The Computer Industry Almanac projects there will be 1.07 billion Internet users in 2005. They project the number to grow to 1.21 billion in 2006 and 1.35 billion in 2007. The one common element shared by all these users is called bandwidth. Think of the oil industry and how they move oil via pipelines. The number of pipelines available and the size of the pipe determine the amount of oil that can be moved. The Internet is similar. How many users there can be is limited by the amount of bandwidth available. The number and type of distribution channels such as, phone, copper and fiber optic determine bandwidth. With the explosive growth of the Internet for commerce, information transfer and scientific research, the available bandwidth is rapidly falling behind demand. I have my Internet homepage set up to collect news articles about topics that intrigue me. Here are some that came across, that by themselves are probably innocuous, but if viewed looking for commonality….well, you decide.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) — AdZone Research, Inc. (OTC BB:ADZR.OB – News) today announced that it has received notice from a Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Government laboratory that it’s pioneering Internet tracking technology has been officially validated. The approval represents a major milestone in the company’s ability to pursue government contracts. AdZone Research specializes in automated retrieval, classification, analysis and delivery of worldwide Internet data for global defense as well as media metrics. Through surveillance of more than one half million Web sites worldwide, AdZone provides tracking and monitoring of targeted information on the Internet, with an expanded focus on global Internet analysis of security-related data transmissions.
Newswire, 2005-01-31 – At issue is PATRIOT Section 216, which expanded the government’s authority to conduct surveillance in criminal investigations using pen registers or trap and trace devices (“pen-traps”). The Department Of Justice has said openly that the new definitions allow pen-traps to collect email and IP addresses. However, the DOJ has not been so forthcoming about web surveillance. It won’t reveal whether it believes URLs can be collected using pen-traps, despite the fact that URLs clearly reveal content by identifying the web pages being read. Access to documents that might reveal whether the DOJ is using pen-traps to monitor web browsing have been requested.
Trabue Tribune Daily Post Gazette, April 1, 2005: The government announced today that beginning with the new model year for computers this September, all new computers will be required to contain a “P” chip. This new technology, akin to the “V” chip in televisions, will allow monitoring and tracking of all Internet and personal usage by owners of personal home computers. A government spokesman, demanding anonymity before speaking, stated that unlike spyware programs currently monitoring and directing the marketing habits of computer users which can be removed by the user if desired, the “P” chip is a hardware device integrated into the system board of the computer. Any attempt to remove it will disable the computer. Further, this spokesman stated that the government has no plans at this time to collect personal information. Data collected will be used to measure and distribute available bandwidth. An example would be if a “P” chip detected a spike in bandwidth from a particular computer user, it would automatically shut down the computer to prevent excess demand on the Internet. Acting much like a governor on an engine. Data collected from computers nationwide could be used to establish an Internet rationing system, or even a secondary market for usable bandwidth.
A new department under the auspices of the FTC would be charged with the responsibility of developing rules and regulations surrounding the “P” chip. This group, the Agency for Private Reporting of Internet Limitations, would turn over enforcement of the rules and regulations to the Federal Order of Operational Latency.
Internet Advocacy groups claim any monitoring of personal computers would violate privacy rules and laws pertaining to search and seizure. They also state that it is small step from monitoring and measuring to taxing users of the Internet. Speaking on the record, these groups have threatened to file Freedom of Information suits to force the release of all documents pertaining to the formation and goals of the two groups, A.P.R.I.L. and F.O.O.L.
I will keep you posted.