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[liberationtech] Rise of a Cybered Westphalian Age

Jayapragas Gnaniah gjayapragas at gmail.com
Mon Jul 18 20:18:28 PDT 2011


On Monday, July 18, 2011,  <liberationtech at lewman.us> wrote:
> On Sat, Jul 16, 2011 at 01:50:14PM +0200, moritz at torservers.net wrote 2.5K bytes in 64 lines about:
> : Title :   Rise of a Cybered Westphalian Age
>
> I've read through this document a few times now. I keep coming back to
> a few thoughts.
>
> The first thought is that this is a military paper for a military
> audience. It is eactly how I would expect a military person to write
> about the future of the Internet. Or at least they Internet they want to
> see happen.
>
> A second thought is about a conversation I had with the Ambassador of
> Human Rights from Sweden.  We discussed a variety of topics in our time
> together, but one that kept coming up was the militarization of the
> Internet and subsequent effects. The ideas that the Internet is
> primarily a military space and can be commandeered as needed, that the
> Internet is a physical entity and the network effects are no different
> than the pioneer towns and frontiers every nation has experienced
> throughout its history, and that most people don't understand the
> technological capabilities available to those on the Internet and how
> they can fundamentally differ from real world experiences.
>
> Each one of these topics is a paper of its own, but suffice it to say that
> the military view of the Internet is very different than a human right's
> view, or a commercial view, or even a child's view of the Internet.
> Never underestimate the ability of two horomone-flushed teenagers to
> circumvent any rules to spend time together. An example could be
> teenagers from Party and other well-to-do families in North Korea. The
> military view of these actions is subterfuge, treason, and imminent
> threats to control and order. To the teenagers, it's just two people
> wanting to hang out and talk about their lives.
>
> The third thought is that this mentality of being under seige and
> needing to take defensive and offensive positions to real or imagined
> adversaries on the Internet is such a binary position that any other
> states, ternary or otherwise are simply dismissed as shades of gray in a
> black and white battlefield. I have no doubt that US Military networks
> and computers are being attacked by sophisticated unknown parties across
> the Internet. I've also had conversations with people in the chain of
> command about ICMP packets (ping) being weaponized and clearly the
> threat of an adversary. When someone ping sweeps a network range, it's
> assumed this is only a weaponized assualt on a network, where every
> packet sent increased the total attack count. Heck, I pinged the
> gateway at a place once and the network admins were convinced I was
> trying to attack the network. In reality, I was just trying to figure
> out how overloaded their network was by getting an average latency
> between me and the first hop. It's something every network admin does
> thousands of times a day. This is how one arrives at statistics like
> 'billions of attacks'.
>
> It seems the military answer is to change the Internet into a space it
> understands, make the rules that play to their strengths, and treat
> it like a battlefield. Again, this is a paper by military authors for a
> military audience. I've heard this vision of the Internet many times
> over the past two years.
>
> I also wonder if some politician in China had an orgasm that some part
> of the American military justified, even complemented, the Chinese model
> of Internet censorship.
>
> Thankfully, the US military and government aren't of one mind and
> action. Everyone is entitled to their thoughts, opinions, and freedom of
> speech.
>
> --
> Andrew
> pgp key: 0x74ED336B
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