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How much does the Net's "free and open society" threaten security?

By debate ·
What do you think about former CIA Director George Tenet's remarks about better securing the Internet, even if it comes at the cost of limiting its "free and open" nature? How do you think society can best govern the Internet? Share your comments about the conflict between Internet security and a "free and open" forum, as discussed in the Dec. 20 Internet Security Focus newsletter.

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Some thoughts

by BFilmFan In reply to How much does the Net's " ...

After reading his comments, I immediately thought of comments others have made on this subject:

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."

Noam Chosky

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety."

Benjamin Franklin

"Security gives way to conspiracy."
William Shakespeare's character Artemidorus, in Julius Caesar, act 2, sc. 3, l. 7-8.

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Too Late

by kodiakbear In reply to Some thoughts

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety."

In the age of "do whatever necessary to keep the bad people away, the "umbrella" of national security has saw fit to exploit the human reaction to fear and profit from a very unfortunate tragedy (09-11-2001). As long as we have a governing body that believes they can be everywhere and control everything, we will see most of the personal liberties that this great country was founded on disappear one by one untill nothing is left. This is all done to make us "feel" better. but the reality remains that 70+% of the cargo containers coming into this country are unchecked, and it is still possible to ship very dangerous items through standard shipping practices. As long and the profitmongers can still make someone uncomfortable with talks of terrorism, they will consume every liberty they see untill american life fits there own twisted image.

Make no mistake. I love this country and everything it stands for, but the people that have managed to manipulate the american psyche into the mindset that they are making us safer are the real danger. while they focus on there own agenda's, they completely miss the real dangers.

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Securing the internet.... How?

by awfernald In reply to How much does the Net's " ...

I'm just wondering at what level they are talking about security here?

If it is at the physical infrastructure level, that is one thing, however, if you get above the physical level, I'm just wondering what "improvements" are being recommended or even can be made (other than filters).

If they are talking about web-sites, then what impact will the US implementing security have on sites located in Brazil?

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i think they are talking about monitoring all internet activity. what sites people visit, your email to your grandmother, every bit and byte.

another thought is total control over what people are allowed to see. blocking information they see as unsafe or unfit for americans to see.

both of these can be done. just takes time, money and the will to screw the people. which we all know politicians think of us as children, that cant think for ourselves.

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Part way correct here

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

The Politicians only think of the general public as children until it comes to election time and then all of a sudden we grow up. With the recent election just being over I guess we can look forward to at least a couple of years of being left to play in the sand pit again.


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Pretty simple to secure the net

by mgordon In reply to Securing the internet.... ...

Here's a scenario. Congress enacts a law that any common carrier transport only IPv8 packets (I've invented it, maybe there is such thing). EVERY packet is digitally signed by a national CA and at every peering point those digital signatures are checked and logged. It will be illegal to operate a server that touches any common carrier without obtaining a server certificate from the national CA. We'll have C2 security in one year; there will be no privacy of course and performance will take a serious hit.

Essentially, it will be similar to SSL right now, but EVERY packet will be signed (whether or not encrypted). Clients already have the option of using X.509 client certificates to identify themselves to the server, Congress need only mandate it as a requirement.

Applications that use other protocols will not work of course until and unless they implement packet signatures.

The internet will probably die; reverting back to the days of ARPANET.

Any of you that are 40's or 50's remember the huge CB radio popularity of the mid 70's -- where is it now? Radios are cheap but the "critical mass" of people that used to be on it, is no longer on it; so there's no point in buying a CB radio. The whole thing is "bi-stable" -- for a time, CB was everywhere, then suddenly nowhere, and it will STAY nowhere probably forever. The moment you no longer can rely on the internet for your information, communication, shopping, entertainment -- it will go away, the huge investment in infrastructure will dry up, the infrastructure will disappear and will never again be regenerated -- why? Because the internet is the residue of the "dot com" boom and bust and THAT won't be repeated.

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How do you control the uncontrollable?

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to How much does the Net's " ...

It is the very nature of the beast that the Internet is uncontrolled and uncontrollable.

Other than the physical security of actual physical sites the content is uncontrollable. Here in AU there was a law passed that Internet Gambling was not allowed within AU so all the existing sites just relocated offshore and continue unaffected.

While there are possible problems with the INTERNET as it currently stands like the ability to access Kiddy Porn or Bomb Making Items these will never be removed as it is impossible to police this type of thing the best that can be hoped for is to limit the amount available and even then it would be a manpower intensive job that would increase exponentially as time goes by. As for the ability to make bombs the average high school Physics student should be able to tell you the basics of a controlled implosion device {the modern H Bomb} so what good would limiting this be?

While the basics are the easy part it is very hard to obtain the actual materials and even harder to make the thing work. Just ask India and Pakistan as they store their fission devices unassembled because they are so dangerous and have a high degree of a misfire occurring.

If a State is unable to make reliable fission weapons the individual would be hard pressed to replicate the same thing. The best that could be hoped for is to obtain some Radio Active material and use it with conventional explosives {a Dirty Bomb} and you do not need the Internet for this.

Even if it was possible to actually make a working fission weapon there is still the problem of a delivery system it's not like you ring up FedEx and ask them to deliver this large heavy box half way around the world it is a lot harder than that.


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its not that hard.

they can put the responsibility on the ISP. if improper information is found on the ISP's servers then they can be shut down or fined. they can also take control of IP addresses by blocking any block they see unfit. oversees internet goes through a pipeline or sat uplink. both of which can be controlled by the government if they wish.

people think the governments cant do this and that. but in reality they have more control then the people know. they take away our feedoms everyday. do we notice,,, no. how many laws out there tell you what you can do compared to what you cant do.

sorry, im just a little pissed the old farts in office take it on them selves to tell us what is right or wrong.

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Tried and failed in China

by awfernald In reply to

China has constantly tried to censor the internet, however, it seems that the Chinese people have always figured some way to get around the censorship.

The government cannot monitor/censor all satellites/land-lines/radio links that come in to the US, and if they tried, I imagine that we the people would pretty much rise up and kick them in the butt.

As far as monitoring the main routers which lead to the overseas connections, I realize that the government already does monitor them for any type of terrorist information going back and forth, and they also have the capability of bringing this down to the individual ISP area.... however, so far, I'm not too concerned about it.

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Well several years ago the AU Government

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to

Insisted that every ISP report certain types of activity directly to them. It all involved "Kiddy Porn" which on the surface was quite all right.

What the position was that any person who logged onto specific sites had to be reported and then the Federal Police came out heavy handed and paid you a visit to see just what you where up to.

Well in typical Government fashion they neglected to place any safe guards in place for the ISP's they only made it mandatory to report certain activity. The Feds on the other hand where as subtle as an atomic bomb going off 3 inches from your left ear they stormed in stole all of your equipment to see exactly what you had been up to and then if warranted brought a prosecution against those involved in illegal activities.

Well a friend of mine was doing Post Graduate work on Government and was looking for information on different Governments around the world he tried "" which at the time was a hard core Kiddy porn site.

When he saw the material that appeared he logged off thought that he had made a mistake on entering the address and tried again with the same results. Two weeks latter he got a visit from the Feds who kicked his door in stole all of his equipment and took him away to help with their inquiries. He was eventually released after 2 weeks of integration but his equipment was not returned as it was required to confirm his story.

Naturally all of his backup material was also required just to make sure that he wasn't covering up anything and he was not allowed to take copies this effectively brought all of his studies to a screaming halt as well as branding him a "Pervert" so he was an outcast at the Uni and anyone who remotely came to his defense was automatically placed under investigation for the same thing.

Now you have to remember that every piece of telephony is monitored in different countries that ranges from simple phone calls to fax transmissions to all data transmissions and if certain strings appear in the data stream it gets flag recorded and eventually handed to a human to have a look at just like the data covering the 9-11 incident eventually got processed.

Everything is done by computers who sole job is to monitor all communications and then the Governments skimping on resources do not have enough people available to actually look at what is collected. It appears that the Bureaucrats & Governments seem to think that the hardware alone will be enough and then skimp on the human element. I believe that was brought forward in investigations subsequent to the 9-11 incident.

Over here this particular guy drooped out of Uni eventually had all of his equipment returned because he had done nothing wrong and was told to sue the ISP for Deformation. Just like a typical incompetent Government decision they want to be allowed access to the data but not have the responsibility when things do go wrong so the ISP in this case while having a Statutory Obligation to report any activity has no protection for doing this and is legally libel for any damage done. But at exactly the same time the Government has in place monitoring equipment that can do all that they require without the need to involve third parties.

When I see Legislation like the above I see it as nothing more than penny pinching by Governments who are unwilling to provide sufficient resources for the investigation side of their business and then legislate for third parties to do what is quite easily done by Government Departments.

The really sad thing on these occasions is the fact that the data is captured by never actually looked at unless it comes under a "High Priority" incident like 9-11 did and even then it was only discovered about 6 months after the event. If sufficient resources where devoted to the Intelligence Gathering Agencies we would not even be having this discussion as the whole thing would and should be a moot point.


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