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Navajo Nation Losing Internet Access

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the maybe-because-DPI-can't-break-their-encryption dept.

Communications 360

An anonymous reader writes "Due to contracts that are allegedly FUBAR, and associated wrangling, the Navajo Nation is being cut off by its satellite ISP. This is the final stage of the process, which already deprived chapter houses of access last April. While the business mechanisms play themselves into the expected ludicrous snarl, the real question may be: Is there a place for an inexpensive ham/technogeek/FOSS solution that could bypass the antics of the for-pay providers?"

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Are you asking for a free internet solution...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444559)

Are you asking for a free internet solution....?

Re:Are you asking for a free internet solution...? (2, Insightful)

Innominandum (453982) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444581)

Everybody wants something for free.

Re:Are you asking for a free internet solution...? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444645)

Are you asking for a free internet solution....?

Pretty much, yes.

Is that really too much to ask from the Open Source pixie dust?

Free access for injuns (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444563)

just like the raven spirit provided in the days before the paleface

Government as usual (-1, Flamebait)

HBI (604924) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444565)

Totally insensitive to the actual reprecussions of their actions, some GS weenie, probably balding and fat and fearful of doing anything constructive to solve problems because it might screw up his/her next stepping increase in the future, consigns thousands of people to being offline.

Government just doesn't really work.

Re:Government as usual (0, Troll)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444681)

just call it "Homeland Security" and it'll take care of itself

Re:Government as usual (1, Insightful)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444755)

Yeah, look at Congress..they take the entire month of August off and tell the rest of us struggling with the price of gas to fuck off.

Re:Government as usual (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444825)

Oh please! You've had since 1973 to find an alternative or three. That's 35 years of sitting on your asses yelling "please,sir, may I have another?".

Re:Government as usual (5, Insightful)

bconway (63464) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444761)

Perhaps they could pay for their own Internet access. Like, ya know, everyone else.

Re:Government as usual (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444965)

Perhaps they could pay for their own Internet access. Like, ya know, everyone else.

What? You pay for your Internet access?

Re:Government as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24445327)

That, or up the 25 cent slots to $1.

Re:Government as usual (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444769)

Totally insensitive to the actual reprecussions of their actions, some GS weenie, probably balding and fat and fearful of doing anything constructive to solve problems because it might screw up his/her next stepping increase in the future, consigns thousands of people to being offline.

Government just doesn't really work.

You might want to RTFA a second time.

USAC, which administers billions of dollars in FCC grants every year to provide Internet service to rural areas and low-income consumers, is refusing to continue funding after an audit by the tribal government revealed questions over payments by the Navajos to their Internet provider, OnSat. As a result, another company, SES Americom, which provides satellite services to OnSat, is scheduled to pull the plug today.

USAC says the provider is under investigation, after the audit raised questions about the bidding process and possible overpayment. But the provider rejects the findings and plans to fight them in tribal court.

Surprise surprise, there was a corrupted bidding process overseen by an Native American Tribe.

Unfortunately, many of the Native American Tribes have poor &/or corrupt governance, none of which is the fault of the U.S. Government. If the Tribe was really serious about resolving the issue, they would conduct the quickest inquiry ever and do everything possible to create immediate reforms in order to regain the confidence of the USAC.

BTW - the USAC is a non-profit corporation, so they're not technically part of the US Gov't

Re:Government as usual (2, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444817)

Unfortunately, many of the Native American Tribes have poor &/or corrupt governance,

Is tribal governance not handled by some kind of tribal government?

Government screws stuff up. Tribal government, local government, federal government, doesn't really matter. If there's government involved, something is probably being forced to work inefficiently.

Re:Government as usual (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444923)

Is tribal governance not handled by some kind of tribal government?

Government screws stuff up. Tribal government, local government, federal government, doesn't really matter. If there's government involved, something is probably being forced to work inefficiently.

True, but...
1. Native American Government is much much less transparent about their business than is normal in a 'Western' government, allowing shenanigans that even their own people would protest. We're not talking inefficiency here, we're talking about a (apparently/allegedly) broken bidding process.

2. The OP specifically singled out "some GS weenie".
GS = General Schedule [wikipedia.org] = US Federal Government

This problem is of the Tribe's own making and as I pointed out,
the USAC is not the Federal Government.
http://www.usac.org/about/usac/ [usac.org]

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is an independent, not-for-profit corporation designated as the administrator of the federal Universal Service Fund by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

A lot of the Native American Tribes need to join the modern era and create some transparency in their governance. It's one thing when their malfeasance/corruption benefits a minority of members, it's another thing entirely when it publicly harms the entire Tribe. How hard is it to run a kosher bidding process? They could have hired a bonded and insured company that adheres to Federal Standards to do it for them.

Re:Government as usual (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445117)

Yes, but with it hidden, and using demogaugory, they can make the US the cause of all their problem.

Re:Government as usual (4, Funny)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445121)

Here goes whatever karma I've built up, but oh-fucking-well:

1. Native American Government is much much less transparent about their business than is normal in a 'Western' government, allowing shenanigans that even their own people would protest.

You insensitive White Man! You and your Western style of government and business is evil and corrupt! Don't you realize, Evil White Man, that bribes and corruption are part of our Native American culture?!

The Great Spirit manifests itself in suitcases filled with money!

Re:Government as usual (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24445279)

"How hard is it to run a kosher bidding process?"

I'm posting anonymously, but one of my clients from time to time is a tribal government. It's actually pretty damn hard to run a kosher anything, when there are no trained employees whatsoever.

Consider that only 7% of the Navajo nation over age 25 has a college degree. That includes associates degrees too. Only 56% made it through high school.

Need someone who can e.g. run Excel or quickbooks? And someone who isn't caught up in the various things that occur disproportionately often in extremely poor areas, such as health deterioration, family issues, drug abuse, etc? Good luck with that.

Say you're lucky and land the perfect employee to help with running your government office. Congratulations, they just left for better pay in another division (or off the reservation entirely)!

It's really a rather difficult and sad situation that won't resolve itself for a generation or more, barring drastic change.

Re:Government as usual (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444925)

That's a very simplistic viewpoint and runs counter to historical experience and the majority of accepted non-partisan political theory. It is a viewpoint that mostly goes along with governments that use Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) as weapons of political terrorism. The United States does an exceptional job at creating FUD. Indeed, every government created by violence or fear has perpetuated itself through violence and fear, whereas governments formed by peaceful consent almost never use either violence or fear, they survive by consent perfectly well.

(I'm not going to argue over whether or not the war of independence was necessary or not, to me that is irrelevant. What matters is that the war is still going on in the minds of those who run the country, and all is "fair" in love and war - even when the war is a delusionary one.)

Re:Government as usual (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445087)

[T]he war of independence... is still going on in the minds of those who run the country...

What? That's one of the most ridiculous things I've read all year.

... whereas governments formed by peaceful consent almost never use either violence or fear...

Examples, please. I'm sure you'll find the nations that you're thinking of were born in blood or oppression. Most countries were, unfortunately.

Re:Government as usual (1, Interesting)

12357bd (686909) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445165)

Examples, please.

Iberians [wikipedia.org] for example.

Current Catalonia, ancient people, ancient culture, first european parlament, never imperialistic.

Re:Government as usual (1, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445139)

That's a very simplistic viewpoint and runs counter to historical experience and the majority of accepted non-partisan political theory. It is a viewpoint that mostly goes along with governments that use Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) as weapons of political terrorism. The United States does an exceptional job at creating FUD. Indeed, every government created by violence or fear has perpetuated itself through violence and fear, whereas governments formed by peaceful consent almost never use either violence or fear, they survive by consent perfectly well.

You honestly believe the United States got to be one ofthe richest, most powerful countries in the world by scaring its citizens with "political terrorism"? And you're sure it has nothing to do with our being one of the freest countries in the world? And you also have some explaination for why countries like Cuba, North Korea, Laos, East Germany, and the Soviet Union are/were shitholes, despite their massively invasive communist governments, right?

Unless you can provide any kind of evidence, I have to disagree. In fact, some people might say [heritage.org] there's roughly an inverse relationship between goverment control and the well being of the people in a country. But hey, don't let facts and evidence get in the way of your bullshit.

Can you even name a single real life government based on "peaceful consent" that hasn't sucked? I agree it sounds great on paper, but it just wouldn't work in real life.

Re:Government as usual (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445201)

Wrong. There is good government and there is bad government. It generally depends on the people conducting said government. Spend a couple years in the third world (or New Mexico, where I live), and you will quickly discover that good government actually means a lot. Being able to collect taxes, keep the electricity on, and keep civil servant bribes to an absolute minimum turns out to be wonderful for improving quality of life.

Re:Government as usual (4, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444979)

You might want to look at what was highlighted - the PROVIDER is under investigation, not the tribe. It is the provider that is corrupt, the tribe (very likely) has no more technical knowledge or business acumen than any other non-technical non-corporate organization. ie: not much. This looks like a typical case of a business finding people who lack the necessary skills to evaluate a contract and decided to rip them off as much as possible before getting caught. Hell, I've worked for multinationals that are incapable of evaluating contracts and got themselves screwed over. If you can't expect Fortune 500 companies to bother reading what is written, just because of a fancy powerpoint presentation, can you seriously expect a community get-together to do better?

Smoke signals for the savages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24445113)

Why should we always support everybody else's lifestyle?

Oh the government works... (1, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444859)

...especially if you're wealthy, WASPy, and in the hole for billions of dollars [cbsnews.com] due to your idiotic business leadership.

How many more years are we going to rob Native Americans of livelihood? Sad fact is, most of the populace will be celebrating Columbus day, not even aware that Native Americans are still the poorest in the nation.

Here's an idea: estimate the value of all real estate in the US and start paying some reparations to the surviving family members. Or at least give them some decent infrastructure since we destroyed their civilization. And if you meet them, they aren't even angry about it... they're probably some of the most patriotic people I've ever met.

Fuck writing your congressman. If you live near a reservation, call them and ask how you can help.

Correction (2, Informative)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444879)

Some of the poorest in the nation. The African American population still has the lowest household income.

Know something (0, Troll)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445271)

No matter how little, if you would venture an opinion, do try to know something about the matter. OK?

Re:Oh the government works... (3, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444963)

Great idea. Too bad no one alive today is responsible for the murders and theft of the past, and the Native Americans alive today only exist because of such interference in the first place.

"We" didn't do it. Quit using that word to further your political agendas, Mr. Noam Chomsky Quote. People did it in the past, yes, but that doesn't mean the sin magically transfers to all the people still alive, like some sort of "original sin" from the bible.

Right... (2, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445033)

...the concentration of wealth has nothing to do with who controlled the land and resources of this country which were taken by force.

We did it, and we still benefit from the economic prosperity of our forefathers. Stop trying to pretend that you'd be where you are without the trampling of indigenous people. Just because you don't want to feel bad isn't excuse enough.

Of course, this doesn't apply if you are the minority or descendant of the oppressed where you live. But that's doubtful given your opinion on the matter.

Re:Right... (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445181)

yes and tell me all about the bourgeoisie and proletariat while you're at it

Re:Right... (4, Insightful)

smolloy (1250188) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445191)

We did it, and we still benefit from the economic prosperity of our forefathers.

You may have done it, but I didn't. I moved to the US 6 years ago, so neither I, nor my wife and child owe anything to anyone. Just because I'm a white westerner doesn't mean I'm guilty by association. And just because I'm a white westerner, doesn't mean I'm guilty due to descending from governments who abused the poor native. I'm Irish. I have a good claim to whinge about my ancestors being abused by a rich European government.

In case your sarcasm detector is broken, I'm not claiming anyone owes me anything. I'm just trying to point out the idiocy (and horrendous complexity) in trying to figure out who owes who what.

Do people who's families have been here for 6 generations owe more than people who have only just arrived? What about kids of mixed marriages? In terms of slave reparations, do we just go on skin colour, or do people have to prove that their ancestors were slaves and didn't move here 50 years ago? What about a slave descendant who married a non-slave descendant -- do their kids get less?

What about someone who is half Native American, a quarter German and a quarter English, married to someone who is half Irish, and half Polish-Jewish? How do you settle the English/Irish, German/Jewish, English/Indian, debts there?

It's complicated to the point of being unsolvable, and it's too old. Forget it.

No one gets government handouts due to the particulars of their parentage.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24445287)

>Stop trying to pretend that you'd be where you are without the trampling of indigenous people.

Stop trying to pretend that you aren't living in teepees without the using of non-indigenous people's technology.

Stop trying to pretend that you can live twice as long without using their technology.

Stop trying to pretend that, before the "white man" came to your country, you weren't where you are without the trampling of competing indigenous nations.

Stop trying to pretend that you aren't where you are without the trampling of others in your tribe centuries ago.

Basically, stop blaming people for what they didn't do. I never did anything to you. However, your people do plenty to us: You rob us of taxes and land. Just because my forefathers were dumb enough to sign agreements rather than conquer your people completely (like your people did to YOUR OWN DAMN PEOPLE before the "white man") I shouldn't have to pay tax money into a system which you get to wholesale rape for life.

Basically, stop trying to start a race war, leave things at the status quo. Go work on your own damn problems, I'll work on mine, and we'll all get along just fine.

But try to blame me for something that is in no damn way my fault, and, in my country, try to steal land by camping on it for several years and I'll stop hating you.

Yep, I said it. As the "indigenous people" ask for more from me without contributing back, and steal without consequences, my hate grows.

I'll stop the hate when you stop the rape. Deal?

Or you can keep hating us. And I'll keep hating you. Right now I'm at the point where I was disappointed the city next to mine refused to send in the Army to deal with you. But I was pretty damn elated to hear they seriously considered it. It's only a matter of time and we'll have these problems sorted out, either legally, or by force.

For those wondering, I live near Caledonia.

And, for the record, the idea of just being born with the right to land (as natives seem to think is the way it works) is patently ridiculous. If the world worked like that, we'd still be living in clans. Screw that!

Re:Oh the government works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444967)

Wait, Bear Sterns is all WASPs now? Alan Greenberg, Jeffery Epstien, and Gerald Schwartz don't sound like particularly WASPy names to me.

Cry me a river, Heart That Bleeds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24445017)

Nobody's robbing Indians of anything. The fact is the commonly regurgitated story of the friendly Indian betrayed and destroyed by the evil white man is complete myth. Read some actual history written by the people who lived in that era, not the liberal PC B.S. that blames all the world's problems on the "honkey devils" and ascribes all the world's successes to minorities. The fact is for every injustice by whites toward Indians, there were many more horrible acts of aggression by Indians toward settlers.

There's a reason why Americans build things and produce. There's a reason why Indians, despite being handed the same--if not better--opportunities, sit unemployed in their trailers drunk off their keesters. Indians had this chunk of earth for a thousand years or more and didn't build one road. Didn't invent one piece of infrastructure. We transform this country in a matter of a couple hundred years and now we have to hand over everything?

I could just laugh all this off as liberal delisions if not for the fact you people are brainwashing my children to think that all minorities are peaceful, noble, and great, while white men are evil, mean, horrible, and must be destroyed.

What book is that? (4, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445115)

Just checking.

I'll be laughing my ass of when the Chinese knock you off your land and say, "Look at that white trash. Just sits in his trailer all day and drinks. Can you believe they could only support 300 million people on their land?"

Natives worked less hours, had cleaner air, water, food, and lived sustainably. It's better than we seem capable of. But you probably measure wealth in dollars. How's that been treating you lately? 401K looking good? Oh, and that lack of road thing is probably refuted by every piece of archeology in the western hemisphere, unless your definition of road needs asphalt, in which case there were no roads until the 20th century. Which seems kind of inaccurate.

I imagine your kids are getting some kind of education!

Re:What book is that? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24445259)

Books? The Bevier pamphlets for one. James Quinlan's book Tom Quick as another. I have dozens of others whose names escape me at the moment in my personal collection. These were written by people who actually lived in the 18th and 19th centuries and personally battled these bloodthirsty savage Indians.

I bet you will be laughing if China destroys our country, you PC police liberals seem hate America so much. You nutballs won't be happy until America is in ashes and all white people are shipped to concentration camps for destruction (except you suburban white liberals who will magically be spared!)

Indians spent their time fighting each other and crapping in the dirt, not inventing useful things. There are no great Indian authors, inventors, or musicians. Period.

Re:Oh the government works... (1)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445043)

My family came over here in the early 20th century from Ireland. I'm not responsible for what the British and others did here in the U.S., in fact they treated the Irish as little for than slaves for hundreds of years and yet *somehow* the Irish have managed to become quite successful in their own right since independence. Don't tell me some sob story and then expect them to get more than they already are, which is a lot more than my great-grandfather got.

Re:Oh the government works... (1, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445085)

Screw that. Europeans came to America, kicked some butt, and won it. That's what happens all over the world. I bet the Navaho conquered some neighboring territory at one point or another. Think they sat around crying and feeling guilty for it? Of course not. Get over that stupid idea of reparations - for anything. Should some guy who came from India last week be on the hook for something that happened a few hundred years ago? Just white people? Just people from families here more than 150 years old?

Want to really treat Native Americans right? Dump this broken, unworkable, and racist notion of sovereign territories inside our country and immediately repatriate all of them. Navaho no more - they're now Americans. That means they'd get the same protection as everyone else which is a far cry better than what they have now, and be done with this destructive separatist attitude once and for all.

Re:Oh the government works... (1)

mrlibertarian (1150979) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445129)

How many more years are we going to rob Native Americans of livelihood?

"We"? I did not rob Native Americans of anything. It's unfortunate that there is so much suffering in this world, but I certainly don't feel guilty for the actions of my ancestors or my government. If YOU have destroyed someone's civilization, why don't YOU pay some reparations? Fuck writing your congressman. If you live near a reservation, call them and ask how you can help.

You bear some burden (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445297)

If you enjoy some benefit from the resources that were gained from the trail of tears [wikipedia.org] then you are at least a little at fault, even today.

Re:Oh the government works... (3, Interesting)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445253)

How many more years are we going to rob Native Americans of livelihood?

Are they prevented from participating in our society? Native Americans are less subject to racism than many other minorities in the US. Anyone can move off the Res and join US society -- at the great expense of losing some of their cultural identity.

Here's an idea: estimate the value of all real estate in the US and start paying some reparations to the surviving family members.

The inheritance tax is specifically intended to prevent the perpetual heredity of vast wealth. At every passing, the majority of a rich family's wealth is transferred to the federal government to be distributed amongst society. Why should they benefit to much from what their distant ancestors once owned? Arguments abound on both sides here.

Or at least give them some decent infrastructure since we destroyed their civilization.

We replaced their civilization with a much more technologically advanced one, against their will. Why should we then provide their remaining lands with the technology that our civilization forced upon them? It's yet another outside force imposing change and diluting their culture. Keep in mind that any native American who wants to partake in modern technology is free to do so of their own accord, without it being thrown upon them.

And if you meet them, they aren't even angry about it

The hell they aren't. The traditional native American societies generally treat visitors quite well. However, the deep resentment for past actions is ingrained in the culture and passed through generations. Rightfully so, perhaps -- but whites are not trusted and never truly a part of the community.

Fuck writing your congressman. If you live near a reservation, call them and ask how you can help.

I doubt they want your help. Their civilizations have existed here with success (by some definitions) and sustainability (by any definition) for so much longer than ours, we have little to offer other than assimilation, which they are fighting hard to avoid. The reservations are supposed to be self-governing, independent nations with full power and authority to do as they please within their borders. Autonomy is the small reward the Nations were given for the great price of being herded into small enclaves. Those who stay on the Res do so by choice -- the choice to place their cultural identity and heritage above the conveniences of non-native life, and the choice to deal with tough conditions (socially, financially, and environmentally) rather than be assimilated. They choose to fight assimilation and cultural dilution rather than accept it. This is a difficult but respectable decision. The internet, and computing technology in general, is a direct pipe for cultural dilution. Most of the world sees this as a great benefit -- we mix and share different customs, memes, and thought processes and in doing so we become more homogeneous. For a small civilization working hard to maintain its differentiation from the vast masses surrounding it, this is a detriment to that goal. The decision, and the means to achieve the desired result, should be up to the tribes themselves -- not well-meaning white folks who want to "help" by making their world more like the surrounding world.

Re:Government as usual (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445101)

PLease, the FCC is ending it's grant money.
So the Nation is upset it's not getting it's free ride.

But wait,
"New Mexico Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D) and Pete V. Domenici (R) wrote to the FCC two weeks ago. "We are deeply disturbed by this imminent loss of communications service to vital public safety agencies."

So the government wants to help.

The government does work, and in fact if you actually researched it you you find that with almost all it's projects the government is very efficient, more so then any corporation could be.

Go to your library and look at the budget and actuals. Far less waste.

oh, btw, stop setting up straw men, it's doesn't help and makes you the weenie.

Re:Government as usual (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445103)

Government just doesn't really work.

Government is a reflection of civilization. I don't like this at all.

Landlines, radios, tv signals, cars; no one is getting cut off from the world.

An ugly glitch that needs fixing. They don't deserve your business, and the can't keep you off the net.

Happy Friday

Re:Government as usual (3, Insightful)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445341)

Last I heard the Navajo had a sovereign nation, so why should the FCC be paying for their internet access again?

If they can't govern themselves, employ themselves, feed themselves, or keep the lights on maybe it's time for them to join the U.S.A.

Hmm. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444567)

Fuck the navajo.

Radios... (4, Funny)

Devil's BSD (562630) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444571)

Well, we know the Navajo are great with wireless communication and encryption...

http://xkcd.com/257/ [xkcd.com]

Smoke Signals (4, Funny)

Ignis Flatus (689403) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444577)

They're binary, right?

Re:Smoke Signals (1)

fmwap (686598) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444639)

TCP/IP over bongo drums [eagle.auc.ca]

Nations vs. Internet (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444579)

At some point, we are going to realize that a world divided into nations cannot coexist with a world united [metagovernment.org] on one internet.

It's already strange enough having nations like the Navajo trying to exist inside other nations.

What use are nations these days? Don't they just divide us?

Re:Nations vs. Internet (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444637)

What use are nations these days? Don't they just divide us?

The world is full of unimaginable horrors and humans being deprived from basic necessities and rights. The idea of a nation is to divide the world into blocks that are small enough that you could possibly do something about the terrible condition in which you and your fellow citizens exist.

How much more likely are you to be able to uplift the condition of a small nation than a large one? A great deal.

How likely are you to be successful in attempts to uplift the condition of all men in all nations? Not very likely.

Re:Nations vs. Internet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444703)

Are the United States and Japan small nations? Can you think of any small nations living in destitution? In what way do small divisions help? Would you rather live in the forming nation of Europe, or in Sierra Leone?

Splitting peoples into little groups pits them against each other, isolates them, and makes them unable to amass enough power/resources to do anything about their position.

Uniting peoples into one global internet makes everyones' lives better, and has little spinoffs like the end of war and terrorism.

Re:Nations vs. Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444785)

And the rise of goatse.

I, for one, welcome our new amazingly 'flexible' overlords.

Re:Nations vs. Internet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444789)

Would you rather live in the forming nation of Europe, or in Sierra Leone?

Andorra or Zimbabwe? Belgium or China? Chile or India? The first one in each pair is smaller and most definitely in a better condition.

Splitting peoples into little groups pits them against each other, isolates them, and makes them unable to amass enough power/resources to do anything about their position.

You are arguing for a further homogenization of the laws and culture of humanity. That is a terrible, terrible idea. If I have different values than the people around me then I should be free to leave here and find a place that is different. How could a person do that if every nation was governed the same way and had the same laws and culture?

Re:Nations vs. Internet (2, Insightful)

cakkafracle (969984) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444829)

you'd have to get rid of all the religions as well as nations...

The sum of human misery and contentment (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444881)

I often wonder... is it a zero sum game? Is it possible to uplift the minimum to the point where eating bark (or pets, or God forbid, humans) is not a consideration even for the least advantaged among us? And if we do that, will we breed ourselves to extinction? Are the divisions better than the unity? Anyone who seeks power will tell you so, but are power seekers to be trusted?

Certainly improving access to information goes a good distance. People living in remote areas can learn that there is within a month's walk a place where food is more plentiful, where their children could have hope of survival. A month's walk is at least 300 miles. That's far enough to improve your fate. The realist in me understands that most of them, given the choice, will stay where they are because the familiar terror of rape and mutilation seems less risk than the terror of the unknown fate. Some few might escape the tragedy in the worst corners of the globe. The Darwinist in me accepts that that's the way it is and those that escape earn the survival of their progeny for the improvement of the genome. It's still sad.

Univerally, though, I have to say that warring factions are where it's at. I know enough of human nature to know that when there is one system under one government then the living conditions will be universally miserable before long, and that condition will persist until the demise of the species.

Forcing our civilized culture on others is wrong. It's bad. It's assimilation. Since this is a geek site, it's a violation of the prime directive. If some individuals reach escape velocity, that's not the same thing as poisoning their culture with our presupposed notions of propriety.

Re:Nations vs. Internet (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444865)

Locally managed groups have no need to put up fences between them. Territorialism is for animals that are unable to transport needed resources. And for slave owners who want those resources for themselves.

Re:Nations vs. Internet (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24445005)

How likely are you to be successful in attempts to uplift the condition of all men in all nations? Not very likely.

Me? Not very likely. But the point is not that one person can make the change, but that everyone can do it collectively. When we are divided into nations, we are most focused around our national interests, not the interests of humanity.

People ask things like: "Isn't it horrible that Americans are no longer the best science students in the world?" Where is the human benefit there? Imagine if instead we had the framework whereby we could ask, "Isn't it great that students overall are learning more and more about science?"

Nations made a lot of sense in the past, before we had an internet. Now they are simply obsolete, and do not serve the advancement of humanity.

Re:Nations vs. Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444775)

Nations are the only thing that protects the rest of the world from being completely ruled by ignorant insensitive Americans.

Violence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444787)

Someone is always going to use violence, or be willing to use it, and there has to be some central authority to keep the violence in check. I suppose we could have one big nation, but then we'd just end up back in factions deciding what the world government should be.

Re:Violence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24445095)

Read the link in the OP. Not factions, but a mesh of communities [metagovernment.org] .

And more importantly, why does that central authority have to be vested in a human being? Why cannot all of the people collectively embody that authority?

Once power is vested in internet-based collective governments, using violence will no longer be a viable method of getting what you want. Don't forget that human resources are moving to the internet as well. So how could someone violently overthrow a huge internet-based organism? Through military attacks on hard drives that happen to contain some of their data?

Try to destroy Wikipedia using violence.

Re:Nations vs. Internet (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445173)

The point of nations is that you and I are considered property by other people, no matter what kind of pleasant label they put on it.

Re:Nations vs. Internet (1)

12357bd (686909) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445189)

Don't they just divide us?

Oh Yes!, and a single specie, is much better than millions of differents beings, also!

Don't get fooled, diversity IS the norm, monolithical conceptions are just a one's mind nightmare.

HAM is right out. (5, Informative)

Bartab (233395) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444605)

Not only is amateur radio restricted to non commercial uses - meaning important things like NO ADS ALLOWED more than simply no generation of profit for sending over those frequencies. However, it's also "no vulgarity", and "no encryption" as well.

Re:HAM is right out. (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444915)

Long haul 802.11g it is then.

Re:HAM is right out. (2, Funny)

bitrex (859228) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445035)

Wait, so it's impossible to troll amateur radio? That..That's j...I ca...It's imp...-head explodes-

Re:HAM is right out. (1)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445267)

Wait, so it's impossible to troll amateur radio?

Unfortunately, it happens all the time. The FCC is nowhere near aggressive enough in enforcing the rules. When they do enforce them, they do so with a huge sledgehammer and a pile of bricks -- but they only do it very rarely.

Re:HAM is right out. (1)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445337)

I just realized that my post and my sig seem contradictory. I suppose I'm more of a moderate than I think I am at times.

Re:HAM is right out. (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445193)

Not to mention, its what, 9600 baud? Better off with dial-up.

Mesh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444609)

We could make this happen. If enough people got WAPs and meshed them together. Would also do wonders for anonymity. Of course, how to get on the backbone...

Re:Mesh? (0, Offtopic)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444691)

We are still waiting for that WAP wizard I wrote of long ago. Go to school. Be the WAP mesh wizard for the rest of us. I don't have time.

Gonna burn some karma here (0, Offtopic)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445107)

Somebody doesn't want you to read the parent and has modded it down. I can afford a few comments worth of Karma burn so read it and decide for yourself.

All the networks belong to the corporations. (4, Insightful)

GuNgA-DiN (17556) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444653)

"Is there a place for an inexpensive ham/technogeek/FOSS solution that could bypass the antics of the for-pay providers?"

That question is just as relevant for the rest of the world as it is for the Navajo nation. What happens when AOL/Time Warner/Microsoft/CNN/MSNBC/Taco Bell and Carl's Jr. take over the world? There is no Net neutrality anymore. Everything we do is being watched, and reported to the corporations of the world. In the future we won't be able to sneeze or fart without someone knowing about it somewhere.

When are we going to get together to start forming our own backbones? We need a fat pipe that will always remain open and free and that can't be taken over by corporate greed. But, how would you pay for such a thing? How would you create it? How would you maintain it?

I'd be willing to pitch in $80 / month for a truly neutral network. What's your price? How much would you be willing to pay to have access to a FREE (as in speech) Internet connection?

Re:All the networks belong to the corporations. (1)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444723)

What happens when AOL/Time Warner/Microsoft/CNN/MSNBC/Taco Bell and Carl's Jr. take over the world?

Have you been living under a rock for 10 years? Yeah, I'm really worried about AOL and CNN taking over. Your list of companies reads like a laundry list of has-been corporations that were big in the 90s.

Re:All the networks belong to the corporations. (1)

GuNgA-DiN (17556) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444729)

Regardless of the corporate names the issue still remains the same.

Re:All the networks belong to the corporations. (2, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445321)

Nonsense. Taco Bell is destined to achieve domination after Franchise Wars. I, for one, welcome our new pseudo-Mexican masters.

Re:All the networks belong to the corporations. (1)

lionheart1327 (841404) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445257)

When we get together and form our own backbone, won't this organization be a corporation? Isn't that basically the definition of a corporation?

Re:All the networks belong to the corporations. (2, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445329)

How about Fidonet?

what's the long term plan? (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444659)

I'm wondering what the long term plan is. Do Navajos want to get wired Internet eventually and (more generally) get connected to civilization? Do they want to continue to lead an isolated rural lifestyle and have the US government pay for Internet access? Or what?

internet simulator (-1, Troll)

tobiasly (524456) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444669)

Now they're going to have to resort to an internet simulator to get their Brazilian fart fetish porn and interracial gangbang porn!

I'll be out there in 3 weeks (2, Informative)

selfdiscipline (317559) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444685)

I did some volunteer web development for a non-profit that deals with a high school on a navajo reservation. A lot of the students only had access to computers at school, and I was thinking that the OLPC project would be perfect for them... although I'm not so enthusiastic with the direction that OLPC seems to be taking.

But anyway, having a mesh-network with cheap netbooks like the OLPC would be a great way to extend access from some single source, if one could be found or created.

Also, I'll be going out there in 3 weeks with some members of this non-profit that I worked for, so I'll get a first-hand look at their situation.

Ask the Telcos (2, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444699)

See if the local telco will set something up for them. They can use fixed wireless links from the nearest CO if running fiber costs too much.

The telcos have a vested interest in keeping various local, state and/or federal governments out of the broadband business. Its the old slippery slope argument. First, its just a publicly owned system for the Navajos. Next thing you know, they'll be wiring up _my_ neighborhood. (One can hope.)

This is not a USAC issue. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444701)

This not due to USAC's problems.

This action is being taken because the service provider and the applicant for the services BOTH conspired to break the rules surrounding the ERATE (Federal program that gives discounts on ELEGIBLE technology, at ELIGIBLE locations, to ELIGIBLE entities).

Wireless services were ONLY supposed to be offered at eligible school locations (classrooms, areas where data needed to transit to GET TO classrooms), but instead the wireless services were installed as a generic community service, some of them winding up in admin areas, boarding halls, and bus barns (all NON-ELIGIBLE areas).

Some folks are making this out to be a case of 'the white man screwing over the indian,' where in reality it is a case of 'the white man catching another white man and the indian breaking rules, and making them pay for their actions.'

For more information, go dig up some article from the Funds for Learning website (www.fundsforlearning.com) or eschoolnews.com

Political solution (2, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444711)

John McCain to the rescue.

Seriously. He's the man for this job. It's in his domain. It'll be a good test of his influence and his geek credibility.

And he's advertising on slashdot now. That's so cool.

Moderation abuse? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445211)

Ok, so I get how some people have an axe to grind. Partisan politics and all that. I get that. Look, though. Moderation is supposed to be fair. The Navajo Nation is at mostly in Arizona. I have friends on the reservation there. John McCain is the Senator from Arizona. How in the world (to use a nice word) is the parent off topic? I've been to the Navajo Nation. I've been to the Apache Nation. They could both use his help, and all the other help they can get. Does the fact that he's currently a candidate for President eliminate all of the good he could do for these people? They need his help and he has it to give. Let's encourage him to give it.

Encryption (-1, Troll)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444759)

Probably got kicked off because their encryption was too strong. ISP couldn't sniff their P2P packets.

Getting weaned off welfare is hard (1, Interesting)

viking80 (697716) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444773)

They complain they have to drive up to 60 miles to Page, AZ to get internet access.

It should be trivial to set up a 60 mile WiFi link for pennies compared to satellite internet.
Also, laying down fiber is cheap. A lot of long valleys with a few hundred residents have fiber laid. A little innovation and community effort here can solve this for the better.

Maybe getting weened of the satellite access paid for by your internet tax may actually do them some good.

Chief Crap Flowing Out Ass Here (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444797)

Send more fire water

E-mail or use smoke signals when you have my ration

Thanks,
C-

Correction: smoke signal only, e-mail FUBAR

Very hard area to serve (4, Informative)

isdnip (49656) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444861)

This is definitely not the kind of problem that can be solved by geeks writing code. It's a physical layer issue, one of the hardest "last miles" in the country.

The Navajo Nation sits in hilly desert country. The population density is very low (it's desert, after all) and it's pretty far from anywhere (the AZ/NM/UT border). Most of the telephone service is provided by Frontier Navajo, who I think bought the tribal telephone company. On the NM side, some is now being served by Sacred Wind, a new phone company using WiMAX, with USF funding, to cover areas with an average population density below one person per square mile. Qwest, using old wireline technology, wouldn't go there; Sacred Wind needs to spend something approaching $10k/home using the latest radio technology. That's a fraction of what wireline would cost - and btw, USAC (the FCC's USF subsidiary) might well have spent more (they've funded >$20k/home for FTTH) if asked; that program is totally out of control. See "Sandwich Isles Communications" for a real horror show.

Frontier's network, which covers most of the reservation, is a traditional rural wireline telco, incapable of providing broadband outside of the villages. And if you want to lease a T1 from them, try $75/mile! So satellite, while hardly ideal, is usually the best option. And the bureaucrats should get off their duffs and fix the problem.

I've done some preliminary studies and it looks like some types of high-powered mesh radio network can cover rustic plains at reasonable cost, but this is in the foothills of the Rockies, not flatland, and the hills get in the way, so it would be very costly (as with Sacred Wind).

Why should I care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24444895)

Why should I care about the plight of "lack of internet access" for a country with less than (according to wikipedia) 200,000 non-expat citizens?

Piece Of Cake (2, Interesting)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444909)

Yes... you just need one location to get a T1 line in (or some other major pipe). The grab a bunch of wireless trasmitter boxes from someplace like these guys (http://www.ubnt.com/). They all run Linux and you can connect to them wirelessly. Plus they have 3-5 mile trasmissions on some of the high end models. Do it right and you have a Navajo nation connected wirelessly on one T1 line. :)

Re:Piece Of Cake (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444931)

...you can connect to them wirelessly.

I would hope so!!!

If there were a free solution... (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444937)

every geek in the world would be getting free internet access from some Wiley Coyote style setup in their back yard. Note: Stealing the next door neighbour's unencrypted WiFi doesn't count. That's just too easy.

Re:If there were a free solution... (3, Funny)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445069)

IP over malfunctioning ACME rocket?

Oh, for... (4, Funny)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444951)

"Is there a place for an inexpensive ham/technogeek/FOSS solution that could bypass the antics of the for-pay providers?"

Of course, it's all so simple! We could all build little F/OSS rockets out of plywood, duck tape and bailing wire, putting libre communications satellites based on Pringle's can technology into geosynchronous orbit!

Internet Access Singularity (1, Troll)

Nymz (905908) | more than 5 years ago | (#24444985)

Have we reached the point where access to the internet is more important than electricty and running water? Really? 18,000 Navajo families live without electricity, and use kerosene lamps at night, but they can't live without the internet? * [indiancountrynews.net]

Out of all the grief /. gives Bill Gates, this one you can honestly blame him for. His foundation was the funding [findarticles.com] instigator of this technolgical leap-froging, and the racist motivation is obvious, as no one would believe he's that ignorant. I don't know why, maybe he can't say no to someone pressuring him to do these things, a guilt trip maybe, who knows, but if he isn't man enough to say no at his age that's even more pathetic than being ignorant.

Re:Internet Access Singularity (1)

jps25 (1286898) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445221)

I was going to mod you up until you began bitching about Bill Gates, racist motives and the lack of balls.
How you could possibly shift the blame onto Gates is beyond me.
Even worse are those who modded you "Interesting" instead of "Flamebait".

Why not /technomancer? (2, Insightful)

zullnero (833754) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445027)

Obviously, there's a magical solution as well if there's a FOSS solution to providing wireless internet access to a very large area. It may involve a combination of wireless access point implants that generate a large scale wifi cloud.

Just because it's /. doesn't mean you need to stick "FOSS" in your question. It's the most overused and abused acronym around these parts. It costs money to set up wireless routers, pay the electric bill, get them connected to a provider, and pay that bill as well. We just had our free metro wi-fi turned off because even pumping ads at people wasn't enough to pay for it. Sorry, Libertarians, you're going to need a government solution for this one. Unless the tribe pays the bill or some corporation that has a lot of extra money they don't want to give to their employees is willing to donate it.

Don't they have a backup network? (1, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445037)

I know it can be tough to go low-baud after having high speed internet, but don't these guys have a working implementation of TCP/IP Over Smoke Signal?

125 Miles Anyone? (1)

Swampcritter (1165207) | more than 5 years ago | (#24445203)

How about doing something like taking a BiQuad Antenna and those old Direct TV or 10 and 12-foot Satellite dishes and turning them into long-range 2.4GHZ transmitters/receivers? This is open desert area we are talking about, so line of sight is definitely available for such devices.

How-To: Build a WiFi biquad dish antenna
http://www.engadget.com/2005/11/15/how-to-build-a-wifi-biquad-dish-antenna/ [engadget.com]

By taking the technology and means of how it was done before (as seen the in above how-to), one could most likely expand the network by adding in the means of a Merski Wireless Mesh Network [meraki.com] , thus keeping the costs down to a minimum (utilizing the ad-supported capabilities of the Merski solutions).

mmmm fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24445241)

Can't they get some fiber pulled in with all of that casino profit?

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