online [in Hebrew]. I wrote there that anyone who compares Israel to the Holocaust is cheapening the Holocaust. My comparison between here and what happened in the early 1930s [in Germany] is a very different matter.”

    Clarity vs. crudity

    Given Cassif’s style, not everyone in Hadash was happy with his election, particularly when it comes to the Jewish members of the predominantly Arab party. Dov Khenin, for example, declined to be interviewed and say what he thinks of his parliamentary successor. According to a veteran party figure, “From the conversations I had, it turns out that almost none of the Jewish delegates – who make up about 100 of the party’s 940 delegates – supported his candidacy.

    “He is perceived, and rightly so,” the party veteran continues, “as someone who closes doors to Hadash activity within Israeli society. Each of the other Jewish candidates presented a record of action and of struggles they spearheaded. What does he do? Curses right-wing politicians on Facebook. Why did the party leadership throw the full force of its weight behind him? In a continuation of the [trend exemplified by] its becoming part of the Joint List, Ofer’s election reflects insularity and an ongoing retreat from the historical goal of implementing change in Israeli society.”

    At the same time, as his selection by a 60 percent majority shows, many in the party believe that it’s time to change course. “Israeli society is moving rightward, and what’s perceived as Dov’s [Khenin] more gentle style didn’t generate any great breakthrough on the Jewish street,” a senior source in Hadash notes.

    “It’s not a question of the tension between extremism and moderation, but of how to signpost an alternative that will develop over time. Clarity, which is sometimes called crudity, never interfered with cooperation between Arabs and Jews. On the contrary. Ofer says things that we all agreed with but didn’t so much say, and of course that’s going to rile the right wing. And a good thing, too.”

    Hadash chairman MK Ayman Odeh also says he’s pleased with the choice, though sources in the party claim that Odeh is apprehensive about Cassif’s style and that he actually supported a different candidate. “Dov went for the widest possible alliances in order to wield influence,” says Odeh. “Ofer will go for very sharp positions at the expense of the breadth of the alliance. But his sharp statements could have a large impact.”

    Khenin was deeply esteemed by everyone. When he ran for mayor of Tel Aviv in 2008, some 35 percent of the electorate voted for him, because he was able to touch people who weren’t only from his political milieu.

    Odeh: “No one has a higher regard for Dov than I do. But just to remind you, we are not a regular opposition, we are beyond the pale. And there are all kinds of styles. Influence can be wielded through comments that are vexatious the first time but which people get used to the second time. When an Arab speaks about the Nakba and about the massacre in Kafr Kassem [an Israeli Arab village, in 1956], it will be taken in a particular way, but when uttered by a Jew it takes on special importance.”

    He will be the cause of many attacks on the party.

    “Ahlan wa sahlan – welcome.”

    Cassif will be the first to tell you that, with all due respect for the approach pursued by Khenin and by his predecessor in the Jewish slot, Tamar Gozansky, he will be something completely different. “I totally admire what Tamar and Dov did – nothing less than that,” he says, while adding, “But my agenda will be different. The three immediate dangers to Israeli society are the occupation, racism and the diminishment of the democratic space to the point of liquidation. That’s the agenda that has to be the hub of the struggle, as long as Israel rules over millions of people who have no rights, enters [people’s houses] in the middle of the night, arrests minors on a daily basis and shoots people in the back.

    "Israel commits murder on a daily basis. When you murder one Palestinian, you’re called Elor Azaria [the IDF soldier convicted and jailed for killing an incapacitated Palestinian assailant]; when you murder and oppress thousands of Palestinians, you’re called the State of Israel.”

    So you plan to be the provocateur in the next Knesset?

    “It’s not my intention to be a provocateur, to stand there and scream and revile people. Even on Facebook I was compelled to stop that. But I definitely intend to challenge the dialogue in terms of the content, and mainly with a type of sarcasm.”

    ’Bags of blood’

    Cassif, 54, who holds a doctorate in political philosophy from the London School of Economics, teaches political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Sapir Academic College in Sderot and at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo. He lives in Rehovot, is married and is the father of a 19-year-old son. He’s been active in Hadash for three decades and has held a number of posts in the party.

    As a lecturer, he stands out for his boldness and fierce rhetoric, which draws students of all stripes. He even hangs out with some of his Haredi students, one of whom wrote a post on the eve of the Hadash primary urging the delegates to choose him. After his election, a student from a settlement in the territories wrote to him, “You are a determined and industrious person, and for that I hold you in high regard. Hoping we will meet on the field of action and growth for the success of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state (I felt obliged to add a small touch of irony in conclusion).”

    Cassif grew up in a home that supported Mapai, forerunner of Labor, in Rishon Letzion. He was an only child; his father was an accountant, his mother held a variety of jobs. He was a news hound from an early age, and at 12 ran for the student council in school. He veered sharply to the left in his teens, becoming a keen follower of Marx and socialism.

    Following military service in the IDF’s Nahal brigade and a period in the airborne Nahal, Cassif entered the Hebrew University. There his political career moved one step forward, and there he also forsook the Zionist left permanently. His first position was as a parliamentary aide to the secretary general of the Communist Party, Meir Wilner.

    “At first I was closer to Mapam [the United Workers Party, which was Zionist], and then I refused to serve in the territories. I was the first refusenik in the first intifada to be jailed. I didn’t get support from Mapam, I got support from the people of Hadash, and I drew close to them. I was later jailed three more times for refusing to serve in the territories.”

    His rivals in the student organizations at the Hebrew University remember him as the epitome of the extreme left.

    “Even in the Arab-Jewish student association, Cassif was considered off-the-wall,” says Motti Ohana, who was chairman of Likud’s student association and active in the Student Union at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s. “One time I got into a brawl with him. It was during the first intifada, when he brought two bags of blood, emptied them out in the university’s corridors and declared, ‘There is no difference between Jewish and Arab blood,’ likening Israeli soldiers to terrorists. The custom on campus was that we would quarrel, left-right, Arabs-Jews, and after that we would sit together, have a coffee and talk. But not Cassif.”

    According to Ohana, today a member of the Likud central committee, the right-wing activists knew that, “You could count on Ofer to fall into every trap. There was one event at the Hebrew University that was a kind of political Hyde Park. The right wanted to boot the left out of there, so we hung up the flag. It was obvious that Ofer would react, and in fact he tore the flag, and in the wake of the ruckus that developed, political activity was stopped for good.”

    Replacing the anthem

    Cassif voices clearly and cogently positions that challenge the public discourse in Israel, and does so with ardor and charisma. Four candidates vied for Hadash’s Jewish slot, and they all delivered speeches at the convention. The three candidates who lost to him – Efraim Davidi, Yaela Raanan and the head of the party’s Tel Aviv branch, Noa Levy – described their activity and their guiding principles. When they spoke, there was the regular buzz of an audience that’s waiting for lunch. But when Cassif took the stage, the effect was magnetic.

    “Peace will not be established without a correction of the crimes of the Nakba and [recognition of] the right of return,” he shouted, and the crowd cheered him. As one senior party figure put it, “Efraim talked about workers’ rights, Yaela about the Negev, Noa about activity in Tel Aviv – and Ofer was Ofer.”

    What do you mean by “right of return”?

    Cassif: “The first thing is the actual recognition of the Nakba and of the wrong done by Israel. Compare it to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa, if you like, or with the commissions in Chile after Pinochet. Israel must recognize the wrong it committed. Now, recognition of the wrong also includes recognition of the right of return. The question is how it’s implemented. It has to be done by agreement. I can’t say that tomorrow Tel Aviv University has to be dismantled and that Sheikh Munis [the Arab village on whose ruins the university stands] has to be rebuilt there. The possibility can be examined of giving compensation in place of return, for example.”

    But what is the just solution, in your opinion?

    “For the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.”

    That means there will be Jews who will have to leave their home.

    “In some places, unequivocally, yes. People will have to be told: ‘You must evacuate your places.’ The classic example is Ikrit and Biram [Christian-Arab villages in Galilee whose residents were promised – untruly – by the Israeli authorities in 1948 that they would be able to return, and whose lands were turned over to Jewish communities]. But there are places where there is certainly greater difficulty. You don’t right one wrong with another.”

    What about the public space in Israel? What should it look like?

    “The public space has to change, to belong to all the state’s residents. I dispute the conception of ‘Jewish publicness.’”

    How should that be realized?

    “For example, by changing the national symbols, changing the national anthem. [Former Hadash MK] Mohammed Barakeh once suggested ‘I Believe’ [‘Sahki, Sahki’] by [Shaul] Tchernichovsky – a poem that is not exactly an expression of Palestinian nationalism. He chose it because of the line, ‘For in mankind I’ll believe.’ What does it mean to believe in mankind? It’s not a Jew, or a Palestinian, or a Frenchman, or I don’t know what.”

    What’s the difference between you and the [Arab] Balad party? Both parties overall want two states – a state “of all its citizens” and a Palestinian state.

    “In the big picture, yes. But Balad puts identity first on the agenda. We are not nationalists. We do not espouse nationalism as a supreme value. For us, self-determination is a means. We are engaged in class politics. By the way, Balad [the National Democratic Assembly] and Ta’al [MK Ahmad Tibi’s Arab Movement for Renewal] took the idea of a state of all its citizens from us, from Hadash. We’ve been talking about it for ages.”

    If you were a Palestinian, what would you do today?

    “In Israel, what my Palestinian friends are doing, and I with them – [wage] a parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggle.”

    And what about the Palestinians in the territories?

    “We have always been against harming innocent civilians. Always. In all our demonstrations, one of our leading slogans was: ‘In Gaza and in Sderot, children want to live.’ With all my criticism of the settlers, to enter a house and slaughter children, as in the case of the Fogel family [who were murdered in their beds in the settlement of Itamar in 2011], is intolerable. You have to be a human being and reject that.”

    And attacks on soldiers?

    “An attack on soldiers is not terrorism. Even Netanyahu, in his book about terrorism, explicitly categorizes attacks on soldiers or on the security forces as guerrilla warfare. It’s perfectly legitimate, according to every moral criterion – and, by the way, in international law. At the same time, I am not saying it’s something wonderful, joyful or desirable. The party’s Haifa office is on Ben-Gurion Street, and suddenly, after years, I noticed a memorial plaque there for a fighter in Lehi [pre-state underground militia, also known as the Stern Gang] who assassinated a British officer. Wherever there has been a struggle for liberation from oppression, there are national heroes, who in 90 percent of the cases carried out some operations that were unlawful. Nelson Mandela is today considered a hero, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but according to the conventional definition, he was a terrorist. Most of the victims of the ANC [African National Congress] were civilians.”

    In other words, today’s Hamas commanders who are carrying out attacks on soldiers will be heroes of the future Palestinian state?

    “Of course.”

    Anti-Zionist identity

    Cassif terms himself an explicit anti-Zionist. “There are three reasons for that,” he says. “To begin with, Zionism is a colonialist movement, and as a socialist, I am against colonialism. Second, as far as I am concerned, Zionism is racist in ideology and in practice. I am not referring to the definition of race theory – even though there are also some who impute that to the Zionist movement – but to what I call Jewish supremacy. No socialist can accept that. My supreme value is equality, and I can’t abide any supremacy – Jewish or Arab. The third thing is that Zionism, like other ethno-nationalistic movements, splits the working class and all weakened groups. Instead of uniting them in a struggle for social justice, for equality, for democracy, it divides the exploited classes and the enfeebled groups, and by that means strengthens the rule of capital.”

    He continues, “Zionism also sustains anti-Semitism. I don’t say it does so deliberately – even though I have no doubt that there are some who do it deliberately, like Netanyahu, who is connected to people like the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, and the leader of the far right in Austria, Hans Christian Strache.”

    Did Mapai-style Zionism also encourage anti-Semitism?

    “The phenomenon was very striking in Mapai. Think about it for a minute, not only historically, but logically. If the goal of political and practical Zionism is really the establishment of a Jewish state containing a Jewish majority, and for Diaspora Jewry to settle there, nothing serves them better than anti-Semitism.”

    What in their actions encouraged anti-Semitism?

    “The very appeal to Jews throughout the world – the very fact of treating them as belonging to the same nation, when they were living among other nations. The whole old ‘dual loyalty’ story – Zionism actually encouraged that. Therefore, I maintain that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same thing, but are precisely opposites. That doesn’t mean, of course, that there are no anti-Zionists who are also anti-Semites. Most of the BDS people are of course anti-Zionists, but they are in no way anti-Semites. But there are anti-Semites there, too.”

    Do you support BDS?

    “It’s too complex a subject for a yes or no answer; there are aspects I don’t support.”

    Do you think that the Jews deserve a national home in the Land of Israel?

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘national home.’ It’s very amorphous. We in Hadash say explicitly that Israel has a right to exist as a sovereign state. Our struggle is not against the state’s existence, but over its character.”

    But that state is the product of the actions of the Zionist movement, which you say has been colonialist and criminal from day one.

    “That’s true, but the circumstances have changed. That’s the reason that the majority of the members of the Communist Party accepted the [1947] partition agreement at the time. They recognized that the circumstances had changed. I think that one of the traits that sets communist thought apart, and makes it more apt, is the understanding and the attempt to strike the proper balance between what should be, and reality. So it’s true that Zionism started as colonialism, but what do you do with the people who were already born here? What do you tell them? Because your grandparents committed a crime, you have to leave? The question is how you transform the situation that’s been created into one that’s just, democratic and equal.”

    So, a person who survived a death camp and came here is a criminal?

    “The individual person, of course not. I’m in favor of taking in refugees in distress, no matter who or what they are. I am against Zionism’s cynical use of Jews in distress, including the refugees from the Holocaust. I have a problem with the fact that the natives whose homeland this is cannot return, while people for whom it’s not their homeland, can, because they supposedly have some sort of blood tie and an ‘imaginary friend’ promised them the land.”

    I understand that you are in favor of the annulment of the Law of Return?

    “Yes. Definitely.”

    But you are in favor of the Palestinian right of return.

    “There’s no comparison. There’s no symmetry here at all. Jerry Seinfeld was by chance born to a Jewish family. What’s his connection to this place? Why should he have preference over a refugee from Sabra or Chatila, or Edward Said, who did well in the United States? They are the true refugees. This is their homeland. Not Seinfeld’s.”

    Are you critical of the Arabs, too?

    “Certainly. One criticism is of their cooperation with imperialism – take the case of today’s Saudi Arabia, Qatar and so on. Another, from the past, relates to the reactionary forces that did not accept that the Jews have a right to live here.”

    Hadash refrained from criticizing the Assad regime even as it was massacring civilians in Syria. The party even torpedoed a condemnation of Assad after the chemical attack. Do you identify with that approach?

    “Hadash was critical of the Assad regime – father and son – for years, so we can’t be accused in any way of supporting Assad or Hezbollah. We are not Ba’ath, we are not Islamists. We are communists. But as I said earlier, the struggle, unfortunately, is generally not between the ideal and what exists in practice, but many times between two evils. And then you have to ask yourself which is the lesser evil. The Syrian constellation is extremely complicated. On the one hand, there is the United States, which is intervening, and despite all the pretense of being against ISIS, supported ISIS and made it possible for ISIS to sprout.

    "I remind you that ISIS started from the occupation of Iraq. And ideologically and practically, ISIS is definitely a thousand times worse than the Assad regime, which is at base also a secular regime. Our position was and is against the countries that pose the greatest danger to regional peace, which above all are Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and the United States, which supports them. That doesn’t mean that we support Assad.”

    Wrong language

    Cassif’s economic views are almost as far from the consensus as his political ideas. He lives modestly in an apartment that’s furnished like a young couple’s first home. You won’t find an espresso maker or unnecessary products of convenience in his place. To his credit, it can be said that he extracts the maximum from Elite instant coffee.

    What is your utopian vision – to nationalize Israel’s conglomerates, such as Cellcom, the telecommunications company, or Osem, the food manufacturer and distributor?

    “The bottom line is yes. How exactly will it be done? That’s an excellent question, which I can’t answer. Perhaps by transferring ownership to the state or to the workers, with democratic tools. And there are other alternatives. But certainly, I would like it if a large part of the resources were not in private hands, as was the case before the big privatizations. It’s true that it won’t be socialism, because, again, there can be no such thing as Zionist socialism, but there won’t be privatization like we have today. What is the result of capitalism in Israel? The collapse of the health system, the absence of a social-welfare system, a high cost of living and of housing, the elderly and the disabled in a terrible situation.”

    Does any private sector have the right to exist?

    “Look, the question is what you mean by ‘private sector.’ If we’re talking about huge concerns that the owners of capital control completely through their wealth, then no.”

    What growth was there in the communist countries? How can anyone support communism, in light of the grim experience wherever it was tried?

    “It’s true, we know that in the absolute majority of societies where an attempt was made to implement socialism, there was no growth or prosperity, and we need to ask ourselves why, and how to avoid that. When I talk about communism, I’m not talking about Stalin and all the crimes that were committed in the name of the communist idea. Communism is not North Korea and it is not Pol Pot in Cambodia. Heaven forbid.”

    And what about Venezuela?

    “Venezuela is not communism. In fact, they didn’t go far enough in the direction of socialism.”

    Chavez was not enough of a socialist?

    “Chavez, but in particular Maduro. The Communist Party is critical of the regime. They support it because the main enemy is truly American imperialism and its handmaidens. Let’s look at what the U.S. did over the years. At how many times it invaded and employed bullying, fascist forces. Not only in Latin America, its backyard, but everywhere.”

    Venezuela is falling apart, people there don’t have anything to eat, there’s no medicine, everyone who can flees – and it’s the fault of the United States?

    “You can’t deny that the regime has made mistakes. It’s not ideal. But basically, it is the result of American imperialism and its lackeys. After all, the masses voted for Chavez and for Maduro not because things were good for them. But because American corporations stole the country’s resources and filled their own pockets. I wouldn’t make Chavez into an icon, but he did some excellent things.”

    Then how do you generate individual wealth within the method you’re proposing? I understand that I am now talking to you capitalistically, but the reality is that people see the accumulation of assets as an expression of progress in life.

    “Your question is indeed framed in capitalist language, which simply departs from what I believe in. Because you are actually asking me how the distribution of resources is supposed to occur within the capitalist framework. And I say no, I am not talking about resource distribution within a capitalist framework.”

    Gantz vs. Netanyahu

    Cassif was chosen as the polls showed Meretz and Labor, the representatives of the Zionist left, barely scraping through into the next Knesset and in fact facing a serious possibility of electoral extinction. The critique of both parties from the radical left is sometimes more acerbic than from the right.

    Would you like to see the Labor Party disappear?

    “No. I think that what’s happening at the moment with Labor and with Meretz is extremely dangerous. I speak about them as collectives, because they contain individuals with whom I see no possibility of engaging in a dialogue. But I think that they absolutely must be in the Knesset.”

    Is a left-winger who defines himself as a Zionist your partner in any way?

    “Yes. We need partners. We can’t be picky. Certainly we will cooperate with liberals and Zionists on such issues as combating violence against women or the battle to rescue the health system. Maybe even in putting an end to the occupation.”

    I’ll put a scenario to you: Benny Gantz does really well in the election and somehow overcomes Netanyahu. Do you support the person who led Operation Protective Edge in Gaza when he was chief of staff?

    “Heaven forbid. But we don’t reject people, we reject policy. I remind you that it was [then-defense minister] Yitzhak Rabin who led the most violent tendency in the first intifada, with his ‘Break their bones.’ But when he came to the Oslo Accords, it was Hadash and the Arab parties that gave him, from outside the coalition, an insurmountable bloc. I can’t speak for the party, but if there is ever a government whose policy is one that we agree with – eliminating the occupation, combating racism, abolishing the nation-state law – I believe we will give our support in one way or another.”

    And if Gantz doesn’t declare his intention to eliminate the occupation, he isn’t preferable to Netanyahu in any case?

    “If so, why should we recommend him [to the president to form the next government]? After the clips he posted boasting about how many people he killed and how he hurled Gaza back into the Stone Age, I’m far from certain that he’s better.”

    #Hadash

    • traduction d’un extrait [ d’actualité ]

      Le candidat à la Knesset dit que le sionisme encourage l’antisémitisme et qualifie Netanyahu de « meurtrier »
      Peu d’Israéliens ont entendu parler de M. Ofer Cassif, représentant juif de la liste de la Knesset du parti d’extrême gauche Hadash. Le 9 avril, cela changera.
      Par Ravit Hecht 16 février 2019 – Haaretz

      (…) Identité antisioniste
      Cassif se dit un antisioniste explicite. « Il y a trois raisons à cela », dit-il. « Pour commencer, le sionisme est un mouvement colonialiste et, en tant que socialiste, je suis contre le colonialisme. Deuxièmement, en ce qui me concerne, le sionisme est raciste d’idéologie et de pratique. Je ne fais pas référence à la définition de la théorie de la race - même si certains l’imputent également au mouvement sioniste - mais à ce que j’appelle la suprématie juive. Aucun socialiste ne peut accepter cela. Ma valeur suprême est l’égalité et je ne peux supporter aucune suprématie - juive ou arabe. La troisième chose est que le sionisme, comme d’autres mouvements ethno-nationalistes, divise la classe ouvrière et tous les groupes sont affaiblis. Au lieu de les unir dans une lutte pour la justice sociale, l’égalité, la démocratie, il divise les classes exploitées et affaiblit les groupes, renforçant ainsi le pouvoir du capital. "
      Il poursuit : « Le sionisme soutient également l’antisémitisme. Je ne dis pas qu’il le fait délibérément - même si je ne doute pas qu’il y en a qui le font délibérément, comme Netanyahu, qui est connecté à des gens comme le Premier ministre de la Hongrie, Viktor Orban, et le chef de l’extrême droite. en Autriche, Hans Christian Strache. ”

      Le sionisme type-Mapaï a-t-il également encouragé l’antisémitisme ?
      « Le phénomène était très frappant au Mapai. Pensez-y une minute, non seulement historiquement, mais logiquement. Si l’objectif du sionisme politique et pratique est en réalité de créer un État juif contenant une majorité juive et de permettre à la communauté juive de la diaspora de s’y installer, rien ne leur sert mieux que l’antisémitisme. "

      Qu’est-ce qui, dans leurs actions, a encouragé l’antisémitisme ?
      « L’appel même aux Juifs du monde entier - le fait même de les traiter comme appartenant à la même nation, alors qu’ils vivaient parmi d’autres nations. Toute la vieille histoire de « double loyauté » - le sionisme a en fait encouragé cela. Par conséquent, j’affirme que l’antisémitisme et l’antisionisme ne sont pas la même chose, mais sont précisément des contraires. Bien entendu, cela ne signifie pas qu’il n’y ait pas d’antisionistes qui soient aussi antisémites. La plupart des membres du BDS sont bien sûr antisionistes, mais ils ne sont en aucun cas antisémites. Mais il y a aussi des antisémites.

  • How Huawei Wooed Europe With Sponsorships, Investments and Promises
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/technology/huawei-europe-china.html

    When new employees join Huawei, they are given books about the Chinese telecommunications company’s achievements. One featured accomplishment is how the company has thrived in Europe. A chapter in one of the books describes the hard work of Huawei employees to win over European telecom providers and sell them equipment that forms the backbone of mobile wireless networks. It says little about how the company has also subtly lobbied, promised jobs and made research investments to ingratiate (...)

    #British_Telecom_(BT) #Deutsche_Telekom #Huawei #MI6 #surveillance #concurrence #lobbying (...)

    ##British_Telecom__BT_ ##backdoor

  • CppCast Episode 183: [Boost] DI and SML with Kris Jusiak
    http://isocpp.org/feeder/?FeederAction=clicked&feed=All+Posts&seed=http%3A%2F%2Fisocpp.org%2Fblog%2F2

    Episode 183 of CppCast the first podcast for C++ developers by C++ developers. In this episode Rob and Jason are joined by Kris Jusiak to discuss [Boost].DI and [Boost].SML libraries.

    CppCast Episode 183: [Boost] DI and SML with Kris Jusiak by Rob Irving and Jason Turner

    About the interviewee:

    Kris is a C++ Software Engineer who currently lives a couple of doors down from CppCon 2019. He has worked in different industries over the years including telecommunications, games and most recently finance for Quantlab Financial. He has an interest in modern C++ development with a focus on performance and quality. He is an open source enthusiast with multiple open source libraries where he uses template metaprogramming techniques to support the C++ rule - "Don’t pay for what (...)

    #News,Video&_On-Demand,

  • [Boost] DI and SML with Kris Jusiak
    http://cppcast.libsyn.com/boost-di-and-sml-with-kris-jusiak

    Rob and Jason are joined by Kris Jusiak to discuss [Boost].DI and [Boost].SML libraries. Kris is a C++ Software Engineer who currently lives a couple of doors down from CppCon 2019. He has worked in different industries over the years including telecommunications, games and most recently finance for Quantlab Financial. He has an interest in modern C++ development with a focus on performance and quality. He is an open source enthusiast with multiple open source libraries where he uses template metaprogramming techniques to support the C++ rule - “Don’t pay for what you don’t use” whilst trying to be as declarative as possible with a help of domain-specific languages. Kris is also a keen advocate of extreme programming techniques, test/behaviour driven development and truly believes (...)

    http://traffic.libsyn.com/cppcast/cppcast-183.mp3?dest-id=282890

  • How I Got Multiple Software Engineer Job Offers Switching from Another Industry
    https://hackernoon.com/how-i-got-multiple-software-engineer-job-offers-switching-from-another-i

    How I Got Multiple Software Engineer Job Offers When Switching from Another IndustryBeautiful SDChanging jobs are not easy, let alone switching to another industry.Nowadays getting job offers from top software companies take considerable effort and quite bit of luck. Coming from embedded software test area, I was fortunate to get multiple offers as software development engineer. I want to share the journey with those of you who also want to pursue a career in the blooming software industry.MotivationMy seeding motivation is the lack of job satisfaction in my previous job as a software test engineer. Most of my job involves creating complex environments to conduct tests for telecommunications equipments. I would not say that was easy work because making sure the test condition is met (...)

    #software-engineering #switching-industries #software-engineering-job #job-interview #software-development

  • A Beginner’s Guide to #bootstrap and #materialize Design Framework
    https://hackernoon.com/a-beginners-guide-to-bootstrap-and-materialize-design-framework-9e8a058f

    The latest innovations and advancements in the field of technology have helped mobile technology to grow and greatly evolved over the years. However, the fascinating aspect of mobile technology is that it is still evolving with each passing day. Still, experts in the field of telecommunications have been putting in extra efforts to ensure a great user experience to the ones who are browsing the internet through their smartphones and tablets. A recent study conducted by experts revealed that approximately 17 percent smartphone users in the United States use their phones for internet browsing.As a result, most website designers and developers have been putting in extra efforts to customize their websites in order to make them fit into the screen of smartphones and other mobile devices. (...)

    #web-development #bootstrap-design #design-framework

  • Want a Career in Fiber Optics? Here’s Where to Start!
    https://hackernoon.com/want-a-career-in-fiber-optics-heres-where-to-start-d6a12d7f9834?source=r

    Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-telephone-booth-257736/Fiber optics play a big part in the infrastructure that runs a lot of the world’s connectivity. We all need the #internet, and fiber optics is one of the fastest modes of transport for information and telecommunications. Therefore, fiber optic technicians and engineers are in high demand right now and #careers in all kinds of industries are just waiting for you.If you have been dreaming of a career in fiber optics, now is the time to get your foot in the door. Right now, fiber optics offers many rewarding opportunities with different types of companies from internet providers serving broadband communications, to medical device manufacturers and military operations. Fiber optic cable is used in hundreds of industries (...)

    #technology-trends #fiber-optics #technology

  • The Growth of Sinclair’s Conservative Media Empire | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/22/the-growth-of-sinclairs-conservative-media-empire

    Sinclair is the largest owner of television stations in the United States, with a hundred and ninety-two stations in eighty-nine markets. It reaches thirty-nine per cent of American viewers. The company’s executive chairman, David D. Smith, is a conservative whose views combine a suspicion of government, an aversion to political correctness, and strong libertarian leanings. Smith, who is sixty-eight, has a thick neck, deep under-eye bags, and a head of silvery hair. He is an enthusiast of fine food and has owned farm-to-table restaurants in Harbor East, an upscale neighborhood in Baltimore. An ardent supporter of Donald Trump, he has not been shy about using his stations to advance his political ideology. Sinclair employees say that the company orders them to air biased political segments produced by the corporate news division, including editorials by the conservative commentator Mark Hyman, and that it feeds interviewers questions intended to favor Republicans.

    In some cases, anchors have been compelled to read from scripts prepared by Sinclair. In April, 2018, dozens of newscasters across the country parroted Trump’s invectives about “fake news,” saying, “Some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think. This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.” In response, Dan Rather, the former anchor of “CBS Evening News,” wrote, on Twitter, “News anchors looking into camera and reading a script handed down by a corporate overlord, words meant to obscure the truth not elucidate it, isn’t journalism. It’s propaganda. It’s Orwellian. A slippery slope to how despots wrest power, silence dissent, and oppress the masses.”

    It’s unclear whether Sinclair is attempting to influence the politics of its viewers or simply appealing to positions that viewers may already have—or both. Andrew Schwartzman, a telecommunications lecturer at Georgetown Law School, told me, “I don’t know where their personal philosophy ends and their business goals begin. They’re not the Koch brothers, but they reflect a deep-seated conservatism and generations of libertarian philosophy that also happen to help their business.”

    Sinclair has even greater ambitions for expansion. In May, 2017, the company announced a proposed $3.9-billion merger between Sinclair and Tribune Media Company, which owns forty-two television stations. The merger would make Sinclair far larger than any other broadcaster in the country, with stations beaming into seventy per cent of American households. The proposal alarmed regulatory and free-speech experts. Michael Copps, a former official at the Federal Communications Commission, told me, “One of the goals of the First Amendment is to make sure the American people have the news and information they need to make intelligent decisions about our democracy, and I think we’re pretty close to a situation where the population lacks the ability to do that. That’s the whole premise of self-government.” He went on, “There are a lot of problems facing our country, but I don’t know one as important as this. When you start dismantling our news-and-information infrastructure, that’s poison to self-government and poison to democracy.”

    In subsequent years, Smith took measures to deepen Sinclair’s influence among policymakers, apparently recognizing that the company’s profits were dependent upon regulatory decisions made in Washington. One of Smith’s first notable forays into politics was his support for Robert Ehrlich, Jr., a Republican congressman who represented Maryland from 1995 until 2003. Sinclair became a top donor to Ehrlich and, in 2001, Ehrlich sent the first of several letters on Sinclair’s behalf to Michael Powell, who had recently become the chair of the F.C.C. The commission was investigating a request from Sinclair to buy a new group of stations, and Ehrlich protested the “unnecessary delays on pending applications.” The F.C.C.’s assistant general counsel responded that Ehrlich’s communication had violated procedural rules. Ehrlich sent another message, alleging that the delays were politically motivated and threatening to “call for a congressional investigation into this matter.” He added, “Knowing that you have served as Chairman for a few short months, we would prefer to give you an opportunity to address these concerns.” The proposed acquisitions were approved.

    A former general-assignment reporter at the station, Jonathan Beaton, told me, “Almost immediately, I could tell it was a very corrupt culture, where you knew from top down there were certain stories you weren’t going to cover. They wanted you to keep your head down and not upset the fruit basket. I’m a Republican, and I was still appalled by what I saw at Sinclair.” Beaton characterized the man-on-the-street segments as “Don’t forget to grab some random poor soul on the street and shove a microphone in their face and talk about what the Democrats have done wrong.” He said that reporters generally complied because of an atmosphere of “intimidation and fear.”

    After Trump’s victory, it looked as though Sinclair’s investment in the candidate would pay off. In January, 2017, Trump appointed Ajit Pai, a vocal proponent of media deregulation, to be the chair of the F.C.C. Pai, formerly an associate general counsel at Verizon and an aide to Senators Jeff Sessions and Sam Brownback, was exactly the sort of commission head that Sinclair had been hoping for. He believed that competition from technology companies such as Google had made many government restrictions on traditional media irrelevant—an argument that echoed Smith’s views on ownership caps and other regulations. Sinclair executives quickly tried to cultivate a relationship with Pai; shortly after the election, he addressed a gathering of Sinclair managers at the Four Seasons in Baltimore. He also met with David Smith and Sinclair’s C.E.O., Christopher Ripley, the day before Trump’s Inauguration.

    It’s not unusual for business executives to meet with the chair of the F.C.C., but Pai soon announced a series of policy changes that seemed designed to help Sinclair. The first was the reinstatement of the ultrahigh-frequency discount, an arcane rule that digital technology had rendered obsolete. The move served no practical purpose, but it freed Sinclair to acquire many more stations without bumping up against the national cap.

    The F.C.C. soon made other regulatory modifications that were helpful to Sinclair. It eliminated a rule requiring television stations to maintain at least one local studio in licensed markets, essentially legitimatizing Sinclair’s centralized news model. Perhaps most perniciously, Pai took steps toward approving a new broadcast-transmission standard called Next Gen TV, which would require all consumers in the U.S. to purchase new televisions or converter devices. A subsidiary of Sinclair owns six patents necessary for the new standard, which could mean billions of dollars in earnings for the company. Jessica Rosenworcel, the sole Democratic commissioner at the F.C.C., told me, “It’s striking that all of our media policy decisions seem almost custom-built for this one company. Something is wrong.” Rosenworcel acknowledged that many F.C.C. policies need to be modernized, but, she said, “broadcasting is unique. It uses the public airwaves, it’s a public trust.” She added, “I don’t think those ideas are retrograde. They are values we should sustain.”

    The F.C.C. and the D.O.J. both warned Sinclair about the dummy divestitures, insisting that the company find independent owners in ten problematic markets. According to a lawsuit later filed by Tribune, instead of taking steps to appease regulators, Sinclair executives “antagonized DOJ and FCC staff” by acting “confrontational” and “belittling.” The company offered to make sales in only four of the markets, and told the Justice Department that it would have to litigate for any further concessions. One Sinclair lawyer told government representatives, “Sue me.” There was no tactical reason for Sinclair to take such a combative and self-sabotaging stance. Instead, the episode seemed to reflect how Trump’s own corruption and conflicts of interest have filtered into the business community. One industry expert who followed the proceedings closely told me that the company clearly “felt that, with the President behind them, why would the commission deny them anything?

    Then, in April, the Web site Deadspin edited the broadcasts of Sinclair anchors reciting the script about fake news into one terrifying montage, with a tapestry of anchors in different cities speaking in unison. The video ignited public outrage, and Trump tweeted a defense of Sinclair, calling it “far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.” (In a statement, a spokesperson for Sinclair said, “This message was not presented as news and was not intended to be political—there was no mention of President Trump, political parties, policy issues, etc. It was a business objective centered on attracting more viewers.”)

    #Médias #Concentration #Dérégulation #Etats-Unis #Sinclair

  • T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of ’trademarked’ magenta • The Register
    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/09/deutsche_telekom_t_mobile_threatens_datajar_pink_logo

    Business
    T-Mobile owner sends in legal heavies to lean on small Brit biz over use of ’trademarked’ magenta
    It’s enough to make you pinky swear
    By Gareth Corfield 9 May 2018 at 11:30

    Achtung troll! Deutsche Telekom has threatened a small British software house over its logo

    Updated T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom is making legal threats against a small British business – on the grounds that the German company has an exclusive trademark on a shade of the colour magenta.

    James Ridsdale, MD of Brighton-based business Datajar, said he was stunned after receiving a letter demanding he drop his own company’s trademark application because the firm’s logo happened to be pigmented in a particularly purplish pink.

    A letter sent by London law firm Hogan Lovells on behalf of Deutsche Telekom (DT), seen by The Register and received by Ridsdale last Friday, stated:

    “Your client has made extensive use of the colour Magenta (or a colour highly similar to Magenta) throughout its website… in relation to services that are highly similar to a number of the services that [DT] provides in the European Union.”

    DT owns the T-Mobile brand in the UK, selling handsets and related hardware as well as providing mobile network operator services. Datajar is a small software house (six employees) specialising in Apple device data management for businesses. Nonetheless, DT claimed that the Great British Public (bless their silly little heads) might get the two companies mixed up as a result of the pinkness:

    “The consumer might, for example, erroneously believe that there is a commercial or economic connection between our clients.”

    Ridsdale sighed to El Reg: “We don’t sell hardware on any level; we’re not a telecommunications company. Because we’re in IT they want us to stop using the colour.”

  • Google and Facebook Are Quietly Fighting California’s Privacy Rights Initiative, Emails Reveal
    https://theintercept.com/2018/06/26/google-and-facebook-are-quietly-fighting-californias-privacy-rights-in

    Lobbyists for the largest technology and telecommunications firms have only three days to prevent the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, a ballot initiative that would usher in the strongest consumer privacy standards in the country, from going before state voters this November. The initiative allows consumers to opt out of the sale and collection of their personal data, and vastly expands the definition of personal information to include geolocation, biometrics, and browsing (...)

    #Google #Facebook #données #BigData #lobbying #CCPA

  • The Wiretap Rooms
    https://theintercept.com/2018/06/25/att-internet-nsa-spy-hubs

    The secrets are hidden behind fortified walls in cities across the United States, inside towering windowless skyscrapers and fortress-like concrete structures that were built to withstand earthquakes and even nuclear attack. Thousands of people pass by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because their function is not publicly known. They are an integral part of one of the world’s largest telecommunications networks – and they are also linked to a controversial (...)

    #AT&T #écoutes #surveillance

    ##AT&T

  • Facebook is unfixable. We need a nonprofit, public-spirited replacement.
    https://boingboing.net/2018/04/06/utterly-zucked.html

    The corruption and surveillance culture of Facebook is baked in deep and can never be removed; if you doubt it, just peruse a sampling of their patent filings, which are like Black Mirror fanfic written by lawyers.

    Tim Wu (previously) points out that sites on the scale of Facebook — like Wikipedia — deliver value to titanic, global audiences at a fraction of the cost of Facebook’s operating budget. When you take out the spying, the sleaze, the giant paydays for execs and investors, it’s a tractable proposition to run Facebook without Facebook, Inc.

    Another “alt-Facebook” could be a nonprofit that uses that status to signal its dedication to better practices, much as nonprofit hospitals and universities do. Wikipedia is a nonprofit, and it manages nearly as much traffic as Facebook, on a much smaller budget. An “alt-Facebook” could be started by Wikimedia, or by former Facebook employees, many of whom have congregated at the Center for Humane Technology, a nonprofit for those looking to change Silicon Valley’s culture. It could even be funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which was created in reaction to the failures of commercial television and whose mission includes ensuring access to “telecommunications services that are commercial free and free of charge.”

    When a company fails, as Facebook has, it is natural for the government to demand that it fix itself or face regulation. But competition can also create pressure to do better. If today’s privacy scandals lead us merely to install Facebook as a regulated monopolist, insulated from competition, we will have failed completely. The world does not need an established church of social media.

    #seenthis ?!?

  • How UK Spies Hacked a European Ally and Got Away With It
    https://theintercept.com/2018/02/17/gchq-belgacom-investigation-europe-hack

    For a moment, it seemed the hackers had slipped up and exposed their identities. It was the summer of 2013, and European investigators were looking into an unprecedented breach of Belgium’s telecommunications infrastructure. They believed they were on the trail of the people responsible. But it would soon become clear that they were chasing ghosts – fake names that had been invented by British spies. The hack had targeted Belgacom, Belgium’s largest telecommunications provider, which serves (...)

    #Belgacom #GCHQ #Proximus #malware #hacking

  • What Will Really Happen if the FCC Abandons Net Neutrality ?
    http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/net-neutrality-debate

    Article intéressant parce qu’il donne la parole aux opposants à la neutralité. Mais à trop vouloir jouer au centre, on finit par prendre le point de vue des dominants.

    Supporters often link net neutrality to free speech and unfettered, equal access to the internet. They also want stricter rules to curb the conduct of ISPs. “Removal of the net neutrality rules could entirely take down the internet as a free and open source of information,” said Jennifer Golbeck, a professor at the University of Maryland, on the Knowledge@Wharton show on SiriusXM channel 111. “It’s going to be more corporate control over the content we see … potentially not just favoring things that benefit [ISPs] financially but favoring them politically.”

    But critics say that too much regulation dampens innovation and investments in the internet, which has thrived for decades without formal net neutrality rules. For example, net neutrality would tamp down on innovations such as T-Mobile’s “Binge On” service, which lets customers stream video from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and other sites without counting it against their data buckets, said Christopher Yoo, professor of law, communication and computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania, on the radio show. Moreover, the order brings back the FTC as the antitrust enforcer of ISP behavior, protecting consumer interests and banning deceptive business practices. (Listen to a podcast of the radio show featuring Yoo and Golbeck using the player above.)

    As providers of information services, ISPs were much more lightly regulated than telecommunications services — such as the old Ma Bell. However, the FCC did adopt policies to preserve free internet access and usage and curb abuses. In 2004, FCC Chairman Michael Powell under President George W. Bush set out four principles of internet freedom: the freedom to access lawful content, use applications, attach personal devices to the network and obtain service plan information.

    In 2010, under Obama’s first FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, the agency’s Open Internet Order adopted anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules after finding out that Comcast throttled BitTorrent, a bandwidth-intensive, peer-to-peer site where users shared files of TV shows, movies or other content. Faulhaber says Comcast made the mistake of “targeting a particular upstream company. That you can’t do. If you want to control traffic, you have to do it in a much less discriminatory way.”

    But the 2010 order, which also required ISPs to disclose their network management practices, performance and commercial terms, was vacated by a federal court in 2014 after Verizon sued the FCC. The court said the FCC did not have the authority to act because ISPs are not regulated like common telephone carriers.

    This ruling led to the 2015 order by Wheeler that reclassified ISPs like landline phone companies, giving the agency the power to regulate many things, including prices set by broadband providers, although this was set aside. The order also specified the no-blocking and no-discrimination of traffic, and banned paid prioritization, which would give faster internet lanes to companies that pay for it. And it crafted internet conduct standards that ISPs must follow. Last year, an appellate court upheld this order.

    The current proposal by Pai rolls back Wheeler’s order, and more. It classifies ISPs back under information services. It allows paid prioritization. It also punts the policing of any ISP blocking and discriminatory behavior to the FTC to be investigated on a case-by-case basis. It dismantles Wheeler’s internet conduct standards because they are “vague and expansive.” But the proposed order does adopt transparency rules, requiring ISPs to disclose information about their practices to the FCC and the public.

    For ISPs, the issue is not so much net neutrality as it is about Title II. “All of the major ISPs like Comcast and AT&T are on the record saying that they support the idea of net neutrality, but they just oppose the legal classification of broadband as a regulated telecommunications service,” Werbach says. “I wouldn’t expect to see any dramatic changes in the companies’ practices near term. They’re going to wait and see how this all plays out, and they’re also not going to do something that will provoke significant backlash and pressure for more regulation.”

    During her radio show appearance, Golbeck noted that the danger of fast lanes is that smaller websites that cannot afford to pay the ISP could be left behind. Research shows that “even delays of less than a second in serving up content [will make people] bail from your site and go someplace else.” Conversely, she said, if ISPs speed up access to popular sites like Amazon and Netflix because they pay, “it inhibits the ability for other new startup sites to compete.”

    #Neutralité_internet

  • Monopoly Men | Boston Review
    http://bostonreview.net/science-nature/k-sabeel-rahman-monopoly-men

    Amazon. Google. Facebook. Twitter. These are the most powerful and influential tech platforms of the modern economy, and the headlines over the last few weeks underscore the degree to which these firms have accumulated an outsized influence on our economic, political, and social life. To many, including acting FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen, the status quo is great: the benefits to consumers—from cheap prices to easy access to information to rapid delivery of goods and services—outweigh greater regulation, lest policymakers undermine Silicon Valley innovation.

    But the recent controversies suggest a very different perspective—that private power is increasingly concentrated among a handful of tech platforms, representing a major challenge to the survival of our democracy and the potential for a more dynamic and inclusive economic order. A growing clamor from both the left and right has created a sense of “blood in the water,” and suggests that Silicon Valley’s long honeymoon may finally be over.

    The danger of the “platform power” accumulated by Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Twitter arises from their ability to control the foundational infrastructure of our economic, informational, and political life. Even if they didn’t spend a dime on lobbying or influencing elected officials, this power would still pose a grave threat to democracy and economic opportunity. The fact that these companies provide enormously popular and useful goods and services is indisputable—but also beside the point. The central issue here is not simply the value for the consumer. Instead it is vast, unaccountable private power over the foundations of contemporary society and politics. In a word, the central issue is democracy.

    It was this deeper problem of power—not merely the impacts on prices or the consumer experience—that motivated reformers such as Brandeis to develop whole new institutions and legal regimes: antitrust laws to break up monopolies, public utility regulation to assure fair prices and nondiscrimination on “common carriers” such as railroads, the creation of the FTC itself, and much of President Franklin Roosevelt’s early New Deal push to establish governmental regulatory agencies charged with overseeing finance, market competition, and labor.

    But the late twentieth century saw a widespread shift away from the New Deal ethos. Starting in the 1970s, intellectual critiques of economic regulation highlighted the likelihood of corruption, capture, and inefficiency, while scholars in economics espoused the virtues of self-regulation, growth-optimization, and efficient markets. In these intellectual constructs big business and the conservative right found support for their attacks on the New Deal edifice, and in the 1980s and 1990s, we saw the bipartisan adoption of a deregulatory ethic—including in market competition policy.

    These cultural currents—the skepticism of government as corrupt at worst and inefficient at best, the belief in private enterprise and the virtues of “free markets,” and a commitment to delivering for consumers above the broader social and political repercussions—suffuses our current political economic discourse. The Brandeis-ian critique of private power has been wholly absent in recent decades and nowhere is this absence more pronounced than in the worldview of Silicon Valley.

    In our current moment, it is as if technological innovation has been divorced from the corporations that profit from it. Through these rose-colored glasses, technology is seen as a good in itself, promising efficiency, delivering new wonders to consumers, running laps around otherwise stale and plodding government institutions. Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been able to resist corporate criticism (until recently, that is) by emphasizing their cultural and ideational commitment to the consumer and to innovation. They have casted themselves as the vanguards of social progress, the future’s cavalry who should not be constrained by government regulation because they offer a better mode of social order than the government itself.

    But as the anxieties of the last few months indicate, this image does not capture reality. Indeed, these technology platforms are not just “innovators,” nor are they ordinary corporations anymore. They are better seen and understood as privately controlled infrastructure, the underlying backbone for much of our economic, social, and political life. Such control and influence brings with it the ability to skew, rig, or otherwise manage these systems—all outside the kinds of checks and balances we would expect to accompany such power.

    This kind of infrastructural power also explains the myriad concerns about how platforms might taint, skew, or undermine our political system itself—concerns that extend well beyond the ability of these firms to lobby inside the Beltway. Even before the 2016 election, a number of studies and scholars raised the concern that Facebook and Google could swing elections if they wanted to by manipulating their search and feed algorithms. Through subtle and unnoticeable tweaks, these companies could place search results for some political candidates or viewpoints above others, impacting the flow of information enough to influence voters.

    Given our reality, it would be helpful to think of Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Twitter as the new “utilities” of the modern era. Today the idea of “public utility” conjures images of rate regulation and electric utility bureaucracies. But for Progressive Era reformers, public utility was a broad concept that, at its heart, was about creating regulations to ensure adequate checks and balances on private actors who had come to control the basic necessities of life, from telecommunications to transit to water. This historical tradition helps us identify what kinds of private power are especially troubling. The problem, ultimately, is not just raw “bigness,” or market capitalization. Rather, the central concern is about private control over infrastructure.

    At a minimum Equifax’s data breach suggests a need for regulatory oversight imposing public obligations of data security, safety, and consumer protection on these firms. Some commentators have suggested an antitrust-style breaking up of credit reporting agencies while others have called for replacing the oligopoly altogether with public databases.

    #Plateformes #Monopoles #Vectorialisme

  • “A major Russian telecommunications company appears to have begun providing an Internet connection to North Korea. The new link supplements one from China and will provide back-up to Pyongyang at a time the US government is reportedly attacking its Internet infrastructure and pressuring China to end all business with North Korea.”

    http://www.38north.org/2017/10/mwilliams100117

    Very good use of #OSINT, too.

    #NorthKorea #TransTeleCom #StarJV #DPRK

  • Spotify, Google, Tons of Other Companies Will Protest to Save Net Neutrality - Motherboard
    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/8xa84k/spotify-google-tons-of-other-companies-will-protest-to-save-new-ne

    The protest is organized by Fight for the Future, freepress, and Demand Progress. It’s set to happen five days before the first deadline for comments on the FCC’s proposal to remove the classification of broadband as a telecommunications service. It’s part of FCC chief and former Verizon executive Ajit Pai’s attempt to destroy what protects the internet from fast lanes and discrimination by monolithic internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon.

    #neutralité_internet

  • Common sense: An examination of three Los Angeles community WiFi projects that privileged public funding over commons-based infrastructure management » The Journal of Peer Production
    http://peerproduction.net/issues/issue-10-peer-production-and-work/varia/common-sense-an-examination-of-three-los-angeles-community-wifi-proj

    Several high-profile incidents involving entire communities cut off from broadband access—the result of natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy in the Northeastern United States in 2012, to totalitarian governments in Egypt and Tunisia shutting down infrastructure in 2011—have raised awareness of the vulnerabilities inherent in a centralized internet. Policymakers are increasingly interested in the potential of community mesh networks (Harvard University, 2012), which use a decentralized architecture. Still, government agencies rarely fund community WiFi initiatives in U.S. cities. Three grassroots mesh networks in Los Angeles are distinct, however, as both local and state agencies subsidized their efforts. By comparing a public goods framework with theory of the commons, this study examines how government support impacted L.A.-based community wireless projects.

    By examining public investments in peer-to-peer networking initiatives, this study aims to better understand how substantial cash infusions influenced network design and implementation. Stronger community ties, self-reliance and opportunities for democratic deliberation potentially emerge when neighbors share bandwidth. In this sense, WiFi signal sharing is more than a promising “last mile” technology able to reach every home for a fraction of the cost required to lay fiber, DSL and cable (Martin, 2005). In fact, grassroots mesh projects aim to create “a radically different public sphere” (Burnett, 1999) by situating themselves outside of commercial interests. Typically, one joins, as opposed to subscribes to, the services. As Lippman and Reed (2003, p. 1) observed, “Communications can become something you do rather than something you buy.” For this reason, the economic theories of both public goods and the commons provide an ideal analytical framework for examining three community WiFi project in Los Angeles.

    The value of this commons is derived from the fact that no one owns or controls it—not people, not corporations, not the government (Benkler 2001; Lessig, 2001). The peer-to-peer architecture comprising community wireless networks provides ideal conditions for fostering civic engagement and eliminating the need to rely on telecommunications companies for connectivity. Instead of information passing from “one to many,” it travels from “many to many.” The primary internet relies on centralized access points and internet service providers (ISPs) for connectivity. By contrast, in a peer-to-peer architecture, components are both independent and scalable. Wireless mesh network design includes at least one access point with a direct connection to the internet—via fiber, cable or satellite link—and nodes that hop from one device to the next

    As the network’s popularity mounted, however, so did its challenges. The increasing prevalence of smartphones meant more mobile devices accessing Little Tokyo Unplugged. This required the LTSC to deploy additional access points, leading to signal interference. Network users overwhelmed LTSC staff with complaints about everything from lost connections to computer viruses. “We ended up being IT support for the entire community,” the informant said.

    Money, yes. Meaningful participation, no.

    Despite its popularity, the center shut down the WiFi network in 2010. “The decision was made that we couldn’t sustain it,” the informant said. While the LTSC (2010) invested nearly $3 million in broadband-related initiatives, the center neglected to seek meaningful participation from the wider Little Tokyo community. The LTSC basically functioned according to a traditional ISP model. In a commons, it is imperative that a fair relationship exists between contributions made and benefits received (Commons Sommerschule, 2012). However, the LTSC neither expected nor asked network users to contribute to Little Tokyo Unplugged in exchange for free broadband access. As a result, individual network users did not feel they had a stake in ensuring the stability of the network.

    HSDNC board members believed free WiFi would facilitate more efficient communication with their constituents, coupled with “the main issue” of digital inclusion, according to an informant. “The reality is that poor, working class Latino members of our district have limited access to the internet. A lot of people have cell phones, but we see gaps,” this informant said. These comments exemplify how the pursuit of public funding began to usurp social-production principles associated with a networked commons. While closing the digital divide and informing the public about community issues are laudable goals, they are clearly institutional ones.

    Rather than design Open Mar Vista/Open Neighborhoods according to commons-based peer production principles, the network co-founders sought ways to align the project with public good goals articulated by local and federal agencies. For instance, an informant stressed that community WiFi would enable neighborhood councils to send email blasts and post information online. This argument is a direct response to the city’s push for neighborhood councils to reduce paper correspondence with constituents (City of Los Angeles, 2010). Similarly, the grant application Open Neighborhoods submitted to the federal Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program—which exclusively funded broadband infrastructure and computer adoption initiatives—focused on the potential for community WiFi networks to supply Los Angeles’ low-income neighborhoods with affordable internet (National Telecommunications & Information Administration, 2010). The proposal is void of references to concepts associated with the commons, even though this ideological space can transform broadband infrastructure from a conduit to the internet into a technology for empowering participants. It seems that, ultimately, the pursuit of public funding supplanted initial goals of creating a WiFi network that fostered inclusivity and collaboration.

    There’s little doubt that Manchester Community Technologies accepted a $453,000 state grant in exchange for a “mesh cloud” it never deployed. These findings suggest an inherent conflict exists between the quest to fulfill the state’s public good goals, and the commons-based community building necessary to sustain a grassroots WiFi network. One could argue that this reality should have prevented California officials from funding Manchester Community Technologies’ proposal in the first place. Specifically, a successful community WiFi initiative cannot be predicated on a state mandate to strengthen digital literacy skills and increase broadband adoption. Local businesses and residents typically share bandwidth as part of a broader effort to create an alternative communications infrastructure, beyond the reach of government—not dictated by government. Grassroots broadband initiatives run smoothly when participants are committed to the success of a common enterprise and share a common purpose. The approach taken by Manchester Community Technologies does not reflect these principles.

    #Communs #wifi #mesh_networks #relations_communs_public

  • Are Hezbollah, Israel heading for a third war?
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/05/lebanon-hezbollah-israel-war-iran-us.html

    Yet the most important development in Hezbollah’s military capability is the unprecedented opportunity that came with its participation in the Syrian war. It now has the ability to train thousands of its fighters, who are rubbing shoulders with Syrian, Iranian and Russian elite special forces, while also developing its telecommunications, logistics, and command and control capabilities to handle a situation where hundreds of its fighters can fight nonstop for weeks and months in a vast, hostile environment. This is a huge leap from 2006, when Hezbollah only deployed independent small fire teams and squads in defensive fortified positions, in a friendly environment, while awaiting the advance of Israeli infantry and armor units.

    Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah’s threat in 2011 to invade northern Israel is no longer so far-fetched, neither are his threats to hit the nuclear facility in Dimona. Israel takes these threats very seriously, hence the fortification works along the Blue Line. Hezbollah’s plan is simple and bold: Saturate Israel’s multi-layered air defense with hundreds of rockets and missiles while its fighters go on the offensive across the Blue Line — and perhaps even the Golan Heights.

    According to sources familiar with Hezbollah, “A wider front will force Israel to spread out thinner, so now having the front expanded from Naqoura on the sea all the way to the end of the Golan Heights will prove to be more difficult for Israel in the event of a war.”

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/05/lebanon-hezbollah-israel-war-iran-us.html#ixzz4gwyhSx85

  • Warning: for Windows systems: important spread of #WannaCry (#Wcry) ransomware

    http://thehackernews.com/2017/05/wannacry-ransomware-unlock.html?m=1
    https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/05/an-nsa-derived-ransomware-worm-is-shutting-down-computers-worldwide

    The malware/worm is causing disruptions at banks, hospitals, telecommunications services, train stations, and other mission-critical organisations in multiple countries, including the UK, Spain, Germany, and Turkey. Telefonica, FedEx, and the UK government’s National Health Service (NHS) have been hit. Operations were cancelled, x-rays, test results and patient records became unavailable and phones did not work.

    The ransomware completely encrypts all your files and render them unusable. They ask you to pay some money to get the decryption key. ($300 to $600 worth in bitcoins). Paying does not guarantee you will get a decryption key though.

    The malware spreads through social engineering e-mails.
    Be careful with any attachments you receive from unknown sources (and even known sources). Make sure the files are sent intentionally.
    Watch out for .pdf or .hta files, or links received via e-mail that point to .pdf or .hta files.

    More than 45.000 computers worldwide have already been infected, but there appears to be a kill switch, i.e. a way to stop its spreading.
    As one of the first operations, the malware tries to connect to the website www.iuqerfsodp9ifjaposdfjhgosurijfaewrwergwea.com. It doesn’t actually download anything there, just tries to connect. If the connection succeeds, the program terminates.

    This can be seen as a kind of kill switch provision, or perhaps it had some particular reason. Whichever it is, the domain has now been sinkholed and the host in question now resolves to an IP address that hosts a website. Therefore, nothing will happen on any new systems that runs the malware. This will of course not help anyone already infected.

    Microsoft has released a patch to block the malware on Windows machines:

    MS17-010
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms17-010.aspx

    It is important to apply the patch because other variants of the malware can exploit the same vulnerability and/or use a different domain name check.

    Nice technical analysis of the worm:

    https://blog.malwarebytes.com/threat-analysis/2017/05/the-worm-that-spreads-wanacrypt0r

    And more technical info about the worm itself: (careful)

    https://gist.github.com/rain-1/989428fa5504f378b993ee6efbc0b168

    typedef struct _wc_file_t {
    char     sig[WC_SIG_LEN]     // 64 bit signature WANACRY!
    uint32_t keylen;             // length of encrypted key
    uint8_t  key[WC_ENCKEY_LEN]; // AES key encrypted with RSA
    uint32_t unknown;            // usually 3 or 4, unknown
    uint64_t datalen;            // length of file before encryption, obtained from GetFileSizeEx
    uint8_t *data;               // Ciphertext Encrypted data using AES-128 in CBC mode
    } wc_file_t;
    

    #malware #worm #ransomware #NSA #Shadow_Broker #EternalBlue

  • Ranking Digital Rights - 2017 Corporate Accountability Index

    https://rankingdigitalrights.org/index2017

    https://rankingdigitalrights.org/index2017/assets/graphics/content/Map_v.4%20copy%208.spng

    https://rankingdigitalrights.org/index2017/companies

    The 2017 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index evaluates 22 of the world’s most powerful telecommunications, internet, and mobile companies on their public commitments and disclosed policies affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy.

    Ici pour participer : https://crm.globalvoices.org/translate-ranking-digital-rights

    #internet #droits_humains #multinationales