Volume 28 : Issue 82 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Re: Western Union public fax services, 1960
WIRED lists "Top Internet Threats"
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Date: 23 Mar 2009 10:38:20 -0000
From: John Levine <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Western Union public fax services, 1960
> Remember, WU's original telegram service was successful since they
> used railroad stations as small town agents, and had branch offices
> in larger cities.
The reason it was successful was that there was no competition to
telegrams if you needed a message delivered quickly. Until about 1960
a long distance phone call was more expensive than a telegram, and a
lot of people still didn't have phones so you couldn't call them even
if you wanted to. When long distance rates dropped below telegram
rates and residential phones became cheap enough that everyone had
them, WU was doomed.
> Again, FedEx was not a new idea, but a revival of a long existing
> service provided by carriers.
Nobody before FedEx offered guaranteed overnight delivery to distant
places. The model of flying everything to Memphis and sorting it in
the middle of the night was rather different from anything Railway
Express or the PO offered. Apparently it was sort of inspired by the
way the French post office works.
ObTelecom: By the way, Fred Smith said the reason that ZapMail, their
fax network, failed was that it depended on a large satellite that was
never launched due to the Challenger explosion. The plan was to put
tiny satellite dishes at customer sites and bypass the telco.
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2009 09:43:40 -0400
From: Will Roberts <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: WIRED lists "Top Internet Threats"
March 20, 2009
Top Internet Threats: Censorship to Warrantless Surveillance
The internet is filled with threats real and imagined, from malicious hackers
to government censors.
Beyond the hacks and cracks -- and in celebration of Sunshine Week -- we've
compiled a brief list of some of the biggest public and private threats
facing the internet.
>>Warrantless Government Monitoring:
Following the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the practice of
wiretapping all internet traffic began in the United States
with the Bush administration, and is now being defended in
court by the Obama administration. All of the nation's major
internet service providers are accused of funneling Americans'
online traffic to the National Security Agency without warrants.
From the mundane to the frightening, the examples run rampant.
Wikipedia, the world's most trafficked online reference tool, is
subject to shameful spin from trusted names of news organizations
to the not so trustworthy engines of commerce. Among the examples,
The Boston Globe enhanced the biography of a columnist while
deleting information about his alleged plagiarism. Diebold excised
an entire section critical of the company's voting machines.
Reporters Without Borders reported last week that 12 nations --
China, Burma, North Korea, Vietnam, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Saudi
Arabia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and Tunisia -- restrict
internet access and often prosecute users for what they post
Even in democratic countries, censorship rears its ugly head.
On Thursday, a secret blacklist surfaced detailing 2,395
webpages the Australian government is planning to filter from
the internet. While about half of them dealt with illegal
pornography, the remainder did not. Some of the sites were
about gambling, dentists and even dog kennels.
In December, Wikipedia couldn't be edited by users in Britain.
The entire site was put on a blacklist because it linked to
the 1976 album cover of Virgin Killer by the Scorpions, which
featured a nude young girl.
In the United States, a federal judge last year blocked
WikiLeaks from operating in the country for a week after the
renegade site posted allegedly stolen documents detailing
individuals' Swiss bank accounts.
>>Deep Packet Inspection:
Several U.S. internet service providers, including giants
like Comcast and Cox Communications, have started inspecting
the contents of internet packets, a practice allowing
them to monitor, filter and ultimately control the traffic
that passes through their pipes. In addition, online
advertising services like NebuAd are paying ISPs to let it
eavesdrop on web users via DPI.
>>ISP Tiered Pricing:
Major ISPs, including AT&T, Time Warner and Comcast have
moved or are gravitating toward pricing services based on
the amount of bandwidth individuals use. Theoretically, the
plans could unlock the internet door to low-income users.
But we suspect the plans are designed to increase profits
for ISPs as bandwidth use skyrockets -- all of which may
have a chilling effect on internet usage.
>>RIAA Proposes "Three-Strikes" Policy:
The Recording Industry Association of America is pushing
for ISPs to ban service to customers the RIAA claims are
file-sharing copyrighted music. Overseas, industry groups
like the International Federation of the Phonographic
Industry are pursuing similar efforts.
>>Digital Millennium Copyright Act Abuses:
Unwarranted YouTube takedown notices by misguided copyright
holders comes immediately to mind -- including assertions
by Universal Music that it need not consider whether a
video, under the DMCA, makes a "fair use" of the copyrighted
works in question. Google says 57 percent of takedown
notices it received were sent by business targeting
competitors and 37 percent were not valid copyright claims.
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