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US Has Secret Tools To Force Internet On Dictatorships

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the information-is-power dept.

The Internet 282

4phun found a Wired story that talks about the military options when a dictatorship decides to cut off internet access to its population. "The American military does have a second set of options if it ever wants to force connectivity on a country against its ruler’s wishes. There’s just one wrinkle. 'It could be considered an act of war.'" Hopefully the same options will be available for us when our government gets around to implementing our own kill switch.

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Imagine that... (1, Offtopic)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126162)

A network that grew out of a military project may still has backdoors the military can access/control.

Who'd have thought?

Re:Imagine that... (0, Offtopic)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126184)

"may still has"

Ugh. Engrish fail. Need more caffeine.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

o'reor (581921) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126384)

Soundz liek korrek LOLspeak tho. I can has cheezburger now ?

Re:Imagine that... (5, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126650)

"may still has"

Ugh. Engrish fail. Need more caffeine.

English is a fault tolerant language, so don't sweat it. You can make all kinds of errors in English, and everyone will still understand what you meant to say, nonetheless. At a lab from my employer, in Austin, Texas, a guy from Taiwan was speaking English with a guy from India. Their English would have made my 7th grade English teacher commit Seppuku (aka, Harakiri), but they were able to communicate with it.

In my opinion this is why English is so dominant on the Internet: you don't need to know much to communicate. Unless some sesquipedalian like me starts using terms like obsequious and innocuous.

This is why dictators are scared of the Internet: Folks can get across what is going on in their country to a wide audience.

Re:Imagine that... (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126904)

" ... English is a fault tolerant language ... "

Are you saying that grammar nazis have a language compiler with limited fault tolerance?

Re:Imagine that... (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126220)

Did you read the article? It discusses flying cellular towers and other such connectivity solutions. That's not shadily exploiting a back door. It's like walking to your house and noisily building you a new front door.

Hashtags don't overthrow dictators. (2)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126390)

Knowing Internet could have been restored when it was needed and was not is rather sad. An act of war against a falling dictator is quite a bit less risky. The saddest part of this whole event is not fully supporting 82 million people at the brink of ending their dictatorship and achieving democracy, out of fear of the possibility they won't elect your friends. After 30 years of supporting their dictator, it wouldn't be surprising. I'd think that if the US authorities and media has thrown full support and started egging people on to get real democracy and freedom, there was a good chance they would elect a government for peace and stability, and in the process US-friendly . But fear and blowback is a bitch, isnt it.

Re:Hashtags don't overthrow dictators. (4, Insightful)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126520)

So unilateral action and nation-building is ok when we use it to benefit the 'right' people?

Throwing Mubarek under the bus and openly supporting a revolution would have been disastrous for US relations with the middle east. It would have been perceived as yet another example of the US overthrowing an uncooperative government because that government was no longer convenient for us.

An act of war against a falling dictator that very well might have had a huge amount of pull with his very powerful military would have been extremely risky.

Re:Hashtags don't overthrow dictators. (3, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126704)

Throwing Mubarek under the bus and openly supporting a revolution would have been disastrous for US relations with the middle east. It would have been perceived as yet another example of the US overthrowing an uncooperative government because that government was no longer convenient for us.

What the fuck? Are you even reading the news?

We have given Mubarak and his jackbooted murderers 60 billion dollars over 30 years. We are one of the main reasons he's stayed in power. Helping to throw him out would have finally signaled that the United States gave a damn about democracy in the middle east, but it's the same old story that it's been for a hundred years: we don't want Arabs to be able to vote, because they might prefer using their resources for their own benefit instead of ours.

That's not meddling in the Middle East. It's stopping meddling in the Middle East.

Re:Hashtags don't overthrow dictators. (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126920)

That country has been a jack-booted dictatorship for 5,000+ years now. If you think it was the fault of the U.S. that they aren't a democracy, you don't know anything about history.

Would you have considered it "meddling" when the United States forced France and Britain to give the Suez Canal back to the Egyptians after Nassar nationalized it back in 1956?

Re:Hashtags don't overthrow dictators. (0)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35127058)

Throwing Mubarek under the bus and openly supporting a revolution would have been disastrous for US relations with the middle east. It would have been perceived as yet another example of the US overthrowing an uncooperative government because that government was no longer convenient for us.

What the fuck? Are you even reading the news?

We have given Mubarak and his jackbooted murderers 60 billion dollars over 30 years. We are one of the main reasons he's stayed in power. Helping to throw him out would have finally signaled that the United States gave a damn about democracy in the middle east, but it's the same old story that it's been for a hundred years: we don't want Arabs to be able to vote, because they might prefer using their resources for their own benefit instead of ours.

That's not meddling in the Middle East. It's stopping meddling in the Middle East.

That worked so well with Iran and the overthrow of the Shah. Sometimes it's better to stick with the devil you know.

Authoritarians dont overthrow dictators (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126548)

Or in other words: the problem isn't internet connectivity, the problem isn't dictators, the problem is governments.

The US government is better than a dictatorship, but only by degree. The US is not democracy: your vote in elections doesnt matter, and more importantly you have no voice in Congress, the executive, or the military. The US government is owned by the people who pay for it.

The solution isnt to get the government/military to protect the internet, it is to get the internet to overcome the need for governments/militaries.

The people who are building a peer-structure internet are in fact creating the foundation for a completely new form of governance. Just you watch.

Re:Hashtags don't overthrow dictators. (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126664)

The problem is the appearance of putting in a "puppet" regime. While the populace, quite reasonably, want Mubarak out, they don't want a "US puppet" put in: they want to choose their own rulers. And given the US past history, any intervention however benevolent this time will be seen as US interference. The US, unfortunately, has considerable form in this area - in the Arab world, the current governments in both Iraq and Afghanistan are seen as US constructs, if not puppets; and they are but the latest in decades of well intentioned but not necessarily successful interventions. If the US threw in "full support", the people would quite possibly turn the US and elect anti-US politicians out of spite. Think of it like a "domestic", where the police intervene to stop a husband beating up his wife (or vice versa), and both husband and wife turn on the police.

Re:Imagine that... (3, Funny)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126256)

Not really backdoors, if you RTFA. They can broadcast network signal, give people satellite phones or other satellite transcievers. There's more stuff that the officer didn't want to discuss, because deployment of those is decided at the level of "commander-in-chief".

Re:Imagine that... (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126280)

How exactly are backdoors going to work in countries in which the local dictator/dear leader/thug has pulled the plug on the internet?

The only kind of "internet bypass" I can think of is either by modem (with CIA-controlled modem banks as ISP I suppose), or packet radio if the dear leader cut telephone access too. Speaking as a ham, the latter isn't very likely to happen in countries undergoing a revolution methinks.

Re:Imagine that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126350)

EP-3E Aries [wikipedia.org] haz wifi internets? Cool.

Re:Imagine that... (1, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126378)

Who woulda thought that the government that wants the ability of an internet killswitch is also looking into the ability to let other countries have internet when their government puts in a kill switch... Gotta love the hope and change....

Re:Imagine that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126576)

This thing is not without precedent:

western radio stations, such as BBC, Voice of America
have broadcast over the USSR.

The Russians' solution:
broadcast noise over the same frequencies. They wouldn't
always do it, though, so, my dad was still able to catch
those with his receiver.

Why wouldn't the same solution work again?

Re:Imagine that... (2)

Entropius (188861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126762)

Two-way communications are much harder, and can quite often require physical presence in the airspace of the defender.

Getting signals into Egypt is easy. Getting them out is hard.

Re:Imagine that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126644)

In soviet Russia, YOU have a back-door the military can access.

Act of war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35127030)

There’s just one wrinkle. 'It could be considered an act of war,'"

Reminds me of the "Democratic Republic of North Korea". Everything is an act of war if you want it to be!!

Can we please have this in the US? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126222)

Anything to break the usual Comcast/whatever monopoly for ISP service would be welcomed.

Re:Can we please have this in the US? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126316)

Why do you hate freedom?

Re:Can we please have this in the US? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126338)

The Comcast monopoly is being broken, slowly. Verizon offers DSL or FiOS in many areas. Wireless internet is slowly being deployed (there are 10+ companies in my suburb). And satellite is improving.

Of course the ideal would be for State Governments to lay-down optical fibers under the government-owned roads, and lease them to any company that wanted to use them. Imagine being able to choose from any of 50 ISPs.

We assume that... (2)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126224)

...the access would be for the people to communicate and keep it real, that we're the white hats. But of course the access would only be granted to advance a military objective, such as continuing and fanning an uprising perceived beneficial to our interests.

Why stop there? Why not seed blogs, twitter and facebook and initiate a misinformation campaign?

Re:We assume that... (4, Funny)

Illicon (1588477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126262)

Why stop there? Why not seed blogs, twitter and facebook and initiate a misinformation campaign?

Patience, Grasshopper.

Re:We assume that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126434)

Why stop there? Why not seed blogs, twitter and facebook and initiate a misinformation campaign?

I think you've got it backwards. Propaganda is always the first step. Ensuring people can actually access it (i.e. this), comes later.

Re:We assume that... (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126458)

Why stop there? Why not seed blogs, twitter and facebook and initiate a misinformation campaign?

You mean like the news story I saw Sunday morning interviewing a "protester" that said (paraphrase) We Need you Obama, do something, people are dying!. This is from an "Egyptian" in the square no less.

Re:We assume that... (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126562)

Considering that it was government thugs killing protesters I don't see why you think that it was disengenous to expect that a real person on the street might plead to us to stop the violence. We appear to be fairly influential in keeping the military in check (they'd like to keep our billions in aid) so why wouldn't they ask that we try to keep the secret police in check as well.

Re:We assume that... (2)

chudnall (514856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126980)

I don't see why you think that it was disingenuous to expect that a real person on the street might plead to us to stop the violence.

All good propaganda starts out being perfectly plausible.

Re:We assume that... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126472)

Well, the quote does say if - "if if it ever wants to force connectivity on a country against its ruler’s wishes". Obviously it doesn't include situations when the dictatorship is on the "good" side, duh!

Generally, has it ever been not about our interests [chomsky.info] ?...

Re:We assume that... (1)

ComputerGeek01 (1182793) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126606)

Why stop there? Why not seed blogs, twitter and facebook and initiate a misinformation campaign?

I see your facebook, blogs and twitter and raise you reddit and 4chan; watch the world burn. Also why not tell ANONYMOUS that they can do something affective without all getting arrested or sued for once?

Back to the article though, since when is a Predetor + (WiFi Router + Directional_Antenee) + Satilite_Internet_Access considered a "classified" device? I am %100 civilian but I can tell you without any insider knowledge that the way they do this can't be far from what I described.

Re:We assume that... (4, Interesting)

gnieboer (1272482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126678)

Why not seed blogs, twitter and facebook...

Because by Executive Order (http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-05-30.pdf, page 19), "U.S. PSYOP forces will not target U.S. citizens at any time, in any location globally, or under any circumstances"

The internet causes a problem in this regard, as obviously it's designed so that all of it accessible from everyplace else (generally speaking). So while it's possible to put a server someplace that is firewalled to only send/relay info from a range of IP addresses, the military can't do that with Twitter; if they started putting PSYOPS on Twitter, it'd be accessible to US citizens, would could then be considered 'targeted'.

Of course, these restrictions are by executive order, not US law, and they apply to the US Military only.

Side note: on the next page, it spells out copyright issues as an area of concern... don't want to get sued by the MPAA in the middle of WW III because you broadcast a video of Mickey Mouse without permission...

Re:We assume that... (1, Informative)

Entropius (188861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126788)

I've seen US military propaganda all over the place, targeted at US citizens...

Drop Satellite phones (2)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126272)

That would work, although it'd be rather expensive - http://www.thuraya.com/ [thuraya.com]

444 kbit/s. I guess that's better than what most citizens have even when the internet is working.

Re:Drop Satellite phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126476)

Inmarsat BGAN is a much better option. It's also quite common in the Middle East and some other developing nations. Expensive? Yes, but that usually doesn't much matter when you're being funded by a third-county nation.

Re:Drop Satellite phones (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126544)

444 kbit/s. I guess that's better than what most citizens have even when the internet is working.

Yeah, that's pretty much what my Verizon DSL tops out at.

Re:Drop Satellite phones (2)

kalirion (728907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126600)

Huh? italics don't work anymore in either "Plain Old Text" or "HTML Formatted"? bold still works in both though.

Wonder if this is Taco's way of nudging users towards the non-classic Slashdot format (which AFAIK makes it impossible to directly go to your comment from your comments page.)

Re:Drop Satellite phones (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126756)

>>>my Verizon DSL tops out at 444 kbit/s.

Really? My Verizon DSL gives me a sustained 90 kbyte/sec down, which translates to 720+ kbit/s ----- exactly what I'm paying for. Why is yours so slow?

Re:Drop Satellite phones (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126880)

Full story here [dslreports.com] .

I've been putting off ordering a new modem since I have a feeling it won't solve anything and will just cost money.

Re:Drop Satellite phones (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126668)

Good in a sense, but I guess just having a sat phone will be enough to send you to a dark prison somewhere.

It's nice that the newer generation of sat phones seem to vaguely resemble cell phones, though.

internet access an inviolable human right? (3, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126274)

I am pretty suspicious of all the things that people claim as " inviolable human rights" now. Would the USA put its money where its mouth is and give money to foreign powers to give people internet access? Would they even pay for someone in part of the USA who can't afford access in a remote area?

If anything this dilutes the idea of real human rights - if every country in the world doesn't provide "human rights" to someone or other it becomes meaningless to criticise counties on this ground. Human rights should be confined to life, liberty, and essentials that we would all agree on.

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126376)

The thing about rights is that they are NEVER given or granted by a government. Rights are inherent. A government may protect or make exercising rights easier. More commonly they restrict, prohibit, and block exercising rights.

Human rights should be confined to life, liberty, and essentials that we would all agree on.

Good luck with that. I respect your utopian idea that we can all agree on basic, inherent, and fundamental rights but it won't happen. The best thing you can do to protect rights for yourself and others is to exercise them regularly and often and always stop and think if something you're doing will be infringing on the rights of someone else.

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126532)

always stop and think if something you're doing will be infringing on the rights of someone else

But a straightforward ability to ignore such violations, to convince oneself in being oh so good and having higher moral ground, is one of the nicest things about the export of suffering [chomsky.info] ...

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (2)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126534)

The thing about rights is that they are NEVER given or granted by a government. Rights are inherent.

So people claimed during the Enlightenment. But they also believed that rights were inherent because they were granted to every human being by a Creator. In contemporary society, when people are less likely to believe in a "magical sky fairy", there isn't such a convenient basis for natural rights. If there are no objective moral values, as has been argued by many proponents of Utilitarianism and taken up by popular thinkers like Dawkins, then it's hard to say that there could be objective rights.

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126732)

So are do you argue that there should not be natural rights (I realize your post wasn't normative) since there are no sky fairies?

Or the reverse? There are no rights without sky fairies, therefore we should believe in some or another $DEITY.

Also, since you seem to be Phil major, is the above line of reasoning basically Nietzsche's, or have there been other developments before or after?

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (2)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126982)

There is no such thing as an "inherent" right, despite flowery language.

If you believe there is a right to life, feel free to wander thru a wild area with carnivores and debate your "right". Or drop off in the middle of the ocean and scream about your "right" to life as you drown.

If a "right" was granted by God, no mere mortal could take it away, even if they tried.

Rights are granted by society. Society is who will punish you if you try to exercise a "right" they say you don't have.

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (5, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126394)

I think he meant "internet is a right" in the same way that "freedom of the press" is a right. It doesn't mean the government has to give you a printing press.

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (4, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126430)

Right to access internet seems to be merely the obvious conclusion of the fundamental rights. This doesn't mean that anyone has to provide you internet, just that they may not attempt to prevent you from accessing if you've got a means.

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126566)

"Human rights should be confined to life, liberty, and essentials that we would all agree on."

I definitely would have a problem with that. In fact the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution precisely for the reason that the Founders were concerned about the "tyranny of the majority" resulting in the limitation of rights by the voting population. The States, at the time the Constitution was written did after all permit slavery. And we have all seen opinion polls where voters were shown one of the first ten amendments, and the opinion was that this was far too liberal.

Human rights derive from Natural Law. Any system that does not as its basic tenant recognise this and prohibit government from encroaching on this rights regardless of popular opinion will, in the long run, fail. And I mean an expansive list, not some thinly constructed set of rights.

The Constitution was a good first step towards that goal. Hopefully as human society and the philosophy of government further evolves we shall see even stronger incarnations of these principles.

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (-1, Offtopic)

Entropius (188861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126830)

The trouble is this "natural law" thing.

I see no mention of "rights", or even of living things, in any of the fundamental natural laws:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_field_theory [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroweak_interaction [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_chromodynamics [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_relativity [wikipedia.org]

What do you mean by "natural law"?

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126918)

Wow, physics can use the same words to mean something different than social science. Someone mod this down, please.

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (2, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126690)

Nonsense. This is the 21st century!

Everything I want is a human right, guaranteed by that Constitution I read last week in high school. I can say anything to anybody, and they can't complain because I have free speech. Freedom of religion means that anything contradicting my religion should be prohibited from being within the same state as me, and right to bear arms means I can have keep a cruise missile in my bedroom.

There's some other stuff too, but I got bored reading. Lawyers ned 2 lern 2 rite, u no? I think that since the Constitution gets amendments, it gets new rights when new things happen. That's why I have a right to have my PS3 do what I want, no matter what that contract says. I have a right to listen to any music I want, even without paying anybody for it. I have a right to get paid without actually working, and a right to get the latest medical treatments even if I can't pay. I have a right to use the Internet, and a right to go to any website, and a right to post anything anywhere anytime. If I don't like what somebody else says or does, I have a right to protest however I want, even if it means breaking laws. I have a right to live a comfortable life, because I voted last election. Well, I didn't, but I'm sure somebody else did.

</painfulsarcasm>

Now that I've written that, I'm going to go cry a little...

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126996)

...and right to bear arms means I can have keep a cruise missile in my bedroom.

That's what I tell my wife, anyway. :-)

Re:internet access an inviolable human right? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126816)

I think it's not that you're obligated to provide Internet access (though social democracies like in Scandinavia do believe that).

It's more that you can't (or ought not) restrict Internet access (privately paid for).

Simpler, low-tech internet (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126344)

People who want internet access write down the URL on a piece of paper, smuggle the piece of paper to a CIA operative, and the response is broadcast in the form of printouts of the requested web page dumped out of a Hercules C130.

Re:Simpler, low-tech internet (2)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126412)

Good luck with that, even if you manage to smuggle fast enough for your amazon session not to expire, all your neighbours in a 100m radius will be able to read your order in the printout-drops, never mind that hardcore porn...

Re:Simpler, low-tech internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126584)

AJAX Requests are done with small snippets of paper in an empty bottle of bleach cleanser.

Re:Simpler, low-tech internet (1)

ngileadi (966224) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126928)

Isn't that how RMS browses the web?

Re:Simpler, low-tech internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35127048)

Arrrrr.... That's how we did it during the Cold War... we used Morse Code attached to horses which were on fire and the smoke signals were the URLs... the commies never did figure out how we could get TMZ.COM in the Moscow embassy

Satphones (4, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126352)

Use drones to airdrop a small kit containing a satphones with free satellite access for a while and a solar charger. Make sure the satphone is by default enabled as an open wifi hotspot. Spread all over the country. Be sure to include free porn memberships in uptight countries. I mean, come on, this has got to be a lot more efficient for democracy than sending tanks (and cheaper to boot), and a lot safer than sending journalists.

progress! (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126440)

i remember when people said the way to defeat totalitarian/hard-line islamic countries was not to drop bombs, but to drop TVs and fridges filled with coke...

Now we are talking about dropping smartphones with free pron subscriptions, progress!

Re:progress! (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126894)

Could the Afghanistan war could have been averted simply by giving the Taliban rulers free stuff in exchange for giving up their overstaying guests, OBL's crew?

Re:Satphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126596)

Be sure to include free porn memberships in uptight countries. I mean, come on, this has got to be a lot more efficient for democracy than sending tanks

People fapping in their basements are too busy to rise up.

Remember, "bread and games" keeps people obedient and quiet. Do not supply "games" if you want to enforce a revolt.

Re:Satphones (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126746)

I've been looking out from my balcony since I read this article, looking for the drone that will drop my satphone for free, fast Internet access. I haven't seen one yet.

Oh, wait. The country where I live is not at war with the USA. Does anyone know how to start a war? Maybe we need a dictator or something.

Re:Satphones (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126884)

As if satellite phone service was free; You'll need do drop calling cards too; and chargers; don't forget power. Why don't you just fork cash out the back of the C-130s?

How old is that pic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126370)

That coke can is using that old style which was common when I was a kid.

Re:How old is that pic? (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126614)

Did you notice the tan flight suits those Airmen are wearing? That's because they're deployed, most likely to the Middle East somewhere.

Most areas there still use the old "pull off tab" style of cans. Coke, Pepsi, Fanta, or otherwise. Not like the "wide mouth cans" we've seen in the US for years.

BTW - the Strawberry Fanta over there is amazing...

deploy this in the US (2)

Opr33Opr33 (1180091) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126400)

I'm not sure my friends out in the "sticks" would enjoy drones circling overhead, but they would get excited about FTD (faster than dialup) internet. And this would give the military a way to practice their internet enabling battle plans.

Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126408)

Is this the same thing as Net Neutrality? [/sarcasm]

Physical disconnect (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126488)

A severed fibre or disconnected plug has little in the way of backdoors.

Re:Physical disconnect (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126508)

(As for wifi, an access point isn't much good if personal devices are confiscated.)

Re:Physical disconnect (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35127008)

A physical disconnect is pretty easy to do

Strip searching every member of the population is likely to have the whole population up in arms (not to mention soaking up time the police could use beating up dissidents)

Probably the best bet would be jamming the wifi spectrum though that may not block modem traffic, satellite or TCPIP over ham radio [wikipedia.org]

ah, the joys of false equivalency (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126498)

the american president is not going to cut off the internet and start goose stepping around the white house. this ranks right up there with other paranoid schizophrenic fantasies like rednecks with guns in the woods are going to save us from fascism. please stop mentioning the american internet kill switch in the same sentence as egypt, china, or iran. its just... dumb

we live in an abused, yes, compromised, yes, but still functioning democracy. meaning rule is by consent, not force and fear. any president who cuts off the internet is going to have to explain his or herself to the people who elected him or her. and the american people are still electing presidents (now comes the part where some genius complains about liberal media and propagandized morons or conservative media and propagandized morons... snore... thank you for thinking so lowly of your fellow citizens. oh where is your nonexistent utopia where every citizen is perfectly ideologically in tune with you as only an "educated" person would be?)

in egypt or china or iran the kill switch can be invoked, and then: you got a problem with that? there's no accountability to the people of those countries. if the people get angry, crack skulls until they cower again in fear (until blessedly, as the people in egypt show us, the people just aren't afraid anymore, and it is revealed to the world exactly why democracy, as messy as it is, is still so superior to despotism: its simply more stable because it manufactures legitimacy by consulting the people)

but fear is not how it works in the usa. really, mr. snarky teenager. do you feel afraid criticizing the us government on slashdot? oh, why not? maybe because you have that right AND THAT RIGHT IS RESPECTED. aka: you do not live in a society ruled by fear. want to test that? ok: try criticizing the chinese government in china or the iranian government in iran as vocally and as vociferously and as loudly and as repeatedly as some of you false equivalency geniuses, who think your democracy is just as bad as despotism. go ahead, go on with your bad self. what happens to squeaky wheels like you in iran, china, or egypt?

now that you understand the difference, please understand that the reasons for the use of an internet kill switch are for entirely different criteria in democracies versus despotic countries. a valid use: some armageddeon level ddos or a warhol virus, versus an invalid use: preventing the people from coordinating and rising up against their oppressors

look: there are many problems with the american government. i repeat: there are many problems with the american government. i am not an american apologist. but making snark about the american internet kill switch in the same breath as the policies of egypt, or iran, or china, governments clearly far, far worse in terms of the rights of its citizens, that doesn't advance any cause you believe in. it just makes you look stupid and either ungrateful for how well you have it, or simply naive and uneducated about how little rights people have in other countries

teenage level snark might get snickers from other snarky teenagers, but its not the path to valid commentary on your government or any other government in the world

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126748)

Your skill in using the word "Snark" has increased.

preventing the people from coordinating and rising up against their oppressors

The lack of internet didn't stop the American Revolution, and it wouldn't hinder anyone much if something were to happen in the future. People who feel the absolute need to make change will find a way to do so.

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126808)

Great post. I do find it amusing that people worry about the US government cutting off the Internet. If any kill switch is invoked it would tend to be a boarder kill switch. AKA cut the US from the rest of the world not the internal networks. Just as the US cut off telephone, telex, and telegraph access to Japan, Germany, and Italy during WWII. Even that would take a something horrific to trip.

Yes this fear is right up there with the nut cases that read the Turner Diaries and feel that it is important.

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126814)

do you feel afraid criticizing the us government on slashdot? oh, why not? maybe because you have that right AND THAT RIGHT IS RESPECTED

Yes, I do fear for my future (especially career-wise) when dissenting on the Internet, which is why I (and many others) post anonymously.

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (2)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126818)

Indeed, many places are (or were) "far, far worse in terms of the rights of its citizens" [chomsky.info] , as you put it; we should be grateful they're even willing to accept import of suffering.

(why do you think "rule by consent" precludes fear and, partly, force from being elements of it?)

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126986)

this shit is a legacy of the cold war. the ussr did the same

that doesn't excuse this disgusting behavior. i agree with you: this shit better stop. it does no good anymore to get in bed with strongmen. the usa might be inclined to continue to do so in the middle east, but that only increases the people's hartred of the usa and makes the usa a valid target in their eyes

the only valid foreign policy for the usa is: spread democracy with soft power. its the only way to not appear a hypocrite. it might cost the usa, such as with trade with china, but the cost is less in the long run when you appear that you actually stand for some principles in this world

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126848)

we live in an abused, yes, compromised, yes, but still functioning democracy.

No democracy in which vote fraud is so rampant is deserving of the name. It is NOT functioning; in two of the last three elections the will of the people was ignored.

meaning rule is by consent, not force and fear.

hahahahaha

Saying a thing doesn't make it so. People everywhere can see that the system is failing but feel helpless. They're afraid to do something.

but making snark about the american internet kill switch in the same breath as the policies of egypt, or iran, or china, governments clearly far, far worse in terms of the rights of its citizens, that doesn't advance any cause you believe in.

I can't help but notice that only one of those nations receives no foreign aid from the USA.

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35127016)

you know, people actually voted, and their votes were tallied, and the tally determined the president. sorry about that, i guess?

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126872)

the american president is not going to authorize a secret kidnap and torture program and start goose stepping around the white house. this ranks right up there with other paranoid schizophrenic fantasies like rednecks with guns in the woods are going to save us from fascism. please stop mentioning the american internet kill switch in the same sentence as egypt, china, or iran. its just... dumb

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126878)

This needs modding up

Great post, I just hope you are correct...

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126890)

I don't think I would worry about Obama or any other president in the near future cutting off Internet access to the country. There would be tons of lawsuits and our country is too legal-based for this to stand for long. What I would be concerned about, though, is our government shutting down websites/seizing domain names of companies that it decrees are illegal without any previous due process. (Fighting a lengthy court battle to recover your domain name while you are down or online under a lesser-known name isn't a valid option.) Sadly, this is being done now: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Homeland-Security-Begins-Seizing-Domains-Again-112598

If these websites are conducting illegal activity, gather evidence, launch a lawsuit against them, let the courts decide that first and *then* seize the domain (if the court decides that should happen). Don't seize the domain and say "want it back? Sue us."

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126946)

We live in an abused, yes, compromised, yes, but still functioning democracy, meaning rule is by consent, not force and fear.

... unless you're Muslim or involved in any way in Wikileaks, in which case most bets are off. You can have your property seized, be searched and harassed at airports, and of course be labeled an enemy combatant and sent to Gitmo or maybe sent to our good friends to be tortured. Julian Assange has been very clear that the reason he's fighting extradition is because he doesn't trust the Swedes to not hand him over to the United States, and he doesn't trust the United States to follow its own laws right now.

Maybe because you have that right AND THAT RIGHT IS RESPECTED.

An example of how this is being undermined: A good friend of Bradley Manning visited him in prison regularly, and reported on the conditions Manning was being held under, conditions which were very different from what the US military said they were in public statements. This eventually got national attention by the mainstream media. Shortly afterwords, when this friend went back for another visit, most of what he took with him, including his laptop, was seized. No charges, no due process, no probable cause.

Or when a foreigner who had done some work defending Wikileaks went to visit the US, upon arrival at US customs all his electronics were seized, again without any kind of charges or judicial review. The foreigner had anticipated this and had a representative of the ACLU meet him there to argue his case, to no avail. He'd also had the good sense to ensure that the electronics in question just had a copy of the US Bill of Rights on them.

That's even ignoring issues like "Free Speech Zones", police aggression against protesters and reporters at events like party conventions or pro-immigration rallies, and the occasional lethal penalty for Driving/Walking While Not White.

So no, that right isn't really respected. There exists a classified list of actions that will cause you to be mistreated by the US government. Right now, that appears to be a fairly small list, but we have no idea really what's on it.

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35127040)

It's the Plebian Laws of Rome all over again.
The aristocracy created laws for the Plebs to adhere to, except the Plebs had no idea what those laws were.
You found out when the lictors were beating you in the streets with cudgels.

The methodology has changed but as long as countries have secret laws no citizens are safe.

Re:ah, the joys of false equivalency (4, Insightful)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126968)

The reason for all those liberties is that someone, somewhere, sometime, was vigilant in either having them recognized, or conserving them.

So when people talk about kill switches, they're just being vigilant, thereby preserving those liberties.

And if the President isn't going to (or shouldn't) kill the Internet, why bring it up at all (as some Senators did)?

Don't forget Joe Lieberman killed Wikileaks' access to the Internet with just a phone call.

nothing to see here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126512)

tfa is bullshit

long story short:

You use a plane to become a flying wap.

Bandwidth will suck.

Broadcast radio would be better suited for this.

Theres no reason a sufficiently advanced country couldnt broadcast on the same frequencies themselves, thereby interfering with the signal you want to get in to the country.

They cant magically turn the wired isps back on without boots on the ground.

"Classified" (2)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126514)

Wow this article is full of "Well we would , but we don't want to go into those military secrets."

> operatives could smuggle small satellite dishes into a country

Seriously?

Re:"Classified" (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126892)

Actually this is all just guess work. It is public knowledge that the US has flying TV and radio stations. It is also public knowledge that the US has flying cell sites. I mean think about it. Put two and to together and you have a way to put up internet and cell service in an area.
It could be used to provide communications during a natural disaster or to broadcast information to a populace you want to provide information and news too. One man's news is another propaganda. Think of Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.

I mean this is really at the level of duhh... That it makes my head hurt.

Re:"Classified" (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126974)

I think there are better ways to provide access to the internet to people in a hostile country than invading their airspace!

Intertubes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126592)

The Spice must Flow !

I know you guys like to interfere but.. (3, Insightful)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126610)

Aren't the Egyptians telling you guys to stay out!? Maybe it's better if you don't get involved for once.

Has the Voice of America gone dark? (4, Informative)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126616)

I ask that rhetorically, but has VOA become so neutered and politically correct that it could not at least broadcast current events to the Egyptian people? It wasn't that long ago that VOA was jammed regularly in the former Soviet Union.

Carpet-bombing the country with 'cheap' sat phones or wireless routers for use with a foreign-sponsored offshore Internet service sounds like fun, though. All we need to do is figure out how to set up the link so aircraft don't need to overfly the target nation, and set these up as mesh nodes to extend the network into the interior. And keep the airborne links far enough outside the target's borders to pretend they are in 'international' airspace. Battery power is not a good idea, but it may be the simplest thing. Imagine a national ban on batteries... USB-powered devices would be ideal, but that's a tall order technilogically...

These flying access points better be remotely piloted, though. Hosni in particular knows his way around air defense, and has good equipment.

Re:Has the Voice of America gone dark? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126796)

You overfly some cheap drones, you drop some solar-powered access point lawn darts, done. We already have ample overhead communications options to provide the rest of the system.

Where is the NRA for internet access? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35126738)

Nowhere in the constitution is there are mention of access to the internet, but it has CLEARLY become critical to maintaining the freedom and security of a nation of people.

plausible deniability (2)

mlush (620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126820)

Simple Send up an 'easily hacked' constellation of satellites.

Dictator: Shut down your satellite access
US: Oh were really sorry those wascally hackers keep breaking our pass codes! Were trying really hard to lock them out (changes password to fred ) there that should do it.

One could construe their satellite hacking problems in Brazil [wired.com] to be laying ground work for this position.

Medium Data Rate better than Zero Data Rate. (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35126874)

I can see this type of technology being used in a very pro-American area in which access has been eliminated or severely limited. Take Kurdistan, for example (an area in Northern Iraq); they can be extremely pro-Western and have even adopted some of our clothing and technology. I'm not sure about now, but a few years ago they were fairing much better than the rest of Iraq due to their more flexible nature and mentality.

One thing you'll find with the military infrastructure is that there won't be underpaid IT workers lackadaisically "getting around to it" when outages or problems arise. These guys are professionals with a mission to accomplish - downtime is extremely limited, even if the data rates and latency aren't the greatest. It's better to take slightly longer to get a complete, message than it is to get an incorrect or partial message through.

Of course, none of our technology would be used in a situation that didn't eventually benefit us as a nation. We might go too far in aiding others at times, but we're not complete idiots. Quid pro quo.

Here's a good name for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35127054)

iBomb

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