Saturday, December 4, 2010

Golden langurs two: WikiLeaks, Copyright, Julian Assange, Freedom of Speech

Information Technology and Society class transcript

4 December 2010

Harvard's virtual island in Second Life

WikiLeaks' discussion

WikiLeaks, Copyright, Julian Assange, Freedom of Speech

[11:54] Connecting to in-world Voice Chat...
[11:54] Connected
[11:54] Aphilo Aarde: Hello
[11:54] Roman Takacs: aloha !
[11:54] Aphilo Aarde: Roman!
[11:54] Roman Takacs: just went out for a walk :)
[11:55] Roman Takacs: been reeding about wikileaks .... fun stuff :)
[11:55] Aphilo Aarde: Greetings from the Berkeley Public Library, where I can't speak, but can listen
[11:55] Roman Takacs: Can you go to from there :) ?
[11:56] Roman Takacs: (You couldn't if you were in the Library of Congress !)
[11:56] Aphilo Aarde: It is fascinating ... how many other leak sites will spring up around the world, due to the notoriety ...
[11:56] Aphilo Aarde: think so
[11:56] Aphilo Aarde: the media is generating a very good brand name for transparency in government, I think
[11:56] Roman Takacs: like, wikileaks,fi, wikileaks,...
[11:56] Roman Takacs: NYTimes is certainly getting their money's worth !
[11:57] Roman Takacs: (wonder if LOC blocks NYTimes :) )
[11:57] Aphilo Aarde: How many countries are there with domain name suffixes, and are each of these suffixes under the legal jurisdiction (internet law is so new) of that nation-state?
[11:58] Roman Takacs: ... sometimes they are, sometimes not ... apparently is managed by, the same folks who hosted !
[11:58] Aphilo Aarde: When I was in China in 1999, the NYTimes was blocked .. but the Library of Congress? :)
[11:58] Roman Takacs: France, however, seems more concerned ...
[11:59] Aphilo Aarde: I'd love to see a web site with an overview of legal jurisdiction precedent concerning domain names ...
[11:59] Roman Takacs: Well, a memo from the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) apparently kicked in ...
[11:59] Aphilo Aarde: distributed networks are hard to control ... ongoing forms of cyber strife ... but now around open government ...
[11:59] Roman Takacs: LOC is , I guess, really a part of congress, not a free standing institution like the Smithsonian ...
[12:00] Aphilo Aarde: I hope Julian Assange is doing alright in it all.
[12:00] Roman Takacs: The folks in pirate bay are apparently suggesting a P2P DNS service !
[12:00] Roman Takacs: He's no doubt getting bruised, and is certainly at risk from some crazies ...
[12:00] Aphilo Aarde: Lots of libraries with 'Free Speech Awareness" out there ... libraries can be pretty good that way ... and this episode is a fascinating commentary of
[12:01] Roman Takacs: (Even respectable canadian broadcasters are calling for his execution !)
[12:01] Aphilo Aarde: on democracy, free speech and the internet ...
[12:01] Roman Takacs: Yes, this is a good case study for the 21st century. The novelty is wearing off, and push is becoming shove ...
[12:02] Aphilo Aarde: astounding to me ... sounds like ancient Greece ... differing perceptions of the public good, vis--avis knowledge, now in the context of nation states and the internet
[12:03] Aphilo Aarde:
[12:03] Roman Takacs: Cablegate is nicely "global" ... wasn't Manning stationed in Afghanistan, Assange is Australian, wikileaks servers are all over the world, and the actual documents have been distributed (encrypted) via torrents ...
[12:04] Aphilo Aarde: And yet there is precedence ... often between countries concerning hacking, attacking web sites
[12:04] Aphilo Aarde: in the name of one side or the other in the 90s ... this spotlights the international 'state' in some ways ...
[12:05] Roman Takacs: My own guess is that the Chinese and Israeli's have had this stuff for years, and probably the Russians and Koreans (both sides !) ...
[12:05] Aphilo Aarde: I'm curious what precendents now global nation states to define what's secret, and how they'll protect this, technically, given
[12:05] Aphilo Aarde: the distributedness of the internet
[12:05] Roman Takacs: The security wall was not very high - one password, and bingo, you've got it. You can even download EVERYTHING w/o an audit trail !
[12:06] Roman Takacs: Yea ... as if Russia didn't know that Americans were distainful of their "democracy" !!!
[12:06] Aphilo Aarde: It will lead to more specific policies of secrecy, technically, I assume ... but computer systems in different nation states will likely always be hackable ...
[12:07] Roman Takacs: Most depressing was that the cables do not show a very sophisticated view of diplomacy !
[12:07] Aphilo Aarde: there's a learning curve on the part nation states ... and diplomacy involves conversation, some state systems more hackable than others
[12:07] Roman Takacs: Lieberman calles for protecting "sources" (i.e. "names") ...
[12:08] Aphilo Aarde: or to be expected, as concerning as that is?
[12:09] Aphilo Aarde: The call for security echoes a mindset that doesn't emphasize communication in government ... or a government of the people, for the people and by the people
[12:09] Roman Takacs: the learning curve for a "nation state" << learning curve for a "citiizen":, etc ...
[12:09] Aphilo Aarde: True ... Did you see the NYT's op ed today on rationales for secrecy in diplomacy in
[12:10] Roman Takacs: The culture of "secrecy" is an intersting throughback to authortarian modes ... "trust us, we know better (than you)"
[12:10] Aphilo Aarde: ... by Schroeder ...
[12:11] Roman Takacs: got it ...
[12:11] Aphilo Aarde: try to find it .
[12:11] Aphilo Aarde: ok
[12:11] Aphilo Aarde:
[12:11] Roman Takacs: that's reminiscent of COICCA and ACTA (sp)
[12:12] Aphilo Aarde: which are?
[12:12] Roman Takacs: The international copyright treaty ...
[12:12] Aphilo Aarde: I'm curious how pragmatic interests of a majority of folks for open government will translate into practices ...
[12:13] Aphilo Aarde: with the generative internet
[12:13] Aphilo Aarde: Thanks
[12:13] Roman Takacs: S. 3804:
Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act
[12:13] Aphilo Aarde: ok
[12:13] Roman Takacs: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA
[12:14] Aphilo Aarde: Did you see Google's recent statement about their copyright policies, posted to their blog by their general counsel?
[12:14] Aphilo Aarde: (I posted it to FB recently).
[12:14] Roman Takacs: Yes ... and thanks for reminding me ... i
[12:15] Aphilo Aarde: It's openness as usual & respect for verifiable copyright ... as I read it ...
[12:15] Roman Takacs: Or copyright claims ...
[12:16] Roman Takacs: (it will be fun to see it work its way out with the up and coming debut of google books ...)
[12:16] Aphilo Aarde: Making Copyright Work Better Online (Google's general counsel - see comments, too): Walker, Kent. 2010. [ Making Copyright Work Better Online]. December 2. Mountain View, CA:
... also at
[12:17] Roman Takacs: That always begs the question ... "better for whom" :)
[12:17] Roman Takacs: (who was it? Comcast blocking Google TV !)
[12:18] Aphilo Aarde: I think one could interestingly use Google's pragmatic policy to highlight possible directions for secure communication ... and knowledgeable people across the diplomatic corp ... (it's people in diplomacy I would guess who cause the leaks, in addition to hacking computers)
[12:18] Roman Takacs: (the underlying "peering" agreements seem to be under stress )
[12:19] Aphilo Aarde: An important question
[12:19] Roman Takacs: Or maybe we should just move diplomacy to a facebook platform :)
[12:20] Aphilo Aarde: Schroeder's observation in the NYTs that some diplomats who know the importance of secrecy will just slip further into the shadows seems germane
[12:20] Roman Takacs: (Cablegate shows that the internet is more like facebook than adults would like to admit !)
[12:20] Aphilo Aarde: Concerning
[12:21] Roman Takacs: the types of remarks that were being made about each other ... like high school kids.
[12:21] Roman Takacs: (Most ambassadors are NOT chosen for their academic achievement, but because they can afford to work at that job ...)
[12:21] Aphilo Aarde: Comcast, I just attended another talk with Stanford Professor Barbara Van Schewick on network neutrality ... and developing sensible approaches to defining upcoming issues ... she's application agnostic ... and we need rules
[12:22] Aphilo Aarde: Here's Google's general counsel reference again :
[12:23] Roman Takacs: I mentioned to friends that I'm beginning to wonder if cablegate isn't spy vs spy or spy vs spy vs spy ....
[12:23] Aphilo Aarde: And here's Barbara van Schewick recent parallel talk at Harvard about Internet architecture:
[12:23] Aphilo Aarde:
[12:24] Roman Takacs: The security setup was so bad that you almost have to think it was intentionally bad. The DOD (Airforce especially) wants to be CyberTzar ...
[12:24] Aphilo Aarde: rules to guide these companies are important ... and there's an FCC ruling coming up on December 21
[12:24] Aphilo Aarde: Mad Magazine :)
[12:25] Aphilo Aarde: on the internet :)
[12:25] Roman Takacs: yup.
[12:25] Aphilo Aarde: How do you get folks to use Tor or Google Sharing ... or privacy keys
[12:26] Aphilo Aarde: in the diplomatic corps ... at the same time as teaching them how to use office
[12:26] Aphilo Aarde: office suites
[12:26] Roman Takacs: EXACTLY ! That's back to the old "learning curve" ...
[12:27] Aphilo Aarde: yep
[12:27] Roman Takacs: I cring to think that most of this stuff was probably in Word97 format :)
[12:28] Roman Takacs: (I wonder what the current "cable" technology is !)
[12:28] Roman Takacs: (ASCII ? Unicode? plain text, html, ...)
[12:29] Aphilo Aarde: Do you mean what are data speed transfers for cable installed in the U.S., also?)
[12:30] Roman Takacs: Once upon a time, cable was telegraphy ...
[12:30] Aphilo Aarde:
[12:30] Roman Takacs: now, is it AOL chat? SMS ? Twitter ? or Outlook Exchange
[12:31] Roman Takacs: Thinking of the service level, not the hardware label ...
[12:32] Aphilo Aarde: First, cable is the actual hardware of the wire ...
[12:32] Aphilo Aarde: Broadband cable Internet access requires a cable modem at the customer's premises and a cable modem termination system at a cable operator facility, typically a cable television headend. The two are connected via coaxial cable or a Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC) plant. While access networks are sometimes referred to as last-mile technologies, cable Internet systems can typically operate where the distance between the modem and the termination system is up to 100 miles (160 km). If the HFC network is large, the cable modem termination system can be grouped into hubs for efficient management.

Downstream, the direction toward the user, bit rates can be as much as 400 megabits per second for business connections, and 100Mbit/s for residential service in some countries. Upstream traffic, originating at the user, ranges from 384Kbit/s to more than 20Mbit/s. One downstream channel can handle hundreds of cable modems. As the system grows, the cable modem termination system (CMTS) can be upgraded with more downstream
[12:32] Roman Takacs: ....
[12:33] Aphilo Aarde: And this facilitates packet switching ... which happens on TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol
[12:34] Aphilo Aarde: Like a freeway, cable can get bogged down with traffic, whereas DSL, a main broadband alternative, doesn't
[12:40] Roman Takacs: The diplomatic concept of a "cable" (rather than a term like SMS or eMail) might be one of the issues that confuse people. James Bond fans automatically assume that diplomatic communications are secure, etc. (CIA fans know that this isn't true :) )
[12:42] Roman Takacs: The diplomatic concept of "secrecy" might also be a bit obsolete. Certainly when hundreds of PFCs have access to all diplomatic "cables", secrecy has a special meaning ...
[12:42] Aphilo Aarde: yes ... a message ... I wonder what systems of communications exist in diplomatic corps world wide, beyond, say, fax, telephone ... computing ...
[12:42] Roman Takacs: (I would imagine, for example, that every nuclear armed submarine has the technical means to access all of this stuff ...)
[12:43] Aphilo Aarde: whether cable transmission as separate devices still exist
[12:43] Roman Takacs: Siprnet: where America stores its secret cables
Defence department's hidden internet is meant to be secure, but millions of officials and soldiers have access
[12:44] Aphilo Aarde:
[12:46] Aphilo Aarde: control of text messages has a long history ... and Bismarck successfully rewrote some for Prussia's gain vis-a-vis France per the Schroeder article in the NYTs ...
[12:47] Aphilo Aarde: levels of classification and secrecy now vis-a-vis the internet has a developing history, too, I suspect ...
[12:48] Roman Takacs: or, the other side, "authenticity" ... how do I know this cable is from whom it says it's from !
[12:48] Aphilo Aarde: Is Julian Assange gaining out of this situation at all, I wonder? A book ahead? A film about him vis-a-vis the Pentagon Papers and Ellsberg?
[12:49] Aphilo Aarde: and well written letters, communications and brief have to be parsed
[12:49] Aphilo Aarde: but equally thoughtful readers ...
[12:50] Roman Takacs: I met one of his crew at HOPE 2010 - Assange was already under pressure not to travel to the US ... My guess is that he would be thrilled to be given a job at a university as a professor :)
[12:51] Roman Takacs: More directly, I suspect he's getting an unhealthy dose of stress ...
[12:51] Roman Takacs: Aloha !
[12:51] Aphilo Aarde: need to understand them ... beyond the secrecy issue ... there's security in intelligent writing :)
[12:51] Aphilo Aarde: :)
[12:52] Aphilo Aarde: Online even perhaps :) ...
[12:53] Roman Takacs: Was chatting with a friend... justice, tranquility, defense, welfare, liberty ...
[12:53] Roman Takacs: ... as the basis for "security" :)
[12:53] Roman Takacs: (from the preamble of the constitution ...)
[12:53] Aphilo Aarde: ... but WUaS is working toward accreditation at present (by WASC - Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which also accredits Berkeley and Stanford).
[12:55] Aphilo Aarde: All countries themselves also have specific historical trajectories in these regards, as well as needs ... I don't imagine Denmark has all that much to hide compared with the U.S. for example ... different stakes
[12:55] Aphilo Aarde: Identifying principles ... and now importantly vis-a-vis the internet ... is a sensible way to further questions of defense ...
[12:56] Aphilo Aarde: I wonder how open teaching and learning possibilities in nation states open
[12:57] Aphilo Aarde: at open World University and School might develop vis-a-vis security questions ... another quiet channel. ...
[12:58] Roman Takacs: The "battle line" is probably between "open" (and participatory) versus "propietary" (and profit driven) ...
[12:58] Aphilo Aarde: Similarly, does the Harvard Law School serve a clandestine hub for communication among diplomats who have trained there ...and are nationals in many countries
[12:59] Aphilo Aarde: And might WUaS become a similar unofficial conduit ... in its secure side ie in its "secure registrar"
[12:59] Aphilo Aarde: as this develops
[12:59] Roman Takacs: Did you see the post about graduate students at Columbia University being waved away from reading, posting, and commenting on wikileaks ... fwd from an Alum in the state department. "Big Brother is Watching You" :)
[13:00] Aphilo Aarde: I imagine diplomatic channels will draw from both open and proprietary, but particuarly in the case of the U.S., governmental and other (private, open, etc.).
[13:00] Roman Takacs: HLS (and HBS) serve as clandestine hubs ... they're called "old boy" networks. There's a nice paper from the 60's ... How Harvard Rules.
[13:00] Aphilo Aarde: Fascinating ... yes ... and yet students are often the ones with the knowledge and the skills and the rationales to do so ... such a warning to some might be an invitation to others ...
[13:01] Aphilo Aarde: exactly ... Yes ... I met the author of How Harvard Rules at a Berkman @ 10 celebration
[13:02] Aphilo Aarde: But networks are also a thing of the present with information technology
[13:02] Roman Takacs: (One can, in a twisted sense, imagine wikileaks as a propaganda warning shot ... this is what we think of you in public, you can imagine what we talk of you when we're face to face :
[13:02] Aphilo Aarde: I do appreciate Charlie N.'s progressive vision, and his aims of being of service ... which WUaS also intends
[13:02] Roman Takacs: and they have a shared agenda ...
[13:03] Aphilo Aarde: Yes, is Wikileaks' high profile-ness a service to diplomacy and open government ...
[13:03] Aphilo Aarde: defining the issues further?
[13:03] Roman Takacs: (I've not done the study, but I suspect that GB met most of his staff at or via Yale ...)
[13:04] Aphilo Aarde: probably, and especially through his father as well
[13:04] Roman Takacs: WL is certainly kicking it dragging and screaming into the internet age. Just like Napster did.
[13:04] Roman Takacs: (Napster on once side, iTunes on the next)
[13:05] Roman Takacs: (Soon we will see strong encrypted SMS on the iPhone :) )
[13:05] Aphilo Aarde:
[13:05] Aphilo Aarde: And yet TCP/IP isn't against the law :)
[13:06] Aphilo Aarde: Yes, the upcoming Google Nexus S phone with Gingerbread (Android OS 2.3) may have a chip that works as a credit card as well ... innovation generates and generates
[13:06] Aphilo Aarde: Very nice to meet this morning, Roman ...
[13:07] Aphilo Aarde: now afternoon ... sorry for the technical difficulties ...
[13:07] Aphilo Aarde: (Did you get my phone message?)
[13:07] Aphilo Aarde: Next week will be the last class ... we'll recap and begin to look at the possibility of a wiki text book
[13:08] Roman Takacs:
[13:08] Aphilo Aarde: on the Information Technology Revolution and Society
[13:08] Roman Takacs: I got your phone message, but saw the one on facebook first ...
[13:08] Aphilo Aarde: thanks for the link
[13:08] Aphilo Aarde: vis-a-vis Harvard Ec 10 Professor Greg Mankiw's Economics' text book ...
[13:08] Aphilo Aarde:
[13:10] Aphilo Aarde: Thanks for the How Harvard Rules reference ... do you know John Trumpbour by any chance?
[13:11] Aphilo Aarde: Interesting: Ellen Cantarow (Ph.D. GSAS 1971), conceived the idea of a booklet, 'How Harvard Rules Women
[13:11] Roman Takacs: No ... hadn't seen this new edition ... though was happy to see that the South End Press was still making an impact. (I'm the last of Arditti, Brennan, and Cavrak, Science and Liberation, folk ... working with SEP was better than graduate school !)
[13:11] Aphilo Aarde: How long were you at Harvard doing your Ph.D.? How long did you live in the Cambridge area?
[13:12] Aphilo Aarde: :)
[13:12] Roman Takacs: at harvard from 1964 to 1971
[13:13] Roman Takacs: left cambridge in summer of 1976 for Franconia (College, defunct), NH. Burlington VT since 1979.
[13:13] Aphilo Aarde: Fascinating time ... let's talk further about it next week ... I may be spending more time in Cambridge these next few years ... it would be great to meet you if you visit Cambridge occasionally.
[13:13] Roman Takacs: It's scarey to take google streetview trips past my former residences !
[13:13] Aphilo Aarde: I've applied for a fellowship at Harvard to work on World University and School ...
[13:13] Roman Takacs: There has been very little change !
[13:14] Roman Takacs: Nice !
[13:14] Roman Takacs: Gambatte !
[13:14] Aphilo Aarde: I bet ... :) I was born in Cambridge, and lived the first 6 years of my life
[13:14] Roman Takacs: REALLY !
[13:14] Roman Takacs: Where ?
[13:14] Aphilo Aarde: in the Boston area (1960-1966) so we overlapped ...
[13:14] Aphilo Aarde: I was a babe
[13:15] Roman Takacs: I lived on Putnam avenue near Western Avenue.
[13:15] Roman Takacs: Yea, but you had first grade there. And the beginning of "street smarts" :)
[13:15] Aphilo Aarde: small world
[13:15] Aphilo Aarde: Mt. Auburn hospital ... my parents were living in Lexington at the time, then we moved to Cambridge, and then to the back side of Beacon Hill, before moving to New Haven (Hamden actually).
[13:16] Aphilo Aarde: ... in 1966
[13:16] Roman Takacs: I have friends who live in Lincoln, a couple of miles from Walden Pond. Myself, I can imagine living in cambriged ... 1010 memorial drive :)
[13:17] Aphilo Aarde: what are internet smarts, by comparison ... posting, perhaps ... or blissing ... :)
[13:17] Aphilo Aarde: very nice ...
[13:17] Roman Takacs: ;)
[13:17] Roman Takacs: cell phone smarts !
[13:17] Aphilo Aarde: that's coming along nicely ... :)
[13:18] Aphilo Aarde: well, I must move along ... see you next week!
[13:18] Roman Takacs: Next time I'm in touch with kids, I'll ask them for their favorite part of the interenet :)
[13:18] Roman Takacs: ciao !
[13:18] Aphilo Aarde: sounds great ... let's talk about that soon ... :)
[13:18] Roman Takacs: and thank the BPL !
[13:18] Aphilo Aarde: ciao for now :)
[13:18] Aphilo Aarde: libraries especially the BPL are amazing :)

Long Live the Web: .... a Scientific American article by the creator of the World Wide Web (1989),
Tim Berners-Lee

( - December 4, 2010)

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