Sunday, September 27, 2015

Will There Be A Great Sino-American Cyber War Truce?

Even though whatever ongoing cyber war between the United States and Mainland China may seem piecemeal, will there ever be a great Sino-American cyber war truce? 

By: Ringo Bones 

The recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the United States managed to produce a fruitful cooperation with President Barack Obama when it comes to long-term ways of tackling climate change, the two world leaders – more or less – managed to reach a truce when it comes to the ongoing cyber war between the two countries. Even though the ongoing cyber war between the United States and The People’s Republic of china may seem piecemeal in comparison to the cyber war between Estonia and Russia a few years back, the estimated damage on the affected corporate and federal government entities in the United States since the Sino-American cyber war began had been estimated to be in the billions of US dollars. Even though the two world powers have shown enough restraint that has prevented their piecemeal cyber war from blowing up the worldwide web, will there ever be a “great Sino-American cyber war truce”? 

Even if the United States manages to mount an effective firewall against the ongoing cyber war, many a private corporate entities in the United States have since became a victim of cyber espionage launched from the Chinese Mainland as far back as before the 9/11 terror attacks. During the launch of the Green Dam Youth Escort internet censorship firewall by the Beijing government, Hollywood had complained that the Green Dam Youth Escort’s color-coded censorship scheme had “censored” or blocked the online promotional ads of Garfield A Tale of Two Kitties promotional trailer from running in Mainland China because the Green Dam Youth Escort cannot differentiate between the color of Garfield’s fur from the vestments of the Dalai Lama. 

Even though Unit 61398 – the famed cyber warfare unit of the People’s Liberation Army – have since outsourced its cyber attacks and cyber espionage jobs to the Beijing 50-Cent Cyber Army a few years ago, the damage done by the cyber warfare incidences over the years cannot be easily overlooked. A cyber war truce is needed between the United States and The People’s Republic of China but it won’t come easy for now. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Inmarsat: The Internet Connectivity Company?

Established back in 1979 as a way to help ships communicate back to their home-bases wherever they are in the world, is Inmarsat now the world’s leading internet connectivity provider?

By: Ringo Bones  

When Inmarsat Group CEO Rupert Pearce recently announced their latest satellite launch back in August 29, 2015, anyone knowledgeable with the company started to remember how far the company has come since its days as a satellite communications system provider to ships so that they can communicate with their home-bases wherever they are in the world. But what are currently Inmarsat is setting its sights to providing internet connectivity to parts of the world not yet serviced by the world’s mainstream internet service providers due to their remote locations. 

If Inmarsat has its way, airline passengers travelling at 595 miles per hour at 40,000 feet will be guaranteed broadband connectivity which, at present, such privilege is still the preserve of first-class passengers. Plans for affordable versions of such in-flight broadband connectivity service for ordinary airline passengers are already in the works at Inmarsat thanks to the lower costs of launching telecommunications satellites compared to just a decade ago. Currently, Inmarsat’s communication satellites are providing connectivity to the remote parts of Africa not yet serviced by other telecommunication companies. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Apple’s Ad Blockers: A Threat To E-Commerce?

Forget despotic governments censoring their corner of the web, could Apple’s ad blockers be a threat not only to e-commerce in general but also to online freedom of expression as well?

By: Ringo Bones 

Ever since the September 11, 2001 Islamist terror attacks to the former US President George “Dubya” Bush’s March 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom, every internet savvy political blogger / online publisher worth his or her salt had known how adverts allow their so-called “political rants” to be far more visible in cyberspace if they allow Google ads to be displayed with it despite of despotic governments’ efforts of online censorship. But will the recent move by the world’s leading Smartphone maker Apple with their Ad Blocker app prove to be an online censorship measure so effective that makes you wonder “why has the Unit 61398 of the Beijing 50-Cent Cyber Army thought of it first”? 

The issue is of current paramount importance because Smartphone / Mobile Phone adverts of various companies are already a 70-billion US dollar a year industry and Apple’s add blocker app might pose an economic threat to this lucrative industry that helped the political rants of the world’s poorest 99-percent guaranteed visibility online. But some of the world’s computer “wunderkinds” aged 15 to 24 has started to subscribe the conspiracy theory that the real reason why Apple launched its ad blocker app for its Smartphones its not because Apple’s altruistic need to help its customers to “remove visual distractions from web articles” or “remove annoying ads and other visual distractions” but as a ploy to push Apple’s iAdd app advertising platform to the world’s online advertisers which according to online publishing pundits is already proven to be “scarily successful” in Apple’s recent demonstrations in recent major various consumer electronics conventions. 

Sadly, it is not just Apple’s ad blocker app that’s threatening online freedom of expression, some recent Mozilla Firefox variants has the option to allow proprietors of internet cafés to block whatever major online search engine, site or advertisement that suits their fancy. There’s even an internet café located in front of University of Cebu – one of the major IT colleges in Cebu City – that allowed its owners to block Google-mail and other Google related services in all of the desktop PCs they provide for their customers. I don’t know if the said proprietor of that internet café is beholden to Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer but it is a “scary glimpse” of what it’s like to use a public internet café establishment in The People’s Republic Of China.