The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Facebook protest forces Israeli cheese price cuts

Associated Press, By ARON HELLER, June 30, 2011

FILE - In this June 17, 2011 file photo, a consumer picks up a tub of cottage
cheese inside a supermarket in Jerusalem. A high-profile Facebook protest has
scored a victory for consumers in Israel: Their threats of a boycott forced a
dramatic drop in the price of cottage cheese. Israeli newspapers on Thursday,
June 30, 2011, carried headlines such as: "We Won," and "Cottage Cheese Victory."
(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, file)

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A high-profile Facebook protest has scored a victory for consumers in Israel: Their threats of a boycott have forced dairy manufacturers to lower the price of cottage cheese by some 25 percent.

The two-week campaign drew more than 105,000 people to join a Facebook group vowing to boycott the Israeli staple until prices dropped. The campaign has touched a nerve among Israelis concerned about rising prices and eroding salaries.

Spooked by the outrage, the three large Israeli dairy companies that control the market agreed Wednesday to lower the price of a half-pound (250 gram) container to 5.90 shekels ($1.75) after it had risen to close to 8 shekels ($2.30).

Thursday's newspapers carried glowing headlines that declared: "We Won," and "Cottage Cheese Victory."

"Contrary to his media image, the Israeli consumer is no sucker. The absolute opposite is true," said Sever Plocker, economic columnist for the mass Israeli daily, Yediot Ahronot. "When a product looks too expensive to him, he doesn't buy it, but rather its substitute. The Israeli does not replace the product, he replaces the vendor."

The "cottage protest," as it has come to be known in Israel, has sparked hope it will spread to other fields: the price of gasoline, which is now over $8 a gallon ($2 a liter), and other food products have recently skyrocketed as well.

It also has highlighted the power of social media outlets in sparking change, with some comparing it to the revolutions taking place elsewhere in the Middle East.

"True, this is not Tahrir Square yet, the cottage cheese rebellion did not require us to take any real action, just to press 'like' and skip the cottage cheese shelf in the supermarket," columnist Ben Caspit wrote in the Maariv daily, referring to the square that was the epicenter of the Egyptian uprising. "This was inaction, not action, and it demanded no real sacrifice."

The Facebook page of the cottage cheese boycott identifies organizers as regular Israelis who "work for a living, are raising families and bowing under of the weight of the cost of living in Israel."


Related Articles:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Google unveils latest social networking feat

The Jakarta Post, Associated Press | Wed, 06/29/2011

Online search leader Google Inc. is taking yet another stab at social networking, as it tries to go up against Facebook in this wildly popular and lucrative segment of the Internet. This time the project is called Google+ and it aims to make online sharing more like real life.

"We think people communicate in very rich ways," said Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering at Google. "The online tools we have to choose from give us very rigid services."

Other social networking tools make selective sharing within small groups difficult. They don't allow or the nuances that people are used to in offline communication and because they call so many acquaintances "friends," said Gundotra in a blog post announcing the service.

Many Facebook users, for instance, find it difficult to limit their status updates to small groups of people so that their coworkersaren't exposed to party photos or their parents aren't privy to flirtatious posts on their "wall." Though Facebook has tried to address this with a much-hyped "Groups" feature, it's not clear how many people use it.

Gundotra's criticism seems aimed squarely at Facebook, the world's largest online socia network. Facebook has become synonymous with online sharing since its founding seven years ago.

In a prepared statement, Facebook said only that "we're in the early days of making the web more social, and there are opportunities for innovation everywhere."

Google, which dominates Internet search wit a firm hold on two-thirds of the U.S. market, has been experimenting with different social tools since late 2009 with limited success. "Buzz" was one major mishap. 

The product was a social network attached to Google's popular Gmail service, and it wound up exposing email contacts that users did not want to share. Google eventually agreed to submit to independent audits of its privacy controls every other year for the next two decades as part of a Federal Trade Commission settlement.

Google shut down another attempt at online sharing, Google Wave, last August after unveiling it with much fanfare in 2009. The service, which let users chat, share files and collaborate on documents in real time, didn't gain enough fans.

More than a year in the works, the project Google unveiled Tuesday lets users share things with smaller groups of people through a feature called "Circles." This means only college buddies, say, or your favorite co-workers can see the photos, links our updates that you post.

Another feature called "Sparks" aims to make it easier to find online content you care about, be it news about surfing or barbecue recipes. You can then share this with friends who might be interested in it. In an online video, Google calls it "nerding out" and exploring a subject together.

There's also a group messaging service called "Huddle" and a feature that lets users instantly upload photos that they take with mobile phones. The photos are stored in a private photo album on Google's remote servers, and users can access them and share them as they see fit.

Altimeter Group analyst Charlene Li has high hopes for the friend grouping feature. She said that her biggest pet peeve with Facebook is its existing friend management tools. She noted that millions of people already use Google to share things with others via email, and Google+ looks like a natural extension of this type of sharing, making it more functional and organized.

"I think Facebook is going to have to up its game," she said.

Google+ is undergoing what the company calls a "field trial," so it's accessible by invitation only and not yet available to the public. The company declined to say when it'll be more widely available.

Lou Kerner, a social media analyst with Wedbush Securities, believes the game is over in the competition to become the world's global social network. With 700 million users, Facebook has won, he said.

There's a lot more to the social Web than just creating a successful social network, though, and Kerner thinks that with Google+ the search leader is trying to make its existing product offerings more social.

"I don't think they're seeing this as a direct competitor to Facebook," he said.

Google+ does have its skeptics.

"People have their social circles on Facebook," said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst with research firm eMarketer. "Asking them to create another social circle is challenging."

And Google is still best known for its flagship service, online search.

"The whole idea of a Google social network...they've been throwing stuff against the wall for several years and so forth nothing has stuck." Going to Google to be social, she added, is like "going to Starbucks for the muffins. Or, for that matter, going to Facebook for search."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Microsoft puts Office in the cloud, confronts Google

Reuters, by Bill Rigby, SEATTLE | Tue Jun 28, 2011


Setting up a public website in edit mode on Microsoft 365 is shown
in this handout image. (
Credit: Reuters/ Microsoft)

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp is making its biggest move into the mobile, Internet-accessible world of cloud computing this week, as it takes the wraps off a revamped online version of its hugely profitable Office software suite.

The world's largest software company is heaving its two-decade old set of applications -- including Outlook email, Excel spreadsheets and SharePoint collaboration tools -- into an online format so that customers can use them on a variety of devices from wherever they can get an Internet connection.

It wants to push back against Google Inc, which has stolen a small but worrying percentage of its corporate customers with cheaper, web-only alternatives, which remove the need for companies to spend time on installing software or managing servers.

"It's obvious that Microsoft has to do this if they're going to remain competitive with Google," said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of money manager YCMNET Advisors. "It's something they have to do."

Microsoft shares rose 3.7 percent on Monday, the largest gain in a single trading day since September, partly buoyed by hopes that it can ultimately boost profits by extending its software dominance to the growing cloud sector.

"If they execute effectively and it's adopted, it could be a game changer," said Yoshikami. "Whether or not that will happen is a whole other story."

Microsoft has offered online versions of some Office programs -- chiefly Outlook email -- for its corporate customers for several years, and last year rolled out free versions for individual home users.

Chief Executive Steve Ballmer is set to present an overhauled and updated set of offerings -- collectively called Office 365 -- at an event in New York City on Tuesday morning, underlining the company's newfound online focus.

GROWING MARKET

The market for web-based software services is heating up, and every company, government department and local authority is getting pitches from Microsoft and Google whenever they reevaluate their office software.

It's a new challenge for Microsoft, which built itself up on expensive versions of software installed on individual computers. That business model turned the Office unit into Microsoft's most profitable, earning more than $3 billion alone last quarter.

Microsoft's plan is to make up for smaller profit margins from web-based applications -- due to the cost of handling data and keeping up servers -- by grabbing a larger slice of companies' overall technology spending.

Last October, when it rolled out a test version of the new service, Microsoft said it planned to charge from $2 per user per month for basic email services to $27 per user per month for advanced offerings. Google charges a flat fee of $50 per user per year for its Web-based Google Apps product, which offers email, calendars, word processing and more online.

Microsoft, like Google, will host users' data remotely, and maintain all the servers in vast data centers. Unlike Google, it will also allow companies to put their data on dedicated servers if they choose, or keep the data on their own premises.

The full launch of Office 365 will spice up the lively competition with Google for new users.

Earlier this month, Google snagged InterContinental Hotels Group as a major customer, moving 25,000 of its employees onto Google email from Outlook.

Google, which has had the most success in the small and medium-sized business range, says there are now 40 million users of online Google Apps suite. Microsoft does not publish equivalent numbers, but research firm comScore has estimated 750 million people worldwide use Office in some form.

But Internet-centric Google -- whose success is based on its dominance in web search -- is confident it has the upper hand in the cloud.

"Compared to what they (Microsoft) have in the market today, they have nowhere to go but up," said Dave Girouard, head of Google's worldwide enterprise business. "We feel we're years ahead of them in terms of building a viable cloud solution that just works."

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)


Related Article:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Updated and more detailed Google Transparency Report

Google Blog, 6/27/2011

Our Transparency Report discloses the information that governments have asked for over the past six months. For our latest batch of data, covering July through December 2010, we wanted to improve the way we give you the information, so we’ve updated the look of the report and added more details.

We've highlighted some significant changes in the data and provided context about why those changes may have occurred during this reporting period. We’ve also made it easier for you to spot trends in the data yourself. For example, we’ve changed the format so you can now see data on a country-by-country basis. We’re also clearly disclosing the reasons why we’ve been asked to remove content—such as an allegation of defamation or hate speech.




For the first time, we’re also revealing the percentage of user data requests we’ve complied with in whole or in part. This gives you a better idea of how we’ve dealt with the requests we receive from government agencies—like local and federal police—for data about users of our services and products.

Our goal is to provide our users access to information and to protect the privacy of our users. Whenever we receive a request, we first check to make sure it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying. When possible, we notify affected users about requests for user data that may affect them. And, if we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it.

We hope that our website improvements help you to see more clearly how the web is shaped by government influence and how Google responds to requests for information and removals.

Posted by Matt Braithwaite, Transparency Engineering


Related Articles:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Net neutrality enshrined in Dutch law

Netherlands becomes first European country to ensure web providers cannot charge more to access certain services

guardian.co.uk, Associated Press, Thursday 23 June 2011

The Dutch parliament has approved a new net neutrality law that will ensure
free access to services such as Skype Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images


The Netherlands has become the first country in Europe to enshrine the concept of network neutrality into national law by banning its mobile telephone operators from blocking or charging consumers extra for using internet-based communications services.

The measure, which was adopted with a broad majority in the lower house of parliament, will prevent KPN, the Dutch telecommunications market leader, and the Dutch arms of Vodafone and T-Mobile from blocking or charging for internet services like Skype or WhatsApp, a free text service. Its sponsors said that the measure would pass a pro forma review in the Dutch senate.

Analysts said the Dutch move could shape the evolving European debate over network neutrality and push other countries to limit operators from acting as self-appointed toll collectors of the mobile internet.

"I could also see some countries following the Dutch example," said Jacques de Greling, an analyst at Natixis, a French bank. "I believe there will be pressure from consumers to make it clear what they are buying, whether it is the full internet or internet-lite."

The Dutch restrictions on operators are the first in the EU. The European commission and European parliament have endorsed network neutrality guidelines but have not yet taken legal action against operators that block or impose extra fees on consumers using services such as Skype, the voice and video service being acquired by Microsoft, and WhatsApp, a mobile software maker based in California.

Advocates hailed the move as a victory for consumers, while industry officials predicted that mobile broadband charges could rise in the Netherlands to compensate for the new restrictions.

"We support network neutrality," said Sandra de Jong, a spokeswoman for Consumentenbond, the largest Dutch consumer organisation, based in The Hague. "We don't think operators should be able to restrict the internet. That would be a bad precedent."

Only one other country, Chile, has written network neutrality requirements into its telecommunications law. The Chilean law, which was approved in July 2010, took effect in May.

In the US, an attempt by the Federal Communications Commission to impose a similar set of network neutrality restrictions on American operators has been tied up in legal challenges from the industry.

Related Articles:


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Google Update: Investing another $102 million in the Alta Wind Energy Center

Google Blog, 6/22/11

Today, we’re increasing our investment in the Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) in Tehachapi, Calif. by providing another $102 million to finance the 168 MW Alta V Project. This adds to the $55 million we invested last month for the 102 MW Alta IV project. Citibank is joining us again to invest in Alta V.

We are particularly excited about AWEC because it will be one of the largest wind energy centers in the world, with over 1 GW of production scheduled to be on line by the end of the year and 1,550 MW when fully completed. It’ll deliver that energy using the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP), one of the first and largest transmission projects developed specifically for clean energy.


My colleague Arielle Bertman on a turbine at AWEC

As we noted before, the energy produced at AWEC will be sold to Southern California Edison under a power purchase agreement signed with the developer, Terra-Gen Power, in 2006. So we won’t be purchasing any of the energy produced at Alta V. Rather, we’re investors and will be using the same innovative leveraged lease financial structure we used for Alta IV, meaning Google and Citibank will own Alta V and lease it back to Terra-Gen, who will manage and operate both projects under long-term agreements. It’s a financial structure that we hope will encourage new types of investors to consider investing in wind.

With these two projects, we’ve now invested $157 million in 270 MW of clean, wind energy generation at AWEC. That brings our total invested to more than $780 million, with approximately $700 million invested this year alone -- all in projects that not only provide us attractive financial returns but also help to accelerate the deployment of over 1.7 GWs of clean renewable energy.

Posted by Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Academics, Internet activists confident in power of social media

Deutsche Welle, 21 June 2011  

Many Tunisians were roused to protest
via Facebook
Many still believe in the power of the Internet to induce democratic change. However, others point out that the Tunisian and Egyptian cases are the exception, rather than the rule.

Despite the recent unmasking of two supposed female lesbian bloggers who turned out to be straight men, many experts are still confident in the power of social networking to mobilize social change.

Whether in Egypt, Tunisia or other global hotspots, many say that the Internet is a political catalyst.

"The risk of getting caught is much less than if I go on the street," said Marie Möller, an economist at the University of Münster, in an interview with Deutsche Welle.

"And in this way, people realized that they were not the only ones doing it, but others in other parts of the country - they were able to coordinate large protests. And if many people are in a certain place at the same time, the risk of being punished is much less."

A chance to test the waters

Möller calls this the "upstream coordination problem." She said that in one of her recent studies, she and her colleagues examined the cost-benefit analysis of people who live under dictatorships.

There, the incentive for street protests is really low because people are afraid of severe punishment by the regime. However, she said, the Internet is a new way for protesters to coordinate and be effective.

One of the most notable online voices from Tunisia has been Slim Amamou, a well-known Tunisian Twitter-user and blogger, who was jailed during the waning days of the Ben Ali regime, and for a brief time was in the post-Ben Ali government as the Secretary of State for Sport and Youth.

"It's clear that this revolution surprised everyone," he said. "The power of social media and the Internet was never known to be able to reach this point. The case of Tunisia has proven this for the first time in history - of course it was important."

A mixed blessing for social change 

Beckedahl doubts that the Tunisian
 and Egyptian examples can be easily
replicated
However, some psychology experts note that it's not always easy to translate the simple click to join a Facebook group compared to actually going out in the street and protesting - in other words, that at least in the Egyptian and Tunisian case, that these were different stories.

"Before people get on the street, they have to progress emotionally," said Peter Kruse, a professor of psychology at the University of Bremen.

Kruse says this high degree of immediate, emotional shock "is no longer necessary" because protesters can read about it online first.

"I think that now, these strong emotions are only coming from the side of conservative forces that want to maintain the status quo, and not so much from the active revolutionary side."

However, it's important not to get too swept away in the romantic idea that Internet tools necessarily lead to democratic change, warns Markus Beckedahl, who edits the popular blog, Netzpolitik.org.

He cited the example of China which has become notorious in exerting sophisticated, tight control over its national Internet.

"We are witnessing an arms race between intelligence and censorship infrastructure and anti-censorship tools," Beckedahl told Deutsche Welle.

Author: Andreas Noll / cjf
Editor: Nathan Witkop

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Austrian 'FunkFeuer' helps American 'Internet-in-a-suitcase' project

Deutsche Welle, 17 June 2011

Rooftop antennas create a blanket
of WiFi coverage
An Austrian wireless networking project that plants Wi-Fi antennae across rooftops is a key element in an American government "liberation technology" project designed to circumvent and thwart Internet filters, censorship and surveillance.

The rooftops of Vienna may seem like an unlikely site for tech innovations.

However, FunkFeuer, an obscure Austrian wireless mesh networking project that plants WiFi antennae across some rooftops is now a key element in a large "liberation technology" program by the American government. This new group projects is designed to circumvent and thwart Internet filters, censorship and surveillance in authoritarian regimes around the world.

The Austrian project, called FunkFeuer - or "network fire" in German - is an experimental mesh network in Vienna and other cities that has been underway for five years.

While FunkFeuer is not receiving any money from the American government, its popular, free, open-source mesh networking software is being now used by a tech initiative from the New America Foundation, an American NGO, which has received a US contract to work on a new shadow Internet project.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the US State Department is pouring millions of dollars into various projects, one of which is a so-called "Internet-in-a-suitcase." The idea is that American agents could pass along a satellite connection, quickly and surreptitiously deploying a local WiFi network.

"We’re conscious of the fact that this is probably the edgiest, most kind of entrepreneurial kind of programming in the US Government and that it’s on the cutting edge of technology and one cutting edge of history," said an unnamed State Department official, who spoke to journalists in Washington, DC on Wednesday.

"I mean, this is - we’re watching the need for this kind of support play out in real time as we look across the Middle East. But again, the need is not one particular piece of technology or one silver bullet."

The American government’s aim is to help protestors in Libya, Iran and other global hotspots by building shadow wireless networks - by drawing on the FunkFeuer concept.

In other words, the project eventually should be able to, at a moment’s notice, smuggle in a satellite phone, and various other WiFi equipment - similar to what’s used in Vienna - that could be used amongst trusted activists, even if the local government shuts down nearly all regular access.

"FunkFeuer mesh antennas network with each other and pass on data packets to each other in a very unpredictable way – and eventually the smart network learns how to send the data packets to the Internet," explained Aaron Kaplan, one of FunkFeuer's leaders, in an interview with the Deutsche Welle.

In other words, what makes a mesh network different is that it’s much harder to shut down, because even if one point is switched off the network will still function. That’s unlike a more traditional, linear, point-to-point type of network that is more commonly used to pass a WiFi signal across a large distance.

Kaplan added in an e-mail sent to Deutsche Welle that he is helping the Open Technology Initiative, as part of the New America Foundation, to “integrate the mesh software (that FunkFeuer actively uses in its network) into smartphones.”

Network fire

Kaplan and others have been working for years setting up this experimental network in various parts of Vienna and other parts of Austria. There are lots of other kinds of mesh networks around the world, but this one is particularly large, and it’s also open-source, which means anyone can tinker with the technical specifications.

These antennas share an Internet
connection across a mesh network
Most recently, in January 2011, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak shut off nearly all Internet access in Egypt for five days earlier this year, prior to his abdicating power. Internet access remains heavily censored and restricted in many nations of the world, including Iran, China, Cuba and Myanmar.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Washington, D.C. earlier this year on the subject of Internet freedom, noting that the American government would award $25 million in project funding in 2011 to fight Internet repression.

"We are taking a venture capital-style approach, supporting a portfolio of technologies, tools, and training, and adapting as more users shift to mobile devices," Clinton said at the time. "We have our ear to the ground, talking to digital activists about where they need help, and our diversified approach means we're able to adapt the range of threats that they face."

Vulnerable activists

However, while the US has been aware of these projects for years, other technology experts remain concerned that these projects may make activists more vulnerable, as these networks are relatively easy to detect, and shut down.

Alexander Limburg, who works at the Austrian Institute for International Affairs, and advises the Austrian government on cybersecurity, noted that while this idea is not completely new, it does represent a new, more concrete, direction for American policy.

Austrian developers have been working
on FunkFeuer for years
"In 2006 and 2007, [then-Sen.] Clinton and [then-Secretary of State] Condoleeza Rice both had people in the State Department who were very familiar with high-tech and who also sought to implement similar types of technology in Iraq to support counter-insurgency efforts," Limburg told Deutsche Welle. "So in the last six or seven years, the State Department has been acutely aware of technology and democratization."

But, he's a little bit skeptical about this project - mainly because Limburg says it’s relatively easy to detect, and therefore, shut down.

"Belarus is a very good example it’s also a country where such a thing has been tried before," he said. "It's also proved to be very dangerous for people who have tried to implement it. So, what becomes of the rooftop antennae remains to be seen."

Kaplan acknowledges that this type of network can be shut down, but adds that higher levels of detection avoidance are possible. Authorities, just like activists, can not only see the names of the wireless access points if they turn on their laptops or iPhones, but also can use other software to find hidden networks.

Still, Kaplan isn’t phased by his new link to US geopolitics.

"Years ago, we decided to make the mesh technology open source, so in essence everybody is allowed to use it,” he wrote in an e-mail. “It is out there on the Internet in the open, and [the Open Technology Initiative] is allowed to integrate it."

Still, he knows that FunkFeuer may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, and that activists need to recognize the limits of the tools that they use at any given time.

"You have to be very clear that technology is just the tool and when you develop a tool, [a new] tool that defeats the [original] tool will be developed [soon after]," he said. "I would be careful, you know, to put so much hope into one particular tool."

Author: Kerry Skyring, Vienna / sad
Editor: Cyrus Farivar

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why is Indonesia so in love with the Blackberry?

BBC News, Dewi Safitri , BBC Indonesian Service

Some of Indonesia's three million Blackberry owners use their smartphones
to pass the time until they can break their Islamic Ramadan fast.

As the joke in Indonesia goes, if you don't have the right gadget you may end up a social outcast.

Undoubtedly, the gadget of the moment is the Blackberry smartphone.

A walk through a packed food court at lunchtime in Jakarta proves the point. Most patrons are glued to their smartphones, available in a myriad of colours but covered nonetheless in decorative cases.

Incessant message alerts reverberate around the food hall amid the clatter of cutlery.

Internet guru Onno Purbo believes Indonesian fans see the Blackberry as the trendier, flashier gadget.

Smartphone fever

But it is not just professionals like Purbo who are caught up in the hype. High school students like 14-year-old Haryo Suryo Susilo are also using them to stay in touch with their friends.

When Haryo meets us in a hotel lobby in Jogjakarta, he has been playing on his white smartphone for half an hour, ignoring the fruit platter in front of him.

A certain smartphone is also popular
with members of parliament
"I've only had it three months and I love it," he says. His visibly annoyed mother, Sari Susilo, says he spends all his time on his new device.

Haryo's mother is a smartphone user herself and it is clear his love for his prize piece of technology runs in the family. His father even uses two smartphones to keep his supermarket business running and stay in touch with his family.

But why smartphones, rather than mobile phones? Because they're so much cooler, says Sari.

This kind of smartphone fever means Research In Motion, Blackberry's Canadian developers, needs hardly any advertising to lure in new customers or impress Indonesia's estimated three million existing users.

Despite this, there are high-profile marketing campaigns, most notably featuring the president's daughter-in-law.

New freaks

Sources: BBC Indonesia Country Profile, Internet World Stats, Socialbakers, Penn Olson
Marketing analysts say it is word of mouth that drives smartphone sales in Indonesia but how this all began is a mystery.

The market leader's features are little different to those of other smartphones available, although users can message each other for free. Somehow this lifestyle product has gained cult status in Indonesia.


INDONESIA FACTS
  • Population: 232 million
  • Internet users: 30 million
  • Facebook users: 37 million
  • Twitter users: 5 million
  • Blackberry users: 3 million

"We are a nation of consumers, always on the lookout for the latest trends," says Purbo.

Self-declared trendsetters like radio DJ Tommy Prabowo echo Purbo's views.

"When I first got a Blackberry in 2008, very few people in Jakarta used them.

"But now I've just got to have it - 99 per cent of people I know use one," he says.

Over the last two years, Prabowo has changed his smartphone four times to keep up with the latest trends.

The phenomenon is similar to the explosion of mobile phones in Indonesia less than a decade ago, making it one of the biggest mobile phone markets in the world.

"You were not cool unless you had the latest Nokia. We're heading in the same direction now," says Prabowo.

The DJ describes himself and his friends as 'new freaks'.

"Some people really don't know how to use any Blackberry features apart from its messaging service. It is new and hip, and that's it."

Online abuse

Prita Mulyasari was acquitted of
defamation after social media backing
The explosion of smartphone users seems to have coincided with a surge in social media enthusiasts.

According to the Internet World Stats website, since 2000 internet usage in Indonesia has grown by 1500 per cent.

Web statisticians Socialbakers estimate Indonesia has 37 million Facebook users, second only to the United States, while traffic counter comScore ranked Indonesia fourth in the world for Twitter reach.

The importance of social networking came to Indonesia's attention in 2009, when Prita Mulyasari, an Indonesian bank worker, was jailed for defamation after complaining about hospital treatment in an e-mail to friends.

Her supporters launched enormous Facebook and Twitter campaigns, sparking widespread national and international media coverage, and she was later acquitted of all charges.

More recently, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono used an address to the nation to denounce critics he claims are spreading lies and rumours about him using social media.

The president even cited Blackberry as a platform that can "improve life" but added that those who "use online media to assassinate character or abuse anyone are irresponsible, ignoble and cowardly.'

While US President Barack Obama may be known to be a long-time Blackberry addict, President Yudhoyono is surely the first head of state to mention its impact in an address to the nation.

The next big thing?

Google launched its Android mobile
operating system in Indonesia last year
Internet guru Purbo believes there are many Indonesians who use communication technology for more than just updating their social status.

"This is what needs to be nurtured and the government should have something to do with it," he says.

For years, the Indonesian government has been negotiating with Research In Motion over regulations that require the Canadian company to build a local server.

Purbo believes the government needs to be more pro-active in pushing Research In Motion to invest in Indonesia.

"Why stop at one server? It's a small piece of equipment and can be put anywhere. Why not ask them to build a factory here?

"Indonesian programmers should be getting involved and sharing some of the profit."

All this could change if Google's Android system, which Purbo describes as "the next big thing" takes over the market.

Android smartphones are yet to win over the Indonesian consumer.

Purbo believes this is because they are largely manufactured in Asia, so are unappealing to Indonesians craving American or European goods.

But with millions of Blackberry users putting pressure on mobile networks, Indonesian providers are having a hard time supplying a reliable service.

"I ditched my Blackberry long ago and use the Android system now, " laughs Purbo.

"It's cheap and made in China."

DJ Prabowo is also keeping a close eye the Android system.

"Some of my friends are using Android already. Others might soon have to catch up," he says with a knowing grin.

Whatever the future holds for smartphone fans in Indonesia, it is clear this is one trendsetter who won't be ending up a social outcast.


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