When IT Meets Politics

Sep 20 2013   9:18AM GMT

The day the internet stopped – revisited

Philip Virgo Profile: Philip Virgo

Tags:
Apple
Blackout
Edward Snowden
InternationalTelecommunicationUnion
Internet
ITU
Resilience
Security
Surveillance

Yesterday’s comments on the problems some faced when downloading the new Apple Operating system provoked interesting comment in the Washington Post – on why Apple’s on-line services are not that good .I will not comment on the views expressed by various “experts” on their security – compared to that of others. My focus today is more on resilience – where recent outages for well-known cloud services have caused concerns among those who are not worried that their transactions are being monitored by the Edward Snowden’s of this world.  

I first blogged on “The Day the Internet stopped” back in April 2008, Two months later South Park reached a rather wider audience on the same theme . In 2010 John Walker did me a more thoughtful piece on the need to address Internet resilience . Last week Channel Four (Blackout) reminded us that the Internet cannot be relied on in a “real” emergency as well as of the importance of taking cybersecurity rather more seriously. I would add that back in 2010 my advice (in the footnote to John’s guest blog for this blog) was NOT to tell the neighbours that you have a standby generator and food supply.

Would it be such a very bad idea if the telecommunications engineers who created the ITU were to have rather more of a say in the future of the Internet?

That said, we should also remember that the politician who wields the national vote at the ITU is commonly a relative of the President, the Head of the Secret Police or both: the latter being a tradition set by Britain in when Charles II gave the postal monopoly, previously run by John Thurloe (Cromwell’s spymaster) to his brother James: who looked after “internal security” and “put down” the first Penny Post as much because he could not steam open the letters, as because of his loss of revenue.

P.S. Those of you who are attending the Party Conferences should attend at least one of the Big Brother Watch events. I suspect that the fieriest will be on 30th September, at 13.30 in the Barbirolli Roomon the Bridgewater Hall on: Porn, Perverts and Predators: Who in their right mind opposes internet regulation? with a panel that includes John Whittingdale MP (Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee) and Paul Staines (alias Guido Fawkes).

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