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The amount of freedom on the global Internet has declined for the eighth straight year, with a group of countries moving toward “digital authoritarianism,” according to a new report from Freedom House.
A number of factors, including the spread of false rumors and hateful propaganda online, have contributed to an Internet that “can push citizens into polarized echo chambers that pull at the social fabric of the country,” said the report, released Thursday. These rifts often give aid to antidemocratic forces, including government efforts to censor the Internet, Freedom House said.
During 2018, authoritarians used claims of fake news and of data breaches and other scandals as an excuse to move closer to a Chinese model of Internet censorship, said the report, cosponsored by the Internet Society.
“China is exporting its model of digital authoritarianism throughout the world, posing a serious threat to the future of free and open Internet,” said Sanja Kelly, director for Internet Freedom at Freedom House. “In order to counter it, democratic governments need to showcase that there is a better way to manage the Internet, and that cybersecurity and disinformation can be successfully addressed without infringing on human rights.”
Thirty-six countries sent representatives to Chinese training programs on censorship and surveillance since January 2017. Another 18 countries have purchased monitoring technology or facial recognition systems from Chinese companies during the same time frame.
“Digital authoritarian is being promoted [by China] as a way for governments to control their citizens through technology, inverting the concept of the Internet as an engine for human liberation,” Freedom House said.
About 71 percent of the Internet’s 3.7 billion users live in countries where technology users were arrested or imprisoned for posting content related to political, social, or religious issues, the report said. Fifty-five percent live in countries where political, social or religious content was blocked online, and 48 percent live in countries were people have been attacked or killed for their online activities since June 2017.
About 47 percent of Internet users live in countries where access to social media or messaging platforms were temporarily or permanently blocked.
Freedom House reviewed the Internet-related policies of 65 countries. Internet freedom declined in 26 countries, including the United States, with the biggest score declines in Egypt and Sri Lanka. Nineteen countries posted gains in Internet freedom, although most of the increases were minor, the organization said.
During the year, 17 governments approved or proposed new laws restricting online media in the name of fighting fake news. Eighteen countries increased surveillance efforts.
The most restrictive countries were China, Iran, Ethiopia, Syria, and Cuba, the group said. Iceland, Estonia, Canada, Germany, and Australia were the countries with the most Internet freedom. The United States ranked sixth highest, the U.K. seventh, and Japan ninth.
In a dozen countries, declines in Internet freedom were related to elections. In these countries, the lead-up to an election resulted in a spread of disinformation, new censorship, technical attacks, or arrests of government critics, Freedom House said.
In addition to concerns about censorship and the spread of disinformation, the report also decries a loss of online privacy. Even as some countries push for more personal protections, “the unbridled collection of personal data has broken down traditional notions of privacy,” Freedom House said.
The report offers several recommendations for policymakers, for private companies, and for civil society. Governments should ensure that all Internet-related laws adhere to international human rights laws, and they should enact strong data protection laws, the report recommends.
Members of civil society can work with private companies on fact-checking efforts and can monitor their home countries’ collaboration with Chinese surveillance and censorship efforts, the report says.
In addition to the Internet Society, sponsors of the report include Google, Oath, the New York Community Trust, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
Read the Freedom on the Net report.
The post Internet Freedom Declines Again, with ‘Polarized Echo Chambers’ Aiding Censorship Efforts appeared first on Internet Society.
Last year, the Internet Society unveiled the 2017 Global Internet Report: Paths to Our Digital Future. The interactive report identifies the drivers affecting tomorrow’s Internet and their impact on Media & Society, Digital Divides, and Personal Rights & Freedoms. We interviewed Natali Helberger to hear her perspective on the forces shaping the Internet’s future.
Natali Helberger is a professor of Information Law at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Law. She researches how the role of information users is changing under the influence of information technology, and the regulation of converging information and communications markets. Focus points of her research are the interface between technology and information law, user rights and the changing role of the user in information law and policy. Natali has conducted research for the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and national governments and is a regular speaker at national and international conferences. Among others, she is member of an Expert Committee of the Council of Europe on AI and Human Rights, and one of the leaders of the Dutch VSNU Citizenship & Democracy research agenda.
The Internet Society: You recently wrote a chapter for Damian Tambini and Martin Moore’s book Digital Dominance: The Power of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple (2018, Oxford University Press), focusing specifically on the impact of consolidation on media diversity. Can you tell us more?
Natali Helberger: Damian and Martin asked me to look into the implications of the rise of digital online platforms for media diversity. Media diversity is the idea that in a democratic society there should be a variety of viewpoints and ideas from different speakers, presented to us via the media. One key trend that we see is people access news content and media content more and more not only via traditional media but also or even exclusively via new information intermediaries, such as social media platforms, apps, AI assistants, and search engines (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism 2016, 2017; Pew Research Center 2016).
These information intermediaries have stepped in to fill a critical gap in the news delivery chain: consolidating attention and helping users to make a selection of the news that they find relevant. The result is a structural transformation in which news is turning into a customizable product that can be carefully targeted and adjusted to individual recipients and the demands of advertisers. The presence of such data-driven, heavily targeted platforms does not necessarily need to be a challenge to a diverse information environment, as long as they are open to diverse voices, and there are alternative sources of information. But what to make of a situation in which there remain only a few dominant global sources of information? And in the light of such a dominant player and a heavily targeted news environment, what are the prospects of still encountering diverse media content if we do not succeed in preserving a flourishing media environment also outside platforms?
This year we’re focusing our annual Global Internet Report on consolidation in the Internet economy. We’re specifically investigating consolidation trends in the access, services, and application layers of the Internet respectively, as well as consolidation trends acting vertically across layers (e.g., companies gaining dominance in more than one of the Internet’s layers).
What do you think of this trend?
One consolidation trend that I am observing with some concern is the consolidation of the many different functions that the we use the Internet for in a few, powerful platforms: whether it is access to media content and news, social interaction, political information and interaction with our democratic representatives, buying and selling services, interacting with government services, with teachers and educational institutions, doing research – all these activities are facilitated by a few players who provide us with a super convenient service architecture to do so. And because their services are so good and convenient to use, we increasingly rely on them and make them, step-by-step, the backbone of our digital life. We should be concerned about the dependencies that this creates, not only in the economic but also in the political sense. Public institutions, such as universities, political parties, governments, public services, and media in particular should have a role to play in countering this trend, and facilitating alternative venues and infrastructures of public life on the internet.
How has technology’s role in societies changed in the time since you’ve been studying technology’s impact on the media? Have you perceived a backlash against the tech industry?
I think that for some countries we are very close to completing our transition from an analogue to a data society. In the Netherlands, for example, the postal services have begun removing post boxes because few people write letters anymore, and in the communication modes between citizens and public services, digital has become the default. Having said so, I think it is important to acknowledge that the extent to which technology has already changed societies differs from country to country, and even for regions. We must be very careful that these differences do not result in new divides and inequalities when it comes to access to services and knowledge.
Regarding the backlash against the tech industry it is important to distinguish between the tech and the industry part in “tech industry.” It is up to society how tech can be used to advance human welfare, society, and fundamental rights, but also to decide in which situations we do not want technology to make important decisions about humans. Think of the use of AI in deciding who should get access to vital services such as health care, schooling, or justice. The tech industry can be an important partner in doing so. There can also be situations in which the interests of society and industry are not aligned or even opposed. And it is here where societies and governments must push back, and should not shy away protecting public interests and human rights against industry interests.
What are your other fears for the future of the Internet?
I am concerned about the shifts in not only economic but also political power that the Internet and our transition to a data society have caused. This is a shift that our current legal system is poorly prepared for. (Some) platforms are an instructive example of this. As important venues for people to inform themselves, form their political opinions, and interact with peers as well as their democratic representatives, these platforms are no longer only economic actors. They are also active actors in political processes, like elections or decisions about new laws. And because of the influence about the way people receive information and form opinions, data power can easily turn into political power. Commercial laws, like competition law and consumer law, are not prepared to deal with the political power that data can give. It is high time that we think of how to contain the political power of platforms, for example by revisiting our rules about political advertising, concentration of communication power, but also division of political power.
What are your hopes for the future of the Internet?
That the Internet continues to be a place where we can explore, connect, explore, and play – and do so without the need to be constantly alert about our privacy, whether we are being watched, manipulated or how our behavour can be used to advance someone’s else goal.
I am tremendously grateful that I am living and researching in this age of almost unlimited access to information and communication, and I hope that my work, and that of my colleagues at the Institute for Information Law in Amsterdam can help to make the Internet remain this place.
The post Future Thinking: Natali Helberger on the Impact of Consolidation on Media Diversity appeared first on Internet Society.
Happy Halloween! In some parts of the world, people are celebrating this holiday of horror by dressing up as monsters or other frights and watching scary movies. But sometimes these tales can be just a little boring. Pod people? Headless horsemen? Replicant children? Whatever.
I present the real horror stories of Halloween – and every other day of the year. These tales are inspired by real-life events and are guaranteed to give you a chill. (And not just because your smart thermostat is being controlled by a shapeshifting clown who lives in the sewer!)
In the fall of 2018, a group of kids work together to destroy an evil malware, which infects connected toys and preys on the children of their small town.
Inspired by the terrifying vulnerabilities found in everyday connected toys.
Night of the Living Devices
There’s panic across the Internet as connected devices suddenly begin attacking critical Internet infrastructure. The film follows a group of network operators as they frantically work to protect the Internet from these packet spewing, infected devices.
Inspired by the harrowing events of the 2016 Dyn attack.
Rosemary’s Baby Monitor
A young family moves into a house billed as the “smart home of the future” only to be plagued by strange occurrences. When odd things happen in their baby’s room each night, paranoia over their child’s safety begins to control their life.
Inspired by the insecure Internet-connected baby monitors, putting children’s privacy at risk.
A woman is followed by an unknown group of advertisers after buying a fitness tracker that traces her location.
Inspired by the location data that wearable devices are sharing every day.
The Grills Have Eyes
A suburban family is stalked by the grills that reside in the patio furniture section of their local hardware store.
Inspired by the smart home appliances that are looking for a home.
These are scary stories, but they don’t have to be! You can take steps to #SecureIt, starting with The Lazy Person’s Guide to Better Online Privacy. And if you’re a manufacturer, read the Online Trust Alliance’s IoT Trust Framework, which provides guidance to enhance the security, privacy, and sustainability of devices and the data they collect.
When your apps and appliances know more about the Internet than you do, it’s time to get IoT smart.
The post IoT Tales of Horror (Inspired by Real-Life Events) appeared first on Internet Society.
It’s no surprise that buying behaviors have seen significant change over the past several years. Global online e-commerce sales are expected to double between 2016 and 2020. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), personal income increased $54.8 billion (0.3%) in July of 2018, while disposable personal income (DPI) increased $52.5 billion (0.3%) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $49.3 billion (0.4%). July’s increase in personal income was a result of salary increases, rental income, and personal dividend income. The $29.6 billion increase in PCE in July led to an increase of $10.9 billion in spending for goods and a $18.9 billion increase in spending for services.
Online shoppers are experiencing a new wave of e-commerce, one that’s highly personalized to that individual’s shopping interests and behaviors. Brands are putting more dollars behind personalization, where they capture customer data points and present those customers with relevant content and products to encourage an online sale. By capturing search queries, shopping cart, geographic location, purchase history, social behavior, and customer segments, brands are able to alter their site’s content to best serve each individual customer. More than ever, e-commerce companies must also compete with one another.
How does the increase in online shopping affect the Internet itself?
As more money is spent online, data breaches are expected to rise. According to a study by Ponemon Institute, the average data breach costs $3.62 million. Dark web criminals are not only stealing people’s social security and credit card information, but they are using stolen information to apply for credit cards and make their own purchases. In response to the increasing threat of stolen online data, the number of identity theft security companies has increased, but is that enough?
While data breaches are increasing, both e-commerce companies and consumers need to be vigilant. Online retailers need to be extra careful with customer data and websites should be secure and encrypt transactions. On the consumer side, people can be better educated on security issues and privacy issues. Reading Understanding Your Online Identity: Protecting Your Privacy is a good first step.
The takeaway? The majority of sales are occurring online, and with that, Internet security breaches will continuously occur. The Internet economy is outperforming the physical retail store economy, and if your company is involved in e-commerce, you should take the extra steps needed to make sure your online infrastructure and customer data are secure. Missing out on this step could be a setback your company can’t bounce back from.
Asylbek Sanarbekov, a social worker in the village of Suusamyr, Kyrgyzstan, can often be seen standing outside of his office building, phone in hand. He goes there to connect to the new Suusamyr Community Network, which has antennas on a nearby water tower. The Suusamyr Community Network officially launches today at the Community Network Xchange (CNX) in New Delhi. It’s a big improvement over Sanarbekov‘s connection at home, where he uses expensive and sometimes unreliable mobile data.
The village of Suusamyr is located in the Suusamyr Valley, a remote region in the Tian Shan Mountains. It’s a popular tourist destination thanks to its breathtaking landscape and its sparse population, with just over 3,000 residents. During the warmer months, they’re employed in agriculture, but by winter, thanks to heavy snowfall and subfreezing temperatures, many are unemployed.
“We are a small, landlocked mountainous country, so the traditional economic models do not necessarily work for us,” says Talant Sultanov, chair of the Internet Society‘s Kyrgyz Chapter. “We decided that digital development is the way forward.”
There’s a mobile connection in the village of Suusamyr, but according to Mairambek Ismailov, deputy head of the local self-government body, it’s not necessarily fast, reliable, or affordable – and it doesn’t cover the remote, sparsely populated areas. He’s tried to get telecom companies to address the issue, with no success.
“There are still areas, especially rural and mountain communities, that are not profitable for the private sector and are therefore neglected,” says Sultanov.
Instead, the Kyrgyz Chapter started work to create a community network, partnering with the Internet Society, the government, local ISPs, and the Suusamyr community itself. “We have long winters, we are far away from an undersea cable, we have difficult terrain to lay fiber optic cables, and it all boils down to high prices for Internet,” says Sultanov. “If we want economic development, we need to make Internet cheaper, better quality, and faster.”
Building a community network in Suusamyr has come with challenges. The first was a lack of experience and the team made mistakes in the beginning, which caused delays and cost money. There was also no free spectrum available, but the project team was able to partner with a regional ISP to share their license. Finally, the electric poles needed for the fiber optic cable installation – lots of them because of Suusamyr’s low population density – had to be rented at a relatively high cost.
But now the first phase has been completed: the test network is running and they’re currently deploying fiber. Which is how Asylbek Sanarbekov is able to step outside of his office to connect to WiFi. The hospital is also benefitting. “We mainly use the Internet for sending and receiving emails and to communicate and send reports to the regional center,” says Medical Superintendent Dildekan Mederbekovna Kulukeeva. And there’s a plan to provide the largest school with Internet access.
But there is still work to be done. The next phase will install fiber in the homes of residents in Suusamyr’s central village.
The Internet Society’s Kyrgyz Chapter was inspired to start the project after attending a community networks meeting with participants from Georgia and India, who had connected remote communities in their own countries to the Internet. “Our remote places are not very populous. The number of inhabitants might be anywhere from 800 to 5000 people, which is not very attractive for an Internet Service Provider – they have to get their return on investment. In small villages, that would take very long,” says Isabek Asanbaev, project manager of the Suusamyr community network project.
On a global scale, the Internet Society has followed a similar path to community networks. In 2010, Wireless for Communities, a joint initiative of the Internet Society and the Digital Empowerment Foundation, was launched to connect rural and remote locations of India. Since then, Wireless for Communities has deployed nearly 200 community networks in India. In parallel, community networks themselves have grown into a global movement, with projects being completed in Brazil, Pakistan, Senegal, Nepal, Kenya, Nicaragua, and other countries. The Suusamyr Community Network is the latest and it demonstrates not just the global importance and relevance of community networks, but their strength. They can connect communities nearly anywhere.
The Suusamyr project showcases the potential of community networks and provides a model for other Kyrgyz communities to connect.
“Being connected to the Internet is one of the best things that’s happened to us,” says Urmatbek Shailobekovich Otunchiev, the head of the Suusamyr Valley’s local self-government body.
Help build a digital future that puts people first. #SwitchItOn
Image ©Internet Society/Nyani Quarmyne/Panos Pictures; additional text by Laura Salm-Reifferscheidt
The post Digital Development Is the Way Forward: The Suusamyr Community Network Launches at CNX appeared first on Internet Society.
In this post for the Internet Society Rough Guide to IETF 103, I’m reviewing what’ll be happening at the IETF in Bangkok next week.
IPv6 deployment hit another milestone recently, reaching 25% adoption globally. The almost total depletion of the pool of unallocated IPv4 addresses has seen the cost of an IPv4 address on the transfer market rise from USD 15 to 18 in just a few months, which has encouraged network operators to further step-up their deployment efforts.
There was some good news from the UK with the largest mobile operator EE and the incumbent provider of broadband Internet BT, increasing to nearly 30% and 46% respectively. Other mobile operators deploying IPv6 also saw a boost this month with the release of Apple’s iOS 12 update that adds IPv6 support for cellular data.
Belgium still leads the way, but Germany is rapidly catching up, followed by Greece, the US and India. France, Malaysia, Finland and Australia also seem to have seen a surge in deployment recently.
IPv6 is always an important focus for the IETF, and this meeting will see a lot of work with respect to deployment-related improvements and the Internet-of-Things.
The IPv6 Operations (v6ops) Working Group is a key group and will be meeting on Monday morning. It’s published four RFCs since its last meeting, including Happy Eyeballs v2, and this time will kick-off with a presentation on the CERNET2 network which is an IPv6-only research and education in China.
There’s also four drafts to be discussed, including three new ones. IPv6-Ready DNS/DNSSSEC Infrastructure recommends how DNS64 should be deployed as it modifies DNS records which in some circumstances can break DNSSEC. IPv6 Address Assignment to End-Sites obsoletes RFC 6177 with best current operational practice from RIPE-690 that makes recommendations on IPv6 prefix assignments, and reiterates that assignment policy and guidelines belong to the RIR community. Pros and Cons of IPv6 Transition Technologies for IPv4aaS discusses different use case scenarios for the five most prominent IPv4-as-a-service (IPv4aaS) transitional technologies, whilst NAT64/464XLAT Deployment Guidelines in Operator and Enterprise Networks is an updated draft that describes considerations with respect to applications or devices using literal IPv4 addresses or non-IPv6 compliant APIs, as well as IPv4-only hosts on an IPv6-only network.
The other key group is the IPv6 Maintenance (6man) Working Group that will be meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Since the last meeting this has published just the one RFC on creating an IANA registry for updating the IPv6 Neighbor Discovery Prefix Information Option Flags, but has no less than nine drafts up for discussion.
The couple of working group sponsored drafts relate to specifying a IPv6 Segment Routing Header (SRH) and how this can be used by Segment Routing capable nodes, and specifying a Router Advertisement flag to indicate to hosts that a link is IPv6-only. There are also a couple of new drafts that specify how IOAM (In-situ Operations, Administration and Maintenance) records are encapsulated in IPv6, and defining the building blocks that can be used for OAM in Segment Routing with IPv6.
That leaves five existing drafts to be discussed, covering communicating NAT64 prefixes to clients with Router Advertisements, Updates to Requirements for IPv6 Options, Path MTU Discovery solutions, a new Path MTU Hop-by-Hop Option to record minimum Path MTU from source to destination, and IPv6 Packet Truncation procedures.
On Tuesday morning, the IP Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (ipwave) Working Group will be meeting. Most of the agenda is focusing on updates to the specification for transmitting IPv6 Packets over IEEE 802.11 Networks in Vehiclar communications, and the use cases for IP-based vehicular networks, but there’s recently been a couple of updates to DNS Name Autoconfiguration for Internet of Things Devices and IPv6 Neighbor Discovery for Prefix and Service Discovery in Vehicular Networks, so these may also be discussed.
The Homenet (homenet) Working Group has previously been quite active, but appears to be focusing on the Homenet Naming and Service Discovery Architecture during its meeting on Wednesday afternoon. There’s also an agenda item for general security questions, and a demonstration of SecureHomeGateway, before moving into discussions on re-chartering the group.
There’s also two IPv6-related working groups on Monday. The Routing Over Low Power and Lossy Networks (roll) Working Group focuses on IPv6 routing issues for these networks. This has a very busy agenda commencing with an update on the ROLL-BIER design that extends RPL to support routing based on Bit Index Explicit Replication (BIER) in environments with limited and lossy updates. There are seven other drafts up for discussion on Efficient Route Invalidation, RPL protocol design issues, route discovery for symmetric and asymmetric point-to-point traffic flows, a packet transmission rate metric for parent node selection, implementing the forwarding of copies of packets over different paths to different RPL parents, a proposal to extend the RPL protocol to install centrally-computed routes, and an update to the unicast routing services in an RPL domain.
The IPv6 over Networks of Resource Constrained Nodes (6lo) Working Group also has a busy agenda. This includes a discussion on the proposed draft that updates RFC 6775 to support registration extensions for simplifying these operations in 6LoWPAN routers, an update on Address Protected Neighbor Discovery for Low-power and Lossy Networks, an update to RFC 4944 with a simple protocol to recover packet fragments over a mesh network, and the IPv6 Backbone Router draft being prepared for a Working Group Last Call.
Other drafts up for review include transmitting IPv6 packets over Near Field Communication (NFC), a new type of 6LoWPAN routing header containing delivery deadlines for data packets, and IPv6 over Power-Line Communication Networks. The session will be rounded-off with a performance report on fragment forwarding and recovery.
Tuesday morning sees the meeting of the Low Power Wide-Area Networks (lpwan) Working Group. There will be another discussion around whether to move to a Working Group Last Call on the Static Context Header Compression (SCHC) framework for IPv6 and UDP, that provides both header compression and fragmentation functionalities. Three other drafts describe similar schemes for SigFox,LoRaWAN and IEEE 802.15.4 type networks.
Rounding off the IPv6-related sessions on Thursday afternoon, the IPv6 over the TSCH mode of IEEE 802.15.4e (6TiSCH) Working Group, will focus on the specification for a combining a high speed powered backbone and subnetworks using IEEE 802.15.4 time-slotted channel hopping (TSCH). The 6top protocol that enables distributed scheduling is now heading for publication as an RFC, and there are also updates to the description of a scheduling function that defines the behavior of a node when joining a network and to define a security framework for joining a 6TiSCH network. If there’s time, a method to protect network nodes against a selective jamming attack will be discussed.
At the Internet Society, we continue to promote IPv6 deployment. You can check out the World IPv6 Launch measurements for our latest measurements of IPv6 around the globe: http://www.worldipv6launch.org/measurements
You can also check out the Deploy360 online resources for getting started with IPv6 deployment:
And you can read more about other topics of interest to the technology programs of the Internet Society in the rest of our Rough Guide to IETF 103 posts.
IPv6-related Working Groups at IETF 103:
V6OPS (IPv6 Operations) Working Group
Monday, 5 November 2018 09.00-11.00 UTC+7, Meeting 1
ROLL (Routing Over Low power and Lossy networks) WG
Monday, 5 November 2018 09.00-11.00 UTC+7, Boromphimarn 1/2
6LO (IPv6 over Networks of Resource Constrained Nodes) WG
Monday, 5 November 2018 16.10-18.10 UTC+7, Meeting 2
IPWAVE (IP Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments) WG
Tuesday, 6 November 2018 09.00-11.00 UTC+7, Meeting 2
LPWAN (IPv6 over Low Power Wide-Area Networks) WG
Tuesday, 6 November 2018 09.00-11.00 UTC+7, Meeting 1 Agenda: https://datatracker.ietf.org/meeting/103/materials/agenda-103-lpwan/
6MAN (IPv6 Maintenance) WG
Monday, 16 July 2018 @ 09.30-12.00 UTC-4, Laurier
Homenet (Home Networking) WG
Wednesday, 7 November 2018 13.50-15.20 UTC+8, Chitlada 3
6TISCH (IPv6 over the TSCH mode of IEEE 802.15.4e) WG
Thursday, 8 November 2018 16.10-18.10 UTC+7, Boromphimarn 1/2
It will be a busy week in Bangkok, and whether you plan to be there or join remotely, there’s much to monitor. Read the full series of Rough Guide to IETF 103 posts, and follow us on the Internet Society blog, Twitter, or Facebook using #IETF103 to keep up with the latest news.
Lack of an affordable and accessible community healthcare is a challenge in rural communities across the globe, and an obstacle in ensuring a healthy population in remote indigenous communities across rural Nepal. Broadband connectivity is opening the door to more accessible and cost-effective patient care by speeding up electronic health records and digital images and increasing mobility with wireless monitoring devices.
This story takes place in Dullu, a place extremely difficult to reach, located in the Dailekh District in mid-western Nepal. In order to reach the area, you need to fly from Kathmandu to Surkhet via a domestic flight and then take an off-road, four-wheel drive across approximately 80 kilometers, many of which are through a mountainous dirt road that remains challenging for both visitors and locals. Despite being fertile land with imbued with culture and history, Dullu is far behind in the development process and it is still struggling in terms of infrastructure development, including road access, robust communication, and proper health and education services.
The town’s solitary hospital is perpetually understaffed. Budget cuts, inhospitable winters, and lack of medical resources have perennially plagued medical service deliveries to the approximately 45,000 residents who depend on a distant health center.
The Internet Society Nepal Chapter, in collaboration with the Center for Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) and the support of the Beyond the Net Funding Programme, are leading “Effective Broadband for Health” a pilot program that will revolutionize Dullu’s rural community healthcare delivery and management.
From left to right: Ghanshyam Bhandari, Dullu Municipality; Pavan Shakya; Gyanendra Maharjan (Managing Director, InSyst Pvt. Ltd.); Tej Raj Sharma, Chief Administrative Officer, Dullu Municipality; and Abhimanyu Pandey (ICT4D)
After propagating the Internet signal from Surkhet to reach Dullu, the project equipped the hospital’s community healthcare system with two multiservice portable health kits. The health kits had been tested on 50 patients by storing their records and allowing medical personnel to remotely track their diagnoses, prognoses, and recovery progress. The team has also developed an application to enable the Dullu Municipality to update and archive digital data of houses and lands. The Building Permit Record Management System (BPRMS) has been implemented in 13 Ward Offices and 1,000 buildings have been recorded.
“A community healthcare system underpinned by a robust, high-speed Internet access for these communities is the only lifeline.” Explains Pavan Singh Shakya, Executive Director of ICT4D and project manager. “Farming and an emerging tourist industry are the main commercial activities in Dullu. Both industries will be highly dependent on connectivity and data in the coming years. With a growing population base, Dullu must be embraced by broadband communication networks to facilitate telemedicine, distance learning, and modern tourism.”
What led to this project?
In Nepal, the state of neglected infrastructure worsened during the two-decade long conflict and the subsequent conflict resolution phases. Remote regions have been left behind despite the Internet boom, especially in Dullu where healthcare services are difficult to reach. Local walking trails are inaccessible during the rainy season, and winters are harsh for the average three-day journey to the sole hospital, which usually involves a rudimentary homemade medical stretcher. Many villagers live 2-3 days of walking distance from the main hospital.
How is the project helping the Dullu’s community?
The project established a wireless broadband service and provided telemedicine solutions to the remote villages, additionally developing the infrastructure and creating a proper information system related to public health services. After many months of survey and interaction with different vendors, the team identified a portable healthcare product that allows care providers to perform comprehensive exams and enable doctors to remotely make quality diagnosis and treatment decisions. The product is equipped with basic diagnostic tools to capture data over a Bluetooth connection and send that data to medical specialists at the Dhulikhel Hospital (approximately 700 kilometers). This allows them to review each case and provide feedback to the local medical team.
Did you integrate sustainability in your project?
We believe this project will pave the way to rural broadband communication systems in the future. The long-term prospects of this project are extremely positive and will ensure its sustainability, since the entire community is invited to be part of the inception, implementation, management, and finally the full ownership. The Internet presents possibilities, progress, and consequently must be inclusive, for a truly democratic and equal opportunity society.
I wish to acknowledge Pavan Singh Shakya and all of the ICT4D team members who greatly assisted me in writing this article through their insight and expertise.
We’re looking for new ideas from people all over the world on how you can empower your community using the Internet. The Beyond the Net Funding Programme funds projects up to $30,000.00.
The post How Telemedicine Is Impacting Healthcare in Rural Nepal appeared first on Internet Society.
Not surprisingly it has been a busy 4 months in IoT, and IoT-related work in IETF has been buzzing right along. This post is intended to highlight some of these activities, and to provide a guide to relevant sessions scheduled during the upcoming IETF 103 meeting in Bangkok. Also check out the IETF Journal IoT Category, the IETF IoT page, the IETF IoT Directorate, the Internet Society’s IoT page, or the Online Trust Alliance IoT page for more details about many of these topics.
The IETF Hackathon, held on the weekend preceding the main IETF meeting (November 3-4, 2018), includes several projects directly related to IoT, with the possibility of more being added. Remote participation is available. More information is on the Hackathon wiki. Projects of interest (at the time of this writing) include those relating to:
- LPWAN CoAP/UDP/IPv6 SCHC compression and fragmentation
- ST-COAPS (ACE WG) + ANIMA BRSK
- WISHI (Work on IoT Semantic / Hypermedia Interoperability
- Trusted Execution Environment Provisioning (TEEP)
The Thing-to-Thing Research Group (T2TRG), under the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), investigates open research issues towards turning the promise of IoT into reality. The research group will be meeting on Tuesday afternoon 6 Nov 2018 16:10-18:10 (GMT+7) in Bangkok to report out on their recent activities. In addition, they will hold a working meeting on Friday 9-November from 09:00 to 13:20 (GMT+7). The summary meeting agenda can be found here. As in the past, full details and latest info on their activities can be found in GitHub.
Two recently chartered IoT-related working groups are working on very serious problems, and are making good progress:
- Trusted Execution Environment Provisioning (TEEP), working on standardizing protocols for provisioning applications into secure areas of computer processors. They have recently uploaded a new draft version of the TEEP architecture document. There are, however, a few more open issues, and the chairs are actively seeking feedback on the direction the document is heading.
- Software Updates for Internet of Things (SUIT), working on mechanisms for securely updating the firmware in IoT devices. The latest versions of the draft architecture and information model are on the agenda for the WG meeting, as is the manifest format.
I would like to draw your attention to some recently started activities of note:
- Application Transport LAyer Security (ATLAS) – relating to the re-use of TLS handshaking protocols at the application layer for establishing keying material to protect application data. Although there will not be a BoF at this IETF meeting, there may be an informal side meeting convened. If you are interested, keep an eye on the mailing list either by subscribing to it or by reviewing the archive. This message from the mailing list provides a good overview of current ATLAS-related drafts.
- Remote ATtestation ProcedureS (RATS) and Entity Attestation Token (EAT) are two related activities which address a similar problem space but are using different mechanisms, and which appear to be converging into one workstream – likely as This recent blogpost includes a good update. There is a RATS (aka simply Attestation) BoF scheduled for Tuesday 6 Nov 2018 13:50-15:50 (GMT+7) in Chitlada 2 Meeting Room (2nd Floor), and the RATS draft charter is in GitHub. If you are interested, keep an eye on the EAT and RATS mailing lists.
In other contributed updates of interest:
The Lightweight Implementation Guidance (LWIG) working group is providing useful implementation guidance to IoT developers. At IETF 103, the group will have discussions to finalize the draft on lightweight TCP implementations and Efficient Neighbor Management policies for 6LoWPAN networks. The group will also discuss a draft which defines how various standard elliptic curves such as NIST P-256, Curve25519 and Ed25519 can efficiently re-use the same underlying implementation. The session is Tuesday 7 Nov 2018 11:20-12:20 (GMT+7).
Another interesting draft titled Enabling Network Access for IoT devices from the Cloud in the Things-to-Thing Research Group (T2TRG) investigates how to overcome the perennial problem of secure bootstrapping of IoT devices. Rather than inventing another protocol, the draft describes how IoT devices can securely join a network with existing standard protocols such as EAP (RFC 3748) and RADIUS (RFC 2865). The draft received significant positive media coverage by The Register. In the latest update, the draft presents how to deal with the tricky problem of manufacturer obsolescence. It also defines new deployment modes for devices which have no identities or keys using existing EAP methods such as EAP-PSK (RFC 4764) and new EAP methods such as EAP-NOOB (Nimble out-of-band authentication for EAP).
Thanks to Mohit Sethi, Ericsson (Co-Chairing EAP Method Update (EMU) and Lightweight Implementation Guidance (LWIG))
A lot of work is going on to figure out how to help a device with no user interface onboard to the correct network in a secure way. The basis for some of this work is the Bootstrapping Remote Secure Key Infrastructure draft (BRSKI). This work is built atop HTTP. Several other activities are now looking at how to provide the voucher that is used in BRSKI and defined in RFC 8366 for other circumstances, like 802.11 networks and for further constrained devices. There are at LEAST three drafts on this subject, that will be mentioned in the OPS Area WG (OPSAWG) meeting, as well as at the EAP Method Update (EMU) WG session. There will also be a side meeting on Tuesday night at 18:00 local time for those who are interested in Apartment 3 on the 9th floor.
Thanks to Eliot Lear, Cisco
ANIMA‘s Bootstrapping Remote Secure Key Infrastructure draft (BRSKI) protocol has passed WGLC, and by IETF103 may be through IESG review and into the RFC-EDITOR queue. Since IETF101, ANIMA has adopted a constrained version of RFC8366 + BRSKI, and ACE has adopted a constrained version of RFC7030 (Enrollment over Secure Transport – EST). Expect serious activity on these protocols at IETF103, as these variations are approaching WGLC. A variety of interoperability events are being planned around these protocols, and there may be reports on those that have get done. Interest is growing on how to do device secure device enrolment over WiFi. The draft BRSKI over IEEE 802.11 gives a review of many different ideas, and the Wifi Alliance has recently released the Device Provisioning Protocol (DPP) Specification (requires registration).
Thanks to Michael Richardson, Sandelman Software Works
The IETF motto about running code is being applied to the opsawg’s MUD internet draft. CIRALabs has been working over the summer to bring to life a MUD-driven IoT firewall called the “SecureHomeGateway.” The system uses a smartphone, an off-the-shelf OpenWRT home gateway, and a QR code to apply the MUD internet draft to common devices. The team is taking the work up to ISPs at RIPE, to ccTLD operators at ICANN and has been keeping the HOMENET and ANIMA WGs appraised of developments. The CIRAlabs team expects to make some extensions (MUD processing and extensions for Secure Home Gateway Project) to MUD to better support some operational requirements that might come out of the SUIT and ANIMA The team also has some ideas on how to bootstrap the initial trust between mobile phone and home gateway (BRSKI enrollment for Smart Pledges).The MUD authors are now also looking at ways to expand the use of MUD to bandwidth profiling, so that administrators can provision based on the devices’ needs and observe when a device is behaving outside that profile. The initial draft can be found at https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-lear-opsawg-mud-bw-profile/.
Thanks to Michael Richardson, Sandelman Software Works, and Eliot Lear, CiscoMUD
While we are on the subject of “Manufacturer Usage Description Specification“ (MUD), I am pleased to see that it is gaining some serious traction. Last June, the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) approved it as a proposed standard.
From the abstract: This memo specifies a component-based architecture for manufacturer usage descriptions (MUD). The goal of MUD is to provide a means for end devices to signal to the network what sort of access and network functionality they require to properly function. The initial focus is on access control. Later work can delve into other aspects.
For more on MUD, Eliot Lear, one of the MUD authors, wrote a great article about it for the IETF Journal: Managing the Internet of Things – It’s All About Scaling.
As I have noted in previous IoT Rough Guides, MUD also plays a significant role in the project – Mitigating IoT-Based Automated Distributed Threats – being developed by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE). NCCoE has also taken on a proof of concept project. You can find out more about that at https://www.nccoe.nist.gov/projects/building-blocks/mitigating-iot-based-ddos.
Ongoing work includes:
- The Constrained RESTful Environments (core) WG aims to extend the Web architecture to most constrained networks and embedded devices. This is one of the most active IoT working groups.
- The IPv6 over Networks of Resource-constrained Nodes (6lo)WG will be meeting on Tuesday afternoon, and focuses on the work that facilitates IPv6 connectivity over constrained node networks.
- The IPv6 over the TSCH mode of IEEE 802.15.4e (6tisch) WGwas chartered in 2014 to enable IPv6 for the Time-Slotted Channel Hopping (TSCH) mode that was recently added to IEEE 802.15.4 networks.
- The Home Networking (homenet) WG focuses on the evolving networking technology within and among relatively small “residential home” networks. For example, an obvious trend in home networking is the proliferation of networking technology in an increasingly broad range and number of devices.
- The IPv6 over Low Power Wide-Area Networks (lpwan) WG – typical LPWANs provide low-rate connectivity to vast numbers of battery-powered devices over distances that may span tens of miles, using license-exempt bands.
- The IP Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (ipwave) WG has as its primary deliverable a specification for mechanisms to transmit IPv6 datagrams over IEEE 802.11-OCB mode.
- The Authentication and Authorization for Constrained Environments (ace) WG,as its name suggests, is concerned with authentication and authorization mechanisms in constrained environments, where network nodes are limited in CPU, memory and power. This is a critical issue for IoT, for obvious reasons.
- Routing for IoT is tackled by theRouting Over Low power and Lossy networks (roll) WG which focuses on routing protocols for constrained-node networks.
- In addition to the new protocols and other mechanisms developed by IETF working groups, IoT developers often benefit from additional guidance for efficient implementation techniques and other considerations. The Lightweight Implementation Guidance (lwig) WGis developing such documents.
Schedule and locations subject to change. Please refer to the online agenda to confirm.
If you have an interest in how the IoT is developing and being standardized in the IETF, I hope to see you in person or online at some of these meetings during IETF 103. (Note that If you know you will be unable to travel to the meeting and would like to participate remotely, you must register as a remote participant. There is currently no fee to be a remote participant at an IETF meeting but registration is required. If you do not want to register, you may opt to listen to the live audio stream of the sessions instead. The links for each session are posted in each session description in the agenda.
** All times ICT — Indochina Time (GMT+7)
core (Constrained RESTful Environments) WG
Monday, 5 Nov 2018, 13:50-15:50
Boromphimarn 1/2 Meeting Room (3rd Floor)
Thursday, 8 Nov 2018, 11:20-12:20
Chitlada 1 Meeting Room (2nd Floor)
It will be a busy week in Bangkok, and whether you plan to be there or join remotely, there’s much to monitor. Read the full series of Rough Guide to IETF 103 posts, and follow us on the Internet Society blog, Twitter, or Facebook using #IETF103 to keep up with the latest news.
The Internet Society Nominations Committee is now inviting nominations for candidates to serve on the Internet Society Board of Trustees.
In 2019, Internet Society Chapters and the IETF will each select one Trustee, and our Organization Members will select two Trustees. Following an orientation program, all new Trustees will begin 3-year terms commencing with the Internet Society Annual General Meeting in July.
The Board of Trustees provides strategic direction, inspiration, and oversight to advance the Internet Society’s mission of preserving the open, globally-connected, trustworthy and secure Internet for everyone.
If you or someone you know is interested in serving on the Board, please see the official Call for Nominations, additional information, and links to online nomination forms at:
The nominations period closes at 15:00 UTC on Friday, 14 December 2018.
The post Nominations Now Open for 2019 Internet Society Board of Trustees Election appeared first on Internet Society.
Two weeks ago, the Editorial Board of the New York Times published a piece predicting that the Internet is heading for a breakup.
Based on the comments made by Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt during a private event the Times set out to paint a picture of a world with three Internets.
The timing is understandable. We’re in a world where things like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is met with an equal measure of acceptance, annoyance, and confusion around the world.
And, just last week, my colleague Konstantinos Komaitis warned about what could happen as decision-makers are imposing rules that spill over onto the Internet, hamper innovation, deter investment in their own countries, and risk creating new digital divides.
These events set the stage for the Plenipotentiary meeting of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
And, in today’s climate, there are many who believe the Internet could be failing us.
So, we need to speak loudly about the fact that the Internet is not failing.
So far, I think the Internet has been a force for good.
The Internet allows us to do things like expand our access to education, build businesses, and grow our economy.
The Internet connects people because of its open, distributed, and interoperable design. Each network that joins the Internet becomes part of the Internet. A network of networks cannot be centrally controlled because it has no center. This is not some accidental design choice we can alter. It is an essential feature. A feature that has allowed for permissionless innovation and for technological scale beyond the dreams of its early creators.
The Internet was not designed to recognize national boundaries. It just wasn’t relevant to the technical design. Resiliency is achieved through diversity of infrastructure. Having multiple connections and different routes between key points ensures that traffic can “route around” network problems.
It is this design that makes it an Internet for everyone, and this is what makes it such a powerful tool for our global economy. The very nature of its design also has driven global technical collaboration between and among experts and stakeholders.
The Internet works through collaboration; singular control weakens it at every step.
For the new challenges of the twenty-first century, we need new models of collaboration. The way the Internet infrastructure was operated and managed by the community over the last 25 years is a novel model of successful global self-regulated collaboration. And, the truth is that nobody has a magical cure for global challenges. The world is still struggling to apply the old national and international governance models to solve today’s global challenges such as climate change, human migration, wars, and occupations. Perhaps the story of the Internet will inspire us to work together even more.
So over these next three weeks, let’s be loud and tell our story – a story of collaboration. If you are part of the community who are creating the Internet of tomorrow tell the world about it by using the hashtags #Plenipot18 and #DontBreakMyInternet.
By sharing our stories, we also can inspire others to join us in our cause and remind the world that the Internet is for everyone because only everyone can make a better tomorrow.
Image ©Internet Society/Nyani Quarmyne/Panos Pictures
Broadband for themselves: Rural Maine residents are looking into ways to create their own community broadband networks because of a lack of service in some areas, the Press Herald reports. About 15 percent of the state’s residents don’t have access to 25 Mbps broadband service. A project in the St. Croix Valley would create Maine’s first publicly-owned broadband network.
Home patches: Amazon has issued 13 security patches, with some addressing vulnerabilities in its Internet of Things home devices, Engadget reports. If left unpatched, the security holes would let intruders crash devices and remotely run code, giving them full control.
Confusion and delay: Meanwhile, a lot of companies that are potential IoT users are delaying their deployments because of security concerns, reports Betanews. About half of companies labeled as early adopters have delayed an IoT purchase because of security issues, according to a survey from F-Secure.
The cost of a breach: Yahoo has agreed to pay a $50 million settlement to the 200 million people affected the company’s huge 2013 data breach, Fortune says. The company will also pay a tidy $35 million in lawyers’ fees. The settlement applies only to a fraction of the people affected by the email breach.
AI as an enhancer: Artificial Intelligence won’t take your job, but instead, it will help you do it better, says Fast Company. PwC research projects that AI will contribute US$15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, mostly through productivity gains and AI-fueled product innovation.
AI as an artist: If you’re a painter, the previous story may not apply. An AI system has created a portrait that’s similar to Rembrandt’s style, NPR reports. The painting, called “Portrait of Edmond Belamy,” was put on the Christie’s auction block. The painting sold for $432,000, far more than the $10,000 the auction house had originally estimated, reports News Channel 5. Maybe there’s money to be made in creating artsy AIs.
A sweet-smelling AI musician: Perhaps songwriters’ and perfume makers’ jobs are at risk from AI as well. Forbes reports that IBM and fragrance producer Symrise collaborated on the first AI-designed perfume. And Fortune has a story about the arrival of AI songwriting. Over the next decade, 20 to 30 percent of top 40 singles will be written either totally or with the assistance of machine-learning software, the story suggests.
Do you know the risks of what you’re buying? Get IoT smart!
The post The Week in Internet News: Rural Maine Looks to Community Broadband appeared first on Internet Society.
Starting next weekend, the Internet Engineering Task Force will be in Bangkok for IETF 103, where around 1,000 engineers will discuss open Internet standards and protocols. The week begins on Saturday, 3 November, with a Hackathon and Code Sprint. The IETF meeting itself begins on Sunday and goes through Friday. We’ll be providing our rough guides on topics of mutual interest to both the IETF and the Internet Society as follows:
- Overview of ISOC @ IETF (this post)
- Internet Infrastructure Resilience
- Internet of Things
- DNSSEC, DNS Security and Privacy
- Identity, Privacy, and Encryption
For more general information about IETF 103 see:
Here are some of the activities that the Internet Society is involved in during the week.Applied Networking Research Prize (ANRP)
Through the Applied Networking Research Prize (ANRP), supported by the Internet Society, the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) recognizes the best new ideas in networking and brings them to the IETF, especially in cases where the ideas are relevant for transitioning into shipping Internet products and related standardization efforts. Out of 55 submissions in 2018, six submissions will be awarded prizes. Two winners will present their work at the IRTF Open Meeting on Monday, 5 November at 4:10PM.
- Johanna Amannfor the first large scale investigation of recently deployed web security features including their combined impact: J. Amman, O. Gasser, Q. Scheitle, L. Brent, G. Carle, R. Holz. Mission Accomplished? HTTPS Security after DigiNotar. 17th Internet Measurement Conference (IMC’17), November 2017.
- Arash Molavi Kakhkifor a detailed analysis of multiple versions of a rapidly evolving, new transport protocol in a large number of environments: Arash Molavi Kakhki, Samuel Jero, David Choffnes, Alan Mislove, Cristina Nita-Rotaru.Taking a Long Look at QUIC: An Approach for Rigorous Evaluation of Rapidly Evolving Transport Protocols. 17th Internet Measurement Conference (IMC’17), November 2017.
The IETF Journal provides an easily understandable overview of what’s happening in the world of Internet standards, with a particular focus on the activities of the IETF Working Groups. Articles highlight some of the hot issues being discussed in IETF meetings and on the IETF mailing lists. You can follow IETF Journal via our Twitter and Facebook channels. If you would like to write for the Journal about your work at IETF 103, please email us at email@example.com.
Other highlights of the IETF 103 meeting include:Hackathon
Right before IETF 103, the IETF is holding another Hackathon to encourage developers to discuss, collaborate, and develop utilities, ideas, sample code, and solutions that show practical implementations of IETF standards. The Hackathon is free to attend but has limited seats available. Technologies from past Hackathons include DNS, HTTP 2.0, NETVC, OpenDaylight, ONOS, VPP/FD.io, RiOT, SFC, TLS 1.3, WebRTC, YANG/NETCONF/RESTCONF. Details on all planned technologies will be listed on the IETF 103 Meeting Wiki.Birds of a Feather (BoF) Sessions
Another major highlight of every IETF is the new work that gets started in birds-of-a-feather (BoF) sessions. Getting new work started in the IETF usually requires a BoF to discuss goals for the work, the suitability of the IETF as a venue for pursuing the work, and the level of interest in and support for the work. There are two BoFs happening in Bangkok:
- Remote Attestation Procedures (rats) Tuesday, 6 November, 13:50 – 15:50. The RATS effort strives to provide evidence about a system’s health and trustworthiness via the Internet. Instead of having a separate set of protocols for each set of mechanisms, the RATS effort will define a common set of protocols that can be used inter-operably over the Internet.
- WGs Using GitHub (wugh) Wendesday, 7 November, 13:50 – 15:20. A venue to continue discussion about ways that IETF Working Groups are using GitHub. The goal of the meeting is to determine whether there is enough support in the community to warrant more detailed discussions with the IETF Tools Team and the IETF Secretariat about functional requirements and process details to support integrating GitHub use into WG work.
It will be a busy week in Bangkok, and whether you plan to be there or join remotely, there’s much to monitor. Follow us on the Internet Society blog, Twitter, or Facebook using #IETF103 to keep up with the latest news.
October 9-11, 2018 will remain etched in the memories of the more than 250 girls and women in technology who converged in Accra, Ghana to participate in the second Africa Summit on Girls and Women in Technology. I was privileged to participate in this summit as well – together with seven other women in technology from my community in Ghana.
The delegates were invited to provide their input into discussions on ongoing key policy processes in the continent and across the globe on broadband Internet access, sustainable development, and women’s empowerment.
The Deputy Minister of Communication from Ghana, Vincent Sowah Odotei, made the opening address, where he detailed Ghana’s achievements and plans to digitize Ghana and to support women to participate as users and producers of technology.
The program was planned such that the morning to lunchtime sessions were interactive keynote panels and “fireside chats,” touching on the following themes: Leadership in Technology Policy; Policy Engagement: The What, Why, and How; Women Advancing Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Design (STEAMD); Institutional Support for Women in Tech; and other topics.
The community networks workshop created needed awareness on how disadvantaged communities could design, develop, and maintain their own telecommunications infrastructure to connect them to the digital society. Some participants also shared how the digital security workshop had impacted their online personal security practices. The summit organizers encouraged all the participants to add their profiles on the Summit Wiki as this would enable the participants to collaborate later.
There were also lightning presentations just before the end of days one and two, including one on “Get to Know TechWomen Africa Partners.”
- The biggest challenge faced by initiatives that promote women in technology is financial – resources to enable them to facilitate mentoring and entrepreneurship skills for girls and women. There is a need to address the pipeline issues for girls in technology and to support them to be part of the economic transformation, through women and girls establishing technology-based businesses.
- The biggest value of the TechWomen Africa Summit is that it creates a platform for the different and numerous initiatives for girls and women in technology to share, collaborate, and know about each other. The platform does not duplicate what the various initiatives do but ensures we work together and learn from each other.
- As communities we must redefine what a woman in technology looks like – by challenging existing narratives and stereotypes. Technology has relevance across all disciplines. As educators we must show young women and men how technology can be used as a tool to solve problems.
- Community networks, communications infrastructure deployed and operated by citizens to meet their own communication needs, are being increasingly proposed as a solution to connect the unconnected. They are run, managed, and developed at the local level, offering the potential for socioeconomic development and empowerment. Women and girls stand to benefit as users and champions of community networks for the benefit of disadvantaged communities. These disadvantaged communities are usually characterized by a majority population of women and children whose lives could be transformed through the availability of access to the digital world. The Community Networks Workshop participants were left inspired to learn more and to explore the needs of their communities in relation to the possibility of implementing community networks.
- Women and girls were encouraged to become producers of technology and not just consumers. Women bring unique value when they become part of technology production teams – whether it is in software design, network design, hardware development, or other technological/non-technological solutions.
During the event, there were many tweets generated using the Summit hashtags @webfoundation and @A4A_Internet. On day one, the Summit hashtag #TechWomenAfrica was trending in Africa.
In my view this summit was able to achieve its objectives. It connected women’s rights advocates and policymakers with Internet rights advocates, broadband policy leaders, and leading and aspiring women technologists and innovators in Africa. The Summit created a vibrant platform and presented a landscape of issues on women’s rights and empowerment on and through the web. I personally look forward to the 3rd Summit on Women and Girls in Technology. I am grateful to the World Wide Web Foundation, the Internet Society, and the Association for Progressive Communications for facilitating the participation of me and my community.
Want to help close the digital gender gap? Join SIG Women!
The post The 2018 Africa Summit on Women and Girls in Technology: My Story appeared first on Internet Society.
Builders, creators, inventors, and tinkerers – we can start to connect half the world. Meet us at Mozfest.
Around 3.5 billion people do not have Internet access, many of them living in remote locations. How can they share the benefits of this amazing resource?
Tackling the digital divide is not easy, but everyone can help. Community networks are a great way to get involved.
What Are Community Networks?
Community networks are a global movement. From Asia with the Wireless for Communities project to the Tusheti region of Georgia and Rhizomatica’s initiative in Oaxaca, Mexico, community networks are examples of how to build, empower, and sustain communities of people. By communities, for communities, with communities.
Sound awesome? Find us at Mozfest
If you love the Internet, you’ll love Mozfest. This year you’ll be able to learn about community networks. First, visit us at the Science Fair. We’ll be featuring an interactive exhibit of photos and videos of community network projects from around the world.
From Zimbabwe to Georgia find out what it took to build each community network and why they are so unique.
There will also be a workshop where you can learn how to build your own community network and (we hope) take those skills back to where you live.
AlterMundi’s own Nico Pace will be there to lead a course on how to build your own Internet connection.
And of course you can find me and my team at the Internet Society booth. Please join us this weekend, where you can find more ways you can help and become a member!
Here’s where you can find us:
MozFest Science Fair
Featuring Internet Society’s Community Networks Art Installation
Friday, Oct 26th, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Ravensbourne University: Level 6 – 603, Level 6 – 602, Level 6 – 601, Level 4 – Main Stage
MozFest Weekend: Internet Society Booth
Saturday-Sunday: October 27-28
Ravensbourne University – Level 4
Community Networks Workshop, Back to Basics: Making Your Own Connections
Nicolas Pace, AlterMundi A.C.
Saturday, Oct 27th, 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Level 6 – 603
Ravensbourne University, Greenwich
Participants will learn how to build a do-it-yourself Internet connection using mesh technologies.
Nico will lead a hands-on session using an open-source hardware WiFi router to create a network onstage, work with participants to build a peer-to-peer platform, stream videos, and even show how peer-to-peer instant messaging can happen.
It will be all about tinkering, exploring possibilities, and showing how anyone, anywhere, can connect their community.
This is a Shed session.
If you can’t make it to Mozfest, there are many other ways you can help. Join us and become part of an amazing community dedicated to creating an Internet for everyone.
See you there!
Image ©Internet Society/Nyani Quarmyne/Panos Pictures
The post United in Build. Come See Us at Mozfest and Start to Connect the World. appeared first on Internet Society.
Introducing the new Internet Society white paper, “Routing Security for Policymakers“
The global routing system is a lot like a water system in a city. It’s vitally important to the Internet and we tend to overlook it until something goes wrong.
Routing determines how packets (data sent over a network or networks) containing information, like email messages, website data, and voice-over-IP (VoIP) calls, move from one place to another on the Internet. However, despite its importance, many people only think about the Internet routing when they hear about a major routing incident in the news or can’t reach their favorite websites.
Both the water system and the routing system are, at their core, built on trust.
A water system relies on hundreds of workers, its water suppliers, local farmers and companies, and countless others to deliver its service. The system is based on chains of trust, with each person or entity relying on the other to act appropriately.
Similarly, the global routing system is a complex, decentralized system made up of tens of thousands of individual networks. Independent business decisions and trusted relationships between individual network operators that are implementing the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) determine how the network operates. (A routing protocol is the way in which a network determines the path a data packet is going to take. To route traffic between networks, most networks use the BGP). The routing system’s decentralized structure provides flexibility, scalability, and overall durability.
Yet, despite its strengths, thousands of routing incidents occur every year. Just as water main breaks, broken pipes, and sewage backups can disrupt life in a city, routing incidents like route leaks, route hijacks, and IP-address spoofing each have the potential to slow down Internet speeds or even to make parts of the Internet unreachable, thus disrupting the ability of companies or users to access critical services or information. Packets could also get diverted through malicious networks, providing an opportunity for surveillance.
The solutions to address many routing incidents are known, but we lack the incentives to implement them.
Unfortunately, routing security is not a market differentiator, meaning that it is difficult for network operators to demonstrate their contribution to routing security in ways that customers will appreciate and value. Routing incidents are easiest to address by the network operators at their source, but their negative effects are most likely to be felt on another network. Since the perceived benefits will mostly go to other networks and not their own, network operators are less likely to invest in better routing security. In order to address the broader ecosystem challenges facing routing security, all stakeholders, including governments, need to play their role in order to strengthen the security and reliability of the global routing system.
To help policymakers understand these issues, the Internet Society has released a white paper, “Routing Security for Policymakers,” that provides policymakers with an introduction to routing security. In the paper, we highlight key issues and challenges of routing security, together with guiding principles and recommendations for policymakers.
Only through global, collective action can we improve the security of the global routing system, thus making the Internet more secure for everyone. Through procurement policies, large companies and governments can demand better routing security from their Internet service providers – much as a water department would place water purity requirements on their own water suppliers. These procurement policies could have a trickle down impact on the wider industry.
Let’s take the water analogy one step further: if we don’t want our sewers to clog up or even flood, we know that we shouldn’t pour grease down the drain. Similarly all networks providing Internet connectivity, including enterprise or government networks, should do their part to implement better routing security on their own networks. By using stronger filtering policies to determine when bad announcements are made by neighboring networks, networks can limit the number of route leaks and route hijacks they contribute to, thus making the Internet more secure for all of us.(Networks make announcements to one another which detail the addresses reachable through or on their network or a customer’s networks. Announcements help determine how routers decide to route traffic to a destination. Each network determines what it will accept as an announcement from other networks.) By using IP source validation to find spoofed traffic, networks can help prevent devices on their network from participating in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. (IP source validation are techniques used to ensure that the IP address given by a packet came from a valid source address.)
Whether it’s a water system or the Internet, life gets harder when we can’t trust that each participant is doing their part to make things more secure. Please read and share “Routing Security for Policymakers“ to learn more about the challenges we face and what you can do to strengthen routing security.
The post Routing, and Water, Are All about Trust: Introducing “Routing Security for Policymakers” appeared first on Internet Society.
Are there assumptions about the Internet architecture that no longer hold in a world where larger, more centralized entities provide big parts of the Internet service? If the world changes, the Internet and its technology/architecture may have to match those changes. It appears that level[ing] the playing field for new entrants or small players brings potential benefits. Are there technical solutions that are missing today?
These questions were one of many asked in a new Internet Draft published yesterday by former IETF Chair Jari Arkko on behalf of several Internet Architecture Board (IAB) members with the title “Considerations on Internet Consolidation and the Internet Architecture”:
The draft text is based on the IAB “Consolidation” blog post back in March 2018as well as a new post Jari and Brian Trammell have written for the APNIC and RIPE sites.
The abstract of the Internet Draft is:
Many of us have held a vision of the Internet as the ultimate distributed platform that allows communication, the provision of services, and competition from any corner of the world. But as the Internet has matured, it seems to also feed the creation of large, centralised entities in many areas. This phenomenon could be looked at from many different angles, but this memo considers the topic from the perspective of how available technology and Internet architecture drives different market directions.
The document discusses different aspects of consolidation including economic and technical factors. It ends with a section 3, “Actions,” that lists these questions and comments for discussion:
- Are there assumptions about the Internet architecture that no longer hold in a world where larger, more centralised entities provide big parts of the Internet service? If the world changes, the Internet and its technology/architecture may have to match those changes. It appears that level the playing field for new entrants or small players brings potential benefits. Are there technical solutions that are missing today?
- Assuming that one does not wish for regulation, technologies that support distributed architectures, open source implementations of currently centralised network functions, or help increase user’s control can be beneficial. Federation, for example, would help enable distributed services in situations where smaller entities would like to collaborate.
- Similarly, in an asymmetric power balance between users and services, tools that enable the user to control what information is provided to a particular service can be very helpful. Some such tools exist, for instance, in the privacy and tracking-prevention modes of popular browsers but why are these modes not the default, and could we develop them further?
- It is also surprising that in the age of software-defined everything, we can program almost anything else except the globally provided, packaged services. Opening up interfaces would allow the building of additional, innovative services, and better match with users’ needs.
- Silver bullets are rare, of course. Internet service markets sometimes fragment rather than cooperate through federation. And the asymmetric power balances are easiest changed with data that is in your control, but it is much harder to change when someone else holds it. Nevertheless, the exploration of solutions to ensure the Internet is kept open for new innovations and in the control of users is very important.
- What IETF topics that should be pursued to address some of the issues around consolidation?
- What measurements relating to the developments centralization or consolidation should be pursued?
- What research – such as distributed Internet architectures – should be driven forward?
These are all excellent questions, many of which have no easy answers. The draft encourages people interested in this topic to join the IAB’s “architecture-discuss” mailing list (open to anyone interested to subscribe) as one place to discuss this. This is all part of the ongoing effort by the IAB to encourage a broader discussion on these changes that have taken place to the way in which the Internet operates.
It is great to see this Internet Draft and I do look forward to the future discussions to see what actions or activities may emerge. It’s a challenging issue. As the draft discusses, there are both positive and negative aspects to consolidation of services – and the tradeoffs are not always clear.
This broader issue of consolidation or centralization has been an area of interest for us at the Internet Society for quite some time, dating back to our “future Internet scenarios” in 2008 and even before. More recently, our Global Internet Report 2017 on the “Paths to Our Digital Future” recognized the concerns – so much so that we decided to focus our next version of the GIR on this specific topic. (Read our 2018 GIR concept note).
Beyond the Global Internet Report, we’ve published articles relating to consolidation – and it’s been a theme emerging in several of our “Future Thinking” posts. I know that we will continue to write and speak about this theme because at its core it is about the future of what we want the Internet to be.
Please do join in these conversations. Share this Internet Draft with others. Share our 2017 Global Internet Report. Engage in the discussions. Help identify what the issues may be – and what solutions might be.
The Internet must be for everyone. Together we can #ShapeTomorrow.
Image credit: a cropped section of a photo by Paul Gilmore on Unsplash
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What can we learn from recent success of the Root KSK Rollover? What is the status of DNSSEC deployment in parts of Europe – and what lessons have been learned? How can we increase the automation of the DNSSEC “chain of trust”? And what new things are people doing with DANE?
All these topics and more will be discussed at the DNSSEC Workshop at the ICANN 63 meeting in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday, October 24, 2018. The session will begin at 9:00 and conclude at 15:00 CEST (UTC+2).
The agenda includes:
- DNSSEC Workshop Introduction, Program, Deployment Around the World – Counts, Counts, Counts
- Panel: DNSSEC Activities
- Includes presenters from these TLDs: .DK, .DE, .CH, .UK, .SE, .IT, .ES, .CZ
- Report on the Execution of the .BR Algorithm Rollover
- Panel: Automating Update of DS records
- Panel: Post KSK Roll? Plan for the Next KSK Roll?
- DANE usage and use cases
- DNSSEC – How Can I Help?
It should be an outstanding session! For those onsite, the workshop will be room 113.
- WATCH LIVE: https://participate.icann.org/bcn63-113
- More info and slides are available from these URLs (ICANN’s online schedule system breaks it up into sections based on breaks and lunch):
Lunch will be served between the second and third sessions.
Thank you to our lunch sponsors: Afilias, CIRA, and SIDN.
Please do join us for a great set of sessions about how we can work together to make the DNS more secure and trusted!
If you would like more information about DNSSEC or DANE, please visit our Start Here page to begin.
Image credit: ICANN
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The Internet has become the world’s most powerful tool for commerce, communication, and innovation because of a commitment from its stakeholders to work collaboratively to make it highly performant and more secure.
At Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, we take that commitment to a better Internet seriously and want to align ourselves with other organizations that share a similar vision. That is why I am so proud to announce our partnership with the Internet Society, a global non-profit organization dedicated to the open development, evolution and use of the Internet.
I have spoken previously about how highly I regard the Internet Society’s new CEO, Andrew Sullivan, but my admiration for the work being done extends throughout the organization. This is why it is important to me that our relationship with the Internet Society is more than ceremonial. We want to roll up our sleeves and get to work because there is much work to be done.
One area we feel we can help is in security. The Internet is a trust-based network of networks and it’s consistently under attack by bad actors. We believe there is simply greater strength in the collaboration of the good guys and gals. Security is a key pillar of everything we do at Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Companies of all sizes are struggling to deal with a growing number of security threats and they should demand and expect their cloud platform partners to protect their business online in this digital age.
Our Internet Intelligence team, which has more than 15 years of measuring, collecting, and analyzing Internet infrastructure and security data, is working to assist the MANRS initiative (also known as: The Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security). The primary objective of MANRS is to reduce the most common threats to the Internet’s routing system, because routing security is vital to the future and stability of the Internet. Especially, as the Internet becomes the most important “corporate” network. We have studied the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) for decades and feel like we have important data and valuable perspective to offer.
At Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, we are developing routing security tools that can be used by the MANRS community to further their mission. The tools are still in the early stages of development, but it is an example of how we are going to continue to play an active role within the Internet infrastructure community. We don’t want to sit by idly. We want to help lead from far out front. That’s the Oracle way.
Image credit: Oracle
Interested in becoming an Internet Society Organization Member? Read more about our Organization Membership Levels.
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12 October to 6 November 1998, Minneapolis, United States: a point in time that cannot be forgotten. The ITU Plenipotentiary conference (PP-98) took place, recognizing perhaps for the first time points that impacted the future of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) diplomacy.
The conference acknowledged the need to have the private sector as part of the union membership, together with the “associates category” for some of its study groups. Furthermore, the resolution calling for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) first emerged, introducing ITU’s role in the “evolution of Internet as a means of global communication.”
The scene prior to this was an intense discussion on digital evolution. Governments were starting to understand how ICTs could help solve many issues and contribute to economic growth. The “divide” that was once prevailing between the north and the south economically, or between the developing and developed world, quickly started to shift to a “digital divide,” not only between different countries and regions, but among one country and its own boundaries and cities.
In 2001, the ITU Council approved the WSIS Summit in two phases (2003 in Geneva and 2005 in Tunisia). Later, the UN General Assembly approved the Summit and requested that it look into the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration and how ICTs could facilitate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It also emphasized the multistakeholder approach to engage everyone, including the technical community, civil society, and the private sector, in addition to governments. The resolution gave ITU the leading managerial role to organize the event in cooperation with other UN bodies as well as other international organizations.
All the terms mentioned in those few paragraphs were new to the diplomatic fronts. When the preparatory process started in 2002, the term “multistakeholder,” whenever mentioned, brought huge concerns to the different groups. Government officials were divided into two categories: the politicians and diplomats from one side, and ICT experts from the other side. Diplomats were devastated to have participation from civil society and the private sector on equal footing and fought fiercely to lessen or narrow their role. ICT experts were trying to mediate the views within their own country between what they believed right for the community, what matched international trends, and what their politicians wanted. The foundation grounds were different; diplomats originated from sectors such as G77 and China, “like minded groups,” BRICS, and others. While the ICT experts, at least in some countries, wanted to guarantee the best policy and legal environment to their societies – and for that they wanted to follow the industrial world in their success stories. Many challenges and concerns were raised from the other side of the table as each constituency struggled to make their voice loud and well heard; human rights dimensions were introduced by civil society, politicizing the discussion in a very clear way.
This scene got more intense towards the end of the preparatory meetings of phase one of the summit. The 2003 summit failed to agree on two very important issues. The first was the future of Internet Governance and, as a rescue notion, the working group on Internet Governance (WGIG) was created to discuss how to move forward. The second failure related to the establishment of the “Digital Solidarity Fund” and a task force on Financing Mechanisms (TFFM) considering ICT infrastructure finance was established.
One final important point is that the WSIS was handled by the ITU, which is a technical agency within the UN family. This itself caused friction on the UN fronts, as the term “information society” brought a diversified range of issues, such as cultural, human rights, ethical, media, and openness, that fall within the mandate of other UN agencies (UNESCO, UNDP, UNIDO, ECOSOC). This friction has continued as the ITU has been accused more and more of trying to assume a more authoritative role on the issues of information society on top of Internet public policy issues.
The WSIS+10 review phase, was another important milestone in the sequence. The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was mandated to look after the implementation of the output documents of the two phases of the summit.
To this end, ECOSOC, at its substantive session of 2006, reviewed the mandate, agenda, and composition of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) taking into account the multistakeholder approach.
Being personally involved in the process of the review, as the vice chair of the ITU WSIS+10 High-Level Event held in 2014, I can confidently say that it was tough. The lack of trust among participants prevailed and shadowed every other aspect. The simple term “WSIS review” during the early discussion of how and what event should be held in the first place, brought only bad memories to ALL participants: governments, private sector, academia, UN agencies, civil society, etc. The reasons I think are obvious given the history.
It is also due to the fact that after the WSIS, countries and stakeholders became more aware of the international impact and, more importantly, “their rights” and how to voice and defend their views.
Thus, the so-mentioned high level ITU event was at risk for failure, given that the Egyptian administration (initially a proposed host for the event before it moved to Geneva) took on the responsibility of coming up with “compromised text” incorporating all views in a balanced way. The preparatory process was painful and tiring, the event itself was full of last minute surprises yet it was concluded successfully after long hours of negotiating before the event started and a high level of tension and backdoor politics during the event.
The output document of this event in my opinion provides a very balanced, delicate, and very critical text that set the foundation for ICT policy in the following era as a “continuous referral” during the different meetings that followed.
The year 2012 saw yet another milestone while reviewing the ITRs during WCIT – the very starting point of a real change in dynamics and somehow a clear failure on the multilateral front. Internet, applications, cyber security, and over the top services were among the main characteristics of the era from the technology side. Governments and their incumbents with their persistent monopolies at the time were fighting over voice versus data, or in better words, fighting to regulate what was originally established as a free, open, and robust medium to interact: the Internet.
The Arab Spring was overshadowing the scene in the Middle East. The balance of leading power was changing, and many unheard voices started to level up. The issue of cyber terrorism and the misuse of social media and related cybersecurity were key among the substantial motives of the Arab group position during WCIT. They did not want to compromise and it was not until very late in the event that backdoor politics pushed to conclude what was an unsuccessful event, with about 45 countries not signing the treaty.
Parallel to the above, the UN governmental experts groups had been established in order to create a platform for mediation and find common ground between the different opinions prevailing.
Unfortunately, what happened was the contrary, raising signals that the blocs of stakeholders was stiffening instead of relaxing. Simply, what happened during the last UNGGE (2016/2017) is rather alarming: the negotiation failed. These signs of failure had started back in 2012/2013 when the group could not even settle on the “statement that international law is applicable to cyberspace.” The following GGE in 2014/2015 made very modest progress on international law, reflecting huge differences in views. The final language of that round’s report noted the “inherent right of a state to take measures consistent with international law and the UN Charter without expressly mentioning the right to self-defense or Article 51 of the Charter.” In the last GGE, they continued to discuss the same unresolved issues, but it was not possible to achieve any kind of compromise.
Where Does This Leave Us?
This maturity in the level of debate we have been witnessing lately has its own results. We see more emerging and developing countries with rather loud voices around the UN platforms where they feel strong, equal, and confident. Now, very easily, we can expect a negotiation on a certain topic to fail simply because the partners involved are not ready nor willing to compromise what they believe they should have. It is a way of pressuring the other side of the table to get what they want. It is becoming more and more a risky situation.
There are quite a number of technical areas where I personally believe there is a lack of comprehensive understanding by involved parties, especially from developing countries. They seem to be stuck in the past and cannot follow what is going on the ground. Hence there is a remarkable gap between the policy aspect exercised by governments and the practice and usage of technology by the citizens themselves. This is a race that any emerging market is observing now.
Many unresolved international legal debates are still open, where the viewpoints seem to be diverging rather than converging, especially in areas such as cybersecurity. This is coupled with increased interest from countries – especially the developing – to participate in groups similar to GGE or any other international fora where they can feel their strength and power in negotiating what they assume right. From the other side, the developed world is rather reluctant with almost no appetite for being engaged in such discussions.
Back to the Future
“The beginnings and ends of shadow lie between the light and darkness and may be infinitely diminished and infinitely increased.” — Leonardo da Vinci
The ITU-PP18 coming in Dubai next month is reflected in that quote. We are heading to Dubai with all the past shadows accompanying us. Whether or not we will be actually seeing the light remains to be seen. Nevertheless, analyzing the past is always good to remember from where the problem originates. Perhaps then we can find innovative solutions.
AI and your job: Artificial Intelligence will affect 100 percent of the jobs out there, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty predicted, as noted at ZDNet.com. Everyone will have to change the way they work, she said. IBM’s work with its Watson AI system “starts with a fundamental belief that it’s going to change 100 percent of jobs, 100 percent of industries, and 100 percent of professions,” she added.
AI and your vote: Meanwhile, AI is creating new threats to election security, says CBS News. AI will help hackers better design attacks against voting systems, some security experts said. Automated bots can also be used to help hackers guess passwords, they said.
Big money for AI: Before we leave AI as a topic, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced it will spend US$1 billion on a new college of computing with an AI focus, Fortune reports. The new college will serve as an interdisciplinary hub for data and computer science-related work.
Call it a comeback: BlackBerry, the down-on-its-luck smartphone maker, plans to reinvent itself as a secure Internet of Things hub, FT.com reports. Building on its past reputation as a maker of secure phones, BlackBerry wants to become a provider of secure IoT access.
Fake news front lines: Facebook provided some media outlets access to its war room in its fight against fake news, including the Guardian. The press tour “provided minimal new information” about Facebook’s specific strategies and the results of its efforts to combat foreign interference and false news, however.
More jobs: If you’re worried about AI affecting your job, there’s good news. The number of bitcoin and blockchain jobs available are growing quickly, reports Forbes. There’s been a 300 percent increase in the number of jobs related to bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain over the last year, according to jobs site Glassdoor. As of August, there were 1,775 bitcoin and blockchain-related job openings in the United States, up from 693 at the beginning of 2018 and 446 last August.
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