• Text smaller
  • Text bigger

Let’s say an enemy launches an attack against us on our soil or on our Internet communications system. What’s the first thing you would do?

Most, I imagine, would first attempt to communicate with their loved ones. Second, they’d want to acquire as much information as possible about what’s happening.

But with most of us communicating through mobile devices and the Internet, we could be dead in the water if the federal government implements a new version of the bill formerly known as S.3480 “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010″, the controversial submitted by Sen. Joe Lieberman last summer or its companion legislation, the Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity Act, S.778, or any combination thereof .

Sen. Lieberman, I-Conn., has announced he’ll be retiring, and Congress is fond passing legislation as a going away gift to the retiring member. Whatever its final language, it is likely to pass. If it doesn’t, we have a president who might implement it through regulation instead. We’re keeping an eye on it for you.

A wide-ranging cybersecurity bill would give President Obama the power to shut down parts of the Internet for up to 120 days during a cyber-attack.

The presidential “kill switch,” which could be executed by the Department of Homeland Security under Janet Napolitano, would actually cause more problems than it would prevent, according to a report for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development by the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford.

Report analysts are deeply skeptical of the controversial proposal, saying that an event such as a natural disaster would be made worse by a collapse or deliberate governmental shut down in electronic infrastructure – information systems – on which a country has come to depend.

For example, the report states, “In most emergencies you would want to give priority to doctors, but most doctors and their surgeries use the same downstream Internet facilities as the bulk of the population and there would be no easy way to identify them. Localized Internet switch-off is likely to have significant unwanted consequences.”

“We think that a largely military approach to cybersecurity is a mistake,” said report coauthor, Dr. Ian Brown, of the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. “Most targets in the critical national infrastructure of communications, energy, finance, food, government, health, transport and water are in the private sector.

“The biggest national disruption would be to civilian and private sector assets beyond the protective ring of military cybersecurity,” he continues. “In some cases this might be made worse by governments outsourcing services to private sector organizations.”

The authors recommend that governments should look to protect citizens and not just government assets. They recommend that more effort also needs to be made to create international computer emergency response teams, or CERTs, that can have a better view of unfolding events than today’s mostly national agencies.

Learn more about S.3480 “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010″ and S. 773 “Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity Act” and make your views known. Contact your U.S. Senator (or all 100 of them) by emailing them directly through GradeGov.com

There went your laptop

We’re seeing a growing trend toward smaller, more portable computing devices that will eventually overtake even the laptop and your wallet.

What this means is mobile communication will keep you online and connected with others no matter where you are.

Proof of that is a ComScore study that shows more of us are e-mailing from our mobile phones than we do from our computers: 36 percent more of us accessed web-based and app-dedicated e-mail. Mobile users aged 25 to 34 showed the strongest growth in usage with a 60-percent increase.

An earlier study by Nielsen found that in May 2010 U.S. mobile users spent 38.5 percent more time doing e-mail on their phones than any other Internet-supported mobile activity.

Verizon and iPhone are perfectly positioned to push the trend forward and rule the air.

No to Net neutrality?

Speaking of Verizon … when it comes to Net neutrality, Verizon says not so fast.

Here’s what it comes down to: Should broadband companies be able to run their networks without government interference? Should the government intervene in free enterprise?

Verizon is arguing that the Federal Communications Commission exceeded its authority and violated the company’s constitutional rights.

“We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers,” Verizon senior vice president and deputy general counsel Michael E. Glover said in a written statement.

So Verizon has taken the matter to an appeals court, filing suit in the same court that last April ruled the FCC had overstepped its purpose when it sanctioned Comcast in 2008 for blocking users of its broadband Internet service from BitTorrent, a file-sharing application.

We’re keeping an eye on this, and we’ll let you know how it turns out.

Meanwhile, Comcast is accused of a possible Net neutrality violation

At the same time the FCC faces a legal challenge to its Net-neutrality rules from Verizon, the federal agency is being asked to investigate charges against Comcast.

The cable operator is accused of imposing obstacles to prevent customers from purchasing a cable modem made by a different technology company and implementing a broadband plan that potentially discriminates against websites not affiliated with Comcast.

Facebook raises another $1.5 billion from overseas

Leading social networking website Facebook has managed to raise $1.5 billion in investments, with $1 billion of it from overseas investors through Goldman Sachs.

In a statement, the privately held Facebook said it will likely pass 500 shareholders and therefore expects to start filing public financial reports no later than April 30, 2012.

Facebook also raised $450 million invested by Goldman Sachs itself and $50 million from the Russian venture capital firm Digital Sky Technologies.

In a bit of an awkward turn of events, the Goldman funding round was originally supposed to include U.S. investors, but the investment bank excluded American financiers. Find out why here.

Obama’s Google pal gets $100 million, no word on ‘overpaid’ execs

Google’s Eric Schmidt will land an equity award of $100 million, his first since he joined Google as chairman in 2001. Schmidt serves on the president’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Schmidt also will be selling 534,000 company shares currently worth about $335 million. Schmidt owned 9.2 million shares in Google as of Dec. 31, an amount worth about $5.8 billion.

Schmidt steps down to make way for co-founder Larry Page, who will take over as CEO on April 4.

Facebook fast becoming scammers’ paradise

What do Likejacking Worms, Survey Scams, and Fake Applications have in common? Facebook.

They’re the three most popular scams on the social network site, which is grappling with clever hackers who are constantly developing new ways to trick Facebook users, according to a report by Sophos Security.

Internet security firm PandaLabs put together a chart as part of a recent report on cyber crime. Here’s a list of “services” – the price of stolen credit cards offered by cybercriminals, including working physical credit cards and fake storefronts to scam unsuspecting Internet users.

Here’s another example of how social networks are rife with shady operators.

Is technology isolating us?

A major headline on the Drudge Report over the weekend featured a report arguing that our mobile devices and addiction to social networking is disconnecting us from human interaction. Is it?

Want movie reviews before renting? Just ask Clerkdogs

Let’s say you’re standing in front of a Redbox kiosk and want to know more about the movie you’re considering renting. Now there’s an online movie search site called Clerkdogs that provides a live chat feature that lets you ask a video store clerk or movie expert.

“With all of the video rental stores closing down, it’s nice for people to have access to a real person,” said Clerkdogs founder and serial entrepreneur Stuart Skorman.

Clerkdogs reportedly relies on its own database of 18,000 films and TV shows. Netflix licenses the database for its own computerized movie recommendations.

Video clips

Ever posted embarrassing images to the Net? Here’s your salvation

Maybe you’ve posted images to the Internet that – embarrassing or not, were visible forever. Until now.

German researchers have created X-Pire, software that tags images with an expiration date.

Legalese

Everyone’s being sued, Twitter’s no exception.

And this one is patently absurd!

“The Rise and Fall of Yahoo!”

What went wrong? A play-by-play of the company’s history, acquisitions, highs, lows and more.

Sweet tweets

We’ve been saying it all along: Twitter advances toward being first with the news.

Twitter makes Korean its seventh language.

The time capsule

1945 – Auschwitz liberated by Red Army

1950 – India becomes a republic

1962 – JFK forces Gen. Charles Cabell to resign CIA post

1967 – Fire kills Apollo 1 crew

1968 – TET Offensive begins

1998 – President Clinton denies Lewinsky affair

Now playing at the Princess Theater in Urbana, Ill.

Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Tim Kerlin of Watervliet, Mich., and Art Richmond of Haddock, Ga., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Peter Sellers in his portrayal of Chance the Gardener in the 1979 Oscar-winning film “Being There”.

The film tells the story of a simple-minded gardener named Chance who has spent his life in the Washington, D.C., house of an old man. When the man dies, Chance is put out on the street with no knowledge of the world except what he has learned from television.

After a run-in with a limousine, he ends up a guest of Eve and her husband Ben, an influential but sickly businessman. Now called Chauncey Gardner, Chance becomes friend and confidante to Ben and an unlikely political insider.

The quote: “This is just like television, only you can see much further.”

This week’s quote: “Well that’s the real question, isn’t it? Why? The how and the who is just scenery for the public.”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.