Wednesday, 15 December 2010

"Wikileaks and the Information Wars"

Good evening readers, there is a fantastic podcast which was released on the 08/12/10 available here. This has excellent commentary on the ongoing Wikileaks situation by eminent legal scholars Jonathan Zittrain and Lawrence Lessig. It is also available on iTunes if you subscribe to the Radio Berkman Audio Fishbowl podcasts. They are free and a fantastic resource for listening to current debate released by the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Zittrain has also published on this issue on his blog here.


Friday, 10 December 2010


May I firstly extend my apologies to any followers of this blog as to the length of time it has been since my last post. I have been rather caught up in university work but had written down many proposals for blog ideas but never actually posted them. The result will be a flurry of posts over the next week or so. 

My first topic will be the Wikileaks situation which has highlighted some very interesting issues in the sphere of internet governance.

One of the key elements engaging my interest has been the involvement of hacktivist group Anonymous. Last night I read a news report that they had deployed a DDoS attack on the Mastercard website through a voluntary 'botnet' using the 'Low Orbit Ion Cannon'. This was because Mastercard, among others, had withdrawn their donation services to Wikileaks. This is the latest in a string of DDoS attacks launched by Anonymous including targeting Paypal, Visa and PostFinance (a Swiss bank). Next on the list is Amazon who removed Wikileaks from their cloud servers on the basis of violation of the terms of use policy. This seems pretty hypocritical given they are now selling a Kindle version of the leaked cables! The customer reviews here give some humorous insights including a query as to the allowed means of payment - could they use Paypal or Mastercard/Visa credit card to pay for a copy...?

I believe that control and regulation is needed on the Internet to guarantee continued 'freedom' but I do not like the notion of private entities controlling liberal democratic values like freedom of speech. Obviously I am not condoning the use of the illegal DDoS attacks as a method of punishing companies who may well have had legitimate reasons under terms of use agreements to terminate their services... But I think the whole unfolding situation highlights a deeper point about how the Internet can be used to route around attempts to stop the spread of information. It is allowing users to guarantee freedom of speech through its very architecture. Irrespective of the attempts of various parties to stop it through denial of hosting or donation services the underlying network and users have created other channels by setting up mirror sites or torrents to ensure the proliferation of the leaked cable information.
Bearing in mind the Cold War credentials of the Internet as a communications network designed to withstand nuclear war it is comforting to see that the original beast is still very much alive. Growing challenges to the network from the increased control of the ISP's or the prevalence of layered identification technologies could easily have diluted the key features from the ARPANET to the extent it no longer circumvents attempts to stifle the information flow. It appears to be showing the true potential of the network for guaranteeing fundamental free speech or expression rights. I find it very interesting for future regulation models that in a world of ever more controlled and tethered platforms that the underlying infrastructure can still reroute around 'terms of use' policies or political pressures to such an extent.

EDIT  - this story moves so fast things get out of date very quickly!

-Anonymous decided to abandon the attack on Amazon last night favouring to target Paypal again.
-Also the Internet Society has issued an interesting newsletter here worth a read.
- Anonymous have released a statement which gives some context to their intentions here

Thanks, Moose

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


This is a very good video giving a breakdown of the development of the technology which underpins the modern day Internet.

Jefferson's Moose

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Friday, 1 October 2010

Hello followers, if there are any, time for me to actually post something. Due to work constraints this blog has remained virtually inactive all summer. I have now commenced my masters in IT and Telecommunications law at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and I intend to keep a much more comprehensive log of my opinions and ideas. It seems like it will be a brilliant course - I will be completing modules in e-commerce and internet governance for the first semester. Regulation of cyberspace and the various theories that surround it are where my primary interests lie. I am fascinated by concepts like Lawrence Lessig's "law as code" and the debate expounded by Jonathan Zittrain on the future of the internet as shaped by generative (or not) technologies. I am hoping that as I research more deeply into the area of internet governance I will discover new theories which I will critique and share here in the blogosphere.

In the meantime I'll be posting random technological items of interest and anything else that seems vaguely relevant.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 20 June 2010


Welcome to my new blog. As the name indicates I will primarily be posting about the interaction between law and technology. However, it will not always be limited to serious discussion and I will update it with cartoons or videos which will diversify the content and provide some humour.  I hope you enjoy it and feel free to contact me or comment.