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These headlines dominated the news last week:
The tragic story of a young college student who committed suicide after his privacy was violated has awoken many to the immense power of the Internet, Twitter, Skype and the rapidly growing and evolving technology that allows a moving image to be livestreamed to the world in real time without our knowledge or permission.
While Congress eyes our access to the Internet with a so-called Net Neutrality proposal that’s been shelved by Dems — for now, our lawmaking body is behind the curve where it really counts: protecting our 4th Amendment right to privacy and issuing stiff penalties to those who violate it.
The 112th Congress should explore the issue when it convenes in January. Though we can agree that generally speaking, Congress legislates far too much, this is one instance where it has not done enough to keep up with legislation that addresses 21st century technology.
On the other hand…
The Obama administration, national security officials and federal law enforcement plan to require all Internet-based communication services – like encrypted BlackBerry e-mail, Facebook and Skype – to comply with federal wiretap orders, a move that is raising serious privacy concerns in some quarters.
Internet and phone networks are already required to have eavesdropping abilities per the 1994 Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act, but it does not apply to Internet service providers.
According to a report published last week, the ability to eavesdrop on terror suspects is impaired as more communication is taking place on the Internet instead of the telephone.
A bill to be delivered next year to Congress by the White House will require communication service providers to be technically capable of intercepting and decrypting messages. Including yours.
Project Shining City
Project Shining City is an invaluable resource for anyone who’s in the fight to take back America. It includes such notables as Elizabeth Letchworth, the first woman ever elected as secretary to the U.S. Senate; singer/songwriter Lloyd Marcus, author and prominent voice of the American tea party movement; Bill Miller, author of “The Tea Party Papers”; and Jeff Bruzzo, educator and businessman who has made a commitment to cover what the main stream media will not.
The mission of this site is to “bring the idea of constitutional government to the general public through education. To promote the individual as the solution to current problems … not the government!”
A cyberweapon of war
More on the Stuxnet worm that I reported on last week:
Caroline Glick, writing in the Jerusalem Post, offers the simplest explanation of the Stuxnet computer worm.
“It is inserted into a computer system through a USB port rather than over the Internet, and is therefore capable of infiltrating networks that are not connected to the Internet,” she writes. “After it enters a network, this super-intelligent program figures out what it has penetrated and then decides whether or not to attack. The sorts of computer systems it enters are those that control critical infrastructures like power plants, refineries and other industrial targets.”
Glick writes that according to the deputy head of Iran’s Information Technology Company, the malware operated undetected in the country’s computer systems for about a year. And a German computer security researcher said that after Stuxnet recognizes its specific target, it does something no other malware program has ever done. It takes control of the facility’s SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition system) and through it, is able to destroy the facility.
“No other malware program has ever managed to move from cyberspace to the real world. And this is what makes Stuxnet so revolutionary,” the researcher says. “It is not a tool of industrial espionage. It is a weapon of war.”
Can you imagine what it would be like to see your life played out on the silver screen? Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg knows, as “The Social Network” hit theaters to rave reviews from critics last Friday.
Screenplay writer Aaron Sorkin says the movie is “absolute nonfiction” in response to Facebook’s claim that it’s absolute fiction. The biopic was estimated to bring in $23 million at the box office over the weekend.
More technology convergence coming
Facebook and Skype are expected to announce a partnership that will integrate the two services on Facebook. The idea is that when you log into Skype with your Facebook credentials, you’ll be able to see your Facebook friends on Skype.
Par for Twitter
Twitter is a distraction for many. Corey Pavin, the captain of the Ryder Cup 2010 team, said “no Twittering” while playing the annual event in South Wales.
Stewart Cink, with more than 1.2 million followers, posted one of his last updates last week before heading out for the Ryder Cup competition. As of this writing, final scores had not yet been posted, leaving one to wonder if a focused-on-the-game, Twitterless competition made a difference. This policy was also instituted during the Winter Olympics held in February in Vancouver.
Rick Sanchez may not be a star on CNN anymore, but he is on Twitter.
Forbes Magazine reports: “@CNNpr, the official Twitter account for CNN’s public relations department, cast a poorly-timed tweet at approximately 10:30 a.m., ET: “Meet @ricksanchezcnn today, Oct. 1, 12-1:30 p.m., in the CNN Store at CNN Center as he signs his new book, ‘Conventional Idiocy.’
“How were the PR reps to know they would have to backpedal a few short hours later?”
The Bonnie and Clydes of the World Wide Web
They’re robbing banks the high-tech way, hacking into people’s accounts, to the tune of $12.5 million. The government on both sides of the pond are having to catch up with these crimes, working fast and furious trying to catch up to these guys, and they’re making some progress, catching groups. Many of these hackers are talented young people. Authorities have documented $9.5 million stolen from U.K. banks and $3 million from U.S. banks. Dozens of suspects have been arrested on both sides of the Atlantic. More charges and arrests are expected.
A report in the USA Today read: “U.S. authorities last Thursday charged 37 Russians and Eastern Europeans with opening U.S. bank accounts and using them to receive cash transfers from other hacked accounts. The day before, British authorities charged 11 Eastern Europeans with running the front end of that scam. They are alleged to have infected thousands of computers with the Zeus banking Trojan, a malicious program designed to tap into online banking accounts and make surreptitious cash transfers to accounts like the ones set up in the U.S.
Moral of the story: Update the security on your computers. Now.
Videos of the Week
Looking through the rearview mirror
1973 – Arab states attack Israel
Now playing at the Princess in Urbana, Ill.
Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Lee Chandler of Simsbury, Conn.; Joe Coates, Georgetown, Texas; and Susan Peters, Grandhaven, Mich., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Michael Douglas in his portrayal of Gordon Gekko in the 1987 Oscar-winning movie “Wall Street,” directed by Oliver Stone.
The film tells the story of a young and impatient stockbroker who is willing to do anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside information taken through a ruthless and greedy corporate raider who takes the youth under his wing.
The quote was: “If this guy owned a funeral parlor, nobody would die!”
This week’s quote: “Don’t let the manicure fool you, sir. I grew up in a neighborhood called ‘Noah’s Ark’; If you didn’t travel in pairs, you just didn’t travel.”
Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the e-mail address below. Good luck!