Take back the Internet

I have borrowed the title from a post by Bruce Schneier:

I urge you to read that post.

Scheier notes that this is mainly a political problem, but it does have an engineering component.  So he calls on engineers to do their part.  And one of the things that he wants them to do is report apparent cases of government attempts to subvert the network.

For a number of years, I managed our (computer science) department’s unix network and email system.  I never was requested to do any monitoring, nor to facilitate any monitoring.

There was one curious incident.  One computer user reported to me that he was unable to login from his home using “ssh” and had to revert to using “telnet”.  Nobody else was having problems, so this was a puzzle.  This was happening during the height of the Iraq war, and the user was a public critic of that war.  I did wonder whether his ISP was blocking his use of “ssh” to make it easier for the FBI to monitor his activity.  I mentioned this possibility.  He raised this with his ISP, and almost magically his ability to use “ssh” returned.  The ISP apparently denied everything.  I have no hard evidence on what happened, so I won’t identify the ISP.



About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

2 responses to “Take back the Internet”

  1. YoungPenguin says :

    Thanks Neil.. interesting…This is happening because people have become so ignorant that they are unable to defend their constitutional rights… The founding fathers would roll in the grave 😀


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