In 1978, researchers were conducting early experiments in group teleconferencing using packet switching over the ARPANET, which became the basis of the Internet. These "packet speech systems" evolved into the VoIP that we know and love (?) today. Above is a 1979 video from the USC Information Sciences Institute of an experiment involving a "dramatization" of a group teleconference. As /r/ObscureMedia user jetRink posted, "The meeting participants are late, unprepared and frustrated, the audio quality is terrible and nothing is accomplished except the scheduling of another meeting."
Just like today!
For more on this, see Stanford University professor Robert Gray's "History of LPC Digital Speech and its impact on the Internet Protocol." Read the rest
Here's something to remember come the next Sysadmin Appreciation Day: Mexican drug lord El Chapo was only caught because his systems administrator flipped and started working for the feds, backdooring El Chapo's comms infrastructure and providing the cops with the decryption keys needed to eavesdrop on El Chapo's operations.
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Revolution Messaging's White House Inc is a tool that connects your phone to the main switchboard of a random Trump property somewhere in the world, because "Until Trump steps away from his businesses for real, their property is no different from the Oval Office." Read the rest
GCHQ, the UK's spy agency, designed a security protocol for voice-calling called MIKEY-SAKKE and announced that they'll only certify VoIP systems as secure if they use MIKEY-SAKKE, and it's being marketed as "government-grade security." Read the rest
Firefox Hello (a Webrtc implmentation) has debuted in the just-released v.34 of the browser, allowing users to conduct peer-to-peer video-chats without any plugins -- just create a chat, send the URL to your friend and start talking. Read the rest
Did Obama Break the Net? -- from the good people at Demand Progress and Fight for the Future. Read the rest
A coalition of journalists, privacy advocates, and Internet activists have published an open letter to Skype and Microsoft, calling on them to "publicly document Skype’s security and privacy practices" in a Transparency Report:
1. Quantitative data regarding the release of Skype user information to third parties, disaggregated by the country of origin of the request, including the number of requests made by governments, the type of data requested, the proportion of requests with which it complied — and the basis for rejecting those requests it does not comply with.
2. Specific details of all user data Microsoft and Skype currently collects, and retention policies.
3. Skype’s best understanding of what user data third-parties, including network providers or potential malicious attackers, may be able to intercept or retain.
4. Documentation regarding the current operational relationship between Skype with TOM Online in China and other third-party licensed users of Skype technology, including Skype’s understanding of the surveillance and censorship capabilities that users may be subject to as a result of using these alternatives.
5. Skype's interpretation of its responsibilities under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), its policies related to the disclosure of call metadata in response to subpoenas and National Security Letters (NSLs), and more generally, the policies and guidelines for employees followed when Skype receives and responds to requests for user data from law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the United States and elsewhere.
Open Letter to
(via /.) Read the rest
Gadget maker MagicJack recently lost a defamation lawsuit that it filed against Boing Boing. The judge dismissed its case and ordered it to pay us more than $50,000 in legal costs.
The Florida-based VOIP company promotes a USB dongle that allows subscribers to make free or inexpensive phone calls over the internet. I posted in April 2008 about its terms of service—which include the right to analyze customers' calls—and various iffy characteristics of its website.
We had no idea that it would file a baseless lawsuit to try and shut me up, that CEO Dan Borislow would offer to buy our silence after disparaging his own lawyers, or that MagicJack would ultimately face legal consequences for trying to intimidate critics. Read the rest
Collected here are legal documents relating to MagicJack's defamation lawsuit against Boing Boing. The presiding judge ruled its case a SLAPP -- a strategic lawsuit against public participation -- and ultimately entered a judgment against it and made MagicJack pay most of our legal costs.
There's a lot to read, so some excerpts are included. Highlights include the wild expense of fighting off lawsuits, MagicJack's litigators saying they didn't want to see discussion of the case on the "blogosphere," and it now being a matter of court record that I produce 'lusty and imaginative' expressions of contempt. Read the rest