NYPD Testing Google Glass

The next phase on the surveillance arms race has begun.  From Gothamist:
If we've learned anything from Hipster Cop, it's that even the NYPD isn't Google Glass. "We signed up, got a few pairs of the Google glasses, and we're trying them out, seeing if they have any value in investigations, mostly for patrol purposes," a law enforcement official told VentureBeat. "We're looking at them, you know, seeing how they work." . . .
immune to shifting fashion trends. To that end, the NYPD is reportedly experimented with outfitting its officers with

Vincent Cannistraro, a former ranking clandestine operator with the CIA, told VentureBeat that he doubted that Glass would be useful for cops, but the NYPD source noted, "We think it could help impact patrol operations in New York City. We shall see." That's one possible reason for it—but another is that the NYPD may finally be looking into Judge Shira Scheindlin's suggestion that the NYPD adopt body-mounted cameras to monitor officers' encounters with citizens.

UT: ISPs Continue Fight Against Competition and Better Service

From Ars Technica:

Kansas isn't the only state considering legislation that would limit the growth of government-funded broadband networks that threaten incumbent Internet service providers.

The latest such attempt we've learned of is a Utah House bill called the "Interlocal Entity Service Prohibition," which would prevent a regional fiber consortium from building infrastructure outside the boundaries of its member cities and towns.

While it would affect any such group, the bill seems to be directed at UTOPIA, the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, a consortium of 16 cities that operates a fiber-to-the-premises broadband network. The bill explicitly targets fiber only, not affecting cable or other types of networks.
"It actually is aimed specifically at UTOPIA," the group's legislative policy director, Gary Crane, told Ars. Crane is also a city attorney for Layton, one of UTOPIA's member municipalities. "I think there's probably a lot of fear in those who hold the monopoly currently in our cities that this model may be a good model for other cities to adopt." 
The bill, sponsored by Republican legislator Curt Webb, "prohibits an interlocal entity that provides telecommunication service through a fiber optic network from constructing infrastructure or providing telecommunication service in locations outside the boundaries of its members."

We've tried to reach Webb by e-mail and phone but haven't heard back yet.
UTOPIA's network is open access, allowing private Internet service providers to sell broadband over the fiber.
Of course, this is not surprising, the very notion of utopia is anathema to the alliance of Big Business and Big Government.

NJ: Professional Political Hysteric Demands to Interrogate Students Over Proof-of-Concept Program

New Jersey's Attorney General, John Hoffman, and the rest of his office appear to be nothing more than a technophobic gaggle of professional hysterics.  And they are out to prove it by harassing a group of young student programmers who came up with an interesting new decentralized Bitcoin app.  It appears these students may get a real lesson on the ignorance, arrogance and degeneracy of the ruling political class.  From the EFF:
As the popularity of Bitcoins has increased, government officials are concerned about criminal activity associated with the virtual currency. But a recent issued by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to 19-year-old Bitcoin developer and MIT student Jeremy Rubin goes too far, and we're fighting back by moving to quash it.
Rubin and some other MIT classmates developed a computer code called Tidbit for the Node Knockout Hackathon in November 2013. Tidbit uses a client's computer to mine for Bitcoins as an alternative to website advertising: in exchange for removing ads from a website, a user would give some CPU cycles to mine for Bitcoins instead. Tidbit was clearly presented as a proof of concept, with the developers making clear the code was configured not to mine for Bitcoins. That's because in addition to refining the code, they needed to work out the legal details, like drafting a terms of service, and the ethical details, like making sure there was a way for users to opt-in to the service so their computers weren't being used to mine Bitcoins without their knowledge. Tidbit won the Node Knockout award for innovation and the students thought they were on their way to continuing with their project.
But in December, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs issued a subpoena to Rubin, requesting he turn over Tidbit's past and current source code, as well as other documents and agreements with any third parties. It also issued 27 interrogatories -- formal written questions -- requesting additional documents and ordering Rubin to turn over information like the names and identities of all Bitcoin wallet addresses associated with Tidbit, a list of all websites running Tidbit's code and the name of anybody whose computer mined for Bitcoins through the use of Tidbit, although Tidbit's code was not configured to mine for Bitcoins.
Who exactly are the people who continue to vote for the brain dead politicians in the Democratic and Republican parties?  And what the hell is wrong with them? 

EFF: No Easy Solutions for Net Neutrality

From the EFF:
In light of these threats it is tempting to reach for easy solutions. But handing the problem to a government agency with strong industry ties and poor mechanisms for public accountability to fix the very real problem of network neutrality is unsatisfying. There’s a real danger that we would just be creating more problems than we’d solve.
One alternative that would go a long way would be to foster a genuinely competitive market for Internet access. If subscribers and customers had adequate information about their options and could vote with their feet, ISPs would have strong incentives to treat all netowrk traffic fairly. The court agreed with us on this point:
“a broadband provider like Comcast would be unable to threaten Netflix that it would slow Netflix traffic if all Comcast subscribers would then immediately switch to a competing broadband provider.”
Another scenario would be for Congress to step in and pass network neutrality legislation that outlines what the ISPs are not allowed to do. But fighting giant mega-corporations like AT&T and Verizon (and their army of lobbyists) in Congress promises to be a tough battle.
Yet another option: empower subscribers to not just test their ISP but challenge it in court if they detect harmful non-neutral practices. That gives all of us the chance to be watchdogs of the public interest but it, too, is likely to face powerful ISP opposition.
These are not the only options. Internet users should be wary of any suggestion that there is an easy path to network neutrality. It’s a hard problem, and building solutions to resolve it is going to remain challenging. But here is one guiding principle: any effort to defend net neutrality should use the lightest touch possible, encourage a competitive marketplace, and focus on preventing discriminatory conduct by ISPs, rather than issuing broad mandatory obligations that are vulnerable to perverse consequences and likely to be outdated as soon as they take effect.

Tech Firms Publish Redacted Info on Government Spying

From Ars Technica:
Today, several companies including Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Microsoft are revealing the first information about the amount of user data they're handing over to FISA requests. The disclosures are very broad data that just gives a range of how many users had information requested on them. But it's a small victory for the group of companies, which pushed to be allowed to publish more about the data collection when they petitioned the intelligence court back in August.

New Device Promises Electronic Nano-management of All Employee Activities

And here we thought micro-management was bad enough already.  From CNN:
Hitachi, the big electronics company based in Japan, is manufacturing and selling to corporations a device intended to increase efficiency in the workplace. It has a rather bland and generic-sounding name: the Hitachi Business Microscope.
But what it is capable of doing ... well, just imagine being followed around the office or the factory all day by the snoopiest boss in the world. Even into the restroom . . . It tracks everything.

What is Project Meshnet? A Short Introductory Guide to Setting up a Cjdns Node

Project Meshnet aims to build a global decentralized computer network based "on secure protocols for routing traffic over private mesh or public internetworks independent of a central supporting infrastructure."  The basis of the project is a piece of software called cjdns, an open source protocol that implements an encrypted IPv6 network.  By installing and running cjdns on a home computer, for example, that computer becomes a cjdns node that can be networked with any other machine that is also running the protocol.  You can find the cjdns white paper here.

Individuals and groups involved in Project Meshnet are currently in the process of developing Mesh Locals, groups of cjdns nodes connected directly to one another (usually wirelessly) to create a geographically distinct peer-to-peer network.  The Seattle Meshnet is, at present, the most well-developed of these local networks in the United States.

Individual nodes and Mesh Locals can connect to one another over standard internet connections, though the ultimate plan of Project Meshnet is to build enough intermediary mesh locals and nodes so that it is no longer necessary to route traffic over existing ISP-based internet infrastructure.  There is already at least one cjdns-based global mesh network known as Hyperboria.

Earlier this month, after a bit of research and with the help of some folks from my Mesh Local in NYC, I set up my first cjdns node and successfully connected to Hyperboria.  So, you may be wondering, what's on Hyperboria?  Good question.  The best way to answer this question for yourself is to set up your own cjdns node, and connect up with your nearest Mesh Local! 

Step 1: Install cjdns by following the Getting Started guide at Project Meshnet.  

Step 2: Make sure your node is configured correctly, which can be determined from the Trouble Shooting guide

Step 3: Locate your nearest Mesh Local, find a peer, and connect your node up with the network. 

Currently, cjdns can be installed on Linux and Mac operating systems.  I initially attempted to install on a Macbook, but ran into some configuration difficulties, and, it turns out, there is currently less functionality in the Mac implementation than in the standard Linux install.  So I decided instead to create a couple Linux virtual machines on the Macbook and a desktop pc and installed cjdns on them.

After installing cjdns on those two hosts, I followed the trouble shooting guide to make sure that each host could ping itself.  Then I updated their config files to create a peer-to-peer connection between those two hosts, and (eventually) got them to successfully ping one another over cjdns.  I had set up my own home cjdns mesh network!

Finally, someone from my Mesh Local offered to peer with my node, and after I updated the config files with the peer info I was connected to Hyperboria.  The whole process took about three days, from my first serious look into cjdns to my first connection to Hyperboria.  Folks hanging out in my mesh local's IRC were a great help along the way.  Unfortunately, since then, I have not had much time to play around with the meshnet technology, but I will certainly be returning to the project in the near future.