About AWS/Azure/GCP coming to India, etc.

A data centre in San Antonio, Texas. Credit: scobleizer/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

If an Indian company has to beat them, then it has to be PaaS-like with its offering to grow, with better security and UX.

An opportunity to understand the GPL license

Matt Mullenweg, 2009. Credit: loiclemeur/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Matt Mullenweg pulled up a WP-competitor for not abiding by the terms of a license that allowed it to emerge in the first place.

Some thoughts on the nature of cyber-weapons

Credit: ikrichter/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The agents of cyber-warfare are trapped as much as liberated by the ambiguities surrounding what the nature of a cyber-weapon is at all, with what intent and for what purpose it was crafted, allowing its repercussions to seem anywhere from rapid to evanescent.

An app for dissent in the 21st century

“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.” These words belong to the French philosopher Albert Camus, from his essay The Rebel (1951). The persistence of that appeal is rooted in our ease of access to it – as the holders of rights, as participants of democracies, as able workers, as rational spenders, etc. – as well as in our choosing to access it. During government crackdowns, it’s this choice that is penalised and its making that is discouraged. But in the 21st century, the act of rebellion has… Read More

Cybersecurity, a horse with no name

Excerpt: When asked about the origins of The America‘s hit single ‘A horse with no name’ (1971), lyricist Dewey Bunnell said he wanted to capture the spirit of the hot, all-too familiarly dry desert around Arizona and California, which he’d drive through as a kid. The horse was a vehicle that’d take him through the desert and away from the chaos of life. Cybersecurity sounds like it could be that horse, in the form of IT infrastructure to effectively defend against the desert of cyber-weaponry, except we’ve probably only just seen a foal…. Read More

Mobile network shutdowns could be human-rights violations

A mobile phone. Credit: johanl/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

There’s no ‘non-natural disaster response’ legislation that explicitly defines the extent to which state actors can interfere with the provision of public services to quell unrest.

New National Encryption Policy doesn’t seem to like encryption

Encryption. Credit: yusamoilov/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

A new draft National Encryption Policy put out by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology seeks to define the various encryption standards allowable on data originating from the country, and does so in its traditional ham-handed way. In an abridged version of the document, put out by DEITY, the department proposes some practices that effectively run counter to the philosophy of encryption – of data as well as devices. For example, it specifies that the government will suggest which encryption algorithms can be used from time to time, and what key lengths… Read More

GitHub hit by DDoS attack

The collaborative coding platform GitHub became the subject of a DDoS attack on August 25, its second this year after having been targeted by a massive attack in March. The issue first appeared at 3.05 pm IST, according to GitHub’s status log, when administrators began inspecting “connectivity problems”. By 4.08 pm, the issues were identified to be the result of a DDoS attack. At 4.36 pm, it was mentioned that the attack was ongoing. The last updates from GitHub said at 6.22 pm that normal service had been restored and that the situation was being… Read More

ACAT in the wild

The software working behind the robotic voice of Stephen Hawking was released for public use on August 18 by Intel, the company that developed it. Although principally developed for Hawking, the ‘tool’ has since been made available to many other people suffering from motor neurone disease, an ailment that gradually but steadily deadens the neurons that control various muscles of the body, rendering its victims incapable of, say, moving their cheek muscles to elicit speech. Intel’s software, called the Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit (ACAT), steps in to translate visual signals like facial twitches to… Read More

AT&T, the weakest link

AT&T, in the dark. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In the throng of American companies and their confused compliance with the National Security Agency’s controversial decade-long snooping on internal and international communications, The New York Times and ProPublica have unravelled one that actually bent over backwards to please the NSA: AT&T. The basis of their allegations is a tranche of NSA documents detailing the features and scope of AT&T’s compliance with the agency’s ‘requests’, dating from 2003 to 2013. The standout feature of the partnership is that, according to a note from AT&T, it wasn’t contractual, implying the ISP hadn’t been coerced… Read More

The net can’t be neutral if regulators are biased against voice-over Internet

The Department of Telecommunications’ new report (PDF) on net neutrality is a deceptive piece of work. Drawn up by a committee set up in January 2015, it was perceived as a reaction to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s consultation paper in May on implementing the principles of net neutrality in Indian telecom regulation. While the TRAI document triggered a controversy by appearing ambiguous about its intentions, the DoT report presents half-measures with the aim of creating a level playing field for telecom service providers (TSPs). What are the more contentious issues in… Read More

DoT backs net neutrality but wants end to free domestic Skype, WhatsApp calls

It’s just good business. Credit: balleyne/Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

The Wire July 17, 2015 A Department of Telecommunications committee has released a report on the issue of net neutrality, following the controversial policy consultation paper that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India put out in May. The report falls in life with many of the popular demands that surged on social media following the TRAI paper, and includes this telling line: “The Committee is of the view that the statement of [telecom companies] that they are under financial stress due to the rapidly falling voice revenues and insufficient growth in data revenues,… Read More