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F-Secure's Hypponen: The Internet Is a 'US Colony'

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the sure-hope-it-doesn't-rebel dept.

The Internet 263

nk497 writes "Web users are vulnerable to mass online spying because the U.S. has too much power online, according to a leading security researcher. Discussing revelations of U.S. spying at his LinuxCon keynote speech, F-Secure's chief research officer Mikko Hypponen argued that the internet had 'become a U.S. colony,' at the expense of democracy. 'We're back in the age of colonization,' he said. 'We should think about the Americans as our masters.' Hypponen argued that its dominance over the web gave the U.S. too much power over foreign countries, noting that while the majority of European politicians likely use U.S. services every day, most U.S. politicians and business leaders don't, for example, use Swedish-based cloud services. 'It's an imbalanced situation,' he said. 'All the major services are based in the U.S.'"

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stfu. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237277)

the us invented it, did most of the work developing and deploying it, and funds most of the upkeep.

the rest of the world waited for it to be done, walked in, and started bitching.

Re:stfu. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237501)

The Crown funded most of the transport, infrastructure and civil service of the American Colonies ....
You Ingrates should have shown more respect to your Sovereign (and the Crown's treasury) and should
not have started that rable-rousing "revolution".

Quiz: The above statements are:
- Ironic
- Bloody right
- Probably made by a no-good, towel-headed communist liberal hippie hommo

Re:stfu. (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#45237857)

The Crown funded most of the transport, infrastructure and civil service of the American Colonies...

No, the colonies did becuase George III, a porphyric idiot, started upping the taxes to pay for England's little imperialistic chessmatch with France. The Crown bestowed no gifts. Or was the Boston Tea Party a little fraternity roughhousing?

Re:stfu. (4, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#45237955)

That's quite a reasonable comment, actually. (Somebody mod the AC up?)

Most consumer-level internet resources are in the US because the datacenters are. The datacenters are mostly in the US because it's still a nice place to start a company, and most of the companies have their HQ here. I'm not sure whether the key is where the corporate HQ is located, or where the datacenter is located, but I'm thinking either makes you vulnerable. Many countries' governments are seeing a problem with this.

That being the case, it presents a real risk for fragmentation of the internet. Countries won't want their people all going to a foreign company and datacenter just to escape spying (better to be spied on by a foreign power that doesn't share with your government), and breaking the internet along government boundaries would be tragic.

Maybe a better answer is to just fix the US. What if we just defunded the NSA, fired everyone, scrapped all the datacenters, demolished the buildings, and salted the earth? OK, we'd be at somewhat higher risk of terrorism because of the loss of SIGINT, and we wouldn't want to lose that forever, plus we'd need SIGINT again before some major power goes to war again (sure to happen inevitably), but I think the cost might be worth the value of the object lesson about government overreach.

Eurotards are just jealous (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237505)

Two-time World War champs! Suck it, Eurotrash!!

Re:Eurotards are just jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237725)

North Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Afghanistan...

Sputnik, Yuri Gagarin, URSS Space Station...

America sux dude.

Re:Eurotards are just jealous (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237805)

Those weren't World Wars. Bad try, Eurotrash.

Re:Eurotards are just jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45238043)

If weren't for the Russians fucking Hitlers army, you americans would have your nasty asses handed to you.

But I give you... I mean, Einsteins kudos. The Atomic Bomb saved you against the Janapese, btw the son of a bitch was german... hah, crazy shit huh.

Re:Eurotards are just jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45238199)

Don't forget the other great american hero who gave them NASA, ICBM's, etc.

Wernher von Braun

Re:Eurotards are just jealous (1)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | about a year ago | (#45237907)

2 legs, 2 arms, 2 hands and 2 feets...
Only one head...

We all sux dude.

Re:stfu. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237519)

We're all living in America,
America is wunderbar.
We're all living in America,
Amerika, Amerika.

Wenn getanzt wird, will ich führen,
auch wenn ihr euch alleine dreht,
lasst euch ein wenig kontrollieren,
Ich zeige euch wie's richtig geht.
Wir bilden einen lieben Reigen,
die Freiheit spielt auf allen Geigen,
Musik kommt aus dem Weißen Haus,
Und vor Paris steht Mickey Maus.

We're all living in America...

Ich kenne Schritte, die sehr nützen,
und werde euch vor Fehltritt schützen,
und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss,
weiß noch nicht, dass er tanzen muss!
Wir bilden einen lieben Reigen,
ich werde Euch die Richtung zeigen,
nach Afrika kommt Santa Claus,
und vor Paris steht Mickey Maus.

Refrain:
We're all living in America,
America is wunderbar.
We're all living in America,
Amerika, Amerika.
We're all living in America,
Coca-Cola, Wonderbra,
We're all living in America,
Amerika, Amerika.

This is not a love song,
this is not a love song.
I don't sing my mother tongue,
No, this is not a love song.

We're all living in America,
Amerika is wunderbar.
We're all living in America,
Amerika, Amerika.
We're all living in America,
Coca-Cola, sometimes WAR,
We're all living in America,
Amerika, Amerika.

if it wasn't americans, it would be someone else.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237281)

People act like the US is the only country to have ever spied, when really, in this case, they just got caught. How do you know that others wouldn't be doing the same sort of monitoring? How do you know that they're not already?

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237399)

So wait..this gets modded troll for telling the truth? Nice way to mod dickwad :P

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (3, Interesting)

nomad63 (686331) | about a year ago | (#45237481)

That is absolutely right. They are not bitching about spying. They are bitching about America has too much power to do spying and them (Finnish people ??) NOT! If the balance was tilted towards their side, do you think they would complain this much ? I think not...

Also, I'd prefer American's do the spying instead of Russians or god forbid Mujaheddin army from the garden variety of middle eastern kingdoms/banana republics. I am not a born American by the way, if you are going to try flaming me with phrases starting with "You, Americans always say it like that....blah-blah". It is common sense. Regardless how bad the freedoms are in this country, I'd rather not be anywhere else at this moment in time.

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45237535)

Also, I'd prefer American's do the spying instead of Russians or god forbid Mujaheddin army from the garden variety of middle eastern kingdoms/banana republics.

You would really rather be spied on by a country that has the capability to summarily execute you anywhere on the planet via drone strike, than a bunch of radicalized extremists living in tents, who couldn't get close enough to harm you, even if they really really wanted to?

Pardon me for finding that an odd position to hold.

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (3, Insightful)

countach44 (790998) | about a year ago | (#45237881)

I think the assumption is that if those governments had as much power, then the damage they could inflict would be proportional. If the US couldn't do anything with the knowledge, then no one would care.

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45238215)

You would really rather be spied on by a country that has the capability to summarily execute you anywhere on the planet via drone strike, than a bunch of radicalized extremists living in tents, who couldn't get close enough to harm you, even if they really really wanted to?

I find it rather amusing that you consider England, Russia, and China to be a bunch of "radicalized extremists living in tents".

What this article is bitching about is essentially "Everybody goes to the US to setup companies, data centers, hire tech people, and that's not fair". Bullshit, there's nothing the US does to force people to setup their stuff in the US. There's nothing the US does to penalize anybody in other places.
There are a wide variety of reasons why the internet is "US-centric" for most services, but US having some kind of vague, undefined Authoritarian Control is not one of them.

A lot of people avoid the EU because of Net filters and (in their mind) excessive privacy regulations. People avoid China and Russia because they have little or no confidence those governments are not going to simply take their assets. And more to the point in the case of Russia and China, most people assume they'll have all their data and intellectual property straight ripped off... of course no mention of that recently because right now the NSA is the bogeyman people are hiding from.

If you don't want the internet to be US-centric then it's easy to solve it- make your own country a more appealing place to setup shop. The US offers relative stability in terms of economy, infrastructure, and laws, and if you look at the planet and where communications lines run it's "centralized". You could try setting up in a country in the Middle East, but political instability, poor infrastructure, and lack of a wealth of advanced educational services make it a pretty piss-poor region to consider right now. So if you're going to try and offer Internationally available services the US is currently the logical place to be.

And what are you going to gain by moving elsewhere? Technically the NSA's job IS to spy on other nations, the controversy is that they got caught doing it to US citizens. You still have to worry about the NSA everywhere else, in addition to the local governments. Sure, setup shop in Saudi Arabia, that sounds great until the local Dictator decides you're violating some religious requirement and shuts you down. China? Get ready to see your products show up on the black market with a minimally altered logo affixed. South America somewhere? Nope, there's crap for infrastructure and political stability is a major issue. Asia? Sure, some countries are appealing, but again you're looking at connections to the rest of the world having to go either through the US, or politically unstable regions.

Pardon me for finding that an odd position to hold.

Hold whatever position you desire, but please at least try to base it in some type of semblance of reality.

Re: if it wasn't americans, it would be someone el (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45238217)

They also have the capability of burning my house down because I support... educating women, and you know, letting them drive and stuff.

I judge by words and actions, and _as long as those are in check_, I don't really care what anyone knows, in fact I'd feel safer knowing people weren't just getting along cause of what they don't know.

Posting anonymously because I don't trust all the idiots reading this forum even a quarter as much as the guys with drones.

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237973)

Also, I'd prefer American's do the spying instead of Russians

Since you're a greengrocer and I'm not, can you explain why there's an apostrophe in "American's" but not "Russians"?

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237531)

I'd mod this if I had points. Every country with any power spies. We spy on our allies and they spy on us. When caught, the spies are simply sent home to be later replaced.

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (3, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about a year ago | (#45237715)

True, but no other country on earth likes to boast about FREEEEEEEEEEEEDOM!!! as much as the US.

I don't think most people believe the US is the only country that does this, just the one with the most cognitive dissonance.

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237829)

And what does freedom, and the "boasting" about said freedom, have to do with spying or the lack thereof?

Nothing, unless it is done illegally against it's own citizens. Which it is, and we're not too happy about, sure enough. That aside, why would the American constitution give foreigners freedoms when they are in another country and are, instead, bound to that country's rules and regulations?

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#45237917)

No, but the US sucks becuase it got caught. If you're gonna spy on your friends, you CAN NOT get caught. Period. Relying on the silence of underlings only shows off your real weakness.

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45238261)

Except they all got caught. How quickly you seem to forget that damn near every country with any sort of importance has been spying both on it's own citizens and foreigners. It's almost like you intentionally cherry-pick your "facts" to give yourself a false sense of European superiority.

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (3, Interesting)

ciantic (626550) | about a year ago | (#45237689)

They are, it's just that individual states of Europe has a intelligence budget so low, they couldn't even spy on their own citizens let alone foreigners abroad.

Why should I, as a citizen of Europe, have less rights online than US citizens? Especially when we are talking about companies (Google, Microsoft, etc.) that operates within EU, whom are also forced by US law to give away stuff to US government.

Europe should create laws where service providers (working directly or indirectly in Europe) can't give the user's data to third parties without (very least) informing the user in question. Purpose of these laws should be aimed at conflicting with US's FISA request-law which prevents me from knowing if my data is given away or not.

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#45237701)

People act like the US is the only country to have ever spied, when really, in this case, they just got caught. How do you know that others wouldn't be doing the same sort of monitoring?

While some level of monitoring goes on in every Western country, most national intelligence bodies don't have the resources to tap at the same level as the NSA. Just look at the budget of the NSA compared to that of Finland or Poland's intelligence ministries. The NSA can tap fiber even outside the US, but even wealthier and more powerful European governments don't enjoy that same luxury.

Re:if it wasn't americans, it would be someone els (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#45237895)

All bets are off when your hand is revealed, man.

Yeah, so? (3, Insightful)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#45237289)

We built the original infrastructure. The original backbone was developed here, and nearly all the funding came from US sources. Everyuthing else is an extension of that, and built on that framework.

Don't like it? Build your own, like China or Iran, and see how well corporations and people flock to use your "Internet".

Re:Yeah, so? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237337)

As the FOSSolytes say: It's all open, fork your own if you don't like our implementation.

Re:Yeah, so? (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#45237633)

As the FOSSolytes say: It's all open, fork your own if you don't like our implementation.

That's the problem, if countries *do* fork off their own internet, it's going to make things worse for everyone.

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2013/09/17/brazil-fights-us-internet-hegemony-wants-to-shield-brazilian-data-from-nsa/ [foxnews.com]

Imagine a fractured internet, where if you want your site accessible from the world, you have to buy domain names and have your site be vetted by every country that you want your site accessible from.

Re:Yeah, so? (0)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#45237765)

As an American, I don't care if someone in Iceland accesses my website. It would be nice, but it isn't necessary for the site to function or make money. If iceland decides to wall of it's internet, then it's citizens won't get access to things like, say, Facebook, which hey may want This is then known as the "Iranian solution"

Re:Yeah, so? (3, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#45238167)

As an American, I don't care if someone in Iceland accesses my website. It would be nice, but it isn't necessary for the site to function or make money. If iceland decides to wall of it's internet, then it's citizens won't get access to things like, say, Facebook, which hey may want This is then known as the "Iranian solution"

As an American that pays attention to what happen outside of our borders, I appreciate being able to reach any site anywhere in the world and vice versa.

Additionally, much of the FOSS software that I use and count on to do my job has heavy contributions from developers across the world. I'd sure hate to lose that easy collaboration because Iceland doesn't trust the USA's internet.

I think Facebook as more to lose from cutting off access from the rest of the world than the rest of the world has to lose without facebook - it wouldn't take long for home-grown competitors to arise.

Re:Yeah, so? (2)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about a year ago | (#45238173)

That kind of thinking only works until the whole EU decides on doing the same. I bet there's a lot of people who would really wish US services couldn't be reached from thier countries, giving them opportunities to catch up/cash in.

Of course, judging by your reply... to you, it probably doesn't matter if the "internet" becomes "arpanet" again.

Re:Yeah, so? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#45238165)

Yeah, but if they build new 'backbone' routes that don't pass through the US, then everyone benefits.

Lesser of Evils? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237489)

Somehow, I trust the US colony over the European one, while still trusting the global democracy over the US version (esp. the NSA). If I could learn pictograms and had the marketable skills, I'd probably just move to South Korea or Japan. All I ask is fiber+freedom.

Re:Lesser of Evils? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237667)

Saying this as a European, the European one would eradicate all anonymity in the name of getting rid of every last trace of "hate speech", "antifeminism" etc.

Re:Yeah, so? (2)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#45237569)

You're quite right.

Although the www bit was given a major shove in the right direction by TBL at CERN.

Still public money seeding things, of course.

Even if the UK, France, German whoever Govt. funded a "free" Google rival, would you trust it?

Re:Yeah, so? (1)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#45237785)

Well, I don't know, probably not. Google is a for-profit company, not beholden to the government. I doubt the European version would be the same.

Re:Yeah, so? (2)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#45237809)

Sounds like you're in violent agreement with Mr. Hypponen in the article.

Another possible response would be, "We have overstepped. Soon you will see concrete steps that we are stepping back towards more transparency and less intrusion."

I prefer the second because I think it's better for Americans as well as people everywhere. And it's not an either/or choice, since it ramping down US surveillance and control doesn't preclude people everywhere from developing their own indigenous web services or Internet infrastructure if that will serve them better.

Re:Yeah, so? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45237821)

"We built the original infrastructure. The original backbone was developed here, and nearly all the funding came from US sources. Everyuthing else is an extension of that, and built on that framework."

We did, and that much is true. But even that is not the point here.

TFA is all about the major SERVICES being in the U.S. And they are. Why? Not because we built the infrastructure. But because we innovated and built them. It's called capitalism.

Re:Yeah, so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237871)

Not only that, but you think the French or Germans aren't spying to the best of their abilities? (We know the UK is). And the restrictive laws there (see: what can I sell on ebay, book pricing) can make the US seem not so bad.
Some Swedish services are actually widely used in the US, see TPB ;)

Re:Yeah, so? (2)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a year ago | (#45237963)

I wrote a paper and gave a presentation in college about the likelihood that internet would become balkanized by 2020, the wild west would be over, and the genie put back in the bottle. (i'm sure I'm missing a cliche there). My reasonings behind it were the increasing capabilities of off the shelf technology to then allow countries to filter and control content would come available and the legal will to do so. The professor of the class, ironically this was a cyber-philosophy class (yes liberal arts college, but it was a fun topic) and the professor did have CS undergrad (UC Berkley in the 1960's), masters in Mathematics, and PhD in Philosophy) who taught us what the idea of "hyper-text" was about back in the 1980s'. (Closest we got to how hypertext was supported to work hypothetically is Wikipedia). So the prof did have actually a good understanding of the principles of things like networking etc..

His counter argument was the "Internet sees damage and routes around it" and "Censorship = damage" and also that technology would evolve to counter what I was envisioning at the time and that the good days of the internet would continue. My main point in the paper & presentation was if you looked at the backbone of the internet, especially undersea cables and satellites, that the core infrastructure was owned at the time by about 15 companies and the first round of M&A and bankruptcies were starting back then with Worldcomm's collapse. It's very hard for the internet to "route around" as the model of the internet worked was less mesh that was envisioned and more a hub and spoke if you got to looking at it. Especially in the US where a few players own the last mile of service. So you have your last mile going back to your ISP, which then to get to someone else's ISP travels through a backbone providers' cables. While it seems like point to point it really isn't. My argument was there would be further market consolidation to around 5 big players. This consolidation would be allowed by regulators because once you got to that stage of oligopoly it would be far easier for government bodies to control them via regulation and large government contracts.

I did end up with an A for the project/paper. I think he wished the utopia ideal would continue, but even by 2000 I think things were beginning to shape up.

Re:Yeah, so? (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about a year ago | (#45237981)

My sentiment exactly. The US has all these services because companies based in the US developed them. You want to compete, build your own "Silicon Valley" like location where you have a high number of programmers and engineers + venture capital to fund them.

Re:Yeah, so? (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about a year ago | (#45238007)

On a side note, I would love to see that happen personally because then my wages might actually go up with less H1Bs willing to work for chump-change in the US if there are other places around the world which are actively competing for the personnel.

Re:Yeah, so? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#45238143)

We built the original infrastructure. The original trade routes were developed here, and nearly all the funding came from British sources. Everything else is an extension of that, and built on that framework.

Don't like it? Build your own, like China or Iran, and see how well corporations and people flock to use your "Trade Routes".

Boston Tea Party anyone?

Re:Yeah, so? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#45238229)

i think several countries who think they have the tehcnological balls are leaning in that direction. I really don't have a problem with the logic, if some one is going to claim to be a non-partisan, benevolant, shepherd of the world's main digital infrastructure (implied by the fact that the US has resisted efforts to make ICANN a part of the UN, which was an intelligent decision in my opinion) they need to NOT be evil. The US has broken this implied promise, and has completely ruined the good will it has enjoyed with other western countries, the few in the middle east, and everywhere else. Its like believing your mother has been stashing away your newspaper money and then finding out from your brother she spent it on crack. Its a complete collapse of the goodwill built up since WWII. The US government has gone from being a 9/11 victim deserving of sympathy to a paranoid 800 lb gorilla just itching for some one to look at it cross-eyed, and intelligent, civilized people are looking at with a new eye, and rightly so.

I see a lot of American idiots who say "If you're doing nothing wrong, what does it matter?" right here, even on this supposedly anarchist-leaning forum. Well, ask yourself: Why does Angela Merkel have a problem with the US Gov spying on her? What would your response be? "Oh, well, she's a peer, she's the head of another Government..." why should that be any different? The US Government is supposed to be working FOR YOU, they are YOUR EMPLOYEE. This and the subprime fiasco [wikipedia.org] should be a huge red flag. That more Americans aren't apalled at what this government has been up to lately is astounding to me. Keep 'em hungry and thay'll be happy with the few crumbs they do get, I guess.

never left the age of colonization (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237371)

Israel has been colonizing the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights since 1967l. Turkey has been colonizing Cyprus since 1974, probably encouraged by the example set by Israel. China has been colonizing Tibet since the 50's.

There are probably other examples but these are three of the most notable that continue today.

Re:never left the age of colonization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237833)

Er, the most notable non-US efforts, anyway. I'd say the US global efforts are still the most notable. The most obvious are the US colonial possessions and US territories as covered by wikipedia, but less obvious are, well, I'd say almost anywhere with a combination of strong US military + strong US corporate presence. Or strong US military + strong US banking/debt presence. I know that'd be a stretch for many people, and certainly too liberal, but it's how I see it.

we left the age of colonization (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#45237889)

Just becasue some contries are still doing these things doesn't mean we are still in the age of colonization. Colonization has always been going on. The Age of refers to a period of time where it was happing on a large scale. Such as all of Africa and all of East Asia. There are still kingdoms in Europe but we are no longer in the Age of Monarchy. North Korea is communist but we are not in the Age of Communism.

Re:never left the age of colonization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45238159)

The United States of America is occupying the Confederate States of America...

It depends on your point of view.

Yes, that's pretty much true (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#45237395)

The problem is, what can be done about the problem that would actually improve matters?

The most commonly suggested answer is to turn it over to the UN, and, frankly, I don't think that there can be much argument but that would make matters immeasureably *worse* for the average user.

Re:Yes, that's pretty much true (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#45237567)

Dear god, the UN? I'm not American but I would *not* like to see them take over. Besides, reading TFA reveals that it isn't really about controlling top level DNS, or the hardware (a lot of which is Chinese), or controlling key hubs (many of which are outside of the US). It is not about the Internet at all, but about the services. So, no need to transfer control of DNS or whatnot to the UN, or even to "fork" parts of the Internet... just roll your own secure services and cloud centers.

Re:Yes, that's pretty much true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237627)

The US has its down points, but no sane country wants it turned over to the UN. At least the US responds to bad press and enough kicks in the rear, eventually rolls over and complies. One reason SOPA and PIPA didn't get passed is that China and Russia made it crystal clear that any .ru or .cn site taken down would be considered an act of war, similar to a naval blockade. That's why the US Congress backed off from that bill, and not petitions from constituents.

Moving control of the Internet to the UN would make things worse for everyone. Fashion sites would get taken down because they don't meet the morals rules of another country. Religious sites would be taken down because of the laws in Elbonia. The UN could run roughshod over almost anyone, with absolutely no checks/balances in place.

All and all, the US sucks, but it could get a lot worse.

Re:Yes, that's pretty much true (2)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#45237793)

What is wrong with the laws in Elbonia?

Re:Yes, that's pretty much true (1)

ravenlord_hun (2715033) | about a year ago | (#45238209)

At least the US responds to bad press and enough kicks in the rear, eventually rolls over and complies.

Which is precisely why I still get all my non-encrypted traffic stuffed into a database in Utah, right?

Re:Yes, that's pretty much true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237651)

Well, you could stop all this multi-culturalism bullshit and start acting like separate countries. I mean, the argument about government officials just shows that its their own fault. If your government officials are using insecure (read: U.S.-based) services, it is purely because your government allows them to do so. The employer is responsible for controlling the who/what/when/where/how of what their employees do while on the job.

If the argument is that these are all personal accounts, then the solution is to create more compelling applications on the web that are not hosted in the U.S. Which shouldn't be that difficult if your country can grow some balls and forcibly stop the U.S. (or any other country) from prying in any way.

Re:Yes, that's pretty much true (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45237707)

The problem is, what can be done about the problem that would actually improve matters?

The most commonly suggested answer is to turn it over to the UN, and, frankly, I don't think that there can be much argument but that would make matters immeasureably *worse* for the average user.

Even if there were an actually-benevolent-and-competent contender in the wings, the part of internet governance that the ITU and some states keep trying to pull into the UN isn't really the part that gives the US leverage.

The US does have the ability (and willingness) to exert control over the registrars for a number of the most desirable TLDs. Just operate a piracy-related website and you'll probably learn that firsthand. That matters because US-controlled TLDs are popular; but being able to change the DNS entry for 'foo.com' from one IP to another doesn't change what is on your server, nor does it exert any control over the fact that foo.co.uk still points to it.

The US also has a pretty good position in terms of common SSL CAs (If they've done so, it's been on the quiet so far; but if anybody can shove Verisign around like they did to Lavabit, and get fake certs generated, it'd be the feds); but that control is, again, nonexclusive.

The part that gives the US power is the amount of traffic (US and other) that travels through US infrastructure and services operated by US companies. Changing who hands out TLDs or letting telco dinosaurs into the decision-making process isn't going to change that (unless we start charging for 'long-distance packets' or something ghastly)...

Re:Yes, that's pretty much true (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237877)

It'd be nice if we actually had a consensus-based global organizing body. The U.N. is practically a puppet of the nations in the U.N. Security Council.

Until the major state powers are rendered irrelevant, they will always wield the biggest control over important social resources. I'd say the OP story is merely reflecting this. US control of the internet is a function of its global power as a state, which is not an engineering problem.

Only have yourselves to blame (4, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year ago | (#45237401)

Where are the non-US-based search engines, social media sites, video hosts, and email providers? Yes they exist, of course, but there are almost no notable standouts. For every Vimeo there's a dozen US-based YouTubes.

You only have yourself to blame for complacently letting US businesses dominate these fields. The internet is based on open protocols and open networks. The playing field is level other than the minor niggle of ICANN's control of domain names and DNS root servers (minor since the internet works without DNS and could be replaced with something else). Hell, most countries have an advantage over the US considering our antediluvian telecom infrastructure.

Re:Only have yourselves to blame (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237521)

No mod points, but you would have one for using the word "antediluvian".

Re:Only have yourselves to blame (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237525)

Where are the non-US-based search engines, social media sites, video hosts, and email providers? Yes they exist, of course, but there are almost no notable standouts. For every Vimeo there's a dozen US-based YouTubes.

You only have yourself to blame for complacently letting US businesses dominate these fields. The internet is based on open protocols and open networks. The playing field is level other than the minor niggle of ICANN's control of domain names and DNS root servers (minor since the internet works without DNS and could be replaced with something else). Hell, most countries have an advantage over the US considering our antediluvian telecom infrastructure.

For the examples you mention, yes, I agree. But I work for an European based DropBox competitor, and we have had an explosion in interest and sales after the Snowden revelations. Some people like to say "it's all the same", but it is *really not*. We only respond to specific official court orders, and they are quite rare.

Re:Only have yourselves to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237905)

>We only respond to specific official court orders, and they are quite rare.
Either you have no users or they're rare because the govies get their info without needing your help.

Re:Only have yourselves to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237987)

>We only respond to specific official court orders, and they are quite rare.
Either you have no users or they're rare because the govies get their info without needing your help.

And you know this how? In our case it is just patently untrue. We only respond to official and specific court orders. And, if you really are interested in digging deep on this -- you can say what you want about NSA, but they have a legal backing in their requests and NDA requirements (they are misusing it, but the laws are there, that will put business owners in jail if they don't cooperate). Such legal backing doesn't exist in our country. At all. It all has to go through normal due process.

Re:Only have yourselves to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237965)

Lavabit received a court order to turn over everything. They were also still bound to an NSL and forbidden from even discussing it with a lawyer. Absolutely, it was all an abuse of any law "they" could throw at the owners of Lavabit. What makes you so sure this couldn't happen in your country of choice?

Re:Only have yourselves to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45238099)

But can you prove that your host country is not tapped into your telecoms provider? Hell, even the NSA may well be.

Re:Only have yourselves to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237853)

FYI, Vimeo's headquarters is in NYC.

"Colony"? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45237429)

I'd argue that "Colony" is sort of an unfair term: a "Colony" is something that I set up by getting some of my jackbooted thugs together, sailing to your country, and telling you that this is how it's going to be from now on, while drinking gin-and-tonics and exporting your resources to the home country.

On ye olde intertubes, it's sort of hard to 'colonize' somebody (especially since, unlike land, which hasn't been available in the "actually not populated by somebody you'll need to shove if you want to 'discover' it" flavor in centuries to millenia, the internet exists because it is built, and you can build more if you want more), except on the very limited scale of cracking their server and stashing stuff on it.

It seems that it might be fairer to say that the internet is more of an American shopping mall. It is true that, to a surprising degree (especially surprising in areas that have never liked us much, or for which we never bothered to do much localization), that lots of foreign traffic crosses into American-held internet infrastructure to work, play, and do business; but (unlike a 'colony') that isn't because that infrastructure used to belong to somebody else until we grabbed it, and the locals are still stuck there; but because once it was built, people came.

Anybody who doesn't fancy being watched by Uncle Sam, or a EULA-serf of a major American multinational(including US residents) should definitely give some strong consideration to how much of their activity is currently firmly within the grasp of the US government and a few cooperative (except on taxes) corporations; but if they want to get anywhere, the line of thought is going to have to be closer to "So, why does everybody go through $AMERICAN_COMPANY$ anyway, and why isn't there a homegrown equivalent elsewhere?" rather than following the misleading road of some sort of post-colonial process. There simply was no such colonization, so expecting to decolonize is going to fall into exciting category error fun time.

Re:"Colony"? (3, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | about a year ago | (#45237739)

I'd argue that "Colony" is sort of an unfair term

I'd argue that the judging by the summary, TFA is a crock of shit. European countries that are themselves not US colonies own the entirety of their Internet infrastructure, a.k.a. the tubes. They can (and do) run their own DNS if they so please. US has colonized the German Internet about as much as it colonized the German forests. US plays a huge role in the development of the world-wide network, but that influence is more akin to the influence of Hollywood on film. Like you say, "colony" is not the right word. A "captive audience" is not a right word even, since the audience loves it. More like, US have captured the world's imagination.

Re:"Colony"? (2)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#45237893)

We don't send jackbooted thugs to most countries (just a few special "problem" locations... in the last 10 years, for example, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Libya plus about 700 military bases in other countries).
What we have today is called Neocolonialism:
From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neocolonialism [wikipedia.org] :
Neocolonialism (also Neo-colonialism) is the geopolitical practice of using capitalism, business globalization, and cultural imperialism to influence a country, in lieu of either direct military control or indirect political control, i.e. imperialism and hegemony.[1] The term neo-colonialism was coined by Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah, to describe the socio-economic and political control that can be exercised economically, linguistically, and culturally, whereby promotion of the culture of the neo-colonist country facilitates the cultural assimilation of the colonised people and thus opens the national economy to the multinational corporations of the neo-colonial country.

To the inventor goes the spoils (1)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about a year ago | (#45237441)

Perhaps the Japanese feel the same way about our domination of baseball.

Re:To the inventor goes the spoils (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237977)

Not likely [wikipedia.org]

Dominance over the web? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237443)

I don't think comparing the fact that the majority of major services are based in the US to colonization is fair or helpful. As far as I can tell we didn't even use similar tactics. The only part of the "internet" which the US really has fought hard to control is related to the root name servers. We never required anyone to route their traffic through us, or stopped them from creating their own services (that could have been the "major" service).

Are a lot of services used world wide based in the US - I would say yes
Are US services more popular with US users than services in other countries - I would think so, they are likely in English and have a much better shot of providing a low latency experience.
Should the rest of the world create their own services to use - thats up to them

Just because the US happens to have services that people decide to use doesn't mean that the US is colonizing anything, it means that people are freely choosing those solutions - which I hope means that the US services have provided more value to those users.

Re:Dominance over the web? (3, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#45237543)

I think it also helps that English is the most commonly spoken second language in a good many countries. So if someone can't find a particular resource in their native language online, they're more likely to turn to an English based equivalent than they are, say, a Japanese or Danish based one.

Who will build a a better mousetrap? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237471)

Facebook and Google are US companies, but where is the Swedish made alternative?

This isn't a matter of US dominance, it's a matter of national boarders being meaningless on the internet. The security problem is that most of the hardware running the internet is located in the US, and rather rightly so given the internet was invented and built in the US.

Got a problem with that Sweden? Then build your own damn internet.

China seems to flip a switch (1)

strangeattraction (1058568) | about a year ago | (#45237475)

China seems to flip a switch on BGP and all the traffic gets routed through them. The US can't stop that. The problem is that the rest of world relies on US benevolence. Something they seem to be re-evaluating as we speak.

So, Al Gore DID create the Internet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237485)

Or at least take the initiative in creating it.

Re:So, Al Gore DID create the Internet? (1)

aergern (127031) | about a year ago | (#45237559)

You folks who bring up Gore need a new schtick. Seriously, being the head of the committee that provided DARPA funding and saying so doesn't mean invention. Snark is good as long as it's not tired and routine.

Al Gore watches you at night. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237571)

He wants you to have his man baby.

Solutions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237493)

Ok, if we go along with his point for argument's sake, what are we supposed to do about it? And more importantly, who is responsible for a solution? The US, or US corporations, are behind the vast majority of developments and investments leading up to the internet as we know it. It's easy to complain about something someone else built and not offer any constructive suggestions.

Out of the frying pan... (4, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#45237497)

The solution is to bring our own US government back in line with the Constitution, and recognize the spurious nature of arguments about mass and warrantless surveillance.

Making chunks amenable to foreign countries, with less protections (see arguments about Europe spying being literally 100x more intrusive) is just an insensate knee-jerk reaction: it is useful in practice only to bring pressure to bear against the US government to be more open and restricted.

Perhaps a new constitution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237753)

Somehow I believe there is substance to the idea that a document written before the automobile, automatic weapons, missiles, mass communication, computers, vaccines, etc. may not be the same document to form the best basis for a government in a country existing after the discovery of all of that, and the great many technological wonders to soon follow.

Sure, we can amend, but isn't that like patching legacy code too damn old for the machine it's running on?

I will agree that in this point in time, until a real alternative is written and voted on, the constitution needs greater protection than it has been afforded in the last decade especially. But I don't see "getting back to the constitution" as the end-all, be-all solution, just a step.

What we really need is a new constitutional convention to draft a new constitution, or at the very least one hell of a big patch, a bill of reform perhaps.

Baidu (0)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year ago | (#45237503)

What do you mean by "all major services" have you forgotten Baidu. The do search, user submitted videos, cloud storage, cloud service hosting, etc. etc. I can even download Dr. Who episodes [baidu.com] .

So? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#45237509)

Nobody is stopping other people from building their own services.

If you don't like the state of affairs whining about it isn't going to fix it.

Re:So? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#45237683)

...whining about it isn't going to fix it.

Comic Book Guy: I have no time to converse with you, I must be first to register my disgust on the internet

Use the alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237573)

Use Baidu.com as your search engine and mail.ru as your webmail. Guaranteed privacy, not controlled by Americans!

Oh quit yer bitching (2)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about a year ago | (#45237575)

You don't need to ask permission or pay a western "king" before competing with google or facebook you just need to execute. Who did the Chinese ask or pay before starting Baidu?

Talk is cheap, whining even cheaper. As a US resident I certainly hope the rest of the world treats NSA as a wakeup call to diversify. The more distributed services are, the more choice there is in the market the more *EVERYONE* wins. Get off your asses and compete.

As a European I must agree with the Americans in h (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237579)

As a European I must agree with the Americans in these comments. 'Colony' is not a fair word to use in this context. And we only have ourselves to blame - nothing but our own lack of innovation in this field has stopped us from developing competing services.

well, complete then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237615)

The beauty of the current system (American inspired) is that it isn't bureaucratically locked to certain providers. There are dominant companies, sure... if you don't like it, quit whining for the socialist governments of the world to come save you and go compete.

Rock and A Hard Place (1)

Broken scope (973885) | about a year ago | (#45237659)

Under US control: Spying
Under "International" control: Censorship

As a European I must agree with the Americans in h (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237699)

As a European (Danish) I must agree with the Americans in these comments. 'Colony' is not a fair word to use in this context. And we only have ourselves to blame - nothing but our own lack of innovation in this field has stopped us from developing competing services.

South Korea doesn't seem to care or notice. (1)

deathcloset (626704) | about a year ago | (#45237769)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naver [wikipedia.org]

Maybe it's just Europeans or westerners that are affected by or really notice this US dominance of the internet. Our most eastern asian relations don't seem concerned - but please anybody from an east asian culture feel free to chime in and enlighten me beyond my 30 seconds of googling.

Re:South Korea doesn't seem to care or notice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45238081)

South Korea also happens to require your SSN during registration for any internet account. Something there would be riots over in many other countries.

Re:South Korea doesn't seem to care or notice. (1)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#45238213)

My take...

In many asian countries, the lexicographic and cultural barriers allows "copy-cat" internet business to thrive in the presense of multi-national generic providers. Despite many protestations by Europeans that their lexicography and culture are highly distinct from America, they are in actuality so similar that it is difficult for a "copy-cat" local internet business to differentiate themselves from a multi-national business.

Of course if there was some novel offering it might be able to fend off the multi-nationals, but for some reason the innovation engine doesn't seem to be as successful in Europe. Don't know if it's the unavailability of capital, or talent, but the real answer may be a culture that spawns stuff like this [wikipedia.org] ... My observation is that Silicon valley is populated with Europeans attempting to escape that. I'm not aware of any equivalent in asian cultures...

You mean English/British (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45237849)

If anything was an "American" colony, the languages would be those of native Americans. What language do you speak? English? That means you're part of the British Empire, just like the entirety of the English-speaking world.

What about the Pirate Bay (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about a year ago | (#45237883)

IIRC that was a Swedish thing, and quite popular at one time.

if you don't like it? build another one.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45238031)

and stop whining about it

wait, did I get that backwards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45238267)

with blackjack!
But NO hookers!

IPv6 (1)

shalomsky (952094) | about a year ago | (#45238067)

Well IPv6 could change this, if it's true. US is not the world leader on this internet. So many US network admins don't want to get on, they like their /8 10.x.y.z. So we slide further and further back while others charge ahead.

Wonderful Alternatives! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45238147)

Because the Internet would be SO much freer and friendly to dissent, political debate, and just about anything else with Iran, China and Russia managing the whole thing! After all, we all know how much more accommodating they are to freedom of speech and differing views, with their constitutional protections and track record of far less censorship than the United States! ...oh,wait...

Declaration of Independence (1)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about a year ago | (#45238221)

Perhaps it's about time we overthrow the evil overlords and take the wild west for ourselves?
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