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The Telecom Digest for June 14, 2014
Volume 33 : Issue 105 : "text" Format
Messages in this Issue:
Re: The Privacy Paradox, a Challenge for Business (Garrett Wollman)
Re: When the Landline Is a Lifeline (Barry Margolin)
Questioning the wisdom of permitting texting to E911 services (Thad Floryan)
Re: Questioning the wisdom of permitting texting to E911 services (Rob Warnock)
Ars tests Internet surveillance-by spying on an NPR reporter (Monty Solomon)

====== 32 years of TELECOM Digest -- Founded August 21, 1981 ======

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Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2014 02:00:48 +0000 (UTC) From: wollman@bimajority.org (Garrett Wollman) To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: The Privacy Paradox, a Challenge for Business Message-ID: <lndm0g$2frm$1@grapevine.csail.mit.edu> In article <p06240838cfc008a6a1ca@[]>, STEVE LOHR is said to have written for the New York Times: >That is the top-line finding of a new study of 15,000 consumers in 15 >countries. The privacy paradox was surfaced most directly in one >question: Would you be willing to trade some privacy for greater >convenience and ease? > >Worldwide, 51 percent replied no, and 27 percent said yes. That's how they answer surveys. Their actual behavior is quite different, however. -GAWollman -- Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft wollman@bimajority.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2014 05:05:52 -0400 From: Barry Margolin <barmar@alum.mit.edu> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: When the Landline Is a Lifeline Message-ID: <barmar-5D043F.05055213062014@news.eternal-september.org> In article <barmar-43E807.15055312062014@news.eternal-september.org>, Barry Margolin <barmar@alum.mit.edu> wrote: > In article <p06240819cfbebdd217d7@[]>, > Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> wrote: > > > [moderator pro tem's note: Just that excerpt alone contains a few > > whoppers, > > which tells you how confusing this topic is. For one thing, "copper" and > > "IP" > > are at different layers and not mutually exclusive. For another, fewer > > than > > While this is technically true, it's effectively irrelevant. The fact is > that the phone companies mostly tie the choice of upper-layer protocol > to lower-layer technology. You can't connect a POTS phone directly to a > fiber-optic cable, you need some kind of conversion device. And the > devices that exist are based on VOIP protocols. Yes, you can provide > broadband services over copper (that's what DSL is), but providers are > generally phasing those services out because of their limitations and > costs; so if you want broadband, you pretty much have to get fiber. > > FG: They don't have to use VoIP; thre are better ways to run telephone over > fiber optics. The point is that layers matter, and they can replace old > copper without touching the insecure public Internet. They don't HAVE to, but that's how they've decided to do it, because it's most economical for various reasons. > > > 15 million Internet phones exist. Most "VoIP" is really Voice using IP > > (VuIP) over cable. That does not touch the Internet at all. Of course the > > Bells want to keep up the confusion.] > > Now you are the one who is conflating things. IP and the Internet are > not the same thing. You can use VOIP over the public Internet, as with > third-party services like Vonage, or you can do it over a private IP > network, as is done by all the broadband providers. > > FG> But that's the point I was making. The article said 42 milllion > American had *Internet-based phones*. But most of that number is private IP > (VuIP). That was my point. The Internet frankly sucks for voice. They probably mean "phones lines that come from their Internet provider". The simple fact is that people outside the industry don't really understand the fine details of this. All they know is POTS versus broadband, and all forms of the latter are conflated. And unless you're an implementor, you don't really need to distinguish it much further. [moderator pro tem's note: But it does matter. VuIP works much better than VoIP; it handles fax, for instance. Also, it really matters if you're a regulator. They're the ones the telcos are trying to confuse.] -- Barry Margolin, barmar@alum.mit.edu Arlington, MA *** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2014 02:11:52 -0700 From: Thad Floryan <thad@thadlabs.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Questioning the wisdom of permitting texting to E911 services Message-ID: <539AC058.3000708@thadlabs.com> Background: on May 19, 2014, I posted an article to comp.dcom.telecom (C.D.T) citing this newspaper article: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/4-major-phone-carriers-providing-text-911 By WILSON RING May. 19, 2014 7:01 PM EDT and I wrote: " This is very interesting. I can see where texting might be necessary " to remain quiet while observing a robbery in progress in a store or a " burglary in one's home. " " Both of my cellphones have texting capability but I haven't a clue how " to do it on either phone. I probably should learn how. which was followed by some interesting comments in the thread by other C.D.T readers. In today's ROAD SHOW column in the San Jose Mercury News there was this item: You can also use BART's text-on-demand system, which will give you info only when you ask for it. Text "BART" and a command like "delay" to 878787 and they'll text you back. Note I've been attempting to followup my comment above "I probably should learn how [to text]" since I occasionally receive freebie messages from AT&T Wireless and if/when texting capability is added to E911 it would be useful to know how to do it so I begin reading these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Text_messaging and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS and I'm still scratching my head. How does one text "BART"? Is there a worldwide "phone book" in which there is only one "BART" entry? Every texting "guidebook" shows either short numbers (e.g., 123456) or actual cellphone numbers or alphabetics similar to "BART" which makes no sense at all to me. And what is the "878787" mentioned in the Road Show item since Googling "what is texting 878787" shows numerous abuses but no good examples in the first 2 pages of hits. I have two phone numbers and I understand the phone system but this "texting" business sounds like pure hooey yet folks are texting all the time [even when they're driving which has been proven to be dangerous]. Googling "at&t wireless how to text" does not provide any useful tips or examples of anything similar to "how to text BART" which everyone seems to know except me. So color me redfaced and I cannot believe I'm the only person on the planet who doesn't how to text. :-) Returning to the "Subject:", please note this short tidbit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS#Unreliability where we see: Unlike dedicated texting systems like the Simple Network Paging Protocol and Motorola's ReFLEX protocol, SMS message delivery is not guaranteed, and many implementations provide no mechanism through which a sender can determine whether an SMS message has been delivered in a timely manner. SMS messages are generally treated as lower-priority traffic than voice, and various studies have shown that around 1% to 5% of messages are lost entirely, even during normal operation conditions, and others may not be delivered until long after their relevance has passed. The use of SMS as an emergency notification service in particular has been starkly criticized. That last sentence above controverts the efforts as reported in the AP article at the beginning of this posting. So clearly the matter hasn't been resolved to everyone's satisfaction. How you do feel about this issue? Given the great minds reading C.D.T surely someone must have some practical and reliable ideas or solutions. Thad
Date: 13 Jun 2014 18:12:58 GMT From: rpw3@rpw3.org (Rob Warnock) To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Re: Questioning the wisdom of permitting texting to E911 services Message-ID: <539b3f2a$0$52823$742ec2ed@news.sonic.net> Thad Floryan <thad@thadlabs.com> wrote: +--------------- | You can also use BART's text-on-demand system, which will | give you info only when you ask for it. Text "BART" and a | command like "delay" to 878787 and they'll text you back. ... | ...and I'm still scratching my head. | How does one text "BART"? Is there a worldwide "phone book" in which | there is only one "BART" entry? Every texting "guidebook" shows either | short numbers (e.g., 123456) or actual cellphone numbers or alphabetics | similar to "BART" which makes no sense at all to me. And what is the | "878787" mentioned in the Road Show item ... +--------------- It seems like you might be overthinking it just a little bit. ;-} The 878787 is just the (pseudo-)phone number you send the text message to; the content of that text should be "bart <something>" [either "BART" or "bart"] where <something> is one of the defined commands for the service, such as "delay". That is, text the message "bart delay" to the phone number 878787 and you'll get a list of current system delays (if any) sent back to you. For more on available commands, text "bart help" to 878787, or see this page: http://www.bart.gov/schedules/mobile/sms -Rob +--------------------------------------------------------------+ Rob Warnock <rpw3@rpw3.org> 627 26th Avenue http://rpw3.org/ San Mateo, CA 94403
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2014 21:53:36 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <monty@roscom.com> To: telecomdigestmoderator.remove-this@and-this-too.telecom-digest.org. Subject: Ars tests Internet surveillance-by spying on an NPR reporter Message-ID: <p06240839cfc009e5eca5@[]> Ars tests Internet surveillance-by spying on an NPR reporter A week spent playing NSA reveals just how much data we leak online. by Sean Gallagher June 10 2014 Ars Technica On a bright April morning in Menlo Park, California, I became an Internet spy. This was easier than it sounds because I had a willing target. I had partnered with National Public Radio (NPR) tech correspondent Steve Henn for an experiment in Internet surveillance. For one week, while Henn researched a story, he allowed himself to be watched-acting as a stand-in, in effect, for everyone who uses Internet-connected devices. How much of our lives do we really reveal simply by going online? Henn let me into his Silicon Valley home and ushered me into his office with a cup of coffee. Waiting for me there was the key tool of my new trade: a metal-and-plastic box that resembled nothing more threatening than an unlabeled Wi-Fi router. This was the PwnPlug R2, a piece of professional penetration testing gear designed by Pwnie Express CTO Dave Porcello and his team and on loan to us for this project. The box would soon sink its teeth into the Internet traffic from Henn's home computer and smartphone, silently gobbling up every morsel of data and spitting it surreptitiously out of Henn's home network for our later analysis. With its help, we would create a pint-sized version of the Internet surveillance infrastructure used by the National Security Agency. Henn would serve as a proxy for Internet users, Porcello would become our one-man equivalent of the NSA's Special Source Operations department, and I would become Henn's personal NSA analyst. ... http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/06/what-the-nsa-or-anyone-can-learn-about-you-from-internet-traffic/
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