|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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in high-performance, high-efficiency server, storage technology and green computing, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data ...
Oct. 13, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 262
As operational failure becomes more acceptable to discuss within the software industry, the necessity for holding constructive, actionable postmortems increases. But most of what we know about postmortems from "pop culture" isn't actually relevant for the software systems we work on and within. In his session at DevOps Summit, J. Paul Reed will look at postmortem pitfalls, techniques, and tools you'll be able to take back to your own environment so they will be able to lay the foundations for h...
Oct. 13, 2015 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 249
Containers are all the rage among developers and web companies, but they also represent two very substantial benefits to larger organizations. First, they have the potential to dramatically accelerate the application lifecycle from software builds and testing to deployment and upgrades. Second they represent the first truly hybrid-approach to consuming infrastructure, allowing organizations to run the same workloads on any cloud, virtual machine or physical server. Together, they represent a ver...
Oct. 13, 2015 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 274
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on...
Oct. 13, 2015 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 225
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Oct. 13, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,505
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes ab...
Oct. 13, 2015 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,234
For almost two decades, businesses have discovered great opportunities to engage with customers and even expand revenue through digital systems, including web and mobile applications. Yet, even now, the conversation between the business and the technologists that deliver these systems is strained, in large part due to misaligned objectives. In his session at DevOps Summit, James Urquhart, Senior Vice President of Performance Analytics at SOASTA, Inc., will discuss how measuring user outcomes –...
Oct. 13, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 555
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet condit...
Oct. 13, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 730
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Oct. 13, 2015 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 260
Saviynt Inc. has announced the availability of the next release of Saviynt for AWS. The comprehensive security and compliance solution provides a Command-and-Control center to gain visibility into risks in AWS, enforce real-time protection of critical workloads as well as data and automate access life-cycle governance. The solution enables AWS customers to meet their compliance mandates such as ITAR, SOX, PCI, etc. by including an extensive risk and controls library to detect known threats and b...
Oct. 13, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 331
DevOps Summit, taking place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and Javits Center in New York City, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Oct. 13, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 205
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
Oct. 13, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 360
DevOps and Continuous Delivery software provider XebiaLabs has announced it has been selected to join the Amazon Web Services (AWS) DevOps Competency partner program. The program is designed to highlight software vendors like XebiaLabs who have demonstrated technical expertise and proven customer success in DevOps and specialized solution areas like Continuous Delivery. DevOps Competency Partners provide solutions to, or have deep experience working with AWS users and other businesses to help t...
Oct. 13, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 298
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, a principal architect at CoreOS, will examine how CoreOS helps teams run in production. Attende...
Oct. 13, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,345
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading in...
Oct. 13, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 230
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Oct. 13, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 347
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
Oct. 13, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 695
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innov...
Oct. 13, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 311
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll sha...
Oct. 13, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 749
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/...
Oct. 13, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 414