Ah, it’s great to be back

I hope someone noticed I’ve been off-line for a few days. I had a cascade of problems that effectively cratered by home internet system—my web, blog, and email servers.

Late yesterday, I was able, after replacing my cable-modem, with gaining access to the internet, but it was outbound only. My web, blog and email servers were still be blocked from receiving emails and visitors were blocked from seeing my web server and blog.

I fixed that a few minutes ago. Now I’m rebuilding my library database and have a network printer to get up and running.

I was getting to be a wee bit concerned. My system administrator skills had gotten a bit rusty since I retired.

Whew!

Rut Roh!

Obama has given his minions marching orders to give up control of the Internet. Up until this time, the global internet has been controlled by a quasi-governmental organization of the US government, ICANN. ICANN is the governing body for domain names and IP addresses. In short, what ICANN governs are the A-level domain servers around the world. Without the A-level domain servers, much of the internet would not work—you could not enter: http://crucis-court.com and find my server…nor could you find google.com, microsoft.com, yahoo.com, foxnews.com, nor any website by name.

Consider what could—would happen if Vladimir Putin was in control of those domain servers…or Iran, the PRC (China), or any of the other dictatorship around the world? Would you have heard about the events in the Ukraine or the Crimea? No, the freedom of the internet would be gone. That is what Obama has planned for us.

Obama is giving up US control of the internet and giving it to…who knows? Rest assured, however, if it goes to…say the UN, you want to bet they’d immediately put barriers to that internet freedom? Block those sites, like mine, who are critical of the establishment of any given country?

You bet they would. Perhaps, that is why Obama is giving up US control of the internet. His dictator buds could block my website, or FOX News, or the AFP‘s website, the NRA’s site if asked. Think on that. Internet censorship in the hands of the UN.

Defining Success for the ICANN Transition

By Monday, March 24, 2014 at 8:15 AM

Last week, the Administration announced its plan to devolve governance of the Internet’s naming function (which goes by the acronym IANA) to a non-profit organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (or ICANN).  If implemented, the Administration’s plan will remove the last vestiges of direct American legal control over the Internet.  This is, as I have said, a pretty big deal.

Given the magnitude of the proposed change, the Administration needs to proceed with some caution, and with a willingness to pull the plug if the transition looks to go awry.  How, then, to define “awry?”

In announcing the proposed transition, the Department of Commerce insisted that it would only cede control if ICANN could demonstrate the ability to maintain the network, consistent with five principles:  They insisted that ICANN would have to “support and enhance the mult-istakeholder model”; “maintain the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet DNS”; “meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners of the IANA services”; and “maintain the openness of the Internet.” The NTIA also clarified that it would “not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an inter-governmental organization solution.”

But those principles, while salutary in nature, are (save for the last one) more in the nature of aspirations than concrete requirements.  It is useful, I think, to ask the question with greater specificity and granularity – what affirmative commitments should the US government require from ICANN before finalizing its transition of control of the IANA function?

To answer that question, we must first consider what our concerns with the transition might be.  It is useful to lump those concerns into three distinct buckets:

  • Competence – Can ICANN do the job?
  • Candor – Is ICANN sufficiently transparent and accountable?
  • Control – Do the mechanisms ICANN puts in place support its independence from authoritarian control?

If we contextualize our concerns along those lines, then we can begin to think of some of the commitments that out to be required of ICANN.

Now we come to the critical part of that plan—placing controls on the UN. Does anyone really think that massively corrupt organization won’t put their graft-sticky fingers in this? When there is money to be stolen, the UN is first in line. You can bet that any agreements with the UN and the US will be tossed out the window the first time there is an opportunity for a power-grab by the UN.

First, the multi-stakeholder model developed by ICANN for management of the IANA function should (as the Administration notes) prohibit any governmental, inter-governmental or U.N. control.  Indeed, sovereign or quasi-sovereign multilateral organizations should have only an advisory role in any process.  Instead, the multi-stakeholder control system should reflect the interests of those who develop and use the network – a representative sampling of large, medium, and small businesses and industry groups should either manage the IANA or have authority to veto ICANN decisions that threaten the openeess or viability of the Internet.   There will be difficulties (and politics, with a  small “p”) in defining the composition of the new institution, but at a minimum it needs to be a) broadly representative; and b) peopled only by those with a demonstrable and verifiable commitment to a free and open network.

Second, ICANN will need to be fully accountable for its actions and its operations.  It will need to accept the establishment of an independent auditing body comprised of government, business, and NGO representatives to monitor its finances and activities.  The authority to manage the IANA function brings with it significant financial benefits.  We should not allow ICANN to, in effect, develop a taxation authority over network expansion without, at the same time, demanding a public accounting of how the money received is spent.  ICANN should, likewise, be required to implement an Inspector General-equivalent function with authority to discipline its own officers and employees – for there is no other institution to which that authority could be given and the lack of an internal checking mechanism would be problematic.

Third, before the root zone management function is transitioned to ICANN (or to a subcontractor employed by ICANN) it will need to demonstrate to our satisfaction its technical capability to manage the root zone.  This will mean a highly technical examination of ICANN’s capabilities, including, for example, the process controls it requires before implementing any root zone change, and the security and redundancy of its root zone facilities.

Finally, we need to think of a mechanism for locking in any mandatory requirements.  After all, they would be useless if six months after committing to them ICANN were free to disregard the obligations it had undertaken.  Since the most obvious means of enforcing such commitments (through a contractual obligation to the US government) is, per force, no longer on the table, other, more creative binding mechanisms need to be developed.

That’s easier said than done.   Indeed it may not be possible at all – and that thought is, itself concerning.  For, as I’ve noted, though the US influence over the network has not been wholly benign, I am convinced it has been a net positive.  In the absence of that influence, we will have to trust that the governance architecture we develop to constrain ICANN is effective.  And that’s a bit of a risky bet.

About the only creative thought I have right now is the implementation of dual-key authority to modify the IANA function – in other words, split the IANA function off completely from ICANN into a separate organization and require both ICANN and the new-IANA organization to concur in any significant policy modifications.  Or leave the IANA function with ICANN but create a second IANA-oversight body that must concur in any changes (sort of like a House of Lords).  That sounds cumbersome and perhaps even unwise, but it’s the best idea I have right now.

And we do need a good idea.  Put simply, not only is this transition a “big deal” but it is also a vitally important one.  It may, indeed, prove to be one of the most consequential decisions this Administration has made.  It would be terribly tragic if the decision went wrong – if the openness of the Internet were to suffer or if control of the network function were to devolve to irresponsible (or, worse, venal) hands.  Caution is required.  More importantly, the Administration needs to clearly articulate its objectives and set a “red line” standard that ICANN must meet before the transition occurs.

***

Can you, or anyone, give up their Constitutional rights? There are a number of governmental agencies, from the NSA, the FBI, the CIA, down to your local Police and Sheriff’s departments, that assume you can.

What about other entities? Can a corporation force you to give up your rights, either voluntarily or not? There is some case law here that says, no, corporations can’t (see the cases of exercising 2nd Amendment rights by keeping a weapon in you car when parked in your employer’s parking lot.)

What about a smartphone app? Think it can’t be done? Want to bet your Constitutional rights on that answer?

I thought not.

Smartphone Apps: Are They Constitutional?

By Michael Bargo Jr., March 25, 2014

When Edward Snowden revealed to the world that the NSA, an agency of the U.S. government, was using its technology to retrieve and store information from cell phone calls and e-mails, it immediately provoked concerns that the Fourth Amendment was being violated.  The Fourth Amendment clearly states that information can be obtained from individuals only when the government has a very clear legal reason to do so, and law enforcement authorities can seize this information only when authorized by a warrant.

The recent explosion of applications for smartphones, or apps, suggests a new and perhaps far more serious challenge to the protections guaranteed all citizens by the Constitution.

Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it state that an individual has the authority to  give up, sell, trade, or negotiate away the protections granted to him by the Bill of Rights.  In other words, the protections provided to an individual by the Constitution exist at all times and can no more be forfeited than they can be violated by the NSA.

This new concern is provoked by smartphone apps.  The question the Supreme Court must eventually decide is whether or not an individual American can, by accepting to download a free app, give away his right to privacy, his copyright rights to text and photos, and his right to be protected from unlawful search and seizure.

If these rights can be given away in exchange for free apps, then a new and more dangerous principle may be introduced into the framework of constitutional rights.  The important question is whether the Constitution allows Americans to give away their constitutional rights.  Are these app agreements legal?

Right now, many apps contain computer code that allow the app developer to use the cell phone’s camera or microphone at any time, and record cell phone conversations at any time.  Listening to a cell phone conversation in the past would require that the police take evidence to a court and ask a judge to sign a warrant allowing a police wiretap.  Yet today, many apps effectively usurp the privacy of downloaders at the push of a phone button.

Recently John McAfee introduced an app that analyzes the code of apps and detects software that can, for example, turn on the smartphone’s camera or microphone.  It then alerts the user to the fact that the code written into the app allows this sort of Fourth Amendment intrusion.

Those who produce the Apps would argue that they gave users proper notice that  downloading the app and pressing the “accept” button would be giving away these rights.

But if allowed, this practice opens the door to other horrendous possibilities.  If someone can give away his right to privacy, or the copyright protection to the photos he takes with his smartphone camera, then other rights can be given away.  The implications of this are dangerous for the future of the U.S.  For example, a state may then say that if someone applies for a driver’s license, he must first agree to allow his car to be searched by a police officer at any time, and that all occupants may be detained for three days for drug and alcohol testing.  Or by a driver’s license could require that the licensee give away his right to vote for any political party other than the one in power at the time the requirement is made.  Then someone may give away his right to vote in national elections in return for money.

Right now these rights can be taken away by the state only after a long and arduous legal process.  A convicted felon, for example, will lose his right to vote.

Up to now, a person could give away copyright rights to a photograph, for example, only by physically signing a photo release.  Or he could sign away the copyright protections for a piece of music to a record company.  But apps today could sneak in language that states that any music transmitted by a smartphone becomes the property of the person who developed the app.  This was all made possible because written signatures were replaced by the e-signature, and now only a click of the “accept” button is required.

Just because those who wrote the U.S. Constitution could not foresee the power of smartphones does not mean the rights guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution can be forfeited.  Constitutional rights are permanent and enduring, and they cannot be negotiated away from the individual under any but judicial circumstances.  If rights become commodities, they can be traded away or sold.  Then they can be seized by a future totalitarian political regime in Washington.

The NSA seizes personal information electronically through cell phone and e-mail channels of communication.  App developers are now having persons agree to give up their cell phone and email information.  Additionally, this surveillance may be turned on and off by the app developer or anyone to whom that developer assigns the agreement rights.  So on the whole, it seems that the app developers’ abuse of the Fourth Amendment protections are far more broad, enduring, and egregious.

So when a person downloads an App, and in exchange agrees to barter away his privacy rights to the app developer, both the downloader and the developer are acting unconstitutionally.  For once the App developer has the right to turn on the phone’s camera and microphone without notice, there is no longer any expectation of privacy for anyone within range of these devices’ ability to capture sound and imagery.  This includes those in the room who did not download the App but may have their privacy compromised.  This may provoke future litigation: in Illinois, it is a felony to eavesdrop on a conversation.  If an app developer turns on the microphone in a user’s phone, others in the room can sue for eavesdropping.

Nowhere in the Bill of Rights does the Constitution say that a person has the right to give up his rights.  The only language of the Constitution that refers to the possession of rights is in the Declaration of Independence – “endowed by their Creator with unalienable Rights” – and the amendments that state “shall not be infringed.”  Congress should be presented with these issues so that a constitutionally enforceable national policy may be enacted.

Cyber Attack!

And it wasn’t from the NorKs nor the ChiComs. It originated from the territory of one of our NATO allies, the Netherlands.

I operate my own mail and web-servers. My systems are probed daily, usually from WesPac or North Korea. I was hit with a DoS attack Monday of this week. It wasn’t a strong attack. I did notice some slowdown of my servers but the real hit came from my Domain Servers. That was a direct attack. My firewalls resisted and foiled the attack as designed.

But there is another method that is popular by cyber-criminals that I cannot block. I don’t have a domain server. I contract with another company to host my domain names and to point callers to my home servers.

The larger attack occurred two weeks ago. It wasn’t to my systems but it affected the domain servers that I used—me and thousands of others. For a period of time, I couldn’t reach google.com, comcast.net, drudgereport.com and numerous other sites. When I tried to connect to them, my browser timed out. My query to the domain servers for the numerical address of those sites, was not returned.

The cyber-attack method used in the earlier attack was a DDoS attack against the primary site used to find spammers. SpamHaus, one of the sites I, and most email providers use to check for spam, was attacked by a spammer based in the Netherlands. It was a concentrated attack by one site, with hundreds of computers, against another single site—and it affected the entire internet, world-wide.

Web slows under ‘biggest attack ever’

Millions of people around the world have been affected by slow internet speeds after an unprecedented attack.

By Matt Warman and agencies, 1:41PM GMT 27 Mar 2013

A Dutch web-hosting company caused disruption and the global slowdown of the internet, according to a not-for-profit anti-spam organization.

The interruptions came after Spamhaus, a spam-fighting group based in Geneva, temporarily added the Dutch firm, CyberBunker, to a blacklist that is used by e-mail providers to weed out spam.

Cyberbunker is housed in a five-story former NATO bunker and famously offers its services to any website “except child porn and anything related to terrorism”. As such it has often been linked to behaviour that anti-spam blacklist compilers have condemend.

It retaliated with a huge ‘denial of service attack’. These work by trying to make a network unavailable to its intended users,overloading a server with coordinated requests to access it. At one point, 300 billion bits per second were being sent by a network of computers, making this the biggest attack ever.

The attack was particularly potent because it exploited the ‘domain name system’, which acts like the telephone directory of the internet and are used every time a web address is entered into a computer.

Patrick Gilmore, of digital content provider Akamai Networks told the New York Times that Cyberbunker did not believe spamming users was wrong. “These guys are just mad. To be frank, they got caught,” he alleged. “They think they should be allowed to spam.”

Calling the disruptions “one of the largest computer attacks on the Internet,” the New York Times reported today that millions of ordinary web users have experienced delays in services such as Netflix video-streaming service or couldn’t reach a certain website for a short time.

“The size of the attack hurt some very large networks and internet exchange points such as the London Internet Exchange,” John Reid, a spokesman for Spamhaus, said in an e-mailed response to questions by Bloomberg News. “It could be thousands, it could be millions. Due to our global infrastructure, the attackers target places all over the world.”

Spamhaus was targeted with a so-called distributed denial of service attack on the evening of March 15, Reid said.

Sven Olaf Kamphuis, an internet activist who told the New York Times he was a spokesman for the attackers, said that Cyberbunker was retaliating against Spamhaus for “abusing their influence” as the gatekeeper of lists of spammers. “Nobody ever deputized Spamhaus to determine what goes and does not go on the Internet,” he claimed. “They worked themselves into that position by pretending to fight spam.”

Such attacks are growing in quantity as well as scale, according to Vitaly Kamluk, chief malware expert of Kaspersky Lab’s global research and analysis team. The two main motives for the disruptions are money through cybercrime and political and social activism, he said.

“This is indeed the largest known DDoS operation,” Kamluk said by e-mail. “Such DDoS attack may affect regular users as well, with network slowdown or total unavailability of certain web resources as typical symptoms.”

Cyberbunker claims that it has resisted a number of ‘attacks’ by Dutch police attempting to make arrests.

Have no doubt, these people, the ones behind the name of Cyberbunker, are criminals and should be behind bars. Cyberbunker has been linked to wiki-Leaks and the Anonymous hacker group. A hundred years ago, they would be bomb-throwing anarchists. Today, they are cyber-anarchists throwing digital bombs.

Friday Follies for January 4, 2013

This comes under the category of “Actions have consequences.”

Police Kicked Out Of Belleville Denny’s For Being Armed

January 3, 2013 6:40 AM

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – Belleville police chief Bill Clay is ordering his officers to get their pancakes from anywhere but Denny’s, calling the restaurant “political stupidness.”

The new orders come after a New Year’s Day clash between five detectives and one Denny’s manager.

The department says the detectives were out of uniform but wearing their badges, when manager David Rice asked them to either leave or put their guns in their vehicle.

Rice, told the detectives that one of their weapons, specifically a female detective’s gun, was making another diner feel uncomfortable.

As the officers were leaving, without their food, General Manager Michael Van walked up and corrected the manager and said it was fine for them to stay, but the officers said it would be too awkward and they left.

Denny’s corporate office has released an apology saying, “Denny’s policy permits law enforcement officials to carry their firearms in the restaurant and we regret any misunderstanding.”

An employee at the Belleville Denny’s didn’t want to talk about the confrontation to KMOX, but some Denny’s customers said the presence of police and their guns was not an issue.

My wife grew up in a small town not far from Belleville, IL. Belleville is next to crime-ridden East St. Louis and has much of the same problems as does East St. Louis. I suspect the local manager may have had issues with the police and used their guns as an excuse to cause problems.

***

With little public notice the November unemployment rate was quietly raised one-tenth of a point to 7.8. Initially the rate was widely published as proof the unemployment rate was falling. Nope, another administration lie. The initial rate for December 2012 is flat—maintaining that 7.8% level. The administration’s usual practice means that percentage rate will be revised upward later this month.

***

Due to outcries of rage from downstate and across the country, Illinois dems pull their gun control bills that would ban semi-automatic rifles, pistols, shotguns, pump-shotguns and magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

The Illinois Senate pulled the plug on legislation to ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammo clips late Thursday, a stinging rebuke to Democrats and a wake-up call to the president and his supporters who think the Newtown, Conn. school child slayings will make it easy to pass gun control. — The Washington Examiner.

***

This article may be a portent of things to come. We received our Comcast bill yesterday for the month of January 2013. It had gone up $50. We have bundled service including cable, internet and land-line telephone service. If I analyzed the bill correctly, the bundle went up around $35 and rest in fees and taxes.  I didn’t see an Obamacare surcharge listed but I have no doubt it was there in some form.

Perhaps this is next.

Report: Cable Companies Look To Raise Cost For Heavy Internet Use

January 4, 2013 9:33 AM

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Heavy Internet users may see their prices rise as Time Warner and other cable providers continue testing a new business model that charges customers based upon the amount of data they use.

“Usage-based pricing” – which is similar to most wireless plans – is what cable companies are looking to use for all Internet due to congestion they claim is clogging up many networks. In a December report, the New America Foundation said caps on data would restrict customers who want to stream movies, television shows or take online classes.

As services like streaming video, cloud data storage, and videoconferencing have increased online, the amount of Internet data consumed by individuals has simultaneously increased. However, while new services and applications require more data, most major Internet service and mobile providers in the United States are moving in the opposite direction by discouraging Internet usage by implementing more restrictive and costly data caps.

I’m a moderate internet user. My usage isn’t due to streaming video or audio. Nor do I take on-line courses. I do own my own mail and web servers and a book search-engine for selected wannabe writers. So far I’m just a blip on the data usage monitor. That may change if this scheme comes to pass.

It’s ironic that telecom providers like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and others have moved away from this concept in favor of flat fees and block usage. Sprint in particular has several very popular plans with unlimited voice and data usage. The telecom providers found that measured service restricted growth and revenue.

Cable providers are newcomers in the communication and data area and lack the experience that traditional telecom providers possess. I know some cable providers prefer to constrain usage instead of investing in network upgrades and expansion to allow more capacity and growth. 

Time will tell which scheme wins. Personally, I think the cable/internet providers are making a significant strategic error.

Protect the Internet: No SOPA, No PIPA

I completely forgot about the net boycott yesterday. I’m adding my small piece at day late, as usual.  There has been at least a bit of success.  Senator Roy Bount (R-MO) dropped his sponsorship in a news release yesterday.

KANSAS CITY, MO. – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) released the following statement today regarding the Protect IP Act:

“American innovation is a cornerstone to our nation’s economic growth, and job creators have lost $135 billion in revenue annually as a result of rogue internet sites.

“While I believed the bill still needed much work, I cosponsored the Senate version of the Protect IP Act because I support the original intent of this bill – to protect against the piracy of lawful content.

“Upon passage of this bill through committee, Senate Judiciary Republicans strongly stated that there were substantive issues in this legislation that had to be addressed before it moved forward. I agree with that sentiment. But unfortunately, Senate Leader Harry Reid is pushing forward with legislation that is deeply flawed and still needs much work.

“That is why I’m withdrawing my co-sponsorship for the Protect IP Act.

“The right to free speech is one of the most basic foundations that makes our nation great, and I strongly oppose sanctioning Americans’ right to free speech in any medium – including over the internet.

“I continue to believe that we can come to a solution that will cut off the revenue sources for foreign websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy that steal American jobs, hurt the economy, and harm consumers. But the Protect IP Act is flawed as it stands today, and I cannot support it moving forward.”

Success, one step at a time.

One woman’s response to Illegal Immigration

Update (May 22, 2010): Rosemay Labonte affirms authorship of the letter and comment below and refutes the Snopes entry. Please check the reader comments attached to this post.

A supposed letter to the editor of the OC Register by Rosemary Labonte has been circulating around the internet. Initially Snopes said the letter was not true. That has now been changed to “Mixture.” First I’ll post the letter that is circulating on the internet. Second, I’ll post the actual comments by Rosemary Labonte on the OC Register website. There are differences but the basic theme is the same.

The letter below is the version circulating on the internet. (H/T to Sandaidh.)

ORANGE COUNTY ( CALIFORNIA ) NEWSPAPER-New Immigrants

From: “David LaBonte”
My wife, Rosemary, wrote a wonderful letter to the editor of the OC Register which, of course, was not printed. So, I decided to “print” it myself by sending it out on the Internet. Pass it along, if you feel so inclined.

Written in response to a series of letters to the editor in the Orange County Register:

Dear Editor:
So many letter writers have based their arguments on how this land is made up of immigrants. Ernie Lujan for one, suggests we should tear down the Statue of Liberty because the people now in question aren’t being treated the same as those who passed through Ellis Island and other ports of entry.

Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out to people like Mr. Lujan why today’s American is not willing to accept this new kind of immigrant any longer. Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented. Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home.

They had waved good bye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity.

Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany, Italy , France and Japan . None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan . They were defending the United States of America as one people.

When we liberated France , no one in those villages were looking for the French-American or the German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country’s flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl.

And here we are with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I’m sorry, that’s not what being an American is all about. I believe that the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900’s deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags.

And for that suggestion about taking down the Statue of Liberty , it happens to mean a lot to the citizens who are voting on the immigration bill. I wouldn’t start talking about dismantling the United States just yet.

(signed)
Rosemary LaBonte

I did find this comment on the OC Register website comment area.

PR skills are lacking
Your editorial said it all: “Waving the Mexican flag is like waving a red flag in front of an angry bull” [“Immigration realities,” Opinion, March 28].

Clearly, all those on the street protesting the purposed shakeup in their illegal lifestyle should hire themselves a new public-relations firm. What they fail to see or advised to do to gain sympathy among Americans is to promote how much they love the U.S. and how grateful they are to be here. Instead of the American red, white and blue being waved in all of their hands, we see a foreign country’s colors. We hear the old tired explanation about working jobs that “Americans” won’t do. Get a new slogan because that one is yesterday’s news.

If you want to live in this country, tell us why you want to live here. Tell us why you think opportunities are better here. Just don’t put an “entitlement” statement with it. Let us know that you will love and defend the U.S. if allowed to become a citizen. Yes, we are a melting pot, but evidently the melting pot is poured into one bowl. That’s where the “United” in United States comes from.

If you want better jobs, then stay in school and work towards that dream. Just like everybody else. You don’t get into college unless you graduate from high school. And right now there is a huge recruitment for Hispanic students to enter college for free or basically nothing. That is something that my kids aren’t entitled to because, their ancestors floated over here from Ireland, Holland and England three centuries ago before the word “entitlement” had been invented.

If you risk dying in the desert to get here, then leave the red, green and white mentality behind you and start the new life you keep claiming you want. In the next walkout march, think about putting this country’s flag, which so many have died for so you could jabber on about “rights,” into your hands and convince the American public you want to remain here for better reasons than what you are now proclaiming.

Rosemary LaBonte
Irvine

I submit these to you without comment.

Betraying Internet Security

One of the standards of internet security is the trusted encryption key. These keys are sold by a number of companies, VeriSign is one. The encryption certificates by one of these companies guarantee the security of internet session. I’m not going to describe how this technology works. It’s been a standard methodology for a number of years and if you want more info, do a Google/Yahoo/Bing search.

What you need to know is that this technology is what makes your on-line purchases using your credit card, on-line private chats and other internet communication private and secure. It’s true that no encryption is 100% unbreakable. I’m sure the NSA can do the job. But, it will take a while and the effort is beyond the capability and budget of most of the world. Even those institutions with the capability, such as the NSA here at home and comparable groups across the world, cannot break those keys quickly.

So, for most of the current applications, your communications is secure. It’s just not worth the effort to break the key to acquire information that may, in many cases, already be out of date.

That is no longer true.

At a recent wiretapping convention, however, security researcher Chris Soghoian discovered that a small company was marketing internet spying boxes to the feds. The boxes were designed to intercept those communications — without breaking the encryption — by using forged security certificates, instead of the real ones that websites use to verify secure connections. To use the appliance, the government would need to acquire a forged certificate from any one of more than 100 trusted Certificate Authorities.