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.)

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)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lash and jail for Saudi web activist Raef Badawi

BBC News, 30 July 2013

Related Stories 

Raef Badawi was facing a possible
death sentence for apostasy
A Saudi online activist has been jailed for seven years and sentenced to 600 lashes for urging religious liberalisation, his lawyer has said.

The activist, Raef Badawi, co-founded the Free Saudi Liberals website, an online forum for public debate.

He was arrested last year and convicted on Monday of setting up a website that undermined general security.

Amnesty International considers Mr Badawi a political prisoner and has called for his immediate release.

Mr Badawi was originally charged with apostasy, or abandonment of religion, a crime in Saudi Arabia that carries with it the death penalty.

Lawyer Waleed Abu Alkhair told the BBC that Mr Badawi, a father of three, had confirmed in court that he was a Muslim but told the judge "everyone has a choice to believe or not believe."

He was convicted of the charges of setting up a website that undermines general security and of ridiculing religious figures.

The judge ordered that the 600 lashes be administered 150 at a time.

Mr Alkhair said the charges were over comments the activist posted calling for a relaxation of Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islam.

The lawyer said the sentence was unduly harsh.

"The lashes could be spread out but in Sharia this is a sign that the judge wants to insult him," he said.

His lawyer said he will appeal against the decision.

Related Article:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Apple China supplier imposes overtime, hires minors: group

Google – AFP, 29 July 2013

US-based China Labor Watch said in a report that three plants run by
Pegatron Group violated standards set by Apple (AFP/File, Ed Jones)

BEIJING — Three Chinese factories making Apple products impose excessive overtime and employ minors, a US-based advocacy group said Monday, in the latest allegations of labour violations against the US tech giant's suppliers.

The iPhone and iPad maker has faced pressure to better oversee often-poor manufacturing conditions in China since 13 workers for one of its suppliers committed suicide in 2010.

US-based China Labor Watch said in a report that three plants run by Pegatron Group violated standards set by Apple.

Apple's website says that these include no underage labour, overtime to be voluntary, and a maximum 60-hour workweek.

China Labor Watch said the 70,000 employees at the three Pegatron sites averaged 66, 67 and 69 hours per week, and that "many workers" were under 18, some of them interns from vocational schools.

Overtime was mandatory during busy periods, it said, adding that employees at one site who refused to work extra hours once would lose the chance to do so for the rest of the month.

The report also described crowded dormitory rooms housing up to 12 people, insufficient fire escape routes and fines for behaviour such as "failing to tuck in one's chair after eating" and "absence from unpaid meetings".

It also said managers screened out job applicants who were pregnant or older than 35, and rushed through safety training.

Apple said in a statement it had audited Pegatron facilities 15 times since 2007 and found last month that their workweek averaged 46 hours.

It said it had acted on previous complaints raised by China Labor Watch and would "immediately" investigate claims in the latest report "that are new to us".

"We are proud of the work we do with our suppliers to uncover problems and improve conditions for workers," it said.

"Apple is committed to providing safe and fair working conditions throughout our supply chain."

The company, which relies primarily on about 200 suppliers, came under the spotlight after a spate of incidents among workers for the Taiwan-owned firm Foxconn, one of its major manufacturers.

A strike last October at a Foxconn plant making iPhone5 parts involved up to 4,000 employees, who were forced to work through a national holiday.

After at least 13 employees apparently took their lives in 2010 -- not all at plants making Apple products -- Foxconn pledged to improve working conditions and raise salaries.

China Labor Watch said it sent undercover investigators to the three Pegatron factories and conducted nearly 200 worker interviews between March and July this year.

Pegatron, a Taiwanese company, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Germans demonstrate against NSA spying as Berlin appoints cyber commissioner

Deutsche Welle, 27 July 2013

People have taken to the streets across Germany to protest against NSA spying. Berlin, meanwhile, has appointed a diplomat to defend Germany's interests in cyberspace in the face of the NSA scandal.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Germany on Saturday to protest against surveillance by the NSA. The Green Party, the Pirate Party, the global alliance "Stop Watching Us" and several NGOs called protests in more than 30 German cities.

According to police, 2,000 people participated in demonstrations in Hamburg, while 1,000 turned out in Frankfurt am Main. Five-hundred people showed up in Berlin and Karlsruhe respectively. Hundreds more demonstrated in Dresden, Leipzig, Stuttgart, Tübingen and Ulm.

"The people have had enough of the attempts by Angela Merkel and her government to cover up the scandal and placate the people," said Malte Spitz, a member of the Green Party's national committee.

"If millions of people are being permanently subjected to surveillance, then it restricts their freedom and lacks any measure of proportionality."Cyber commissioner appointed
Meanwhile, the German Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday that it had established an office for cyber issues, confirming a report by the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has appointed diplomat Dirk Brengelmann to the new post. Brengelmann previously worked for NATO from 2008-2010 as an assistant secretary general of political issues and security policy.

According to the foreign ministry, Brengelmann will represent Germany's interests on cyber policy at the international level. The new position is modeled after the US State Department's coordinator for cyber issues.

Intelligence agencies deny misconduct

The head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency said on Saturday that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was not collecting data in Germany. The news magazine Der Spiegel had reported earlier in the week that the NSA had given German intelligence services access to a data collection program called "XKeyscore."

"XKeyscore is not a spy program, it's an analysis program," domestic intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maaßen told the daily Die Welt newspaper, adding that his agency was only "testing" the program.

Maaßen went on to say that there was no substance to accusations of misconduct by German intelligence agencies regarding surveillance activities.

But the political opposition has continued to hammer Chancellor Angela Merkel for not doing enough to protect German citizens' privacy rights in the face of alleged snooping by US intelligence agencies. The center-left Social Democratic candidate for chancellor, Peer Steinbrück, accused Merkel of being uncritical of the US and having a lax approach toward the surveillance scandal.

"There were massive violations of fundamental rights in Germany by foreign intelligence agencies," Steinbrück said.

slk/tm (AP, AFP, dpa, EPD, Reuters)

Rumors of NSA surveillance outpost in Wiesbaden persist

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Elite hacker Barnaby Jack dies ahead of Black Hat event

BBC News, 26 July 2013

Related Stories

Barnaby Jack rose to fame after he
demonstrated how to hack a cash
An elite hacker who was due to demonstrate how heart implants could be hacked has died unexpectedly in San Francisco.

Barnaby Jack died on Thursday, the city's medical examiner's office told Reuters, but did not give more details.

He had been due to give a presentation into medical device vulnerabilities at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas taking place next week.

He had said one technique could kill a man from 30 feet (nine metres) away.

IOActive, the security firm at which Mr Jack was director of embedded devices, said it was preparing a statement.

In a tweet, the company said: "Lost but never forgotten our beloved pirate, Barnaby Jack has passed."

His sister Amberleigh Jack, who lives in New Zealand, told Reuters news agency he was 35.

Mr Jack became one of the most famous hackers on the planet after a 2010 demonstration in which he hacked a cashpoint, making it give out money. The technique was dubbed "Jackpotting".

'Social media flood'

More recently, he emerged as a leading expert in the weaknesses that could be found in medical technology.

Last year, he told the BBC about how he had discovered flaws in widely-used insulin pumps which allowed him to compromise the devices.

The hack made it possible to control them and administer a fatal level of insulin, Mr Jack said.

"My purpose was not to allow anyone to be harmed by this because it is not easy to reproduce," he told the BBC during an interview in April 2012.

"But hopefully it will promote some change in these companies and get some meaningful security in these devices."

Mr Jack's expertise and vivid demonstrations of his knowledge at events like Black Hat earned him the respect of many security professionals.

Amberleigh Jack thanked those who have been posting messages of sympathy online.

"So humbled by the social media flood of people that loved @barnaby_jack," she tweeted.

"Thank you all so much for your kind words."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sina Weibo allows users to log in through Facebook

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-07-25

Sina Weibo's homepage, with new Facebook link, upper right.
(Internet photo)

Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, has begun allowing internet users to log in through Facebook and share their Weibo messages, videos and pictures onto the popular social platform.

The move made the microblog service the first major social networking site in China to work with Facebook, although the site is barred from access by the government's infamous firewall. Sina Weibo has begun offering the service on desktop computers and will launch a version for Android and iOS in the near future. Users can also invite their friends on Facebook to open a Sina Weibo account.

The website connects seamlessly with Facebook's developer platform Graph API so that users can now share their messages, videos and pictures on both Sina Weibo and Facebook. They can also share the TV shows and music they watched and listened and their location on both websites.

a Weibo has 530 million registered users around the world, according to its latest financial report. Its Hong Kong division has recently partnered up with local Octopus Cards Limited, which offers a stored value smart card service. Hong Kong users will be able to claim a HK$10 (US$1.2)and HK$100 (US$12) reward if they open Sina Weibo accounts and invite friends to the website before Aug. 11.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

CIA 'black bag' operations hacked Chinese computers: report

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2013-07-24

No computer is safe from the CIA's remote and manual hacking.
(File photo/CFP)

The United States government has been conducting highly classified "black bag" operations to manually hack into computers and servers in China, according to the Washington DC-based Foreign Policy magazine.

The July 17 article alleges that the CIA, in concert with the secretive National Security Agency, has been carrying out what is referred to as "black bag" operations around the world when they cannot hack into a computer or server remotely.

In such an operation, a crack CIA team would break into the target's premises and do things such as install spyware, bug phones, hack data switching centers, and copy backup files and disks, the report said.

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the CIA developed a series of hacking tools that can allow the US government to easily override commercial computer software, clone mobile phone data and retrieve communication records in other countries, meaning black bag operations have become necessary generally only in regions where the US does not have an embassy, such as Iran or North Korea. US embassies in many Middle Eastern countries, for example, already have signal monitoring stations that can eavesdrop on all telecommunication signals within a 100 mile radius, according to the report.

Over the past 10 years, black bag operations have taken place in the Middle East, South Asia and East Asia, especially in China, the report added.

Spying and hacking activities by the US government has always been a sensitive topic, though this is not stopped the CIA from expanding its toolkit in a post 9/11 world. Last month, ex-CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden also lifted the lid on the NSA's Prism telephone and internet surveillance program, which has further placed scrutiny on US hacking activities both domestically and abroad.

Legislation to give US telecommunications giant Verizon Communications and Google legal protection for sharing cyber-attack information with the US government has stalled after Snowden's revelations, which revealed that the companies are already turning over private user data.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Secret US court renews US phone surveillance program

Deutsche Welle, 20 July 2013

A secret US intelligence court has renewed a surveillance program that orders Verizon to hand over millions of phone records to the government. The program was among those revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The office of National Intelligence Director James Clapper said Friday the program was set to expire but that they had sought and received renewal from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. The secret surveillance program, which has been in place for years, must be renewed every three months.

Clapper's office said in a statement that they were confirming the renewal of the program, the existence of which only became public knowledge after it was leaked last month, in an effort to be more transparent.

Along with Verizon, other major telephone carriers are ordered under the program to provide records of their customers' calls, known as metadata, to the National Security Agency (NSA).

Under a separate program, known as "PRISM," the NSA has the ability to access the data streams of major US companies like Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Google, to collect emails, video chats, pictures and more.

Spying concerns

The government says the programs only target foreign suspects outside the US, but the documents leaked by Snowden indicate that the data collection goes far beyond the confines the government says it has established.

The information revealed by Snowden has sparked a worldwide debate on privacy and concerns over whether Washington is illegally spying on people both in the US and abroad.

Earlier on Friday, the counsel for the Director of National Intelligence, Robert Litt, reaffirmed the government's position that "these programs are legal" because they're authorized by Congress, the courts and the White House. Litt also said that officials were working to declassify information on the recently-revealed programs.

"One of the hurdles to declassification earlier was that the existence of the programs was classified," Litt said during a question-and-answer after a speech at the Brookings Institution. "It's very hard to think about releasing the opinion that says a particular program is legal if you're not going to disclose what the program is. Now that the program has been declassified we're going back and we're looking at these opinions."

dr/jm (Reuters, AP)

Secret US court's actions mired in controversy

Related Articles:

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“…  Government

Let us speak of government. We're not speaking of your government, but of any government - the way it works, how it survives, how it has survived, the way it campaigns, and how it elects leaders. It's going to change.

Years ago, I told you, "When everybody can talk to everybody, there can be no secrets." Up to this point on this planet, government has counted on one thing - that the people can't easily talk to each other on a global scale. They have to get their information through government or official channels. Even mass media isn't always free enough, for it reports that which the government reports. Even a free society tends to bias itself according to the bias of the times. However, when you can have Human Beings talking to each other all at once, all over the planet without government control, it all changes, for there is open revelation of truth.

Democracy itself will change and you're going to see it soon. The hold-outs, the few countries I have mentioned in the past, are doomed unless they recalibrate. They're doomed to be the same as they have been and won't be able to exist as they are now with everyone changing around them.

I mentioned North Korea in the past. Give it time. Right now, the young man is under the control of his father's advisors. But when they're gone, you will see something different, should he survive. Don't judge him yet, for he is being controlled.

In government, if you're entire voting base has the ability to talk to itself without restriction and comes up with opinions by itself without restriction, it behooves a politician to be aware and listen to them. This will change what politicians will do. It will change the way things work in government. Don't be surprised when some day a whole nation can vote all at once in a very unusual way. Gone will be the old systems where you used to count on horseback riders to report in from faraway places. Some of you know what I am talking about. Government will change. The systems around you, both dark and light, will change. You're going to start seeing something else, too, so let's change the subject and turn the page. …”

OECD plans attack on tax havens

Deutsch Welle, 16 July 2013

Leading industrialized nations have long sought a bigger chunk of tax revenue generated by multinational corporations. Now, they are finally collaborating on an action plan to dry up the tax loopholes.

Large multinational companies – whether it's Apple, Starbucks or Volkswagen – shift their profits wherever they see a tax benefit and cover up the tracks. Such maneuvering is legal for lack of rules and regulations on tax avoidance.

But that could change. On July 19, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) aims to present a plan to curb the tax tricks of powerful multinationals - a plan they hope will be implemented later by the 20 most important industrialized and emerging economies - the G20. A first draft of the action plan has been obtained by the German media. Its key message: Corporations should pay taxes where the value of a product or service was created, a requirement tailored to undermine profit-shifting.

How transparent should corporate data be?

Under the plan, multinationals must disclose all their various costs in all OECD countries, including license expenses, earned interest, administration fees and wages. “This is a strict set a rules, much stricter than anything we've seen previously,” said tax expert Michael Bormann with bdp Venturis Management Consultants. The rules, he added, would substantially hinder companies from shifting profits generated in countries with higher taxes to those with lower taxes.

Tax expert Michael Bormann views the
planned rules as the strictist ever
For Markus Meinzer from the German interest group, Tax Justice Network, the impact of such a program depends on whether the data will be available to everyone, or only to tax authorities. “Only when the data is public are consumers in a position to make decisions,” he said, underscoring the importance for all corporate data to be subject to total transparency. “Only in this way can they make a clear judgment about a company's behavior.”

But Bormann believes it will be legally difficult to enforce such transparency, pointing to tax secrecy requirements that prevent disclosure to all citizens. Also, there is no clear legal system to force only large corporations to total transparency, he argues. “Establishing a limit for a certain sales amount is very arbitrary,” he said.

Internet companies as a special case

Markus Meinzer demands
total transparency
While the sale of coffee, in the case of Starbucks, involves a clearly physical connection between the customer, the product and the money, OECD countries struggle with virtual connections in the Internet world and how to tax companies, like Google and Amazon, according to Bormann. It's much easier, he claims, for online service providers to shift profits.

Meinzer agrees. “Internet companies have no provable value,” he said. That's why he is for taxing companies in the country where consumers purchase their products online. “Clicks would be a good starting point to see where profits could be taxed,” he said. After the first OECD draft, the ideas are to be integrated into a new law by 2014.

This approach, the experts agree, would prevent low-tax countries from using favorable tax models to compete with other countries. There is also talk of including non-OECD countries in the plan. “German tax authorities, who would like to increase their tax revenue, believe it is only logical to be against all nations with low taxes,” Bormann said. He views, however, that tax competition can be useful and desirable but only if based on real businesses. “Why shouldn't a country use a tax advantage to attract companies to establish a local presence?” Bormann asked. Dealing with “letter-box” companies, he added, would be simple; an international agreement, for instance, could stipulate that if there were no business activities behind such a company, there would also be no tax benefits.

Decision not before September 

The G20 will decide on a new tax
evasion law in September
The OECD will only be successful in its battle against tax evasion if supervisory bodies are established to govern the companies, according to Meinzer. If only voluntary measures are introduced, billions of dollars in tax revenue will continue to slip through governments' fingers, he believes.

The official draft is to be presented on July 19 and will be discussed by the G20 prior to their summit in St. Petersburg in September. After that, large multinationals may find that their tax tricks no longer work.

Related Articles:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

China smartphone owners swell number of internet users

BBC News, 17 July 2013

Related Stories

China now has 591 million internet users, according to the latest official figures from the country.

The China Internet Network Information Centre added that 464 million citizens accessed the net via smartphones or other wireless devices.

The headline figure marks a 10% rise on last year and indicates 44% of the country's population uses the web and other net services.

The rapid growth is reflected in the valuations of some local tech firms.

Earlier this week the country's most popular search engine Baidu announced it would pay $1.9bn (£1.3bn) to buy 91 Wireless Websoft, a firm that runs two app stores in the country.

A forthcoming flotation of Alibaba, the Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant, is also expected to value the firm at $62.5bn, according to research by Bloomberg.

Western brands have also been keen to target the market, as was highlighted by football team Manchester United's decision to launch a Sina Weibo account earlier this month.

The Twitter-like micro-blogging service reported in February that it had more than 500 million registered users, with about 46 million people using the product on any given day.

Another Chinese firm, Tencent, has said its QQ instant messaging service had an even high number - 798.2 million registered users - at the end of last year.

That is more than China's entire net population, but can be explained by the app's popularity in Indonesia and other parts of Asia as well as the fact that some mainland-based netizens would have registered multiple accounts.

The China Internet Network Information Centre's data on internet use goes back to June 2009 when it says there were 338 million people using the net on the mainland, 320 million of whom were doing so via a mobile device.

India bids goodbye to the telegram

Deutsche Welle, 17 July 2013

Millions of people relied on it for decades. But now India's state-run telegram service has come to an end. Authorities felt telegrams were no longer commercially viable in a fast-growing age of digital communications.

It served as the harbinger of good and bad news for generations of Indians. The telegram conveyed the birth of a child, a death, and greetings on birthdays and festivals. But the curtains finally came down on the iconic 163-year-old Indian telegram service, on July 15th.

The service closed because of mounting financial losses and becoming redundant in an era of mobile phones and the Internet. "The losses were getting bigger. It was not practical to have kept it going much longer. We lost $250 million US dollars in the last seven years and it was time to put an end to the service," said Shameem Akhtar, general manager at the Bharat Sanchar Nigam, which runs India's telegram service.

One last telegram

To commemorate the last day, thousands crammed into telegraph offices across the country to send souvenir messages to family and friends before the service passed into the annals of history. The last recorded telegram was sent to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

The state-run telegram service was
closed due to increasing financial
"It is indeed a sad day for me. I have sent thousands of telegrams in my 35 years working in this small, dingy office. I even started typing up messages on computers to be sent via telegraph, instead of using Morse code," Madan Gopal, a telegraph operator in Delhi told DW.

Known popularly as "Taar" or wire, the telegram service, which provided millions with a fast and reliable mode of communication, began in 1850, when the first trial telegraph line was established between Kolkata and Diamond Harbour, a southern suburb nearly 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city center. The British East India Company then started using the telegraph a year later, and by 1854, lines had been laid across the country.

By 1856, the network stretched 4000 miles across the British Raj, connecting the strategically vital cities of Kolkata, Agra, Bombay, Peshawar, and Madras.  "It certainly played an important role in the independence struggle and research shows that back in those days freedom fighters in the forefront of the movement used to cut the telegram lines to stop the British from communicating," sociologist Dipankar Gupta told DW.

From telegrams to smartphones

At its peak in 1985, the service sent 600,000 telegrams a day across India and had a network of 45,000 telegraph offices. Countless remote towns and villages across the country depended on the telegram for getting news where telephones were rare. Most telegraph workers criss-crossed inhospitable terrain to deliver the messages.

Experts say the telegram played an
 important in the Indian struggle for
But with the arrival of the e-mail and reliable landline phones, the days of the telegram were counted. According to estimates, there are now over 850 million mobile phone subscribers and over 160 million Internet users in India. A recent study by Cisco has claimed that India has the fastest Internet traffic growth in the world, and that the number is expected to grow to 348 million users by 2017.

India is only the latest country to bid goodbye to the telegram. In the US, the main service provided by Western Union was shut down in 2006. Over the past decade, several countries have also phased out telegram services. The closing of the world's last major commercial telegram service marks an end of an era.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nineteen groups sue NSA over data collection

Google – AFP, Robert Lever (AFP), 16 July 2013

Protesters rally outside the US Capitol against the NSA's surveillance
 programs June 13, 2013 in Washington, DC (Getty Images/AFP/File,
Win McNamee)

WASHINGTON — Nineteen US organizations filed suit Tuesday against the National Security Agency claiming their constitutional rights were violated by its secret data collection programs.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed the action on behalf of a variety of groups including the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, the gun rights group Calguns Foundation, Greenpeace and Human Rights Watch.

The suit filed in California federal court alleges that the mass collection of phone records under the so-called PRISM program violates Americans' constitutional rights.

"Our case seeks to apply the right of association in the digital age," said EFF attorney Cindy Cohn.

Cohn said the suit, based on a longstanding Supreme Court ruling, contends the government's collection of "metadata" or information on calls placed, without the content of the conversation, allows the government to monitor who is associating with various groups.

"People who hold controversial views -- whether it's about gun ownership policies, drug legalization, or immigration -- often must express views as a group in order to act and advocate effectively," said Cohn.

"But fear of individual exposure when participating in political debates over high-stakes issues can dissuade people from taking part. That's why the Supreme Court ruled in 1958 that membership lists of groups have strong First Amendment protection."

Sherwin Siy of the digital advocacy group Public Knowledge, which joined the lawsuit, said the programs "don't just invade privacy; they also harm people's First Amendment right of association."

"When the government collects information about who calls whom, when, and how often, they get a vivid picture of a person's contacts and associations. In the past, authorities have tried to compile lists of association members to discourage people from joining certain groups," Siy said.

Others joining the suit include the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Council on American Islamic Relations, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, People for the American Way and Students for a Sensible Drug Policy.

The case is the latest in a wave of legal action since revelations in the media about the PRISM program, believed to collect vast amounts of phone and Internet data as part of efforts to protect national security.

In a separate case Monday, the secret US court overseeing national security investigations opened the door to declassifying documents related to the government's data collection program in a case involving Internet giant Yahoo!

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the government should review which documents should be declassified and inform the court of its decision by July 29.

The case dates back at least to 2008, when the court issued an order reportedly requiring Yahoo! to allow the government to obtain access to customer data. The Justice Department took "no position" on the request, according to the court document.

Judge Reggie Walton said the Justice Department should address the matter with "priority."

Yahoo! asked the court on June 14 to release documents about the program, shortly after revelations of the vast data collection program.

Other Internet companies including Google and Microsoft have also sought declassification of documents.

The companies have stated they release information only in response to specific court orders, and claim that reports about providing easy access to US authorities are exaggerated.

Yahoo! welcomed the judge's order.

"We're very pleased with the decision by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) ordering the government to conduct a declassification review of the Court's Memorandum of Opinion of April 25, 2008, as well as the legal briefs submitted," a Yahoo! statement said.

"Once those documents are made public, we believe they will contribute constructively to the ongoing public discussion around online privacy."

Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and other top Internet and technology companies have come under heightened scrutiny since word leaked of the vast, covert Internet surveillance program US authorities insist targets only foreign terror suspects and has helped thwart attacks.

Related Articles:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Yahoo wins battle over Prism court papers

BBC News, 16 July 2013

Related Stories

The NSA's Prism surveillance system
has prompted protests around the world
Details of the official justification for the US National Security Agency's wide-ranging Prism surveillance programme look set to be revealed.

Yahoo has won a legal fight that will see papers from a key 2008 court case declassified and published.

The 2008 case is widely seen as pivotal in letting the NSA establish Prism and start gathering data on web use.

The US government has been given until 29 July to say how long it will need to prepare the documents for publication.

Earlier this month, Yahoo filed papers with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisc), seeking permission to publicise the documents it had filed in the original case and the government's response. The Fisc decides whether official applications to carry out surveillance should go ahead.

Yahoo took the legal action to show how vehemently it had objected to government requests to hand over data.

In addition, it said, the transcript of the 2008 case would reveal more about how the US government had justified its wide-ranging surveillance plan known as Prism.

In a statement, Yahoo said the release of the documents would "contribute constructively to the ongoing public discussion around online privacy".

Details about Prism were revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who has now fled the US.

The US government has not filed any objections to the plan to disclose the court documents but will review the papers before publication so it can redact information it does not want published.

"The administration has said they want a debate about the propriety of the surveillance, but they haven't really provided information to inform that debate," Mark Rumold, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation rights group, said.