|By Jeremy Geelan||
|December 6, 2010 07:45 AM EST||
[Further updated to include advance word of Jay Rosen/Dave Winer "Rebooting the Media" podcast - #75 coming Monday Dec 6]
[Updated to include PayPal announcement of the closure of WikiLeaks' PayPal account.]
Is Web 3.0 maybe going to be less the utopia we've been envisaging and more like the real, physical world, with all the real-world limitations that follow along with it...?
The latest WikiLeaks ("Cablegate") affair, coming as it does at the very end of the first decade of the 21st Century, comes at an appropriate moment.
An undoubted political and diplomatic hornet's nest, the swirling discussions surrounding the organization's drip-drip release of (so far) 612 of the quarter of a million or so diplomatic cables in its possession are all grist to the mill of an "awakening" that in my view is likely going to mark the difference between the Web of 2000-1010 and that of 2011 onwards.
Viewing the world through the prism of Cloud Computing may seem to many to be a little arcane, but actually it is highly à propos. Because the same people who are failing to suppress the WikiLeaks documents are also in charge of U.S. cybersecurity in general. So one crucial thing we have learned - if for a moment we leave to one side the ethics or unethics of making the cables public - is that, if the rumors/allegations are true, a certain US private Bradley Manning somehow obtained access to far too *much* information for someone of his rank, in one go, before we even go into the question of its potential political and diplomatic sensitivity.
PAUL FREMANTLE has been very outspoken about this. "I place the blame directly on a lack of Governance and poor IT systems," he writes, adding:
"And the measures that have so far been announced - things like removing CD drives from classified systems - are simply the wrong approach. The real problem is why any one person - whatever level of clearance they had - should have access to all 250,000 cables."
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at WSO2, Fremantle chairs the OASIS WS-RX TC that is standardizing WSRM. He knows his way around XACML, too - eXtensible Access Control Markup Language, a declarative access control policy language implemented in XML - and offers this piece of technical advice to the powers that be:
"Without going into the details of XACML and policy-based entitlement models, suffice it to say that the right approach is to base access not only on the person, but the reason they have for accessing the data. Using policy-based entitlement, it is possible to have a well-defined Governance model where a person is given access to just the right data at just the right time for just the right purpose, and that this can be managed in a process-driven, auditable and controlled manner."
But let us move from the question of the original security breach itself to the broader questions that have been snowballing since, as the authorities have sought to shut stable door after stable door, even while the rest of the Net-savvy world was fully aware that the horse would be on its way to a country like Switzerland.
- Door #1 was slammed shut thanks to Amazon Web Services.
- Door #2 was closed by EveryDNS.net.
- Door #3 was shut by Tableau Software - well, more of a skylight really.
- Door #4 was locked, and the key thrown away, by PayPal.
But the very nature of distributed computing is such that "doors" can be closed ad infinitum with very little effect on the flow of information through the system.
As Java expert and Cloud Computing pioneer ALAN WILLIAMSON puts it: "ThePirateBay is a classic example of a site that just won't die - they have even tried jailing the founders, yet it still happily serves up content every day, growing daily."
As Williamson points out:
"They keep moving their content to secure locations, and keep aligning themselves with bandwidth suppliers who believe in net neutrality."
ThePirateBay though is not cloud-related. In the case of WikiLeaks, it is. When Amazon's AWS team pulled the plug on its service to WikiLeaks - citing Terms of Service breaches - WikiLeaks had to scramble fast and suffered an outage.
"I think this highlights how important cloud neutrality is," says Williamson. "Vendor lock-in is now a major issue. How quickly can I move my enterprise to another vendor? Do I have to align myself with the political viewpoints of my cloud vendor in order to ensure a happy co-existence?"
This is merely a hoster-client relationship problem that existed long before the likes of Amazon/Google/Rackspace got into the cloud-hosting game, Williams reminds us. If your ISP didn't like what you published, they could turn you off. They were under the gun of their upstream bandwidth supplier too. So there was always accountability.
But for Williamson there is a bigger consideration:
"The Internet is open, we have to embrace that. I for one, am proud there are secure silos around the world that can host material and get it out to the people. Yes we have to take the rough with the smooth, and while we do not agree with what they publish, if we live in a free society then this is what we have to swallow if I am to be able to stand up to be heard without fear.
The Internet can keep governments honest...or at least more honest than historically allowed. We have to keep things open."
As WS02's Paul Fremantle expresses it:
"Here is a situation where the world’s biggest superpower wants to have a website erased from the face of the Web. Who will prevail? Given the distributed nature of the Internet, I know where my money is."
STOWE BOYD, self-declared social philosopher and "webthropologist," takes Williamson's "We have to keep things open" stance to another level.
"What WikiLeaks represents is civil disobedience channeled through an agenda of radical openness," declares Boyd. "The individuals involved on a personal level are deciding that laws that may or may not designate their activities as illegal are illegitimate, that our obedience to the state is coerced, and therefore can be morally opposed and countered."
Boyd goes on to explain this in more detail as follows: "Wikileaks is an example of direct action, like Greenpeace activists attempting to shut down the Knightsnorth power station, claiming that the laws against trespass and destruction of private property were outweighed by the need to counter global warming to prevent far greater property damage around the world. They were acquitted, the first time such a claim was used as a 'lawful excuse' for committing a crime (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenpeace)."
One form of "direct action," Boyd continues, is to expose secrets, especially when governments or large corporations are saying one thing publicly and doing another clandestinely.
"In some cases these exposés might involve criminal wrong-doing, or simply duplicitous behavior," says Boyd.
"Amazon or other hosting providers that opt to decline support for WikiLeaks or other activists may be acting because of alternate moral viewpoints, or through coercion, or fears of future repercussions when governments may decide that the hosts are culpable in some way," he adds.
For Boyd, the world needs WikiLeaks to be widened and strengthened, not abolished or suppressed:
"I think ultimately WikiLeaks should become a global non-profit like Greenpeace, specifically organized to accomplish certain goals for the sake of the world, like exposing who is funding political action when laws allow it to be concealed (as in the US), or exposing the inner workings of unregulated or barely regulated industries.
For example, it would have been great to have known prior to the Deepwater disaster how lax the regulatory agencies were, and how great the risks were. Had some whistle blowers disclosed that information to WikiLeaks, and it had been made public, we might have averted the disaster.
The world needs an omsbudsman, and the UN is not the answer, because it is used a tool of nationalist politics by the member countries. It is theater, not a check on the nations' excesses.
We need WikiLeaks - not necessarily as currently configured, and not necessarily with Julian Assange in control of it - but we need something like it to exist, as a counter to the architects of power."
In a follow-up note to Cloud Computing Journal Boyd pointed out that, since WikiLeaks is already an international non-profit, what he meant was that "it should be organized like Greenpeace, as a federation of non-profits in the various countries, supported by activists in the member countries."
"Wikileaks is not organized in that fashion today, and it should be," Boyd asserts.
If you accept - which many commentators evidently do not! - that someone can support the idea of government transparency outside of the context of the binary view of "conservative" or "liberal," then the Cablegate affair seemingly confirms the contention that the more secretive a government is, the less it serves the people. Because otherwise why are there so many ordinary law-abiding people, and not just Julian Assange's lawyer - whose hackles have been raised by the attempt to apprehend him and shutter his organization once and for all?
No fewer than 511,205 people "like" the WikiLeaks Official Facebook Page, and between 3AM and 11AM eastern time Friday morning, the #WikiLeaks hash tag was used in more than 7,304 new tweets on Twitter.
Let us not forget either that five highly reputable news groups accepted the chance to be the first to republish cables from the WikiLeaks cable-horde - The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais. These are not underground radical pamphlets, these are world-class newspapers. It seems unlikely that Joe Lieberman's staffers will be telephoning them all asking them to close down the presses.
I am going to give the last word (for the moment, anyway) to the BBC. Or, rather, to BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellen-Jones. Without taking sides on whether or not AWS had discontinued its service to WikiLeaks because of pressure from American politicians - for the simple reason that "I've tried repeatedly over the last 24 hours to speak to the firm, with no success" - Cellan-Jones wrote a piece published this morning on the BBC's news site on the subject of what he called "the end of web innocence." Here was how he concluded the article:
"The innocent days when young web firms could pretend that they were simply agents of free expression based on neutral technology seem to be coming to an end. They have grown up into giant media empires, so they can expect every lobbyist, every politician and every pressure group to want to shape the way they do business."
On Monday Dec 6, 2010, "Rebooting The News" - a weekly podcast on news and technology with Jay Rosen and Dave Winer - will be covering the latest twists and turns in the WikiLeaks story. Winer needs no introduction to most readers of Cloud Computing Journal - or any other online journal for that matter. Rosen teaches journalism at NYU, directs the Studio 20 program there, critiques the press and tries to grok new media. Their joint take will be fascinating to hear.
What do you think? Let me know via Twitter (@jg21) or in the Feedback form below.
In their Live Hack” presentation at 17th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty and Paul Fletcher, Chief Security Evangelists at Alert Logic, provided the audience with a chance to see a live demonstration of the common tools cyber attackers use to attack cloud and traditional IT systems. This “Live Hack” used open source attack tools that are free and available for download by anybody. Attendees learned where to find and how to operate these tools for the purpose of testing their own IT infrastructure. The...
Mar. 26, 2017 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 7,304
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
Mar. 26, 2017 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,864
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
Mar. 26, 2017 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,067
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
Mar. 26, 2017 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,753
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Mar. 26, 2017 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,935
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Mar. 26, 2017 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,770
As businesses adopt functionalities in cloud computing, it’s imperative that IT operations consistently ensure cloud systems work correctly – all of the time, and to their best capabilities. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Bernd Harzog, CEO and founder of OpsDataStore, will present an industry answer to the common question, “Are you running IT operations as efficiently and as cost effectively as you need to?” He will expound on the industry issues he frequently came up against as an analyst, and...
Mar. 26, 2017 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,169
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Jared Parker, Director of Financial Services at Kinetica, will discuss how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich inf...
Mar. 25, 2017 10:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,690
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
Mar. 25, 2017 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,597
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...
Mar. 25, 2017 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 6,066
My team embarked on building a data lake for our sales and marketing data to better understand customer journeys. This required building a hybrid data pipeline to connect our cloud CRM with the new Hadoop Data Lake. One challenge is that IT was not in a position to provide support until we proved value and marketing did not have the experience, so we embarked on the journey ourselves within the product marketing team for our line of business within Progress. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Sum...
Mar. 25, 2017 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,842
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Mar. 25, 2017 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,999
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle.
Mar. 25, 2017 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,899
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
Mar. 25, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,777
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
Mar. 25, 2017 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,347
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
Mar. 25, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,795
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
Mar. 25, 2017 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,084
Deep learning has been very successful in social sciences and specially areas where there is a lot of data. Trading is another field that can be viewed as social science with a lot of data. With the advent of Deep Learning and Big Data technologies for efficient computation, we are finally able to use the same methods in investment management as we would in face recognition or in making chat-bots. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Gaurav Chakravorty, co-founder and Head of Strategy Development ...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,534
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,873
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 5,092