INTERNET’S FOUNDING FATHERS CALL ON US CONGRESS TO SAVE INTERNET FROM TRUMP’S MAN

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Tim Berners-Lee and Vinton Cerf, the founding fathers of the Internet, have written to the US Congress to save the Internet from the disastrous consequences of a proposed repeal of a Barack Obama era law on net neutrality that ensured level playing field for all content and every sort of data by ensuring stiff regulations for the Internet service providers (ISPs).

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under the Barack Obama presidency, had adopted the net neutrality rules in February 2015 and enacted it in a law in June that year. The law gave the US government sweeping power over the network providers to check the discriminatory practices with the content flowing through their channels.

Here, in India, we are going through the grinding of that process and thankfully, after over a year of consultation papers, public comments and meetings, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last month decided to uphold the supremacy of net neutrality in India.

Now Ajit Pai, son of Indian immigrants and a Republican, who was made the FCC chief by US President Donald Trump in January 2017, is bringing a repeal proposal to that landmark law which is scheduled for voting on December 14.

But the reports that the proposed repeal plan is expected to be approved have worried the proponents of a free internet accessible for all, and the letter by the founding fathers of the Internet reflects that sentiment.

The letter addressed to the Democratic and Republican chairs that control the FCC says that “the FCC’s proposed order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology” terming the proposed Restoring Internet Freedom Order an imminent threat to the Internet, “The FCC’s rushed and technically incorrect proposed order to repeal net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create. It should be stopped.”

The letter has urged to US lawmakers to cancel the proposed vote. The open letter that is signed by 19 other internet pioneers including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mozilla’s Mitchell Baker and Internet Achieves founder Brewster Kahle, alleges the FCC headed by Pai is acting in haste ignoring exerts’ comments, over 23 million pro net neutrality comments by public and against the established practice, has not held even a single public meeting to discuss its proposed repeal order.

The open letter also alleges that the FCC didn’t bother to investigate and explain to people the flaws of its online comment system “including bot-generated comments that impersonated Americans, including dead people, and an unexplained outage of the FCC’s on-line comment system that occurred at the very moment TV host John Oliver was encouraging Americans to submit comments to the system.”

BELOW IS THE TEXT OF THE OPEN LETTER SIGNED BY THE INTERNET’S FOUNDING FATHERS AND PIONEERS:

We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. We are writing to respectfully urge you to call on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel the December 14 vote on the FCC’s proposed Restoring Internet Freedom Order (WC Docket No. 17-108 ).

This proposed Order would repeal key network neutrality protections that prevent Internet access providers from blocking content, websites and applications, slowing or speeding up services or classes of service, and charging online services for access or fast lanes to Internet access providers’ customers. The proposed Order would also repeal oversight over other unreasonable discrimination and unreasonable practices, and over interconnection with last-mile Internet access providers. The proposed Order removes long-standing FCC oversight over Internet access providers without an adequate replacement to protect consumers, free markets and online innovation.

It is important to understand that the FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology. These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers and submitted to the FCC on July 17, 2017. Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings, but instead premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws the comment explained. The technically-incorrect proposed Order dismantles 15 years of targeted oversight from both Republican and Democratic FCC chairs, who understood the threats that Internet access providers could pose to open markets on the Internet.

The experts’ comment was not the only one the FCC ignored. Over 23 million comments have been submitted by a public that is clearly passionate about protecting the Internet. The FCC could not possibly have considered these adequately.

Indeed, breaking with established practice, the FCC has not held a single open public meeting to hear from citizens and experts about the proposed Order.

Furthermore, the FCC’s online comment system has been plagued by major problems that the FCC has not had time to investigate. These include bot-generated comments that impersonated Americans, including dead people, and an unexplained outage of the FCC’s on-line comment system that occurred at the very moment TV host John Oliver was encouraging Americans to submit comments to the system.

Compounding our concern, the FCC has failed to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests about these incidents and failed to provide information to a New York State Attorney General’s investigation of them. We therefore call on you to urge FCC Chairman Pai to cancel the FCC’s vote. The FCC’s rushed and technically incorrect proposed Order to abolish net neutrality protections without any replacement is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create. It should be stopped.

Signed,

Frederick J. Baker, IETF Chair 1996-2001, ISOC Board Chair 2002-2006
Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman, Mozilla Foundation
Steven M. Bellovin, Internet pioneer, FTC Chief Technologist, 2012-2013
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web & professor, MIT
John Borthwick, CEO, Betaworks
Scott O. Bradner, Internet pioneer
Vinton G. Cerf, Internet pioneer
Stephen D. Crocker, Internet pioneer
Whitfield Diffie, inventor of public-key cryptography
David J. Farber, Internet pioneer, FCC Chief Technologist 1999-2000
Dewayne Hendricks, CEO Tetherless Access
Martin E. Hellman, Internet security pioneer
Brewster Kahle, Internet pioneer, founder, Internet Archive
Susan Landau, cybersecurity expert & professor, Tufts University
Theodor Holm Nelson, hypertext pioneer
David P. Reed, Internet pioneer
Jennifer Rexford, Chair of Computer Science, Princeton University
Ronald L. Rivest, co-inventor of RSA public-key encryption algorithm
Paul Vixie, Internet pioneer
Stephen Wolff, Internet pioneer
Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple Computer

©SantoshChaubey

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UNGA: PAKISTANI PROPAGANDA HAS A TOUGH JOB THESE DAYS

The article originally appeared on India Today.

The 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly is in progress in New York and the Pakistani delegation here has some tough job on its hand to do, obviously including the routine anti-India propaganda.

So the prime minister of Pakistan is busy spewing venom against India in New York where he is leading his country’s delegation to the UNGA while ministers and senior officials of his government back home in Islamabad are complementing his efforts.

And their efforts are based on negating two highly hostile perceptions about Pakistan, especially with the Donald Trump presidency in America – one, that it is a safe terror haven and the other, that trusting Pakistan in Afghanistan affairs have been counter-productive and it is better to go with India.

So, Pakistan’s prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is busy telling the world community and more importantly to the US that how India is an existential threat for Pakistan and it is rather a terror victim with an impressive track record in fighting and eliminating terrorists and the US declaring it a safe haven for terrorists is unjustified, even if he wasn’t given a chance to have one-on-one meeting with Donald Trump.

The fact is, Trump has not met a Pakistani prime minister, be it Abbasi or his predecessor Nawaz Sharif, so far in his presidency and it is a telling sign that Pakistan has lost its credibility in Washington.

Like Nawaz Sharif was humiliated at the US-Arab-Islamic Summit in Riyadh in May this year, Donald Trump’s first major interaction with the Muslim nations of the world, this time, too, the Pakistani prime minister met the same fate. Reportedly, Trump refused to meet Abbasi as ‘he was too busy’.

Abbasi then had to settle down on a meeting with US Vice-President Mike Pence where, as per Pakistani claims, the two sides agreed to remain engaged “to achieve shared objectives of peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region.” Also, Abbasi told yesterday, in another boastful claim, that Trump thought positively on Pakistan’s role in the war against terror, refuting claims of downward spiral in US-Pakistan ties.

While the truth is, the US is disappointed and angry over Pakistan’s double-dealings, the country that has been a major recipient of US financial aid, over $15 billion in just last five years. While unveiling his government’s Afghanistan centric South Asia policy last month, Trump had slammed Pakistan and had warned that the US would no longer be silent about Pakistan’s double-dealings and had demanded that Pakistan’s attitude of doublespeak had to change immediately.

Abbasi, reportedly, also complained to the US, in fact, in his meeting with Mike Pence about US policy change on Afghanistan which seeks greater Indian role in Afghanistan rebuilding process, something that Pakistan believes is hostile to its interests in the region. And today, he went on to say that Pakistan sees ‘zero role for India in Afghanistan and will never accept India politically or militarily engaged in Afghanistan’.

Repeating Pakistan’s rant on Kashmir, an integral part of India where Pakistan is fuelling terror and separatism, that India is suppressing the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris, Abbasi, after a long time, again took the line that Pakistan has developed tactical nuclear weapons to take on the Indian threat. Pakistan had left the practice of issuing hollow nuclear threats to India after the surgical strike last September in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir that left Pakistan’s ruling elite humiliated and divided.

Back in Pakistan, its ministers and officers are busy extending helping hands to their prime minister.

Its Foreign Office is repeating the routine Pakistani propaganda that “India is involved in funding terrorism in Pakistan” with a new vigour. Apart from blaming India for fomenting terror in its provinces including the restive Balochistan province, Pakistan is also blaming India to fund the anti-Pakistan campaign by Baloch activists in Geneva while the reality is the world community has now started accepting Pakistan’s atrocities in Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

The country is also taking on other countries like Japan that endorse the Indian viewpoint that Pakistan is a terror sponsor nation. The Indo-Japan joint statement last week during Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s India visit had denounced Pakistan as a country harbouring terrorists.

Yesterday, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan accused India of trying to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $50 Billion Chinese investment that passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, legally an Indian territory. The same minister had last week boasted that it was not Pakistan’s job to satisfy the US. And only a week later, the Pakistani prime minister is trying to woo the US administration in the US.

©SantoshChaubey

BUA WITH BABUA: LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP OF MAYAWATI AND AKHILESH YADAV

AKHILESH YADAV AND MAYAWATI SHARE LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP.

POLITICALLY, THEY HAVE BEEN LIKE “SWORN ENEMIES”, EXTREME POLLS IN THE UTTAR PRADESH POLITICS.

BUT AFTER THE UTTAR PRADESH ASSEMBLY POLLS, THEY ARE BEHAVING MORE LIKE “FRENEMIES”.

MAYAWATI DESCRIBES HER “LOVE AND HATE” FOR AKHILESH BY CALLING HIM BABUA (LITTLE BOY – IN AN AFFECTIONATE WAY/OR SATIRICALLY).

AKHILESH EXPRESSES HIS “LOVE AND HATE” BY CALLING MAYAWATI “BUA” (AUNT – FATHER’S SISTER/OR SATIRICALLY).

MARCH 9, 2017: TWO DAYS BEFORE THE COUNTING OF THE UP ASSEMBLY POLLS – AND ON NEXT OF THE LAST PHASE OF POLLS – IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE EXIT POLLS GIVING CLEAR MAJORITY TO THE BJP – AKHILESH IS FORCED TO FEEL THE PULSE OF SECULAR POLITICS AGAIN – HINTS HE IS OPEN TO AN ALLIANCE WITH MAYAWATI TO KEEP THE BJP OUT OF THE LUCKNOW SECRETARIAT – MAYAWATI’S VAGUE REPLY SAYS SHE IS ALSO OK WITH THE GESTURE.

MARCH 11, 2017: THE BJP WINS A LANDSLIDE IN UTTAR PRADESH, BETTERING EVEN THE EXIT POLL PROJECTIONS – A DESPERATE MAYAWATI BLAMES EVMS – AKHILESH ACCEPTS THE DEFEAT BUT SEES A POINT IN MAYAWATI’S ALLEGATIONS….SO, THE GROUND FOR FUTURE ALLIANCE FURTHER TAKES SHAPE.

APRIL 14, 2017: MAYAWATI, DURING HER RALLY IN LUCKNOW ON DR. AMBEDKAR’S BIRTH ANNIVERSARY, ANNOUNCED HER VOCAL WILLINGNESS TO BE PART OF A LARGER ANTI-BJP ALLIANCE…..

APRIL 15, 2017: AKHILESH RESPONDS TO MAYAWATI’S CALLS, SAYS READY FOR HIS ROLE IN ANY “ALLIANCE AGAINST PROPAGANDA”.

APRIL 20, 2017: MAYAWATI FURTHER FIRMS UP HER “ALLIANCE” PLANS, MAKES CHANGES TO THE BSP PARTY STRUCTURE AND DECIDES TO CONTEST THE LOCAL POLLS ON HER PARTY’S SYMBOL, UNLIKE HER PAST STRATEGY.

WITH THIS, MAYAWATI HAS MATCHED AKHILESH IN MAKING OPEN CALLS FOR AN ALLIANCE – TWO CALLS EACH – BUA AND BABUA ARE REACHING THERE.

LET’S SEE WHO COMES UP, WITH WHAT, IN THE NEXT STEP OF COALITION-MAKING PROCESS.

BUA WITH BABUA
LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP OF
MAYAWATI AND AKHILESH YADAV

©RaginiChaubey/SantoshChaubey

NORTH KOREAN PATIENCE TESTED..YET AGAIN?

North Korea, ratcheting up its already ratcheted up rhetoric, has SENT OUT yet another clear warning that it will be full scale war on any given day if the US and South Korea continue with their audacity of disturbing the North Korean poise.

Now we should appreciate this poise by North Korea.

After all, despite having sent so many feelers, so many stern messages and so many clear warnings FOR DECADES, the great North Korean leaders, so far, have desisted (and RESISTED) from embarking on even a small military skirmish..except firing some artillery shells or cross-border shots, except allegedly sinking South Korean naval vessels, except laying landmines in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea) that keeps on wounding South Korean soldiers and except violating South Korean territorial waters.

Shouldn’t it have been difficult for North Korea to calm its nerves so as to remain the world let in the green zone of no war in the region?

But for how long can their patience be tested?

Whenever such times come, we see a prompt warning from the quiet leaders of the hermit kingdom who believe in living an isolationist, quarantined way of life, away from the materialist creations that a modern, technology driven society brings. The North Korean leaders have consciously shunned the materialist advances of a consumerist world to stay close to nature. So even if the world has moved to 5G smartphones, North Korea is jolly happy to savour the luxury of video cassette and CD players in the country. And they are a prized possession. Only few in the country has the outreach to possess these, the tech antiquities of the modern day world.

And now, the times have created yet another instance when the Kim nation has been FORCED to issue a stern warning to the world. Like every sovereign nation believes, the North Koreans, too, believe that they have the sovereign rights to develop the warfare that can keep their way of life safe from the worldly intervention. SO WHAT if the world doesn’t believe that the North Korean missile or nuclear programme is not peaeful and aimed at self-defense.

©SantoshChaubey

#THETRUMPDUMP: AFTER OBAMA’S DENIAL, WHAT NEXT FROM MASTER OF LIES (OR MCCARTHYISM)?

As expected, the denial from Barack Obama’s camp on Donald Trump’s diversionary allegation was quick, swift and effective. It was already amplified in appeal by the fact that the 45th US President didn’t offer, as has been his favourite ‘hoot and scoot style’, any evidence to back his wild claims that many US senators see as a ‘serious breach’ and emphasize on the need for ‘serious investigation’.

The team of the 44th US President has said that it was a policy cornerstone of the Obama White House to never interfere in the Department of Justice probes. The team further clarified that under the US law, no US president can order ‘wire tapping’ of any US citizen and the accusations made by Donald Trump are ‘simply false’.

Now Barack Obama carries much more weight than Donald Trump and people will have no problem in buying the clarification put forward by his team, especially when Trump is still silent on backing his wild accusations with some sort of evidence though almost 24 hours have passed.

That brings us to the natural extension of this row – that what would be the next body of lies tweetaculated by Donald Trump who prefers to use his personal Twitter handle and personal resort as his official mouthpiece and his official winter residence.

Interestingly, while levelling frivolous allegations on Obama, Trump used the term McCarthyism. McCarthyism was a notorious term given to the acts of US Senator John McCarthy in 1950s and is basically about targeting and persecuting people for treason crimes without even a shred of evidence – something that Trump is looking to be masters at – something that is again evident by the bunch of these wild tweets against Obama in a desperate attempt to deflect attention from the growing row over his campaign team’s Russia connections.

Trump is well habituated and thus well suited for McCarthyism. That brings us to another conclusion that we all know that, on one side, Trump is not well read, and at the same time, lacks a team of advisers and support staff who could help him with such basic but glaring mistakes in his tweetacules.

©SantoshChaubey

#THETRUMPDUMP: ITS OBAMA AND SHWARZENEGGER AGAIN!

US President Donald Trump is at his favourite pastime again, pastimes that he routinely forgets to keep a bay as pastimes while donning the all important hat of the world’s most powerful person (he also conveniently forgets that it makes his position as the most responsible one as well).

He is back at slamming his bête noir Barack Obama, his predecessor in the White House, and is adding some garnishing to it by sparing some visionary words from his stable for Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Hollywood action machine with a long career as a Republican politician (and California Governor).

Both are known for their dislike for Donald Trump. Obama has been a towering presence with two successive terms in the White House and Trump treated him like his primary opponent even if he was pitted against Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s Obama tweetaculation of the day are:

Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

See the range here! Blaming Obama for tapping his phones, Trump’s tweetacules use some mighty words like McCarthyism or ‘new low’ or Watergate. People are busy analysing that whether Donald Trump will be another Richard Nixon in terms of an aborted presidential term. By using the Richard Nixon/Watergate corollary, Trump, it seems, is trying to send out a message that using such a corollary to paint Trump in a negative light is fundamentally flawed.

Donald Trump’s another target of the day is nowhere near to the towering presence of Barack Obama. But even then, he is no lesser important in the US society, especially when people have doubts about Trump who is seeing historically low approval ratings. But in the classic way of ‘I will always chase my detractors come what may’, Trump never forgets to shoot a punch whenever he sees an opportunity to deride his opponents.

Schwarzenegger has decided to leave hosting Celebrity Apprentice where he replaced Donald Trump. He has cited Trump’s divisive politics and his presence as the executive producer on the show behind his decision. Trump has always criticised Arnold for not delivering on the show the way he did. Tweetaculations on it have been in vogue. Now Trump thinks that Arnold is being sacked from the show for not delivering a hit performance and finds it apt for another round or Arnold bashing tweets. He wrote,

Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show

But then Arnold’s reputation of being an action machine is not any fluke. He immediately hit back.

Arnold ✔ @Schwarzenegger
You should think about hiring a new joke writer and a fact checker. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/838016045222854656

Well, whatever might be Arnold’s intent behind advising Trump to hire new joke writer and fact checker, we indeed know that the Trump Team indeed needs an army of fact checkers, especially after repeated exaggerated speeches by Trump, before and after his election. Latest in the series is his maiden congressional speech delivered to joint sitting of the US Congress which ran so low on facts that media houses not just in the US but globally carried out its ‘fact checking’ analysis of it.

©SantoshChaubey

KIM NATION’S MISSILE JACK FOR A TRUMP HACK

The ‘Kim Nation’ under the efficient leadership of the third Kim, Kim Jong-un, extending the legacies of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung and father, Kim Jong-il, has fired another shot at its arch-enemy, the United States of America, with the successful test of ‘a cutting edge’ missile, details of which are not out yet. (Okay, this was the scene also in February 2015 when North Korea had conducted a missile test, though that an ‘intelligent, cutting-edge missile.)

On February 8 that year, the elite nation of the elite ‘Rogue League’ of the selected world nations, test fired an ‘ultra-precision’ anti-ship missile of highest technological sophistication (as it claimed). As was said, the third Kim was personally monitoring the exercise, timed before the annual joint military exercise of South Korea and the US, and commended his team for the ‘zero error’ technological expertise, and thus for sending a befitting warning to his rivals.

Then, it was a clear cut warning signal to the world under the leadership of the world’s most powerful person, Barack Obama, the US President since 2009, who had become an eyesore for the dear plump leader.

Now, it is to give a message, again to the most powerful person on the Earth, again the US President, but a different one, Barack Obama’s successor, who doesn’t believe in playing the world’s leader’s role. (Irrespective of the fact that his credentials to prove is leadership role back home look thrown in some perpetual crisis, thanks to his life and lifestyle.) Anyway volumes have been written on him and much more is to come.

As expected (as happens every time), the Sunday morning test launch by the ‘elite rogue’ is already a global headline, pushing the international media including the US into an overdrive, aimed at undermining the North Korean achievement by spinning stories on ‘design, effectiveness and technical details’ of the missile.

Weeks after the February 2015 test (and every time), reports and analyses kept outpouring. It always extends celebrations of these so-called supreme achievement in the hermit kingdom. The North Korean elite believe any sustained negative international media coverage is acceptance of their country’s increasing might. At the same time, the North Koreans also find the hollow rhetoric of the frustrated global forces including the US a good source of funny points to laugh over.

Hitting on the jack provided by this yet another lethal addition in the North Korean arsenal, the official North Korean media had then, in the February 2015, declared that Barack Obama was feeling so low with the beaming images of Kim Jong-un that he tried to hide his irritation by indulging in a senseless and gaudy ‘selfie act’.

KCNA, the North Korean state media had reported, “Though the partisan US and international media are publicizing the exercise as a promotional event for Obamacare, a health programme, the always credible North Korean intelligence sources say it was a diversion prescribed by Obama’s psychiatrist seeing his heightened level of frustration over the latest North Korean achievement. Now, as the US has no might to take on the supreme forces of North Korea militarily, its leaders are indulging in propaganda acts like this, where they vent their frustration by making gestures as if they are targeting out Supreme Leader, the Commander of the all powerful North Korean forces. Pity them.”

Obama’s successor, who sounds like arch-enemy and has vowed to undo everything ‘Obama-esque’, especially the Obamacare, has reacted on this North Korean act (or bravado, as the sense goes), in his trademark business sense, saying he is 100% behind Japan (South Korea, too, would be expecting some reassuring words). But there is no harsh rhetoric yet. The White House, like it likes to say, has said that it is aware of the missile test and is closely monitoring the situation.

It is being widely analysed and reported that it was a North Korean warning for Donald Trump and also an exercise to gauge how the next White House administration to be when it comes to dealing with the elite of the ‘Rogue League’. Let’s see how it plays out – like a ‘jack’ or a ‘hack’.

©SantoshChaubey

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©RaginiChaubey
©SantoshChaubey